TIME Vatican

Pope Francis Calls for Equal Pay for Women and Men

He says gender-based pay disparities are "pure scandal"

Pope Francis expressed support for equal pay for men and women on Wednesday, calling income disparities “pure scandal.”

Speaking during his weekly general audience, Francis asked that Christians “become more demanding” about achieving gender equality, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

“Why is it expected that women must earn less than men?” he asked the crowd at St. Peter’s Square. “No! They have the same rights. The disparity is a pure scandal.”

The Pope emphasized that concern for women’s equality isn’t at odds with concern for declining marriage rates around the world, a shift he said Christians needed to reflect on “with great seriousness.”

“Many consider that the change occurring in these last decades may have been set in motion by women’s emancipation,” he said. But Francis called that idea “an insult” and “a form of chauvinism that always wants to control the woman.”

[NCR]

TIME Television

The Daily Show Reminds Us That Flying Cars May Exist Before Women Get Equal Pay

Kristen Schaal explains it all in a depressingly funny report.

A recent study predicts American women won’t earn the same amount of money as men until the year 2058 (other studies say it will take until 2100). Senior Women’s Issues Correspondent Kristen Schaal appeared The Daily Show to talk about a few items that will likely be in existence way before paycheck equality, including flying cars and travel to Mars.

Host Jon Stewart then pointed out that, much like equal pay, people have been talking about flying cars for years without making much progress. He asked her to give him a more realistic example, which she does in the form of a news clip showing a scientist unveiling a 3-D printed functional human heart. “You’re telling me we’re going to print a human heart out of a Xerox machine before women get pay equality?” Stewart asked. “No,” Schaal said, “I’m telling you we’ll print hearts 30 years before women get pay equality.” She suggests that women might be better off 3D-printing a different body part entirely if they want the same pay rate as men.

TIME Education

Leading Women’s College Will Soon Accept Women Who Were Born as Men

Campus Building in Bryn Mawr College
Aimin Tang—Getty Images Campus Building in Bryn Mawr College

But Bryn Mawr College will not accept women who now identify as men

Women’s college Bryn Mawr College announced Monday the school will soon accept applications from transgender women and those who don’t identify as men.

On Monday, the college said it would accept applications from “transwomen and of intersex individuals who live and identify as women at the time of application.” According to a press release, the school will also allow “intersex individuals who do not identify as male” to apply, though those assigned female gender at birth who have taken “medical or legal steps” to identify as male are not eligible.

“Bryn Mawr continues its clear mission to educate women to be future leaders, but it also recognizes that conceptions of gender are changing and that the College must respond to these changes,”said Bryn Mawr College Board Chair Arlene Gibson in a statement.

The president and other members of the board faced pressure from former students of the school that started a petition last year to urge administrators to accept transgender women.

“The Bryn Mawr community deserves a clear, intentional, and well-articulated admissions policy protecting all prospective students, including trans, nonbinary, and intersex students, and especially trans women,” the Change.org petition reads. It was supported by 2,045 individuals.

TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: Gay Marriages Go Ahead in Alabama

Despite a judge's order in defiance of federal ruling to allow gay marriage in the state.

Marriages between same-sex couples in Alabama began on Monday, despite an order by Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy S. Moore not to issue marriage licenses, in defiance of a federal judge’s ruling.

TIME golf

U.S. Golfer and Civil Rights Pioneer Charlie Sifford Dies at 92

Former PGA golfer Charlie Sifford sits in the dining room of his home in Brecksville, Ohio on Nov. 13, 2014
Mark Duncan—AP Former PGA golfer Charlie Sifford sits in the dining room of his home in Brecksville, Ohio on Nov. 13, 2014.

He forced the desegregation of professional golf

Dr. Charles L. “Charlie” Sifford, a man who achieved great success on the golf course but made a much larger impact off of it, passed away on Wednesday night at the age of 92, the PGA Tour of America confirmed.

Born in 1922, the Charlotte, N.C. native is often called golf’s Jackie Robinson. His challenge to the PGA’s “Caucasian-only” membership clause forced the desegregation of professional golf in 1961.

“By his courage, Dr. Sifford inspired others to follow their dreams. The PGA of America extends its thoughts and prayers to Dr. Sifford’s family. Golf was fortunate to have had this exceptional American in our midst,” said PGA of America President Derek Sprague.

On the Tour, Sifford won the Greater Hartford Open in 1967 and the Los Angeles Open in 1969 and was champion of the Seniors Championship in 1975. He was also a six-time winner of what was known as the Negro Open.

