With recent confirmation that periods have no health benefit, an increasing number of women are using contraception to stop them altogether
For some, it is about bringing an end to debilitating pain or dark thoughts. For others, it is as simple as being liberated from the sinking realisation that you need a tampon – but you left them in your other handbag.
When a new wave of feminist authors and activists are calling on women to embrace their periods, the idea that some do not want a monthly bleed and are seeking to avoid having them altogether can seem radical. Continue reading...
July 18th 2019, 5:17 am
Airline provokes outcry with response after woman said its staff asked her to cover herself
The Dutch airline KLM is facing a storm of protest after warning that women who breastfeed their babies on its flights may be asked to cover up to avoid offending other passengers.
The company’s policy emerged after a woman claimed on Facebook she had been asked to shield herself from view while feeding her one-year-old on a flight between San Francisco and Amsterdam last month. Continue reading...
July 17th 2019, 1:31 pm
Queen Victoria began some of our best-known traditions, says curator of exhibition at Buckingham Palace
Queen Victoria was responsible for a “feminist transformation” of the monarchy and initiated some of its best-known traditions, according to the curator of a new exhibition at Buckingham Palace.
The story of how Victoria and Prince Albert rebuilt the palace into the most glittering court in Europe is explored through paintings, sketches and costumes, and includes a Hollywood-produced immersive experience bringing to life the balls for which she was famed. Continue reading...
July 17th 2019, 1:18 pm
No 10’s document suggests it may take up to 18 months to implement legislation
Pressure groups have warned against lengthy delays to extending abortion rights to Northern Ireland following a landmark legal amendment last week, after a government document said the process could take as long as 18 months to implement.
Downing Street has committed to introducing the abortion plan after an amendment to a separate Northern Ireland bill by the Labour MP Stella Creasy was overwhelmingly passed by the Commons. Continue reading...
July 17th 2019, 11:26 am
Going camping alone, I was reminded that the great works of environmentalist female writers are often overlooked – and it’s our loss
It’s Monday in the Adirondack state park. I’m driving through little towns, passing junk stores, lumber businesses, small cafes and adventure outfitters. I have heard people call this part of New York state “poverty with a view”. The Adirondacks are a collision of hardship and wealth, but mostly wilderness. Six million acres of it.
It’s almost LaBastille Day, and to celebrate, I’m going to camp alone for the first time in my life. Continue reading...
July 17th 2019, 3:22 am
Working women are twice as likely as men to lose their jobs to AI, according to a thinktank. Which perhaps isn’t surprising, given that most of that work is menial and badly paid
According to a new study from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), nearly 10% of women work in jobs with a high potential for automation, compared to only 4% of men. So what, I hear you say. Substitute “robots” for “austerity”, “the demise of unionisation”, “public-sector pay freezes”, “modern life” – pick any of these and women always come off worst. Except maybe this time the pointy heads are on to something: perhaps better understanding what the risks are from various directions will give us all some agency, even to the extent of being able to direct the future.
As Carys Roberts, the author of the IPPR report, tells me: “We don’t even talk about risks in this area, because there are so many different factors. The primary argument that we make is that this could go in different directions. Technology is not destiny.” Continue reading...
July 16th 2019, 11:55 am
Department of Health to force end to abortion referrals, a rule widely seen as a blow against Planned Parenthood
Taxpayer-funded family planning clinics must stop referring women for abortions immediately, the Trump administration has announced, declaring it will begin enforcing a new regulation hailed by religious conservatives and denounced by medical organizations and women’s rights groups.
The head of a national umbrella group representing the clinics said the Republican administration is following “an ideological agenda” that could disrupt basic health care for many low-income women. Continue reading...
July 16th 2019, 10:10 am
Abuse by those in power is so widespread that there is a word for it – ‘gabjil’
New legislation has come into effect in South Korea that could see employers jailed if they unfairly dismiss employees harassed at work.
Employees in South Korea have traditionally been expected to turn a blind eye to abusive behaviour by those in power – a phenomenon so commonplace that there is a word for it, “gabjil”. A recent government survey found that two-thirds of workers had experienced harassment on the job, while 80% had witnessed it. Continue reading...
July 15th 2019, 11:49 pm
Neural analysis finds the brains of both sexes respond the same way to pornography
The belief that men are more likely to get turned on by sexual images than women may be something of a fantasy, according to a study suggesting brains respond to such images the same way regardless of biological sex.
The idea that, when it comes to sex, men are more “visual creatures” than women has often been used to explain why men appear to be so much keener on pornography. Continue reading...
July 15th 2019, 3:22 pm
The operation freed me from chronic headaches, and back and neck pain. But nothing about the process was easy
Three days before Christmas 2015, when I was 19, I had my breasts reduced in size. Sitting alone in my flat after the operation at Ross Hall hospital in Glasgow, I confronted my scars for the first time, and I cried.
It was not the first time that I had cried over my body, but these were not the tears of a miserable, frustrated teenager. I felt as if I had been through a battle and had emerged victorious. Holding those stitched-up breasts, a manageable 32E down from a 34GG, I was finally, gloriously me. Continue reading...
July 15th 2019, 1:33 pm
After a trend of magical thinking and quick fixes, science-based solutions may not be so dull
Like a worm cut in half, its head regenerating into a new, even angrier worm, the “wellness” trend is one that refuses to die. But this week, its wiggle appeared to wane. A certain weariness had set in. Is this the end of wellness?
The evidence: “I was a huge fan of Gwyneth,” one attendee of Goop’s recent “wellness summit” in London told website Page Six, “Now I feel like I have lost my faith in God.” “GP [Paltrow],” said another, “is a fucking extortionist.” These were people who had spent up to £4,500 on weekend tickets, getting off the tube in Hammersmith as if landing in Lourdes, expecting to leave healed. What do they need healing from, you ask? Well, what have you got? Creepy energy, deep thirst, smell of cardboard, troubled pits, babyish sleeping, bad vagina – the beauty of the term “wellness” is that it encompasses almost everything, and can cost almost anything. Which is why I was excited to see the attendees rebel – a tipping point has been reached. Somewhere among the self-care stations and lavender lattes, a healthless revolution. Continue reading...
July 14th 2019, 4:24 am
Strict rules governing women’s lives could be changed according to Saudi newspaper
Saudi Arabia may be planning to relax the country’s strict male guardianship laws to allow women to leave the country without permission from a male relative, according to reports.
Travel restrictions for women over the age of 18 are due to be lifted this year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, quoting Saudi officials familiar with the matter. The planned changes would also lift current restrictions on international travel for men under the age of 21 without the consent of a designated male family member. Continue reading...
July 11th 2019, 12:38 pm
Too many female employees are forced to wear high heels, or skirts, or even a particular type of bra. But the resistance is growing
It was at the beginning of a shift at Harrods that Georgia Brown told her manager where to go. Brown, then aged 22, was working for a temp agency that supplied shop assistants to the department store. She cannot remember the name of the manager. But she does remember why she lost her cool: she had had enough of being forced to wear heels on the job.
“Not just a mini-heel, but proper black stilettos. Bear in mind, you’re on your feet in Harrods all day – you can’t sit down,” says Brown. When she arrived at work, there was a mandatory uniform check, after which she would slip into flat shoes. This time, she got caught. “I said: ‘My feet hurt; who are you to tell me I have to work on stilts?’,” says Brown. Continue reading...
July 11th 2019, 5:32 am
Many FTSE 100 companies are failing to advance women’s boardroom careers, report says
Some of Britain’s biggest companies appear to be recruiting female directors for their symbolic value and then failing to advance their boardroom careers, a report has claimed.
Women make up 32% of FTSE 100 directors – up from 29% a year ago – putting leading companies on track for the government’s target of 33% by 2020, the report by Cranfield University said. But female directors keep their jobs for a shorter time and are less likely to be promoted than men, the report found. Female directors are also older than their male counterparts and disproportionately white. Continue reading...
