TIME Media

Meet the First Ever Female Editor of the Economist

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle speaks during a forum session at the World Economic Forum, with Moderator Zanny Minton Beddoes and Luis de Guindos Jurado, Spanish Minister for Economy, on Jan. 25, 2013 in Davos.
Zanny Minton Beddoes moderates a conversation between German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Luis de Guindos Jurado, Spanish Minister for Economy, on Jan. 25, 2013 in Davos. Raphael Huenerfauth—Photothek/Getty Images

Zanny Minton Beddoes is the first woman to helm the news magazine in its 172-year history

The Economist magazine has promoted its business affairs editor Zanny Minton Beddoes to the publication’s top spot, marking the first time a woman has been in the role.

Beddoes joined the Economist in 1994 after working as an economist at the International Monetary Fund, and was based in Washington, D.C., for much of her time with the magazine. She moved to London last year. The promotion will see her taking over for John Micklethwait, who was the editor of the magazine for nine years and who is leaving at the end of January to become editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News.

The Financial Times reports that 13 candidates applied for the position, including two outsiders. Rupert Pennant-Rea, chairman of the Economist Group, told the Guardian, “[Beddoes] will be a true advocate for the Economist and its values.”

[FT]

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: January 22

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Want to improve your bottom line? Diversify your workplace.

By Joann S. Lublin in the Wall Street Journal

2. Journalism shouldn’t be a transaction for communities. A local news lab can make it transformational.

By Josh Stearns in Medium

3. The spike of hysteria about artificial intelligence could threaten valuable research.

By Erik Sofge in Popular Science

4. A new vision for securing work and protecting jobs can ensure stability in the face of rising automation.

By Guy Ryder at the World Economic Forum

5. Purchasing carbon offsets is easy. With carbon ‘insetting,’ a business folds sustainable decisions into the supply chain.

By Tim Smedley in the Guardian

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

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

How To Shake Up Gender Norms

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Getty Images

Will continuing to challenge gender norms and document their harmful impacts lead to their extinction — or evolution?

What determines your destiny? That’s a big question with what should be a complicated answer. But for many, the answer can be reduced to one word: anatomy. Freud’s assertion in 1924 that biology is the key determinant of gender identity, for instance, was for years a hegemonic idea in both law and culture.

Ever since Freud made this notion famous, critics have been objecting to body parts as central predictors of one’s professional and personal path. Many now believe that identity isn’t solely the domain of nature or nurture, but some combination of the two. Still, Freud’s theory isn’t yet dead; enduring gender norms show us that the bodies we’re born into still govern lives of women and men around the world.

But according to some recent research, its influence may be fading. In one new study, a majority of millennials surveyed argued that gender shouldn’t define us the way it has historically, and individuals shouldn’t feel pressure to conform to traditional gender roles or behaviors. Enforcing norms can even have health risks, according to another study. Some women’s colleges are now reportedly rethinking their admissions policies to account for gender non-conforming students. And even President Obama is getting in on the norm-questioning trend: While sorting holiday gifts for kids at a Toys for Tots in December, the president decided to place sporting equipment in the box for girls. “I’m just trying to break down these gender stereotypes,” he said in a viral video.

But will continuing to challenge gender norms and document their harmful impacts lead to their extinction? To answer that question, we need to first consider another: What’s so bad about traditional gender norms and the way we currently categorize men and women?

For one thing, the way we categorize gender is far too facile, explained Alice Dreger, a leading historian of science and medicine, in a 2010 TED Talk. “We now know that sex is complicated enough that we have to admit nature doesn’t draw the line for us between male and female… we actually draw that line on nature,” she told the audience. “What we have is a sort of situation where the farther our science goes, the more we have to admit to ourselves that these categories that we thought of as stable anatomical categories that mapped very simply to stable identity categories are a lot more fuzzy than we thought.”

Fuzzy – and maybe not entirely real in the first place.

