A federal judge strikes down Mississippi’s abortion ban, a study finds gender imbalance in Facebook news photos, and a conversation with the woman behind the jewelry in “Black Panther.”
Existing studies have shown that offices are colder in order to accommodate men’s preferences. But a new paper shows that those chillier temperatures can actually be detrimental for women: According to research published in the journal PLOS One, women performed better cognitively in warmer conditions. Researchers had over 500 college students in Berlin take various tests, and found that when the room was warmer, women answered more questions correctly on the math and verbal tests. The effect on the math questions, in particular, was significant: For every 1-degree Celsius increase in room temperature, women’s scores were boosted by nearly 2 percent. In other words, if the temperature in the room were increased from the 60s to the 70s, women’s performance on the math tests improved by 15 percent. While men performed better at cooler temperatures, their decrease in performance at warmer temperatures was not as great as women’s gains.
Why women performed better under warmer conditions isn’t yet clear to the researchers. But Tom Chang, a professor at the University of Southern California’s business school, told The Washington Post that managers should take the study as a reminder that office temperatures can impact workers’ productivity.
Amanda Eller, a 35-year-old physical therapist and yoga instructor who lives on Maui, vanished May 8. She had set out on a three-mile hike in the Hawaiian island’s Makawao Forest Reserve, leaving her phone, water, wallet and keys in her car. But she got turned around after veering off the trail — and ended up fracturing her leg. She ultimately spent 16 days stuck in the forest, eating insects and wild strawberry guavas to survive; she used ferns and leaves for warmth at night.
Eller’s disappearance set off a wave of search parties. On Friday, a helicopter search team contracted by her family found Eller, sunburnt and smiling, in a deep ravine four miles from her car. She was airlifted to a hospital. “I wanted to give up,” she later told the New York Times. “But the only option I had was life or death.”
Jordan Nobbs, 26, is vice captain of England’s women’s soccer team. But she won’t play in this year’s upcoming Women’s World Cup because she tore her anterior cruciate ligament, a stabilizing ligament in the knee, in November. She recently said that she believes her period — which began the morning she tore her ACL — was a “very high factor” in the injury.
ACL injuries are more prevalent in female athletes than in men, and previous research has found that estrogen, a hormone released during menstruation, increases joint flexibility. Now, Nobbs is calling for further research into the possible link between menstrual cycles and ACL injuries. Separately, a recent study found that women taking birth control pills are less likely to suffer ACL tears.
On Saturday, 53-year-old musician Moby issued an apology over social media to actress Natalie Portman. In his recent memoir, “Then It Fell Apart,” Moby describes a relationship with Portman, claiming he met her at one of his concerts when he was 33 and she was a 20-year-old student at Harvard. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Portman, now 37, denied the claim and said she had first met him at 18 — a fact that was later confirmed. “I was surprised to hear that he characterized the very short time that I knew him as dating because my recollection is a much older man being creepy with me when I just had graduated high school,” she said. Moby first pushed back against the Oscar-winning actress’s response, posting pictures of the duo to social media in defense. Criticisms quickly proliferated, with many saying that a photograph doesn’t prove anything.
Moby changed tack over the weekend and took to Instagram to apologize. He called the criticisms for including Portman in his memoir “very valid,” and said it was “inconsiderate” for him to not “fully respect her reaction.”
Last year, reports found that Tokyo Medical University, Japan’s top medical school, had deliberately lowered women’s test scores to deny them acceptance. (Officials reportedly believed that women would stop working as doctors once they got married and had children.) In the past two years, 69 applicants who passed the tests had ultimately been rejected, and 55 of them had been women. But, after appointing its first female president in November, the school reformed its exams. For the 2019 school year, 20.2 percent of female applicants passed the entrance test, compared to 19.8 percent of male applicants, the Japan Times reports.