July 11th 2019, 1:31 am
Annual event marred by accusations of bullying, backstabbing and racism as women’s leaders call for pageant to be scrapped
The South Pacific nation of Tonga is in uproar after its annual beauty pageant was marred by accusations of bullying, backstabbing and racism, prompting calls by women’s rights leaders for the pageant industry to be abandoned altogether.
The country’s Miss Heilala pageant descended into chaos on Friday when one contestant had her microphone cut in the middle of a speech and another woman was allegedly racially abused while delivering the keynote speech. Continue reading...
July 10th 2019, 11:31 pm
The Rutshire Chronicles author received the lifetime achievement honour, with prizes for rising stars Laura Steven and Kirsty Eyre
Reigning queen of the pun Jilly Cooper has been awarded the inaugural Comedy women in print (CWIP) lifetime achievement award “in recognition of her legacy and inspiration to comic women writers everywhere”.
The bestselling author, who at one point describes her hero Rupert Campbell-Black’s aggressive love-making as “like a power drill … her Campbell-Black-and-Decker”, was named winner on Wednesday night. Continue reading...
July 10th 2019, 4:45 pm
Pro-choice activists say Evelyn Beatríz Hernández’s case will be important in determining the stance of the country’s new leader
A teenage rape victim in El Salvador who was convicted for murdering her child and jailed for nearly three years after a stillbirth will face a retrial next week, her lawyers said on Wednesday.
Evelyn Beatríz Hernández was handed a 30-year prison sentence in 2017 for aggravated murder by a female judge who ruled the teenager had induced an abortion, which is a crime under any circumstance in the Central American nation. Continue reading...
July 10th 2019, 3:11 pm
The adviser to the US’ women’s World Cup winners shows them how to train with their menstrual cycle, not against it – and there are lessons for the rest of us
Until relatively recently, sports scientists simply applied the research they had done with male athletes to female ones. In fact, according to research scientist Georgie Bruinvels, it is only since the 1990s that it has been “appreciated that women are different”. There is still a long way to go. In 2014, researchers looked at sports studies published between 2011 and 2013; where performance was concerned, once they removed one study that heavily skewed the result, they found that just 3% of participants were women.
One particular growing area of interest is the impact of menstrual cycle and hormones on female sports performance – and this is where Bruinvels specialises. This week, the Times reported that after, advising the World Cup-winning US women’s football team, she is in talks to work with British female tennis players. Continue reading...
July 10th 2019, 12:41 pm
Pledge follows Commons votes to extend same-sex marriage and abortion rights to region
Downing Street has said the government will deliver on landmark House of Commons votes extending same-sex marriage and abortion rights to Northern Ireland, indicating Theresa May supports the principles of the backbench amendments, if not their methods.
The prime minister was in the Commons but did not vote on Tuesday night when the amendments to a Northern Ireland bill, tabled by two Labour backbenchers, were passed by resounding majorities, delighting civil liberties groups. Continue reading...
July 10th 2019, 11:40 am
Westminster government has said it will honour both results despite ministerial doubts
MPs have voted resoundingly to extend both same-sex marriage and access to abortion to Northern Ireland, bringing the region into line with the rest of the UK on two of the most significant social issues of the era.
The Commons voted 383 to 73 to pass the same-sex marriage amendment to a largely technical bill on the stalled Northern Ireland assembly, tabled by the Labour MP Conor McGinn, a longstanding campaigner for equal marriage in Northern Ireland. Continue reading...
July 9th 2019, 2:06 pm
Aidan Turner says while he did not feel objectified himself, he sees how it can feel for women
The Poldark actor Aidan Turner has said his famous shirtless scything scene in the BBC One drama made him appreciate how women feel when objectified.
The 36-year-old, who shot to fame in the series based on Winston Graham’s books, became a small-screen heartthrob when the topless scene was broadcast four years ago. Radio Times readers voted it the TV moment of 2015. Continue reading...
July 9th 2019, 1:44 am
Advocates warn the new panel, helmed by an abortion and gay rights opponent, is a threat to progressive reforms
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has unveiled a new panel tasked with reviewing “the role of human rights in American public policy” in a move that some advocates warned could imperil LGBTQ and women’s reproductive freedoms.
Pompeo announced the launch of the “Commission on Unalienable Rights” at the state department in Washington on Monday, telling reporters: “As human rights claims have proliferated, some claims have come into tension with one another provoking questions and clashes about which rights are entitled to gain respect.” Continue reading...
July 8th 2019, 4:20 pm
As a teenage fanatical supporter of Birmingham City in the 1970s, Toni Clark says that on the terraces her gender wasn’t an issue
I remember Julie Welch’s name as I was a football fan from 1969-76 (It was lonely being a female football fanatic. Not any more, Journal, 6 July). However, I never felt lonely. From the age of about 12 to 18, I went to over 300 Birmingham City matches, and don’t have any memories of it being unusual as a young girl: I was just one of up to 30,000 other fans. For the first few years I stood at the Railway End with my mum and a friend of hers. But once they succumbed to the comfort of the seats I stayed on the terraces. Here I was thoroughly wrapped up in the game, analysing every move, often on my own, or with pals from college.
I can only remember one occasion I ever felt in danger, when our supporters’ coach was stoned by Derby fans at an away game. Football dominated many years of my young life, my gender being irrelevant to everyone I knew. I now have absolutely no interest in football but look back fondly on my days of adoring each and every one of the Birmingham City team. Everyone can choose whether to play or watch or analyse, or not. Julie, thanks for memories. Continue reading...
July 8th 2019, 12:49 pm
Victorian women who were prevented from qualifying as doctors are finally recognised
Seven women who were among the first females to be admitted to a British university have been awarded posthumous degrees 150 years after they started their studies.
The group, known collectively as the Edinburgh Seven, enrolled to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh in 1869. But they faced substantial resistance from their male peers and were ultimately prevented from graduating and qualifying as doctors. Continue reading...
July 6th 2019, 12:46 pm
Remember when life wasn’t all packed lunches and soft play? It’s time to get that person back
I am currently working away from home, abandoning my family to selfishly pursue my own interests – or at least, that’s how I felt the week before I left. During that time, I couldn’t simply look forward to the prospect of some time alone doing the things I love – time being myself. No, instead I was overwhelmed by everything I thought I needed to do, because although I am an author, a Jilly Cooper fan, a collector of vintage china, a nail-biter, a bad applier of fake tan and a country music lover, I am also a parent. And, like so many of us, I sometimes forget all the other parts of who I am and lose sight of me.
So it was that, as I packed, I found myself sobbing hopelessly because the mother part of me tends to take over all the rest, and instead of thinking about the exciting work I would be doing while I was away, what Jilly Coopers to take, if anything could be done about my gnawed nails and bad fake tan, I was focusing on all my failings as a parent. A parent who was abandoning her children to go gallivanting. Continue reading...
July 6th 2019, 1:14 am
The claims widen a previous class-action case alleging gender bias and extend to the company’s music label and theme parks
Four women joined a major pay gap case against the Walt Disney Company, accusing the entertainment giant of gender discrimination at its Hollywood Records music label, its world-famous theme parks and other divisions.
The complaint filed in Los Angeles on Friday, alleges that Disney routinely compensates women less than men, denies women promotions, and classifies female employees in lower job titles that don’t match their responsibilities. The claims have widened a class-action suit filed in April, intensifying pressure on the media and entertainment industry in California to confront longstanding pay disparities. Continue reading...
July 5th 2019, 5:40 pm
Stella Creasy backed by 60 cross-party MPs calling for human rights to be upheld
The Labour MP Stella Creasy is leading another attempt to extend access to abortion to Northern Ireland, tabling an amendment arguing that the government is obliged to do this to comply with human rights obligations.
Up to 60 MPs from across different parties were expected to co-sign the amendment, according to the Walthamstow MP, who has tried in the past to change Northern Ireland’s notoriously strict abortion laws. Continue reading...