“If there’s a leading edge that is the future of gender, it’s going to be one that understands that gender is relative to context,” said author and gender theorist Kate Bornstein at a recent New America event, noting that geography, religion, and family attitudes are all contextual factors that can alter one’s perception of gender as a determinant of identity. As long as we hold onto the notion that gender is a constant, “we’ll keep doing things to keep the lie in place,” she said. But the fact is that “it doesn’t stand on its own, and is always relative to something.” Bornstein argues that the trick to stripping these norms of their harmful power is to mock and expose them for both their flimsiness and stringency.

Which is what photographer Sophia Wallace attempts with her work. Girls Will Be Bois, for example, is a documentary of female masculinity, featuring women who have traditionally “un-feminine” occupations – bus driver, boxer, basketball player – and a sartorial masculinity (baggy pants, and bare-chested). In Modern Dandy, Wallace switches up the way women and men are directed to look at the camera (or not) in photographs – whether to appear submissive (traditionally feminine) or dominant (traditionally masculine). Cliteracy, Wallace’s most recent work, uses imagery of the clitoris and text about female sexuality to illuminate a paradox: we’re obsessed with sexualizing female bodies, and yet the world is “illiterate when it comes to female sexuality.”

But it’s not as bad as it once was. Wallace thinks that photography is evolving – that some gender-focused imagery is less tinged with ignorance today. “There’s so much that I’ve seen that has been hopeful,” she said. “There are actually images of female masculinity, trans-men and trans-women now that didn’t exist when I was in my teens and early 20s. In other ways we have so far to go.”

Part of the struggle of relinquishing gender norms comes from an uncomfortable truth. “Men have everything to gain when we overthrow patriarchy…but they also have something to lose from giving up their traditional masculinity,” said Tavia Nyong’o, an associate professor of performance studies at NYU, emphasizing that male rights vary widely across race and class divisions and that white men have even more to lose than men of color. What do they lose, exactly? Privileges (the ability to open carry a gun and not be worried that they’ll be shot by the police, Nyong’o argued). Control – over political, economic and cultural domains. Access – to networks, jobs and economic opportunities. Put simply, they lose power.

“You walk out the door in the morning with a penis and your income is 20 percent higher on average for nothing that you did,” said Gary Barker, the international director of Promundo, an organization that engages men and boys around the world on issues of gender equality.

When asked whether the future of gender was evolution and extinction, Barker, Nyong’o, Wallace and Bornstein all said they hoped for extinction. But at the same time, each acknowledged how difficult that goal would be to achieve. Beyond the power dynamics, there’s a level of comfort in well-worn identities. “It’s easy to sit in these old roles that we’ve watched and to feel a certain comfort in their stability in a world that feels kind of hard to understand,” Barker said.

But change is not impossible. Barker advises demonstrating how our traditional version of masculinity may not actually be worth the fight. “Men who have more rigid views of what it means to be men are more likely to suicidal thoughts, more likely to be depressed, less likely to report they’re happy with life overall, less likely to take care of their health, more likely to own guns, the list goes on,” he said. “There is something toxic about this version of masculinity out there.”

Detoxing society requires ripping off a mask of sorts. “It’s about getting as many people as possible to have that Matrix moment, Barker said, when they realize, “wait – [masculinity] isn’t real. It’s all illusory, it’s all performance.”

Elizabeth Weingarten is the associate director of New America’s Global Gender Parity Initiative. 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 Sex

Jealousy: One More Way Men and Women are Different

Trouble ahead: Just which kind depends on who's at the door
Trouble ahead: Just which kind depends on who's at the door Anton Ovcharenko—Getty Images

It's never easy to be cheated on, but how you react depends on your sex

Not that I cheated on my college girlfriend when we were both freshmen attending schools 130 miles apart. But if I did, I had an excuse: I was young, I was male and I was an idiot. These are conditions that psychologists like to call “co-morbid.”

The only good thing I can say about myself in this very hypothetical scenario, is that at least I had the honesty to ‘fess up to my faithlessness the next time I saw her. She was not—you won’t be surprised to learn—pleased with my behavior. But what I was surprised to learn (bearing in mind the young, male and stupid thing again) was that she was less upset by the sexual aspect of my infidelity than the emotional.

