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Pink offers to pay fines for Norwegian women’s beach handball team

Women | The Guardian

European Handball Federation fined players €1,500 for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms

Pop star Pink has offered to pay the “sexist” fines handed out to the Norwegian women’s beach handball team after they refused to wear bikini bottoms while playing.

The European Handball Federation, the sport’s governing body, fined the team €1,500 (£1,295) last week for “improper clothing” at the European Beach Handball Championships.

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July 26th 2021, 4:40 pm

Student, 19, hopes to be youngest woman to fly solo around the world

Women | The Guardian

Zara Rutherford, whose parents are both pilots, announces her gap year project

A 19-year-old student has announced her gap year project: aiming to become the youngest woman to fly solo around the world.

Zara Rutherford, who has British and Belgian nationality, will set off from her home city of Brussels next month for the circumnavigation, which is set to take her up to three months.

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July 26th 2021, 11:53 am

Two-thirds of women in UK military report bullying and sexual abuse

Women | The Guardian

Landmark parliamentary report features evidence of gang rape, sex for career advancement and trophies to ‘bag the woman’

Almost two-thirds of women in the armed forces have experienced bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination during their career, according to a parliamentary report that says the UK military is “failing to protect” female recruits.

Heralding its inquiry into the treatment of women in the armed forces as one of the most vital in its history, the defence subcommittee said 62% of the 4,106 veterans and current female personnel who gave testimony had either witnessed or received “unacceptable behaviour”.

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July 24th 2021, 8:07 pm

‘The law is cold. It doesn’t reflect the life lost’: mothers of murdered women tell their stories

Women | The Guardian

Grieving parents of two young women killed by their ex-boyfriends launch a new film to step up their campaign for justice

A new campaign film keeps the pressure on the Ministry of Justice to change the minimum sentence for domestic murder. The Changes That We Can Make features Carole Gould and Julie Devey, two mothers who have been campaigning since February 2020 on behalf of their daughters, Ellie and Poppy.

Sixth-form student Ellie Gould, 17, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, Thomas Griffiths, on 3 May 2019. Quantitative trading analyst Poppy Devey Waterhouse, 24, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, Joe Atkinson, on 14 December 2018. Though these were frenzied attacks involving multiple injuries, and the killers tried to hide their crimes, the guidelines for murder sentencing meant that both received less than 20 years in prison. Atkinson got 16 years; Griffiths got 12 and a half years.

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July 24th 2021, 7:53 am

MPs to examine lack of support for working menopausal women

Women | The Guardian

Cross-party inquiry will consider if anti-discrimination laws are needed to help women at peak of careers

A parliamentary inquiry into the workplace treatment of women going through the menopause will examine if legislation goes far enough to address discrimination.

An invisible cohort: why are workplaces failing women going through the menopause? is being launched by the Commons cross-party women and equalities committee, and will draw up recommendations with a view to shaping policies to address gender equality, it has been announced.

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July 23rd 2021, 1:38 am

Video game company Activision Blizzard sued over ‘frat boy culture’ allegations

Women | The Guardian

California’s DFEH files suit after investigation reveals discrimination against women

The video game company behind World of Warcraft and Candy Crush is being sued over allegations of its “frat boy culture” and treatment toward its female employees.

California’s department of fair employment and housing (DFEH) filed suit against Activision Blizzard Inc in California’s superior court after a two-year investigation into the company revealed discrimination against women generally and pregnant employees, sexual harassment, retaliation and unequal pay.

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July 22nd 2021, 6:08 pm

‘I had a crush on my sexy manager’: seven readers on their summers of love

Women | The Guardian

A virtual lockdown date that blossomed, an encounter on a backpackers’ bus and a school trip to Spain – readers share their most memorable summer romances

After just one week of living in New York, the city locked down, and a summer of love seemed unlikely. I did go on a series of virtual dates, with around 20 guys over four months; some were funny, kind and smart, and some were a little weird. One or two of them became my friends. Then, I finally got a call from Mr Right on the long weekend of 4 July. We started talking and he was everything I’d hoped for – except he was in Michigan, hundreds of miles away. In early August, he casually mentioned he’d be coming to NYC to meet me, and the next day he drove for 10 hours to take me for dinner.

