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Australian women win landmark vaginal mesh class action against Johnson & Johnson

Women | The Guardian

The case was launched on behalf of 700 women who had pelvic mesh and tape products implanted to treat common complications of childbirth

Hundreds of women left in debilitating pain by faulty transvaginal mesh devices have won a landmark case against multinational giant Johnson & Johnson.

The Australian class action against companies owned by Johnson & Johnson – watched closely across the world – was launched on behalf of 1,350 women who had mesh and tape products implanted to treat pelvic prolapse or stress urinary incontinence, both common complications of childbirth.

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November 20th 2019, 9:03 pm

Induction recommended for women still pregnant at 41 weeks

Women | The Guardian

Swedish study shows that induction of labour at or beyond term gestation is safer for babies

Inducing birth for women whose pregnancy lasts to 41 weeks could reduce the death toll from stillbirths, say experts, following publication of the results of an important trial in which six babies died after spending longer in the womb.

The results of the trial in Sweden, revealed last month in the Guardian, may change practice around the world. They confirm what experience and smaller studies have suggested – that there is a small increased risk of stillbirth for babies after 41 weeks’ gestation. The trial was stopped early after five babies of women who were more than 41 weeks’ pregnant were stillborn and one died shortly after birth.

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November 20th 2019, 6:46 pm

Stuck for ideas on the lesbian tourist trail? Welcome to Halifax!

Women | The Guardian

Yorkshire town rivals Lesbos as popular destination thanks to TV series Gentleman Jack

The Greek island of Lesbos has long been a magnet for gay women, attracted by the poetry of Sappho, literature’s most famous lesbian, who wrote an ode to the goddess Aphrodite in the 7th century BC.

Now Lesbos has a rival on the sapphic tourism circuit. Halifax in Yorkshire is rapidly becoming a popular destination for lesbians thanks to the BBC/HBO series, Gentleman Jack.

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November 19th 2019, 1:12 pm

Ego trip: why are some male runners so threatened by a speedy woman?

Women | The Guardian

Being overtaken by a woman seems to get under some men’s skin, as elite athlete Lily Partridge pointed out last week. But the intimidation tactics need to stop

At this time of year, many women stop running in the dark. The same quiet roads that are great for training are precisely those that can make you feel vulnerable. Attacks, fortunately, are rare – but intimidation is not.

I don’t know a single female runner who hasn’t been heckled or mocked while out pounding the streets. And, yes, always by men. But there is something else you also occasionally see, too: male runners reminding you of their power.

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November 19th 2019, 2:29 am

More fathers are taking paternity leave, but mothers are still doing all the work

Women | The Guardian

A survey found 62% of fathers took time off for their newborn, but women saw a greater damage to future job prospects

Attitudes towards paternity leave have drastically changed in America in the last five years as more fathers feel comfortable taking extended time off, but gender stereotypes persist when it comes to career prospects and the home, according to a new study of working parents.

Research by the Boston College Center for Work & Family, which surveyed new parents at four large US companies who were eligible for at least 6 weeks paid parental leave, found that 81% of the 1,240 employees surveyed said the notion of fathers taking leave has become more acceptable.

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November 18th 2019, 4:19 am

Watford FC’s loos are top of the league | Brief letters

Women | The Guardian

Women’s toilets | Hangover cures | Narrow boat offer | The Queen

Great to see the call to architects and planners for potty parity (The queue for the ladies’ loo is a feminist issue, Journal, 14 November). Maybe we can also ask them to situate the pan off centre in each of the ladies’ cubicles, so the user’s thigh doesn’t have to have such a close relationship with the sanitary bin.
Alison Whitehouse
East Barnet, London

• One place where I gleefully skip past a very long line of men queueing for the loo in the knowledge that my own wait will be considerably shorter is at Watford FC. The women’s loos there are spotlessly clean, provide free sanitary products, and, most intriguingly, no mirrors! They’re top of the league in my books.
Liz O’Connell
St Albans, Hertfordshire

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November 15th 2019, 12:30 pm

Young women and older men lead Oscars gender equality

Women | The Guardian

Exclusive: Analysis of this year’s awards contenders reveals three youngest best actor hopefuls have never made a film with a female director

Striking contrasts in the choices of male and female awards contenders – and their potential impact on gender parity in Hollywood – have been uncovered by the Guardian.

The three youngest men likely to be in the race for next year’s best actor Oscar have never worked on a film directed by a woman, while the category frontrunner, Joaquin Phoenix, has worked with a female director only once during his 34-film career.

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November 15th 2019, 11:01 am

World's first vagina museum to open in London

Women | The Guardian

Muff Busters exhibition begins in Camden in hope of tackling myths on ‘taboo’ body parts

In a bright indoor space in Camden’s Stables Market, a giant tampon is flanked by giant menstrual cups. Illustrations of female genitalia are dotted around the walls and some underwear is in a glass case.

This is the world’s first vagina museum dedicated to gynaecological anatomy, which opens this weekend in north-west London.

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November 15th 2019, 7:46 am

Suffragist outrage: Winston Churchill struck with a dog whip - archive, 15, November 1909

Women | The Guardian

15 November 1909: Suffragist attacks the President of the Board of Trade at Bristol railway station, cutting his face with a lash

Mr Winston Churchill was the victim of a disgraceful outrage by a militant suffragist at Bristol on Saturday, when a woman, said to be Miss Theresa Garnett, of Leeds, broke through a cordon of police on the railway station platform and struck Mr Churchill with a dog-whip. She aimed the first blow at his head, the lash cutting his face. Mr Churchill seized her and was able to secure the whip after a struggle. The police then took the woman into custody.

Related: From the archive: Another scene at the Commons

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November 15th 2019, 12:58 am

Missouri took ‘extreme actions’ to limit reproductive rights, House panel hears

Women | The Guardian

Tracking patients’ periods and medically unnecessary pelvic exams amount to ‘state-sponsored abuse’, says congresswoman

Missouri health officials’ efforts to shut down the last abortion clinic within state borders are “a denial of basic healthcare services”, the New York congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said at a House oversight committee hearing on Thursday.

Missouri took “extreme actions” to limit reproductive rights, the panel heard. Tactics included tracking patients’ periods and medically unnecessary pelvic exams, amounting to “state-sponsored abuse”, Maloney said.

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November 14th 2019, 4:33 pm

Who's the daddy? Paternity mixed up in cities, study finds

Women | The Guardian

Illegitimacy more likely among urban poor in 19th-century, say geneticists, who warn of shocks from home DNA tests

The Romans had a phrase that summed it up nicely: mater semper certa est, pater semper incertus est. The mother is always certain, the father is always uncertain.

Now, researchers have found that some people have more reason to doubt their fathers than others, or at least have had over the past half millennium.

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November 14th 2019, 12:27 pm

US will not support abortion even in cases of rape, says senior official

Women | The Guardian

Campaigners urge global action on reproductive rights as US comments embolden anti-choice groups at Nairobi summit

The US would not support abortion when a woman or girl has been raped and family planning programmes should offer alternatives to terminations, a senior policy adviser has told a conference in Nairobi.

In a statement that has emboldened anti-choice groups in the city, Valerie Huber, the US special representative for global women’s health, told a summit on population and development that her country sought to combat gender-based violence by investing in programmes that respected the rights of women and girls, but didn’t compromise “the inherent value of every human life – born and unborn”.

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November 14th 2019, 8:43 am

Joana Choumali wins 2019 Prix Prictet photography prize

Women | The Guardian

Artist becomes first African to win the prestigious prize, for embroidered pictures created following terrorist attack

See a photo essay of the Prix Pictet 2019 shortlist

Joana Choumali, a 45-year-old photographer from Ivory Coast, has become the first African artist to win the Prix Pictet. The announcement was made this evening in a ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London for the opening of an exhibition of the 12 shortlisted artists.

The theme of the eighth Prix Pictet, a global award for photography and sustainability, was Hope. The jury, which included last year’s winner, Richard Mosse, praised Choumali’s “brilliantly original meditation on the ability of the human spirit to wrest hope and resilience from even the most traumatic events”.

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November 13th 2019, 3:12 pm

The female problem: how male bias in medical trials ruined women's health

Women | The Guardian

Centuries of female exclusion has meant women’s diseases are often missed, misdiagnosed or remain a total mystery

From the earliest days of medicine, women have been considered inferior versions of men. In On the Generation of Animals, the Greek philosopher Aristotle characterised a female as a mutilated male, and this belief has persisted in western medical culture.