Soon enough, I came to learn that that was the way of things when it comes to women’s reactions to cheating—or at least that’s the stereotype. The equally glib corollary is that men can tolerate the nuzzling and canoodling part of infidelity better than they can the flesh crescendo it leads to.

Now, research out of Chapman University in Orange, California confirms that when it comes to this one aspect of the great gender divide, the big news is that there is no news to report. The stereotypes, it turns out, are spot on.

The study, published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, was an ambitious one, involving a whopping 63,894 male and female respondents of both sexes, aged 18 to 65. In addition to basic biographical information such as income, marital history and sexual orientation, the participants were asked to choose (whether from imagination or painful experience) if they’d be hurt more by the carnal or cuddly part of being cheated on.

By a margin that would qualify as a landslide in politics, heterosexual men outpaced heterosexual women 54% to 35% on the physical side of the hurt-feelings equation, while heterosexual women beat heterosexual men 65% to 46% on the emotional side. Homosexual and bisexual men and women were troubled more or less equally by both aspects.

“Heterosexual men really stand out from all other groups,” said psychologist and lead author David Frederick, in a statement. “They were the only ones more likely to be most upset by sexual infidelity.”

In fairness to the straight guys, there’s more than just the doofus factor at work here—there’s also evolution, according to the authors. Short of a paternity test (which hardly existed when our behavioral coding was first being written millions of year ago), a male can never be absolutely certain that a child his mate bears is his, so physical infidelity poses a much greater risk.

And while males in the state of nature are hardwired to mate and mate and mate some more because it’s easy, fun and a calorically cheap way to get their genes across to the next generation, females are coded to seek protection and resources since it’s awfully hard to fetch food and defend against predators while giving birth and nursing. Even modern women are thus inclined—at least evolutionarily—to worry more about the outside romance that may cost them a partner than the roll in the hay that could be a one-time thing.

Societal expectations—outmoded though they may be—exacerbate the difference. Men are still judged more harshly (if only by themselves) in terms of their sexual prowess, while women are brought up to value bonding. Being cheated on thus has a different effect on the sexes because it threatens different aspects of their self-esteem.

Making the study more impressive was that the researchers corrected for nearly every variable other than gender that could have influenced the results—and repeatedly came up empty. Marital status didn’t play a role, nor did a history of being cheated on, nor did income, length of relationship or whether a respondent had children or not. The only factor that seemed to make some difference was that younger respondents of both genders reported a higher degree of upset at the physical aspects of infidelity. That’s probably because younger people of both sexes are in the stage of their lives when they’re helping themselves to that aspect more, so it makes a bigger difference in their relational well-being.

None of this alters the larger takeaway, which is that cheating still stinks. And none of it changes the fact that even a few decades on, a hypothetical person who was guilty of such a thing might still feel kind of bad about it. Or that’s what I’ve been told, but I wouldn’t know. Really.

Read next: Here Are All the Sexist Ways the Media Portrayed Both Men and Women in 2014

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME politics

India’s First Openly Transgender Mayor Elected

She's from the lowest caste and beat her opponent by 4,500 votes

A transgender woman from the lowest caste in India was elected mayor on Sunday, making her the first openly transgender mayor in the country’s history.

Madhu Bai Kinnar was elected mayor of Raigarh, in the state of Chhattisgarh, and beat her opponent from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), by a margin of 4,500 votes. She is a member of the Dalit caste, previously known as the “untouchables,” and previously earned her living singing and dancing on trains, Reuters reports.

The victory comes just nine months after an Indian court ruled that transgender be recognized as a third gender. Transgender people, known in the area as hijras, are classified in India as people who were identify as the opposite of their born gender or who have undergone sex change operations.

“People have shown faith in me. I consider this win as love and blessings of people for me. I’ll put in my best efforts to accomplish their dreams,” Kinnar said in local news reports. “It was the public support that encouraged me to enter the poll fray for the first time and because of their support only, I emerged as the winner.”

