TIME Congress

Congressman Proposes Putting a Woman’s Face on the $20 Bill

"It is time to put our money where our mouths are, literally"

The push to put a woman’s face on American currency got a bump Tuesday from a Congressman in Illinois.

Representative Luis Gutiérrez, a Democrat, introduced a bill calling for a woman’s portrait to appear on the $20 bill. The “Put a Woman on the Twenty Act” would direct the Treasury Secretary to convene a special commission that would ask the American public for their suggestions and then make recommendations on who would replace former President Andrew Jackson on the note.

“If this is a country that truly believes in equality,” Gutiérrez said in a statement, “it is time to put our money where our mouths are, literally, and express that sense of justice and fairness on the most widely used bill in circulation.”

The move comes in the wake of the viral Women on 20s campaign, which hosted an online poll of 15 potential faces to appear on the bills. Voters can now pick one of four women finalists: Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt and Wilma Mankiller, the Cherokee Nation’s first female chief.

And it follows a comment on the matter from President Barack Obama, who, after a little girl asked in a letter to him why there weren’t any women on U.S. currency, said having female faces on American bills sounded like a “pretty good idea.”

“I’ll keep working to make sure you grow up in a country where women have the same opportunities as men, and I hope you’ll stay involved in issues that matter to you,” he said in a reply to her.

Read next: Read a 9-Year-Old’s Letter to Obama About Putting a Woman on U.S. Currency—and His Response

TIME China

Veteran Chinese Journalist Gao Yu Sentenced to 7 Years

Anti-Beijing protesters hold pictures of jailed veteran Chinese journalist Gao Yu during a rally outside Chinese central government's liaison office in Hong Kong Friday, April 17, 2015 as they demand press freedom and the release of Gao
Kin Cheung—AP Anti-Beijing protesters hold pictures of jailed veteran Chinese journalist Gao Yu during a rally outside the Chinese central government's liaison office in Hong Kong on April 17, 2015

The case highlights Xi Jinping's distrust of social organization outside of communist control

(BEIJING) — A Beijing court sentenced a veteran Chinese journalist to seven years in prison Friday after convicting her of leaking a document detailing the Communist Party leadership’s resolve to aggressively target civil society and press freedom as a threat to its monopoly on power

The sentence against Gao Yu, 71, comes amid a widening clampdown on free speech that highlights the gap between China’s vision of rule of law and Western notions of civil liberties and judicial fairness. The document Gao was convicted of leaking, deemed a state secret, underpins the clampdown under the 2 ½-year-old administration of Communist Party leader Xi Jinping.

The court verdict appears to confirm the authenticity of the leaked document, which had been reported since June 2013 but never was discussed openly by the leadership.

It verifies widely held assumptions about Xi’s distrust of any social organization outside party control, recently manifested in the more-than monthlong detentions of five women’s rights activists detained after planning to start a public awareness campaign about sexual harassment.

Gao had denied the charges, which could have carried a life sentence.

Gao’s lawyer Mo Shaoping said Gao was convicted of leaking state secrets by giving the strategy paper, known as Document No. 9, to an overseas media group. The document argued for aggressive curbs on the spread of Western democracy, universal values, civil society and press freedom, which the party considers a threat to its rule.

Another of Gao’s lawyers, Shang Baojun, said Gao did not speak during the verdict and sentencing, but told her brother, Gao Wei, that she could not accept the result. “We will definitely appeal,” Shang said.

Speaking to The Associated Press, Gao Wei said his sister appeared thinner and frailer than before her detention a year ago.

The court seemed to disregard Gao Yu’s defense lawyers but heard only the prosecution, Gao Wei said, a common complaint in such cases where the outcome is usually determined before the court meets.

“I’m very angry and concerned for my sister,” Gao Wei said.

Police patrolled the perimeter of Beijing’s No. 3 Intermediate Court where the verdict was delivered. Journalists and foreign diplomats gathered at the court but were denied entry to the hearing.

“We’re obviously disappointed with the verdict,” said U.S. Embassy First Secretary Dan Biers.

Gao, who wrote about politics, economics and social issues for media in Hong Kong and overseas, has already served time in prison on state secrets charges more than two decades ago.

