Welcome to your weekly digest of stories about how the gender gap plays out around the world — in business, health, education and politics.

Investors prefer attractive men. But plain-looking guys still come in ahead of women. (World Economic Forum)

Everything that’s wrong with high heels. Where some see objectification, others see feminine strength. (Washington Post)

And why did men stop wearing them? “Heels are a bit more irrational off the horse.” (Quartz)

The 100 women who lead the world. Angela Merkel tops the list for the fifth year running. (Forbes)

Women must play a bigger role in peacebuilding. Without them prospects for peace remain dim. (World Economic Forum)

Women barred from voting in parts of Pakistan. The fabric of society would, apparently, be ripped apart if women voted. (The Nation)

Remembering Sabeen Mahmud. The Pakistani activist was an entrepreneurial advocate. (TechCrunch)

Rouhani clashes with Iranian clergy over ‘bad hijab’. President criticises police for strict interpretation of dress code. (Al Arabiya)

Does France’s burqa ban protect or persecute? “For me the burqa is a sign of submission.” (PRI)

Threats and a gunshot stop a marathon in Israel. Opponents say they are taking care of women by not letting them run. (NPR)

Nigeria bans FGM. Activists say work is not over. (All Africa)

Here’s what Africa’s gender equality index is missing. Two countries for a start. (Devex)

Women left worse off after oil compensation. Some men abandon their families once paid. (Observer)

Having children can permanently affect the female brain. Giving birth increases the risk of dementia. (Independent)

Family-friendly workplace policies have unintended consequences. Women are less likely to get hired. (New York Times)

Myanmar passes controversial pregnancy law. Activists say it could be used to repress minorities. (Al Jazeera)

Suicide is the biggest killer of teen girls. “The most probable reason is gender discrimination.” (Telegraph)

Why periods matter to gender equality. Taboos around menstruation can contribute to girls dropping out of school. (World Economic Forum)

These men are fighting menstruation taboos in India. And helping women leave dirty rags behind. (Quartz)

Healthcare companies ignore women at their peril. Consumers are overwhelmingly female. (Harvard Business Review)

Sleeping it off. Listening to specific sounds while sleeping cuts gender bias. (The Conversation)

Statistic of the Week

In 2009, 9.5% of US startups had at least one woman founder; by 2014 that rate had almost doubled to 18%.

Quote of the Week

“I’ve seen a lot of women hang back and say, ‘Tell me what you want me to be, and I’ll be it,’ when a better attitude is really, ‘This is who I am and I have value, and if you don’t like it, that’s fine, but this is who I am.’”
Mellody Hobson, president, Ariel Investments

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Author: Saadia Zahidi is a Senior Director, Head of Gender Parity and Human Capital and Constituents at the World Economic Forum.

Image: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) applauds during her opening speech of a conference for women in executive positions at the Chancellery in Berlin, May 7, 2013 REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch