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Judge's remarks made mother 'fearful' for herself and her child, hearing told

Women | The Guardian

Barrister urges landmark appeal hearing to set aside decision that father should be allowed contact with child

A family court judge has come under fire for “wholly inappropriate” comments made to a young mother during a private hearing on child contact arrangements.

Judge Richard Scarratt made the mother “fearful” and put pressure on her to accept that the child have contact with her father, a barrister representing the mother has claimed.

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January 22nd 2021, 5:53 am

Fauci: US to repeal anti-abortion rule on aid and join Covax vaccine scheme

Women | The Guardian

US medical adviser’s speech to WHO signals major turnaround on global health policy by Biden administration

The Biden administration will repeal anti-abortion restrictions on American aid and join the international vaccine-sharing scheme Covax, Anthony Fauci has announced in remarks signalling a major turnaround in US global health policy.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, announced the changes in a speech to the World Health Organization on Thursday morning after being chosen to head the US delegation to the global health group in one of the first acts of Joe Biden’s presidency.

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January 21st 2021, 6:14 am

Unilever to tackle advertising stereotypes in diversity drive

Women | The Guardian

FTSE 100 company pledges to work with more businesses run by women and minorities

Unilever has said it will tackle advertising stereotypes and work with more businesses run by women and other under-represented groups as part of a wider inclusivity drive.

The FTSE 100 company, which is behind household names such as Dove soap, Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream and Marmite, said it planned to use the might of its brands, coupled with its advertising spending power as one of the world’s biggest to make a difference.

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January 20th 2021, 7:22 pm

UK government accused of discriminating against maternity leave-takers

Women | The Guardian

Charity brings judicial review and says payment calculations breach Human Rights Act

The government could be forced to award rebates to tens of thousands of self-employed women if a case accusing it of discriminating against those who have taken maternity leave is successful.

About 75,000 women who took maternity leave between 2016 and 2019 lost out on earnings because payments from the self-employed income support scheme (SEISS) – introduced alongside the furlough scheme last year – are worked out based on average profits.

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January 19th 2021, 12:38 pm

Statue of fossil hunter Mary Anning to be erected after campaign

Women | The Guardian

Crowdfunder led by schoolgirl raises £70,000 for sculpture of pioneering palaeontologist in Lyme Regis, Dorset

A statue to Mary Anning, a fossil hunter and palaeontologist once “lost to history” but now considered a significant female force in science, is finally to be erected after a crowdfunding campaign by a teenage schoolgirl.

Evie Swire, 13, was nine years old when she first heard of Anning, who was born into a humble family in 1799 near Swine’s Lyme Regis home in Dorset, and outraged to discover there was no statue.

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January 19th 2021, 7:24 am

Why are increasing numbers of women choosing to be single?

Women | The Guardian

The word ‘spinster’ is still freighted with pity and misogyny, yet the number of women living this way is growing. Emma John says it’s time to reconsider what it means to be ‘never-married’

I remember the moment my sister told me she was having a baby. I was spending the evening with a group of friends and, halfway through, Kate said she needed a word. We ducked into a bedroom, where she looked at me so solemnly that I ransacked my brain for anything I could possibly have done wrong in the past half-hour.

The seriousness of her announcement made me giggle out loud. I had a flashback to the pair of us as kids, when a secret meeting like this meant we’d broken something in the house and were working out how to present the news to our parents. Plus, the thought of my little sister being a mum was innately funny. Not that Kate wasn’t ready for the role – she was in her mid-30s and keen to get on with it. I just couldn’t see myself as anyone’s aunt.

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January 17th 2021, 5:55 am

Black women in the UK four times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth

Women | The Guardian

Disparity with white women shows need for action, doctors say, despite slight improvement in mortality rate

Black women are still four times more likely than white women to die in pregnancy or childbirth in the UK, and women from Asian ethnic backgrounds face twice the risk, according to a new report.

The data shows a slight narrowing of the divide – last year’s report found black women were five times more likely to die – but experts say that is statistically insignificant and not a sign of progress.

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January 15th 2021, 4:38 am

Bad Bridgets: podcast reveals Irish emigrants' tales of poverty and prison

Women | The Guardian

Loneliness and poverty made female arrivals to US turn to sex work, crime and alcohol, say historians

The millions of Irish girls and women who emigrated to North America in the 19th and early 20th centuries tend to be remembered, if at all, as domestic servants, cooks, wives and mothers.

A reputation for diligence and rectitude cast them as the unsung heroes of a diaspora that went on to conquer US business and politics.

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January 14th 2021, 2:13 am

US supreme court reinstates restrictions on abortion pill

Women | The Guardian

Justices lift order that had suspended rule requiring in-person visits during Covid crisis

The US supreme court has reinstated a requirement that women visit a hospital or clinic to obtain a drug used for medication-induced abortions, lifting an order by a lower court allowing the drug to be posted or delivered during the coronavirus pandemic.

The justices granted a request by the Trump administration to lift a federal judge’s July order that had suspended the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rule requiring in-person visits.

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January 13th 2021, 5:33 am

PlayStation 5 launch gets more coverage 'than 10 humanitarian crises combined'

Women | The Guardian

Charity says the media is failing countries by underreporting humanitarian emergencies, with women suffering most

The launch of PlayStation 5 received 26 times more news attention than 10 humanitarian crises combined in 2020, according to a Care International report published today.

The humanitarian crises, which included violence in Guatemala, hunger in Madagascar and natural disasters in Papua New Guinea, were largely swept aside by news of Covid-19, global Black Lives Matter protests and more clickbait-friendly events such as the Eurovision song contest and Kanye West’s bid for the US presidency; the latter two each received 10 times more online news attention than the humanitarian crises in question, the report found.

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January 12th 2021, 10:09 am

I am in my 60s and dating men in their 40s. The sex is great – so why do I feel guilty?

Women | The Guardian

I have always preferred younger partners, but now that I am getting older I think other people are getting judgmental

I am a divorced woman in her 60s who has recently dated a couple of men in their 40s. I have always looked young and my ex-husband is much younger than me. I have never thought much about it, but now that I am getting older I think other people are becoming judgmental. The sex is great and they are not boys, so why do I feel guilty?

It is not easy to shrug off societal judgment. I suspect the people who judge you negatively would barely notice a man in his 60s with a 40-year-old woman. Is there an obvious derogatory word for an older man who dates young women? No. Ageism, hypocrisy and double standards regarding “acceptable” partnerships abound in our society. In most cases, age differences between partners are no one else’s business. Your best course is to ignore judgmental looks or comments – including congratulatory words that constitute veiled criticism. People who are sexually confident can attract adult partners of any age – and they have a right to feel comfortable about that.

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January 12th 2021, 3:20 am

Pope changes law so women are allowed to perform tasks in mass

Women | The Guardian

Decision means Catholic church is ‘recognising accepted practices’ around the world

Pope Francis has changed church law to officially allow lay women to undertake tasks during mass, but stressed the move was not a precursor to them becoming priests.

The law makes explicit that lay women can be altar servers and readers during liturgies. Although this has been common practice for years in many developing countries, the change in canon law means that bishops will no longer have the power to prevent women within their diocese from taking on the roles.

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January 11th 2021, 11:14 am

UK ministers face legal action over lack of abortion services in Northern Ireland

Women | The Guardian

Exclusive: government accused of failing to ensure access more than a year after terminations legalised

Northern Ireland’s human rights commission (NIHRC) has launched a landmark legal action against the UK government for its failure to commission safe and accessible abortion services more than a year after abortion was made legal in the country, the Guardian can reveal.

The Northern Ireland secretary, Brandon Lewis, is accused of unlawfully denying the rights of women in the country, who experts warn are being forced to use unregulated services and to travel to high-risk areas during the pandemic. The NIHRC is also taking action against the Northern Ireland Executive and the country’s Department of Health.

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January 10th 2021, 6:43 am

Victory for Argentina’s women as abortion charges are dropped

Women | The Guardian

Hundreds of criminal cases could be halted following landmark change in legislation

Argentina has announced it will drop criminal charges against women accused of having abortions following the government’s historic decision to legalise the procedure.

The announcement offers hope to the mostly poor and marginalised women facing criminal sanctions. But lingering problems such as obstetric violence and sexism in the justice system show the struggle for reproductive justice is not over, according to campaigners.

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January 10th 2021, 4:47 am

Woman's Hour review: Emma Barnett effortlessly owns the show

Women | The Guardian

Her first week as Woman’s Hour host reveals an iron confidence, shrewd news sense and a need to breathe

The broadcaster Emma Barnett is a seriously tough interviewer. In my fevered mind’s eye, I imagine her home life consists of her gleefully sucking the marrow from hapless politicians’ bones. She’s quite the contrast from Jenni Murray and Jane Garvey as the new main presenter of Woman’s Hour. Murray – very much Dame Jenni these days – long ago underwent an apotheosis from mere broadcaster into treacle-voiced national institution. Garvey, meanwhile, steadfastly projects sanity and ordinariness. There’s nothing ordinary about Barnett – though I wouldn’t rule out her ending up a national institution. “If I may,” is a phrase she uses quite a lot, when speaking to guests or introducing items. Never was there a more phatic request. One senses that Barnett doesn’t ask permission for much. Nor should she.

That iron confidence is reassuring for the listener. From the first moment that she came on air on Monday morning, reading out a letter to the show from the actual Queen, Barnett gave every impression of effortlessly owning the programme. That’s despite the fact that her first interview was a little frustrating. It was a good idea to talk to Sonia Khan, the special adviser who had been marched out of Downing Street in the summer of 2019 after a “conversation” with Dominic Cummings. The trouble was that getting Khan to say anything spontaneous or off-script was like trying to catch a squirrel by the tail. Not that the encounter was devoid of interest. Khan apparently considered herself an “experienced” person in government because she’d served for five years and was nearly 30.

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January 8th 2021, 1:26 pm

Canada: activists sue province over refusal to fund abortions in private clinics

Women | The Guardian

Lawsuit argues that New Brunswick’s refusal violates both the law and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Human rights activists in Canada have filed a lawsuit against the province of New Brunswick for its refusal to fund abortion services in private clinics – as they are in the rest of the country.

The lawsuit suit filed on Thursday by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) argues that the refusal violates both the law and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms – Canada’s constitution.

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January 8th 2021, 1:26 pm

UK school closures mean mothers will take twice as much unpaid leave as fathers – poll

Women | The Guardian

Covid-19 and its economic fallout also likely to affect women’s paid work more

Twice as many mothers as fathers say they will have to take time off with no pay due to school closures or a sick child, according to a survey, raising further fears that the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic is falling disproportionately on women’s shoulders.

According to the survey, carried out by a group of women’s organisations across the UK including Women’s Budget Group and the Fawcett Society, 15% of mothers said they had to take unpaid time off work, compared with 8% of fathers, while 57% of fathers said they would be able to work from home during school closures, compared with 49% of mothers.

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January 7th 2021, 8:09 pm

Virginity tests for female rape survivors outlawed by Pakistani court

Women | The Guardian

Judge said the ‘humiliating’ practice was used to cast suspicion on the victim, and deflected focus from the act of sexual violence

A Pakistani court has outlawed the practice of subjecting female rape survivors to a virginity test in an unprecedented ruling.

Lahore’s high court ruled on Monday that the virginity test has no legal basis and “offends the personal dignity of the female victim”.

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January 6th 2021, 1:45 am

Woman's Hour an 'advocate to women everywhere', says Queen

Women | The Guardian

Monarch’s statement is read out by presenter Emma Barnett during her first edition of the BBC Radio 4 show

The Queen has described Woman’s Hour as a “friend, guide and advocate to women everywhere” in a message sent to the BBC Radio 4 programme in its 75th anniversary year.

In a statement read out by Emma Barnett on her first show as presenter after succeeding Jane Garvey and Dame Jenni Murray, the Queen – who was 20 years old when the Radio 4 mainstay was first broadcast in October 1946 – sent “best wishes to the listeners and all those associated with the show”. She added: “I wish you continued success in your important work.”

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January 4th 2021, 10:12 am

'This is where I need to be': the UK women defying fishing stereotypes

Women | The Guardian

Not-for-profit Women in Fisheries aims to get more women involved in male-dominated industry

Superstition among fishing crews has traditionally said that women on ships are bad luck – and it is among many of the reasons women in the fishing industry are in short supply.

Now though, they are being urged to join Britain’s fishing fleet by the first UK company to emerge that is actively encouraging women to fish.

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January 3rd 2021, 10:44 am

Tampon tax: government axes VAT on sanitary products

Women | The Guardian

Key campaigner Laura Coryton accuses Tory politicians of trying to turn issue into ‘pro-Brexit thing’

The tampon tax has been abolished after the government honoured its March commitment to remove VAT on women’s sanitary products.

But the campaigner who played a pivotal role in the drive to axe the tampon tax has accused the government of using the issue as a political football, after politicians said it had been scrapped thanks to Brexit. Existing EU law prevented member states from reducing VAT below 5%.

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December 31st 2020, 10:04 am

‘I’m fascinated by power, force and bravery’: the woman who surfed the biggest recorded wave of 2020

Women | The Guardian

Seven years ago, she was nearly killed in pursuit of the sport she loves, but she defied expert’s predictions and made a stunning comeback

In the photographs of her record-breaking ride, the Brazilian surfer Maya Gabeira is a tiny blade on the water, cutting a line of white spume down the deep ridge of the vast grey wave that climbs behind her. The wave in question measured 22.4 metres (73.5ft), the highest ever surfed by a woman, the first to be measured and verified by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and a couple of feet greater than the one surfed by her nearest rival. It is also the biggest wave measured this year, surfed by man or woman.

Gabeira, who broke her own previous Guinness world record of 68ft, attributes her achievement to what she calls “taking a critical line”. In short, she takes her board to the fiercest and tallest part of the wave, “where the most powerful energy is, where it is actually breaking”. This, she says, is how “you put value into your wave”.

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December 31st 2020, 7:21 am

Jane Garvey bows out of Woman's Hour with tribute to listeners

Women | The Guardian

BBC Radio 4 presenter says ‘cataclysmic’ 13 years on show taught her much about feminism

Jane Garvey has paid tribute to her “remarkable” listeners as she presented her final Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 after fronting the show for 13 years.

The broadcaster said presenting the show had taught her more about feminism, and that women were held to higher standards.

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December 31st 2020, 7:21 am

I spend a stupid amount of time thinking about my appearance. How can I care less? | Leading questio

Women | The Guardian

This preoccupation is understandable, writes advice columnist Eleanor Gordon-Smith. To break it you must reframe what you see as beautiful

I’m a young, conventionally attractive woman. I’m happy and self-confident; I have wonderful people and relationships in my life; I am doing well in university and feel excited about my future. Yet, despite my immense luck and privilege, I spend a stupid amount of time thinking about my appearance. I scrutinise my face and body every day. Even more oppressive is my fear of getting older: I am constantly anxious about how my looks will slip as I age.

I know this is a sexist waste of time; it’s disrespectful to myself, and to all the older women I’m terrified of becoming. But I can’t seem to shake it. I wish I could care less. How can I?

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December 30th 2020, 11:56 am

Argentina on brink of historic vote to legalise abortion

Women | The Guardian

Senate to debate bill that would make it first major Latin American country to allow terminations

Argentina is on the verge of making history as the first major Latin American country to legalise abortion.

Its 72-member senate will convene on Tuesday to debate a bill that was approved by the lower house earlier this month to the delight of pro-choice activists.

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December 28th 2020, 1:14 pm

Women over 50 paid £8,000 a year less than men for full-time work

Women | The Guardian

Analysis by Rest Less finds median salary among workers over 50 is 23% less for women

Women over 50 in the UK are paid almost £8,000 a year less than men, according to research revealing that the collapse of retailers during the pandemic has hit women much harder than men.

