TIME career

IMF Chief Christine Lagarde: Female Equality Laws Are Good For the Economy

JOHN THYS—AFP/Getty Images International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde gives a joint press after an Eurogroup Council meeting on February 20, 2015 at EU Headquarters in Brussels. ( JOHN THYS--AFP/Getty Images)

Notes GDPs would increase dramatically if laws changed to make it easier for women to work

International Monetary Fund Chief Christine Lagarde has some good news for economies in the developing world: in one step, they can boost their GDPs up by up to 30 percent. All they have to do is let women into the workforce.

In an article posted Monday on the IMF’s blog, Lagarde discusses a new study that found that over 90% of countries worldwide have some kind of legal restrictions that keep women from working, getting loans, or owning property. Women make up 40% of the global workforce, but in some regions they’re vastly underrepresented– only 21% of women in the Middle East and North Africa work outside the home.

Lagarde says that fixing the laws that keep women from fully participating in the economy could boost GDPs– by a lot. Getting women equally represented int the workforce would amount to a 9% increase in Japan’s GDP, a 12% increase in the United Arab Emirates, and a 34% increase in Egypt. In the US, our GDP would increase by 5% if we made it easier for women to participate in the economy.

Changing the laws is only the first step– Lagarde also notes that childcare and maternity leave benefits also play a major role in whether and how women work outside the home. Currently, the US is one of few developed countries that offers no guaranteed maternity leave, and the IMF study found that in 2009, the U.S. spent only 1.2% of our GDP on family benefits– less than any other developed country. Oh great.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 24

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

1. For some returning from war, a ‘G.I. bill for farming’ eases the transition home.

By Abby Wendle at Harvest Public Media

2. In Egypt, a class project to fight sexual harassment has grown into a campus-wide movement encouraging women to “Speak Up.”

By Ahmed Fouad in Al-Monitor

3. Your kid’s school is missing the tech revolution, and it’s all your fault.

By Jason Tanz in Wired

4. Community courts focus on rehabilitation and compassion for non-violent offenders.

By Henry Gass in the Christian Science Monitor

5. A new ‘Uber for packages’ service is partnering with Waffle House to build a network of delivery points around the south.

By Amar Toor in the Verge

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.

MONEY Oscars

Patricia Arquette Wants You to Get a Raise — Here’s How to Make It Happen

The Oscar winner gave a shout-out to American women—and called for fair pay regardless of sex.

An exciting moment for many Oscar viewers on Sunday was Patricia Arquette’s Best Supporting Actress acceptance speech for her role as the protagonist’s mother in the film Boyhood.

“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” Arquette said. “It is our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America!”

Those words, which drew cheers from fellow actresses Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez, reflect growing tensions in Hollywood over the way women in the industry are represented and compensated. Not only do actresses have fewer roles available to them than men—only 30% of speaking characters—but they are paid less across the board. Even Academy Award-winning women face a huge pay gap: They get an extra $500,000 on average tacked on to their salary after winning an Oscar, compared with a $3.9 million bump for men.

Of course, pay discrimination is not limited to La-La Land. Women still make only 78¢ for every dollar a man makes, the Census reports, and that’s true across all wage levels, for everyone from truck drivers to top executives.

If you’re frustrated by your salary (or the pay earned by a woman in your life) and Arquette’s words resonated with you, here are some ways to change things right now.

1. Talk to a man whose job you want

A recent study found that women tend to express satisfaction with low pay because they compare themselves with female peers, and therefore never get a full picture of how underpaid they are relative to men.

Finding a male mentor in a position a notch or three above you can be a huge asset for many reasons, but one of the biggest is that he can give you an unbiased idea of what salary you should be asking for when you seek a promotion or new job.

2. Don’t say “yes” without making a counteroffer

Whether because of social expectations or a hesitation to appear too aggressive (a fear that is not unfounded given proven workplace biases), women are less likely to negotiate than men. One study revealed that only 31% of women countered the salary offer for their first job after grad school, versus 50% of men.

When you are asking for a raise or naming your salary expectations for a new job, it helps to come prepared. You’ll want to be ready with a clear description of your successes and how you have added value in your current position. And you should have an exact dollar figure in mind; research shows negotiating with a specific number makes you sound more authoritative than using a ballpark one.

If you get a resounding “no,” don’t just give up: Consider asking for a one-time bonus instead.

3. Become a mentor

It’s obvious advice to seek out strong mentors to get ahead at work. But taking subordinates under your wing can be just as effective for increasing your status.

Wharton professor Adam Grant has shown that women and men alike tend to be most successful when they balance both giving and taking at work. And women in particular can get a leg up as negotiators when they are in a mentor position, Grant found.