July 5th 2019, 10:50 am
Novelists have condemned the Staunch prize – for thrillers without violence against women – as a ‘gagging order’, after organisers said the genre could bias jurors
Crime novelists have hit out at the claim that fictional depictions of sexual assault influence the outcomes of rape cases, after a prize for books with no violence against women asserted that stereotypical portrayals of attackers could “seriously affect justice”.
The Staunch prize, awarded to a thriller in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered, was launched last year to “offer an alternative narrative to stories based around violence to women”. When it was announced, it was widely criticised by major writers including Val McDermid and Sophie Hannah. McDermid said that “as long as men commit appalling acts of misogyny and violence against women, I will write about it so that it does not go unnoticed”, and Hannah told her publishers not to submit her books for the prize. Continue reading...
July 5th 2019, 6:16 am
When women are secure and optimistic they produce more boys than usual, writes Sebastian Kraemer
Zoe Williams cites the American sociologist Elizabeth Armstrong, who “examined the evidence for the detrimental effects of stress on a pregnancy. The only demonstrable correlation was between a profound stress event – the death of an existing child, or spouse – during pregnancy, and a negative outcome” (The Handmaid’s Tale comes to life in Alabama, 2 July).
Several scientific studies have shown a significant effect on the offspring of pregnant women living in the area of catastrophic events, such as 9/11 and the earthquake in Kobe, Japan, in 1995. The ratio of boys to girls born alive a few months later is always reduced. The male foetus is more vulnerable than his female sister to death from severe maternal stress. Continue reading...
July 4th 2019, 12:46 pm
A growing number of women are travelling for abortions amid tightening restrictions and access to services across the country
When Courtney Buckman made the difficult decision to have an abortion, the obvious solution should have been to go to her nearest abortion clinic in Montana.
In fact the most practical option for Buckman was to have the procedure nearly 2,000 miles away from home – in New York.
Buckman is one of a growing number of women who are travelling to New York for abortions amid tightening restrictions and access to services across the country.
Under the Trump administration, 27 abortion bans have been signed so far this year across 12 US states – including in Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, Missouri and Mississippi, according to the Guttmacher Institute. As a result, Choices Women’s Medical Centre in Jamaica, Queens, has already seen a significant rise in women coming to the centre for abortions from the affected states.
“It was actually just last week that I found out … it was six weeks along,” said Buckman, 24, at Choices, as her three-year-old daughter Belle watched a film on her phone nearby. Continue reading...
“And because I do have another child, there’s so much interplay with my personal situation because back in Montana where I live, it’s super expensive … Everything else that could possibly come with having another child at this specific moment just isn’t a situation that I could actually possibly handle. Right now I’m already leaning a lot on my family because I am a single parent.”
While she could have had a legal abortion in her home state, a shortage of clinics would have meant a six-hour round trip on a weekday, which could have potentially cost Buckman, who works in customer service, her job. Fortunately, she was able to get an appointment at a clinic during a trip she had already planned to New York.
July 4th 2019, 2:09 am
Lawyers defending the woman argued the state used a ‘flawed and twisted rationale’ that ‘ignores the law and ignores reason’
An Alabama district attorney said on Wednesday she is dropping charges against a woman who was indicted for manslaughter after she lost her foetus when was shot during a fight.
Marshae Jones was arrested last week after a grand jury concluded she intentionally caused the death of her foetus by initiating a fight, knowing she was pregnant. Continue reading...
July 3rd 2019, 4:35 pm
Women’s football, cricket and netball are more popular than ever, and provide us with role models that break stereotypes of what women can do or should look like
This summer is a great one for women’s sport. We will see England, the reigning Commonwealth champions, going for gold at the Netball World Cup 2019 next week, and the Women’s Ashes are in full swing. But nothing has captured the nation’s imagination quite like the women’s football World Cup.
I’m one of those people who, when asked if I watch football, replies: “Only when the World Cup is on” - but I never thought that response would also encompass the women’s game. Given how generously the title “role model” is handed out to footballers, it has been refreshing to watch players living up to it for once. Simply by existing, the Women’s World Cup teams provide a direct challenge to stifling ideas of what a woman can do – and what a healthy woman looks like. And while there are still no openly gay male footballers active in the upper echelons of the sport, there are many openly lesbian players, coaches and trainers who are outspoken about LGBT and women’s rights in the female game. Continue reading...
July 3rd 2019, 12:46 pm
Spiritual leader issued a statement saying he is ‘deeply sorry’ after outcry from Twitter users over his remark that a female successor must be ‘attractive’
The Dalai Lama has become the latest person to be “cancelled” by the internet, a victim of today’s online culture, in which one conversation can get anyone disavowed.
Sixty years ago, the Dalai Lama fled his homeland of Tibet on horseback because of Chinese persecution against Buddhists, and 30 years ago he received the Nobel peace prize for being a messenger of non-violence. Continue reading...
July 3rd 2019, 12:18 pm
From the Oxford English Dictionary to Google’s own, the synonyms given for woman are shockingly derogatory – while the entries for ‘man’ are almost universally positive. Now one campaign is trying to take sexism out of the dictionary
Think of the word “woman” and do you automatically think “bitch”? Or hussy, baggage or bit? These are, according to various traditional dictionaries, synonyms for “woman”, which came as a bit of a shock to Maria Beatrice Giovanardi as she typed the word into a search engine one night in January. Giovanardi was seeking inspiration as she tried to name a new project for the women’s rights group she was involved with and was looking for alternative words for “woman”. What she discovered instead was a wealth of derogatory entries. “They are offensive and I don’t believe they are synonyms for ‘woman’,” she says. “I don’t understand why they are there.”
Giovanardi started looking into it more deeply, using the default dictionaries on different search engines. And she began to explore whether men were given similar treatment. They weren’t – the most derogatory synonym for “man” given by dictionaries she found were “bozo” and “geezer”. She was alarmed, too, by the example sentences given below the definitions. Many, she noticed, were themselves sexist, involving stereotypes and centring men. “I told you to be home when I get home, little woman,” is one from Oxford Dictionaries. Continue reading...
July 3rd 2019, 12:18 pm
Equalities minister calls for government to act after Tory rivals rule out reform
The women and equalities minister, Penny Mordaunt, has signalled her determination to change the “appalling” abortion laws in Northern Ireland a day after the two rivals Conservative leadership rivals ruled out reform on the issue.
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt were accused of pandering to religious fundamentalists in the Democratic Unionist party by claiming that abortion rights were a matter for the devolved assembly if power sharing is restored. Continue reading...
July 3rd 2019, 5:28 am
Many female stars have had pay rises, while male news presenters have taken cuts
Gary Lineker has maintained his status as the BBC’s highest earner after the broadcaster’s leading male sports presenters refused to take pay cuts, although many of the corporation’s foremost women have had substantial wage increases.
The Match of the Day host took home £1.75m from the corporation last year, while his fellow pundit Alan Shearer was paid £440,000. Other highly paid sports pundits include Jermaine Jenas on £210,000 a year and Ian Wright on £205,000, while John McEnroe is paid £190,000 for taking part in the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage. Continue reading...
July 2nd 2019, 8:44 am
Younger and younger women are being targeted with suggestions that the beauty treatment will empower them
There is a block of student flats near our offices that is the wrongest building in the world. To glance at it briefly, perhaps through tears on a bus, you might see it kindly as a 19th-century warehouse. To walk beneath it, however, with eyes unmuddled by emotion, reveals a pavement-wide gap between the Victorian facade and a hastily erected modern block in shades of glassy grey, which melts out on either side of the warehouse front, its windows opening straight on to the back of the old brick wall. A book called The Creeping Plague of Ghastly Facadism is currently being crowdfunded in order to document these hybrid buildings being flung up across the city – new offices inserted behind the mask of old pub fronts or warehouses, like Christmas tricks of ducks inside turkeys.
Once your eye is trained it seems the streets are filled with such uncomfortable facades and your mind, my mind, wanders down crowded paths of meaning in metaphor. They become an emblem for the awkward tensions between authenticity and progress, or vanity, elsewhere in modern life. For instance, the rise and normalisation of cosmetic procedures. Continue reading...