An analysis of official data found that the median annual salary of women working full-time in their 50s was 23% less than that of men in the same age group, according to a report by Rest Less, a company that offers help and advice to people over 50. Women in their 60s were paid 25% less.

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December 27th 2020, 1:03 pm

The menopause is ruining my sex life. How can I stop feeling so numb?

Women | The Guardian

Losing your libido is a symptom, not a life sentence

The dilemma I am a 52-year-old woman who has had a difficult perimenopause. I have read extensively on the subject and tried various supplements to ease this transition. My experience has included hot flushes, night sweats, depression, anxiety, insomnia and heavy periods. I was suffering the most debilitating anxiety to the point where I could barely function. I am on bio-identical HRT (Oestragel and Utrogestan), but these had little effect in easing the symptoms. I had no choice but to take antidepressants even though my symptoms were due to hormone fluctuations.

As a side effect my libido fell drastically (a healthy sex life had been maintained until this point and I have always found it easy to orgasm). What I did not expect was that my clitoris physically shrunk and orgasms become almost impossible to achieve.

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December 27th 2020, 1:45 am

Covid and climate of fear puts Italian birth rate at lowest since unification

Women | The Guardian

With an estimated 400,000 new Italians this year to replace the 700,000 who have died, the fortunes of Europe’s fourth largest economy are looking ever more dire

Italy’s birth rate is expected to diminish further as the economic strife and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic exacerbate its demographic crisis.

Italy registered 420,000 births in 2019 – the lowest rate since the country’s unification in 1861 – while deaths totalled 647,000. The birth rate could fall to around 408,000 this year, while coronavirus fatalities will drive total deaths beyond 700,000, according to recent estimates from Istat, the national statistics agency.

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December 26th 2020, 8:22 am

Sex at Christmas tends to be off menu until fireworks at new year – study

Women | The Guardian

Stress and overconsumption of food and alcohol leave people feeling less amorous, find researchers

If Christmas leaves you feeling less than amorous, you’re not alone. Whether it’s the stress of last-minute present buying or overconsumption of food and alcohol, interest in sex drops off in the run-up to Christmas, research suggests. However, this is compensated for by a big spike in sexual activity over the new year.

Researchers have long noticed differences in birthrates at various times of the year, but whether this was the result of seasonal fluctuations in fertility or sexual activity was unclear. To investigate, Laura Symul at Stanford University in California and her colleagues turned to data from the Clue women’s health app, which included anonymous sexual activity logs from more than 500,000 women in the UK, France, Brazil, and the US. “It’s self-reported, but it is still the largest dataset of real-time reports of women’s sexual activities,” Symul said.

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December 22nd 2020, 7:17 am

Menstruation apps store excessive information, privacy charity says

Women | The Guardian

Exclusive: Privacy International finds apps collect information on birth control habits or how hard it is for women to reach orgasm

Menstruation apps are unnecessarily storing personal data such as what medication women are on, their birth control habits and how hard women find it to reach orgasm, privacy campaigners have said.

A study of five leading apps by Privacy International, a UK-based charity, found that companies held intimate information on users including answers to questions about when they have yeast infections and how often they have sex or see a gynaecologist.

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December 21st 2020, 1:18 am

Breastfeeding mothers will not be offered Covid vaccine, say regulators

Women | The Guardian

Campaigners claim women face ‘impossible’ choice between feeding their child naturally or being inoculated against Covid-19

Women’s rights and breastfeeding organisations are challenging government and NHS guidance that the groups say forces mothers to choose between feeding their infants in the way that they choose and protecting themselves from Covid by being vaccinated.

The NHS website advises lactating mothers to wait until they have stopped breastfeeding before having the Covid-19 vaccine. It adds: “There’s no evidence it’s unsafe if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. But more evidence is needed before you can be offered the vaccine.”

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December 20th 2020, 3:51 am

Women in Japan are 'crushed', says councillor ousted after alleging sexual assault

Women | The Guardian

Shoko Arai says she was ‘punished’ for making accusation against mayor

A former assembly member in Japan who alleges she was sexually assaulted by the mayor of the town she represented has spoken out, claiming residents were unduly pressured into voting to expel her last week.

Shoko Arai, who was the only woman on the 12-member assembly in the hot-spring resort of Kusatsu, accused the mayor, Nobutada Kuroiwa, and other prominent local men of seeking to drive her out of office after she went public with her allegations in an e-book in late 2019. She claimed Kuroiwa sexually assaulted her in his office in 2015. He denies the claim.

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December 18th 2020, 3:40 am

Denmark strengthens rape laws, outlawing sex without explicit consent

Women | The Guardian

Justice minister says: ‘Now it will be clear, that if both parties do no consent to sex, then it’s rape’

Denmark has strengthened its rape laws by criminalising sex without explicit consent.

The new law passed by parliament on Thursday also widened the circumstances that could constitute rape – under the old legislation, prosecutors had to show the rapist had used violence or attacked someone who was unable to resist.

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December 17th 2020, 8:40 pm

Skipper Pip Hare on the toughest test in sailing: 'It's about coping with adversity – on your own'

Women | The Guardian

During the Vendee Globe, boats have broken apart and sleep is caught in snatches. The yachtswoman – currently in 18th place and still going – explains the dangerous thrill of racing solo

Pip Hare has just a few things to sort out, and she needs to have a check outside. She will text me again when she is free to chat, which she does. Hi, Pip, where are you? “Heading south-east across the South Atlantic,” she replies, cheerfully, casually, as if she was saying she was heading home across the park.

I can hear the South Atlantic, fizzing past in the background, and the creaks and groans of her 60ft boat Medallia, as it blasts towards the Southern Ocean. It’s glorious out there, she says. “The wind is moderate, the sea quite flat, the sky as blue as can be, with just a smattering of clouds, a sign that the low pressure is catching up with me. I’ve got three sails up, the boat is full of energy, flying along at between 18 and 20 knots. The colours are amazing.”

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December 16th 2020, 7:23 am

Pakistan rape law comes into effect amid outcry over victim blaming

Women | The Guardian

Activists hail new law that will speed up rape trials, protect the identity of victims and create a sex offenders register

Pakistan’s president has approved a much-awaited new law requiring the establishment of special courts to speedily conclude trials of people charged with raping women or children, a move hailed by rights activists.

The law, which must be approved by parliament to remain in effect, requires courts to conclude the trials of alleged rapists and issue verdicts within four months. It also prohibits the disclosure of the identity of rape victims and will create a national sex offenders register.

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December 15th 2020, 8:50 pm

Maternity scandal report calls for urgent changes in England's hospitals

Women | The Guardian

Report on Shrewsbury and Telford failings includes series of ‘must do’ recommendations for all maternity services

Urgent and sweeping changes are needed in all English hospitals to prevent avoidable baby deaths, stillbirths and neonatal brain damage, a damning report into one of the biggest scandals in the history of the NHS has said.

It uncovers a pattern of grim failures at Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals (SaTH) that led to the deaths and harming of mothers and babies from 2000-2019. These included a lethal reluctance to conduct caesarean sections; a tendency to blame mothers for problems; a failure to handle complex cases; a lack of consultant oversight, and a “deeply worrying lack of kindness and compassion”.

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December 15th 2020, 2:03 pm

Death of father at hands of mob casts a dark light on rise in Malawi rape cases

Women | The Guardian

Police have warned against increased vigilantism after spate of sexual abuse cases

A father who was reportedly beaten by a mob after he allegedly killed the man who attacked his daughter has died in hospital, in a case that has drawn attention to Malawi’s rise in reported rape cases.

The death of the 47-year-old man in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe was reported on Thursday. He had allegedly been beaten and left for dead by a vigilante mob, said to be relatives and friends of the man he had killed.

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December 15th 2020, 2:03 pm

‘We had no privacy, no respect’: demands for tighter rules on reporting of fatal domestic abuse

Women | The Guardian

Families of women who were killed by men talk about their fight to improve the way the media covers cases of fatal domestic abuse

Kevin Blunnie describes 26 June 2012 as “an ordinary day for our ordinary family”. In the early hours of the following morning, in Harlow, Essex, everything changed. His daughter, Eystna Blunnie, 20, three days away from giving birth to her daughter, Rose Louise, was beaten to death in the street by her former abusive partner, Tony McLernon, 24. He was convicted of murder and child destruction in 2013. He will serve 27 years before he is eligible for parole.

