All the Single Ladies of Iran and Swedish Men Explain Things to Me: The Week in Global-Affairs Writing

The highlights from seven days of reading about the world

 Young women fully covered in black chadors walk in front of a mural of Iran's leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei being refurbished on the corner of Revolution Square on March 1, 2012 in Tehran, Iran.
Young women fully covered in black chadors walk in front of a mural of Iran's leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei being refurbished on the corner of Revolution Square on March 1, 2012 in Tehran, Iran. (Kaveh Kazemi / Getty)

More Women in Iran Are Forgoing Marriage. One reason? The Men Aren't Good Enough
Shashank Bengali and Ramin Mostaghim | Los Angeles Times
“More than 3 million educated Iranian women over 30 are unmarried, according to Mizan, the official news agency of Iran’s judiciary. Their numbers are increasing as divorce becomes more common and more women attend universities, exposing them to careers and incomes independent of men who, by law and custom, are supposed to be their guardians.

That is a profound generational shift in a society of 80 million whose theocracy preaches that a woman’s main purpose in life is to be a wife and mother. Clerics promote marriage relentlessly and often cite the prophet Muhammad, who is quoted as saying about his own marriage: ‘He who does not follow my tradition is not my follower.’”

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A ‘Mansplaining’ Hotline? Yes, Actually, Sweden Has One
Erin McCann | The New York Times
“A Swedish union has set up a hotline for workers to report instances of ‘mansplaining’ as part of a weeklong effort to raise awareness of a certain kind of condescending elocution that men use to explain to women things they already understand.

Well, actually, it’s not all men who do it, of course, but a certain kind of man. You know him: He is probably getting ready to mansplain this article to you.”

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Chipping Away at the Patriarchy, One Barnacle at a Time
Matt Goulding | Slate
“The González sisters have the barnacle business in their blood. Both of their grandmothers were percebeiras, women who scratched out a living from the cracks and crevices of the Atlantic coast. Their maternal grandfather was called on to fight with Franco in the Spanish Civil War, and though he made it home alive, he never fully returned. With eight children and a local economy driven exclusively by farming and fishing, his wife took to the rocks to feed the family. After collecting a cache of percebes, she would travel 30 kilometers up the coast to Vigo with baskets of barnacles on her head to sell at the city market.”

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Somali Refugee Makes History in U.S. Election
Doualy Xaykaothao | NPR
“She's a former refugee, a Muslim, a mom of three, and now the first Somali-American lawmaker in the United States.

‘This really was a victory for that 8-year-old in that refugee camp,’ Ilhan Omar, 34, said. ‘This was a victory for the young woman being forced into child marriage. This was a victory for every person that's been told they have limits on their dreams.’

Omar is the youngest of seven children. She and her family fled from the Somali civil war and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya. When she came to the United States in 1995, she spoke only Somali. As her English improved, she began translating for her grandfather at political events in the Twin Cities. Today, the Minneapolis organizer is well-versed in business administration and politics.”

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Why Leaving Women Out of Trump’s Cabinet Isn’t Just Wrong—It’s Dangerous
Valerie Hudson and Christina Asquith | PRI’s the World
“When Justin Trudeau was elected prime minister of Canada and appointed a precedent-shattering 50-50 ratio of men and women to his cabinet, his pithy comment was, ‘It’s 2015.’

Under Donald Trump's administration, the US is looking more like the 1970s. Fewer women are being considered by Trump for leadership positions than in any other administration since President Gerald Ford.

That’s not just politically incorrect—it will lead to poorer decision making. And given that Trump has said he plans to expand the US military and take a harder-line approach toward adversaries such as ISIS, it’s also potentially dangerous.”

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The Teen-Age Bridges of Georgia
Sophie Pinkham | The New Yorker
“Although early marriage is often associated with longstanding tradition, in Georgia the practice increased dramatically during the period of war and economic instability that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union—which, for all its faults, had increased women’s access to education and work outside the home. In rural areas of Georgia, which has one of Europe’s highest rates of early marriage, young brides today are still kidnapped, a practice that was forbidden in Soviet times and has been punishable with a prison sentence since 2004.”