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Commander Lt. Col. Vylius Leskys administeres the Oath of Enlistment to Levani Ilasa, the first woman in the country to be enlisted into 19K - M1 Armor Crewman.
Photo courtesy of the Seattle Army Recruiting Battalion

Two Washington women signed up this week for Army jobs that were previously only open to men.

Loren Ross is the second woman in the country to enlist in infantry since the Army opened the positions up to women earlier this year.

In India, rape is illegal. And the definition of what constitutes "rape" was widened only recently in response to a horrific fatal assault in New Delhi in 2012. Forced penetration by any object in any orifice is now a crime.

Despite this law, some men in India can have sex with a woman against her will. That's because Parliament chose to exempt husbands.

This decision — which makes India one of 49 nations that don't criminalize marital rape — has come under fire from women's rights advocates around the globe.

HBO's new movie Confirmation chronicles the intense confirmation battle for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas after Anita Hill, a former employee, claimed he sexually harassed her.

NPR's Nina Totenberg broke the story to the world in 1991, and she joins the NPR Politics podcast team to reflect on what happened, how it happened and why it still matters.

Equal Pay Day pin
Flickr Photo/Michael Panse (CC BY ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/mhQxLC

Kim Malcolm speaks with Seattle resident Ruchika Tulshyan, author of "The Diversity Advantage: Fixing Gender Inequality In The Workplace," about why companies and managers should be taking the lead on closing the gender pay gap.

To understand the economy, you have to do a lot of measuring. What's bigger? What's growing? What's unequal?

On national Equal Pay Day, women and economists take a hard look at incomes. And their measurements show that after decades of the equal-rights battles, men still get bigger paychecks — sometimes for the same work.

April 12 is National Equal Pay Day
Flickr Photo/Metropolico.org (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/mhj6K8

There's essentially no pay-gap for women or people of color who work for Microsoft. The company has released that data in time for National Equal Pay Day, today.

Microsoft research shows women make 99.8 cents per every dollar made by men in the same company role. The ratio for people of color compared to white employees is dollar-for-dollar, on average.

Wyoming is sometimes called the Equality State — it had the nation's first female governor and was the first territory to give women the right to vote. But that legacy isn't visible on the floor of the state Senate. Just one of the 30 state senators is a woman.

"I am the queen of the Senate. I have my own little tiara," jokes Bernadine Craft, a Democrat who represents the mining town of Rock Springs.

Last month, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a law imposing new limitations on abortion.

And since then, women have been sending Pence a message.

Well, a lot of messages — about their menstrual flow, and their cramps, and their birth control, and their tampon discomfort, and their bloating, and their menopause.

Officer Stephanie Schendel asks the Whole Foods employee what the shoplifters stole.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

We met Bellevue Officer Stephanie Schendel last year, as she made her way through the Washington state police academy

"Ya amar, ya amar."

When I was a teenager, I used to love hearing those words — which mean something like "hey, gorgeous" in Arabic — hissed and whispered at me by men on the street in Cairo, where I spent my summers. I never got that kind of attention in suburban Southern California, where I grew up. But at the Genena Mall in Medinat Nasr on the outskirts of the city, dressed in low-slung jeans and a short-sleeve shirt, I felt like the most beautiful girl in the world.

For decades, Cassandra Steptoe felt like she couldn't talk about her HIV diagnosis with anyone.

"I couldn't forgive myself for getting HIV," says Steptoe, who spent much of her early adult life in and out of jail for shoplifting and burglaries linked to her IV drug use. "But someone told me a long time ago, if you are looking for a reason to feel shame, you can always find it. I learned to look for something else: forgiveness."

In the 1940s, an elite team of mathematicians and scientists started working on a project that would carry the U.S. into space, then on to the moon and Mars. They would eventually become NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (or JPL), but here's what made them so unusual: Many of the people who charted the course to space exploration were women.

Nathalia Holt tells their story in her new book, Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars. Holt tells NPR's Ari Shapiro that the women worked as "computers."

Bill Radke speaks with Lisa Stiffler, author of a GeekWire series following eight women who joined the tech workforce twenty years ago. Stiffler was interested to learn how the women made their way in an industry dominated by men.

According to Donald Trump, he's got an amazing relationship with women.

