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This week:

A female sprinter becomes India’s first openly gay athlete, new research links diet and breast cancer, and a different kind of teen comedy hits theaters.

Poll finds Denmark to be one of the ‘least feminist’ developed nations

A poll conducted by the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project has found that Denmark — a country known for its narrow pay gap and equal employment rights — is one of the “least feminist” nations in the developed world. The poll, which surveyed more than 25,000 people in 23 major countries such as the United States and Turkey, found that 1 in 6 Danes considered themselves a feminist. About a quarter of Danish women called themselves feminists, according to the data; in neighboring Sweden, 46 percent of women did. It also found that a third of Danes believed whistling at women in the street is acceptable, and 2 in 5 had an unfavorable view of the #MeToo movement.

“We have had a culture where what you say isn’t racist or sexist if you don’t intend it to be,” Rikke Andreassen, a professor at Denmark’s Roskilde University, told the Guardian. “You can grab a woman, but so long as you did it because it was ‘fun,’ then culturally we tend to think it’s not that bad.”

Birth rates for U.S. teens and women in their 20s hit record low

Last year marked the lowest number of U.S. births in more than three decades, according to a provisional report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report, based on more than 99 percent of U.S. birth records, found the fertility rate is now 1.7 births per U.S. woman — in other words, the current generation isn’t having enough children to replace itself. Although the birth rate among teens and women in their 20s hit record lows, the only two groups with slightly higher birth rates in 2018 were women in their late 30s and early 40s. This tracks with other research indicating that American women are having children later in life.

Lawmakers are reviving efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill

You may have heard the buzz in 2016 around putting abolitionist and suffragist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. That’s when the Barack Obama administration announced it would replace a portrait of Andrew Jackson with Tubman, a conductor of the Underground Railroad who helped dozens of people escape slavery in the 19th century. But those efforts stalled under the Trump administration; in 2017, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said they were reconsidering the change. Now, lawmakers are attempting to revive the new $20 bill. With the Harriet Tubman Tribute Act of 2019, Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) hopes to move the issue along.

(Women on 20s)
(Women on 20s)

“We don’t have a woman of color, we don’t have any person of color on any U.S. currency,” Katko told WKRN. “When the Trump administration came in, it fell by the wayside.”

Report shows how black girls are ‘denied’ a childhood

(iStock; Lily illustration)
(iStock; Lily illustration)

In 2017, researchers at the Initiative on Gender Justice and Opportunity at Georgetown Law released a report that found adults view black girls as less innocent and more adultlike than their white peers. They built on those findings in a new report that includes interviews with black women and girls. In several focus groups, girls and women between the ages of 12 and 60 spoke about their experiences, and their overwhelming response confirmed the research. In some cases, the women said they were accused of having “attitudes” when they had attempted to explain their points of view to authority figures; in others, women said they had to deal with people’s expectations that they were angry or aggressive as children. Some also said they were sexualized for wearing the same clothes as their white peers.

Study finds that lower-fat diet reduces women’s risk of dying of breast cancer

(iStock; Lily illustration)
(iStock; Lily illustration)

The first randomized clinical trial evidence that diet can reduce women’s risk of dying of breast cancer has arrived. Researchers found that women who followed a lower-fat diet had a lower risk of dying of cancer than those on a higher-fat diet. The findings come from a years-long dietary-intervention trial involving more than 48,000 women who did not have breast cancer when they enrolled. The women were randomly assigned to either follow their usual diet or to try to reduce fat intake to 20 percent of all calories while consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and grains. The women in the latter group who developed breast cancer had a lower risk of death than the women who developed the disease and followed their regular diets.

Lead author Rowan Chlebowski said the study showed women could improve their health by making modest changes in diet. “This is dietary moderation. It’s not like eating twigs and branches,” he told The Washington Post. “It’s what people were eating, say, 20 years ago, before you could pick up 900 calories in one candy bar.”