Blunnie and his wife, Susan, have spent eight years campaigning to improve the system of investigation and accountability around femicide, the killing of a woman by a man. Negative treatment by the media was one trial they had not expected to have to endure. “It was totally wrong. We had reporters knocking on our door within hours,” Blunnie says. “We had no privacy and they showed no respect. It still goes on today.”

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December 15th 2020, 2:03 pm

Not all women think fondly of pub culture | Letter

Women | The Guardian

Terri Kelly has memories of pubs as alienating, male-dominated spaces, and finds it hard to join in the chorus of laments

I am impressed that pubs have changed so much that they are “the hubs of communities” (Britain’s pubs: we’ll soon see the value of them, but will it be too late?, 29 November). As a nearly 70-year-old woman, that was not my experience from my teenage years onwards – at least not until pubs became eateries rather than just drinking dens. For me – and possibly for other women – pubs were always alienating, white male territory.

Girls and women were made to feel either unwanted, or leeringly wanted in a very specific way. It took courage to overcome this long enough to down a drink or two. I have some very specific memories associated with pub-going, ranging from seeing a young mother with a baby being treated with such hostility she quickly exited, to an academic conference where all the men sidled off to the pub together at the end of the day, leaving all their female colleagues behind.

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December 15th 2020, 2:03 pm

‘Women feel they have no option but to give birth alone’: the rise of freebirthing

Women | The Guardian

As Covid infections rose, hospital felt like an increasingly dangerous place to have a baby. But is labouring without midwives or doctors the answer?

On the morning of 3 May, Victoria Johnson prepared to give birth at her home in the Highlands. One by one, her three children came downstairs to where she was labouring in a birthing pool surrounded by fairy lights, the curtains tightly shut against the outside world.

Suddenly, she felt an urge to get out of the pool. “I stood up and it felt as if the weight of the universe crashed from my head to my toes.” Her waters broke – “all over the carpet, which wasn’t ideal” – and the baby started to crown. “Everyone was there, including both grandmothers on video call,” she says. “Once the baby was out, my eight-year-old son came over and said, ‘I’m so proud of you.’ And that was everything.”

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December 15th 2020, 2:03 pm

Pinterest to pay $20m to settle gender discrimination lawsuit

Women | The Guardian

Former executive Françoise Brougher accused company of marginalising women

Virtual scrapbook company Pinterest is paying out a record $20m (£15m) to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit brought by a female executive who had alleged she was fired after “speaking out about the rampant discrimination, hostile work environment, and misogyny” at the San Francisco firm.

Françoise Brougher, the company’s former chief operating officer, accepted the multi-million dollar payout after the $43bn company conceded it must do more to “improve its culture”, and announced it would invest $2.5m in “advancing women and underrepresented communities in the technology industry”.

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December 15th 2020, 2:03 pm

'I’ve tried to raise my daughter with feminist values but I’m struggling with her clothes. What do I

Women | The Guardian

The cold truth is there’s nothing your daughter can wear to keep her safe, writes advice columnist Eleanor Gordon-Smith. So give her the message the rest of the world won’t

I’ve tried to raise my daughter with feminist values but I’m struggling with the clothes she wants to wear. She and her friends all like very tight, very short shorts. It’s great that they’re comfortable enough to wear this kind of clothing (I certainly wasn’t at her age) but I’m concerned it will attract attention she isn’t ready for. She’s 13 and her body has changed fast this year.

When we’re out together I see the looks men have started giving her. She doesn’t seem to notice and while I have tried pointing this out to her, she usually rolls her eyes as if my concern is hypocritical and not for her wellbeing. I know if I try to enforce rules it will make her want to break them. Is there a way for me to make her understand that while women should be allowed to wear whatever they want, at this age she isn’t a woman yet, even though she’s starting to look like one?

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December 15th 2020, 2:03 pm

Reframe how we talk about miscarriage | Letter

Women | The Guardian

Jean Simons on the Duchess of Sussex’s experience and how we can start a conversation about grief or loss

The Duchess of Sussex deserves every sympathy for revealing her experience of miscarriage, but I remain doubtful that her expressed desire to “normalise conversations around miscarriage” will be easily achieved, given the apparent and continuing “pervasive taboos” around the subject, described by Zeynep Gurtin (Miscarriage is still taboo – which is why Meghan’s words are so powerful, 26 November).

Meghan’s advice to approach anyone suffering grief or loss, rather than ignoring them, and to open an opportunity for them to speak about their experience, is spot-on. But the “three little words” that she advises, “Are you OK?” (Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, reveals she had a miscarriage, 25 November), play into our reluctance to open up about feelings, provoking the response, “Yes, I’m fine”. Reframing those three words into the more open “How are you?” may give a grieving person the sense that you really do want to know, and the confidence to reply honestly.
Jean Simons
Lewisham, London

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November 30th 2020, 12:41 pm

Period politics is stuck in the past

Women | The Guardian

Scotland’s move to provide free sanitary products is a great step forward, but elsewhere attitudes have not changed since the 80s

Inconvenience is all part of being a woman. As a message to girls still at school, still alive with the energy and optimism to change the world, it’s not the most inspiring take, is it? And yet, in the week that Scotland became the first country in the world to provide free period products – excellent if belated news, more on that in a moment – the vice-principal at an Oxford school sent an email to all of Year 12 last week that took the conversation about periods back to somewhere around 1985.

To her sixth form, Jackie Watson wrote: “Any female student asking to be sent home ‘ill’ or phoning in ‘ill’ who has a period will not find this is a suitable excuse. Learning to deal with monthly inconvenience is all part of being a woman, I’m afraid … unfortunately taking that time off is not how society works.”

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November 29th 2020, 4:13 am

Urgent change needed to stem femicides, says new domestic abuse tsar

Women | The Guardian

The commissioner for England and Wales attacks ‘postcode’ lottery on response to killing of women

The first commissioner for domestic abuse for England and Wales, who will have significant powers once the domestic abuse bill becomes law early next year, has committed to working closely with the campaign to tackle femicide – the killing of women at the hands of men.

At a virtual event last Thursday, attended by more than 600 people, Nicole Jacobs expressed her “sheer frustration” at the “postcode lottery” and lack of a co-ordinated response on the part of agencies to tackle the killing of women. “We all have such an urgency for change” she said.

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November 29th 2020, 1:45 am

Saudi women's rights activist's trial moved to terrorism court

Women | The Guardian

Loujain al-Hathloul looked weak and unwell after 900 days in jail, said her family

Saudi Arabia has moved the trial of activist Loujain al-Hathloul to a special court that handles terrorism cases, a move condemned by human rights campaigners as a heavy-handed attempt to muzzle dissent.

Hathloul has been in jail without trial for over 900 days now, and her family said she looked weak and unwell at a rare court appearance on Wednesday, her body shaking and her voice faint, her family said.

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November 25th 2020, 2:11 pm

'Shadow pandemic' of violence against women to be tackled with $25m UN fund

Women | The Guardian

At least 30% will go to the women-led grassroots organisations that have been ‘critical’ through Covid pandemic

The UN is to spend $25m (£19m) from its emergency fund to address what has been called the “shadow pandemic” of gender-based violence against women displaced by wars and disasters.

The money will be divided between the UN population fund (UNFPA) and UN Women, and at least 30% of it must be given to women-led local organisations that prevent violence and help survivors access medical and legal help, family planning, mental health services and counselling.

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November 25th 2020, 9:18 am

Welsh commissioner offers funding to help staff leave abusive relationships

Women | The Guardian

Pioneering scheme will provide grants or loans to help pay for relocation or essential supplies

People who work for a Welsh commissioner will be eligible for financial support to leave an abusive relationship, in a pioneering scheme designed to break down a key barrier that stops domestic abuse survivors escaping.

