–She Reads (1962), Brian T. Kershisnik–



Early NASA computers (Source: NASA)

Hidden Figures: The untold story of the black women mathematicians who powered early space exploration.

What programming’s past reveals about today’s gender pay gap.

Rural Indian girls chase big-city dreams.

Donald Trump’s new anti-abortion letter should terrify you.

Making House: Notes on domesticity

Lastly, can it be summer break again, please?



  • Does Rosie like Riveting? A new NBER working paper on occupational tastes of men and women. The “results suggest that women may care more about job content, and this is a possible factor preventing them from entering some male-dominated professions.”







  • Does exposure to female colleagues reduce discrimination against them? A recent paper  in the European Economic Review examines this question in an interesting set-up. The authors “study discrimination among recruits in the Norwegian Armed Forces during boot camp. In a vignette experiment, female candidates are perceived as less suited to be squad leaders than their identical male counterparts. Adding positive information leads to higher evaluations of the candidates, but does not reduce the amount of discrimination. The boot camp provides an ideal setting for studying inter-group contact. We find that intense collaborative exposure to female colleagues reduces discriminatory attitudes: Male soldiers who were randomly assigned to share room and work in a squad with female soldiers during the recruit period do not discriminate in the vignette experiment.”


  • Indian gymnast, Dipa Karmakar, just missed an Olympic medal by a small margin. She is the first Indian female gymnast ever to compete in the Olympics. Dipa is one of only five women worldwide who have successfully completed the Produnova, the most difficult vault currently performed in women’s gymnastics. Here is an excellent article by Sharda Ugra of ESPN on Dipa, on the northeastern state of Tripura where she comes from, and on the story behind gymnastics’ unusual popularity there. Dipa doesn’t like “all the dancing stuff” in women’s gymnastics. “She would rather throw herself into a routine without any frills or coquetteish moves – just like the men in their floor exercises, minus even the music. That idea in women’s gymnastics is, however, almost heretical.”


  • The American Bar Association officially bans the use of misogynistic terms such as “honey” and “darling.” Meanwhile, a study finds that more than 50% of women in advertising face sexual harassment. It seems the Mad Men era is far from over.


  • Bridal slaves. “India has the world’s largest number of slaves, among them are an increasing number of women and girls sold into marriage.” Marriage market consequences of sex-imbalances?



  • A Radiolab episode, Staph Retreat, about two female academics at Nottingham—a microbiologist and a historian—who chanced upon a 9th Century Anglo-Saxon remedy using onion, garlic and part of a cow’s stomach to cure an antibiotic-resistant superbug. Fascinating! A quick summary here.
  • Have you seen the Da Da Ding video that features Indian sportswomen? Highly recommended, especially if you love rap, but perhaps with headphones! Some enterprising folks have also made a new version that features everyday Indian women who have been “doing it anyway, for centuries. Without appreciation, without support, often, in very difficult conditions. With great cooperation. Definitely without shoes that cost more than what they earn in a month.” And, if you do not recognize the athletes in the Nike video–most people do not–meet them here. It is great that Nike chose to feature the relatively unknown sportswomen and didn’t simply go to Sania Mirza (currently ranked world no. 1 in women’s doubles tennis) and Saina Nehwal (ranked world no. 1 in women’s badminton in 2015) who are at least widely recognized in India, if not globally.
  • Pro-Life, Pro-Choice, Pro-Dialogue: Krista Tippet talks to reproductive rights activist, Frances Kissling, and Christian ethicist, David Gushee, for a more nuanced discussion of abortion rights.
  • Not gender-related per se, but here is an excellent series from This American Life that reminds us of the humanity of Muslim refugees even as the politicians, the media, and a lot of us collectively continue to stereotype and caricature them.

A bunch of us from our show went to refugee camps all over Greece. We found people falling in love, kids mad at their parents for dragging them to Europe, women doing their laundry in a baseball stadium locker room, and hundreds of people living at a gas station—sitting next to the pumps, smoking. Also: wild pigs. 57,000 refugees are stuck in Greece, making homes in some surprising locations. We hear what that’s really like.



Indian athlete, Dutee Chand

(Image courtesy: The New York Times)

+ The humiliating practice of testosterone-testing female athletes was recently challenged by an Indian athlete, Dutee Chand. In its decision, “the Court of Arbitration for Sport sus­pended the policy until July 2017 to give the I.A.A.F. time to prove that the degree of competitive advantage conferred by naturally high testosterone in women was comparable to men’s advantage.” Meanwhile, Dutee has qualified for the Rio Olympics. For more about the history of this murky aspect of sports, read this article in the NYTimes.

+ A new paper examines the effect of gender-neutral tenure-extension policies in US universities. The authors find that these well-intentioned policies unintentionally “advanced the careers of male economists, often at women’s expense.”

+ Another new paper by Heather Sarsons, a Ph.D. student at Harvard Kennedy School, finds that female co-authors receive less credit than male co-authors in economics.

+ Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant describe the evidence on women pulling other women down. Again, it turns out, that women are judged more harshly than men for the same behavior. Here Lena Dunham chats with Sheryl about similar things.

+ Freakonomics discusses what gender barriers are made of.