In tonight’s Dispatch: a Japanese MP apologises for saying child-free women are a burden; an Ivy League student protests by presenting her thesis in her underwear; and Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins is given an incredible pay rise.
Japanese MP apologises for saying child-free women are a burden on the state
A Japanese MP has been accused of sexism for saying that young women who didn’t have children were a burden on the state.
Kanji Kato, who represents the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said at a party meeting that women should have at least three children to help boost Japan’s drastically falling birth rate.
Couples who are capable of having children should have “three or more”, Kato said, “to make up for couples who cannot bear a child no matter what they do”.
He added that whenever he meets women who don’t plan on getting married, he tells them they will end up in care homes paid for by taxes from other people’s children.
Kato’s comments provoked outrage among female MPs in Japan. He has since apologised, saying in a statement: “Although I never intended to discriminate against women, I retract the remarks I made because they could have been interpreted as such.”
Read more on this story at BBC News.
Ivy League student delivers thesis in underwear to protest professor
A student at Cornell University in the US stripped down to her bra and knickers to present her senior thesis, in protest at a professor she said shamed her for her clothing.
Letitia Chai said that she wore a shirt and denim shorts to deliver a trial run of her thesis presentation to her course instructor, Professor Rebekah Maggor. Maggor told her that her shorts were “too short” and her clothing would distract “men’s attention” from her presentation, Chai claimed.
After another male student chimed in to say that presenters had a “moral obligation” to dress conservatively, Chai ran from the room. She said that Maggor followed her and asked whether her mother would approve of her clothes. Chai responded that her mother was “a feminist” and proceeded to strip down to her underwear before returning to the room to finish her presentation.
At her final presentation, Chai wore the same clothes as during her rehearsal, and once again stripped down to her underwear. More than half of the 44 people watching her presentation also stripped off in a show of solidarity.
In a statement, Maggor disputed that she had told Chai not to wear certain clothing. “I do not tell my students what to wear, nor do I define for them what constitutes appropriate dress,” she said.
Women in the World has more on this story here.
Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins negotiates record-breaking raise
Director Patty Jenkins will make an astonishing $9million (more than £6.5m) for her work on the forthcoming Wonder Woman 2 – making her the highest-paid female film director ever.
Jenkins was widely praised for her direction of the first Wonder Woman film, which broke the record for the highest-grossing film directed by a woman and became the most successful superhero origin movie of all time.
However, she was reportedly paid just $1m for that film – no small potatoes by ordinary-person standards, but a drop in the ocean when compared to the astronomical fees usually raked in by male directors of blockbuster movies. As part of the terms of her agreement to direct and co-write the script for Wonder Woman 2, Jenkins negotiated a raise of around 900%.
In October, Jenkins spoke about her sense of responsibility to ensure she was earning the same as her male equivalent would for a film like Wonder Woman 2.
“Women who have not been in a system that allows them to build up the same level of pay as men are not able to be paid the same forever if that’s the way it continues,” she said. “You have to ask for it to happen, and you have to ask when you’re the appropriate person.”
Read more on this story at Complex.
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Images: Louis Amal / Unsplash / Getty Images