In a statement, human rights watchdog Amnesty International said that Gao was the victim of vaguely worded and arbitrary state secrets law that is often used against activists to quell freedom of expression.

“This deplorable sentence against Gao Yu is nothing more than blatant political persecution by the Chinese authorities,” William Nee, the group’s China researcher, said in the statement.

The Hong Kong magazine to which Gao is alleged to have leaked the document, Minjing Monthly, issued a statement reiterating its contention that the charges against Gao were false. The magazine first reported on the document in August 2013.

The magazine suggested the document already had been circulated at the time when Gao is alleged to have leaked it. It also said the information contained neither military nor economic secrets, but was merely a “correct guidance” on ideological matters.

“This unjust judgment of an outstanding Chinese journalist utterly destroys Xi Jinping’s commitment to ‘rule according to law’,” the magazine said.

TIME Equal Pay

Female Politicians Say Transparency Is Key to Equal Pay

97615538
Matt Herrin—Getty Images/Ikon Images Unequal pay

With women making 78 cents to the dollar for men performing the same work, there’s still a long way to go before equal pay becomes a reality. But, as several female politicians noted on Tuesday, one of the biggest barriers to equal pay is a lack of transparency.

Speaking on a conference call hosted by EMILY’s List, a group working to elect more Democratic women, female lawmakers talked about the steps they’ve taken towards equal pay. Even once gender-based discrimination laws are passed, they can be hard to enforce in the private sector where wages aren’t publicly available.

Gina Raimondo, the first female governor of Rhode Island, established an equal pay tip line this year for people to confidentially report employers that aren’t complying with Rhode Island’s equal pay law. The tips then allow the state Department of Labor and Training, which runs the line, to investigate the employers and enforce the law.

“Equal pay for equal work is good for women, but it’s good for our economy and it’s good for all hardworking families,” Raimondo said. “Families are increasingly relying on a mom’s wages and work to make ends meet.”

Erin Murphy, a Minnesota state representative, also worked to pass measures that would increase transparency to enforce equal pay. As Majority Leader in her state legislature in 2014, she helped pass the Women’s Economic Security Act, aimed at improving working conditions for women. Among other measures, the act contains a provision that allows employees to “voluntarily discuss their compensation without fear of retaliation from their employers.”

Murphy says this communication is a key component of achieving equal pay. “We made headway in Minnesota. But we have many, many steps to go, and one of the important ways we can continue to make progress is talking together,” she said.

Read next: Here’s the History of the Battle for Equal Pay for American Women

MONEY wage gap

The 25 Careers in Which Women Are Most Underpaid

equal pay day wage gap women
Michael Hanson—Aurora Photos Female farmers, on average, earn just 60% of what their male counterparts do.

Females in financial services suffer some of the biggest pay gaps—but farmers don't have it great either.

On this Equal Pay Day, let’s take a moment to acknowledge where the greatest strides have yet to be made.

While gals make 78¢ to the dollar that guys do on average, the differential in some professions is much greater. Female securities and financial services sales agents, for example, are the most underpaid professionals compared with their male peers, getting a mere 55¢ per $1 of their counterparts’ compensation.

The Census bureau tracks earnings by gender for more than 500 occupational categories; the table below shows 25 fields where, based on 2013 data, the difference in what she makes and what he makes is the biggest.

(You can discover what each of these fields entails by typing in the category listed at O*Net Online, and find your own field’s pay differential via this Census table.)

Nearly half the jobs on this list are in financial fields. It’s also worth noting that 17 out of 25 are majority male in makeup, compared with half of the fields where the pay gap for women is the smallest.

Need a pick-me-up after this list? Check out The 25 Careers with the Smallest Wage Gaps for Women. And read up on how to reduce the pay gap for yourself, no matter where your own field falls.

