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This week, Republicans continued their outreach to women by having Rep. Renee Ellmers be the one to explain that  "Men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level," and "We need our male colleagues to understand that if you can bring it down to a woman’s level," without graphs and piecharts because women just don't understand those.

I'm sure that'll close the gender gap right there.

The good, the bad and the ugly below the orange graph.

Because I'm a CPS worker, I usually avoid commenting on cases that hit the media, because I've seen situations where the media version leaves out significant facts.  However, assuming that's not the case here, I recently noted three similar items with very different outcomes:

Arizona mom Shanesha Taylor left her toddler and infant locked in her car while she went to a job interview.  What she did was dangerous, and I'm not faulting the CPS workers for prioritizing the kids' safety.  The bigger problem is that Ms. Taylor did not have a non-dangerous alternative as she tried to get her family out of a desperate financial situation.  She was arrested and her children placed in foster care.

Debra Harrell is a South Carolina mom who supported her 9-year-old daughter by working at McDonald's.  When school was out for the summer, the daughter would spend the day at the McDonald's.  Since the weather was nice, her mom gave her permission to play at a nearby park instead, with a cell phone for emergencies.  There weren't any.  But Debra Harrell has been arrested for unlawful conduct toward a child, and her daughter was put in foster care.

Lenore Skenazy wrote a column about letting her 9-year-old son take the NYC subway alone.  The resulting media buzz helped her create a career, including a book, Free Range Kids, a blog, and a reality show.  Ms. Skenazy has not been arrested, nor is her son in foster care.

Pictures of the three women are at the links.  Notice anything?

I should add that since Shanesha Taylor's story came out,  the criminal charges have been conditionally dropped: she has to complete diversion programs for parenting and substance abuse, and show that she has the resources for child care.  That latter problem is sort of solved, since more than $100,000 in donations have poured in for her family.

It would be much better for the kids, AND cost a whole lot less, if we as a society could come up with a way to help struggling families with child care resources, instead of punishing low-income parents for not having any.

Economics:

The wage gap between tipped and full-wage workers is the widest it's ever been, and women come out the losers.

An interview with Andrea Mercado, Campaign Director for the National Domestic Work Alliance.

Slut-shaming correlates less with actual sexual behavior than with class boundaries.

Reproductive freedom:

Detroit's maternal mortality rate is three times the national average.

In Mexico, a self-described "lesbo terrorist" does a rap song with instructions for a do-it-yourself abortion.

Senators Tammy Baldwin and Richard Blumenthal just introduced the Women's Health Protection Act, banning any law that "singles out abortion services or make abortion services more difficult to access and does not significantly advance women's health or the safety of abortion services."  Even if it passes the Senate, it's going nowhere in the currently Republican-controlled House, but this is one that it would be wise to keep pushing on a regular basis.  We need to put anti-choice politicians on the defensive, and keep this law front and center as a goal.

Violence:

Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai spent her 17th birthday in Nigeria, speaking out for the release of the girls abducted by Boko Haram.

Gun background checks save women's lives.

In India, a village council ordered the rape of a 14-year-old girl in retaliation against her brother, who had been accused of a sexual assault.  This is similar to what happened to Mukhtar Mai in Pakistan a few years back.

Trigger Warning Breakfast: "The morning after I was raped, I thought I could create another story."  (Stating the obvious:  there's a reason this piece has "trigger warning" in its title.)

Ebony starts a multi-part series on sexual assault in the African-American community.

The hashtag #YouOKSis was created for African-American women to talk about street harassment.  Trudy compiled the knee-jerk defenses of harassment into a handy bingo card.

A popular teacher at an elite girls' school was found to have pursued inappropriate relationships with the girls there. He was promptly hired by another elite girls' school, until the former students went public.

Yet another college deciding "nothing to see here" after a student reported being raped by members of the football team.  This one was at Hobart and William Smith in New York State.

A man at the San Francisco airport was arrested after he  impersonated a security screener and directed at least two women for private searches.  He's apparently trying to blame it on being drunk - yet somehow managed to plan ahead to have clothes and gloves resembling the ones worn by TSA personnel.

Media:

The need for heroines of color in children's/YA literature.

Todd Akin, who became notorious for the "legitimate rape" comment that lost him a senate race, has a new book in which he compares himself to Joseph McCarthy.

Esquire published an unbelievably condescending piece by Tom Junod, mansplaining that 42-year-old women used to be "tragic," (his word), but nowadays if they do pilates and yoga, they can still be worthy of his penis.  (Junod is 56, photo here.)  Some well-deserved responses from Jessica Valenti,  Katy Waldman, and Rebecca Traister.

Good news and action items:

The Church of England votes to accept women bishops.

Marvel Comics will debut a female Thor in October.

Kacy Catanzaro is the first woman ever to complete the qualifying obstacle course for American Ninja Warrior.  I got an extra thrill out of seeing her male competitors cheering her on.  Video here.

The Bonfire: 2500 best Christian blogs by women.

Petition to Congress:  Pass the Not My Boss's Business Bill, which forbids employers to refuse any form of health care coverage, including birth control.

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