TIME Research

10 Surprising Health Benefits of Being a Woman

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Being a woman carries a host of health and body payoffs

Members of the so-called weaker sex, listen up. Thanks in part to the protective benefits of female hormones, as well as the lifestyle choices women tend to make, you’re afforded a host of body payoffs guys don’t get. “Men notoriously pay less attention to their health and prefer to take a macho approach rather than go to the doctor to get things checked out,” says J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, MD, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. The following 10 ways women come out on top health-wise will make you glad you were born with two X chromosomes.

Women blow out more birthday candles

When it comes to longevity, chicks rule. A girl born in 2012 (the most recent year statistics are available) can expect to live until age 81.2; a boy is likely to hit 76.4, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Researchers aren’t entirely sure what accounts for those extra four years. “It might have to do with the fact that women have lower rates of heart disease compared to men, though women are catching up,” explains Nieca Goldberg, MD, medical director of the women’s heart program at the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. “But it may be a result of women maintaining stronger social ties to friends and family, because social ties are linked to longevity.

Women have a higher pain tolerance

The notion that men face pain with unflinching stoicism while women are more sensitive to every ache is not exactly reflected in research. Though the jury is still officially out, numerous studies back up the fact that women appear to have a higher pain threshold than men, says Dr. Goldberg, with pain threshold defined as the amount of pain it takes to register in the body. Of course, it makes sense that females need to be able to withstand pain, considering how much of it is typically experienced during childbirth. “Women have to be able to sustain the agony during labor and delivery,” says Dr. Goldberg.

HEALTH.COM: 10 Things That Mess With Your Period

Head and neck cancers strike more men than women

The statistics tell the story: the National Cancer Society estimates that this year, about 30,000 men will be diagnosed with oral cavity or pharynx cancer, while just 12,000 women will. And when it comes to esophageal cancer, 14,000 men can expect to develop it this year, compared to only 3,000 women. Why do head and neck cancers discriminate so openly based on sex? Cancers that occur in these body areas are strongly linked to tobacco and alcohol use. “Though women are catching up, men still indulge is smoking and drinking in higher numbers, so they develop these cancers in higher numbers too,” says Dr. Lichtenfeld.

Melanoma rates are lower in older women

Before age 45, rates of melanoma—the least common yet deadliest form of skin cancer—are higher in women, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It’s a trend researchers attribute to the popularity of tanning indoors and out. But after that point, it’s men who bear the brunt of the disease in more significant numbers. “It’s unusual for melanoma to strike at a young age, and by the time they reach their 50s and 60s, we start to see high numbers of white men with it, probably due to accumulated skin damage over time after decades of working outside, or playing outdoor sports, without the benefit of sunscreen,” says Dr. Lichtenfeld.

HEALTH.COM: 20 Weird Facts About Sex and Love

Women have a keener sense of smell

No wonder candles, soaps, detergents, and perfumes cater to female noses. Compared to men, women appear to have a sharper odor detection, with women having up to 50% more cells in their olfactory bulb (the first region of the brain to receive signals about odors), according to a recent study in the journal PLOS ONE. The study lends weight to the idea that women are superior sniffers, but it doesn’t explain why. One theory: a keener sense of smell helps women detect the pheromones that help her pick the right mate; another postulates that being able to detect rancid odors helps a woman protect her offspring from infection and disease.

HDL cholesterol levels are higher in women

HDL cholesterol, the good kind, is associated with strong heart health. It’s credited with preventing plaque buildup in the arteries of premenopausal women and protecting them from the early heart disease that may already be developing in men in the same age group. “Estrogen raises good cholesterol throughout a woman’s childbearing years, when estrogen production peaks,” says Goldberg. Estrogen output drops off following menopause, and HDL cholesterol goes with it. But if you continue to eat nutritiously, stay at a healthy weight, and have your cholesterol tested regularly, your HDL cholesterol numbers can continue to stay in a healthy range so you can maintain that estrogen-fueled head start against heart disease.

HEALTH.COM: 25 Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

The female brain has better recall

Several scientific studies suggest what a lot of women already know anecdotally: women are simply better at remembering things. A 2014 Norwegian study of about 37,000 people from the journal BMC Psychology bears this out: though older people in general had more memory issues, men of all ages, young and old, were more forgetful than their female counterparts. Why that is isn’t exactly clear, but previous research has suggested that it may be due to brain degeneration caused by cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure, both of which strike more men than women.

