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How New Zealand celebrated 125 years of women’s suffrage, a passage from our book club pick, and a new documentary about Jane Fonda.
Christine Blasey Ford, the woman alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were in high school, will testify at an open hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday at 10 a.m. After Ford’s lawyers said she was tentatively willing to testify publicly this week, they homed in on an arrangement Sunday morning with Senate negotiators for Ford to tell her story.
Ford publicly revealed a week ago that she was the woman behind a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) alleging Kavanaugh drunkenly pinned her to a bed, groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party in high school in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the allegations and will also testify before the committee on the matter.
It is unclear whether senators on the Judiciary Committee will question Ford themselves, or use outside lawyers or aides, who would most likely be women. While there are four women on the committee, all are Democrats.
Meanwhile, others have been weighing in on the allegations and Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
• Leland Keyser: Ford told The Washington Post that a woman named Leland Keyser attended the party where she alleges Kavanaugh assaulted her. On Saturday, a statement from Keyser said that she “does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present.” In an interview with The Post, Keyser said she did not remember the party but was close friends with Ford and believes her allegation.
• Yale Law School: On Friday, 47 Yale Law School faculty members — amid student-led plans to protest Kavanaugh’s nomination Monday — sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee urging them not to rush considering the nomination and to take Ford’s allegations seriously. Kavanaugh is a graduate of the school.
• President Trump and other Republicans: Trump, in tweets Friday, sought to undercut Ford’s allegations. If the attack “was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities,” he wrote. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), considered a swing vote in Kavanaugh’s confirmation, said last week she was “appalled" by the tweet. Meanwhile, several Republicans have accused Ford of delaying the hearing. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.) tweeted “#Rope-a-dope,” referencing a boxing strategy of trying to tire out opponents by making them consistently go on offense.
On Sunday night, the New Yorker reported that Democratic senators are investigating a new allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh: Deborah Ramirez, who attended Yale with Kavanaugh when they were undergraduates, said she remembers Kavanaugh exposing himself to her at a drunken dorm party during the 1983-84 academic school year. He thrust his penis into her face, she alleges, and caused her to touch it without her consent. Ramirez, now 53, wants the FBI to investigate. In a statement, Kavanaugh denied Ramirez’s allegation.
Facebook and 10 employers are facing a legal complaint alleging the tech company enabled discriminatory job postings that targeted men. The American Civil Liberties Union, along with three female job hunters and a worker coalition, filed the complaint Tuesday. They say the social network’s “Why am I seeing this?” feature revealed that ads from the companies, which were seeking police officers, truck drivers and sales representatives at a sports store, were purposefully aimed at men.
A year after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, the official death toll stands at 2,975, and some areas of the island are still without power. The disaster has affected survivors of domestic violence, too, Refinery29 reports: One prevention and intervention organization saw a 62 percent increase in requests for survivor-related services and a 47 percent increase in requests for preventive and education resources in the wake of the storm. Other centers have seen similar upticks in the number of reported cases, but workers still don’t know just how many women were seeking help: At least five emergency domestic violence hotlines were down after Maria hit.
Research from the World Health Organization has also found that the aftermath of a natural disaster often leads to a surge in intimate partner violence and sexual violence.
Last week, Denise Mueller-Korenek broke a two-decade-old cycling speed record by pedaling 183.9 mph across Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats. In doing so, she became the first woman to hold the record; Dutch rider Fred Rompelberg had held the top speed at 167 mph since 1995. Mueller-Korenek, a 45-year-old CEO of a home security firm and mother of three, rode a custom-designed machine capable of propelling the bike forward 128 feet with each revolution of the pedals. She was towed for the first two miles of the five-mile course by professional race-car driver Shea Holbrook.
In 1893, New Zealand became the first country to grant women the right to vote. On Wednesday, to commemorate 125 years of women’s suffrage, 39 of New Zealand’s 46 current female members of Parliament re-created a photo that dates back to 1905, when the country had an all-male parliament. Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, who gave birth to her first child in June, brought her daughter along for the photograph.
Last week, Saudi journalist Weam al-Dekheil made history by becoming the first woman to present a nighttime newscast on a state-owned television channel. The appearance was a step forward for women’s representation in a country where, just earlier this summer, women received the right to drive.
A new Pew Research Center survey finds that most Americans would like to see more women in leadership positions in politics and business, but believe men still have an easier path to getting there. The respondents, a nationally representative group of 4,587 adults, were also skeptical that the country will ever achieve gender parity in those top positions.
Gender and party affiliation had a significant effect on the responses. Seventy-nine percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said there are too few women in high political offices, whereas only 33 percent of Republicans and those who lean Republican said so; 64 percent of Democrats said gender discrimination is a big factor in underrepresentation, whereas only 30 percent of Republicans agreed. Within the parties, more women than men were likely to say there are too few women in political and corporate leadership and that gender discrimination was a big factor.
It was 1991, and Anita Hill, then a law professor, sat in front of a panel of more than a dozen white men. She had wanted to stay anonymous — hadn’t wanted to publicly come forth with her allegations that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her when she worked with him in the early 1980s — but she testified, feeling she had a “duty to report,” she said.
In her testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Hill alleged that Thomas, her boss at two government agencies, repeatedly asked her out and openly talked about his sexual prowess and discussed pornography when she worked in his office. The all-male, all-white members of the committee questioned her credibility, interrupted her and asked for lurid details.
That hearing is, in large part, what inspired 1992’s “The Year of the Woman.” People were shocked at how the committee handled the hearings — and that there were no women on it. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who received Christine Blasey Ford’s letter alleging Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school, was among the women galvanized to run that year.
As the prospect of Ford’s testimony looms, Hill has some advice for those currently sitting on the panel she faced almost 30 years ago. In a New York Times opinion piece, she offers “ground rules” on how to make such a hearing fairer, including selecting a neutral investigative body and not rushing the hearings. “Finally,” she writes, “refer to Christine Blasey Ford by her name. She was anonymous, but no longer is. . . . She deserves the respect of being addressed and treated as a whole person.”
We launched Lily Lit Club, our Instagram-only book club, at the start of the month. So far, more than 300 readers have signed up. Using the hashtag #LilyLitClub, members have been discussing, sharing photos of and reviewing our September pick: “The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo.
The book is a novel-in-verse from the perspective of Xiomara, a first-generation Dominican teen, and explores her religious upbringing, her sexuality, her love and talent for poetry and more. There’s still time to read “The Poet X” and jump into the conversation. For now, we’ve included one our favorite passages, from the poem-as-chapter called “How I Feel about Attention,” below:
Jane Fonda is known as many things: an Oscar-winning actress, a political activist, a fitness maven. But a new HBO documentary does away with labels and looks at Fonda’s life in a different way: in five acts.
Directed and produced by Susan Lacy, who’s known for her biographical documentaries, "Jane Fonda in Five Acts” examines Fonda’s relationships with four hugely influential men in her life: her father, Henry Fonda, and her former spouses, Roger Vadim, Tom Hayden and Ted Turner. But the final act, titled “Jane,” looks at Fonda’s life on her own terms.
The documentary debuts Sept. 24 on HBO and its streaming platforms.
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—Aviva Loeb, digital designer
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