June 30th 2019, 4:57 am
Lack of women in this year’s major headline slots attracts criticism as Emily Eavis pledges 50/50 gender balance in future lineups
Festival-goers were preparing to see Kylie’s eagerly awaited performance on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury on Sunday, but her performance comes amid criticism of the lack of women in major headline slots.
When it was announced in March that Janet Jackson, who played the Pyramid stage on Saturday, was to perform at Glastonbury, she tweeted a poster for the festival to her fans, but with the order of the acts altered to make it appear that she had top billing. Continue reading...
June 30th 2019, 3:10 am
Perhaps as we age we take fewer risks. But I feel I have lost something
Recently I have had two nasty surprises. The first was finding my flat’s back windows shattered (“Was it a child’s football? Or a burglar’s fist?” I fretted). And the second was finding my car broken into. These events aren’t unusual, but because they came in quick succession, I couldn’t brush them off. I felt reduced, vulnerable and paranoid.
This, I know, is not my natural state. In my early 20s I was captivated by the idea of the flâneur – a French word for a man who roams society observing, often at night. Tellingly, flâneuse, the female equivalent, has never gained much traction. Continue reading...
June 28th 2019, 9:12 am
On the red carpet, on Instagram, even in Mothercare – corsets are everywhere. What is behind the disturbing trend for ‘waist training’?
What could be more enjoyable after giving birth than slipping into some high heels and squeezing your postpartum body into a corset? Last week, Mothercare was accused of pandering to the pressure on new mothers to lose their pregnancy weight and remain “sexy” by selling a corset, modelled by a woman wearing patent leather platform stilettos. “I’m very anxious for women who are getting the wrong message,” Jacqui Tomkins, the chair of Independent Midwives UK, told the Times. “It’s saying the most important thing is for you to be back in shape, looking like Kim Kardashian. That worries me.” The company has since removed the product and image, but is still selling a lace-print band, described as a “tummy tucker”, to be worn around the stomach, which it claims “helps with slimming down”.
Despite this furore, the corset has been creeping back into fashion for some time. In 2016, Prada revived the garment in a more utilitarian style, worn loosely laced over thick tailoring and sweaters. This style, while still designed to bring attention to a trim waist, was not rooted in old ideas of “sexiness”. But for autumn/winter 2019, fashion designers showed a more traditional style, with a return to full corsets and wide, waist-cinching belts. Continue reading...
June 27th 2019, 6:56 am
A spate of murders in Texas has triggered old traumas and the harsh reminder of just how dangerous being trans black woman is
LeShay Weeks almost didn’t make it to the party. For 18 years, she has managed to avoid the south Dallas intersection where her friend Teniesha Johnson was murdered in front of her eyes, but today, on the drive to meet her friends, there it was, like a black hole pulling her down. For a moment, it snatched her breath away.
For Weeks and a small group of black transgender women, the back-to-back murders of their friends Muhlaysia Booker, 23, and Chynal Lindsey, 26, two weeks apart, had triggered a deluge of old traumas that lurk below the surface: their own beatings and brushes with death, being shunned by families, churches and employers, not to mention the million and one other indignities they endure daily, simply trying to exist. If there was anything harder and more dangerous than being a black woman in America, the killings reminded them, it was being a black woman whom society insisted on denying their true gender. Continue reading...
June 27th 2019, 3:21 am
The debate over whether makeup empowers or oppresses can’t hide the fact that female imperfection is increasingly unacceptable
As with most things Kim Kardashian does, the reality star’s latest beauty product – an already sold-out Skin Perfecting Body Foundation – has sparked an online back-and-forth about whether makeup for arms, legs and other parts of the body is feminist or not. Many say body makeup is inherently anti-feminist; others argue that it is the critique of a woman’s choice to wear body makeup that is anti-feminist.
We live in an age where it seems that women can label anything as a feminist act. To me, however, the message the product sends is quite clear: that we would probably be more comfortable in the skin we’re in if you couldn’t see it has pores. As the years-old debate about whether face makeup is empowering or oppressive rages on, men for the most part continue without it. Most of us are in agreement that, however you slice it, beauty standards are rigid and beauty regimes are still driven by external pressures rather than enjoyment. There is a difference between tolerating this and seeking its active expansion and entrenchment. Continue reading...
June 26th 2019, 1:26 pm
Exclusive: Group excoriates ‘dangerously emotive’ language in reporting of proposed US abortion bill
An international alliance of medical experts has accused the BBC of using “medically inaccurate” and biased “dangerously emotive” language after the corporation refused to stop describing US legislation seeking to ban access in some states to legal abortions after six weeks as a “heartbeat bill”.
The phrase helps “weaponise” descriptions of abortions, claim a group of family planning specialists that includes Marie Stopes International, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics. Continue reading...
June 26th 2019, 1:26 pm
Be it a first orgasm, experiences with contraception and menopause or something else, we would like to hear your stories
The experience of life in a woman’s body can be challenging, embarrassing, funny and even joyful.
Is there a physical experience you’ve had as a woman that has had a significant effect on your life – good or bad – and that you consider to be underreported? We’d love to hear your stories, positive or not, affecting, angry or humorous, from your first period to the menopause and beyond. Continue reading...
June 26th 2019, 5:03 am
Imara Jones left Georgia to discover herself as a trans woman. Two decades later, she returns to meet her family as her whole self
There is one essential truth about human beings: we all come from somewhere. Me? I’m a black trans woman who left the deep south at 18.
It’s September 2018, two decades later, and I’m in a car headed back to Georgia for the first time as my whole self – with a new body, and a whole new way of being – to meet my 95-year-old great aunt Mama Rose and the rest of my family. Continue reading...
June 26th 2019, 1:27 am
Sisters for Change and The Manchester Maya Project warns of institutional racism and sexism
Public authorities in Manchester are failing to uphold the basic human rights of ethnic minority women and children who have been victims of domestic abuse, according to a report.
The report from international NGO Sisters For Change, in partnership with The Manchester Maya Project, warns of institutional racism and sexism at the local level in Greater Manchester. It also highlights that women and children from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME) are not being adequately protected or getting the specialist help they need after suffering domestic abuse. Continue reading...
June 25th 2019, 7:09 pm
Results suggest environmental factors could play a role in female reproductive health
Air pollution has been linked to a drop in activity of a woman’s ovaries, researchers have revealed.
Experts say the findings suggest the female reproductive system is affected by environmental factors, although the study does not look specifically at the impact of air pollution on fertility. Continue reading...
June 25th 2019, 12:39 pm
A viral photograph of a couple breastfeeding their twin babies has highlighted the process that allows a woman to nurse a child she has not carried. So how does it work?
A photograph of Jaclyn and Kelly Pfeiffer breastfeeding their twin babies has gone viral, highlighting the fact that it is possible to nurse a baby you haven’t given birth to. Jaclyn didn’t carry the babies but has been able to breastfeed them thanks to a process known as induced lactation. It tends to be used by same-sex couples, as well as adoptive parents and women whose babies were carried by a surrogate.
The outcome can be variable, depending on the situation and what the goal is, says Helen Gray, from Lactation Consultants of Great Britain, an organisation that describes itself as the professional voice of breastfeeding. “They might want to try to bring in a full breast-milk supply and provide all of the baby’s milk, or, if they are co-parenting in a same sex relationship, they may be hoping that each mother will provide enough so they can share the breastfeeding.” Or they may want to provide a small amount to top up bottle feeds. Continue reading...
June 24th 2019, 1:00 pm
Judge says termination is in best interests of woman, who has mental capacity of a child
The Catholic church has criticised a court order under which a woman with a learning disability will have an abortion against her wishes.
The court of protection in London decided that an abortion was in the best interests of the woman, who is in her 20s, and is 22 weeks pregnant. She has the mental capacity of a six- to nine-year-old child. Continue reading...
