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The controversial North Carolina law that prevents transgender people from using public bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity, and limits protection for LGBT people, violates federal civil rights law and can't be enforced, the U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday.

On Saturday night, Beyoncé shook the music world with an hourlong feature on HBO, and then a surprise album — Lemonade.

Beyoncé couldn't have produced a body of work this defiant, or blunt, two years ago. Lemonade has been made possible by the cultural, social and political upheaval we're in the midst of, triggered by the deaths of boys and fathers and women, who will never be forgotten.

Connecticut has seen robust growth in businesses owned by women over recent years, and much of the increase appears to be driven by minority entrepreneurs. 

A New Hampshire-based bakery chain is showing its support for Equal Pay Day Tuesday by giving female customers a break on their bills.

Women who visit The Works bakery locations in Concord, Keene, Portsmouth and Durham today will be charged only 79 percent of their bills.

Men will still have to pay full price.

That’s meant to highlight the oft-cited statistic of women earning 79 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts.

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It's hard to improve on the poet, Rilke, who wrote, "Love consists of this, that two solitudes meet, protect, and greet each other." But did Rilke have to deal with Angry Birds and Snap Chat?

Wyoming is sometimes called the Equality State — it had the nation's first female governor and was the first territory to give women the right to vote. But that legacy isn't visible on the floor of the state Senate. Just one of the 30 state senators is a woman.

"I am the queen of the Senate. I have my own little tiara," jokes Bernadine Craft, a Democrat who represents the mining town of Rock Springs.

Five star players from the U.S. women's national soccer team have filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, saying that the U.S. Soccer Federation pays the reigning World Cup champions far less than their male counterparts.

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The UConn Huskies women will head to the Final Four - for the ninth time in a row. They defeated Texas last night in Bridgeport.

 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has banned all non-essential state travel to North Carolina in the wake of that state's decision to overturn an ordinance on transgender rights.

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More than 2,000 students from Connecticut and across the northeast are attending the True Colors annual conference this weekend at the UConn Storrs campus.

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The music of women composers will be featured in several concerts this week. 

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In The Slave's Cause, author and scholar Manisha Sinha writes a new history of abolition -- a history more complex than the one taught in most American classrooms. This hour, Sinha takes us inside her book for a look at abolition's lesser known past.  

T. Charles Erickson

Hartford Stage's current production is maybe Shakespeare's most popular play. This hour, Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak joins us to talk about his neorealist version of "Romeo and Juliet."

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The CDC this week recommended women between the ages of 15 and 44 not drink alcohol unless they're on birth control. Why run the risk to the baby if there's a chance you could be pregnant and not yet know it?

Some question whether the caution against any alcohol instills a fear that outweighs the risk, while others chafe at the condescension that targets only women, and not the men who get them pregnant. 

New advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aimed at preventing fetal alcohol syndrome has created quite a stir.

The CDC estimates that about 3 million women "are at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol because they are drinking, sexually active and not using birth control to prevent pregnancy."

Same-sex marriage or civil unions are legal throughout Western Europe, including many traditionally Catholic countries. The last holdout is Italy, where the Senate is about to take up a bill on Thursday that would legalize civil unions — though it would not authorize gay marriage.

Tens of thousands of Italians took to the streets last weekend in some 100 cities demanding legalization of civil unions, including those of gay and lesbian couples.

"Italy, it's time to wake up," they shouted.

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Students graduating from Glastonbury High School will wear the same color of gowns regardless of gender for the first time in over 60 years.

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People can't get enough of the new Netflix story "Making a Murderer," a depressing story about Steven Avery, the son of troublesome auto-salvage dealers in the heart of an eastern Wisconsin farming community. He was erroneously sent to prison for 18 years for a crime he didn't commit. Upon his release after a long legal battle, he was put back in jail for a murder --  you guessed it -- he may not have commit. 

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The New York Times  and Washington Post are adding new forms of address and pronouns for people who haven't chosen a single gender. Research indicates that ending a text with a period seems insincere. Dictionaries are throwing open their doors and letting in all kinds of slangy words that have been living on the internet. 

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Two married shooters with a six-month-old baby rushed a social service agency this week in San Bernardino, California. They killed 14 people and injured another 21.  It's an all-too familiar scene, including the heartfelt prayers that followed. 

Saying America's military must draw from "the broadest possible pool of talent," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Thursday that women in the U.S. military — including the Army and Marines — can now serve in combat posts.

The formal process to open combat jobs to women began in January of 2013; in finishing that process, Carter acknowledged that in recent years, U.S. women have fought — and sometimes given their lives — in combat posts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Long before evangelicalism became associated with the mostly white, conservative followers aligned with the Republican Party, a long line of progressive evangelicals led reforms to abolish slavery, give women the vote and improve public schools.

But the history of evangelicalism is complicated. It has a rich history of social activism on behalf of the marginalized, mixed with deep discomfort with the very people it seeks to help.

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Black women with breast cancer fare worse than other women when treated with early chemotherapy, according to new research from the Yale Cancer Center.

Gloria Steinem is 81 — a fact that the iconic women's movement leader describes as "quite bizarre."

"Eighty-one is an age that I think is someone else's age," Steinem tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I stop people on the street and tell them how old I am, because I'm trying to make myself believe it."

But Steinem isn't unhappy about aging. The co-founder of Ms. magazine says that as she approached 60, she felt like she entered a new phase in life, free of the "demands of gender" that she faced from adolescence onward.

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The American Cancer Society changed its recommendation for how often women should get mammograms. The new guidelines push back the recommended age for annual mammograms for most women from age 40 to 45. Some experts say the change is warranted and data-driven, while others say it'll lead to possible delays in detecting breast cancer. 

And Planned Parenthood is no stranger to headlines. Last month a heated exchange in Congress over de-funding the women’s health care agency, an effort that failed to pass the U.S. Senate. A highly edited sting video showed Planned Parenthood staff discussing fetal tissue donations as impetus for the de-funding efforts. Some argue that tax dollars shouldn’t be spent on an organization that so many find objectionable in nature. 

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