“For much of documented history, women have been excluded from medical and science knowledge production, so essentially we’ve ended up with a healthcare system, among other things in society, that has been made by men for men,” Dr Kate Young, a public health researcher at Monash University in Australia, tells me.

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November 13th 2019, 12:28 pm

Half of new FTSE 100 chiefs must be women to hit gender target

Women | The Guardian

Official review says step change in top appointments needed in 2020 at UK’s biggest listed firms

One in every two FTSE 100 executive appointments over the next year will have to go to a woman if the UK is to meet targets to tackle the gender imbalance across British business by 2020, a report has warned.

A “step change” at the UK’s biggest listed companies is needed if they are to hit a key metric where women make up at least a third of executive-level leadership teams by the end of next year.

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November 12th 2019, 7:13 pm

Instagram influencer uses secret account to hit back at her critics

Women | The Guardian

Clemmie Hooper said she had been attacked by other users for posts about being a mother

The often relentless positivity of the world of social media influencers has turned toxic after Clemmie Hooper, the blogger behind the Mother of Daughters Instagram account, which has 660,000 followers, admitted to a secret life online in which she attacked rivals.

Hooper not only criticised other bloggers on the UK gossip forum under the name “Aliceinwanderlust”, but even called her own husband – also a popular influencer – a “class-A twat”.

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November 11th 2019, 1:50 pm

Japanese women demand right to wear glasses at work

Women | The Guardian

Public outcry after TV show exposes businesses imposing ban on female staff

Japanese women on social media are demanding the right to wear glasses to work, after reports that employers were imposing bans.

In the latest protest against rigid rules over women’s appearance, the hashtag “glasses are forbidden” was trending on Twitter in reaction to a Japanese television show that exposed businesses that were imposing the bans on female staff.

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November 8th 2019, 1:18 pm

'It's about waking up to our power': how witchcraft got political

Women | The Guardian

Popularity of Croydon’s Witchfest is example of growing influence of the occult among activists

The south London borough of Croydon, often derided as the capital’s most unloved suburb, is the birthplace of dubstep and London’s modern tram network. But the area now lays claim to a new title: the UK’s witch capital.

On Saturday, about 4,000 pagans and witches will descend on Croydon to delve further into the occult. While many are simply drawn to the aesthetics of being a witch, there is a growing number of radicals in the country that see witchcraft and magic as a natural extension of their feminist and environmental activism.

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November 8th 2019, 11:29 am

Lebanese women demand new rights amid political turmoil

Women | The Guardian

Feminist bloc plans to build on role in protests that brought down prime minister

A man may just have stepped down as prime minister, but the women of Lebanon are not going anywhere.

During the protests that led to the resignation of Saad Hariri, women were among those chanting, blocking roads and debating the future of the country’s politics.

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November 8th 2019, 2:57 am

Sydney obstetrician said women should sign a consent form for vaginal births

Women | The Guardian

Health professionals say Sydney University professor Hans Peter Dietz has repeatedly insulted midwives and other women

A high-profile obstetrician and gynaecologist who is also a professor with the University of Sydney made remarks to peers attending a medico-legal conference in Melbourne that were so sexist and condescending that some attendees were in tears and conference organisers vowed never to invite him back.

Prof Hans Peter Dietz, an internationally renowned pelvic floor expert, has been the subject of numerous complaints to his employers, the Nepean hospital and the University of Sydney.

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November 7th 2019, 7:51 pm

Mothers promised full year of maternity pay in Labour manifesto

Women | The Guardian

Party seeks ‘step change’ in rights of women at work, with pledge to cut gender pay gap

Mothers will be given maternity pay for a full year after the birth of their children and all employees will have a right to work flexibly as part of a Labour manifesto pledge to improve life for parents.

Dawn Butler, Labour’s shadow women and equalities secretary, said she wanted to see a “step change in how women are treated at work”, which would be reflected in the party’s manifesto when it is published in a few weeks’ time.

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November 7th 2019, 6:21 pm

Women's writing began much earlier than supposed, finds academic

Women | The Guardian

The first female English authors were thought to have begun writing in the later middle ages, but a new book claims the tradition dates back to the eighth century

There is the eighth-century abbess who wrote the first surviving example of poetry known to have been authored by an Englishwoman. Or her contemporary, a nun who was the first woman to write a full-length prose work in English and hid her name in the text. A new history of women’s writing argues that there was a thriving female literature far earlier than previously believed, and that earlier histories have deliberately excluded or marginalised the contributions of early medieval women.

The first English women’s writing is usually dated to the later middle ages, to the likes of the 12th-century courtly writer Marie de France and 14th-century visionaries Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe.

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November 7th 2019, 12:15 pm

Outrage as US rapper TI says he has daughter's hymen checked annually

Women | The Guardian

Virginity test discussed on Ladies Like Us podcast contravenes guidelines from UN, who describe it as ‘painful, humiliating and traumatic’

US rapper, actor and TV host TI has prompted revulsion after he revealed he accompanies his 18-year-old daughter Deyjah Harris to a gynaecological exam each year, for her hymen (and therefore virginity) to be checked – a practice condemned as “humiliating and traumatic” by the World Health Organisation.

The rapper is a major celebrity in the US, where he has had seven Top Five albums, three of them reaching No 1. He has had roles in films including American Gangster, Entourage and the Marvel movie Ant-Man and its sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp. He is currently appearing alongside Cardi B and Chance the Rapper in Rhythm + Flow, a talent competition on Netflix.

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November 7th 2019, 8:37 am

How Tasnim Lowe survived the death of her family – and the truth of her father’s horrific crime

Women | The Guardian

She was a baby when her mother, aunt and grandmother died. But only now, nearly 20 years on, has Lowe discovered the terrible reality about her parents’ relationship

Tasnim Lowe was 16 months old when she was found under the apple tree where her father had left her, wrapped in a blanket. Behind her, the house in Telford, Shropshire, where her mother, aunt and grandparents lived was on fire and would soon be totally gutted. Her 16-year-old mother, Lucy, who was pregnant again, her 17-year-old aunt, Sarah, and their mother, Linda, were killed; Lowe’s grandfather, George, managed to escape.

The following year, 2001, Lowe’s father, Azhar Ali Mehmood, was convicted of three charges of murder and one of attempted murder. Eighteen years on, he is seeking parole, with a hearing likely to take place in the next couple of weeks.

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November 7th 2019, 5:35 am

Porn without the visuals: I tried audio erotica – would it turn me on?

Women | The Guardian

A slew of platforms have sprung up that explicitly cater to female sexuality – and no naked bodies. Why do women like them so much?

I never thought I’d be paid to listen to audio erotica at work, but two hours before the end of Monday it’s happening – and I’m uncomfortable about it.

Related: The truth about the clitoris: why it's not just built for pleasure

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November 7th 2019, 4:16 am

Why do people keep blaming the female victims of revenge porn?

Women | The Guardian

The leaking of naked photographs of congresswoman Katie Hill has prompted a similar reaction to other acts of revenge porn – that it was somehow the woman’s fault

When it comes to offences that disproportionately affect women – rape, harassment, revenge porn – the onus is almost entirely placed on the victim to avoid them by taking the “right” steps and conscientiously avoiding the “wrong” ones.

This sentiment was reiterated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, in comments made regarding the resignation of Democratic congresswoman Katie Hill. Her departure came after an ongoing campaign against her that included the leaking of naked photographs. “It goes to show you, we should say to young candidates, and to kids in kindergarten really, be careful when transmitting photos,” Pelosi said.

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November 6th 2019, 11:00 am

The truth about the clitoris: why it's not just built for pleasure

Women | The Guardian

Debate has raged for years as to whether female sexual pleasure exists for its own sake or has a role in reproduction. But the two views need not be at war

The results are finally in – a study in Clinical Anatomy has found that the clitoris does play an important role in reproduction, activating a series of brain effects (taking as read, incidentally, that it is done right: so we are talking about a female orgasm, not about an ignored clitoris, sitting there, minding its own business). Those brain effects in brief: enhancement of vaginal blood flow, increased lubrication, oxygen and temperature, and an altered position of the cervix, which paradoxically slows down the sperm and improves their motility.

