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Brave Women Are Standing Up for Themselves—and Other Notes from the Week

Catch up on all the news you might have missed with our handy summary of the week’s top stories.

We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.

Harvey Weinstein’s Predatory Behavior Continues to Be Unveiled

Last Thursday, the New York Times published an exposé about Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein, who has allegedly been sexually harassing women, primarily young actresses, for decades. So far, more than two dozen women—including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Ashley Judd—have come forward with stories of Weinstein’s advances, some of which may have happened as early as 1984. Weinstein issued a statement announcing his intention to pursue a leave of absence, but the Weinstein Company board terminated his employment on Sunday. On Tuesday, People reported that Weinstein would be heading to a residential treatment facility and “a spokesperson for Weinstein said, ‘Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.’” As his lewd behavior has come to light, women and men everywhere have been stunned that such flagrant misbehavior managed to go unchecked for so long. The story continues to unfold, but one thing is for sure: the pain this one man has inflicted upon countless women is truly unthinkable. —Victoria Rabuse

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau Pens a Letter to Girls Everywhere

Justin Trudeau recently shared some candid thoughts on feminism with Marie Claire, where in an open letter, he voiced concerns about the future for his young daughter Ella. “I love Ella,” Trudeau said, “and I worry—because as a father, son, husband, and citizen, I witness the unequal obstacles women and girls face every day.” Trudeau not only emphasized the importance of treating women with respect and equality, but also of raising our daughters to be women who recognize that they “are enough.” Trudeau notes that this doesn’t stop with our daughters. As his wife Sophie said, “That’s great—but how are you raising your sons to be strong advocates for women and girls, too?” The Canadian prime minister and his wife both emphasize and recognize the need to teach our sons and our daughters the importance of respecting women's worth. “All of us benefit when women and girls have the same opportunities as men and boys,” Trudeau said. “And it’s on all of us to make that a reality.” —Mary Margaret Olohan

Speaking of Trudeau, Canada Is Dealing with Parliamentary Maternity Leave for the First Time

Apart from his words on feminism this week, Justin Trudeau has also started forming new maternity leave legislation. Karina Gould, Canadian Minister of Democratic Institutions, formally announced last month that she will be having a baby. While Trudeau says that he and his staff are thrilled about this news, it poses an unusual problem: How much maternity leave does the Canadian Minister of Democratic Institutions merit? As reported by TIME, Trudeau says, "She’s going to have a baby in the spring, it’s hugely amazing, but what do we do about maternity leave? This is the first minister in Canada and maybe one of the first in Western democracies to be having a kid." The Canadian prime minister's  has been conscientious about filling his Cabinet with men and women, and claims he is doing everything in his power to ensure that Gould gets as much maternity leave as she needs. "We’re writing this, but we’re writing it together with her, and she gets to help define it, and hopefully we’re get to show that it’s possible to be a minister and a mom, and everything, according to your own choices." —MMO

California Devastated by Raging Fires

Disneyland may be the happiest place on earth, but right now it’s also one of the hottest. The fires that have been ravaging Northern California have been joined by a separate fire in Southern California that has already burned more than 75,000 acres. What’s astounding is not only how quickly the fires have been spreading, but how many people they’ve affected. According to the Washington Post, casualties in California have risen above 20. Residents have lost not only their homes, but also their businesses, with the fires incinerating many of Sonoma’s wineries and vineyards. Amid the devastation, however, a business owner in Cloverdale tells the Washington Post, “Instead of going into panic mode, we’re going into help mode, taking care of our citizens.” —VR

Are Women Really Nicer Than Men?

The results are in: According to The Guardian, the Nature Human Behavior Journal is claiming “women’s brains make them nicer than men.” A recent study by the University of Zurich showed that when dividing groups of men and women equally, “between those who would share a wad of cash and those who would keep it for themselves” showed that men were slightly less likely to share the cash. This, according to The Guardian, is largely due to the amount of dopamine in the brain—oddly enough, subtracting equal amounts of dopamine from women and men’s brains actually results in women being meaner, and men being nicer! As the Guardian points out, it's wise to watch generalizations about the neurological differences between the sexes with a wary eye (even when they are backed by research). Male and female preferences and tendencies can often be used to put us into boxes or as scapegoats for bad behavior. No generalization about our sex can compare with an individual making good decisions and striving for virtue. —MMO

Dove’s New Ad Attacked for Being Racist

A recent Facebook ad for Dove has sparked controversy and outrage due to the literal whitewashing of a black model. The brand set out to promote its new body wash but missed the mark, showing a black woman who, once she peels off a dark-colored T-shirt, turns into a white woman in a light shirt. Dove apologized on Saturday, tweeting: “An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offense it caused.” The Nigerian model featured in the ad, Lola Ogunyemi, wrote to The Guardian saying she took the opportunity because “[representing] my dark-skinned sisters in a global beauty brand felt like the perfect way for me to remind the world that we are here, we are beautiful, and more importantly, we are valued.” The controversial GIF is a small portion of the full, thirty-second ad, which actually shows multiple models of varying races all turning into each other. Ogunyemi says, “There is a lack of trust here, and I feel the public was justified in their initial outrage. Having said that, I can also see that a lot has been left out. The narrative has been written without giving consumers context on which to base an informed opinion.” —VR