Sifford once met Jackie Robinson — the first black player in Major League Baseball — and described their conversation in his autobiography Just Let Me Play.

He wrote, “[Robinson] asked me if I was a quitter, I told him no. He said, ‘If you’re not a quitter, you’re probably going to experience some things that will make you want to quit’.”

In 2014 Sifford became the third golfer (Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer being the other two) to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor an American civilian can receive. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004.

TIME society

Let’s Give Thanks and Stop Whining This Holiday Season

world
Getty Images

Andrés Martinez is editorial director of Zócalo Public Square, for which he writes the Trade Winds column.

The world has never been better

In her classic reinterpretation of Western history, The Legacy of Conquest, Patricia Nelson Limerick writes of an entrepreneurial young man in St. Louis eager to get in on the 1849 Gold Rush. He hands over $200 to a fledgling new carrier called the Pioneer Line that promises comfortable and speedy (60 days, give or take) coach service to the coast, food and drinks included.

Things don’t go as smoothly as advertised. Passengers have to walk part of the way on account of the wagons being overloaded and the ponies being spent. Many travelers die on the voyage, some early on from cholera, others later from scurvy. Once in San Francisco, the young man finds he is too late to the party, struggling to make a living taking menial jobs and distraught that his letters back home take up to six or seven months to arrive.

I can relate. On a recent flight out West, for which I also plopped about $200, we were ordered off the plane after we’d already boarded on account of some mechanical issue, then were forced to wait while United reassigned another aircraft. We made it to Phoenix a full three hours late. I don’t think any of us picked up scurvy along the ways, but things were pretty rough: The onboard Wi-Fi wasn’t working, the flight attendants ran out of Diet Coke, and the guy in front of me reclined his seat so that it nearly touched my knees. Cross-country travel remains ghastly, even when you have a book as good as Limerick’s to entertain you.

You see where I’m going with this, don’t you? That’s right: Let’s stop whining already — at least for this holiday season. We’re so spoiled we can’t really relate to how bad previous generations had it.

The “good old days” are a figment of our imagination. Life — here, there, everywhere — has never been better than it is today. Our lives have certainly never been longer: Life expectancy in the U.S. is now 78.8 years, up from 47.3 years in 1900. We are also healthier by almost any imaginable measure, whether we mean that literally, by looking at health indices, or more expansively, by looking at a range of living- standard and social measures (teen pregnancy rates, smoking, air-conditioning penetration, water and air quality, take your pick).

And in the rest of the world, the news is even better. Despite all the horrors in the headlines, fewer people are dying these days in conflicts, or from natural disasters, than in the past. The world has its obvious geopolitical divides, but a nuclear Armageddon triggered by the reckless hostility of great powers doesn’t loom large as a threat, as it did not long ago. Most impressive of all, the number of people in the world living in dire poverty has been cut in half since 1990, fulfilling a key U.N. development goal that once struck many as unrealistic. With infant mortality rates plummeting and education levels rising all over, people are having fewer kids and taking better care of them. In most of the world, the new normal is to send girls to school along with their brothers, an accomplishment whose significance, development experts will tell you, cannot be overstated.

Even as Americans, we don’t have to compare ourselves to our 19th-century forefathers — or to the Pilgrims — to appreciate how life has become better. Things have improved drastically in our own lifetimes. Remember how unsafe cities were not long ago? How we used to smoke on airplanes? How our urban rivers used to catch fire? Reported violent crimes in the United States are down by half since 1993. And consider how much more humane our society has become. We still suffer from inherited racial, gender, and other biases in our society, but to a far lesser extent than in the past; the bigoted among us are finding less and less acceptance. We’ve adopted a default tolerance of others’ choices and values — think of the revolution in attitudes toward gays over the course of one generation. Americans’ ability to pursue happiness as we see fit has never been greater.

And when it comes to how we communicate, entertain, and learn from one another, we might as well live in an alternate universe to the one we inhabited as recently as the 1980s. Today more than 70 percent of homes have broadband connectivity, and more than 90 percent of American adults have a cellphone. (Remember rotary phones?) If you ever feel bored, your 1980s doppelganger should appear before you in the middle of the night—and just slap you.