June 24th 2019, 9:29 am
Female body hair is becoming more visible in popular culture and, while the issue has been around for decades, the new enthusiasm for hirsuteness has a 21st-century twist
I am usually late to catch on to shifts in the zeitgeist; this one came to my attention just recently. While watching the HBO show High Maintenance, I noticed that Lee, the protagonist’s hip and beautiful love interest, was sporting hairy armpits.
“Look!” I cried to my husband, as though I’d unexpectedly spotted a T-shirt emblazoned with the name of my favorite obscure band. For the past couple of decades, I have seldom shaved my armpits. Now, all of a sudden, I was on-trend. Continue reading...
June 24th 2019, 1:07 am
Emily Eavis says there are male execs in music industry who insist on speaking to her father
The Glastonbury festival organiser, Emily Eavis, has said some men in the music industry still refuse to deal with her despite taking over responsibility from her father for overseeing the lineup.
Speaking days before the start of this year’s event, Eavis, 40, who has been booking acts at Glastonbury for half her life, said she was often the only woman in meetings with music moguls. Continue reading...
June 23rd 2019, 7:00 am
From breast feeding to sleep training, there is a manual to help new parents. But how useful are they really? And don’t they just make us feel even more stressed?
Visiting a maternity ward last week I saw the oddest thing. A series of posters designed to promote breastfeeding, each one a disembodied white woman’s torso. The first featured her tits being groped by a variety of hands. “Bond with your baby,” said a slogan over the tit pictured stage left, a child’s hand covering the nipple. And above the second tit, this one enclosed by a pink male hand, the words, “Bond with your man.” OK. The next poster showed the tits in a leopard-print bra, a baby sucking on one nipple, and the slogan, “Designer mum. Designer milk.” An involuntary shudder. Not just at the suggestion that the reason so many women bottle-feed their babies is to protect their “designer” bosom, but at the memory of drowning in similarly delirious mothering advice, in finding myself bleeding on a battleground, its lines drawn in crayon.
Parenting advice is big business, despite appearing to consist of just two contrasting ideas: the first, control the kid; the second, control yourself. The many millions of books written, about feeding, sleeping, carrying, playing, inevitably extend into a variety of things to buy, whether tech-driven sleep aids or parenting coaches, or “mumpreneur” networking events. And yet, despite so many parents’ shaky investments (at a time when their earnings must be impacted) much of the advice is offered without much, if any, serious explanation why. Continue reading...
June 23rd 2019, 4:13 am
The actor and author who recently testified before Congress on why she got an abortion discusses the power in being vocal about uncomfortable experiences
Busy Philipps’ big dreams for the stage never included testifying before Congress about why she got an abortion at age 15. But with more and more US states passing extreme anti-abortion measures, she saw it as a responsibility.
“There is power to being vocal about your experiences as a person because whether we like it or not, people lack empathy, they lack the ability to understand someone else’s situation until they’re really faced with it – until it’s really shown to them,” she tells me over the phone, cutting out to field texts from her husband and make arrangements for her daughter’s hair appointment. “There’s a great deal of value in sharing all of our stories and experiences in order to elicit change.” Continue reading...
June 22nd 2019, 1:14 am
Protest against Germany’s 19% tax on sanitary products sells out first print run in one day
Open up a book and you can find a whole world. But the first book from the German startup the Female Company offers something more straightforward: within its covers are 15 tampons. And it is flying off the shelves.
The Tampon Book is a protest against Germany’s 19% tax on tampons as “luxury goods” – and a way of getting round it. Books are taxed at 7% in Germany, and so the founders of the Female Company, which sells organic sanitary products, decided to publish one and include tampons inside it. Released earlier this spring, the first print-run sold out in a day and the second in a week, said the publisher, with around 10,000 copies sold to date. Only the English-language edition is currently available. Continue reading...
June 21st 2019, 10:22 am
Deputy grand imam of al-Azhar calls for marriage based on mutual consent with minimum age set at 18
One of the world’s most prestigious centres of Islamic learning has issued a fatwa against child marriage, saying marriage should be based on the consent of both parties and “particularly the young woman”.
The deputy grand imam of al-Azhar, considered by some Muslims to be the highest authority of Islamic jurisprudence, hammered out the document with his team and young activists at the first African summit on child marriage and female genital mutilation, which took place in Senegal this week. Continue reading...
June 21st 2019, 2:19 am
Pharmacy says sorry after staff member refused to dispense product for ‘personal reasons’
A pharmacy chain has apologised after a woman was refused emergency contraception because the pharmacist said it went against her personal beliefs.
Siani, 41, who did not want to give her surname, pre-ordered and paid for contraception online through the Lloyds Pharmacy website. Continue reading...
June 20th 2019, 10:33 am
Chief justice says in televised speech that abuse survivors will be able to ‘speak their heart without any fear’
Pakistan is to set up more than 1,000 courts dedicated to tackling violence against women, the country’s top judge has announced, seeking to tackle a problem activists say the criminal justice system has long neglected.
Chief justice Asif Saeed Khosa said the special courts would allow victims to speak out without fear of retaliation in the conservative Muslim country, where domestic violence is often seen as taboo. Continue reading...
June 19th 2019, 8:57 pm
Juntendo University says abolishing unfair treatment of women is behind rise in entrance exam scores
Women have outperformed their male counterparts in entrance examinations for a medical school in Japan that last year admitted rigging admission procedures to give men an unfair advantage.
Juntendo University in Tokyo said that of the 1,679 women who took its medical school entrance exam earlier this year, 139, or 8.28%, had passed. The pass rate among 2,202 male candidates was 7.72%. Continue reading...
June 19th 2019, 12:44 am
Just 6.5% of drivers in England, Wales and Scotland are women, and 8% are an ethnic minority, says Aslef
A campaign to increase the number of female, BAME and younger train drivers is being launched after a study revealed the “glaring gap” between their numbers and those in the population they serve.
Aslef, the train drivers’ union, said just 6.5% of drivers in England, Wales and Scotland were women, 8% were from a minority ethnic background and 15% were under 35. Continue reading...
June 16th 2019, 7:36 pm
It’s a social lubricant, a way of easing the day or the foreplay to a deeper connection. These are the small shared moments that bind us together
Every week my dad’s family would gather at an auntie’s house and argue about the best route to Ridley Road. They would drink tea and describe, with glee and not a flake of detail spared, the buses they’d each taken, and the madness of having started in the wrong place, always. Arguments about shortcuts and the benefits of the No 38 would roll around the table like pennies as whole weekends passed quite happily with absolutely nothing of worth or depth apparently being shared at all. Like a Monet, the fine art of small talk (an art that is under threat) is best viewed from a distance.
“I hate small talk,” is a phrase one hears regularly today. “I have no time for it,” boast introverts, swishily. It is classed as the very worst of the talks, the Garibaldi of the talks, the Home Alone 3, the Phoebe, the Ryanair, the Niall Horan of the talks. It is treated with a disdain usually reserved for Esther McVey by Lorraine Kelly. Small talk is commonly spoken of as shallow, as dull, a stain on the otherwise flawless shirt of our humanity. Christ, there are even apps to help you avoid it, as if small talk were a traffic accident that must be driven around. As Uber trial an option allowing customers to select “Quiet preferred” when they book a car, alerting their driver to their preference for “no small talk”, it’s time, I think, to plead its case. Continue reading...
June 16th 2019, 4:29 am
The supermodel turned mental-health activist on how battling dyslexia, drugs and depression helped her find her voice
Adwoa Aboah’s clothes are causing a stir, and not – as you might expect from one of the world’s most recognisable models – in a fashion sense. Her team are worried that her black hoodie, featuring the colourful logo of a young, disruptive sportswear brand, won’t fit with the podcast she is recording about girls’ mental health when the pictures go up on Instagram.
Aboah’s not having it. “Nah – these are my boys,” she says, of the designers behind the hoodie. “Anyway, would you prefer the one I have on underneath?” She lifts her top to reveal a white T-shirt that says: “Blowjobs are real jobs.” Continue reading...
June 15th 2019, 5:15 am
Planned events include giant picnics and pram marches, culminating in demonstrations
Women across Switzerland are walking off the job and into the streets to demand wage parity, nearly three decades after staging the country’s first nationwide strike for equal pay.