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July 22nd 2021, 9:50 am

Public street harassment set to be made illegal in England and Wales

Women | The Guardian

Strategy to stop violence against women and girls could also see non-disclosure agreements banned

Public street harassment is likely to be criminalised under plans being drawn up by the government as part of its long-awaited strategy to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG) for England and Wales.

The use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in cases of sexual harassment and abuse in higher education settings could be also be banned after a review.

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July 20th 2021, 9:46 pm

Nepal sees huge rise in maternal deaths as Covid keeps women at home

Women | The Guardian

Health workers fear deaths could reach levels not seen this century as up to 90% miss check-ups and many opt for home births

Earlier this month, 21-year-old Lakhu BK decided to have her baby at home in her village in the far west of Nepal. She had feared contracting Covid-19 if she went to a health centre. She lost her life giving birth.

“I thought my daughter-in-law will die from [the] virus but did not think she would die from being unable to give birth,” said her mother-in-law, Pamfi BK, 50.

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July 15th 2021, 7:01 am

George W Bush fears for women as he criticises Afghanistan pullout

Women | The Guardian

Former US president says west’s withdrawal is a mistake and could cause ‘unspeakable harm’

The former US president George W Bush has criticised the western withdrawal from Afghanistan in an interview with a German broadcaster, saying he fears Afghan women and girls will “suffer unspeakable harm”.

Asked in an interview with the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) whether the withdrawal was a mistake, Bush replied: “You know, I think it is, because I think the consequences are going to be unbelievably bad.”

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July 14th 2021, 2:31 pm

Ecuador abortion laws discriminate against minority ethnic women – report

Women | The Guardian

Criminalisation disproportionately affects indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian women and exacerbates inequality, says Human Rights Watch

Gladys, an indigenous woman from rural Ecuador, went to hospital after injecting poison into her stomach to end her pregnancy. Doctors went straight to the police, and she was sentenced to two months in jail for having an abortion with consent.

Elsewhere in the South American country, a 20-year-old Afro-Ecuadorian woman went to hospital after a fall, and found out she was pregnant and miscarrying. She was swiftly arrested and spent four months awaiting trial, where she was cleared.

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July 14th 2021, 2:31 pm

Planned Parenthood files lawsuit against Texas’s extreme abortion ban

Women | The Guardian

Groups in the lawsuit, including doctors, health clinic staff and clergy members, say SB8 violates Texans’ constitutional rights

In a highly anticipated move, Texas abortion providers filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday against the state’s draconian six-week abortion ban, Senate Bill 8, which would empower private citizens to enforce the law.

“The Texas legislature’s well-documented hostility to the rights of pregnant people has gone to a new extreme,” reads the lawsuit, filed by groups including Whole Woman’s Health and Planned Parenthood, along with abortion support fund groups, doctors, health clinic staff and clergy members. “Senate Bill 8 flagrantly violates the constitutional rights of Texans seeking abortion and upends the rule of law in service of an anti-abortion agenda.”

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July 14th 2021, 2:31 pm

‘I haven’t been paid a cent’: Jerusalema singer’s claim stirs row in South Africa

Women | The Guardian

Nomcebo Zikode threatens legal action, claiming she was never paid for the song that became a global hit during the pandemic

While her haunting vocals on the global hit song Jerusalema continue to reverberate around the world, the South African singer Nomcebo Zikode claims she is yet to receive any money for her work.

The singer took to social media on Sunday threatening legal action against Open Mic Productions, the label that recorded Jerusalema in late 2019.

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July 13th 2021, 10:59 am

Nice guidance to induce minority ethnic pregnancies earlier condemned as racist

Women | The Guardian

Draft guidelines for England, Wales and Northern Ireland will not solve poorer maternity outcomes for women of colour, say doctors

Proposed guidance that recommends inducing labour at 39 weeks in pregnant women from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds has raised concerns from doctors and midwives and been branded “racist” by activists.

White women with uncomplicated pregnancies should be offered an induction of labour at 41 weeks, according to the draft guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice). The institute’s clinical guidelines such as this apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland but do not cover Scotland.