And no, growing inequality is not the hallmark of our era. On the contrary, when you look at the human community as a whole, the present time will be remembered for the expansion of the global middle class, and the democratization of living and health standards that once were the privileged birthright in only the wealthiest societies. A few months back I sat through a riveting presentation by Steven Rattner on rising inequality in the U.S., but his most telling slide (arguably undercutting the rest of his talk) was his last, entitled “to end on an optimistic note,” that put the issue in a global context. It showed that most of the world’s workers (as opposed to the middle classes in the most developed countries) have seen their incomes rise in the last 30 years at a rapid clip, much like what’s happened to the super rich.

No one has done more to propagate the notion of a “great convergence” of living standards in the world than the charismatic Swedish development economist Hans Rosling. Go online this holiday season and check out his dynamic graphs that chart countries’ life expectancy and incomes over time since the Middle Ages. They will make you smile, and be thankful. His graphs make humanity look like a flock of birds taking flight, with the U.S. and Europe leading the way, but the others following, tentatively at first, then more assuredly.

So why, if life is better all around, do we whine and complain endlessly as if we live in the worst of times? The answer is: Our success allows us to constantly update our expectations. When my flight is three hours late and the Wi-Fi is busted, I couldn’t care less what it took to cross the country in previous centuries. We are all prima donnas that way. Even in China, young middle-class consumers whine as well, instead of counting their blessings that they didn’t suffer through Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

I’ll concede, very grudgingly, that all this whining can be a good thing. As Yuval Noah Harari, the author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, has written, we’re hard-wired to be disgruntled. It’s the only way we achieve progress. Evolution requires us to demand more and better, all the time.

Otherwise, we would have given each other high-fives when life expectancy reached 50 and a cross-country journey took just two months—and that would have been that. Still, suspend your whining for a moment this holiday season. Let’s appreciate how far we’ve come.

Andres Martinez is editorial director of Zocalo Public Square, for which he writes the Trade Winds column. He is a professor of journalism at Arizona State University.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME society

The Most Destructive Gender Binary

gender equality
Getty Images

Gary Barker, Ph.D., is founder and International Director of Promundo, an international organization with offices in the United States, Brazil and Portugal and representatives in Rwanda and Burundi, that works to engage men and boys in gender equality and ending violence against women.

We need to show the world just how much each gender depends on the other, and how men, too, benefit from full equality

It was the latest setback for women’s empowerment. But you probably haven’t heard about it.

Part of the gender equality goal set to replace one of the U.N.’s soon-to-expire Millennium Development Goals didn’t make it through. The target left on the cutting room floor? Engaging men and boys around gender equality issues.

Why, exactly, is this is a setback for women’s equality? Because the fates of the two genders are intertwined; for women to thrive, men and boys must be part of the gender equality agenda. Why, then, in 2014, are we still addressing gender issues as a binary, girls vs. boys, women vs. men? And how can we get beyond it?

We asked that big question at a conference last week in Delhi — organized by the global MenEngage alliance ( full disclosure: I’m co-chair and co-founder of the alliance). Our answer – to get beyond the binary, and to achieve the promise of empowering women — we need to show the world just how much each gender depends on the other, and how men, too, benefit from full equality.

Let’s start with violence. If you want to combat violence against women, you’ve got to understand, and address, violence against boys. Let me explain. Global data confirms that about one-third of the world’s women have experienced violence from a male partner. We have little evidence — with the possible exception of the U.S. and Norway — that any country has been able to reduce its overall rates of men’s violence against women. There are challenges with measuring violence, to be sure, but it’s far too early to claim that we have made real progress in reducing the daily threat to women and girls.

Why haven’t we moved the needle? Partly because we’ve been coming up with solutions for only half of the affected population. We know that men who witness violence growing up are nearly three times more likely to go on to use violence against female partners. Data also show that men who witness violence growing up are more likely to be depressed, contemplate suicide, and more likely to binge drink. In other words, men’s lives, too, are harmed by the violence of men. Ending violence against women must also mean ending violence against boys and men.

Unpaid care work is another area where we can see the same intertwined narrative playing out. Women do the majority of the unpaid care work in the world. And yet, studies show that when men take on those responsibilities, they’re happier, less likely to be depressed (and have better sex lives). According to one study in the U.S., we even live longer as men when we’re involved fathers. A study in Sweden finds that involved fathers are less likely to miss work, and are healthier. Not to mention all the data showing that children benefit when fathers are involved in caring for them.

Or consider this: a recent World Health Organization report confirmed that there are 800,000 deaths from suicides each year, about two-thirds of those are men. We know something about which men commit suicide: men who are socially isolated, who feel they can’t reach out for help, whose sense of identity was lost when they lost their livelihoods. Men who, in part at least, are stuck in outdated notions of manhood.

