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This week:

The six countries giving men and women equal working rights, a comic about Michael Cohen’s testimony, and how we’re celebrating Women’s History Month.

Crowdfunding to send girls to ‘Captain Marvel’ tops $60,000

“Captain Marvel,” Marvel’s first female-led superhero film starring Brie Larson, premieres March 8 on International Women’s Day. We Have Stories, the group that launched the #BlackPantherChallenge last year to send 73,000 children to free screenings of “Black Panther,” has also set up a GoFundMe campaign to send girls and young women to “Captain Marvel.” It has already raised more than $60,000, with donors such as “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and E! News.

World Bank finds that only 6 countries give equal working rights to men and women

(iStock/Lily illustration)
(iStock/Lily illustration)

An index released last week by the World Bank shows that over the past decade, most countries moved closer to gender equality under the law. However, it found that only six countries have laws that enshrine equal working rights for men and women: Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden. Using a scale of 0 to 100, the World Bank analyzed 35 indicators, focusing on laws affecting women’s ability to live and work freely. Those included categories such as “starting a job,” “having children” and “getting a pension.” The aforementioned countries all received a score of 100. The United States scored 83.75, a ranking that has remained flat over the past decade; more than 60 other countries, including Colombia, received higher scores. Saudi Arabia had the lowest score at 25.63.

Migrant mother’s stillbirth in ICE custody renews questions about Trump administration policies

(iStock/Lily illustration)
(iStock/Lily illustration)

A 24-year-old Honduran migrant woman was taken into Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody in Texas on Feb. 18. She was six months pregnant at the time. Four days later, she went into premature labor and gave birth to an unresponsive baby boy, whom doctors pronounced dead. The case has renewed questions about ICE’s policy of detaining pregnant women, which changed after an executive order from President Trump instructed the agency “to enforce the immigration laws of the United States against all removable aliens.” The incident follows the December deaths of two detained migrant children.

A hijab made for runners ignites backlash in France

(iStock/Lily illustration)
(iStock/Lily illustration)

In a controversy reminiscent of the 2016 uproar over the “burkini” swimsuit, French officials criticized a hijab for runners, designed to allow Muslim women to exercise in public while keeping their hair covered. Members of the far-right National Rally and left-wing French feminists attacked Decathlon, the French company selling the product. Initially, the company defended itself, but then announced it would not sell the hijab in France, where religious signs and symbols are prohibited in public life, and national debate over what Muslim women choose to wear is ongoing.

“It’s a vision of the woman that I do not share. As a woman, that’s how I live,” Health Minister Agnès Buzyn said Tuesday morning on French radio. “All that leads to differentiation bothers me. I would have preferred a French brand not to promote the veil.”

Meghan Markle to speak on panel for International Women’s Day

For International Women’s Day on March 8, Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle will join a panel at King’s College London to speak about “a range of issues affecting women today,” according to a statement from the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. Markle will join activists such as singer Annie Lennox and model Adwoa Aboah for a talk chaired by Anne McElvoy, an editor for the Economist.

“In front of an audience of students, opinion formers and young leaders, Her Royal Highness will join the panel to discuss the importance of International Women’s Day, and the spotlight it can bring to obstacles which still affect female empowerment across the world, including access to education and limitations within employment,” the statement reads.

On International Women’s Day last year, Markle spoke at a Royal Foundation event with Prince Harry about movements such as Time’s Up.

An 11-year-old rape victim in Argentina, who pleaded for an abortion, is forced to give birth

On Tuesday, an 11-year-old girl, referred to as “Lucia” to protect her identity, was forced to give birth after being denied an abortion in Argentina, the Guardian reports. The girl had been raped by the 65-year-old partner of her grandmother. Women’s rights activists in the country say that Lucia and her mother repeatedly asked officials for an abortion for the girl, a request that was delayed by nearly five weeks, according to the BBC. Argentine law allows abortion in instances of rape, when the mother is mentally disabled or if there is a serious risk to her health. Instead, authorities reportedly ignored those requests, and Lucia underwent a Caesarean section in the 23rd week of her pregnancy. The baby is unlikely to survive.


• On Tuesday, Chicago voters elected two black women — former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle — to compete in an April runoff election to be Chicago’s next mayor.

• Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen testified to the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday about the president’s alleged involvement in hush-money payments to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, WikiLeaks’ alleged plan to publish hacked Democratic National Committee emails and potential financial crimes by the president.

• A U.S. district judge ruled that requiring men, but not women, to register for a draft into the U.S. military is unconstitutional.

For the next month, we’ll be featuring a single-panel editorial cartoon by artist Katie Wheeler in each Monday newsletter. All views expressed are the opinions of the artist.

Okwui Okpokwasili, a choreographer and performer, creates experimental productions that shed light on the experiences of women of color, particularly those of African and African American women. The daughter of Nigerian immigrants and raised in the Bronx, Okpokwasili was awarded a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 2018. Along with her collaborator and husband, Peter Born, she will present in March “Adaku’s Revolt” — an interdisciplinary performance about a young black girl who fights back against imposed standards of beauty. The duo will unveil another project, “Sitting on a Man’s Head,” at the CounterCurrent Festival in April.

For Women’s History Month, Lily Lit Club is doing something different: Four Lily team members have chosen four books by women authors, with the caveat that the books were written more than 50 years ago. This month, we’ll be reading “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston; “Nectar in a Sieve” by Kamala Markandaya; “The Woman Destroyed” by Simone de Beauvoir; and “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath. Follow along on Instagram at @LilyLitClub, where we’re encouraging our members to share the women authors they’ve been wanting to read.


#31days31firsts is a series honoring Women’s History Month. Check in with us every day on Instagram as we highlight moments in history and the women behind them.

I bought my favorite pair of black boots (of which I have way too many) back in high school. At the time, they were a splurge — $170 from Urban Outfitters — and they have lasted more than half a decade, which is pretty remarkable. Predictably, they’re starting to fall apart, so much so that I recently looked all over and inside them to find their original maker. In faded, imprinted letters, there it was: MUTMA. The Uruguayan brand is still selling great-looking boots — though, to my utter heartbreak, not my silver-accented, low-heeled favorites.

—Lena Felton, Lily multiplatform editor

*Have an idea for a news-inspired baiku? Send us your creation at lily [at] washpost [dot] com, and you might see it in the next Lily Lines. We follow 5-7-5.

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