When the higher ups see you as a person who gives a lot and supports the people around you, it’s easier for you to take a little back—in the form of higher pay.


TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 23

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

1. The propaganda war against ISIS doesn’t tell us anything about the real fight.

By Paul Waldman in the Week

2. Programs supporting women-owned small businesses will boost the economy.

By Claudia Viek at the American Sustainable Business Council

3. System-wide disruption — including a new medical school admissions test — is remaking medical education.

By Melinda Beck in Wall Street Journal

4. Prison reform could unleash resourcefulness and hustle currently behind bars. The tech sector should get on board.

By Baratunde Thurston in Fast Company

5. The first power plant powered by ocean waves is officially online.

By Kaleigh Rogers in Motherboard from Vice

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 Family

After Having Three Miscarriages, I’m Pregnant Again

xoJane.com is where women go to be their unabashed selves, and where their unabashed selves are applauded

How do you emotionally prepare to lose a pregnancy, and at the same time prepare to keep it?


Throughout my early twenties, when anyone (usually my mother) asked whether I wanted kids someday, my attitude fell somewhere between ambivalence and outright disinterest.

Then, one breezy October morning, that changed in an instant, like a switch had been flipped. It was a Saturday, and my would-be husband and I were taking a walk after eating breakfast at our favorite Manhattan diner. It was a handful of days before Halloween, and there were all these little kids dressed in the costumes that they couldn’t wait to wear. There was one toddler in a fireman outfit, and it just killed me with cuteness. I WANTED ONE.

My ovaries betrayed me, and from that day on I became a touch obsessed (understatement) with pregnancy and babies.

Fast-forward through a few years of neurotic baby-planning and menstrual cycle-tracking in Excel spreadsheets, getting married, and a move from New York to Chicago — I was 27 years old, right on time according to my perfectly optimized reproduction schedule, and my husband and I were finally ready.

I became pregnant in our first month of trying, which was a surprise since all of the literature tells you not to expect immediate results. We were as happy and nervous as you’d expect any couple to be during the beginning of a first pregnancy. (Technically this was my second time getting pregnant, but the first time I had an abortion, and the differences in experiencing a wanted versus an unwanted pregnancy are so huge that, for the sake of this story, I’m going to treat my first intentional pregnancy as my first pregnancy.)

Starting around six weeks, my morning sickness became intense. I woke up every day dry heaving, and if I wasn’t constantly forcing snacks into my face (so much hummus!), I’d be throwing up within the hour. It was barely manageable. I was exhausted.

At eight weeks we saw a heartbeat on our first ultrasound, and I had no doubts that my sickness was worth it — the risk of miscarriage drops significantly once you’ve seen a heartbeat. Up to this point everything seemed normal.

Around nine weeks I had a little spotting. I was assured I shouldn’t worry about it since it was light, temporary, and painless — first trimester spotting is common. Around 10 and a half weeks, at another doctor’s appointment, the heartbeat was a bit slow, though not that abnormal, so we scheduled a follow up visit for a week later. At 11 weeks and five days, we went in for another ultrasound and there was no heartbeat. The fetus had died.

This was a “missed miscarriage,” meaning I never had any bleeding or pain to signal that something was wrong. I scheduled the procedure for the following day, and after it was done I felt as awful as I’ve ever felt in my life — utterly empty and weak. I’d followed every pregnancy recommendation, taken every precaution, and we still don’t know what went wrong. We probably never will.

The healing process involved me being a hermit for a few weeks, refusing to leave the apartment unless I absolutely had to. My husband did his best to console me with all the pad thai and bacon pineapple pizza a girl can eat. I listened to a lot of Björk (she can get you through anything, I swear), and watched all of Netflix’s sappiest offerings. I cried and cried and cried.

Friends did their best to support me, and I felt loved, but it was hard to accept their help. The hospital encouraged me to join their miscarriage support group, but I didn’t. The unflattering truth is, I didn’t want to hear about anyone else’s problems, even if they were similar to my own. In a way, I think I wanted to feel special and unique in my suffering.

My best friend dragged me away to a vacation on the lake, and that helped.

Slowly, I felt better. Maybe we should have waited longer, but after a cycle had passed I felt ready to try again, and I got pregnant right away.

At six weeks, I miscarried again. Unlike the first time, I knew what was happening when it started. The blood and cramping weren’t all that severe, but this clearly wasn’t just a little light spotting.