From a lay perspective, this feels pretty uncontroversial. The clitoris is right there in the reproductive ballpark; it would be weird if it did not at least try to help. Yet this – perhaps predictably, since female sexuality is involved – is a highly contested space.

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November 6th 2019, 10:30 am

Is it sexist to call a brilliant, fit, younger male lover a toyboy?

Women | The Guardian

Helena Bonham Carter is dating a man 21 years her junior and has decried the use of the term ‘toyboy’

Name: Toyboy.

Age: Considerably younger.

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November 6th 2019, 2:03 am

50 years of pickup artists: why is the toxic skill still so in demand?

Women | The Guardian

Teaching men how to approach women they don’t know is a $100m industry. But does it help men find their dream mate - or just encourage street harassment?

In an upmarket bar near Oxford Circus in London, I am watching two men hit on women with all the desperation of a doomed cavalry charge. But without the heroism.

Mike and Raj (not their real names) circle the bar, scanning for women, drinks held at an awkward right angle to their chests. When they identify a target, they approach. The women stiffen, their smiles tightening. They swirl drinks with straws and chit-chat politely before mentioning boyfriends – real or imagined. The men retreat, regroup, identify fresh women. Advance, engage, retreat. On and on it goes.

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November 5th 2019, 6:18 am

'Let's burn stuff': Q&A panellists debate violence and shattering the status quo

Women | The Guardian

Special episode coinciding with Broadside feminist ideas festival ponders killing rapists and ‘positive masculinity’

When Q&A came to an end on Monday night, one thing was clear: this was no ordinary episode.

In a special to coincide with the feminist ideas festival Broadside, the panel considered questions and topics such as whether violence was a warranted and preferred method of effecting change, whether the police should be abolished, and what “positive masculinity” could look like.

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November 4th 2019, 6:12 pm

David Attenborough: the making of a British icon – podcast

Women | The Guardian

Patrick Barkham joins Anushka Asthana to chart the rise of one of Britain’s best-loved personalities: the natural history broadcaster David Attenborough. Plus: Gaby Hinsliff on women and the myth of ‘likability’

At a BBC editorial meeting in the 1980s, managers discussed how to approach the subject of David Attenborough’s retirement. How would they replace the presenter who had become synonymous with their natural history programmes but who was now in his 60s? They never found an answer and Attenborough has proved irreplaceable.

The Guardian’s Patrick Barkham spoke to Attenborough before his major new series Seven Worlds, One Planet, and tells Anushka Asthana how he became such a cherished national icon.

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November 3rd 2019, 10:12 pm

Gretchen Carlson wants release from Fox News non-disclosure agreement

Women | The Guardian

When Gretchen Carlson heard NBC News was considering letting people out of non-disclosure agreements involving alleged sexual misconduct at the network, she couldn’t help but think of the NDA she signed with Fox News three years ago.

Related: 'A phenomenal leap': Tarana Burke on #MeToo's success so far and next steps

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November 2nd 2019, 4:05 pm

Social integration has been abandoned, says former government tsar

Women | The Guardian

Louise Casey says her recommendations for community cohesion have been sidelined by ministers

Community cohesion has been effectively abandoned by the government, according to a former integration tsar who says the approach is typified by the prime minister comparing Muslim women wearing burkas to “letter boxes”.

Speaking three years after producing a hard-hitting report into ministers’ failure to tackle social cohesion, Dame Louise Casey said the gap between the haves and have-nots had widened, communities had become more divided and Muslim women remained the most marginalised group in the UK.

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November 2nd 2019, 9:58 am

New Zealand: just 11% of sexual violence reports lead to conviction

Women | The Guardian

Major Ministry of Justice report analysed tens of thousands of cases over four years, with nearly two-third involving children

Less than a third of sexual violence reports in New Zealand lead to a court case, and only 11% to a conviction, the most comprehensive analysis ever undertaken in the country has found.

The Ministry of Justice report, which looked at tens of thousands of cases over four years, “does not make for happy reading” and highlighted just how many people face barriers to justice, said Jan Logie, under-secretary to the minister of justice.

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October 31st 2019, 10:44 pm

BBC error reveals names of 120 women who sought equal pay

Women | The Guardian

Female staff were identified in documents submitted to Samira Ahmed’s tribunal pay claim

The BBC has inadvertently revealed the names of 120 female employees who have pursued gender pay complaints against the corporation in a potentially major data breach.

The list, seen by the Guardian, includes many household names and was included as part of the paperwork supporting Samira Ahmed’s continuing employment tribunal case against the BBC. It names the large numbers of BBC women who put their name to a letter issued by the National Union of Journalists in 2017 seeking a collective approach to addressing unequal pay in the organisation.

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October 31st 2019, 7:56 pm

'No scissor emoji?!' Olivia Wilde criticises airline censorship of Booksmart

Women | The Guardian

Film’s director protests at the removal of a lesbian sex scene and other edits made to her film by a third-party company

Booksmart director Olivia Wilde has criticised in detail the edited version of the film available on commercial flights, accusing the “third party company” that created the edit of sending the message that “women’s … bodies are obscene [and] that their sexuality is shameful”.

I finally had the chance to watch an edited version of Booksmart on a flight to see exactly what had been censored. Turns out some airlines work with a third party company that edits the movie based on what they deem inappropriate. Which, in our case, is ... female sexuality?

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October 31st 2019, 9:50 am

Ex-Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth: ‘The headlines implied I was a token black hire’

Women | The Guardian

Welteroth was just 29 when Anna Wintour made her editor-in-chief. Months later, the magazine shut down. What did she do next?

The first time Elaine Welteroth came on to my radar was at a Thanksgiving dinner. American friends in London had invited me and I was torn between gratitude for their hospitality and deep reservations about celebrating something with genocidal undertones. So I decided to embrace the first and challenge the second, arriving with a chilled bottle of wine and a fully loaded YouTube video. A video from Welteroth’s Teen Vogue.

It showed a group of Native American girls talking about what Thanksgiving means to them. “After every killing of a whole village, these European settlers celebrated it and they called it Thanksgiving,” says one. “I’m thankful to be indigenous, resilient and alive,” says another. To say it was a bold move for Teen Vogue – a publication once better known for lipstick tips – is an understatement. “Native American Girls Trash Thanksgiving for Teen Vogue,” said one critical website.

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October 31st 2019, 7:18 am

Myths and magic of the witch – archive, 31 October 1994

Women | The Guardian

31 October 1994 Is the witch the practitioner of black arts, benevolent earth mother, or merely the outsider in her community?

Tonight when the kids dress up and don green plastic masks, many adults will be inwardly groaning. They may well focus their complaints on Halloween as an American import with commercial trappings. But their unease may go deeper. Is Halloween a benign seasonal festival with its roots in the Eve of All Hallows, or is it more dangerous, as the Church suggests, encouraging children to take an interest in Satanic rituals?

Related: Monsters, men and magic: why feminists turned to witchcraft to oppose Trump

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October 31st 2019, 2:15 am

Cross-party female MPs condemn UK media's treatment of Meghan

Women | The Guardian

More than 70 women sign letter saying coverage of duchess has ‘outdated, colonial undertones’

Female MPs from across the political divide have condemned the media’s treatment of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, claiming some of it displays “outdated, colonial undertones”.

More than 70 female parliamentarians have signed an open letter stating that they stand with Meghan in saying such behaviour “cannot be allowed to go unchallenged” and praising her for “taking a stand”.

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October 29th 2019, 2:01 pm

Baby It's Cold Outside rewritten by John Legend to remove 'date-rape' lyric

Women | The Guardian

A new version of the 1944 duet, whose gender dynamics have long been argued over, will appear on Legend’s forthcoming Christmas album

Baby It’s Cold Outside, the beloved Christmas song that has lost some of its sparkle in recent years, has been rewritten by John Legend to make its lyrics less controversial.

Penned by Frank Loesser in 1944, the song is a duet where a man tries to convince a woman to spend the night at his place – ostensibly because of the weather – and she gives a series of hesitant excuses why she must leave. Stars who have performed it include Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Dean Martin, Lady Gaga and Tom Jones.

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October 29th 2019, 6:43 am

When poetry can help to ease the pain | Letter

Women | The Guardian

Tim Maguire on poems that may offer solace while grieving ‘for a child that had not yet lived’

I was touched by Devika Bhat’s article about losing her baby (G2, 28 October) and shared it with my humanist celebrant colleagues. Devika says: “There is no established narrative around grieving for a child that had not yet lived and, it turns out, that is reflected in literature too.”