Events planned throughout the day range from pram marches to whistle concerts, extended lunch breaks and giant picnics, culminating in huge demonstrations on Friday evening in several cities, including in front of the government in Bern. Continue reading...
June 14th 2019, 4:56 am
Japan has a 27.5% gender pay gap and ranks 110th in the world for gender equality – but social change is slowly happening
Last week, after the actor Yumi Ishikawa’s petition against being forced to wear high heels at the office went viral around the world, the responses ranged from solidarity – with some cheering Ishikawa and denouncing “modern footbinding” – to surprised disappointment. In 2019, in a liberal democracy such as Japan, could the issue of women’s rights still be stuck on stilettos?
But the global spotlight on the hashtag #kutoo (a pun on a word for shoes and a word for pain) may have obscured what’s really happening in Japan. “It’s so trivial,” said one senior female publishing executive, who wished to remain anonymous. After all, on the streets of Tokyo, there is a growing movement for real change for women, not merely more comfortable footwear. Continue reading...
June 13th 2019, 3:01 am
Oscar winner at forefront of #MeToo movement says she felt ‘ashamed’ and that incident was somehow her fault
The Oscar-winning actor Mira Sorvino has said she is a survivor of date rape, saying she was talking about it publicly to lend her voice to a push for stronger sexual assault laws in New York.
Sorvino, who was one of the first women to accuse the film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, spoke during a news conference with New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, in support of the push to drop the statute of limitations on rape allegations. Continue reading...
June 12th 2019, 10:43 pm
A drive for more streets to be named after women won’t solve sexism and racism – but it’s a start
A new initiative in Bradford is hoping women will take up more literal and figurative space in the UK; through the Pioneering Bradford Lasses campaign, more streets and public spaces in the city will be named after women in order to correct the gender imbalance of the figures whose achievements are publicly honoured. Bradford will kick off by naming a new street – Lillian Armitage Close – after a local suffragette who campaigned for women’s right to vote.
I am under no illusion that more brown faces on bank notes, more women’s names on blue plaques or the toppling of the statues of colonialists we continue to celebrate will actually see minorities getting better-paying jobs, more women climbing the ranks or the end of white supremacy. I do, however, think that these can be brilliant and necessary moves. It is important that a city, town or country acknowledges not just the existence but the contributions of those who helped make it great. Continue reading...
June 12th 2019, 12:50 pm
Director of It’s Complicated and Something’s Gotta Give says male directors who make ‘gorgeous’ films don’t face similar criticism
Nancy Meyers, the multimillion-dollar grossing director of The Intern and It’s Complicated, has hit out at critics who focus on the lavishly designed domestic interiors featured in her films, saying the attention is sexist and that male directors would not be criticised in the same way. Continue reading...
June 11th 2019, 6:48 am
Explosions, injuries, rewrites … Bond 25 seems beset by crisis. The result of intense media scrutiny, or a sign that the series is struggling to find a new direction?
The new Bond film is tearing the roof off – literally, it would seem. Reports emerged this week from Pinewood Studios that an explosion on the film’s set on Tuesday destroyed part of a sound-stage roof and tore off large chunks of exterior panelling, as well as causing a “minor injury” to a crew member.
The explosion is the latest setback to affect production of the film known as Bond 25, the 25th and latest in the hugely profitable series based on Ian Fleming’s books that began in 1962 and has earned over $7bn worldwide. The UK’s Health and Safety Executive has announced it is to make inquiries into the incident, though it as yet has stopped short of a full investigation. Continue reading...
June 10th 2019, 11:31 am
Signatories including Helen Pankhurst, Sadiq Khan and Harriet Harman say the International Labour Conference in Geneva presents an opportunity to end violence and harassment against women, and call on the UK government to use its influence wisely
Over the last few years, we have come together around #March4Women to demand action to end violence and sexual harassment in the workplace. This week, world leaders have a crucial chance to answer this call, and turn the wave of global outrage following #MeToo into systemic change for women in the workplace. We call on the UK government not to waste this opportunity to champion a strong global law that protects all women.
Governments, employers and workers are meeting in Geneva for the International Labour Conference to negotiate a new global convention to end violence and harassment in the world of work. We urge them to remember the 235 million women around the world who work without any legal protection because one in three countries have no laws against sexual harassment at work. It is the poorest women who are the most vulnerable – domestic workers, factory workers, those women living hand-to-mouth who cannot afford to risk their jobs by standing up for themselves and for each other. An international law is urgently needed. Continue reading...
June 9th 2019, 1:46 pm
Ex-health secretary favours halving limit to 12 weeks but says he would not change law if he was PM
The Conservative leadership hopeful Jeremy Hunt has been criticised for arguing in favour of halving the legal time limit for abortions from 24 to 12 weeks at a time when the government is facing calls to give women in Northern Ireland the right to an abortion.
The former health secretary said it was still his view that abortions should only be allowed for women up to 12 weeks after conception but insisted he would not seek to change the law on it if he became prime minister. Continue reading...
June 9th 2019, 10:14 am
Drag the Red searches for human remains in the Red River as a report recently concluded Indigenous women face a ‘genocide’
As a government inquiry compiled its landmark report on the epidemic of violence against Canada’s Indigenous women, Bernadette Smith and a group of volunteers continued what they have done for years – scouring Manitoba’s Red River for human remains.
Since 2014, Smith and her team at the Drag the Red initiative have used a small motor boat to drag the murky waters in the faint hope providing closure to grieving families. Continue reading...
June 9th 2019, 8:27 am
Charity says visa delays making it harder for immigrant women in Ireland to travel to UK
A pro-choice charity that for decades has helped thousands of Irish women access abortions in England is sending foreign nationals to the Netherlands due to tighter UK visa regulations and the effects of Brexit.
The Abortion Support Network [ASN] said it was guiding immigrant women in Ireland towards Dutch abortion facilities because it was taking too long to obtain visas for English clinics. Continue reading...
June 7th 2019, 11:23 am
- University network says opposition to event was censored
- Speaker Julie Bindel left ‘shaken’ after alleged abuse
All 12 members of Edinburgh University’s staff pride network committee have resigned after accusing the university authorities of “failing to take a stand against transphobic hate on campus”.
The committee claims the mass resignation was prompted by the university’s attempts to censor its opposition to a feminist meeting, held on Wednesday evening, which included speakers who have previously been critical of proposed reforms to transgender rights. Continue reading...
June 7th 2019, 7:55 am
Study finds fewer woman and BME people in key jobs at NHS trusts, despite initiatives to improve representation
Fewer women and people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are being given key roles running NHS trusts, prompting claims that the health service is going backwards on diversity and inclusion.
The proportion of chairs and non-executive directors of NHS trusts in England who are from an ethnic minority has almost halved from 15% in 2010 to just 8%, research shows. Continue reading...
June 6th 2019, 7:17 pm
‘We do not pass laws that take away freedom from women who are most vulnerable’ Warren said, in speech against Hyde amendment
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren delivered a scorching criticism of her fellow candidate in the 2020 election and former vice-president, Joe Biden, and his continued support for the Hyde amendment, a provision of federal law that restricts abortion access for poor and disabled women on public health insurance.
The Hyde amendment bars the federal government from paying for abortion care through Medicaid,the government program that provides health insurance to roughly 17 million US women of reproductive age. An abortion costs roughly $600 in the US. Continue reading...
June 6th 2019, 1:30 pm
Forbes’ list of the richest ‘self-made women’ in the US has includes 10 in the skincare business, including Rihanna and Kylie Jenner. But is it something to celebrate?
In 2019, if women want to earn big bucks, fashion and beauty is the way to do it. Forbes has released its fifth annual list of the US’s richest so-called “self-made women”. Of the 80 women on it, 10 are from the makeup and skincare industries. Those who have reached millionaire and billionaire status through their own beauty brands and fashion lines include Kylie Jenner, Anastasia Soare of Anastasia Beverly Hills, the Gap co-founder Doris Fisher, Forever 21’s Jin Sook Chang and the creator of Spanx, Sara Blakely.
