In this week’s Wednesday 5, a legacy of powerful women at The Washington Post; Indian women fight back in the Pink Sari Revolution; women who are having it all without having children; a new superheroine is in town, and she wears a burka; and a 58-year-old embraces her body in a bathing suit.



A Legacy of Powerful Women at The Washington Post

Katharine Graham

Katharine Graham

By now you’ve probably seen the headlines that Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, has purchased The Washington Post for $250 million in cash! Just a few days prior, The New York Times profiled the Post’s Katharine Weymouth, the 47-year-old, fourth-generation publisher of the Post and granddaughter to Katharine Graham, the newspaper’s pioneering publisher and the first woman to run a Fortune 500 company. What’s marked the Post‘s leadership over the years is a storied legacy of powerful women who have stood at the organization’s helm. That legacy now includes Katharine Weymouth, who took over in 2008, and who has been asked to stay on as publisher by Bezos. Even with this new shot of energy from Amazon’s Bezos, Weymouth’s task is a formidable one. Sheryl Stolberg of The New York Times writes:

“Now, in an exceedingly difficult climate for newspapers, Ms. Weymouth is charged with saving the crown jewels. In a city and a clan filled with expectations for her, that is no easy task. She is carving her path in a capital, and an industry, vastly changed from the one her grandmother inhabited when big-city newspapers were flush with advertising. . .”

Read more: “Katharine Weymouth Takes Charge at the Washington Post



Pink Sari Revolution

SariHave you heard of the Pink Sari Gang?  It’s certainly not about ladies who lunch. The Pink Sari Gang is behind the growing Pink Sari Revolution in India. They are a group of women, dressed in pink saris, who have been fighting back against sexual violence, oppression of the poor, and corruption in the government—and their stick-carrying, take-it-to-the-streets approach has been successful. The all-woman vigilante Gulabi Gang in Northern India and their charismatic leader, Sampat Pal, who acts as judge and jury for girls and women who are being abused by outlawed patriarchal traditions and the caste system, have become the subject of a book and several documentaries.

Click here for an excerpt from the new book, Pink Sari Revolution, written by Amana Fontanella-Khan.




Having It All Without Having Children

Screen-Shot-2013-08-01-at-8.13.45-AMThe American birthrate is at a record low. More women than ever are choosing not to have children. “The decision to have a child or not is a private one, but it takes place, in America, in a culture that often equates womanhood with motherhood,” writes Lauren Sandler in TIME‘s “The Childfree Life.” Yes, so you can imagine, as Sandler explains, the backlash and criticism that women still face when they are public about their choice not to procreate. But Sandler says it gets better. “Women who choose not to become mothers are finding new paths of acceptance. As their ranks rise—and as the community of adults without kids diversifies in terms of race, education levels and political affiliations — so do positive attitudes about being able to lead a fulfilling, childless life. Along the way, these women are inventing a new female archetype, one for whom having it all doesn’t mean having a baby.”

Our own Eleanore Wells, who writes about her exploits in A Spinsterlicious Life, was also quoted in the article:

“Eleanore Wells, a market researcher in New York City, says that even in her mid-50s, she finds judgment at every turn. “So many women take my choice personally,” she says. Recently, she told me, a woman on the subway inquired if she had children and then asked, aghast, “Who is going to take care of you when you’re old?” Wells wanted to reply that nursing homes are filled with parents, but she says she just smiled, went home and packed her bags for an annual trip to Martha’s Vineyard with friends.

Read more: “The Childfree Life”



The Burka Avenger

Too many times we have lamented the current state of television for our girls. Well, there’s a new superheroine in town. And she’s fully clothed. The Burka Avenger, Pakistan’s new superheroine, is drumming up a lot of buzz and controversy. In this week’s dose of inspiration, take look at the new superhero for girls (and us all), a young teacher equipped with martial-arts moves and a secret weapon, her burka.



Roz Warren Live!

Did she write a New York Times blog, “At Ease with a Body Fighting Gravity,” that pictured her exulting in trying on Speedos in a store dressing room with the man in her life looking on? Yes! Did he love it? Yes! Is this an unlikely scenario? Yes! So Roz Warren, 58 (our Roz Warren, wry commentator on all things vexing and perplexing), got a call a few months ago asking if she’d like to appear on the Today show. You’ve read her Women’s Voices takes on many wacky topics—being a middle-aged groupie; recycling her husband; triumphing over a seat-hog on the train; trying not to curse in the library. Now see her as she appeared this past Monday on Today, poised, serious as the lawyer she used to be and smartly dressed in Eileen Fisher. Her one demand when Today called with the invitation: “As long as I don’t have to appear in a bathing suit.”


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