What’s more, entire economies benefit when women can devote more time to the paid workforce. If women’s participation in the workforce were equal to men’s, the U.S. GDP would be nine percent larger and India’s GDP would be 1.2 trillion U.S. dollars bigger. Yet right now, that disparity is arguably the single largest driver of women’s lower wages compared to men. Globally, 77 percent of men participate in the paid workforce, compared to just 50 percent of women—a proportion that has remained virtually unchanged for 25 years.

Even when women are in the workplace, they earn on average 18 percent less than men for the same work. Few countries outside of Scandinavia have created policy incentives to encourage men to do a near-equal share of unpaid care work. We know what it has taken in Scandinavia to push us closer toward equality in terms of care work: paid paternity leave. In other words, encouraging men to do a greater share of the care work.

Guess what? A little encouragement goes a long way. Today, with paid leave and “use-it-or-lose-it” leave for fathers only, the majority of men in Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Quebec (which has policies similar to the Nordic countries) are taking leave of six weeks or more. Iceland is the global leader: fathers there take an average of 103 days of paid paternity leave.

We’re stuck in a similar gender box when it comes to empowering women to control how many children they have. In 2005, women represented 75 percent of global contraceptive users and men 25 percent. In 2014, women represent 73 percent. Hardly numbers to celebrate and proclaim equality; indeed, that change does not even pass the confidence interval. Why does it matter? Well, last time I checked, reproduction involves both women and men. Anything less than 50-50 in terms of contraceptive use cannot be called equality. By not engaging men as equal partners in contraceptive use, we hold women back. This doesn’t mean giving men control over women’s bodies; it means engaging men to assume their share of reproduction as respectful, aware and supportive partners.

In terms of HIV/AIDS, the story is similar. We have made amazing strides in rolling out HIV testing and treatment. Treatment as prevention is working in many countries. One of the key remaining obstacles in reducing HIV rates and AIDS-related mortality rates even more is the fact that in much of the world, men are far less likely than women to seek HIV testing and treatment. The result is increased risk for women and higher AIDS-related mortality among men.

The arguments could go on. From economic empowerment for women to violence prevention, the evidence consistently affirms that engaging men as partners in gender equality is more effective than only tapping women. And the data is clear that men who support gender equality, are more supportive, democratic partners and get involved in their share of the care work are happier men.

Twenty years after one of the largest events to promote women’s equality in Beijing — where Hillary Clinton made her famous proclamation that “women’s rights are human rights” — the conclusion is this: we won’t achieve full equality for women until we move beyond binary us-versus-them, women-versus-men thinking. We must commit to ending patriarchy in the lives of women and in the lives of men. As men, we must acknowledge that we have an equal stake in gender equality. In fact, let’s acknowledge this: our lives get better when we embrace it.

Gary Barker, Ph.D., is founder and International Director of Promundo, an international organization with offices in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Washington, DC, and Kigali, Rwanda, that works to engage men and boys in gender equality and ending violence against women. This piece was originally published in New America’s digital magazine, The Weekly Wonk. Sign up to get it delivered to your inbox each Thursday here, and follow @New America on Twitter.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Turkey

Turkish President Says Men and Women Are Not Equal

It's not the first time he's publicly said something offensive

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has caused a controversy by saying women and men are not equal—at a women’s justice summit.

“You cannot put women and men on an equal footing,” Erdogan said. “It is against nature. They were created differently. Their nature is different. Their constitution is different.”

He went on to say that feminists do not understand how the Muslim faith honors mothers: “Our religion regards motherhood very highly. Feminists don’t understand that, they reject motherhood.”

This is not the first time Erdogan has gotten attention for saying something offensive about women. In the past, he has said that women should have least three kids, and he has tried to outlaw abortion, the Associated Press reports.

He also recently caused a stir by arguing that Muslims were the first to discover the Americas.

[AP]

Read next: Vote Now: Who Should Be TIME’s Person of the Year?

TIME

U.S. Is Slowly Closing Gender Gap, But Still Lags Behind Europe

A new report by the World Economic Forum finds Nordic countries are leading the way in global gender equality

The U.S. still lags behind many other Western countries on gender equality but it’s rising in the ranks, a new report finds.

The World Economic Forum’s 9th Global Gender Gap report finds that the U.S. is now at 20th place, up three spots from the previous report. Increases in women’s economic participation and opportunity, including participation in the labor force, earned income and political empowerment helped boost the U.S.’s standing on the annual list. The country is ranked fourth in economic opportunity and participation out of the 142 countries surveyed.

