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The queen responds to the London attack, a recommendation for touch-screen gloves, and a callout for readers.
Today’s featured news
A department store in Osaka, Japan, said it will reconsider its plan for employees to wear badges when they’re menstruating. The store, Daimaru Umeda, initially introduced the policy in October for its employees working in the women’s clothing section. It said it hoped to encourage bonding and sympathy by having menstruating staff wear a badge featuring a cartoon called Seiri Chan, or Miss Period, if they chose to. The intention of the badges was so that staff could get extra help, or longer breaks, if they were wearing one, a spokesperson told the BBC. But the public immediately pushed back, leading the company to reconsider.
Several other workplace issues have recently come under scrutiny in the country, including bans on women wearing glasses to work and requirements to wear high heels.
After two people were stabbed to death on London Bridge on Friday — a terrorist attack carried out by 28-year-old Usman Khan, according to police — Queen Elizabeth II praised acts of bravery by those who helped stop the British-born terrorist. Media reports said an intervention by several members of the public, including a man who grabbed a five-foot decorative narwhal tusk from a wall, prevented the attacker from doing more harm. Khan, who had previously been convicted and jailed for a terrorism plot, was later shot and killed by police.
Officials have identified the two victims as 25-year-old Jack Merritt, a course coordinator for Cambridge University’s Learning Together program, and 23-year-old Saskia Jones, a volunteer with the program.
Last month, rapper T.I. drew widespread criticism for an interview in which he said he takes his 18-year-old daughter to the gynecologist each year to check if her hymen is “still intact.” (He has since walked back the comments.) Now, a bill introduced in the New York State Assembly seeks to prohibit doctors in the state from “performing or supervising virginity examinations.” State Sen. Roxanne Persaud (D) and assemblywoman Michaelle Solages (D) introduced the legislation. “These examinations are not only a violation of women’s and girls’ human rights, but in cases of rape, can cause additional pain and mimic the original act of sexual violence, leading to re-experience, re-traumatization and re-victimization,” they wrote in the bill memo.
The bill would impose professional misconduct penalties for licensed medical professionals conducting or supervising the search. “It’s misogynistic, it’s appalling,” Solages told the New York Post in an interview.
Climate change is “imperiling the agency of women in Africa and Asia,” according to an analysis published in the journal Nature Climate Change. As Wired reports, the research shows that natural disasters, including drought, landslides and floods, are exacerbated by underlying societal norms in the countries to negatively impact women. It’s not strictly a gender problem, according to the study: Class, wealth, ethnicity, caste and more could all potentially play a role in disempowering women from making decisions in the face of environmental crises.
NBC has come under fire after the network dropped Gabrielle Union from being a judge on “America’s Got Talent.” In reports in Variety and Vulture, sources say that Union, who reportedly signed a three-year contract but was terminated after one, raised several concerns with NBC executives about racist jokes on the show, as well as complained about other behavior, including judge-producer Simon Cowell smoking indoors. She also reportedly received the reputation of “being difficult” because she asked contestants what their preferred gender pronouns were.
The latest from the campaign trail
+ As The Washington Post reports, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) is dealing with campaign turmoil, including indecision within her campaign, her limits as a candidate and dwindling funds. The New York Times also reported that Kelly Mehlenbacher, a former state operations director for Harris, resigned in November. Her resignation letter said staff were being treated “poorly” and decried a lack of “a real plan to win.”
+ Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has also been hitting roadblocks: Recent polling suggests Warren has sustained political damage from her health-care policy, which was initially introduced as a Medicare-for-all plan.
Four need-to-know stories in 100 words or less
1. Nov. 29 marked 100 years since the nascent International Labor Organization adopted the Maternity Protection Convention of 1919, which called for 12 weeks of paid maternity leave, free medical care during and after pregnancy, job guarantees upon return to work and periodic breaks to nurse infant children: a result of feminists and female trade unionists demanding fair labor standards for working women after World War I. As the New York Times reports, every developed country in the world has established or surpassed this standard since — except the United States.
2. A 17-year-old was locked out of her TikTok account after posting a video drawing attention to the treatment of Muslims in China’s detention camps — setting off a debate about one of the fastest-growing social apps and its support of free speech in countries outside China, where its parent company ByteDance is headquartered. (The social media platform said the user had been banned for an earlier video referencing Osama bin Laden.)
3. K-pop stars Jung Joon-young and Choi Jong-hoon were sentenced to five and six years in prison, respectively, after a South Korean court found them guilty of gang-raping unconscious and drunk women.
4. For the first time, Vogue Mexico’s December issue will feature an openly transgender woman on its cover. Estrella Vazquez, 37, is a “muxe,” meaning she belongs to a community of third-gender individuals who have existed in southern Mexico for centuries.
A story from Washington Post reporter Ovetta Wiggins
In November, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings announced she is seeking to succeed her husband, the late congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), in the House of Representatives. Shortly after, she broached a subject that was far more personal: an upcoming double mastectomy. The former Maryland Democratic Party chairwoman is joining a growing number of women to undergo the preemptive surgery. Read the full story here.
Is sex ever physically painful for you? We are writing about chronic conditions that make sex hurt, and how people cope with them. Fill out our form to share your experience.
This week, we hear from labor activist Ai-jen Poo
Ai-jen Poo is co-founder and executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, a nonprofit organization seeking to bring fairness to workers who care and clean in homes. She says she first got interested in the work in college, when she volunteered taking calls at a domestic violence shelter. A lot of the women expressed “their everyday struggles” on top of the violence, she says. “I was like, it’s so crazy that we have so many people that work so hard and still can’t pay the bills,” Poo says. “So that’s what made me want to make jobs pay for women.”
Common misconceptions about domestic work: “I don’t think the general public thinks enough about the [domestic] workforce. Culturally, it’s invisible; it’s not even seen as real work. But really, this is a profession and a livelihood for millions and millions of women, most of whom are primary breadwinners.”
On a recent victory: “We had a big victory a couple weeks ago when Philadelphia became the second city to pass a domestic worker bill of rights. It’s one of the most groundbreaking ones yet, because it established portable paid time off for domestic workers.”
How people can support domestic workers: “If you have a house cleaner, you can sign them up right now for an Alia account. Every time they clean, you can put a little bit of money in that account. She gets to accrue that money over time and decide what kind of benefits she wants.”
Things we love but weren’t paid to promote
I’ve gone through a lot of gloves in search of a pair that actually works with touch screens. These gloves are the best I’ve found. They’re functional and reasonably warm, especially for the price. They were one of the only gloves I found that struck a balance between sporty and fashionable. Full disclosure, I eventually decided to brave cold fingertips and splurge on these leather gloves.
—Maya Sugarman, Lily video editor
[bye-koo] Saying goodbye with a haiku
This newsletter was made while listening to:
“Tu me regardes” by Angèle
Listen to everything we’ve recommended here.
A quick, curated list of Team Lily’s go-to content this week