Women are less likely to become alcoholics

“Men are up to twice as likely to develop alcoholism as women are,” explains Holly Phillips, MD, New York City women’s health specialist and medical contributor for WCBS News. One reason for a guy’s increased risk of addiction to booze has to do with the brain chemical dopamine, says Dr. Phillips. A recent study of male and female social drinkers found that men had a greater dopamine release than women in an area of the brain called the ventral striatum, which is strongly associated with pleasure, reinforcement, and addiction formation. There may be a psychological component as well. “While women are more likely to become depressed than men in response to common environmental triggers such as illness or grieving a death—a process some psychologists see as turning pain inward—men may be more likely to numb the pain with substances,” adds Dr. Phillips.

HEALTH.COM: 18 Habits of the Happiest Families

Women tend to accumulate less belly fat

Instead of bemoaning the fact that you tend to pack extra pounds on your butt, hips, and thighs, be happy about it—it means your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other chronic diseases is lower than if fat tended to develop across your midsection, as it generally does in men. “Apple-shaped bodies, which more men have, hold more fat around the heart and upper abdomen, increasing heart disease risk,” says Dr. Phillips. “Pear shaped bodies keep fat away from the heart, which is a good thing.” Fat around the middle can also increase the risk of certain cancers, says Dr. Lichtenfeld. Researchers are learning that belly fat is metabolically active, producing hormones that cause a chain reaction in the body, resulting in higher levels of inflammation and insulin resistance, which leads to disease.

Women have a delayed heart attack risk

While a man’s odds of developing heart disease and having a major coronary begin in his 40s or even earlier, says Dr. Phillips, a woman’s risk doesn’t really begin until after she hits 50 and goes through menopause—giving women some extra time before being susceptible to the number one killer of both men and women. “Women have their first heart attack a full 10 years after men do,” says Dr. Goldberg. A younger woman’s better cholesterol profile plays a role, but estrogen or lifestyle choices, such as eating healthier, seems to have additional protective benefits, such as keeping blood pressure down (high blood pressure is a heart attack risk factor). However, things change after menopause. “After 50, a woman’s vulnerability to heart disease begins to resemble that of males,” says Dr. Phillips.

HEALTH.COM: 13 Everyday Habits That Are Aging You

This article originally appeared on Health.com

TIME Business

How America’s First Self-Made Female Millionaire Built Her Fortune

Madam C.J. Walker Portrait
Madam C.J. Walker (Sarah Breedlove), circa 1914 Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Dec. 23, 1867: Sarah Breedlove Walker, the first black female millionaire in U.S. history, is born

America’s first black female millionaire — and the first woman of any race to become a self-made millionaire — built an empire from nearly nothing in one of the most spectacular rags-to-riches stories in U.S. history.

When Sarah Breedlove was born on this day, Dec. 23, in 1867, to former slaves on a Louisiana cotton plantation, she had already achieved a milestone as the first of her parents’ five children born into freedom. Still, the odds were heavily stacked against her. Orphaned at 7, married at 14, and widowed at 20, she became a single mother earning $1.50 a day as a washerwoman.

And while her 1919 obituary in the New York Times portrays her meteoric rise to business success as something she simply decided to do one day — “One morning while bending over her wash she suddenly realized that there was no prospect on her meager wage of laying away anything for old age,” the obit casually explains — nothing in her life came easily.

Even the idea that launched her career as an entrepreneur arose out of hardship, although it was likely the least of her worries: In the 1890s, she began losing her hair. After developing a tonic she claimed made her hair grow back “faster than it had even fallen out,” she enlisted the help of her third husband, Charles Joseph Walker, a newspaper sales agent, in harnessing the advertising power of black newspapers to promote her “wonderful hair grower” and a line of products that would give kinky hair a “beautiful silky sheen.”

Doing business as Madam C.J. Walker, she displayed an innate acumen few MBAs could rival. Her talent for advertising was matched by her shrewd sales strategy, which employed a fleet of agents in a Mary Kay-style system that quickly built her fortune — and proved highly lucrative to the sales team as well.