Rihanna, bolstered by her Fenty Beauty brand, has become the world’s richest musician – despite not having released any music since 2016. Fenty Beauty, which she launched in 2017 with the luxury goods group LVMH, generated an estimated $570 million in revenue last year. Continue reading...
June 5th 2019, 1:46 pm
Ministry responds to #KuToo petition calling for end to women having to wear heels at work
Japan’s health and labour minister has defended workplaces that require women to wear high heels to work, arguing it is “necessary and appropriate” after a petition was filed against the practice.
The remark came when Takumi Nemoto was asked to comment on a petition by a group of women who want the government to ban workplaces from requiring female jobseekers and employees to wear high heels. Continue reading...
June 5th 2019, 11:28 am
From larger-cup bikinis to modest beachwear, fashion is finally beginning to cater for a range of women’s bodies
If there’s one thing Sasha Khan loathes, it is shopping for swimwear. Which makes it a strange coincidence that, on the day we speak, Khan has just been bikini shopping. “I buy swimwear about once every 10 years,” she says. The 23-year-old charity worker from London is flying to Ibiza tomorrow. “I always put it off. I hate it. It’s like having to go to the dentist or get your eyes tested.”
The reason Khan hates bikini shopping is because she is a size 10-12, with a 32FF bust, and few retailers design swimwear for women with relatively narrow backs and larger cup sizes. Khan isn’t alone. “I heard at least two or three other people in the changing rooms today saying: ‘Oh God, I can never find anything.’” Continue reading...
June 5th 2019, 9:58 am
BacktTo60 group says women were not given time to adjust to new retirement age
Women born in the 1950s whose retirement age was increased from 60 to 65 have gone to court seeking a judicial review of how the government raised the retirement age and to try to force the government to repay their lost pensions.
Nearly 4 million women have been forced to wait up to an extra six years to get their pensions after changes to bring women’s retirement age into line with men’s. Continue reading...
June 5th 2019, 8:55 am
Pop star says a woman ‘can be wearing what she wants … She can’t be grabbed without her consent’
Miley Cyrus has spoken out after a man grabbed and kissed her following a festival performance in Barcelona last weekend. She posted footage of the incident to her Instagram and Twitter feeds, which shows the man grabbing at her hair, then pulling her towards him by wrapping his arm around her neck, and kissing her head. Clearly rattled, she breaks free and moves quickly away.
Captioning the footage, Cyrus wrote: “She can be wearing what she wants. She can be a virgin. She can be sleeping with 5 different people. She can be with her husband. She can be with her girlfriend. She can be naked. She CAN’T be grabbed without her consent. #DontFuckWithMyFreedom.” Continue reading...
June 5th 2019, 7:39 am
Trump administration’s ban on terminations is a crisis directed at women, warns Kate Gilmore
The US policy on abortion is a form of extremist hate that amounts to the torture of women, the UN deputy high commissioner for human rights told the Guardian.
The attack on women’s rights was a “crisis”, organised and well-resourced by very extremist groups. Continue reading...
June 4th 2019, 2:35 am
KuToo campaigners urge government to ban employers from forcing footwear on female staff
A group of Japanese women have submitted a petition to the government to protest against what they say is a de facto requirement for female staff to wear high heels at work.
The KuToo campaign – a play on words from the Japanese word “kutsu”, meaning shoes and “kutsuu”, meaning “pain” – was launched by the actor and freelance writer Yumi Ishikawa and quickly won support online. Continue reading...
June 3rd 2019, 6:48 am
The first global index measuring efforts to end gender inequality finds countries are not doing enough to improve women’s lives
No country in the world is on track to achieve gender equality by 2030, according to the first index to measure progress against a set of internationally agreed targets.
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said the index, launched on Monday, “should serve as a wake-up call to the world”. Continue reading...
June 3rd 2019, 12:44 am
Urinary leakage affects millions of women, who have often suffered in silence. That may change with Elvie, a new way to strengthen the pelvic floor – involving an app
There are nappies in my wardrobe, but I have no children nor a sexual fetish. Instead, I have a problem shared by millions of women (and some men): I cannot always control my bladder as well as I want to, no matter how many toilet visits I have made beforehand. I have incontinence, and I am not alone: in the UK, up to 40% of women have incontinence at some point, either because they have given birth or are menopausal, because of genetics, or simply because of age. Up to 70% of expectant and new mothers experience incontinence, and a quarter of men over 40 – though, given how shameful it is thought to be, the figures are likely to be conservative. We mask, we hide, we cope.
The pelvic floor – a sling of muscles stretching from the tailbone to the pubic bone – supports the bladder, bowel and womb. These muscles are meant to contract to stopper any flow of urine. (The muscles are also sometimes referred to as a “trampoline” – a sour joke for women who know trampolining is a sure way to wet pants.) Continue reading...
June 2nd 2019, 10:34 am
The advertising industry has got the body-imaging message, now they’re trying to sell it back to us
Every now and then it’s important, isn’t it, to take the temperature of where we are with the whole “feminism” project. Specifically in relation to women’s bodies – these soft maps where international politics plays out daily, from the way they’re criminalised by the men controlling anti-abortion laws to our evolving body-image crisis, now entering its late stages.
At the beginning of the new Boots advert, we watch two women watch an advert, a Protein World-style video of a hot bikini girl asking: “Are you summer ready?” But these are modern women, able to dissect and name the clichés that have rained and then hailed down on them since puberty. So instead of doubling over with shame and regret, they laugh. After a slick of lip balm and spritz of hair stuff, they saunter across a beach, past a disapproving model-type, before, with brave Thelma and Louise-esque grimaces, throwing off their sarongs to dance gleefully in the sea. The slogan appears: “Let’s feel good about summer.” Continue reading...
June 2nd 2019, 4:16 am
Use of ribociclib in combination with standard hormone therapy significantly prolongs survival, study finds
Younger women with breast cancer have been given the hope of living longer after what is described as “one of the greatest advances in breast cancer research in recent decades”.
Adding ribociclib, a targeted drug that disrupts cancer cells, to standard hormone therapy was found to boost survival among pre-menopausal patients who have an advanced form of the disease. Continue reading...
June 2nd 2019, 4:16 am
It’s reassuring to know that our allure doesn’t fade with age, says Mariella, and while it may actually be the opposite, it’s hard to know what’s prompted this epidemic of lust
The dilemma I’m a 60-year-old grey-haired woman, reasonably fit and not ugly, but not particularly beautiful. I don’t wear sexy clothing and I can’t fill a double-A bra. I’ve never been tempted to cheat on my husband of 30+ years. But the husbands of my girlfriends keep hitting on me. Two nights ago, one of these husbands had his hands all over me while my husband and his wife were in the same room. I didn’t want to make a scene that would upset the friendly relationships among the couples. I don’t want to lose my girlfriend’s friendship, which is extremely important to me, and I don’t want my husband to get angry with her husband. This is not the first time. The same thing happened with another couple, and after I told my husband about the man’s advances, all communication between both husbands and both wives ended. What am I doing wrong? How can I stay close to my girlfriends and enjoy going out as couples with our husbands without having them hit on me?
Mariella replies Nice problem to have. Swatting off amorous men is no hardship at any age so long as they are prepared to take no for an answer. Thanks for pointing out that there is nothing about you that anyone should find attractive. Grey hair, post-menopausal, small breasts and sensible clothes – what’s to like? Or could it be that our entrenched assumptions about sexual attraction are inaccurate? It’s very easy to feel that we live in a world where unless you’re cosmetically enhanced or blessed with a Baywatch body your ability to find a partner will forever be compromised. But looking around there’s way too much evidence that the opposite is true. Continue reading...
June 2nd 2019, 1:12 am
Saying a woman will regret it returns to the idea of motherhood as the natural position and anything else as deviant
At work a while back, I was complaining that the air con – usually set to sub zero – was turned up to practically balmy. No one else agreed; my mate reached for the emergency nanna rug we keep in the office.