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July 13th 2021, 5:17 am

‘Mixed advice’ driving Covid vaccine hesitancy in pregnant UK women

Women | The Guardian

Exclusive: campaign group warns of ‘wildfire’ of negative messaging given by healthcare professionals

Pregnant women are being given dangerously mixed messaging from health professionals, with figures suggesting a “very high” vaccine hesitancy among the vulnerable group, according to campaigners.

Three-quarters of pregnant women in the UK feel anxious about the easing of coronavirus restrictions with many saying the move is like “another lockdown” for expectant mothers, according to a survey of about 9,000 pregnant women by campaigning group Pregnant Then Screwed.

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July 13th 2021, 3:14 am

Kate Baer on the burden of motherhood: ‘My book is like an angry friend’

Women | The Guardian

When her no-holds-barred collection of poetry came out, Kate Baer was inundated with grateful messages. Why had it hit a chord with ordinary mothers struggling to be heard?

Kate Baer wrote her first book of poetry, What Kind of Woman, from a booth at a chain café in the Philadelphia suburbs. She couldn’t work at home – that’s where the children were. “We were living in this 1,200sq ft place in town,” she says, over Zoom. “With four kids.” It was the beginning of 2019. Baer was writing in pockets of time snatched from busy days, hoping to escape the attention of staff. “I kept thinking, ‘They’re going to kick me out.’ And I tried to keep ordering stuff, but you can only take so much of that kind of food.” When the book was published, last November, and became an immediate bestseller, the café was temporarily closed, pandemic-style. So she parked her car nearby, close enough to pick up the café’s wifi, and took interviews out there in the quiet and the cold.

What Kind of Woman brings to verse the state that leads to these kinds of scenarios: modern motherhood, the burden and sacrifice, the rituals, the fleeting happiness. Many of the poems in Baer’s collection justly brim with anger at the weight mothers carry, the frustrating unfairness of being forced to live a subordinate life squeezed around and in service to the family. Throughout the book, her voice is self-revealing and relateably wearied. “She keeps an office in her sternum,” she writes, in the poem Motherload, “the flat / bone in the centre of her chest, with all its / urgent papers, vast appointments, list of / minor things. In her vertebrae she holds more / carnal tasks: milk jugs, rotten plants, heavy- / bottomed toddlers in all their mortal rage.”

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July 11th 2021, 5:44 am

Salud! Spain’s female winemakers use their intuition to rise to the top

Women | The Guardian

The industry has a growing number of women earning plaudits at its renowned bodegas. But are they really better than men?

“I think of my wines as barefoot children that need love and care,” says winemaker Marta Casas, holding her glass up to the light. Below her, the vineyards of Penedès roll away almost to the sea, but she could be virtually anywhere in Spain.

Just as they fought their way into the male domain of haute cuisine, a growing number of Spanish women are seeking a career in winemaking, with three times as many taking courses in oenology compared with 10 years ago. This was given an added boost in 2018 when Almudena Alberca was made Spain’s first female master of wine, one of only 149 in the world.

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July 11th 2021, 4:57 am

‘My story resonates’: India Walton details the life experience that put her on a mayoral path

Women | The Guardian

A candidate for Buffalo’s mayor seat, Walton attributes her success to ‘really experiencing so many tragedies and traumas’

India Walton was just 14 when she had her first baby. After leaving a home for young mothers, and quitting high school at 19 when her twins were born, she went on to get her GED (the general educational development test for those who did not complete their schooling), have a fourth child and become a nurse.

Now she’s firmly on the path to becoming the mayor of Buffalo, New York – the first socialist mayor elected to a US city since 1960, when mayor Frank Zeidler of Milwaukee, Wisconsin left office.

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July 11th 2021, 4:45 am

Women and girls in England and Wales ‘facing epidemic of violence’

Women | The Guardian

Radical shift needed in how police tackle crimes disproportionately affecting female victims, says watchdog

Women and girls are being subjected to an epidemic of violence that requires a “radical and bold” shift in how authorities in England and Wales tackle crimes that disproportionately affect female victims, a police watchdog has warned.