“At a time when unskilled white workers earned about $11 a week, Walker’s agents were making $5 to $15 a day, pioneering a system of multilevel marketing that Walker and her associates perfected for the black market,” wrote Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. in a 1998 story for TIME. “More than any other single businessperson, Walker unveiled the vast economic potential of an African-American economy, even one stifled and suffocating under Jim Crow segregation.”

On her way to the top, Walker burst through several glass ceilings, fighting racism and sexism with competence and confidence.

“I know how to grow hair as well as I know how to grow cotton. I have built my own factory on my own ground,” she once told members of the male-dominated National Negro Business League, who tended to be dismissive of hairdressers, according to Gates.

By the time she died, at 51, it was impossible to dismiss Walker. A generous philanthropist, she donated to scholarship funds, the NAACP, and campaigns to stop lynching. She helped to build a black YMCA in Indianapolis and restore Frederick Douglass’s home in Washington.

And she made a place for herself — literally — among America’s elite entrepreneurs. Her mansion in the tony Westchester village of Irvington was, according to the Times, “one of the show places in the vicinity,” which was saying a lot: The neighborhood was also home to tycoons Jay Gould and John D. Rockefeller.

Read Henry Louis Gates Jr. on Sarah Breedlove Walker: Madam C.J. Walker: Her Crusade

TIME gender

Google+ Offers Infinite Gender Options

The Google logo is seen at the company's offices on August 21, 2014 in Berlin, Germany.
Adam Berry—Getty Images

Users can now choose any word to describe themselves from "gender fluid" to "trans"

Google+ has joined Facebook in offering an expanded array of gender options for users’ profiles. The two social media sites used to only offer three options—”male,” “female” and “other”—but now both are expanding their drop down menu to accommodate an increasing array of identities.

The new Google+ format will allow users to choose among “Male,” “Female,” “Decline to state” and “Custom.” If “Custom” is selected, a text field and pronoun field will appear where users can fill in whatever words they want. (Many trans people and others in the LGBTQ community prefer pronouns like “their” to the traditional binary “him” or “her.”) Google+ users will continue to be able to limit who can see their gender on their profile.

Screenshot of new gender options on Google Rachael Bennet—Google

The new option is similar to Facebook’s new gender policy that it introduced earlier this year. Facebook users can now choose from over 70 different gender definitions that include terms like “female to male trans man,” “gender neutral,” “gender fluid” or “non-binary,” to name just a few.

“For many people, gender identity is more complex than just ‘male’ or ‘female,'” Google software engineer Rachael Bennett writes in the announcement. “Starting today, I’m proud to announce that Google+ will support an infinite number of ways to express gender identity.”

The change is a welcome one for those who have protested social networks’ identification policy. But several sites are still navigating the politics of gender. In October (after it had already introduced its new gender identification drop down menu), Facebook had to apologize for attempting to require that drag queens, transgender people and others in the LGBTQ community use their real names on their profiles. Facebook’s policy was meant to weed out fake users but inadvertently suspended hundreds of legitimate accounts that belonged to people who did not feel comfortable identifying with their legal name.

MORE: Facebook Apologizes to Drag Queens Over Suspended Profiles

TIME movies

Peter Pan Live‘s Allison Williams Joins a Long Tradition: Women Playing Pan

Peter Pan
Pauline Chase in a theatre production of 'Peter Pan' in 1855 Hulton Archive / Getty Images

The boy who won't grow up has rarely been played by a real boy

It’s pretty much the single most important plot point in Peter Pan: the main character will, in the words of one of the signature songs from the musical based on his story, “stay a boy forever.”

Except that he hasn’t. When Allison Williams—the actress best known, appropriately, for her role on Girls—takes to the skies Thursday night for the live televised version of the play, she’ll be joining a long line of grown women who have played the ever-youthful boy.