Occupational Category % Women in Field Median Earnings, Men Median Earnings, Women % Women’s Earnings to Men’s % Margin of Error
1. Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents 30% $93,795 $51,284 54.7 5.7
2. Financial specialists, all other 55% $81,859 $48,869 59.7 7.5
3. Morticians, undertakers, and funeral dirs. 20% $51,129 $31,023 60.7 10.5
4. Farmers, ranchers,agricultural mgrs. 11% $41,691 $25,310 60.7 5.0
5. Personal financial advisors 31% $98,126 $60,359 61.5 5.5
6. Financial clerks, all other 61% $67,732 $42,122 62.2 5.8
7. Financial analysts 32% $100,081 $63,424 63.4 7.9
8. Financial managers 54% $90,278 $57,406 63.6 2.0
9. Supervisors housekeeping/janitorial 33% $41,180 $26,860 65.2 2.4
10. Production, planning, and expediting clerks 57% $56,437 $37,246 66.0 1.6
11. Credit counselors and loan officers 54% $69,726 $46,394 66.5 4.2
12. Insurance sales agents 45% $61,639 $41,250 66.9 1.4
13. Photographic process and processing machine workers 45% $31,888 $21,348 66.9 14.0
14. Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers 30% $36,494 $24,657 67.6 17.5
15. Driver/sales workers and truck drivers 4% $40,865 $27,657 67.7 3.8
16. Dentists 24% $151,071 $102,460 67.8 9.3
17. Tax preparers 52% $70,641 $47,997 67.9 7.1
18. Artists and related workers 36% $54,669 $37,261 68.2 9.0
19. Photographers 40% $44,513 $30,455 68.4 7.0
20. Welders, solderers, and brazers 5% $39,281 $26,893 68.5 3.6
21. Tax examiners, collectors, and agents 65% $66,754 $45,704 68.5 9.5
22. Economists 29% $120,076 $82,427 68.6 10.1
23. Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks 73% $50,853 $35,037 68.9 10.9
24. Physicians and surgeons 33% $202,533 $140,036 69.1 4.0
25. Cutting workers 20% $31,113 $21,516 69.2 3.5

More from Money.com on equal pay:

The 25 Careers with the Smallest Wage Gaps for Women

5 Ways Women Can Close the Pay Gap for Themselves

The Single Best Thing Women Can Do to Help Themselves in Salary Negotiations

MONEY wage gap

The 25 Careers With the Smallest Wage Gaps for Women

wage gap careers equal pay day
Robert J. Ross—Getty Images On average, female media producers and directors outearn men.

Plus, 9 fields where women actually earn more

Tuesday is Equal Pay Day, intended to raise awareness of the fact that women still earn less than their male counterparts. That’s 22¢ to the dollar less on average, in case you haven’t been paying attention.

This date was not chosen randomly: Equal Pay Day is purposely held in April to illustrate the fact that it takes four months into the year for the average woman to catch up to the average man’s earnings from the last year. And it’s on a Tuesday to show how long into the week it takes to match a man’s previous-week earnings.

Of course, in some fields, getting up to par is quicker than others.

The Census bureau tracks earnings by gender for more than 500 occupational categories; the table below shows 25 fields where, based on 2013 data, the difference in what she makes and what he makes is the smallest. (You can find out what each of these fields entails by typing in the category listed at O*Net Online, and find your own field’s pay differential via this Census table.)

As you’ll see, there are nine fields where the average woman actually outearns her male counterpart, though the margins of error on these are high enough as to possibly undo the findings. Also worth noting: Half of the professions in the top 25 are made up of a majority of women, vs. only six of the bottom 25.

Some have argued that if women simply went into higher paying fields they could eliminate a wage discrepancy, but the data argue against that. After all, physicians and surgeons—who take home very healthy paychecks—suffer among the greatest pay discrepancies, with women in these fields making 69% of what men do.

Instead, Harvard economist Claudia Goldin, author of Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women, attributes a higher salary differential to the fact that some fields disproportionately incentivize people to work long hours and certain hours. That punishes women who take time out from their careers and require some flexibility in their work lives to raise children.

In aggregate, earnings between men and women are not that different until women enter child-bearing years, Goldin says. “But in some occupations, there isn’t a large penalty for time out of the workforce or shorter hours,” she notes.

What often separates those fields, she says, is that another person with a similar title can take over to serve as a perfect substitute. It’s easier for a woman to leave at 5 p.m. to pick up her kids if information systems or a standardization of product makes handing off her duties costless.