In an interim report, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) calls for councils, schools, health and social care bodies and all areas of the criminal justice system to work together to address the problem as police “cannot solve this alone”.

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July 7th 2021, 8:25 am

Woman with Down’s syndrome takes Sajid Javid to court over abortion law

Women | The Guardian

Heidi Crowter alongside Máire Lea-Wilson and her son Aidan argue the 1967 act is discriminatory

Allowing pregnancy terminations up to birth if the foetus has Down’s syndrome is discriminatory and stigmatises disabled people, the high court has heard.

Heidi Crowter, a 26-year-old woman with Down’s syndrome from Coventry, Máire Lea-Wilson, 33, and her son Aidan, who has Down’s syndrome, who both live in Brentford, west London are challenging Sajid Javid over the Abortion Act 1967. The act sets a 24-week time limit for abortions unless there is “substantial risk” of the child being “seriously handicapped”.

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July 6th 2021, 10:39 am

Catholic doctors urged to back George Christensen’s ‘nonsensical’ abortion bill

Women | The Guardian

Catholic Medical Association asks members to support bill critics say will only inflict harm

Catholic doctors are being urged to support George Christensen’s “nonsensical” abortion bill, leading to concerns medical professionals could impose their religious beliefs on patients.

The Catholic Medical Association has sent out an email to members asking them to put their name to a letter supporting Christensen’s Children Born Alive Protection bill which seeks to enforce providing “life-sustaining treatment” to all foetuses “born alive”.

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July 5th 2021, 6:24 pm

This space race has its downside… Rocketwoman Wally Funk joins crew for Jeff Bezos’s ego trip

Women | The Guardian

The veteran US pilot is set to become the oldest woman in space – the only snag is she has to go with the Amazon billionaire

You have to feel for the American pilot Wally Funk. You would sympathise with anyone with that name, but she has had a particularly mixed week. On one hand, at 82, she is set to finally fulfil her life’s ambition and travel into space. Funk was one of the most promising female candidates for the Mercury 13 programme in the 1960s, but was denied a spot because of her gender. Right stuff, wrong parts. On Thursday, the Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, announced on Instagram that Wally would become the oldest person in space as one of the four passengers on New Shepard, the rocket being launched by his company Blue Origin on 20 July. “I didn’t think I’d ever get to go up,” Funk said in an interview.

The obvious downside, which she was too polite to mention, is that she has to ride with Bezos, his brother and one other, in a kind of UberPool from hell. She ought to have been more specific to the genie. Midlife does strange things to men, and so does being a billionaire. The combination leads to some odd outcomes. Not content with building his own rockets, Jeff, as he approaches 60, has decided to start riding them as well. Towers and yachts are so passé. Private space travel is the thing. Elon Musk is at it, too, and presumably a load of guys in China.

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July 4th 2021, 6:06 am

Social network giants pledge to tackle abuse of women online

Women | The Guardian

Facebook, Google, Twitter and TikTok commit to overhaul their platform’s moderation systems

Four of the world’s largest social networks have committed to overhauling their moderation systems to tackle the abuse of women on their platforms.

Facebook, Google, Twitter and TikTok have signed up to the pledge, led by the World Wide Web Foundation (WWWF), to fix persistent weaknesses in how they tackle online gender-based violence.

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July 1st 2021, 4:21 am

Pregnant women in England denied mental health help because of Covid

Women | The Guardian

In 2020-21, only 31,261 out of 47,000 managed to access perinatal mental health services

Thousands of pregnant women in England were denied vital help for their mental health because of the pandemic, analysis from leading psychiatrists shows.

In 2020-21, 47,000 were expected to access perinatal mental health services to help with conditions such as anxiety and depression during or after giving birth, but only 31,261 managed to get help in the most recent data for the 2020 calendar year only, according to analysis from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

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July 1st 2021, 4:21 am

Billions pledged to tackle gender inequality at UN forum

Women | The Guardian

Generation Equality Forum in Paris announces plans to radically speed up progress on women’s rights

Billions of pounds will be pledged to support efforts to tackle gender inequality this week at the largest international conference on women’s rights in more than 25 years.