Europe holds 12 of the 20 top positions in the rankings, which are rated by economic participation, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment. France leaped from 45th place to 16th, largely due to the number of female politicians appointed to government positions there. A record 49% of French ministers are female.

All five Nordic countries lead the way in closing the gender gap, as they have in previous years. The report finds Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden have closed the overall gender gap in their country to 80% or more, meaning women now have at least four-fifths the level of opportunity enjoyed by men.

The World Economic Forum surveyed data on 142 participating countries using information gathered by groups including the Central Intelligence Agency, the International Labour Organisation, UNESCO, and the World Health Organization.

In all some 25 countries have fully closed the educational attainment gap between men and women and 35 have done the same in health and survival. Eight countries, including the Bahamas, Belize, Brazil, France, Guyana, Latvia, Nambia, and the Philippines have closed the gap completely in both health and education. No countries have closed gaps in economic participation or political empowerment, but many have come close. Some 14 have closed more than 80% of the economic participation and opportunity gap, including the United States.

There are some important things to note when considering the data, however. The report does not take into account the level of resources available in the surveyed countries—for example, the report reads, “the Index penalizes or rewards countries based on the size of the gap between male and female enrollment rates, but not for the overall levels of education in the country.” The report also does not take into account whether or not women outperform men—the focus, the authors say, is on gender equality rather than women’s empowerment.

 

TIME feminism

What’s a Dad to Do When His Daughter Wants to Dress as Han Solo?

Courtesy of Tom Burns

… put on a Princess Leia costume, of course

Tom Burns originally wrote this piece for The Good Men Project.

Ever since my daughter was old enough to make special requests, I’ve let her pick my Halloween costumes. Having kids at Halloween is a lot of fun, and watching the sheer delight that my daughter receives from having me dress up to meet her normally very polite requests is tremendously satisfying. Over the past three years, I’ve been Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz from Phineas and Ferb, Wreck-It Ralph and Grunkle Stan from the fantastic kids’ show Gravity Falls. All year, my daughter had been expressing her interest in going as Hermione Granger for Halloween, so I was preparing myself to throw together a Snape or Professor Lupin costume. But then, after I showed my 7-year-old Star Wars for the first time, she turned to me and asked …

“Do you think I could be Han Solo for Halloween?”

Immediately I responded, “Yeah, why, of course you could. That would be amazing. Why couldn’t you be Han Solo?” And even though I didn’t want her response to come, it did. “Well … I’m a girl.”

Screw that. I grabbed my laptop and started showing her some really excellent examples of other girls and women cosplaying as Han Solo. She nearly shrieked when I showed her one of the members of Team Unicorn (a geek-girl pop culture group that she loves) in full Solo regalia, and then I found this extremely cool tutorial on how to make a Han Solo costume for a woman from The Stylish Geek.

My daughter’s eyes went wide. She was sold on the idea. This could happen. Then she turned and looked at me. “But what are you going to be?” She thought for a second and said, “Well, if I’m a Han Solo, you should probably be Princess Leia, I guess …” She looked at me with an implied question in her eyes. And, c’mon, if I immediately told her “YES, a girl can be Han Solo,” it would’ve been pretty hypocritical of me to say “Nope, a boy can’t be Princess Leia.” So as quickly as I could, I said, “That would be FANTASTIC. I totally should be Leia.” And that’s exactly what I did. Because that’s what dads do.

I’ll admit—my take on Princess Leia Organa isn’t 100% flattering to Carrie Fisher, but, you know, I made do with what I had. I found an incredibly cool Princess Leia hoodie at HerUniverse.com that came with the trademark Leia hair buns on the hood, which made it hard to resist. The skirt is a Red Cross nurse’s skirt from a local uniform store. And the thermal underwear and crappy sneakers? Well, it’s Michigan and it was cold and we were going to an event at the local zoo, so, yeah, I dropped the ball on that one. I need to find some better Leia boots for actual Halloween.

All in all, I think my daughter and I will make a great pair for Halloween. We got nothing but smiles at the Halloween event we attended last night and even got a few laughs when I came face to face with a mom dressed as Princess Leia and said, “Well, this is embarrassing …”

But I think my big takeaway from all this will be that equality goes both ways. If I’m going to tell my daughter that she can do almost anything a man can do (excepting some very specific biological acts), then I also need to show her that a man can do almost anything a woman can do too — especially when it’s something awesome like dressing up as a character from one of the best movies ever.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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