On May 11, Mina Mangal, an Afghan journalist and an adviser in parliament, was shot dead on a street in Kabul. Her killing is indicative of a broader trend in Afghanistan: Today, more than half of Afghan women have experienced domestic violence, the United Nations reports. Mangal’s killing — along with a chaotic brawl that erupted as the new parliament held its first session last week — highlight the continued obstacles the country faces in achieving democratic order and women’s rights. Many Afghans say they are fearful that a Taliban return to power would further roll back the progress made for women’s rights in the past 18 years of civilian rule.
A new study by the Pew Research Center found that men appear twice as often as women in images that accompany news stories posted on Facebook. The study looked at the Facebook posts of 17 major U.S. news outlets, including The Washington Post, and found that 53 percent of accompanying images with people depicted exclusively men.
Broken down by topic, women were much more likely to appear in photos accompanying entertainment stories and much less likely to appear in photos accompanying stories related to the economy. But, overall, women never appeared more than men in any topic category. Pew reports that 43 percent of U.S. adults use Facebook as a source of news, and that social media as a whole has surpassed print newspapers as a source of news for Americans.
— Claire Breen, Lily multiplatform editor
• A federal judge ruled that Mississippi’s six-week abortion ban is unconstitutional. The ban — which would’ve been one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country — was set to become law on July 1, but will not take effect while the lawsuit against it proceeds.
• Following failures to negotiate Britain’s exit from the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May announced Friday that she will resign as Conservative Party leader June 7.
• Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), both contenders in the Democratic nomination for president, unveiled separate plans to boost maternal care in the United States.
• The United Nations released a report recommending that tech companies stop making digital assistants, such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, female by default. The U.N. said the voices, which it described as “servile, obedient and unfailingly polite,” perpetuate negative stereotypes about women.
• Officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services acknowledged for the first time that a 10-year-old girl from El Salvador died in its custody in September 2018. She is one of six migrant children to die in U.S. custody in the past eight months.
Douriean Fletcher, Marvel Comics’ first licensed jewelry designer, is the woman behind the intricate accessories for “Black Panther.” She helped to create the visual world of Wakanda by working under costume designer Ruth E. Carter, who became the first black woman to win the Academy Award for costume design for the film this year. Fletcher began designing in 2010 after meeting a woman who made copper wire jewelry. “Something inside of me just lit on fire,” she says. Now, she uses raw materials to create one-of-a-kind wearable art pieces. You can hear more from Fletcher at a talk at the National Museum of Women in the Arts on June 30.
On persevering as an artist: “Every time I wanted to give up, something good would happen. Small little opportunities that would come up along the way that would let me know, ‘Keep going.’ I guess that’s the story of a lot of artists — that moment of being able to see the opportunities around them and maintaining that focus.”
On the creative process for “Black Panther”: “After an initial conversation, I could feel that [Ruth E. Carter] trusted my eye, my ideas. … It was a lot of use of the imagination as far as, what would Wakandans wear? What would their style be and designs look like?”
On the significance of jewelry: “The personality of adornment, its history, has been a way for women, particularly, to beautify themselves. It’s been a way to communicate who we are. … That’s the foundation of my work.”
On designing for women: “I realized that when women put my work on — men, they thought it was cool — but in women, I noticed this transformation in front of my eyes. They seemed as if they were more confident walking away with one of my pieces. I started creating to address that. … I like being part of that process of supporting women.”
Seltzer water plus alcohol. Why didn’t I think of that? This has become my favorite go-to drink. White Claw, Truly and Smirnoff make this delicious beverage, but my favorite brand is Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer. It’s light and refreshing, and its website boasts simple ingredients: no sulfites, no artificial sweeteners, no preservatives, naturally gluten-free (no barley, no wheat), cold-pressed fruit essence and purified water. Purchase it wherever beer is sold, including Whole Foods, Walmart and Trader Joe’s — and drink responsibly.
— Amy Cavenaile, The Washington Post’s Emerging News Products deputy design director
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