The Generation Equality Forum, hosted in Paris by UN Women and the governments of France and Mexico, will launch plans to radically speed up progress over the next five years.

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June 30th 2021, 2:22 pm

Rise in women sleeping rough is hidden crisis in England, charities warn

Women | The Guardian

Charities report increase as figures show overall rough sleeping in London is up by 35% in five years

Growing numbers of women are reporting as homeless in England as figures show rough sleeping in London has risen by 35% in five years.

More than 11,000 people were counted sleeping rough in the capital from April 2020 to March 2021, a 3% increase on the previous year, despite the push to get “everyone in” last spring. The homelessness charity Crisis described the figures as “dreadful” and said it showed progress resulting from the push to house people in hotels at the start of the pandemic was “in imminent danger of being lost”.

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June 30th 2021, 8:51 am

Honduran state responsible for trans woman’s murder – court

Women | The Guardian

Landmark ruling orders state to pay reparations, protect trans people and legalise gender change

In a landmark ruling for transgender rights, the Honduras government has been found responsible for the 2009 murder of the trans woman and activist Vicky Hernández. The ruling, at the inter-American court of human rights, was published on the 12th anniversary of Hernández’s death, and marks the first time the highest regional human rights court has held a state accountable for failing to prevent, investigate and prosecute the death of a trans person.

The court has ordered Honduras, which has the world’s highest rate of murders of trans people, to pay reparations to Hernández’s family and implement a sweeping range of measures designed to protect trans people, including anti-discrimination training for security forces and state collection of data on violence against LGBTQ+ people.

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June 29th 2021, 12:05 pm

India’s Covid gender gap: women left behind in vaccination drive

Women | The Guardian

Misinformation and access issues combined with patriarchal social norms fuelling disparity in distribution across most states

Deep-rooted structural inequalities and patriarchal values are to blame for India’s worrying Covid vaccine gender gap, campaigners and academics have warned.

As of 25 June, of the 309m Covid vaccine doses delivered since January 2021, 143m were administered to women compared with nearly 167m to men, according to CoWin, India’s national statistics site – a ratio of 856 doses given to women for every 1,000 given to men. The difference is not accounted for by India’s gender imbalance of 924 women to 1,000 men.

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June 28th 2021, 1:39 am

New Zealand must tackle ‘epidemic’ of sexual violence, says children’s commissioner

Women | The Guardian

Andrew Becroft speaks after small survey of girls uncovered allegations of multiple rapes and thousands of instances of sexual harassment

New Zealand’s children’s commissioner has called for urgent action to tackle an “epidemic” in sexual violence in the country, after a survey of more than 700 girls at a school in Christchurch found more than 20 alleged they had been raped, and half said they had been sexually harassed.

Andrew Becroft said in a statement on Monday the results of the survey were “incredibly disturbing”, adding: “Sadly, this survey is the latest in a growing body of evidence about the extent of sexual violence against girls and LGBTQ+ teenagers in Aotearoa. It’s time for New Zealand to admit this is an epidemic, and it needs a national epidemic-level response.”

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June 28th 2021, 1:39 am

How I realised my family of two was perfect for me

Women | The Guardian

Families come in all different sizes – the secret is realising that yours may be even better than the one you longed for

It is a strange irony that the thing we want most in life is often that which eludes us. The writer and feminist Rebecca Solnit says, “Often it is the desire between us and the object of desire that fills the space in between with the blue of longing.”

The protagonist in my debut novel, The Imposter, wrestles with the sensation that Solnit describes – that blue of longing. She travels on the top deck of the bus in the city where she lives, glancing into the cosy living room windows she passes, filled with seemingly happy families, and longs to be a part of one of them.

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June 27th 2021, 3:28 pm

‘I knew how dangerous things could become’: the perils of childbirth as a Black woman

Women | The Guardian

When she was pregnant, Anna Malaika Tubbs was thrilled – then terrified, knowing the shockingly high death rate of Black women in childbirth. Could she find a way to stay safe?

In the bathroom of a friend’s house in Washington DC, I waited anxiously for a few minutes before turning to look at the pregnancy test. It was positive. My eyes filled with tears; I was overjoyed, grateful and excited, but also very scared.