In fact, it’s been an even century since Nina Boucicault played the starring role in the original 1904 London production, which came to New York the following year with Maude Adams in the lead. As Slate has reported, there were several reasons to cast women in the role, from the logistics of dealing with child-labor laws to the thought that an adult man wouldn’t seem boyish enough and a real boy wouldn’t be capable. Furthermore, casting an adult as Peter meant the child actors around her could be relatively older too. And the actresses cast as Peter were fully on board with the decision: TIME reported in 1950 that, in her day, Adams would leave the theater in costume, so as not to let young fans know she was a grown-up and a woman.

Other grown women followed her in the stage role, like Marilyn Miller, Eva Le Gallienne and Jean Arthur.

When the musical version of the play arrived in 1954, the tradition—complete with music suited for a female singer—continued. Mary Martin quickly came to be a favorite, and is still associated with the role to this day. “She looks as boyish as can be expected of any grownup of the opposite sex,” TIME noted a review of the Broadway production.

There has, however, been a truly noteworthy deviation from the norm: Disney’s 1953 animated version, not constrained by the demands of live human actors, was able to do what no play could. In that movie Peter is voiced by child actor Bobby Driscoll.

TIME feminism

The Complicated History Behind the Fight for Pregnant Women’s Equality

Lillian Garland [& Family]
Lillian Garland (front), who won a Supreme Court case which supports pregnancy leave, with her daughter in 1986 Alan Levenson—The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Two Supreme Court cases have helped define the struggle

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear the case of Peggy Young, a former UPS driver who had to go on unpaid leave — rather than paid leave or adjusted duty — when she got pregnant and a doctor told her to stop lifting heavy packages. Though UPS has since adjusted its leave policy for pregnant workers, the company maintains and a lower court agreed that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act doesn’t make it illegal to give pregnant employees different leave policies than non-pregnant ones. If the act did make such treatment illegal, they say, it would constitute special treatment. Young’s side, on the other hand, argues that making accommodations for pregnant workers is to treat them the same as other workers, not specially.

Unsurprisingly, several women’s rights organizations, like the Women’s Law Project and Legal Momentum, which is associated with the National Organization for Women (NOW), have filed an amicus brief in support of Young.

But, despite all the women’s-rights oomph behind Young’s case, the history of feminism and pregnancy discrimination isn’t so clear cut.

As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has pointed out, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed in 1978 to specify that discriminating against pregnant people is a kind of sex discrimination (after the Supreme Court case had earlier decided the opposite). It was less than three decades ago — in 1986 — that NOW, as well as the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, came out on the side of the employer in a case that sounds very similar to Young v. United Parcel Service. They aren’t exactly parallel, but many of the deep questions raised by the earlier case remain pertinent today. How much should childbearing be connected to a woman’s identity? Does respecting women require making allowances for that undeniable difference? Or would doing so hold women back by linking their legal identities to their function as mothers? How much inequality can be tolerated in the service of big-picture equality?

At issue was a challenge to a 1978 California law that required businesses to offer unpaid maternity leave. Lillian Garland had been a receptionist at a California bank when she took advantage of the state law and went on unpaid leave to have a baby in 1982; when she was ready to return to work, the position had been filled. Without her income, she was soon evicted and lost custody of her daughter, leading her to bring a suit against her former employer.

As TIME reported during the dispute, NOW and the ACLU ended up taking the bank’s side, preferring that employee benefits not be sex or gender-specific. “The question is, Should a woman with a pregnancy disability get her job back when other employees with disabilities get fired? You undermine your argument unless you say everyone is equally entitled to this benefit,” explained the ACLU’s Joan Bertin. In other words, anything that keeps an employee from working should be treated the same, whether or not it’s pregnancy, and no law should apply only to women. Meanwhile, feminist icon Betty Friedan and her allies saw things differently: in her view, the law treated everyone equally because it made clear that anyone, male or female, should be able to make decisions about having a family without the risk of losing his or her job.

“The time has come to acknowledge that women are different from men,’’ Friedan said. ‘’There has to be a concept of equality that takes into account that women are the ones who have the babies.’’

The next year, in 1987, the Supreme Court sided with Friedan, finding that the California law neither discriminated against men nor forced employers to treat women specially, as it did not bar companies from extending unpaid leave benefits to men as well.

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