The Welsh future generations commissioner, Sophie Howe, has launched a policy, believed to be the first in Wales and possibly in the UK, giving staff suffering domestic abuse access to a grant or loan.

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November 24th 2020, 7:11 pm

I'm in my 40s, please stop asking me why I don't have children | Janet Sewell

Women | The Guardian

Probing questions about my decision not to have kids exact an emotional toll. Happiness comes in many forms

At my mother’s funeral I was holding my 11-month-old nephew when a family friend asked: “When are you going to have children?” He’s the kindest man but the question felt like a sledgehammer blow.

It’s a question I get a lot and I am sick of answering it. You feel like you have to divulge details of your personal life to satisfy someone else’s curiosity. I have worked hard to not care what other people think of me but some people assume that I still live like a 20-year-old when I’m in my 40s.

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November 22nd 2020, 11:40 am

Criminalise public sexual harassment in UK, charities say

Women | The Guardian

A fifth of girls and women aged between 14 and 21 experienced street harassment during spring lockdown, poll finds

Girls’ rights groups are calling for public sexual harassment to be criminalised in the UK after research suggested more than half of young women and girls were harassed on the street during the summer.

A fifth (19%) of young women and girls aged between 14 and 21 experienced being catcalled, followed, groped, flashed or upskirted during the spring lockdown, according to polling by children’s charity Plan International and campaign group Our Streets Now.

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November 22nd 2020, 11:26 am

New equalities commissioner attacked ‘modern feminism’ and #MeToo

Women | The Guardian

Jessica Butcher claimed ‘victimhood narrative’ disempowered women, and disputed reasons for gender pay gap

One of the government’s newly appointed equality commissioners said that modern feminism disempowers women and blamed the MeToo movement for ruining men’s reputations without due process, the Observer can reveal.

Jessica Butcher, a successful digital entrepreneur, was last week appointed as one of four new commissioners at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) by Liz Truss, the minister for women and equalities.

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November 22nd 2020, 3:08 am

African governments failing girls on equality, report finds

Women | The Guardian

Girls are made to marry too young, excluded from healthcare and are sexually exploited, says African Child Policy Forum

Girls in Africa are being “condemned to a lifetime of discrimination and inequality” due to government failures, according to new data.

Ranking 52 countries in the continent according to how “girl-friendly” they are, a report published on Friday by advocacy group African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) found they were routinely denied education; made to marry too young; endured sexual, physical and emotional abuse at home, work and school; were excluded from healthcare; and were unable to own or inherit property.

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November 21st 2020, 2:51 am

Jan Morris, historian, travel writer and trans pioneer, dies aged 94

Women | The Guardian

From her Everest scoop to her journey as a trans woman, the author’s authoritative voice and questioning mind found an eager audience

Jan Morris, the historian and travel writer who evoked time and place with the flair of a novelist, has died aged 94.

As a journalist Morris broke monumental news, including Hillary and Norgay’s ascent of Everest, and the French involvement in the Israeli attack on Egypt in the Suez war. As a bestselling author of more than 30 books, she was equally lauded for histories including Pax Britannica, her monumental account of the British Empire, and for her colourful accounts of places from Venice to Oxford, Hong Kong to Trieste. But she was also well-known as a transgender pioneer, with Conundrum, her account of the journey from man to woman, an international sensation when it was published in 1974.

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November 20th 2020, 11:50 am

Women in mid-30s may never know equal pay in their working lives

Women | The Guardian

More than 40% of working women worried about impact of Covid on job prospects

Women in their mid-30s will never know equal pay in their working lives if progress towards tackling the gender gap is not accelerated, according to new analysis.

To mark Equal Pay Day, the day that women in effect stop being paid because of the gender pay gap in the UK, Labour has said 8.5 million women will go their entire careers without receiving equal pay.

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November 20th 2020, 1:12 am

Pandemic could lead to most profound shift in parenting roles since WWII, say experts

Women | The Guardian

Men spending more time with their children and businesses seeing economic benefits of flexible working

The year 2020 has been transformative for how society sees fatherhood, and could produce the most profound shift in caring responsibilities since the second world war, according to researchers, business leaders and campaigners.

Research has shown that while women bore the brunt of extra childcare during the initial coronavirus lockdown and are being disproportionately impacted by the economic fallout, there has been also a huge surge in the number of hours men are spending with their children.

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November 19th 2020, 7:05 am

Pharrell Williams announces gender-neutral skincare line

Women | The Guardian

Musician’s Humanrace products described as perfect for ‘every individual’

The musician and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams has announced the release of Humanrace, his long-awaited skincare line. Significantly, it is gender neutral.

The products – a powder cleanser, lotus enzyme exfoliator and humidifying cream – are described on the website as being for “every individual”, subtly avoiding any pronoun definition.

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November 17th 2020, 8:15 am

Marie Stopes charity changes name in break with founder's view on eugenics

Women | The Guardian

Organisation says Black Lives Matter movement reaffirmed commitment to changing name to MSI Reproductive Choices

Marie Stopes International (MSI) is to change its name in an attempt to break its association with the family planning pioneer.

From Tuesday, the abortion and contraception provider, which operates in 37 countries, will abbreviate the initials and go by the name MSI Reproductive Choices.

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November 17th 2020, 1:26 am

Period poverty has surged in UK during Covid pandemic

Women | The Guardian

Charity supplying six times as many menstrual products compared with before crisis

Period poverty has increased sharply in the UK since the coronavirus crisis began, according to a charity that says it is supplying almost six times as many menstrual products compared with before the pandemic started.

Bloody Good Period (BGP) has been supplying food banks, community support groups, those fleeing domestic violence, asylum seekers and refugees, homeless shelters and even NHS frontline workers.

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November 16th 2020, 7:14 am

Shock new figures fuel fears of more lockdown domestic abuse killings in UK

Women | The Guardian

Calls to advice hotlines soar as abusers turn to latest technology to intimidate and control partners

Calls to the UK’s largest domestic abuse helpline are rising “week on week” as new figures reveal that almost 50 suspected killings may have occurred during the first lockdown.

The charity Refuge, which runs the National Domestic Abuse helpline, said it was “very concerned” by the continuing upward trend in demand for its services, with England a little over a week into its second lockdown.

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November 15th 2020, 2:16 am

‘I need complete freedom’: Maggi Hambling responds to statue critics

Women | The Guardian

The artist defends London sculpture of Mary Wollstonecraft that has been derided as ‘the Barbie on the boulder’

Maggi Hambling, the renowned British artist who outraged a large section of the general public and many feminists last week, to say nothing of the surprised residents of a north London community, has defended her right to artistic freedom.

Her new statue commemorating Mary Wollstonecraft was unveiled last week, the culmination of a 10-year campaign to mark the groundbreaking feminist philosopher who started her writing career and established a girls school in Newington Green in the late-18th century. But Hambling’s work sparked a furious reaction. Rather than a statue of Wollstonecraft, she produced an abstract sculpture which features a small, naked silver woman.

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November 14th 2020, 12:40 pm

'It was toxic': how sexism threw police off the trail of the Yorkshire Ripper

Women | The Guardian

Sex-worker victims were seen as dispensible, survivors’ accounts ignored, and women blamed for drinking or going out alone

Every woman old enough to remember the 1970s recalls nights in the north of England during Peter Sutcliffe’s decade of terror.

“Leeds was really in a state of almost lockdown and women were afraid to go out,” remembered Mo Lea, who was a student in the city at the time.

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November 13th 2020, 12:21 pm

‘I'm always falling in love with fabulous women’: Sandi Toksvig's forgotten heroines

Women | The Guardian

From Madame Ching, a 19th-century pirate who ruled the South China Sea, to Anna Hedgeman, who helped to organise 1963’s Great March on Washington, it’s time to celebrate these often-overlooked yet awesome characters

My desk is littered with dead women, which makes me sound like the world’s untidiest serial killer. Let me start again. I collect women. OK, that may be worse – it makes them sound like ceramic thimbles. Let’s see … I read a lot – mostly history – and every time I find a fabulous woman from the past whose story was hitherto unknown to me, I gather her up to keep in scribbled notes. I do this selflessly, because the risk to my health is enormous.