At this point, while it obviously sucked what I was going through, it wasn’t necessarily a cause to assume something was wrong with me — repeated miscarriages aren’t medically considered worth investigating until you hit the third one in a row. My healing process this time was essentially the same as the last. Tending to my little deck garden became a particularly soothing outlet for me. We waited a cycle, and I was eager to get back on the horse.

For a third time, I got pregnant in our first month of trying. Just call me Fertile Myrtle. This one went almost identically to the second pregnancy, ending in a miscarriage in the sixth week. The difference now was that it was time to run medical tests, looking for all kinds of horrifying conditions that I shouldn’t have Googled while waiting for the results.

Every test came back negative, which was both good and bad. On the one hand, it’s good to know I don’t have any major life-changing medical problems (at least nothing they found), and on the other, we still have no answers. I lost three pregnancies, and I have no idea why.

After the third miscarriage, we waited longer to try again, but I still got pregnant on our first go — Fertile Myrtle strikes again! As I write this, I’m eight weeks and one day into yet another pregnancy. We had an ultrasound appointment yesterday, and we were able to see the heartbeat.

My doctor said that everything looks normal, and I wish I felt more reassured, but I’m still worried. Every day that passes raises the stakes. Every time I pee I’m paranoid, checking the toilet for blood. I love to think about baby names, but I tell myself I shouldn’t. I’m trying my hardest to be calmly ready for another miscarriage, but how do you emotionally prepare to lose a pregnancy, and at the same time prepare to keep it?

I’ve spent almost 32 weeks out of the last year stuck in the first trimester of pregnancy, like a messed up version of Groundhog Day — Bill Murray didn’t have to do it pregnant. Lots of women wait to announce their pregnancies until after 12 weeks for fear of miscarriage, and because of the pressure that results from friends and family who, purely out of love, have heavy emotions riding on the outcome of your pregnancy — something over which you have limited control.

Obviously, I’m not taking the secrecy route. There’s just no way I can keep this big part of my recent life to myself. It’s not like I’m telling the grocery clerk, “Guess what? I had a miscarriage! And I’m pregnant!” but it just comes up sometimes in conversation, and it feels unfair to keep this quiet for the sake of other people’s comfort.

The fact is that even though most people mean well, it’s generally pretty awkward when you tell them you’ve been pregnant and you don’t have a kid. They look at you with incredible amounts of pity, like you’re some sad, abused puppy, instead of a basically-okay adult person telling them about a recent experience.

Understanding, empathetic people who say things like, “Oh wow, I’m sorry, I bet that’s hard,” or, “What was that like?” are in the minority. The more common reply is along the lines of, “Well, I’m sure it will happen when it’s meant to be.”

I HATE THIS. You have no idea if I ever will be able to carry a pregnancy to term, so quit making diagnoses of my destiny. What are you, a fortune teller? One friend who knew about my past abortion asked me, “Well, do you think this happened to you because you had an abortion?”

NO, I DO NOT. In fairness (?) to her, the only reason I’d told her about the abortion in the first place was because I knew she’d disapprove but be too Minnesotan to say anything . . . so maybe I brought that one on myself.

From where I sit, most secrecy comes from a place of shame and fear of social rejection, and we all know how society treats women who don’t fulfill its standards for being baby factories. But women should not be blamed for miscarriages.

We aren’t shamed into hiding other struggles in our life, like illness or the death of a loved one, because we know they’re not our fault. Miscarriage should be treated the same. There are places in the world where women are in jail for having miscarriages, as well as states in the U.S. that have taken steps towards criminalizing the death of a fetus.

It’s important that we open up the dialogue about miscarriage — they’re enormously common, and hardly ever talked about. They are nothing to be ashamed of.

Sarah Bourne Zethmayr wrote this article for xoJane.

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.


I Think I’m Attracted to White Men Because of My Own Internalized Racism

xoJane.com is where women go to be their unabashed selves, and where their unabashed selves are applauded

To this day I’m still working on freeing myself from the years of damage the media and the society and the history have done


Having a crush on someone is, for me, the absolute worst. It’s like being trapped and controlled by my thoughts and feelings about the person I’m into. And because of my social anxiety and general awkwardness, and the fact that my life isn’t a rom-com, nothing positive ever comes from these situations. Unfortunately, it happens more often than I would like.

Most recently, it was a handsome brown-eyed friend whose deep voice and bright smile lingered in my imagination during every waking moment for months. Thinking about him all day rendered me basically useless as a productive human being. I could barely write, study, or finish an episode of Gilmore Girls without curling up into the fetal position with a sigh, where I would just feel.

When I have feelings for someone, even if it’s just a crush, I fall pretty hard. Although I can be attracted to someone of any race or gender, like so many of my other major crushes, he’s male and white. And I know this has something to do with why I’m attracted to him.