“Huh,” I said. “Must be the menopause.” Continue reading...
June 1st 2019, 4:07 pm
With reproductive rights under aggressive attack, clinics across state lines are bracing for an influx of women seeking care
Dr Erin King felt a weight lift off her shoulders – at least for a few minutes.
The executive director of Hope Clinic in Granite City, Illinois had spent a week “scrambling” to prepare for an influx of patients from St Louis – just about a 10 minute drive across the Mississippi River – as Missouri threatened to close its last legal abortion provider by the end of the week at midnight. Continue reading...
June 1st 2019, 2:14 am
- Michael Stelzer stops Missouri from allowing license to lapse
- Threat to clinic came amid growing push against women’s rights
A judge has issued an order allowing Missouri’s only abortion clinic to continue to provide the service, just hours before the St Louis Planned Parenthood clinic’s license to perform abortions was set to expire.
Planned Parenthood supporters gathered outside the clinic breathed a sigh of relief after the ruling from circuit judge Michael Stelzer. He issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting Missouri from allowing the license to lapse. Continue reading...
May 31st 2019, 4:09 pm
Male animal bias is unscientific and can lead to drugs that work less well for women
The male mind is rational and orderly while the female one is complicated and hormonal. It is a stereotype that has skewed decades of neuroscience research towards using almost exclusively male mice and other laboratory animals, according to a new study.
Scientists have typically justified excluding female animals from experiments – even when studying conditions that are more likely to affect women – on the basis that fluctuating hormones would render the results uninterpretable. However, according to Rebecca Shansky, a neuroscientist at Northeastern University, in Boston, it is entirely unjustified by scientific evidence, which shows that, if anything, the hormones and behaviour of male rodents are less stable than those of females. Continue reading...
May 31st 2019, 9:36 am
The actor has taken issue with the phrase, saying that such labels block communication, and that women can also be toxic
Meryl Streep has criticised the phrase “toxic masculinity”, saying it is offensive to men. “We hurt our boys by calling something toxic masculinity,” she said. “Women can be pretty fucking toxic … It’s toxic people.”
Streep was speaking at a panel discussion about the forthcoming second season of female-fronted show Big Little Lies, and brought the issue up after co-star Nicole Kidman recalled a male fan telling her about his enjoyment of the first series. Continue reading...
May 31st 2019, 8:34 am
Ahead of a retrospective of her work, the artist speaks about the dangers facing poor women who may seek illegal abortions as a result of bans
Paula Rego, one of the world’s most celebrated living artists, has said the anti-abortion movement “criminalises women” and believes recent legislation banning the procedure in some US states is dangerously regressive and will force women into finding potentially deadly “backstreet solutions”.
The artist, who was born in Portugal but moved to London and exhibited with the London Group in the 1960s alongside David Hockney, has spent her career focusing on women’s rights and abortion in particular, and thinks the recent spate of restrictive reproductive legislation in the US is “grotesque”. Continue reading...
May 31st 2019, 5:47 am
Firms refused to comment on filming in Northern Ireland where laws are stricter
Netflix and Disney are threatening to pull film production in Georgia over the US state’s new abortion law – but neither company will comment on whether they will continue to make shows in Northern Ireland, where women face even more restrictions on their reproductive rights.
Georgia’s proposed law, which has prompted a growing boycott from the entertainment industry and leading actors, will ban women from seeking an abortion after six weeks. By comparison, Northern Ireland’s longstanding ban on abortion is absolute from the moment of conception, with anyone obtaining an abortion theoretically facing life imprisonment. Continue reading...
May 31st 2019, 2:14 am
In the wake of Louisiana’s abortion law, Julie Burkhart’s work matters as much as her mentor’s did a decade ago
Julie Burkhart remembers all too vividly the morning of 31 May 2009. It was a Sunday and she was in a meeting in Washington DC when, shortly after 10am, her phone started buzzing incessantly with calls from her home town of Wichita, Kansas.
When she got through to one of her co-workers she thought at first he was making a surreal joke. George Tiller, her mentor with whom she had worked side-by-side for the past eight years at the frontlines of America’s abortion wars, had been accosted at Sunday service in his Wichita church and shot dead. Continue reading...
May 31st 2019, 2:14 am
Disney and Netflix consider ending production in the state but others, such as Home Depot, Coca-Cola and UPS, avoid the debate
Georgia is home to some of the world’s biggest businesses but those corporations are so far avoiding becoming involved in a growing debate over the state’s recent passing of a controversial abortion bill.
Entertainment giants Disney and Netflix this week said that they are considering ending production in the state if it implements a bill that bans abortion after around six weeks of pregnancy – a point when many women won’t know they are pregnant. Continue reading...
May 31st 2019, 2:14 am
Candidates were responding to questions after Dominic Raab said he was ‘probably not’ one
The leading Conservative leadership candidates – Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Michael Gove, Matthew Hancock, Andrea Leadsom and Rory Stewart – have all declared that they are feminists, after Dominic Raab said he was “probably not” one.
The question of women’s equality became an issue in the contest after Raab, one of the favourites to be Conservative leader, rejected the label of feminism and stuck by his 2011 assertion that feminists are among the most “obnoxious bigots”. Continue reading...
May 30th 2019, 3:07 pm
Men who want to change need to organise themselves, writes Henrietta Cubitt. And one reader reflects on her relationship of 50-plus years
What an interesting article by Hadley Freeman (Marriage isn’t the problem, it’s husbands, 30 May). I agree that for a marriage to be happy, it needs to be an equal partnership. The problem is, we learn how to behave from our parents, and other adults, showing us when we are children. A girl learns very early that she is expected to grow up and be like her mother (and other women), and she watches and learns, this before she is old enough to remember. Boys learn the same about growing up to be men; they see that they won’t be doing any childcare or managing the house, so they don’t need to learn how to do it.
With some things, people notice when they are older that something isn’t fair and they decide, consciously, to do it differently when they grow up. But it would not help relationships if women had to teach their husbands how to look after the baby, how to wash up, and especially how to keep in mind all the chores that need to be done. Could men who want to change organise themselves into a group and arrange to be taught these things? Please don’t tell me women should do that for them! Continue reading...
May 30th 2019, 2:20 pm
Revealing the five books in contention for the inaugural prize, Keyes hit out at the internalised sexism leading readers to assume women can’t write comedy
Bestselling novelist Marian Keyes has railed against the sexist attitude that “people don’t expect women to be funny” as she announced the shortlist for the inaugural Comedy women in print prize.
The £2,000 award was founded by the comedian, writer and actor Helen Lederer last year, after Keyes slammed the “sexist imbalance” of the Wodehouse prize for comic fiction. The Wodehouse is the UK’s only prize for funny writing, and has been won by four women in 19 years. Keyes, part of a judging panel for the CWIP that also features comedians Katy Brand and Shazia Mirza, said that “we are all so steeped in internalised sexism that we’re not even aware that it’s there”. Continue reading...
May 30th 2019, 5:04 am
The Femm app has users in the US, EU and Africa and sows doubt over the safety of birth control, a Guardian investigation has found
A popular women’s health and fertility app sows doubt about birth control, features claims from medical advisers who are not licensed to practice in the US, and is funded and led by anti-abortion, anti-gay Catholic campaigners, a Guardian investigation has found.
The Femm app, which collects personal information about sex and menstruation from users, has been downloaded more than 400,000 times since its launch in 2015, according to developers. It has users in the US, the EU, Africa and Latin America, its operating company claims. Continue reading...
May 30th 2019, 2:15 am
Bob Iger said many who work for Disney would not want to work there if the strict law, which bans abortion as early as six weeks, was in effect
The chief executive of the Walt Disney Company said Georgia’s new strict abortion law would make it “very difficult” for the media company to keep filming in the state.
Walt Disney Co chief executive Bob Iger told Reuters on Wednesday that the law would cause many people to not want to work in the state if it were to go in effect. Continue reading...
May 29th 2019, 10:28 pm