Goldin gives the example of a pharmacist (a profession in which women earn a high 93% of what men do). In that role, a computer system provides access to standard data about the customer, so that the customer needn’t always see the same person.

Okay, good to know, but if your field doesn’t allow this flexibility you likely won’t be able to make changes overnight. Nor are you probably interested in changing industries now just to gain the greater equality offered by the jobs below.

So what can you do? Advocating for yourself and asking the right people to advocate for you can help around the edges.

And Goldin suggests that you might work toward getting the men in your company to work less. The less willing they are to put in long hours without phenomenally more money, she notes, the more likely companies will be to put in place systems that allow workers to be more interchangeable.

“Ironically, rather than women leaning in,” she says, “it’s about getting men to start leaning out.”

 

Occupational Category % Women in Field Median Earnings, Men Median Earnings, Women % Women’s Earnings to Men’s % Margin of Error
1. Media producers and directors 37% $62,368 $66,226 106.2 10.3
2. Cleaners of vehicles and equip. 14% $23,605 $24,793 105.0 9.6
3. Wholesale and retail buyers 49% $41,619 $42,990 103.3 5.9
4. Transportation security screeners 36% $40,732 $41,751 102.5 4.4
5. Social and human service assistants 79% $34,967 $35,766 102.3 11.6
6. Special education teachers 85% $46,932 $47,378 101.0 3.5
7. Transportation, storage, and distrib. mgrs. 18% $52,017 $52,259 100.5 5.5
8. Dishwashers 16% $17,302 $17,332 100.2 7.4
9. Counselors 70% $42,299 $42,369 100.2 2.2
10. Industrial truck/tractor operators 7% $31,002 $30,981 99.9 2.9
11. Massage therapists 76% $29,272 $29,240 99.9 11.1
12. Counter and rental clerks 47% $27,449 $27,194 99.1 19.6
13. Biological scientists 48% $57,653 $57,107 99.1 9.8
14. Tellers 89% $25,564 $25,222 98.7 3.0
15. Musicians, singers, and related 20% $42,988 $42,279 98.4 13.7
16. Misc. personal appearance workers 79% $22,047 $21,632 98.1 4.0
17. Meeting and event planners 81% $47,876 $46,973 98.1 12.7
18. Security/surveillance guards 22% $30,546 $29,883 97.8 4.1
19. Computer network architects 8% $96,549 $94,445 97.8 5.7
20. Social workers 80% $42,821 $41,795 97.6 3.9
21. Computer occupations, all other 23% $66,971 $65,329 97.5 5.0
22. Nonfarm animal caretakers 69% $25,025 $24,401 97.5 9.4
23. Dietitians and nutritionists 88% $49,001 $47,717 97.4 7.7
24. Postal service clerks 50% $54,166 $52,574 97.1 1.5
25. Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks 65% $21,995 $21,329 97.0 4.8

More from Money.com on equal pay:

The 25 Careers in Which Women are Most Underpaid Relative to Men

5 Ways Women Can Close the Pay Gap for Themselves

The Single Best Thing Women Can Do to Help Themselves in Salary Negotiations

TIME feminism

Here’s the History of the Battle for Equal Pay for American Women

Equal Pay Day
Craig F. Walker—Denver Post/Getty Images Activists gathered on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol in downtown Denver, CO, to mark national Equal Pay Day in 2009

The fight for equal pay dates back to the Civil War

Based on national pay-disparity numbers, a hypothetical American woman would have to keep working until roughly April 14, 2015, in order to make the same amount of money as a man doing the same work would have made in 2014 — which is why the activist group the National Committee on Pay Equity has selected Tuesday as this year’s Equal Pay Day. Though the topic will get extra airtime today, the debate about equal pay is nothing new.

In February, 1869, a letter to the editor of the New York Times questioned why female government employees were not paid the same as male ones. “Very few persons deny the justice of the principle that equal work should command equal pay without regard to the sex of the laborer,” the author wrote. “But it is one thing to acknowledge the right of a principle and quite another to practice it.” The author noted that the U.S. Government employed 500 women in the Treasury department, but that they made only half as much as their male colleagues:

“Many of these women are now performing the same grade of work at $900 per annum for which men receive $1800. Most of them, too, have families to support; being nearly all either widow or orphans made by the war.”