She is right that the subject is rarely discussed but, because of what we do, we are aware that there are many beautiful poems available. Noteworthy examples include The Noble Nature by Ben Jonson and When the Heart by Michael Leunig. Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, has also published an anthology of poems written by parents and other family members called A Gift of Words. I hope this information can help anyone affected find at least some solace at this most difficult of times.
Tim Maguire
Celebrant, Celebrate People

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October 28th 2019, 1:49 pm

Grassroots women’s football is booming – but where are the pitches?

Women | The Guardian

The Women’s World Cup has attracted thousands of new players but space to play is at a premium

Colin Lowe, a football coach in Manchester, often receives calls from women in the area keen to join his new grassroots team. But when one woman called last week to ask where the team trained, he couldn’t give an exact answer. “I said to her: I’ll ring you back next week and let you know where we’re playing, because we’re struggling to find places to play.’”

Lowe’s problem is one affecting grassroots women’s football teams across the country. The number of girls and women taking up the sport has skyrocketed since the Women’s World Cup, with 605 new girls’ youth teams and 260 new women’s clubs registered to play this season. But grassroots teams say the lack of affordable and accessible pitches has made it a struggle to establish themselves or grow to meet increasing demand.

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October 28th 2019, 9:13 am

Women paid £260,000 less than men over their careers – report

Women | The Guardian

Figures lay bare scale of UK pay gap, revealing huge gulf even among the most highly qualified

Women are paid just £380,000 on average over their lifetimes compared with £643,000 for men, according to official figures that lay bare the scale of Britain’s gender pay gap.

The Office for National Statistics figures revealed huge inequality between men and women even at the highest levels of educational attainment. It said women with a master’s or PhD degree still made one-third less over their lifetimes than men with the same qualifications.

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October 28th 2019, 8:30 am

Belgium gets first female PM as Sophie Wilmès takes office

Women | The Guardian

Caretaker leader replaces Charles Michel, who will be European council president

Belgium’s first female prime minister in its 189-year history has taken office, after Sophie Wilmès was named as the head of the country’s next caretaker government.

Wilmès succeeds the liberal leader Charles Michel, who will become president of the European council from 1 December. Her new job was described as a poisoned chalice, as linguistically divided parties struggle to form a government.

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October 28th 2019, 7:31 am

Grieving for a child who nearly made it into the world

Women | The Guardian

The loss of a baby at almost six months pregnant brought special challenges, including the trauma of giving birth – and it didn’t help that the subject is so rarely discussed

The children’s garden at Golders Green crematorium, in north London, is tucked away at the edge of a vast site but it signals its purpose the moment you walk in. If the stone toadstools - the sort you would find in a kids’ playground - and smiling teddy bears aren’t enough of a clue, the small plaques resting on the soil are the giveaway, their inscriptions as short as the lives they commemorate. The same phrase is repeated again and again: “Born sleeping”.

When I became pregnant in the autumn of 2017, I never imagined that the late spring week in which my baby girl was supposed to be born would see me not cradling her body in my arms, but rather scattering her dusty grey ashes beside a yellow rose bush in this tranquil spot. I had no inkling as the leaves fell and nights darkened that a few weeks after Christmas I would lose her at nearly six months of pregnancy and that my then two-year-old son was not, after all, to have the little sister we had started introducing into conversation. That the once-blurry visions of nursing and nurturing which I had dared to let become more fully formed after passing the 12-week mark would be replaced by having to plan my child’s funeral and a depth of grief I didn’t know it was possible to feel.

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October 28th 2019, 4:13 am

Post-term pregnancy research cancelled after six babies die

Women | The Guardian

Swedish researchers say proceeding with induction trial would have been unethical

Sweden has cancelled a major study of women whose pregnancy continued beyond 40 weeks after six babies died.

The research was halted a year ago after five stillbirths and one early death in the babies of women allowed to continue their pregnancies into week 43.

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October 28th 2019, 3:26 am

Strike a contrapposto pose to look more attractive, science says

Women | The Guardian

Study finds pose makes waist-to-hip ratio seem lower on one side and looks more appealing

Dancers do it, Instagrammers do it, even the Venus de Milo does it. When it comes to striking a pose, it seems the only way is contrapposto. Now research has shed light on why the attitude is so appealing.

Experts say the pose, which involves standing with weight predominantly on one foot with a slight twist in the upper body, makes the waist-to-hip ratio appear strikingly low on one side of the body.

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October 25th 2019, 8:05 am

Three quarters of mothers now in work, figures reveal

Women | The Guardian

Number of employed women who care for dependent children hits 75.1%, reports ONS

More than three quarters of mothers are in work according to official figures, a record high for the UK.

Rising steadily from 2009, the proportion of working mothers with dependent children jumped to 75.1% in June. It compared with 74.2% last year, the Office for National Statistics said.

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October 24th 2019, 2:05 pm

Vagina museum gets alcohol licence despite warnings

Women | The Guardian

Residents in Camden fear display could attract rowdy hen and stag parties

A museum dedicated to vaginas has been granted an alcohol licence despite residents’ concerns it could attract rowdy stag and hen parties.

The Vagina Museum is due to open on 16 November at Camden Market, in London, with the aim of spreading knowledge about “gynaecological anatomy and health”.

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October 24th 2019, 12:05 pm

Meet Adrenaline: Asterix gets first female hero in 60-year history

Women | The Guardian

Asterix and the Chieftain’s Daughter, released on Thursday, stars a rebellious teenage Gaul who keeps Asterix and Obelix on their toes

Asterix, the indomitable pint-sized Gaul forever outfoxing the Romans, is taking a step back for a female hero for the first time in the beloved comic’s 60-year history.

In a move to update the books, which have been entertaining readers since 1959 and spawned multiple movie spinoffs and a theme park, the action in Asterix and the Chieftain’s Daughter revolves around Adrenaline, the teenage daughter of famous Gaulish king Vercingetorix.

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October 24th 2019, 10:29 am

Woman in Northern Ireland abortion pills case formally acquitted

Women | The Guardian

Judge instructs jury to find woman not guilty after legal reforms come into force

A woman who was prosecuted for buying online abortion pills for her teenage daughter in Northern Ireland has been formally acquitted after landmark reform of the region’s laws.

A judge directed a jury at Belfast crown court to find the defendant not guilty.

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October 23rd 2019, 6:59 am

Men are like muffins: my leadership tips to help guys win in the workplace

Women | The Guardian

Inspired by an accountancy firm’s guide for women (whose brains are 6-11% smaller than men’s!) in the workplace, Arwa Mahdawi presents her own take

It is a wonderful time to be an ambitious woman. The corporate world really is your oyster as long as you lean in and learn the rules of interacting with men in the workplace. These rules can, admittedly, be a little intricate to navigate – particularly when you are burdened with a smaller and more pancake-like brain than a man – but some forward-thinking companies are giving their female employees a helping hand.

Take EY, for example, a multinational accountancy firm which describes its purpose as “building a better working world”. According to a report by HuffPo, EY offered a women’s leadership training last year, called Power-Presence-Purpose, which offered up empowering pearls of wisdom like this:

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October 23rd 2019, 2:43 am

‘Save Catholic church' by lifting ban on female priests, activists say

Women | The Guardian

Campaigners gather outside Vatican as church struggles with shortage of priests

Campaigners have gathered in Rome to call for the lifting of a ban on female priests that would “save the Catholic Church” where it is failing to ordain enough men.

Activists from the Women’s Ordination Worldwide (Wow) group protested outside the Vatican on Tuesday as the church’s hierarchy pondered the idea of allowing married men in the Amazon to become priests in order to plug the shortage in the region.

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October 22nd 2019, 1:55 pm

Why I worry about men who marry women 40 years younger than them | Poppy Noor

Women | The Guardian

65-year-old Dennis Quaid is engaged to 26-year-old Laura Savoie – which will be his fourth marriage and continue a wreckless pattern

Dennis Quaid, a 65-year-old man who already looks like his own wax work, yesterday announced his engagement to Laura Savoie. At 26, she already looks like every one of his three ex-wives – if none of them ever aged. And while I do think we should all be able to date anyone we like as long as it’s consensual, I do worry about him a little bit.

In general, I worry about any man who chooses to date a woman 40 years younger – mainly because she will always outperform him in sports, but also because it’s awkward when people can’t tell if your companion is your daughter or your wife.

