This week:

The problem that 3 in 4 women experience, astronaut Christina Koch’s return to Earth, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg on why she’s “optimistic” for the future.

Quick hits

Today’s featured news

Not-to-miss moments from the Oscars

The 92nd Academy Awards aired last night. Here’s what to know if you missed the show:

1. Actress Natalie Portman generated buzz before the show started with an embroidered cape that included the names of the women snubbed in the best director category this year. (For the second year in a row, only men were nominated for the lauded award.) Her cape named Lulu Wang of “The Farewell,” Greta Gerwig of “Little Women,” Lorene Scafaria of “Hustlers” and more.

2. The show featured the first female conductor of the Oscars symphony: Eímear Noone. The Irish-born conductor and composer led the symphony in performing excerpts from the five nominated scores.

3. The South Korean film “Parasite” became the first foreign language film to win best picture. Only women spoke in accepting the award, including producer Kwak Sin-ae. “I’m speechless,” she said. “We never imagined this to ever happen, we are so happy. I feel like a very opportune moment in history is happening now.”

For more major moments and the full list of winners, click here.

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

More than 50 women shared their experience of painful sex

It’s estimated that 3 in 4 women will experience painful sex at some point during their lifetimes, and it can happen for a variety of reasons, reports Lily staff writer Caroline Kitchener. Pain during sex could be the body’s response to sexual trauma, or to a new type of birth control, or to menopause. Yet there has been very little research on why sex can be painful for women: PubMed lists just 43 clinical trials on vulvodynia, any kind of irritation around the vulva, and 10 on vaginismus, when the muscles in the vagina involuntarily contract — but 1,954 on erectile dysfunction.

Kitchener spoke to 16 women who experience pain during sex and heard from 38 more through an online form. Many said they have never consulted a doctor, and when sex hurts, many women don’t even tell their partners. Read about their experiences here.

(Rick Bowmer/AP; Lily illustration)
(Rick Bowmer/AP; Lily illustration)

Elizabeth Smart says she was sexually assaulted on an airplane

When she was 14, Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped and raped brutally nearly every day for nine months. Her story made headlines after her captors were arrested in Utah, her home state, in March 2003. Last week, Smart opened up about another sexual assault that she said happened on a Delta Air Lines flight last year. In an interview with “CBS This Morning,” Smart said that she was asleep on a plane when a man next to her put his hand between her legs.

“Do I just have a big badge on my forehead that says ‘Easy Prey’ or ‘Victim’? Because I’m sick of it,” Smart said.

She added that she’d never felt threatened on an airplane until the experience. As The Washington Post reports, the FBI in 2018 said that sexual assault aboard an airplane is on the rise. In 2017, there were 63 reported cases of in-flight sexual assault.

(Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA-EFE; iStock; Lily illustration)
(Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA-EFE; iStock; Lily illustration)

Astronaut Christina Koch makes longest spaceflight by a woman

On Thursday, after 328 days in space, astronaut Christina Koch returned to Earth after completing the longest single spaceflight by a woman. Koch — who made history in the first all-female spacewalk last year — broke the 288-day record set in 2017 by Peggy Whitson. Despite these recent milestones, women are still underrepresented at NASA — they make up only about a third of the workforce. Outlets also pointed out that Koch, a scientist from North Carolina, should be celebrated for her other, less headline-grabbing accomplishments, including her research into growing plants in microgravity and using spacecraft fuel more efficiently.

Looking toward 2020

What’s happening on the campaign trail

(Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty; Shannon Stapleton/Reuters; Lily illustration)
(Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty; Shannon Stapleton/Reuters; Lily illustration)

It was a big week in political news. The Associated Press is still unable to confirm results from the Iowa caucuses, held Feb. 3, because of irregularities. As of Sunday, former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg was tallying in the lead, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) following closely behind and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in third.