That year, a resolution to ensure equal pay to government employees passed the House of Representatives by almost 100 votes, but was ultimately watered down by the time it passed the Senate in 1870.

In 1883, communications across the country ground to a halt when the majority of the workers for Western Union Telegraph Company went on strike, partly to ensure “equal pay for equal work” for its male and female employees (among other demands). The strike wasn’t ultimately successful, but it was a very early public demand for fair pay for women.

By 1911, significant progress had been made. New York teachers were finally granted pay equal to that of their male counterparts, after a long and contentious battle with the Board of Education.

In the 20th century, war was good for women workers. In 1918, at the beginning of World War I, the United States Employment Service published lists of jobs that were suitable for women in order to encourage men in those occupations to switch to jobs that supported the war effort. “When the lists have been prepared…it is believed that the force of public opinion and self-respect will prevent any able-bodied man from keeping a position officially designated as ‘woman’s work,'” the Assistant Director of the U.S. Employment Service said in 1918. “The decent fellows will get out without delay; the slackers will be forced out and especially, I think, by the sentiment of women who stand ready.”

Since women were doing work that men would ordinarily do, the National War Labor Board decided they should be paid the same: “If it shall become necessary to employ women on work ordinarily performed by men, they must be allowed equal pay for equal work.” The same thing happened during WWII, as more women worked in munitions factors and the aircraft industry. During the war effort, equal pay was championed by unions and male workers, although not for entirely altruistic reasons—they were worried that if women were paid less for the same work, management could dilute male workers’ wages after they returned from the war.

After the war ended, the demand for equal pay seemed to lose some steam. In 1947, Secretary of Labor Lewis Schwellenbach tried to get an equal pay amendment passed that would apply to the private sector, arguing, “There is no sex difference in the food she buys or the rent she pays, there should be none in her pay envelope.” But as veterans needed work after the war and women were increasingly expected to stay in the home, Schwellenbach’s bid was ultimately unsuccessful.

National legislation was finally passed in 1963, when John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Law into effect, overcoming opposition from business leaders and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who were concerned that women workers were more costly than male ones. When he signed the bill, Kennedy called it a “significant step forward,” and noted that, “It affirms our determination that when women enter the labor force they will find equality in their pay envelopes.” The next year, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, origin, color, religion or sex.

There have been more legal wins for female workers since then. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 protected pregnant employees, and the Family and Medical Leave act of 1991 allowed parents regardless of genders to take time off. But despite the fact that women made up almost 58% of the labor force in 2012, they still made only 77 cents for every dollar a man made, according to the National Equal Pay Task Force. In 2009, President Obama chose the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act as his first piece of legislation, which restores some protections against discrimination that had been stripped in a 2007 Supreme Court case, and incentivizes employers to make their payrolls more fair.

But progress is still slow. Last year, a bill that would have made it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who discuss their wages failed in the Senate.

Read TIME’s 1974 take on equal pay, here in the TIME Vault: Wages and Women

TIME China

China Releases Women’s Activists After Month’s Detention

In this July 31, 2014 file photo, women's rights activist Wei Tingting, waits outside a court in Beijing, China.
Ng Han Guan—AP Women's-rights activist Wei Tingting waits outside a court in Beijing on July 31, 2014

Five women were detained last month for preparing to distribute posters and stickers against domestic violence

(BEIJING) — Chinese authorities have released five women’s rights campaigners whose detentions sparked an international outcry and underscored the government’s tight restrictions on independent social activism, lawyers said.

Lawyer Liang Xiaojun said the five were let go after more than a month in detention under a form of conditional release that still allows charges to be brought later.

As of late Monday night, all had either returned or were on their way to their homes in Beijing and elsewhere in China, including the southern metropolis of Guangzhou and the eastern resort city of Hangzhou.

Other lawyers could not be reached by phone, but posted messages on social media saying their clients had been freed. Calls to the Haidian District Detention Center in western Beijing where they had been held rang unanswered Monday night.

An anti-discrimination group working with the activists, the Beijing Yirenping Center, said in a statement that continuing to treat the women as criminal suspects was “neither legal nor reasonable.” Late last month, Beijing police raided the center’s office and confiscated computers and financial documents.

