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This week:

Simone Biles’s history-making medal, why Jane Fonda was arrested, and a Lily team member’s latest TV obsession.

Quick hits

Today’s featured news

New study details why open-plan office spaces may be worse for women

Multiple studies have shown that open-plan office spaces can disadvantage women in various ways — from women’s increased sensitivity to noise to open offices’ impact on women’s sick leave rates. And as Jenna McGregor reported last year in The Washington Post, some women felt scrutinized for their appearances by male peers in such offices.

Similarly, in a recently published small case study, researchers got an in-depth look at how one office changed: They surveyed employees, 9 men and 15 women, at a New Zealand law firm that moved to an open-floor plan. Of the respondents who specifically mentioned being observed — either in a positive or a negative way — all were women, according to the study’s authors. The female staff were more likely to perceive themselves as being observed and used words such as “watched,” “visible” and “exposed” to describe their new open offices, whereas men only noted “privacy” in relation to the new space.

“The downside of being so visible may disproportionately impact women in the workplace,” wrote Rachel Morrison, the study’s lead author.

“The idea that female and male employees differ in their perceptions of being observed should be acknowledged and incorporated into office design.”

(Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA-EFE; Thomas Kienzle/AFP; Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
(Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA-EFE; Thomas Kienzle/AFP; Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

A big week for women in sports

Last week was a news-making one for women in sports. At the 2019 World Gymnastics Championships, Simone Biles, 22, broke the record for the most world medals by any gymnast, male or female. She clinched her record-setting 24th medal by winning gold on the balance beam Sunday. Less than an hour later, she won a 25th medal on floor exercise, extending the tally. (The previous record of 23 medals had been set by Vitaly Scherbo of Belarus in the 1990s.)

In other sports news, the Washington Mystics beat the Connecticut Sun in the final game of the best-of-five WNBA Finals series, securing their first WNBA title.

And for the first time since 1981 — when women were banned from many sporting events amid Iran’s Islamic Revolution — women were allowed to attend a FIFA soccer match in Iran.

(Martin Sylvest/EPA-EFE; iStock; Lily illustration)
(Martin Sylvest/EPA-EFE; iStock; Lily illustration)

Article about the price of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s haircut draws backlash

Backlash abounded Wednesday after the Washington Times published an article with the headline, “EXCLUSIVE: Self-declared socialist AOC splurges on high-dollar hairdo.” The article estimated that Ocasio-Cortez’s haircut, lowlights and tip at a Washington, D.C., salon cost about $300, which experts said illustrated a Catch-22 for women in public life: “Either be criticized for spending exorbitant amounts of money to meet society’s manufactured beauty standards or be lambasted for failing to fulfill those requirements,” The Post reports.

(Sesame Workshop/Zach Hyman; Lily illustration)
(Sesame Workshop/Zach Hyman; Lily illustration)

New ‘Sesame Street’ Muppet teaches a valuable lesson about opioid addiction, experts say

In a series of videos, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind “Sesame Street,” revealed that the fuzzy green Muppet named Karli has a mother who is battling addiction. Karli is in foster care because her mother is in recovery — a reality not uncommon amid the country’s opioid crisis. One in 8 U.S. children under age 11 lives with a parent who has a substance-abuse disorder, according to Sesame Workshop, and experts say the new videos help teach kids to show empathy toward struggling families.

The show, which has aired since 1969, has a long history of introducing characters with a variety of life experiences. Two years ago, a Muppet with autism first appeared on the show; more recently, “Sesame Street” introduced a homeless Muppet named Lily.

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

Georgia Southern University students burned Latina author’s book after she spoke on campus

A video of a group of students burning an author’s book went viral after she gave a talk on campus about white privilege on Thursday. Jennine Capó Crucet — author of the novel “Make Your Home Among Strangers,” which details a first-generation Cuban American woman navigating a white elite college — said the social media images of the book-burning appeared the same day she gave a talk on Georgia Southern University’s campus about diversity. The university’s student newspaper reported that Crucet was criticized on social media for “dissing white people” during the talk. The university is not planning to discipline any students for the burning incident, university spokeswoman Jennifer Wise said.

Crucet said on Twitter another event scheduled for Thursday, a discussion with some first-year classes, was canceled “because the administration said they could not guarantee my safety or the safety of its students on campus because of open-carry laws.” Wise said it was canceled at the request of Crucet’s representative.

Looking toward 2020

The latest from the campaign trail

(Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty; Lily illustration)
(Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty; Lily illustration)

Last week, women flooded social media with their accounts of being fired or discriminated against for being pregnant after political rivals disputed Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s often reiterated story that she was told to leave her job as a New Jersey public school teacher in the early 1970s because she was pregnant.

