The 9 Most Important News Stories Affecting Women Right Now

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If you tuned out the world over the weekend, it's time to start tuning back in. However, if you'd like to limit your news consumption, though, you've come to the right place. All you have to do is take a look at the most important news stories affecting women right now, and then you can go about your business.

The fact is, there's a lot swirling around in the news these days, and you can only keep up with so much. You're only human, right? There are certain news stories that are especially important for women, so if you have to pick and choose what you want to read on any given day, then these are the stories that you can read now and then keep following up with.

It may seem like there's been a dip in important stories for female readers lately just because the president hasn't said anything obviously sexist in the last 48 hours, but don't be fooled. Now more than ever, it's important to be engaged. That said, it's also necessary to choose where you put your attention. Now, without further ado, here are nine of the most important stories affecting women right now.

1. Neil Gorsuch Has Thoughts On Maternity Leave

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Like so many men before him, Neil Gorsuch apparently has opinions on the female experience in the workplace. One of his former law students wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee alleging that Gorsuch made comments in a class about how women often take advantage of maternity leave benefits soon after starting new jobs. The student, Jennifer Sisk, said that otherwise she thought of him highly, but that this seemed quite discriminatory to her. However, another previous student, Will Hauptman, refuted Sisk's claim, and Gorsuch's team said Sisk misunderstood the comment, Politico reported.

The allegation, though, is especially important now, as Gorsuch's confirmation hearings began Monday.

2. How The ACA Repeal Affects Women

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This isn't exactly the newest news, but it's important enough that you should keep following it to see what changes happen. The Republican Obamacare repeal and replace plan in its current state looks like it'll be hugely problematic for women everywhere, starting with the defunding of Planned Parenthood and going down through all of the problematic changes.

Keep your eyes on this one and get in touch with your congressmen and women about it, because it's absolutely essential that this plan not go through.

3. The U.S. Women's Hockey Team Might Go On Strike

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After years of reportedly noticing inequality in the way that USA Hockey treats its men's and women's national teams, the U.S. women's national team is threatening to go on strike before the world championships begin at the end of March. The players claim they often have to supply their own equipment, and the umbrella organization invests very little money in development the women's hockey program, in huge contrast with what they do on the men's side. A statement from USA Hockey's executive director read, "We acknowledge the players’ concerns and have proactively increased our level of direct support to the Women’s National Team as we prepare for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.”

It's OK if women's hockey isn't a sport that you've spent hours following; it's enough to note that this is another arena where the fight for equality is taking place, and you should support the team the next time that you hear that they're taking to the ice. Did I mention that they won a silver medal in Sochi and the last two world championships, and they're still having to fight to get paid enough? Yeah, that's a thing.

4. The EU Passed An Anti-Muslim Hijab Law

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According to the latest decision in an European Union court, employers in the EU can now bar their employees from wearing a hijab to work without it constituting discrimination. While there have been prohibitions of the wearing of religious symbols in public in European countries for a long time now, this is an exceptional target on the backs of Muslim women.

5. The Refugee Crisis Is Worse For Women

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Approximately 55 percent of the refugees coming to Europe are women, and they're having an especially hard time of it for many reasons. The lack of food and money, the constant threat of violence and harassment, and struggles with obtaining female hygiene products are just a few things dogging them on a daily, if not hourly, basis. This is another one of those things that isn't exactly the freshest news, but the situation isn't getting any better, so you've got to stay on top of it as much as possible.

6. Tomi Lahren Comes Out As Pro-Choice

Conservative commentator and Trump supporter Tomi Lahren said on Friday that she is pro-choice, earning heat from the right and confused stares from the left. “You know what? I’m for limited government, so stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well,” said Lahren.

This is a remarkably sensible position, albeit one that few leading thinkers on the right seem to take. Given that Lahren is generally known as a conservative, perhaps there's a chance that her choice to espouse this position will carry more weight than endless streams of pro-choice liberal commentators.

7. Marital Rape Is Still Legal In Many Countries

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According to a new round-up by Equality Now, an international women's rights legal advocacy group, there are still a lot of countries where marital rape isn't even remotely a crime. The law on the books in the United States isn't as nice as you'd like, either — while there are many countries where marital rape is expressly illegal, the U.S. only became one fairly recently, in 1993. There's been progress on this front in the last couple of decades, but there's still a lot of work to be done.

8. Hillary Clinton's Coming Back

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Let's move to some positive news for the last couple now, shall we? Hillary Clinton, after months of only very sporadic public appearances, said at a St. Patrick's Day event on Friday that she would be "[coming] out of the woods" so that she could "help draw strength that will enable everybody to keep going."

Secretary Clinton, I know I'm not speaking only for myself when I say that I'm so ready to have you back.

9. The Five Most Powerful People In Britain Are Female

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When Stephen Hawking says something, you listen. The astrophysicist's latest pronouncement is that the five most powerful people in the United Kingdom are all women — and looking at who they are, it's not exactly rocket science. You've got the Queen, Prime Minister Theresa May, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Home Secretary Amber Rudd (there is no equivalent position in the United States, but suffice it to say that she's holding a substantial amount of power), and the head of London's Metropolitan Police Service Cressida Dick. Sure, maybe there could be some debate about who the five most important positions in the U.K. actually are, but there's not arguing the fact that these ladies have proven that women are indeed capable of serving at the highest levels of government across the board.

It may be the beginning of a long week ahead, but at least now you can start it knowing that you're all caught up on the important news of the day. And if nothing else, the last two are there to remind you that even in this political climate, there is good news to be had.