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October 22nd 2019, 1:55 pm

New York’s Central Park to erect first sculpture honoring women

Women | The Guardian

Monument will depict three pioneers in fight for women’s rights: Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth

New York’s Central Park has 23 statues of men, who left their mark in history, but not a single one honoring the accomplishments of a woman.

That will change after a city commission voted on Monday to erect a monument depicting three pioneers in the fight for women’s rights: Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth.

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October 21st 2019, 6:25 pm

Northern Ireland set to legalise abortion and same-sex marriage

Women | The Guardian

Equality campaigners celebrated ahead of a midnight deadline for new laws to come into force

Northern Ireland is poised to legalise abortion and same-sex marriage after an eleventh-hour attempt by the region’s assembly to block change collapsed into farce.

Equality campaigners celebrated on Monday as the clock ticked towards midnight when laws extending abortion and marriage rights were due to come into force, ushering in momentous social change as Northern Ireland aligned with the rest of the UK.

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October 21st 2019, 12:53 pm

Gone in seven seconds: 'Spiderwoman' breaks women's climbing speed record

Women | The Guardian

Indonesia’s Aries Susanti Rahayu breaks women’s speed climbing world record, finishing the 15-meter course in 6.995 seconds

Despite nagging hand and finger injuries, Indonesia’s Aries Susanti Rahayu broke the women’s speed climbing world record at this weekend’s IFSC Climbing World Cup in Xiamen, China. Rahayu’s 6.995 seconds eclipsed the record set by her challenger – China’s Song Yiling – who finished the 15-meter course in 7.101 seconds in April.

So what is speed climbing exactly? And how difficult was Rayahu’s accomplishment?

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October 21st 2019, 12:53 pm

Samira Ahmed takes BBC to court over claim of unequal pay

Women | The Guardian

Presenter alleges she was paid less than male colleagues for equivalent work at broadcaster

One of the BBC’s most prominent female presenters is taking the broadcaster to an employment tribunal over claims she was paid less than male colleagues for doing equivalent work, in a landmark case against the corporation.

Samira Ahmed’s equal pay case against the BBC is expected to be the first of a number of claims from female staff members to make it to court, in what could be an embarrassing hearing for the corporation featuring a well-known journalist detailing claims against BBC management.

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October 21st 2019, 9:49 am

DUP to return to Stormont to protest against abortion rights

Women | The Guardian

Members to stage what is expected to be a largely symbolic recall of the assembly

Members of Northern Ireland’s assembly are due to return to the mothballed chamber on Monday for the first time in almost three years to protest against the extension of abortion rights to Northern Ireland.

The Democratic Unionist party (DUP) and other anti-abortion members will stage what is expected to be a largely symbolic recall of the assembly at Stormont.

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October 21st 2019, 1:15 am

Domestic abuse within police force to be investigated

Women | The Guardian

The ‘boys’ club’ that protects officers has come under scrutiny

An official “super-complaint” is to be launched into the “boys’ club” culture within certain police forces that allows officers to abuse their spouses and partners without fear of arrest or prosecution.

The complaint, to be brought by the Centre For Women’s Justice, will describe myriad failings of forces when officers are reported for domestic violence against women they are in relationships with. Central to the complaint are at least 12 cases where women have made allegations of domestic abuse and sexual violence against an officer, only for the case to be dropped and, on occasion, for the alleged victim to be arrested and intimidated.

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October 20th 2019, 4:17 am

When it comes to blusher don’t be bashful | Funmi Fetto

Women | The Guardian

Not just for the young, rouged cheeks can revitalise your complexion

There is something “girlie” about blusher. Hence, there is an idea it has an age limit. Total nonsense, of course, as shown at Chanel AW19. Yes, it has youthfulness written all over it, but it is magic for a complexion that needs resuscitation. Nailing technique, shade and texture is key. For definition, without the faff of contouring, circular strokes of a powder blush on the cheekbones blended up and out is best. For ease, less density and a freshness that is unsurpassed, go for a cream. Pinks are flattering – paler shades, paler skin; deeper shades, deeper skin – but orange will give you a warm glow. Go easy, otherwise you’ll look like an actual orange.

1. Nars Hustle Cheek Palette £36,
2. Shiseido Minimalist Whipped Powder Blush £32,
3. Dolce & Gabbana Blush £34,
4. Smashbox Planetary Cheek Palette £28,
5. Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick N°25 £35,

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October 20th 2019, 1:45 am

Channel 4 launches menopause policy for employees

Women | The Guardian

Women will have access to flexible working arrangements, and cool and quiet workspaces

Channel 4 is launching its first menopause policy in an effort to normalise the “taboo” subject.

The policy will support employees experiencing menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, anxiety and fatigue, giving women access to flexible working arrangements and paid leave if they feel unwell because of the side-effects of ageing.

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October 17th 2019, 7:34 pm

I thought I knew about feminism – then I started work in a women’s prison

Women | The Guardian

I wanted to teach the inmates about female empowerment. Instead, they overturned my views on everything from sex work to marriage

I thought I knew about feminism. I had the word “FEMINIST” written in black marker pen across the front of my homework diary aged 15, along with an anti-war sticker that incongruously involved a cupcake. I had graduated from the “girl power” of my primary school years to reading Germaine Greer on a beanbag in the college library. I felt sorry for the girls in sixth form getting Brazilians, who, unlike my enlightened self, clearly hadn’t clocked that waxing was a tool of patriarchal oppression. I studied feminist theory, went to feminist gatherings and listened to feminist podcasts. I had spent several evenings sitting cross-legged at a “collective” organised by other middle-class, university-educated women talking about intersectionality and Frida Kahlo. By the time I graduated from university, I had firmly absorbed a list of the correct ideas and words that I needed to be a “proper feminist” (but was probably not someone you wanted to invite to a dinner party).

In 2015, two years after graduating, I began a job working in a high-security women’s prison. I had read enough statistics and policy reports before I started to know that women in prisons were in desperate need of a little female empowerment. But what I quickly learned was that my feminist education had a thick wedge of information missing: namely, the part where it connected to actual women being very fundamentally oppressed because of their gender. Confronted by someone whose cervix had been plugged with four egg-sized capsules of crack cocaine on the behest of a controlling boyfriend who would reap the profits, I found it difficult to work out quite how my Frida Kahlo T-shirt and mansplaining radar were going to help things.

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October 17th 2019, 5:25 am

Abortion rights used to get DUP to back Brexit deal, says Stella Creasy

Women | The Guardian

Labour MP accuses government of willingness to let Stormont be in control of abortion laws

Labour MP Stella Creasy has accused the government of preparing to hand back control of abortion rights to Stormont to help curry favour with the DUP at a critical moment in the Brexit talks.

Creasy led a successful push in the Commons earlier this year to extend abortion rights to Northern Ireland – the only part of the UK where it remains illegal except in a very narrow set of circumstances. MPs amended the Northern Ireland (executive formation) bill, to say that the government in Westminster would be required to extend the right to abortion if the Northern Ireland assembly and executive at Stormont are not up and running by 21 October.

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October 16th 2019, 6:07 pm

Nasa plans historic first all-female spacewalk in coming days

Women | The Guardian

Christina Koch and Jessica Meir to make history after delay over suit sizes available at station

Nasa is planning the first ever all-female spacewalk as early as Thursday, the space agency has announced.

The walk, or float, will be conducted from the International Space Station by the astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, who have been living in space since March and September respectively. The news was communicated by the Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine, via Twitter.

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October 16th 2019, 4:01 pm

Team older feminist: am I allowed nuanced feelings about #MeToo?

Women | The Guardian

After #MeToo, I wondered if my real problem with young feminists was how little they seemed to need us older ones. As far as I could see, they didn’t even want to know us

I remember a woman who screamed like a feral animal. She was leather tan and sinewy. Spiked bleached blonde hair, sculpted biceps, low-slung cargo pants with Doc Martens, veins bursting from her neck, eyes bugging from her drawn face.

She stood on the sidewalks of New York City with a folding table covered with poster-size images from hardcore pornography: women wearing dog collars, women on leashes, women leaned over and viewed from behind, their backs crosshatched with scars. Much of the time she displayed a blowup of the famous Hustler magazine cover showing a naked woman being fed upside down into a meat grinder.