In 1791, the German theologian Karl Gottfried Bauer wrote: The lack of all physical movement while reading, combined with the forcible alternation of imagination and emotion [leads to] slackness, mucous congestion, flatulence and constipation of the inner organs, which, as is well known, particularly in the female sex, actually affects the sexual parts.”

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November 13th 2020, 8:20 am

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie voted Women's prize 'winner of winners'

Women | The Guardian

Nigerian author’s novel Half of a Yellow Sun, which won in 2007, named the best book in the prize’s 25-year history by the public

Thirteen years after she won the Women’s prize for fiction, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel about the Biafran war, Half of a Yellow Sun, has been voted the “winner of winners” of the literary award in a public vote.

The one-off prize, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the award, was judged by members of the public, who were asked to name their favourite of the 25 winners. Adichie’s novel, which follows the lives of several characters caught up in the civil war in Nigeria in the late 1960s, beat titles including Zadie Smith’s On Beauty and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin. More than 8,500 people voted, according to the prize.

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November 11th 2020, 7:34 pm

Female enrolment at Australian universities dropped by 86,000 in 2020 as 'pink recession' hit

Women | The Guardian

ABS data shows slump in students was highly gendered, with the number of male students dropping by 21,200

There were 86,000 fewer women studying at university in 2020 compared with 2019, following the gendered impact of Covid-19 and the recession on Australia.

Newly released data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has shown that there was a 7% drop in the number of women enrolled at universities and some vocational courses, and a 2% drop in the number of men.

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November 11th 2020, 12:00 pm

Mexico police open fire on femicide protest in Cancún

Women | The Guardian

Human rights activists in Mexico have expressed indignation after police opened fire on protesters who tried to force their way into Cancún city hall during a demonstration against the country’s femicide crisis.

Four journalists were injured in the incident late on Monday, including two who suffered bullet wounds. Eight protesters were reportedly detained after the shooting.

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November 10th 2020, 1:51 pm

'Insulting to her': Mary Wollstonecraft sculpture sparks backlash

Women | The Guardian

Critics suggest naked figure is a missed opportunity but artist Maggi Hambling defends her work

It took 200 years to get a statue honouring the life of pioneering philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, but its creators have faced criticism from almost the moment it was unveiled.

The new sculpture was met with dismay and bafflement by some when it was unveiled on Tuesday, with critics asking why it did not directly depict Wollstonecraft and why the “mother of feminism” had been celebrated with a naked female form.

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November 10th 2020, 12:52 pm

Rough sex excuse in women's deaths is variation of 'crime of passion' – study

Women | The Guardian

Normalisation of BDSM enabling abusers to justify fatal violence against women, says researcher

Men who kill women are increasingly using the “sex game gone wrong” excuse as a contemporary variation on the traditional crime of passion defence, research has found.

In one of the first academic studies into the issue, Prof Elizabeth Yardley, a criminologist at Birmingham City University, found that the normalisation of bondage, domination and sado-masochism (BDSM) across various media – including novels like Fifty Shades Of Grey and pornography – had generated a “culturally approved script” for men who kill women.

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November 10th 2020, 6:46 am

Mary Wollstonecraft finally honoured with statue after 200 years

Women | The Guardian

‘Mother of feminism’ commemorated by Maggi Hambling sculpture in north London

It shows a silvery naked everywoman figure emerging free and defiantly from a swirling mingle of female forms and, thanks to a 10-year slog of fundraising, is the world’s only memorial sculpture to a woman known as the “mother of feminism”.

“It will definitely start a conversation,” said the writer Bee Rowlatt, who has led the campaign to get a sculpture celebrating Mary Wollstonecraft in Newington Green, north London. “It will definitely promote comment and debate and that’s good, that’s what Mary did all her life.”

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November 9th 2020, 7:14 pm

'Stand By Her': China university students campaign to end period shaming

Women | The Guardian

Free sanitary pad dispensers installed on campuses in effort to counter ‘stigma of menstruation’ in the country

Chinese students have launched a program setting up free sanitary pad dispensers in toilets at universities across the country in a bid to end period shaming of young women.

“Sanitary pad support boxes” have been set up in almost 250 campuses following a campaign on social media by an advocacy group called Stand By Her. Those who take from the period support boxes are encouraged to help replenish its stock later.

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November 8th 2020, 2:32 pm

UK supreme court could be left with only one female justice

Women | The Guardian

News that Lady Black is to step down has raised fears of reversal in progress on gender diversity

Progress towards gender diversity on the UK’s highest court is in danger of being thrown into reverse, following the announcement that another female justice will retire shortly.

Lady Black’s replacement could leave the supreme court with only one woman and 11 white men on the bench – a prospect that has triggered an urgent search for candidates to avoid that outcome.

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November 8th 2020, 11:16 am

Blue plaque to honour Yorkshirewoman who was locked in asylum for calling vicar a liar

Women | The Guardian

Mary Heaton spent 41 years in a Wakefield asylum for challenging a cleric. Finally, her life and suffering are being recognised

She caused a disturbance in church, challenging the vicar over an unpaid bill. For that, Mary Frances Heaton was declared insane and sent to a lunatic asylum in 1837.

She never emerged into the world again, spending the last 41 years of her life locked up. But this weekend her life has been acknowledged with a blue plaque to “the tragic patient” unveiled in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. It highlights her small collection of needlework samplers, a legacy of her life in stitches.

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November 8th 2020, 5:58 am

My friend unloads her anxiety on me, and now I feel drained | Dear Mariella

Women | The Guardian

Discord is rife, emotions are volatile and people need kindness, but you need to protect yourself too, says Mariella Frostrup

The dilemma My former colleague, who became a friend, has always been a little self-centered. Once we stopped working together, I accepted the lopsided nature of our relationship, because I found her fun and we shared the experience of being immigrants navigating British work environments.

We no longer work together but, twice weekly, we share a co-working space that I use to change up my environment and help my mental health. She had a serious mental health setback during lockdown and is, understandably, having a really hard time. She seeks me out to unload on: how unfair she thinks her colleagues are; how they don’t appreciate her; how anxious she is about the pandemic and politics, etc. It’s become less about having conversations and more about listening to an exhausting monologue.

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November 8th 2020, 1:11 am

Oxford Dictionaries amends 'sexist' definitions of the word 'woman'

Women | The Guardian

Publisher labels ‘bitch’ as offensive but fails to satify some equality campaigners

Oxford University Press has updated its dictionaries’ definitions of the word “woman” following an extensive review triggered by equality campaigners.

Among the updates to Oxford Dictionaries’ definitions is the acknowledgement that a woman can be “a person’s wife, girlfriend, or female lover”, rather than only a man’s.

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November 7th 2020, 1:53 pm

Heard lost public sympathy for standing up against Depp assaults, says QC

Women | The Guardian

Abused women expected to be ‘meek and subservient’ to receive public sympathy, says QC

Amber Heard’s stand against Johnny Depp’s assaults should not have deprived her of public sympathy for suffering the ordeal of domestic violence, a leading human rights lawyer has said.

Heard was subjected to death threats and misogynistic attacks on social media during the libel trial that left her feeling “down and beleaguered”, according to Helena Kennedy QC, who met Heard while the case was before the high court.

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November 4th 2020, 1:39 pm

'Lives have been lost': Pregnant women in Zimbabwe forced to pay bribes when giving birth

Women | The Guardian

Two women took Harare authorities to court to force them to reopen 42 maternity clinics

In agonising labour pain and turned away from a Harare health centre, Aurage Katume feared that, like many other Zimbabwean women, she could lose her unborn baby.

She struggled to another clinic in the country’s capital. The midwives there were not ready to help her either.

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November 4th 2020, 1:39 pm

The sole function of the clitoris is female orgasm. Is that why it’s ignored by medical science?

