“Gender bias and violent extremism are two sides of the same coin,” one Afghan man who worked as a U.S. government advisor for its Promote project, designed to empower Afghan women through training and by connecting them with educational and economic opportunities, told me.
In the United States, Catholic ethics directives apply to one in six hospital beds, and the prohibited procedures most often involve reproductive health, meaning they disproportionately impact women. And as The New Republic reported in 2016, Catholic ethics restrictions have even spread to secular hospitals through opaque sales and merger contracts that leave patients in the dark about what care is or isn’t available. According to new research published today by the Columbia Law School Public Rights/Private Conscience Project and Public Health Solutions, women of color like Bertram Roberts are even more likely to be treated at Catholic hospitals where religious doctrines dictate medical practices.
“The radical suggestion that women were capable of serving as their own protectors both emerged from and was influenced by larger campaigns for women’s rights,” Rouse explains, noting that even women who didn’t study or practice self-defense, or identify as suffragettes, were still affected by public discussions of each. Self-defense may have at first seemed utilitarian within the boundaries of the status quo; women are vulnerable and (some) women are valuable, therefore women must be able to preserve themselves, or so the logic went. But the inherent radicalism of this idea was unavoidable. It upended the gender narrative of who relied on whom, and why.

Help Wanted—Female

Laura TannenbaumMark Engler / New Republic
While ads for men promised family-supporting wages, opportunities for women tended to involve low-level office work. One call for a “Jill of All Trades” attempted to entice applicants with the suggestion that “occasional overtime at time & ½ will help fill your ‘Piggy Bank.’”