Recapping a tumultuous week in the abortion fight

(Lily illustration)
(Lily illustration)

On Wednesday, Alabama’s Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed the nation’s strictest abortion bill into law, which bans abortions in the state in nearly all circumstances, including in cases of rape and incest. In a Twitter thread Saturday, President Trump said he opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is at risk, though he did not directly reference Alabama’s bill.

The Republican-held Missouri legislature also passed a bill last week that bans abortions at eight weeks. (A Republican Missouri legislator apologized Friday for using the phrase “consensual rape” during a debate over the bill.) That measure is similar to other conservative states’ “heartbeat” bills, including Georgia’s, which passed May 7.

None of the recent laws has yet taken effect. Supporters of the Alabama bill don’t expect it to, and instead hope it sets up a challenge in the Supreme Court that could potentially overturn Roe v. Wade. According to experts, less extreme challenges are more likely to chip away at Roe than overturn it.

After the passage of Alabama’s law, many people pointed out that all of the state senators who voted for the bill were white Republican men. The four women in the state Senate, all Democrats, did not vote for it — two opposed the bill, one abstained and the other was marked passed (not voting or present). An analysis from The Post found that, for every seven men voting for the new abortion bans in Alabama, Missouri and Georgia, only one woman did.

Actress Busy Philipps inspired thousands of women to share their experiences with abortion with the hashtag #YouKnowMe. (Frazer Harrison/Getty; Lily illustration)
Actress Busy Philipps inspired thousands of women to share their experiences with abortion with the hashtag #YouKnowMe. (Frazer Harrison/Getty; Lily illustration)

Throughout the week, celebrities including Jameela Jamil and Milla Jovovich, along with thousands of other women, took to social media to share their stories of abortion. Actress Busy Philipps is credited for starting the movement after sharing her experience using the hashtag #YouKnowMe.


• Dutee Chand, an Indian sprinter, became the first professional athlete in India to publicly come out as gay. Chand told reporters that she is in a long-term relationship with a woman from her village.

• Just before the start of its 2019 season, which begins this week, the WNBA announced that Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert — the first woman to lead one of the country’s “Big Four” professional-service firms — will be its next president.

• The White House asked Congress for an additional $1.6 billion for an ambitious NASA mission called Artemis, which aims to put the first woman on the moon by 2024.

• On Friday, the House passed a bill extending rights for LGBTQ people. The bill, called the Equality Act, would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, loan applications, education, public accommodations and other areas.

‘Booksmart,’ starring two women, is a different kind of raunchy teen comedy

Actresses Beanie Feldstein, left, and Kaitlyn Dever star in the upcoming film “Booksmart.” (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post/Lily illustration)
Actresses Beanie Feldstein, left, and Kaitlyn Dever star in the upcoming film “Booksmart.” (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post/Lily illustration)

Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut, “Booksmart,” hits theaters this week, and it defies the conventions of teen comedy. Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein star as high school best friends Amy and Molly, who have spent their teenage years prepping to get in to Ivy League colleges. On the last day of high school, the girls realize that their hard-partying classmates are all Ivy-bound, too — and they figure it’s time to let loose.

“I feel like in a lot of films, they wouldn’t allow space for two of these characters to exist, let alone be the center of the film,” Feldstein told The Post.

The script is credited to four women: Writing partners Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins had written a version of it a decade ago, which was reworked by Susanna Fogel and then overhauled by Katie Silberman. Ultimately, the two don’t stereotypically transform from nerdy high schoolers to popular girls; instead, the movie centers on their friendship dynamic.

“In a lot of ways, it felt like the industry needed to catch up to a story about young, smart women who were multidimensional,” Silberman told The Post. “Now that it’s ‘okay’ for women to be smart, it’s something that everyone feels comfortable with, what else are they?”

I have been on the hunt for a one-piece bathing suit, and I finally found one I love. My main criteria for bathing suits is that they cover enough of me that I am comfortable wearing them around my mother. This one makes the cut. It comes in a bunch of bright colors and bold patterns: a perfect purchase to kick off summer.

—Caroline Kitchener, Lily staff writer

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