I have a thing for white guys. And writing that last sentence makes me feel gross, like I’m a traitor, or a self-hating black woman. I know it’s wrong to think this way, to focus on being with a white guy as the ultimate goal in my love life. And I have been trying, very hard, to resist the notion that I must aspire to getting a partner who has lighter skin than I do.

Even as a kid, I knew it was strange. I hadn’t yet learned the word problematic, hadn’t studied sociology, and didn’t know how to think critically about race, but something about being attracted to the white boys in class, and hating my dark-skinned, kinky-haired, full-lipped face when I looked in the mirror didn’t sit well with me.

When I was in high school, I read The Color Complex, learned about the Clark doll tests, and it hit me. Huh. I was literally taught by society to hate myself. This realization didn’t instantly dismantle the structures of white supremacy in my colonized mind. To this day I’m still working on freeing myself from the years of damage that the media and my history books and the boys who made fun of me at school have done.

Just to be clear, I’m speaking from personal experience, and I don’t think that every single black woman is attracted to white guys because of internalized racism. But I have a feeling that some of us, and perhaps many women of color, are.

In my case, both personal experiences and white supremacy are to blame. Personal experiences include the black boys who made fun of me and made me feel ugly when I was a kid and the black men who have harassed me in public.

Undoubtedly, mass media and Eurocentric beauty standards have also had an effect on my repeated crushes on white guys. White men in mass media are portrayed as handsome, romantic, kind, caring, and ideal partners. Black men in the media are portrayed as lying, cheating, abusive, and delinquent. And throughout my childhood, everyone and everyone would remind me, with or without words, that being a black girl, especially one with darker skin, means being undesirable.

I wanted to make up for that, as do many other black girls. So we would buy skin lightening creams, try to stay out of direct sunlight, and chemically relax our hair or otherwise alter its natural state or appearance. It wasn’t enough, and it never would be. Being black isn’t something you can hide with wigs, weaves, or extensions, no matter how well-done they are.


Let’s talk more about hair for a minute, because it is at the core of black beauty standards. The above picture is probably the only picture I have of myself within the past 10 years with my hair in its natural, uncovered state. Since the idea of being seen with my natural hair meant letting people see me as my most authentic black self, showing it to the world is slightly terrifying.

Viola Davis, who started wearing wigs after developing stress-related alopecia, continued to wear them after her condition was resolved. She described her insecurity about her natural hair in an interview with Vulture: “I wore a wig in the Jacuzzi. I had a wig I wore around the house. I had a wig that I wore to events. I had a wig that I wore when I worked out. I never showed my natural hair. It was a crutch, not an enhancement . . . I was so desperate for people to think that I was beautiful.” I’ve been wearing wigs for the past few years for the same reasons.

The idea of being with a white man was never about the men themselves, who, besides their whiteness, are often mediocre. It’s that being loved by a white man would make up for my perceived inadequacy as a black woman.

Black girls, especially darker-skinned ones, are unwanted. Up until very recently (praise be to Shonda Rhimes), we were not the love interests. Books, TV shows, and film didn’t acknowledge our humanity and complexity, with the occasional exception of the lighter-skinned black girl. The way we are portrayed in the media is representative of real life desirability politics. According to OkCupid’s data on race and attraction, black women are the least desirable among all groups of women.

The first, and only, boyfriend I ever had was a white guy. As inexperienced and anxious I was about relationships, he made me feel comfortable because he made me feel good about myself. I was very insecure, so I needed him to frequently tell me that I was beautiful.

I realize now, years later, that I probably had no business being in a relationship with anyone at the time. But he was hard to resist, because by just saying simple, trite things about how much he cared about me, he made me feel like royalty. Because this white man had chosen me, somewhere in the depths of my subconsciousness, where the internalized racism dwells, I knew that I had won the jackpot. Knowing that he had chosen me instead of a white woman somehow compensated for my blackness and made me feel special. It proved that I was actually beautiful (despite what I had been made to believe my whole life) and capable of being loved. And as an added bonus, if we ended up having kids, I wouldn’t worry as much about my daughter (who would have lighter skin and curlier hair than I do) having the same self-esteem issues that I did as a child.

The guy I mentioned at the beginning of this piece ended up flat-out rejecting me. Which was totally fine, and expected. What I felt afterward were the normal symptoms of “being rejected by your crush” syndrome: humiliation, hurt, longing, loneliness. But also disappointment in knowing that I’ve once again failed to achieve the ultimate goal of obtaining the white male gaze. I felt worthless: I’m not pretty, or smart, or interesting. I, as a black woman, am not worthy of loving, or at least that’s how I felt. I’m working on realizing I am worthy of those things (in general, not just from white men) unlearning years’ worth of lies I’ve been told about my value.