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October 16th 2019, 1:03 am

Testosterone boosts women's athletic performance, study shows

Women | The Guardian

Research confirms increase in endurance as IAAF imposes upper limit on trans female athletes

Boosting testosterone levels significantly improves female athletic performance, according to one of the first randomised controlled trials.

The findings come as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced on Monday it would impose an upper limit for testosterone levels on trans female athletes competing in middle-distance events.

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October 15th 2019, 6:57 pm

'Glacial change': film industry is slow to reform despite #MeToo

Women | The Guardian

Progress towards equality in the entertainment industry has been patchy, say campaigners

Two years ago, the entertainment industry became the primary focus of discussions over abuse, harassment and decades of ingrained sexism after allegations against Harvey Weinstein rocked Hollywood and kickstarted the wider #MeToo movement.

While a raft of initiatives have been introduced, including Time’s Up, a group that provides legal support to victims, and 50/50 x 2020, a gender parity pledge that all major film festivals have signed up to, industry experts said change has been glacial.

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October 14th 2019, 1:27 am

Westminster progress on toxic culture ‘still too slow’ two years on

Women | The Guardian

Reports continue about inappropriate behaviour despite helpline and series of changes

Hundreds of callers have contacted a Westminster hotline set up to help advise people who have experienced inappropriate behaviour in parliament in the aftermath of the “Pestminster scandal”.

The specialist helpline was part of a series of changes MPs introduced after widespread claims of bullying, harassment, sexually inappropriate behaviour and abuse on the parliamentary estate.

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October 14th 2019, 1:27 am

Helping the victims of domestic abuse | Letters

Women | The Guardian

Jan Williams highlights the importance of civil protection, and Simon Davis voices support for the domestic abuse bill

Davina James-Hanman rightly identifies austerity policies, including legal aid cuts, as contributing to an average of three women a week being killed by their partners or former partners (‘There’s no secret abuser’s handbook. It’s called mainstream culture’, 10 October).

However, I wonder if she has considered the devastating impact of the ill-considered Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 which made breach of a family (civil) court non-molestation injunction a criminal offence. Implemented in 2007, this egregious example of a law of unintended consequences actually weakened the protection such orders afforded victims, by prohibiting judges from attaching powers of arrest. Prior to this, when an applicant reported breach, the police had only to arrest the respondent and return him to court the next working day, for immediate contempt proceedings. With up to two years’ custody for breach, 90% of orders were obeyed, providing essential calm while the court resolved the issues keeping victims trapped – long-term living arrangements, finance, divorce, and, crucially, children. Now, on breach, victims lose the court’s protection, and their legal aid, to rely on criminal proceedings – if there is enough evidence and if they can face these.

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October 13th 2019, 3:36 pm

Shows with traumatic plotlines are shifting the national debate | Eva Wiseman

Women | The Guardian

TV shows and books dealing with rape and sexual assault make for upsetting and unsettling viewing and reading, but at least the grim stories are propelling us towards the possibility of social change

We are nearing the finale of season three, when the storyline twists and characters evolve and we are invited to question all we thought we knew. In the same way that it’s harder to care about statistics (like the proportion of rapes being prosecuted in England and Wales dropping to just 1.7%) than stories (like the new book by Chanel Miller, a blistering account of her sexual assault), perhaps it is easier to think of rape in these terms. As a horror show, unfolding.

Yesterday over lunch I read the news that, as Carl Beech was jailed after fabricating claims of historical rape, a former High Court judge concluded that the “instruction to believe a victim’s account should cease.” “Sure,” I said aloud, darkly over tea. This came after the End Violence Against Women coalition (EVAW) pointed out that, judging by the woefully low rate of prosecutions, rape appears to have been decriminalised, an idea that continues to roll around my mind like a marble. Along with the ancient image of a thong.

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October 13th 2019, 4:59 am

Women hit by pension age changes to appeal against court ruling

Women | The Guardian

Backto60 group ‘incandescent’ at decision not to compensate women born in 1950s

Women born in the 1950s are appealing against the High Court’s decision last week to dismiss their claim for compensation over pension changes they say have caused homelessness and destitution.

“We’re rock solid,” said Joanne Welch, a member of the Backto60 campaign group bringing the appeal. “All the 50s women are incandescent at being told that they should not have expected to be notified and that this is not discrimination.

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October 11th 2019, 9:47 am

Thousands of Iranian women watch football match for first time

Women | The Guardian

Tickets for Iran-Cambodia match sell out in minutes after four decades of near-total ban

More than 3,000 Iranian women have crammed into a special section of a Tehran stadium to watch a World Cup qualifier against Cambodia, after they were allowed to buy match tickets for the first time in four decades.

Fifa and human rights campaigners increased the pressure on Iran’s sports authorities to let women into games after the death of a fan last month.

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October 10th 2019, 2:24 pm

Supreme court's Lady Hale becomes star of children's book

Women | The Guardian

Equal to Everything celebrates judge’s journey from a girl in Yorkshire to UK’s highest court

Lady Hale, the supreme court’s first female president, has attained greater public prominence than any contemporary judge thanks to Brexit legal battles, the formidable clarity of her rulings and attention-grabbing brooches. Now her profile is set to rise further as she stars in a children’s book.

Equal to Everything – Judge Brenda and the Supreme Court, published on Thursday, celebrates the journey of a young girl from Richmond in North Yorkshire, who travels to the highest court of the UK in Westminster.

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October 10th 2019, 11:23 am

'Domestic murderers are often likable men … that's how they have been able to abuse women'

Women | The Guardian

Davina James-Hanman has spent 30 years fighting to protect survivors of domestic abuse. Now she investigates the deaths of women killed by their partners. What has she learned?

Davina James-Hanman has only met one self-aware murderer. It’s not that they are generally monsters. “They are often personable and likable, and that is how they have been able to abuse women,” she says. But self-awareness? That’s a rarer commodity among the men – and it is overwhelmingly men – who now kill their partners or ex-partners in the UK at a rate of three every week.

She met the exception to the rule after he had been in prison for 18 months. “By then he was really owning what he’d done.” Generally, she says, men who kill their partners are, “still defensive, still in denial – and they still want you to accept that she was asking for it”.

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October 10th 2019, 6:33 am

Price of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's hair salon visit sparks cutting remarks

Women | The Guardian

Congresswoman targeted with report she spent nearly $300 at salon, a sum many pointed out as a pretty good deal

There is a lot that offends about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: her Green New Deal, her socialism, her dancing, her previous employment as a bar-tender, and now, apparently, her hair.

The Democrat congresswoman was the subject of an exclusive news story from the Washington Times on Wednesday, in which the newspaper reported she had spent nearly $300 on having her hair cut and coloured.

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October 10th 2019, 2:42 am

Geena Davis announces 'Spellcheck for Bias' tool to redress gender imbalance in movies

Women | The Guardian

The actor’s Institute on Gender in Media has announced a new machine-learning tool, to be piloted by Disney, that can analyse scripts and reveal unconscious biases

Actor and equality campaigner Geena Davis has announced that Disney has adopted a digital tool that will analyse scripts and identify opportunities to rectify any gender and ethnic biases.

Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, was speaking at the Power of Inclusion event in New Zealand, where she outlined the development of GD-IQ: Spellcheck for Bias, a machine learning tool described as “an intervention tool to infuse diversity and inclusion in entertainment and media”. Developed by the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering, the Spellcheck for Bias is designed to analyse a script and determine the percentages of characters’ “gender, race, LGBTQIA [and] disabilities”. It can also track the percentage of “non-gender-defined speaking characters”.

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October 9th 2019, 10:47 am

UK universities 'making progress on tackling sexual harassment'

Women | The Guardian

Universities UK welcomes findings but says more work needed to prevent racial harassment

Universities in the UK have made progress in dealing with sexual harassment on campus, with nearly two-thirds introducing consent training for students, according to a survey of almost 100 institutions.

The research found that universities including Edinburgh, Kent, Durham, Oxford and Soas, University of London were conducting classes to train students in how to seek and recognise sexual consent. At some universities, the courses were mandatory in freshers’ week.

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October 8th 2019, 7:37 pm

Why do women fake orgasms – and is it anti-feminist? We asked five women

Women | The Guardian

Research suggests straight women who hold hostile views about feminism are more likely to fake it. We asked readers for their views

When and why have you faked an orgasm? Here

Do you feel uncomfortable saying the word clitoris? Have you faked an orgasm recently? Are you a feminist? These may not seem related, but two recent academic studies linking societal attitudes to faking it suggest they are.

