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For China’s Single Mothers, a Road to Recognition Paved With False Starts

For a few glorious weeks, Zou Xiaoqi, a single mother in Shanghai, felt accepted by her government.After giving birth in 2017, Ms. Zou, a financial worker, went to court to challenge Shanghai’s policy of giving maternity benefits to married women only. She had little success, losing a lawsuit and two appeals. Then, earlier this year, the city suddenly dropped its marriage requirement. In March, a jubilant Ms. Zou received a benefits check in her bank account.She had barely begun celebrating when the government reinstated the policy just weeks later. Unmarried women were once again ineligible to receive government …

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China Wants to Boost Births. But It’s Wary of Losing Control.

When Fan Jianhua had her third daughter last April, she was afraid that she would be fined for violating China’s birth limits.Ms. Fan was already heavily in debt paying for treatment for her 6-year-old, who has leukemia. To her relief, when she registered her new baby with the police, she didn’t have to pay the $7,500 fine.“I was really happy and could finally relax,” said Ms. Fan, 34, a stay-at-home mother in the central city of Danjiangkou, in Hubei Province.Slowly, in fits and starts, China’s ruling Communist Party is loosening its long-held restrictions over childbirth and …

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A Biologist, an Outlandish Stork and the Army of Women Trying to Save It

Life can change in an instant, as I experienced when I first laid my eyes on a tall and bizarrely striking bird known as the greater adjutant.It was India in 2018, in the northeastern state of Assam. I’d ended up there partly because of absurd circumstances, which involved being filmed for a reality television pilot while navigating a motorized rickshaw through the Himalayas. After traversing some of the highest and most dangerous roads in the world, including the Tanglang La mountain pass, I ventured off to see a traditional selection of endangered animals: Asian elephants, greater one-horned rhinos, western …

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Uncounted in the Unemployment Rate, but They Want to Work

Robert Hesse was expecting an imminent promotion to manager of Sub Zero Ice Cream, a nitrogen ice cream shop in Ventura, Calif., when it shut down in March because of the pandemic.“I like to work,” said Mr. Hesse, a college graduate who turns 26 on Tuesday. “Otherwise I feel like I’m useless.” But he has been reluctant to seek a new job because he lives with his parents, who are not yet vaccinated, and is afraid of bringing the virus home to them.“It’s just health concerns — I don’t really want to be around the general public …

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Powell Says Better Child Care Policies Might Lift Women in Work Force

Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, suggested on Wednesday that improved child care support policies from the government might help pull more women into the labor market.The Fed chief studiously avoided commenting on specific government policy proposals during three hours of wide-ranging testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. But he did acknowledge, in response to a question, that enabling better options for affordable child-care is an “area worth looking at” for Congress.“Our peers, our competitors, advanced economy democracies, have a more built-up function for child care, and they wind up having substantially higher labor force participation …

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For Women in Economics, the Hostility Is Out in the Open

A few years ago, the economists Alicia Sasser Modestino and Justin Wolfers sat at the back of a professional conference and watched Rebecca Diamond, a rising star in their field, present her latest research on inequality. Or at least she was meant to present it — moments after she began her talk, the audience began peppering her with questions.“She must have gotten 15 questions in the first five minutes, including, ‘Are you going to show us the data?’” Dr. Modestino recalled. It was an odd, even demeaning question — the session was in the data-heavy field of applied microeconomics. Of course she …

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Is This the End of Tipping?

Though Ms. Van Duser was mortified, she said she knew she had to quietly sweep away the mess. She needed the tip.She said she used to make $150 to $300 during an eight-hour shift. In the spring and summer, she said she often made as little as $25. She has since left service work, because she did not feel safe with indoor dining, and has done some contract outreach work for One Fair Wage.In a recent national study of more than 1,600 workers, conducted by One Fair Wage and the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, over three-quarters …

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A Hidden Obstacle to Boardroom Diversity

Last spring, Niki Christoff, a senior Salesforce executive, was offered an opportunity to join the board of a publicly traded company alongside her day job. Being a director of a public company is a corporate badge of honor, and the invitation signaled she was poised to break into a club long dominated by men.Ms. Christoff, Salesforce’s senior vice president for strategy and government relations — and one of the “25 Most Powerful Women in Politics,” according to Fortune magazine — was inclined to accept the invitation. So she sought permission from Salesforce.That’s when things got complicated.“I was told …

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Clubhouse, a Tiny Audio Chat App, Breaks Through

SAN FRANCISCO — Robert Van Winkle, who is better known as the rapper Vanilla Ice, held court online last week with more than 1,000 fans.In a rambling conversation, Mr. Van Winkle praised the poses of the 1990s band Bell Biv DeVoe and demurred when asked about his relationship with Madonna. He dispensed advice on real estate and life, saying, “You got to protect your happiness to protect your life.” At one point, an attendee serenaded the gathering with an a cappella version of his hit “Ice Ice Baby.”Several hours later, Mr. Van Winkle confessed that he needed to leave before …

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Breaking the Garage’s Glass Ceiling

Graduating in 2012, Ms. Holler became a full-time mechanic for Subaru Motorsports USA. Between events, she helped build a rally car for Bucky Lasek, a top racer. She was also the top mechanic at the DirtFish Rally School, and rang in 2021 by becoming a mechanic for the Hyundai Motorsport GmbH World Rally Championship test team in Germany.Eliza Leon, a concierge specialist at Manheim Auto Auction in El Paso, comes from a long line of blue-collar tradesmen. Her father was a diesel mechanic for heavy equipment and earth movers. Her maternal grandfather and uncles were also diesel mechanics and four-wheel-drive enthusiasts. …

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