Loving oneself as a woman of color is as vital to survival as it is revolutionary. That’s why the idea of a young black girl wanting to look like her brought tears to Janelle Monáe’s eyes during an appearance on The Queen Latifah Show. This is why Lupita Nyong’o’s rise to fame as a dark-skinned black woman is so relevant to our community. And why at the SAG Awards Viola Davis thanked the creators of How to Get Away With Murder “for thinking that a sexualized, messy, mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old, dark-skinned African-American woman who looks like me.”

Thankfully, we live in a time when it is becoming both legal and acceptable for people to date whomever they want. I don’t think my attraction to white men is inherently problematic. Though since it has been a pattern, I do think that it’s necessary to analyze it and interpret racial patterns of attraction with a sociological lens, and I would encourage everyone to do the same. Be attracted to whomever you want, but understand why you have these attractions and how they perpetuate racism if you’re white, and how they reflect internalized racism if you’re a person of color.

Keziyah Lewis wrote this article for xoJane.

Read next: I Am a ‘Conscious’ Black Woman Who Fell for a White Man

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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 Books

Controversy About This Feminist Manifesto Is Nothing New

Betty Friedan
Jim Seymour—;The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Betty Friedan pictured in 1965

Feb. 19, 1963: Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique is published

To feminists of the Lean In era, the revolutionary premise of The Feminine Mystique — that women could, and should, be more than full-time homemakers — seems so dated it’s almost quaint. But its lasting subversiveness is apparent in its listing on a conservative magazine’s 2005 roster of the “Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries.” Betty Friedan’s feminist manifesto, published on this day, Feb. 19, in 1963, made the list at #7 (just behind Marx’s Das Kapital) more than four decades after becoming a wildly controversial bestseller.

The magazine found her slightly less noxious than Hitler, whose Mein Kampf measured up at #2, but took issue with her characterization of stay-at-home mothers as prisoners of “comfortable concentration camps.”

The Feminine Mystique provoked even wider outrage in its day. Even before the book came out, there were those who couldn’t stand it — within the very publishing house that ultimately produced it. According to the New York Times, while the president of W.W. Norton lauded Friedan’s book proposal, calling it “overstated at almost every point, yet entirely stimulating and provocative,” another staffer objected that Friedan’s arguments were “too obvious and feminine.”

“I got very tired of phrases like ‘feminine mystique,’” the staffer said.

The Times gave the book an ambivalent review, calling it provocative and highly readable but also challenging Friedan’s central claims. “It is superficial to blame the ‘culture’ and its handmaidens, the women’s magazines, as she does,” the review alleges. “To paraphrase a famous line, ‘The fault, dear Mrs. Friedan, is not in our culture, but in ourselves.’”

TIME, meanwhile, paid little heed to Friedan and gave more ink to a 1964 book praising traditional stay-at-home motherhood, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Phyllis McGinley. (According to TIME, McGinley insisted that becoming a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet was “an accident, and that her role as a housewife (was) more satisfying.”)

Rebutting the Smith College-educated Friedan and her ilk, who rejected the “sweet, simpering and sort of stupid” feminine ideals of their day, McGinley suggested that wives let their husbands educate them. “The whole duty of a wife is to bolster her husband’s self-esteem,” she writes, per TIME. “A man’s ego bruises easily. It is not nourished like a woman’s by the sheer biological ability to bear children.”

And, after being criticized for undermining the traditional family structure in some circles, she found herself criticized elsewhere for not undermining it enough.

Although she was credited with helping found the second-wave feminist movement, some of the movement’s members found her too tame to lead a revolution. Friedan was no bra-burner, after all. She shaved her legs, wore makeup, dressed stylishly, and, according to TIME, “insisted that it was not necessary to give up femininity to achieve equality.”

In her memoir, as reviewed in TIME, Friedan recalled New York Congresswoman Bella Abzug’s objection to Friedan founding the National Women’s Political Caucus: “‘This is my turf,’ she screamed at me.”

Read TIME’s full review of that memoir, here in the archives: The Friedan Mystique

TIME violence against women

Someone is Finally Starting to Count ‘Femicides’

A man holds a poster depicting slain Ozgecan Aslan during a march of members of Turkey's Bar Association in Ankara, on Feb. 16, 2015 to protest against a law that strengthens the police's power.
Adem Altan—AFP/Getty Images A man holds a poster depicting slain Ozgecan Aslan during a march of members of Turkey's Bar Association in Ankara, on Feb. 16, 2015 to protest against a law that strengthens the police's power.