Women | The Guardian

Medical textbooks are full of anatomical pictures of the penis, but the clitoris barely rates a mention. Many medical professionals are uncomfortable even talking about it

Professor Caroline de Costa is awaiting feedback. Several months ago the editor of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology requested an editorial from a world-renowned Melbourne urologist to address what she saw as a lack of research and, more concerningly, a persistent lack of knowledge about an essential part of the female reproductive system.

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November 4th 2020, 1:39 pm

Rules-based order on pavements too | Brief letters

Women | The Guardian

Childcare hearings | Cycling | Trade deals | ‘Essential’ products

I was dismayed to read about babies being taken into care during remote video hearings (Report, 27 October). My husband was a childcare solicitor for 30 years. Being with a client when they heard their child was to be removed from them was a part of his job that he considered extremely important, to give human comfort as well as legal advice. If he had a grave, he would be turning in it. He was probably one of those “lefty lawyers” who spent his whole working life defending those who needed his skills, with little financial reward.
Lesley Barnes
Greenford, London

• Interesting to read about Cycling UK’s call for the Highway Code to put more emphasis on riding two abreast (UK cycling groups say rule on riding side-by-side is ‘causing confusion’, 26 October). Now if only Cycling UK would put more emphasis on the bit in the Highway Code that says it’s unlawful to ride on the pavement.
Ken Ward
Crewe, Cheshire

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November 4th 2020, 1:39 pm

Poland delays abortion ban as nationwide protests continue

Women | The Guardian

Anti-government rallies continue over court’s ruling to restrict access to terminations

Poland’s rightwing government has delayed implementation of a controversial court ruling that would outlaw almost all abortion after it prompted the largest protests since the fall of communism.

“There is a discussion going on, and it would be good to take some time for dialogue and for finding a new position in this situation, which is difficult and stirs high emotions,” Michał Dworczyk, the head of the prime minister’s office, told Polish media on Tuesday.

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November 4th 2020, 1:39 pm

Women, and women of color, running for seats in Congress are setting a record

Women | The Guardian

Of the 318 female candidates running for the 470 seats available, 117 of them are women of color, building on 2018’s midterm elections

A record number of women, including a record number of women of color, could be elected to Congress on Tuesday, in what would represent a further step towards a US government that represents the makeup of the nation.

An unprecedented 318 women are running as Democratic or Republican candidates for the 470 seats available across the House of Representatives and the Senate, up from a previous record of 257 set in 2018.

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November 4th 2020, 1:39 pm

'I was absolutely terrified': Australian witness recounts Qatar strip-search ordeal

Women | The Guardian

Kim Mills was one of nine women taken off a Qatar Airways flight in Doha, and the only one not to be strip-searched as authorities hunted the mother of an abandoned newborn baby

An Australian woman has described the “terrifying” experience of being taken off a Qatar Airways flight by authorities who strip-searched passengers as they tried to identify the mother of an infant found in the Doha airport toilets.

Kim Mills was one of nine women taken off a Qatar Airways flight bound for Sydney on 2 October and led through the bowels of the Hamad International airport to what appeared to be a dark carpark or turning circle, where three ambulances were waiting to perform medical examinations to determine if any of the women had recently given birth.

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October 25th 2020, 10:50 pm

Investment industry urged to promote more black women

Women | The Guardian

Black Women in Asset Management calls on industry to build anti-racist portfolios and tackle discrimination

The investment industry is being urged to promote more black women and build anti-racist investment portfolios in order to tackle systemic discrimination in the sector. Less than 1% of investment managers are black.

Black Women in Asset Management (BWAM) – a group of 300 industry professionals in England and Wales – has written to investment firms asking them to go beyond “solidarity statements” with the black community, following Black Lives Matter protests sparked by police violence and the killing of George Floyd in the US in May.

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October 25th 2020, 8:31 pm

Almost half of British women do not self-examine for breast cancer

Women | The Guardian

Specialists describe survey’s findings as deeply concerning, as early diagnosis increases chances of successful treatment

Almost half of women do not check their breasts regularly for potential signs of breast cancer, and one in 10 never do so, a survey has revealed.

Women who do not look for changes in their breasts should get in the habit of examining them, as early detection of lumps and other symptoms could save their life, experts say.

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October 25th 2020, 8:31 pm

Listen to women and close the gender pain gap | Letter

Women | The Guardian

Dismissing the concerns of women in pain adds to their distress, writes Sarah Hyde

The proliferation of support groups for women dealing with conditions such as endometriosis and migraine is testament to the existence of the gender pain gap discussed by Emma Barnett (Endometriosis showed me we need better ways to talk about women’s pain, 22 October). In Giving up the Ghost, Hilary Mantel, who has suffered from both conditions, describes both the excruciating physical pain of illness that is misdiagnosed and mistreated, and the stress and humiliation of being “ignored, invalidated, and humiliated” – not being listened to, and not being believed.

This is not just another complaint directed at overworked NHS staff (though I have not forgiven the neurologist who, instead of treating my migraine, told me: “I don’t know what you’re making a fuss about – it won’t kill you”). Those outside the medical profession can cause pain by their casually dismissive comments too. One of the cries most often heard in migraine groups is “Migraine is not just a headache!” I imagine endometriosis sufferers shout: “This is not just period pain!” Employers, colleagues, friends and families need to think twice and listen again when women tell them they are in pain.
Sarah Hyde
London

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October 23rd 2020, 1:02 pm

Poland braces for more protests over abortion ban ruling

Women | The Guardian

Demonstrations planned amid anger over court decision banning almost all abortions

Protests are planned for various Polish cities this weekend amid public anger over a ruling banning almost all abortion in the country.

Poland already has some of the most draconian abortion laws in Europe, and on Thursday a constitutional tribunal ruled that one of the few exceptions to the ban – cases of severe foetal impairment – should also be made illegal. These cases, which hardline Catholic anti-abortion activists have called “eugenic abortion”, made up almost all of the small number of abortions performed legally in Poland.

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October 23rd 2020, 10:29 am

Rape prosecutions and convictions dropped by half early in UK pandemic

Women | The Guardian

Data for England and Wales reflects lockdown, distancing and rising court backlog

Prosecutions for crimes against women and girls in England and Wales plummeted in the first three months of the coronavirus pandemic, reflecting a backlog in the court system exacerbated by the UK-wide shutdown and subsequent social distancing measures.

The number of completed rape prosecutions more than halved, falling to 218 in the three months to June this year compared with 480 in the previous quarter, according to violence against women and girls (VAWG) figures from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). There were 174 convictions resulting from those 218 prosecutions, a record rate of 80%, down from 341 ( 71%) in the previous quarter.

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October 22nd 2020, 3:05 pm

Poland rules abortion due to foetal defects unconstitutional

Women | The Guardian

Constitutional court’s ruling could pave way for governing PiS party to move ahead with legislative ban

Poland’s constitutional tribunal has ruled that abortion due to foetal defects is unconstitutional, rejecting the most common of the few legal grounds for pregnancy termination in the predominantly Catholic country.

Chief justice Julia Przyłębska said in a ruling that existing legislation – one of Europe’s most restrictive – that allows for the abortion of malformed foetuses was “incompatible” with the constitution.

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October 22nd 2020, 12:50 pm

Australian women with endometriosis face six-year wait for diagnosis, study finds

Women | The Guardian

Experts call for ‘dedicated women’s pain services’ after survey finds people often undergo surgeries that fail to improve their chronic agony

A study of 620 Australian women living with the painful and often debilitating condition endometriosis found women have to wait an average of 6.4 years before being diagnosed and often undergo surgeries that fail to improve their chronic pain.

The study, published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, found despite medical and surgical intervention, 65.8% of respondents suffered period pain and 82.7% experienced chronic pelvic pain in the three months prior to responding to the survey. Respondents had consulted an average of three different health practitioner specialties in the previous 12  months.