“They deserve public recognition and rewards,” center co-founder Lu Jun wrote of their activism. “The arrest and detention of them is a glaring injustice.”

Amnesty International called the women’s release an “encouraging breakthrough” but “an incomplete step.” It said China must drop all charges against each of the five activists.

“Women’s rights campaigners should be free to advance human rights without fear of intimidation or the threat of detention,” said William Nee, the group’s China researcher. “Yet the reality today is that rights activists are systematically monitored, harassed and suppressed.”

The five — Wang Man, Zheng Churan, Wu Rongrong, Wei Tingting and Li Tingting — were detained last month as they prepared to distribute posters and stickers against domestic violence on International Women’s Day on March 8. They were accused of creating a disturbance and, if convicted, could have been sentenced to up to three years in prison. Five others detained at the same time were released earlier.

While the government has commented little on the case, it appeared that their detentions were linked more to their penchant for media-friendly street action than their advocacy for women’s rights.

In 2012, the activists briefly took over public men’s restrooms in Beijing and other cities to demand more women’s facilities. That year, Li and two other women strolled down a busy Beijing shopping street wearing bloody wedding dresses to denounce domestic violence.

China’s communist authorities maintain tight restrictions on all forms of public protest, and the campaigners had drawn considerable attention in the past with protests and street theater intended to draw attention to issues such as domestic violence, sexual harassment and a shortage of women’s toilets.

Their detentions have brought international expressions of concern and calls for their release, including from U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, Britain’s Foreign Office and the European Union.

Beijing police have refused to comment on the case and China’s Foreign Ministry has responded angrily to questions about it, demanding that critics “stop interfering in China’s judicial sovereignty in such a manner.”

TIME feminism

Islamic Feminist: Duke Students Tried To Cancel My Speech. That Made It Even More Important.

American Muslim journalist and author Asra Nomani during Reuters interview.
Mike Segar—Reuters Asra Nomani during an interview in New York on April 6, 2005.

Asra Nomani is the author of “Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam.”

We must have critical conversations, especially if they make people feel uncomfortable

This past week, University of Michigan students watched American Sniper after the university first cancelled the film’s showing amid protests from an Arab-American Muslim student that the film offended her. The episode at Michigan was like my own painful experience at Duke University after a Muslim student group recently blackballed me.

Tuesday night, while Islamic State fighters gained new ground in Syria, I walked onto a stage at Duke University to argue for a progressive, feminist interpretation of Islam in the world. Staring into stage lights, I counted the number of people looking back at me: nine, not including my parents and son.

“I would have come here to speak to just one person. To me, it is simply a victory to stand before you,” I said.

Five days earlier, the Duke University Center Activities and Events had cancelled my talk after the president of the Duke chapter of the Muslim Students Association sent an email to Muslim students about my “views” and me, alleging that I have a nefarious “alliance” with “Islamophobic speakers” and noting that a Duke professor of Islam, Omid Safi, had “condemned” me. After I asked for evidence against me, the Center for Activities and Events re-invited me. A spokesman for Duke said the university regrets the misunderstanding.

This experience goes beyond feminism to a broader debate over how too many Muslims are responding to critical conversations on Islam with snubs, boycotts, and calls for censorship, exploiting feelings of conflict avoidance and political correctness to stifle debate. As a journalist for 30 years, I believe we must stand up for America’s principles of free speech and have critical conversations, especially if they make people feel uncomfortable.

By standing on stage, I was standing up to the forces in our Muslim communities that are increasingly using tactics of intimidation and smears such as “Islamophobe,” “House Muslim,” “Uncle Tom,” “native informant,” “racist” and “bigot” to cancel events with which they disagree.

These dynamics of silencing are often used against women such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born activist and author of a new book, Heretic. Brandeis University uninvited her from speaking after protests from the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim Students Association last year, and the Muslim Students Association at Yale University protested her speech at the university last fall.

Friday, organizers of a conference on women and gender at the University of South Dakota defied pitched protests to screen a documentary, Honor Diaries, about crimes Muslim women face, in the name of “honor.” The controversy has been “very upsetting,” writes Miglena Sternadori and Cindy Struckman-Johnson, the event organizers, and the controversy underscores the battle over whose voices are “authentic,” they say.