Domestic violence has been long documented, but one woman in the UK is starting to count all women killed by men--not just current or former partners

With the growing awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault, we rarely use the most concise word for brutality against women: femicide, the murder of a woman. Femicide is rarely tracked by government agencies, but now one woman in the U.K. is beginning to compile a list of women killed by men.

Karen Ingala Smith, chief executive of British anti-violence organization nia, has been keeping track of all women killed by men (all men–not just current or former partners). On her blog, Counting Dead Women, she’s tallied up 126 women killed by men in 2012, 144 in 2013, and 148 in 2014. Smith is just one woman counting up news reports of dead women in her spare time, but she’s the closest thing the U.K. has to an official count of women killed by men. When she was approached by global law firm Freshfields about preventing violence against women, she realized that “they were looking for records of women killed in the UK, the most comprehensive thing they could find was my blog, which isn’t great,” she says

Now, in collaboration with Women’s Aid, an anti-violence non-profit organization, and with support from Deloitte LLP, a financial consulting firm, Smith recently launched the first Femicide Census, just to track UK deaths. Smith said she’s already gotten interest from the Netherlands, Australia, South Africa and Portugal.

Femicide is gaining mass attention all around the world– most recently, in Turkey, where a young woman named Ozgecan Aslan was recently murdered and burned after she tried to fend off a rapist with pepper spray. Crowds incensed by the murder are taking to the streets and social media to demand a change in the culture of violence against women, an issue that is coming out of the shadows.

“We don’t talk about male violence against women enough, we talk about domestic violence,” Smith said. “So there’s this idea that it’s not disproportionally men killing women, it’s people killed in domestic violence. Actually, if you look at the numbers and look at the history of what’s going on, it’s a predominately one-way issue.

The phrase “femicide” isn’t new– it was made used publicly in 1976 by feminist writer Diane E. H. Russell at first International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women in Brussels, Belgium, and has been used in multiple scholarly and policy papers on violence since then. But it hasn’t quite entered our lexicon for the discussion of violence against women, especially in the U.S.

We don’t hear it as consistently in the United States because it’s more of an international term,” explains Ruth Glenn, Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “But we’re probably seeing a resurgence in the term as more attention is focused on international violence against women.”

The U.S. doesn’t track “femicide” specifically, because we tend to call these murders “homicides” or “female homicides.” And while there is a lot of research on fatal domestic violence, (64% of murdered women in 2007 were killed by a current or former partner, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics) the data is not usually presented in the broader context of women being killed by men. One exception is the gun-control advocacy nonprofit Violence Policy Center-– they estimate that 1,706 American women were killed by men in 2012, whether in domestic disputes or not (although victims were 13 times more likely to be killed by a male they knew).

Even if the U.S. isn’t quite on board with the phrasing yet, “femicide” advocates say that the word is a useful way to think about these kinds of murders. Femicide includes any kind of domestic violence that ends in death, rape that ends in murder, honor killings, and any other murder where the victim’s gender is a factor in her death. The UN estimates that of all the women murdered in 2012, almost half were killed by partners or family members, compared to 1 in 20 men. One of the major contributing factors to femicide is many countries is the lack of punishment for offenders, which sends the message that violence against women is normal behavior. In 2013, UN Women called for urgent government actions to prevent femicide and increase punishment of killers, and pursued active projects in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua to achieve that end. But the problem persists– according to a recent report by Al Jazeera, six Mexican women are murdered every day.

So ‘femicide’ doesn’t just refer to the killing of women–it can also refer to the entire system that condones those murders or fails to prosecute those responsible. It’s a similar concept to “rape culture,” except it applies to murder.

“When we talk about genocide and those kinds of terms that are assigned to mass violence, femicide was born,” Glenn added. “I think it’s being used to not only give some political urgency to this, but to help people understand the real crimes that are being committed against women, the mass murder, assault, and harm that’s being done to women across the globe.”

Crimes like the killing of Ozgecan Aslan in Turkey last week. Police have arrested three men in connection to her death, but that may be besides the point. “We’re not just looking at the criminal justice system for the answers,” Smith says. “We need to realize it’s a much bigger societal problem and more ingrained in the core of our culture.”

MONEY retirement planning

What Women Can Do to Increase their Retirement Confidence

Izabela Habur—Getty Images

Knowing how much to save and how to invest can help women feel more secure. Here's a cheat sheet.

Half of women report feeling worried about having enough money to last through retirement, according to a new survey from Fidelity Investments of 1,542 women with retirement plans.