Related: My life in sex: the partner of a man with erectile dysfunction

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October 8th 2019, 1:07 am

Vaginal fluid transplants could cure bacterial vaginosis

Women | The Guardian

Study finds new treatment for BV, which affects up to a third of reproductive-age women

Transplanting vaginal fluids from one woman to another could help tackle severe cases of a common bacterial condition, a study has suggested.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is thought to affect up to a third of women of reproductive age. It is caused when the balance of microbes in the vagina – known as the vaginal microbiome – becomes disturbed, with a drop in lactobacilli while other bacteria take over.

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October 7th 2019, 11:38 am

‘The doctors in Northern Ireland knew my baby would die. But I was refused an abortion’

Women | The Guardian

One grieving woman tells of the suffering the current ban caused her

Denise Phelan was denied an abortion three years ago in circumstances so extreme she still finds it harrowing to speak about it, and does so only because she is determined that no other woman should be forced to go through a similar experience.

“My anger wakes me up at night. It’s a deep, almost in-the-bone anger,” she says. She and her husband, Richard Gosnold, are also still grieving for the loss of their baby, Alenja. Their trauma has been prolonged and they feel it is too late now to try for another pregnancy.

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October 6th 2019, 9:01 pm

Supreme court to rule on Louisiana abortion case that would leave state with one clinic

Women | The Guardian

Louisiana law is virtually identical to a Texas law court struck down in 2016, before Trump’s two high court picks took the bench

The US supreme court is adding an abortion case to its busy election-year docket, agreeing to take up a Louisiana law that could leave the state with just one clinic.

The justices will not hear arguments until the winter, and a decision is likely to come by the end of June, four months before the presidential election.

The high court in February indicated it would look at the case when it agreed to block the law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The Louisiana law is virtually identical to a Texas law the supreme court struck down in 2016, when Justice Anthony Kennedy was on the bench and before Donald Trump’s two high court picks, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

The justices met in private earlier this week to discuss the hundreds of appeals that piled up over the summer.

The most significant of those pending appeals involved abortion regulations in Louisiana and an ultrasound requirement in Indiana, on which the court did not act Friday. Both cases involve the standard first laid out by the court in 1992 that while states can regulate abortion they cannot do things that place an undue burden on a woman’s right to an abortion.

Louisiana abortion providers and a district judge who heard the case said two of the state’s three abortion clinics may have to close under the new law. There would be at most two doctors who could meet its requirements, they said.

But the appeals court in New Orleans rejected those claims, doubting any clinics would have to close and saying doctors had not tried hard enough to establish relationships with local hospitals.

In January, the full appeals court voted 9-6 not to get involved in the case, setting up the supreme court appeal.

In February, justices split 5-4 to keep the law on hold. Chief Justice John Roberts, a dissenter in the 2016 case from Texas, joined with the court’s four liberal justices to temporarily block the Louisiana measure.

For Roberts, it was a rare vote against an abortion restriction in more than 13 years as chief justice, perhaps a reflection of his new role since Kennedy’s retirement about the court being perceived as a partisan institution.

Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, along with Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, would have allowed Louisiana to begin enforcing the clinic regulations.

The Hope Medical Group clinic in Shreveport, Louisiana, and two doctors whose identities are not revealed said in their appeal justices should strike down the law without even holding arguments because the decision so clearly conflicts with the Texas ruling from 2016. The court did not follow that path Friday.

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October 4th 2019, 11:15 am

Baby dies in UK prison after inmate 'gives birth alone in cell'

Women | The Guardian

Police investigate unexplained death at Bronzefield women’s prison in Surrey

Police are investigating the death of a baby in Britain’s largest female prison after an inmate gave birth alone in her cell at night.

The Guardian understands that the woman, who had been at an advanced stage of pregnancy, gave birth alone in her cell in the early hours of Friday last week. A source with knowledge of the events said that when prison staff visited the woman’s cell on Friday morning the baby was unresponsive.

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October 4th 2019, 7:30 am

Turkey says Rebel Girls children's book should be treated like porn

Women | The Guardian

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls must only be sold to adults, government says

Turkey has ruled that million-selling book Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls should be partially banned and treated like pornography because it could have a “detrimental influence” on young people.

The book, which has been published in 47 languages, offers a series of inspiring stories about women from history for young children. But in a decision published last week, the Turkish government’s board for the protection of minors from obscene publications said: “Some of the writings in the book will have a detrimental influence on the minds of those under the age of 18.”

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October 4th 2019, 7:09 am

Breast cancer deaths almost halved since 1989, UK figures show

Women | The Guardian

Research suggests more than 130,000 deaths from disease have been avoided in 30 years

The death rate for women with breast cancer in the UK has dropped by 44% over the past 30 years, according to new figures.

Analysis by Cancer Research UK suggests that more than 130,000 UK breast cancer deaths have been avoided in the last three decades.

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October 4th 2019, 1:08 am

Julie Delpy 'refused' to be in Before Midnight without equal pay

Women | The Guardian

French actor and director says she insisted on being paid the same as co-star Ethan Hawke in romantic drama

The French actor and director Julie Delpy has revealed that she refused to make Before Midnight, the third in the celebrated romantic drama “Before” trilogy, unless she received the same pay as her co-star Ethan Hawke.

In an interview with Variety, Delpy said that for the first film in the series, 1995’s Before Sunrise, she was paid “about a 10th” of Hawke’s fee, and for the second, Before Sunset, released in 2004, she received half of what Hawke was paid. For the final 2013 film, Before Midnight, which earned her a nomination for a best screenplay Oscar along with Hawke and the film’s director, Richard Linklater, she says she insisted on pay parity. “I said: ‘Listen guys, if I am not paid the same, I am not doing it.’”

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October 3rd 2019, 1:13 pm

Why Ireland’s battle over abortion is far from over

Women | The Guardian

From sham websites to rogue crisis pregnancy centres, Irish anti-abortionists are using shocking tactics to block women’s rights to safe abortions

It has been more than a year since the landslide vote for abortion rights in Ireland, yet last weekend hundreds of people were once more marching through the streets of Dublin, chanting: “Get your rosaries off our ovaries!” “It’s nonsense, what are they marching for?” a guard standing on the road outside the National maternity hospital asked a colleague on a motorbike – referring to the 2018 referendum in which the Irish public voted overwhelmingly to repeal the law prohibiting abortion. The answer is that, while the law may have changed, many people are still struggling to access abortions in Ireland due to a lack of provision, the time restrictions on terminations, the illegal activities of anti-abortion campaigners – and an enduring legacy of shame.

Since abortion became legally accessible in January, vigils have sprung up outside those maternity hospitals that provide terminations, meaning that patients must go past protesters who are using child-sized coffins as props.

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October 3rd 2019, 7:12 am

Northern Ireland abortion law in breach of human rights commitments

Women | The Guardian

High court in Belfast issues ruling against country’s strict abortion law

Northern Ireland’s strict abortion law breaches the UK’s human rights
commitments, the high court in Belfast has ruled.

More to follow …

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October 3rd 2019, 5:58 am

Women not entitled to pension age change compensation, high court rules

Women | The Guardian

Nearly 4m women born in 1950s not entitled to restitution over pension age rise, judges rule

Almost 4 million women born in the 1950s are not entitled to restitution for money they lost out on when the pension age was raised from 60 to 66, the high court has decided.

The ruling means that none of the women – many of whom only found out their pension age had increased when they applied to draw it, or shortly before – will receive compensation for the money they lost.

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October 3rd 2019, 5:28 am

High court due to rule on women's pension age case

Women | The Guardian

Raising pensionable age from 60 to 66 discriminated on grounds of sex, say claimants

Women affected by changes to the state pension age are expected today to hear the outcome of their high court fight against the government.

Nearly four million women born in the 1950s have been affected by the changes, which have raised the state pension age from 60 to as high as 66.

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October 3rd 2019, 3:13 am

Why sleeping alone was the great, unexpected gift of my divorce

Women | The Guardian

For years I shared a bed, but after my marriage ended I had a place that was now exclusively mine – and where I could get eight hours of undisturbed sleep

My husband and I had toyed with the idea of splitting up for years, but when I finally decided that we should no longer live together, not sleeping in the same bed felt much more tangible than getting a divorce.