Ahead of the New Hampshire primary, which will be held tomorrow, the candidates participated in a debate there Friday. The seven candidates on the stage — which included the three Iowa frontrunners, plus former vice president Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), entrepreneur Andrew Yang and business executive Tom Steyer, clashed on electability and policy.

As the 2020 primary race heats up, the Senate voted mostly on party lines Wednesday to acquit President Trump in his impeachment trial, clearing him of charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah was the only Republican to vote to convict the president on the abuse of power charge.) That came a day after Trump delivered his State of the Union address, after which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up the text of his speech.


Five need-to-know stories in 100 words or less

(Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post; Lily illustration)
(Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post; Lily illustration)

1. A Wisconsin judge lowered the bond for Chrystul Kizer, a 19-year-old facing life in prison after the killing of her alleged sex trafficker, from $1 million to $400,000. Her case gained national attention amid increased scrutiny into similar cases, and activists say they are hopeful they can raise the money to free her.

2. A video of Olympic gymnast Simone Biles went viral after it showed her performing a Yurchenko double pike, a move that no woman has ever performed in competition. Biles landed the vault in a foam pit, but other athletes applauded the fact that it appeared as if she could’ve landed it on the ground.

3. Virginia is poised to become the first Southern state to pass LGBTQ rights legislation that would ban discrimination in employment, housing and public accomodations. The bill passed the House and the Senate on a party-line vote, and will head back to either chamber before being sent to the desk of Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who requested the legislation.

(Leigh Vogel/Duke University School of Law)
(Leigh Vogel/Duke University School of Law)

4. For the first time, the top 16 law review journals are helmed by only women. Speaking at a Duke Law School event commemorating the milestone, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “It’s one of the things that makes me optimistic about the future.”

5. As the criminal case against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein moves into its next phase — in which the defense is presenting witnesses — lead defense attorney Donna Rotunno made headlines after speaking to the New York Times’ podcast. She told the Daily that she has never been sexually assaulted “because I would never put myself in that position.”

What we’ve bookmarked from The Post

See what women are creating in the newsroom

(Drew Lytle for The Washington Post)
(Drew Lytle for The Washington Post)

Natalie Compton is a writer for By The Way, a travel destination from The Washington Post. Compton has written “completely correct” guides to eating and drinking on a plane, who should drive you to the airport and more. Ahead of Valentine’s Day, she wrote the “completely correct guide to traveling with a significant other.” Read the full story here.

A quick Q&A

This week, we hear from curator Isolde Brielmaier

(Mangue Banzima)
(Mangue Banzima)

Isolde Brielmaier is curator-at-large for the International Center of Photography, which just opened its new center in New York City’s Lower East Side. The opening exhibition includes a visual history of hip hop and the first U.S. solo exhibition of Tyler Mitchell, who became the first black photographer to shoot a cover of Vogue for Beyoncé’s September 2018 issue.

On her job: “I sit with a lot of gratitude every day, because I feel really lucky and honored to wake up each day and be able to work with artists, work with art, be able to have an impact on how people see the world and see other people. And I get to do it through a variety of different lenses, which is wonderful.”

On her background: “Both of my parents were immigrants, both of my parents were very politicized. My dad is Ugandan and grew up in colonial and post-colonial Uganda; my mom is originally from Austria and came here to the States as an immigrant. They were just very active with a lot of the movements that were going on at the time — the civil rights movement, the American Indian movement. So I had an upbringing that was always sort of peppered by the fact that there is work to do.”

Why she finds photography powerful: “It’s both the power of the image and the way in which the visual realm, for those of us who are blessed with the gift of sight, has an impact on how we see people, how we see the world. It really frames, for us, what we’re going into on a daily basis. I always tell my students, it’s one thing to hear about something, and it’s entirely different to see it.”

Lily Likes

Things we love but weren’t paid to promote

I recently got into tea and stumbled upon these cubes. They are eco-friendly and convenient, and the tea tastes really good. I love the mango lemon flavor.

Aviva Loeb, Washington Post designer


[bye-koo] Saying goodbye with a haiku

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