Those anxieties aren’t necessarily misplaced either.

Women have longer projected lifespans than men and even if married, are likely to spend at least a portion of their older years alone due to widowhood.

“So they need larger pots of money to ensure they won’t outlive their savings,” says Kathy Murphy, president of personal investing at Fidelity.

Earlier research by the company found that while women save more on average for retirement (socking away an average 8.3% of their salary in 401(k)s vs. 7.9% for men) they typically earn two-thirds of what men do and thus have smaller retirement account balances ($63,700 versus $95,800 for men).

Also, while women are more disciplined long term investors who are less likely than men to time the market, women are also more reluctant to take risk with their portfolios, says Murphy.

“And if you invest too conservatively for your age and your time horizon, that money isn’t working hard enough for you,” she adds.

How Women Can Increase their Confidence

Financial education can help women reduce the confidence gap, and get to the finish line better prepared, says Murphy.

According to the Fidelity survey, some 92% of women say they want to learn more about financial planning. And there’s a lot you can do for free to educate yourself, notes Murphy. As an example, she notes that many employers now offer investing webinars and workshops for 401(k) participants.

You might also start by reading Money’s Ultimate Guide to Retirement for the least you need to know about retirement planning, in digestible chunks of plain English. In particular, you might check out the piece on figuring out the right mix of stocks and bonds, to help you determine if you’re being too risk averse.

Also, simply calculating how much you need to save for the retirement you want—using tools like T. Rowe Price’s Retirement Income Planner—can help you make plans and feel more secure.

The 10-minute exercise can have a powerful payoff: The Employee Benefit Research Institute regularly finds in its annual Retirement Confidence Index that people who even do a quick estimate have a much better handle on how much they need to save and are more confident about their money situation. Also, according to research by Georgetown University econ professor Annamaria Lusardi, who is also academic director of the university’s Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center, people who plan for retirement end up with three times the amount of wealth as non-planners.

Says Murphy, “We need to let women in on the secret that investing isn’t that hard.”

More from Money.com’s Ultimate Guide to Retirement:

TIME relationships

The Valentine’s Day That Should Have Stopped Me From Getting Married

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xoJane.com is where women go to be their unabashed selves, and where their unabashed selves are applauded

All I wanted to do was to give him a special gift for Valentine's Day


I think it’s safe to say the color most closely associated with Valentine’s Day is red. Red hearts, red roses, red wine. Or in the case of my 2003 Valentine’s Day, red flags.

I was never super-into Valentine’s Day — at least not after elementary school; I would actually take a lot of care choosing my mass-marketed, perforated Valentines at CVS and deciding whichGarfield & Friends” character made the most sense to give to which classmate. Once I got to middle school, I quickly realized it served as an opportunity to feel rejected if I didn’t have a boyfriend or disappointed if I did and he didn’t put as much thought into a gift as I did. (I’m sorry, but a personalized dude-bracelet from Things Remembered is a way more thoughtful gift than a made-in-China teddy bear from Drug Fair.)

Come high school, Valentine’s Day just became uncomfortable. My freshman year, a sophomore boy who had a girlfriend snuck an extremely intense, handwritten poem into my backpack — my first taste of how terrible people can be to their significant others on a day that’s supposed to celebrate them. After that, I don’t even think I acknowledged Valentine’s Day until my sophomore year of college, when I bought the guy I’d been dating for two weeks a frame for his favorite picture of him and his best friend, and he bought me a white negligee; that sufficiently creeped out sexually inexperienced 19-year-old me.

Because every day is Valentine’s Day when you’re in love, I got engaged on a random October day in 2002, at age 23, to a guy I’d been dating for only about half a year. We just knew, you guys, we just knew. Terry (most definitely not his actual name) and I had met through The Onion‘s online personals (do those even exist anymore?) before Internet dating was even remotely normal, and in addition to all the lovey-dovey stuff we were pretty sure we were genuinely feeling, we were intent on proving that rushing into marriage in one’s mid-20s after meeting through a satirical-news website was a totally reasonable thing to do and also probably the wave of the future.

MORE 17 Memorable Kisses Throughout History

The following Valentine’s Day would be our first together. Neither of us cared about it, but in the grips of excited fiancéehood, I thought, hey, why not do a little something special? My idea: Print out and frame the deactivated Onion dating profiles that brought us together.

A few months earlier, I had made the mistake of forgetting to deactivate my profile and was very publicly reminded to when, early in the summer, I became a “featured single” in Time Out New York, which mined The Onion and Nerve for its personals. Terry’s profile was also still active at the time; it was our first time doing online dating and we honestly just forgot that we’d have to proactively disable our listings. After my embarrassing appearance in TONY, he and I both turned off our profiles. We actually took turns doing so at the same computer, and he even unsolicitedly told me his password as a symbol of his trustworthiness.