If the beginning of our marriage was snap, crackle and pop, the end was a bowl of soggy cornflakes. It was difficult to find things to celebrate in those early days of living separately. The realisation that our kids would have to turn their backs on one parent to go to the other seemed like an act of cruelty. But if I am making it all sound miserable, it wasn’t. Now, a few years on, the kids are all right and my ex and I are far happier for going our separate ways. One of the biggest surprises of our split has been that having my own bed contributes to a large part of that happiness.

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October 1st 2019, 1:43 am

Debbie Harry on heroin, rape, robbery – and why she still feels lucky

Women | The Guardian

She’s been through stalking, sexism and drugs – and had her house taken by the tax collector. But at 74, the Blondie star is still irrepressibly creative, and happier than she’s ever been

It wasn’t until she was 31 – relatively old by pop-star standards – that Debbie Harry became famous. This goes some way to explain how she managed to cram in so much before she became the superstar frontwoman of Blondie. To name but a few of her experiences, as a child, she survived being in a coma as a result of pneumonia; as a young woman in New York, she worked for the BBC, hung out with Andy Warhol and other New York faces, escaped an abusive relationship, became a driver for the New York Dolls, started a girl band, formed Blondie and believes she had a lucky escape from the serial killer Ted Bundy. “I’m sure I don’t have all my experiences on tap,” Harry writes in her new autobiography, Face It.

I meet her in a suite at the Savoy in London. She appears alone, wearing sunglasses. Harry is tiny (despite her platform trainers) and pale, with her instantly recognisable peroxide hair swept back. She looks as delicate and ethereal as a dandelion clock, but the sunglasses come off and her eyes are quick and determined. She seems warm and tries to ask me as many questions as I ask her – I can’t decide if it is her enduring curiosity or a deflection technique. Perhaps it is both.

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October 1st 2019, 1:08 am

'I know love is real': why is stunning comic Nicole Byer still single?

Women | The Guardian

In her Why Won’t You Date Me? podcast, the presenter and actor speaks with unusual candour about her search for a partner. She talks about racist algorithms, people’s fear of rejection – and the difficulties of dating in LA

Nicole Byer regularly gets asked for dating advice. “Not by my friends,” she says, “because why would you ask a person who’s single about dating? But strangers ask me so many questions. I’m like, my podcast is literally called Why Won’t You Date Me? I don’t know anything about dating! If I knew, I would be dating somebody.”

The podcast she is referring to is one of the world’s funniest and most vulnerable; for the past two years, she has been sitting down with friends and fellow comedians to discuss her search for love, and theirs, and is soon to hit her hundredth show. As the description of the podcast has it, Byer, who is now 33, has been single for decades, despite being smart, funny and sexually voracious. Her honesty about this makes the podcast feel radical. She is open about her yearning to be loved and her frustration at how difficult it is to find the right man or woman. At a time when dating is arguably more difficult than ever, she offers candour from the trenches.

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September 30th 2019, 1:05 pm

Stella Creasy demands action over foetus billboard campaign

Women | The Guardian

Labour MP calls on police and government to act against anti-abortion group targeting her

The Labour MP Stella Creasy has called for more action from the police and the home secretary, Priti Patel, after a billboard featuring a foetus was put up as part of a campaign against her by an anti-abortion group.

Creasy, who represents Walthamstow in parliament, is the subject of a targeted movement against her entitled “Stop Stella”. The protest and campaign was set up by the UK branch of the American anti-abortion organisation the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

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September 30th 2019, 10:49 am

Women are dying needlessly from heart attacks, says charity

Women | The Guardian

British Heart Foundation warns of inequalities at every stage costing thousands of lives

Women are dying from heart attacks unnecessarily because of the mistaken perception that they mostly happen to men, a leading charity says.

Inequalities at every stage lead to women being diagnosed late and not getting the prompt treatment and aftercare they need to survive a heart attack. Research funded by the British Heart Foundation has found that more than 8,000 women died between 2002 and 2013 in England and Wales because they did not receive the same standard of care as men.

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September 30th 2019, 1:56 am

My 19-year-old is angry and depressed. I fear I’m losing her | Dear Mariella

Women | The Guardian

It’s been an intimate twosome until the arrival of your new husband, says Mariella Frostrup. Find time to hang out with her

The dilemma My relationship with my 19-year-old daughter is at breaking point and I’m afraid I’m going to lose her. I raised her alone (her father was an alcoholic) and from day one was determined we’d be close. She confides in me and I make sure I’m always there for her. In February I got married. It’s been an adjustment, but my husband and I are settling into life together well. He’s clear it’s not necessary for him to “parent” my daughter and we’re both happy with that. She went to university last year, but became anxious and depressed, and dropped out. She never attended the counselling sessions we signed up for when she returned. She’s now working in an office job which she doesn’t enjoy. Her room is a mess, she doesn’t do any washing and the only time she “comes to life” is when she’s out drinking with friends. Otherwise she sits in her darkened room watching television. I worry she’s depressed. I’ve told myself to be her “rock” while she adjusts to my husband being here, but it’s increasingly difficult because she’s pushing me, becoming quite vile at times. We’ve arranged private counselling, but it hasn’t started yet. Our ability to communicate calmly has virtually gone.

Mariella replies I feel for you. Your daughter is clearly going through a difficult patch and that’s hard to witness, let alone negotiate. It’s imperative children find their own feet in the world and I’m becoming increasing convinced the new world order leaves them less and less space to do so. There are financial imperatives compelling youngsters to delay fleeing their feathered nests, but we’re also struggling to instil the basic skills to withstand the outside world.

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September 29th 2019, 1:40 am

French MPs approve IVF draft law for single women and lesbians

Women | The Guardian

Controversial bill is Emmanuel Macron’s biggest social reform since he was elected in 2017

France’s lower house of parliament has approved a draft law to allow lesbians and single women to conceive children using donor sperm, a move that has set the stage for street protests next month.

At present, only heterosexual couples have the right to use medically assisted reproduction methods such as IVF and artificial insemination. Lesbians and single women who want to have children often travel abroad to fertility clinics for treatment, a situation they say is discriminatory.

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September 27th 2019, 8:11 am

'We have made history': Mexico's Oaxaca state decriminalises abortion

Women | The Guardian

Lawmakers voted to scrap restrictions on abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy in a win for reproductive rights advocates

Women’s rights activists in Mexico are celebrating after the southern state of Oaxaca decriminalised abortion in a move that activists hope signals broader reforms to ensure reproductive rights in what is still a conservative and deeply Catholic country.

Lawmakers voted 24-10 on Wednesday to scrap restrictions on abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, despite vocal opposition from the Catholic Church. Opponents – including priests and the religious – screamed “killers!” at the lawmakers as the vote occurred, while women in the green handkerchiefs of the pro-choice movement chanted, “Yes we can!”

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September 26th 2019, 5:15 pm

‘There’s no end and no escape. You feel so, so exposed’: life as a victim of revenge porn

Women | The Guardian

This ever-evolving crime rages almost unchecked. Three women talk about the devastating effect it had – and still has – on them

Ruth King (not her real name) can still remember the call coming through on her mobile. She thinks of that moment as “the start of hell”. “It was four years ago, but I remember it clear as day,” she says. “It was my friend warning that there were videos of me everywhere. Her husband worked at a local factory and pornographic videos of me were being shared between all the workers.”

King’s instant response was to vomit. “I was working with my dad – he’s an old-fashioned type of guy, so what could I say? I told him I wasn’t well and went home.” Almost as soon as she got there, another friend, a builder, called to tell her the same videos were being passed around his building site. “He said: ‘I didn’t believe they were of you, Ruth, but I looked and they are.’”

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September 22nd 2019, 9:07 am

From the archive: the women miners of Virginia

Women | The Guardian

It’s 1980, and American female miners are facing all the hardships of life down the pits, plus sexual harassment, too

In 1980, Anthea Disney went to Virginia for the Observer Magazine to talk to female miners about their experiences of the brutal working conditions and the sexual harassment and discrimination (27 July, ‘Where a woman’s place is down the mine’).

When Brenda Salyers, 29, first applied for a job at a Consol coalmine, she was told no woman would ever work there. But in 1974, a sex-discrimination lawsuit opened the pit gates to women and she reapplied. ‘A few years later they were forced to give me a job,’ she said, ‘and a cheque for backpay and seniority as well. It was my turn to laugh in their faces.’

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September 22nd 2019, 1:11 am
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