Last April, Honor Diaries wasn’t as fortunate as American Sniper at the University of Michigan when administrators there cancelled a screening after protests from the Muslim Students Association and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The protesters used a social media hashtag campaign #DishonorDiaries to discredit the film. The University of Illinois also cancelled an Honor Diaries screening after protests from the same Muslim groups. Zainab Zeb Khan, a dynamic Afghan-American activist interviewed in the film, says, “It was a nightmare.” She organized a successful substitute screening at a downtown Chicago theater to allow for dialogue and advocacy. “They are using the same tactics of shame and intimidation used to silence people in our traditional cultures. We can’t allow it,” she says.

Slurs have also been used by Muslims against Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy, author of a new feminist manifesto, Headscarves and Hymens; Syrian-American physician and activist Zuhdi Jasser; Iranian-American writer Melody Moezzi, and many other writers and activists, in an attempt to discredit them inside our communities. “We don’t all need to share the same opinions in order to share the conviction that open debates and discussions within our communities are necessary and should be fostered,” Moezzi says.

In a statement provided to TIME, a Duke University spokesperson said, “Duke is strongly committed to free expression and open discussion of controversial issues…We regret that there was a misunderstanding among our students and staff that made it seem like Ms. Nomani was no longer invited to speak at Duke. Once we became aware of it, Duke immediately let Ms. Nomani know that she was welcomed to speak with our students and the larger community, which she did.”

As I stood on the stage at Duke, just a wireless microphone tucked into my pink kurta, no barrier between the audience and me, I looked out past the stage lights and said: “There are many who want to make us invisible. But I am standing here today because I believe that, if we try, we can be invincible.” There are only two letters separating the two words, I told the audience: “nc,” the abbreviation for North Carolina, and it was appropriate that, there, in that state, I was rejecting invisibility and standing up for invincibility. An Indian-American Sikh feminist smiled and nodded her head in agreement.

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 feminism

Watch Sarah Silverman Get Serious About Equal Pay

Tells women to "Ask4More" ahead of Equal Pay Day

Sarah Silverman is known for telling jokes that push the limit. But the comedian says that one particular topic evokes the most rage-filled response from critics: equal pay.

“That gets the most violent tweets back,” Silverman says in a video for Levo’s new Ask4More campaign, previewed first by People. It’s so odd. It’s just bizarre.”

To encourage women to ask for the salary they deserve, Silverman teamed up with Levo, an online resource for the career advancement of young women, to help push pay equality.

Read more at People

TIME feminism

This Is Why Women Are Dominating the TIME 100 Poll

Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. EST on April 10

Six women currently sit atop the TIME 100 poll voted on by readers, with all earning a larger percentage of the vote than either President Obama or Pope Francis.

CL of K-Pop group 2NE1 tops the list. The South Korean quartet has broken Billboard records, and CL is about to make a U.S. solo debut. Lady Gaga’s ‘Little Monsters’ fanbase have pushed her to No. 2 — ahead of actress Emma Watson, who became the United Nations Ambassador for the gender equality initiative He for She and is getting support from Harry Potter fans.

Several others in the top 10 have used their podium to speak out about gender equality this year.

Beyoncé, who graced the cover of last year’s TIME 100 issue, has built an even bigger following with remixes to tracks on her Beyoncé album and show-stopping performances at the Grammys and VMAs. During the latter, Beyoncé helped push the other the F-word into the spotlight by performing in front of a backdrop that simply read “feminist.”

Taylor Swift spoke about how Lena Dunham taught her about feminism and encouraged her fans who believe in gender equality to embrace the label, too. And another TIME 100 alum, Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, won the Nobel Peace Prize. She is the first non-artist to make the top 10, thanks to her commitment to making education available to girls and women worldwide.

Barack Obama, Rihanna, Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama currently round out the top 10.

Cast your vote by commenting on any TIME Facebook post that includes #TIME100, or tweet your vote using the #TIME100 hashtag.

Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. EST on April 10, and the winner will be announced April 13. This year’s official TIME 100 list will be announced April 16.

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