On the afternoon of February 14, while Terry was at work at a wine shop in our neighborhood, I signed back into The Onion personals for the first time since I’d deactivated my account back in the summer. I figured if I couldn’t find his inactive profile by directly typing in its old URL, it would be okay to sign into his account using the password he’d told me — just this once — so I could access the old profile and print it out. Even the idea of innocently doing that for the sake of the gift made me uncomfortable, though, so I was relieved when, after typing in the URL of his old profile while still signed into my account, it was viewable.

The relief immediately turned to nauseated distress when I realized the profile was still active. I had seen him deactivate it months ago; either he hadn’t done it correctly, or he’d reactivated it at some point since we’d gotten engaged.

It soon became clear that it was the latter, because the content of his profile was completely, horribly, devastatingly different.

“I’m engaged to an idiot who doesn’t know the difference between merlot and cabernet,” it read. “I’m miserable. If you’re an oenophile and aren’t put off by my current situation, let’s talk.”

It took every muscle in my body to keep vomit down; I literally clenched my feet to help stop myself from throwing up. My face was tingling painfully, like when a limb falls asleep. I was too upset to cry — yet.

Feeling like my body was being held together by safety pins, I called Terry. I knew he wasn’t allowed to have his cell phone on the store floor, so I wasn’t surprised when it went to voicemail.

“Terry, you need to come home as soon as possible,” I said, knowing the anger I was trying to keep contained was clear in my voice. “If they let anyone go home early tonight, please make sure it’s you.”

As I waited for him to come home, I started digesting what I’d seen. My fiancé hated me, apparently due to my wine ignorance, and he was actively looking to either cheat on me or leave me for someone else. He hadn’t let on to me that he was unhappy, that my lack of interest in wine or anything else about me was enough to do something so cruel.

An hour later, and shortly after I’d finally started crying, Terry walked through the door.

“What’s wrong?” he said, seeming genuinely concerned.

I handed him a printout of his profile — a much different printout than I had intended to frame for Valentine’s Day.

“What is this?” he said, playing dumb.

“Oh, come on,” I said, my volume already bordering on a yell.

“Uh… wow,” he started. “One of the guys must have done this as a joke,” meaning one of the guys in his sketch-comedy group. He knew I was insecure about whether or not they liked me, so they were an easy scapegoat.

He looked up at me, and one of his eyes crossed. That was his tell. That was what I’d come to identify as the sign he was lying.

“Oh, for goodness’ sake, Terry, don’t lie to me,” I shouted, my face red and wet.

He was quiet for a while. I could tell he just wanted to run, or at least go into a different room, but we lived in a studio apartment. If he felt stuck with me before, I imagine it was infinitely intensified in those moments.

“I’m sorry,” he finally said, sighing. “I’ve been freaking out lately.”

“Why not tell me?” I think I was screeching at this point because our dog, Max, had hidden in the bathroom. “Why do this? Why call me an idiot and look for someone to cheat on me with, and on a public website? The one we met on!”

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” he said. He looked like he might start crying, too.

“Do you want to marry me?” It was a question, but my inflection went down at the end of the sentence.

Without hesitation, he said, “Yes.”

“I don’t believe you,” I replied.

And I shouldn’t have. He wasn’t ready to marry me or anyone else. He wasn’t ready to admit that there were many things about me — many non-wine-related things — that he didn’t like. But after several days of his timid attentiveness, I forgave him.

And after several months of trying to forget a flag so red it was practically on fire, I married him.

I think we actually did love each other, at least a little bit; but more than anything, I think we wanted to not be wrong. We wanted to believe two twentysomethings who couldn’t even make ends meet had made the right decisions, no matter how hasty and immature and delusional those decisions were.

About two years after we got married, we separated — and far more amicably than we’d spent the second year of our marriage. Our goodwill toward each other had run out, and we had matured enough to admit we weren’t right for each other and never had been.

Although I know, looking back, that I should have swallowed my pride and called off the wedding after that Valentine’s Day, there’s no point wasting time regretting how things panned out.

I’m actually really pleased with the balance I’ve developed between being guarded and trusting, and it’s something I’m always fine-tuning. My tendency to give people the benefit of the doubt might prevent me from fully honing my red-flag-detecting abilities, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never marry another guy who calls me an idiot — to my face, on a dating website, or otherwise.

Marci Robin wrote this article for xoJane.

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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