We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Thank God This Week Is Over
Much of the nation remains in shock after an election that surprised pollsters and voters alike. Going into election day, nearly every poll predicted Hillary Clinton as the clear winner, but by the end of the day (or rather the early morning hours of Wednesday), Donald Trump had 279 electoral votes and became president-elect. Trump’s win shows that his disparaging comments about and alleged action against women didn’t deter as many from voting for him as some predicted. One exit poll showed that “54 percent of women backed Clinton compared to 42 percent for Trump” (largely due to the support of white women).
By the time the results were announced at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, the crowds had already been dismissed from Clinton’s election quarters—the Javits Center in Manhattan—a stunning structure with a literal glass ceiling. Trump delivered an even-keeled acceptance speech at the midtown Hilton, expressing a desire to be president for “all Americans.” Clinton’s concession speech came the next day at 11:30 a.m. In it, she commiserated with supporters (“this is painful”), encouraged them to have open minds about president-elect Trump, and encouraged women and girls to not give up hope of leadership. “I know no one has shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will.”
She’s right; someday someone will. The flourishing of women in this country does not depend solely on Clinton’s election. We still are a country where a woman can compete toe-to-toe with a man in a presidential race—that’s quite an accomplishment of hers. But she’s not the first female leader, and she won’t be the last. —Mary Rose Somarriba
It’s Not All Bad News for Women in this Election, Either
The glass ceiling may have held firm on the presidency Tuesday night, but this election wasn't all bad news for women in politics. The number of women of color in the U.S. Senate quadrupled on Tuesday. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) will be joined this term by three new women of color: Tammy Duckworth (Illinois), Kamala Harris (California), and Catherine Cortez Masto (Nevada). And in Minnesota, Ilhan Omar was elected to the State House of Representatives. She is a former refugee and the first ever Somali-American Muslim woman elected to a state legislature.
Although we’ll have to wait longer for our first female president, it’s good to see that women are winning more and more offices across the country. I hope stories like these will continue to inspire women who feel called to leadership, whether in small businesses or in our nation’s highest offices. —Emily Mae Schmid
Protests Take Place Across the Country
Thousands of people have been gathering across the country to protest the results of Tuesday's election, with anti-Trump protests in New York, Chicago, and Boston. Protesters have been chanting things like "Not my president" and "We want better." One thing is very clear: There is a lot of fear and anger on both sides of the political divide, and the president-elect is going to have his work cut out for him to bring about unity and peace. —Sophie Caldecott
French Women Walk Out for Equal Pay
Elsewhere in the world, on Monday, women all across France walked out of their offices in protest against the country’s gender pay inequality. This movement follows many others in Europe, including a major protest in Iceland just a few weeks ago when thousands of women left work early. The significance of the time of walkout—4:34 p.m. on November 7—essentially highlights the time when women stop getting paid for the work year. “If women were earning as much as men,” wrote one French newsletter, “they could stop working on November 7 at 4:34 p.m.” According to Eurostat, women earn on average 16.1 percent less than men. The walkout went viral on social media, as seen with the hashtag #7novembre16h34 on Twitter and the more than 10,000 women who expressed interest on the group’s Facebook page.
France’s women’s rights minister, Laurence Rossignol, told Le Parisien: “When women protest, they make visible what is invisible; when they speak their outrage and raise collective indignation even higher, I support them.” Other officials spoke positively of the event, in the hopes that raising this awareness will soon sanction change for women everywhere. —Mary Brodeur
Prince Harry Decries Public Criticism of His Girlfriend Meghan Markle
This week Prince Harry not only confirmed he’s dating Meghan Markle, but he also released a rare palace statement asking the media to stop harassing her. Rumors started swirling weeks ago that the fourth in line to the throne is dating the American actress. Since then, tabloids have been sensationalizing many stereotypes about Markle, whose mother is black and father is white. She is also being slammed for being a divorced American actress. The statement revealed that Markle and her mother have both been harassed and chased by reporters, which has led the prince to fear for both her and her family’s privacy and safety. In the plea, Prince Harry claims the British coverage and social media harassment has crossed a line. This topic is a sensitive issue for the prince and his older brother, who lost their mother, Princess Diana, in 1997 after her car crashed upon being pursued by paparazzi. “Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.” This act of chivalry I’m sure would make his mother proud. —Katie Faley
Muslim Woman Named Next CoverGirl
Beauty vlogger Nura Afia was just selected to be CoverGirl’s next ambassador. This marks the first time CoverGirl will feature a woman wearing a hijab. Twenty-four-year-old Afia is most known for her social media presence on Instagram and YouTube, where she has more than 215,000 subscribers and her makeup tutorials have millions of views. "It feels so surreal," she reacted in a statement from CoverGirl. "Honestly, growing up and being insecure about wearing the hijab, I never thought I would see Muslim women represented on such a large scale. It means the world to me, and I’m so honored to be a part of this campaign with CoverGirl.”
It's refreshing to see CoverGirl take another step toward breaking free of narrow beauty standards in the mainstream media. Afia demonstrates that beauty is more than face or race or religion. She’s also nixing stigmas against the hijab—that it is far from a symbol of oppression and rather one that can represent courage and freedom. “It is a reminder that the hijab can take us to amazing places and not hold us back from achieving our wildest dreams like some people say it will,” she says. “It’s more about including us and making us feel like we matter. It’s about them finally showing us that they know we are beautiful, too.” —MB
There’s a Craze to Pose as Mannequins
Emerging this week to join a long line of Internet fads is the latest viral video trend—the mannequin challenge. Videos of people frozen in place, resembling mannequins, took the Internet by storm with the hashtag #MannequinChallenge sprinkled amid the election coverage flooding social media this week. Though the trend first gained traction among teenagers—as most Internet sensations do—with entire high schools and football teams participating, celebrities and politicians soon latched onto the movement as well. As the New York Times put it: “It’s goofy, it’s creative, it’s innocent fun. That means we must turn to the inevitable question: Now that there’s a good thing, how long until adults ruin it?”
Adele, Beyoncé and Hailey Baldwin are just a few of the famous faces who caught a hold of the trend—pausing time to accept the challenge. No one seems to know where the trend started, and it probably doesn’t matter because a new sensation will undoubtedly be sweeping our Twitter feeds shortly, labeling the mannequin challenge a thing of the past. —Deanna Rosa