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Need To Know | October 29, 2021

U.S. Lags on Paid Leave; Saying the Word “Woman;” The Global “Gender” Backlash

In Nyssa's weekly 'Need to Know' series, we recap the three most important stories related to reproductive health, sex education, and bodily autonomy.


The World ‘Has Found a Way to Do This’: The U.S. Lags on Paid Leave, The New York Times

The United States is one of six countries that does not provide paid leave; the other countries that offer no paid leave are the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga. Right now, Congress is considering passing four weeks of family and medical leave.

According to the article, the global average for paid maternity leave is 29 weeks, and the average paid paternity leave is 16 weeks. Even with the four weeks of paid leave, the U.S., one of the richest countries in the world, would still be an outlier in providing paid leave.

In this piece, journalist Claire Cain Miller examines the Congressional proposal from a global perspective. 

You Can Still Say ‘Woman,’ New York Magazine

In a fascinating in-depth piece, journalist Irin Carmon explores different feminist perspectives around the words “women” and “birthing people” in the context of a hostile abortion environment.

She lays out the historical relevance of RBG’s work on gender issues using the terms men and women and explores with Chase Strangio, the deputy director for transgender justice at the ACLU, how progressives can protect abortion in antiquated courtrooms while also embracing the realities and struggles of the trans and non-binary communities.

“RBG was all about this sex as structure —that’s why she brought cases on behalf of men,” Strangio tells Carmon. “It was always how we realize ourselves outside these constraints of expectation.” 

Why is the idea of ‘gender’ provoking backlash the world over?, The Guardian

Judith Butler is a visiting distinguished professor of philosophy at the New School University. In a deep dive piece for The Guardian, she exposes a global anti-gender movement that has taken up arms against the progress made in LGBTQ+ and feminist movements.

Butler lays out examples of world leaders and right-wing Catholic and evangelical organizations that claim school children are being forced to leave their gender, that gender as a theory is ruining the fabric of families, and literally eradicating men.

She goes on, “And they worry that if something called “gender” is socially accepted, a flood of sexual perversities, including bestiality and pedophilia, will be unleashed upon the earth.” This searing and illuminating article is a must-read. 

Read | 
Need To Know | November 12, 2021: What Paternity Leave Does to Men; Fertility Center Mixes Up Families’ Embryos; Pregnant Woman Dies After Doctors Refuse Abortion
The Transition to Parenthood: Common Struggles & Taboos with Nikki Lively
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