Media Round Up: Week of July 18th


Happy Friday! Welcome to our Media Round Up. Each week we’re collecting and sharing our favorite gender + politics stories. Here’s what caught our eye this week:

More than a laugh: Kamala Harris’ is a sound check for a divided country

Noah Bierman, LA Times

From former President Trump making fun of it, to conservative news sites like Fox Business Network, Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News Network mentioning it at least 151 times over six weeks, Vice President Kamala Harris’s laugh has become a point of focus and critique during her time in office so far. The conversations about her laugh can be viewed as a reflection of the political climate in the country right now. According to Bierman, “seriously, to weigh how the first woman and first woman of color to become vice president is perceived, Kamala Harris’ laugh may provide the ultimate gauge.”

While conservative observers have pointed to Harris’s laugh as a sign of poor communication, among other negative conclusions, others have called the attention on it a reflection of the unfair standards she faces as the first woman, and first Black woman, to hold the Vice Presidency. “’She’s just a person who tries to find joy and happiness in everything,’ said Nathan Barankin, her former chief of staff when Harris was in the Senate and, before that, California’s attorney general.”

Read the full story here.


Democrat Abby Finkenauer is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Chuck Grassley

Brianne Pfannenstiel, Des Moines Register

Abby Finkenauer, one of the first two women to be elected to Congress from Iowa (along with Cindy Axne, who is also considered a possible contender for the Senate), announced this week that she will run for Senate in next year’s midterm election. Finkenauer is vying for the seat currently held by Chuck Grassley, the most senior Republican Senator, and an elected official since 1959. Grassley has not yet announced whether he will seek reelection to what would be his eighth term. Finkenauer cited the Capitol attack in January of this year and the threat it posed to democracy as a motivating factor in her decision to run for office.

Read the full story here.


The pandemic drove women out of the workforce. Will they come back?

Megan Cassella, Politico

Over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, nearly 1.8 million women left the labor force, and women’s participation in the labor force was particularly a hard hit when the economy first shut down. In June 2021, 57.5% of women 20 and older were in the labor force, compared to 59.2% in February 2020. June’s numbers are the lowest in more than 30 years. Currently, over a year into the pandemic, many women are weighing returning to work—a decision that can be particularly challenging for women who are mothers, and especially those in low-wage professions, due to the implications for child care and family time. Economic experts broadly are concerned about the possible detrimental impacts of women staying out of the workforce: “Every 10 percent increase in women working is associated with a 5 percent increase in wages for all workers as overall labor force productivity increases, one University of Akron economist found.” As the Biden-Harris administration and Congress consider legislation related to the child care industry, “The hope now among advocates of those policies is that the pandemic forced a focus on longstanding structural issues and made them impossible to avoid.”

Read the full story here.


Merkel defends legacy on gender, climate, with some regrets

Geir Moulson and Frank Jordans, AP/Washington Post

Angela Merkel has led Germany as Chancellor for 16 years. This week in Berlin, she spoke frankly about her experience and legacy ahead of the end of her tenure in September. Merkel spoke candidly about critiques of her accomplishments regarding gender equality and feminism, saying that she believes she made contributions as Chancellor. She said that she believed it would be easier when she first entered politics and concluded that “promoting women is unthinkable unless there is a change in male behavior patterns, particularly when it comes to sharing the chores of family and career.” Merkel also commented on Germany’s efforts to address climate change and wind down nuclear power.  

Read the full story here.

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