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October 21st 2020, 9:25 pm

Meg Mathews: ‘I feared my colourful 90s life had caught up with me’

Women | The Guardian

She felt anxious, depressed and overwhelmed, until she realised it was the menopause. Now Meg Mathews is on a mission to get women talking about it without shame

I am sitting in the road, in Primrose Hill, during a global pandemic, when Meg Mathews starts loudly telling me about her vaginal atrophy. All right, we’re at a café table but, due to the aforementioned plague, the tables have been allowed to stretch into the main thoroughfare, which is half closed to traffic, and Mathews is explaining how the menopause closed down her own private thoroughfare. “I first realised when I was wearing my workout leggings and they weren’t new, but they were starting to chafe,” she says, before describing the laser part of her “vaginal rejuvenation” treatment.

At this point, a voice from the pavement calls out “Meg!” and I can’t help but spin around, just in case it’s Kate Moss shouting from 1997, but it is not Kate Moss, it’s a sweet old lady in a raincoat with a tiny dog. “You’re looking well, Meg,” she says, and they chat politely until Meg can get rid of her neighbour and return to the business of her collapsing genitalia. The menopause is Meg’s new subject you see – the former first lady of Britpop, once married to Noel Gallagher, now has a book, a website and products to launch, all branded as Meg’s Menopause. She’s on a mission to rid us of our hormonal embarrassment and shame.

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October 18th 2020, 4:17 am

Women march against Trump and Republicans in major US cities

Women | The Guardian

Thousands of mostly young women in masks rallied on Saturday in Washington DC and other US cities, exhorting voters to oppose Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans in the 3 November elections.

Related: Goodbye civil rights: Amy Coney Barrett's America is a terrifying place | Arwa Mahdawi

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October 17th 2020, 4:26 pm

A man tried to body shame the gloriously unabashed Billie Eilish. It didn’t go well

Women | The Guardian

The six-time Grammy-winning singer has largely rejected the societal pressure placed on women to be quiet, feminine and pretty

Today a paparazzi photo of Billie Eilish without her usual baggy clothes has been shared on the internet, revealing – shock, horror! – the 18 year old looks like she has a regular body like you or me.

The photo showed Eilish wearing shorts and a tank top, rather than her signature baggy clothing. And so a butt hurt man (apparently 29 and from the UK) took this opportunity to announce on Twitter: “In 10 months Billie Eilish has developed a mid-30’s wine mom body.” (The backlash was mercifully swift.)

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October 14th 2020, 2:36 pm

Harman calls on Ofcom to publish data on older women in broadcasting

Women | The Guardian

Former deputy Labour leader says female presenters over 50 ‘as rare as hen’s teeth’

Harriet Harman, the longest continuously serving female MP, has called on the media regulator, Ofcom, to publish data on the gender of older broadcasters to highlight the “double discrimination” facing senior female presenters on TV and radio.

In an opinion piece in this week’s Radio Times, Harman complained of a “cull” of women over the age of 50 in broadcasting that she said meant they were now “as rare as hen’s teeth”.

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October 13th 2020, 1:49 am

A piece of Fleet Street history: Katharine Whitehorn's desk for sale

Women | The Guardian

Pioneering columnist’s 60s design classic to be auctioned to aid Alzheimer’s charity

They were inspiring and entertaining words that helped set the tone for more than just one era of social change. Katharine Whitehorn’s 60 years of provocative, useful and funny journalism and books were all typed up at a large wooden desk in a busy family living room.

Now that desk, a piece of classic Danish design as well as vintage Fleet Street history, is to go under the auctioneer’s hammer to raise money for a charity that cares for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

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October 11th 2020, 6:19 am

Cleaning up: the social media stars making housework cool

Women | The Guardian

Donning the Marigolds need not be a chore, according to a new breed of influencers who say cleaning is fun and aspirational

There were fears that this autumn’s bumper crop of books would see some titles overlooked – but one volume definitely didn’t get brushed under the carpet. This Is Me by Sophie Hinchliffe, better known as the Instagram cleaning sensation Mrs Hinch, was the runaway hit of Super Thursday on 1 October, fighting stiff competition from almost 800 other hardbacks published that day to top the UK charts and shift more than 90,000 copies in its first week.

It’s no surprise: Mrs Hinch’s three previous books have been bestsellers, and the 30-year-old comes with a readymade audience thanks to her “Hinch Army” of 3.8 million Instagram followers.

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October 11th 2020, 4:34 am

Nimco Ali calls for frank discussion on violence against women in UK

Women | The Guardian

Campaigner gives first major interview after being appointed as government adviser on issue

The UK needs a frank conversation about the fear of male violence that women live with every day, according to the government’s new adviser on violence against women and girls.

In her first major interview since her role was announced on Friday, the feminist campaigner Nimco Ali – who has been a key figure in the global fight to end female genital mutilation (FGM) – said she wanted to work across political, ethnic and gender lines.

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October 9th 2020, 12:14 pm

The trope of ‘her indoors’ is alive and well. Rather that than be silenced | Coco Khan

Women | The Guardian

What being called a nag really means is to be self-possessed and strong


My friend Pete is very into “cable management”. He spends his evenings artfully hiding the wires of his gaming machines and “soundscaping” devices, before communing with other Sonos bros on Reddit.

“If Pete had his way, there would be no room to move for all the speakers,” his girlfriend will say with a loving eye-roll. I playfully prod him, too. “Pete, why are you making a home cinema when all you watch is Homes Under The Hammer? Is it worth all this effort to hear a gavel in 3D?” (“Only someone who has never heard a gavel in 3D would say that,” he’ll reply.)

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October 9th 2020, 9:25 am

Women bear brunt of Covid-related work stress, UK study finds

Women | The Guardian

Report comes a day before World Mental Health Day and calls for four-day working week

Women are being disproportionately affected by a rise in mental health problems caused by increasing workloads as people do their jobs from home amid the pandemic.

The length of the working day has increased steadily, resulting in a 49% rise in mental distress reported by employees when compared with 2017-19. Women are bearing the brunt of problems as they juggle work and childcare, according to a report by the 4 Day Week campaign and thinktanks Compass and Autonomy.

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October 9th 2020, 9:11 am

Italian women take legal action over foetus graves marked with mothers' names

Women | The Guardian

More than 100 women launch action as activists say practice is serious violation of human rights and privacy

A group of more than 100 Italian women have asked prosecutors to investigate who is behind the burial for nearly a decade of foetuses in graves marked with the names of their mothers in a cemetery in Rome.

The practice only came to light last week after one of the women, whose curiosity was sparked after reading about the so-called “fields of angels” in local newspapers, discovered a plot with a wooden cross bearing her name and the date on which the foetus was buried at Prima Porta cemetery. She subsequently posted about her experience on Facebook.

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October 8th 2020, 7:15 am

Lloyds Pharmacy apologises again for emergency contraception refusal

Women | The Guardian

Firm says sorry after pharmacist would not dispense product ‘for religious reasons’

A pharmacy chain has been forced to apologise for a second time after a woman was refused emergency contraception because of the pharmacist’s personal beliefs, a year after a similar incident at a different branch.

Charlotte, 41, who preferred not to give her surname, said she felt “upset and humiliated” when the pharmacist at her local Lloyds Pharmacy branch in south London, told her she was unable to distribute the contraception “for religious reasons”.

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October 7th 2020, 8:19 am

Netflix indicted by Texas grand jury over 'lewd visual material' in Cuties

Women | The Guardian

French film about pre-teen girls who form a dance group is called ‘prurient’ in Tyler County prosecution. Netflix defends story as social commentary against sexualisation

Netflix has defended the controversial film Cuties after it emerged the streaming giant is facing a criminal charge in Texas over the movie’s allegedly “lewd” depiction of children.

Cuties follows an 11-year-old Senegalese girl living in Paris who rebels against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a “free-spirited dance crew”.

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October 7th 2020, 6:20 am

Women's health organisation president resigns following bullying and racism investigation

Women | The Guardian

Françoise Girard and two others cleared of racial discrimination but report finds culture of fear and intimidation at IWHC

The president of a women’s health charity has resigned following an investigation into allegations of racism and bullying within the organisation.

The findings of the independent investigation cleared Françoise Girard and two other senior managers at the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) of unlawful racial discrimination or retaliation against employees.

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October 7th 2020, 2:19 am
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