"I respect women. I love women. I cherish women!" Trump said at political conference last year, but it's a version of a line he repeats often on the campaign trail.

His poll numbers and recent comments, though, tell a slightly different story. Trump's favorability numbers with female voters are low enough that they could cause a problem for him should he be the candidate in the general election.

We all know that cancer screenings are important, but it doesn’t mean they always get done. For some Latina women, a conversation with a peer can nudge them to action.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among Latina women. Dr. Gloria Coronado, epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Oregon, said that’s because Latinas are likely to be diagnosed when the disease is already advanced.

Husky guard Kelsey Plum. The Huskies will play in the Final Four against Syracuse on Sunday.
Gohuskies.com

The Dawgs are headed to Indianapolis.

University of Washington's women's basketball team will play in the Final Four against Syracuse on Sunday.

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Alex Lee/Reuters

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said women should be punished for having abortions if the procedure is illegal in the US. In El Salvador, women are punished for having abortions.

Five star players from the U.S. women's national soccer team have filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, saying that the U.S. Soccer Federation pays the reigning World Cup champions far less than their male counterparts.

Donald Trump said women who undergo abortions should be punished if the procedure is made illegal. In an interview for a town hall meeting to air on MSNBC Wednesday night, Trump said "there has to be some form of punishment" for women.

While most Republican officeholders and candidates oppose abortion rights, few have publicly stated positions on whether there should be legal penalties for women who have abortions. Most believe it is the physicians who perform them who should be prosecuted.

The Marines will begin training the first women for ground combat jobs in June. But it could be a challenge because so far no women recruits have signed up for armor, artillery or infantry positions.

In addition, some 200 women Marines already completed ground combat training last year as part of an experiment. But so far they have chosen to stay in their current jobs, ranging from truck drivers to comptrollers to helicopter refuelers, and have not opted to switch to combat jobs.

File photo of tech computer
Flickr Photo/World Bank Photo Collection (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/eUtLoM

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Natasha Lamb, director of equity research and shareholder engagement for Arjuna Capital, about activist investing and the firm's role in pressuring tech companies to close the gender pay gap.   

On the sixth anniversary of the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the federal health law was back before a seemingly divided Supreme Court Wednesday.

The video, taken at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C., went viral last fall: A school safety officer flips a desk to the floor with a girl seated in it, then flings her across the floor. The student is African-American; the officer is white.

The rights of the religious and the secular clash again Wednesday at the Supreme Court, this time in the controversial context of Obamacare and birth control.

Twitter

Seattleite Amelia Bonow is not the type to whisper about anything. But her abortion was something she kept to herself – until a few days ago.

Air Force Gen. Lori Robinson will be nominated as the next head of U.S. Northern Command, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Friday. If approved, she would be the first female head of a combatant command.

The U.S. military divides the world into geographic regions that are each overseen by a four-star general or admiral directing military operations across the branches of service. None of those combatant commanders has ever been a woman.

Julia Ward Howe is renowned as the poet who woke up one night in an inspired state to pen the lyrics of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," the song that would become the victorious psalm of the Civil War.

But what few know is that the writer, reformer and mother of six who wrote those stirring words – "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord" – was adrift in a lonely war of her own, against a husband who sought to control every aspect of her life, from what she wrote to what she ate.

Last summer, Jacky Alciné learned just how biased computers can be. Alciné, who is African-American, took a bunch of pictures with friends at a concert. Later he loaded them into Google Photos, which stores and automatically organizes images.

Google's software is able to group together pictures of a particular friend, or pictures of dogs, cats, etc. But when it labeled a picture of one of Alciné's friends, who is also African-American, it left him speechless.

It used to be that marriage was when adulthood began for American women. Moving straight out of their parents' house (or a college dorm) and into a house with a husband was simply the expected, preordained path for many women.

But in the past few decades, wedding rings have become optional accessories. And as the American single woman flourished, she also profoundly changed (and is still changing) the economy, politics and the basic social fabric of the U.S.

newborn baby
Flickr Photo/Bridget Coila (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/ahjewq

Bill Radke speaks with retired doula Penny Simkin about how Swedish Medical Center hopes to lower the rate of cesarean sections by hiring 27 doulas as staff members. Research has shown that doulas can reduce the number of c-sections by 50 percent. Swedish is the first hospital in Washington to try this approach.  

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