U.S. President Donald Trump ruffled feathers during his visit to Europe last week. Aside from pushing past Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic and engaging in a hand-shake-off with new French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump scolded Germany for its trade surplus and did not commit the U.S. to staying in the Paris climate accord.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel seemed to issue a response in a Bavarian beer tent in Munich during a campaign rally on Sunday. She signaled that Europe can no longer depend on the U.S. as a reliable partner. “The times in which we can fully count on others are over to some extent, as I have experienced in the past few days,” she said. “We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands.”
Politico argues that too much is being made of Merkel’s remarks; that the chancellor carefully chose the qualifiers “fully” and “some extent” to subtly distance herself from Trump. She was not throwing in the towel on European-American relations entirely.
Bloomberg, meanwhile, called Merkel’s comments her “strongest indication yet that Europe and the U.S. under President Donald Trump are drifting apart” and said the speech was an instance of Merkel “projecting herself as a defender of global stability.”
The German chancellor, who’ll seek her fourth term in a September election, has been saddled with that title since Trump was voted into the White House, but she’s shied away from it in the past, calling the characterization “absurd.” She showed no signs of such deference on Sunday. After she spoke, Merkel took a swig from a giant tankard of beer to the delight of Internet meme makers who called it “the most German thing ever” and saw it as evidence of the chancellor’s newfound swagger.
Leading the pack
Amina Mohammed, Nigeria’s former environmental minister and the daughter of a herdsman, recently became the United Nations’ No. 2 when she assumed the role of deputy secretary general for new UN chief António Guterres. Her job entails helping the UN deliver on its development and peacekeeping commitments in an era when the U.S. president has openly questioned the organization’s purpose and proposed cuts to foreign aid. Mohammed says the UN needs to be better at communicating “the effect that we have on the ground and the lives that we change.” If the UN can improve on that front, she says, “we will see the United States doing probably…more.”
A first First Gentleman
At the NATO summit in Brussels last week, the wives and partners of world leaders posed for a photo-op. Included in the mix was Luxembourg’s “First Gentleman” Gauthier Destenay, who’s married to Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel, the world’s only openly gay prime minister. The pair married in 2015 when Luxembourg legalized same-sex marriage and had been in a civil partnership when Bettel won the premiership in 2013.
Cannes honors Coppola
Sofia Coppola has become the second woman in Cannes Film Festival history to win best director. She took home the award for her work on The Beguiled, a remake of a Southern gothic set during the Civil War that stars Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman. Director Maren Ade accepted the prize on behalf of Coppola, who thanked her parents as well as the director Jane Campion for being “a role model and supporting women filmmakers.”
[bs-link link=https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/28/movies/cannes-film-festival-winners-the-square-sofia-coppola.html” source=”New York Times”]
Gunning for it
The first group of women graduated from U.S. army infantry training earlier this month—the first in more than two centuries for the American infantry. Following allegations that it had lowered standards to help the first women graduate from its elite Ranger School two years ago, the Army has taken pains to avoid making any exceptions for infantry boot camp: men and women lug the same rucksacks, throw the same grenades and shoulder the same machine guns.
In a profile of post-election Hillary Clinton, New York Magazine‘s Rebecca Traister re-examines the role sexism played among voters and argues that Clinton herself is one of the many women awakened by the outcome: “She is much more comfortable talking about gender in the aftermath of her historic run than she ever was during it.”
A conflicted character
In The Atlantic, Maya Rupert recalls that as a child, she imagined that the fictional character of Wonder Woman was—like her—black, since Rupert related to the heroine’s sense of otherness. “[A]s a girl, I most commiserated with Wonder Woman when she sought to reconcile her inner strength and ferocity with the need of others to see her as peaceful and feminine,” she writes.
Single mom stigma
When Japan’s economic bubble burst some 25 years ago, it created what some experts are calling a “lost generation”—a whole tier of Japanese children born to a single parent who works but lives below the poverty line. Single mothers are at a significant disadvantage since they’re stigmatized for being unwed parents. Plus, a lack of affordable child care and the prevalence of lower-paid, irregular jobs make it difficult for women in general to work after having children.
For more than 35 years, the legendary Japanese rock band Shonen Knife has been singing about food, writing songs with titles like “Wasabi,” “Hot Chocolate” and “Sushi Bar.” To promote their latest album Adventure, the three-woman band that opened for Nirvana in the 1990s is currently on a “Ramen Adventure Tour” in the U.S., visiting America’s hottest ramen restaurants by day and playing gigs at night. Frontwoman Naoko says she was too embarrassed to sing about romantic love when she started the band, but love of food was different. “I found that eating delicious food is the most important thing for people,” she says. “It’s a kind of universal topic.”
In what seems to be a growing global trend among institutional investors, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors—whose members have over $1.1 trillion in funds under management—have pledged to vote down boards that aren’t making sufficient progress on gender diversity.
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