Warren also generated buzz at CNN’s Thursday forum about LGBTQ issues, where she made a quip about how she would respond if a voter said they were “old-fashioned” and believed “marriage is between one man and one woman.” She said she would “assume it’s a guy who said that,” and delivered a zinger about him trying to find a woman to marry: a response that supporters cheered but others warned could play poorly among a big swath of voters.

Warren will appear alongside 11 other candidates, including Sens. Kamala D. Harris and Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, at the largest ever presidential primary debate on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.


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

1. In the latest case of a white police officer shooting an unarmed black person, 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson was fatally shot by an unnamed Forth Worth police officer early Saturday. Officers were responding to a call about an open door at the residence when the officer approached a window, told Jefferson to put her hands up and fired a shot through the window. The officer, who did not identify himself as police before shooting, will be placed on administrative leaving pending an investigation, according to the Fort Worth Police Department.

(Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)
(Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

2. Jane Fonda, leading a group of about 20 other demonstrators, was arrested on the steps of the Capitol on Friday amid a climate change protest. The act of civil disobedience, organized by Fonda and the women-led grassroots organization Code Pink, aimed to call attention to the United States’ lack of action on reducing greenhouse gases.

3. Matt Lauer was accused of raping former NBC News employee Brooke Nevils in investigative reporter Ronan Farrow’s forthcoming book, “Catch and Kill.” In the book, Nevils said Lauer forced her to have anal sex after she repeatedly declined, as was first reported by Variety. Lauer’s response that the sex had been “consensual” prompted criticism from many women, including Nevils, who said it was “a case study in victim blaming.”

Olga Tokarczuk. (Lukasz Giza/Reuters)
Olga Tokarczuk. (Lukasz Giza/Reuters)

4. This year’s Nobel Peace Prizes were announced last week. Due to a sex scandal that embroiled the academy in late 2017, a postponed 2018 Nobel Peace Prize in literature was awarded to Polish author Olga Tokarczuk, making her one of just 15 women to win the award since 1901.

5. New York became the first state to require manufacturers to disclose a list of ingredients in tampons and other menstrual products. The law, which takes effect in 180 days, was signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D), who said menstrual products could contain toxic or allergy-causing chemicals.

A quick Q&A

This week, we hear from actress Ashlie Atkinson

Ashlie Atkinson. (Jacqueline Patton Photography)
Ashlie Atkinson. (Jacqueline Patton Photography)

Ashlie Atkinson is a new star on USA Network’s “Mr. Robot,” whose fourth and final season is airing now. Atkinson joins the show’s stars Rami Malek and Christian Slater as Janice, a chatty taxidermist. Atkinson also recently starred in Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman.”

On “Mr. Robot” fans: “Encountering the fan base of this show has been exciting and daunting. … My husband loves this show so much that I was not allowed to tell him any major spoilers. I would come home losing my mind about something I read, and he’d be like, ‘La la la, don’t tell me, I don’t want to know.’”

On what has surprised her about her career: “There was a very specific trajectory for fat white women where you play friends, then office managers, then aunts and then grandmothers or batty old ladies. To get to play a best friend and then a white supremacist and then a psychopath, it’s just been a really bizarre and interesting journey.”

On her dream role: “Honestly, if you had asked me this a year or two ago, the job I have is the one I would’ve answered. It’s shocking. Let me think. I’m from Arkansas, and I would love to use my own accent in something at some point. It would be so fun.”

Lily Likes

Things we love but weren’t paid to promote

I never had a monogrammed L.L. Bean backpack as a kid, but it seems like everyone else in my school did. I picked up one of these (sans monogram) about three months ago, and it still looks new, which is surprising because I’m notoriously rough on the things I own. The construction of the bag is excellent. The straps are well-padded, and I have plenty of space for my work computer, lunch, books and a sweatshirt for the office.—Ross May, Lily art director

What we’re watching

Our current on-screen obsession

(Peter Kramer/HBO; Lily illustration)
(Peter Kramer/HBO; Lily illustration)

Lily multiplatform editor Nneka McGuire is watching “Succession” on HBO. Here’s what she has to say about it:

“‘Succession’ is an intelligent, gripping study of an ultra-wealthy family and the lengths they’ll go to amass and maintain power. The Roys are one toxic clan, and it’s fascinating to watch how, despite every conceivable luxury, they just can’t seem to access happiness.”


[bye-koo] Saying goodbye with a haiku

This newsletter was made while listening to:

“Downtown” by Lilla Vargen

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P.S. …

A quick, curated list of Team Lily’s go-to content this week

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A look at our twice-weekly newsletter

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