I think many parents can relate to this feeling, which seems to start as soon as we see that test result, and continues until our children are adults; we are overwhelmed with happiness for their mere existence while simultaneously terrified of the possibility of losing them. But as a Black feminist scholar, I was well aware that I had even more reason to worry.

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June 26th 2021, 4:57 am

People have told me I’m on the wrong side of history, but I still want to be their friend | Hadley F

Women | The Guardian

I don’t drop people I disagree with from my life – but for many liberals, differences of opinion have become unacceptable

It’s rare to see a woman really let her anger glitter, unhindered by any fear of accusations of hysteria or worse, so what a blast of delicious fire Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has given us. Her essay It Is Obscene, published online last week, is ostensibly about two former students of hers who denounced her on social media after she gave an interview to Channel 4 in 2017 in which, when asked if she thought trans women were women, Adichie made the tautological but now highly controversial reply, “Trans women are trans women.” Instead of just calling her, one of Adichie’s students “went on social media to put on a public performance,” she wrote. The other tweeted that people should “pick up machetes to protect us from transphobes like Adichie”, and still assumed Adichie would endorse her book.

Really, the essay is about a strong current in modern culture. “There are many social media-savvy people who are choking on sanctimony and lacking in compassion... People who demand that you denounce your friends for flimsy reasons in order to remain a member of the chosen puritan class,” Adichie writes.

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June 26th 2021, 4:57 am

Outrage after Pakistan PM Imran Khan blames rape crisis on women

Women | The Guardian

Khan accused of being a ‘rape apologist’ after saying rise in attacks is down to women wearing ‘very few clothes’

Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, is facing backlash after he blamed victims of rape for wearing “very few clothes”.

The former cricket captain was questioned by the Axios journalist Jonathan Swan about the ongoing “rape epidemic” in Pakistan and responded by saying: “If a woman is wearing very few clothes it will have an impact on the man unless they are robots. It’s common sense.”

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June 24th 2021, 9:43 pm

The advertising industry sold us the perfect woman – do we finally understand the price we paid?

Women | The Guardian

For decades, marketing left women feeling they must live up to punishing ideals. Now, finally, some brands are offering a glimmer of hope

When Billie Eilish appeared on the cover of Vogue’s June edition sporting a corset and a magnificent set of platinum blond curls, staring into camera and daring anyone to object, it felt properly shocking. Many on social media berated her, vigorously and unforgivingly, for “selling out”. Eilish was unfazed. She is, she said, an adult. She has every right to dress as she prefers. And at that moment, she preferred a corset.

She was, in effect, claiming her womanhood, her adulthood, her right to present herself in any way that makes her feel good. She was growing up, not giving in.

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June 24th 2021, 10:42 am

Vulva decor: is Cara Delevingne’s vagina tunnel the start of something big?

Women | The Guardian

The model and actor has a new household installation - a pink tunnel where she goes to think. Vulval art and design has an ancient history, but it’s becoming more popular than ever

Should you swap all your doors for a vagina tunnel? This is the pressing question raised by a video tour from the model and actor Cara Delevingne, who takes Architectural Digest around her LA home, and I believe the answer has to be “yes”. In her living room, a secret door in the mirrored panelling reveals a soft pink opening. Crawl right in, take the dog with you (Delevingne does). “I come in here to think, I come in here to create, I feel inspired in the vagina tunnel,” says Delevingne.

Delevingne, and her architect, Nicolò Bini, were inspired, she says repeatedly, by Alice in Wonderland, but this is more like a vulval version of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – the Chronicles of Labia, if you like. You climb out through a washing machine at the other end – “rebirthed and cleansed!” cries our host. The vagina’s rebirth powers are strong: Delevingne’s terrier goes in, and comes out a husky. The theme continues through the rest of the house: there is a floral display in her bedroom (“This lovely bouquet of vagina flowers”) and a “pussy palace”, a tactile pink suedette-lined secret room complete with swing and mirrored ceiling.

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June 24th 2021, 6:42 am

Mystery of the wheelie suitcase: how gender stereotypes held back the history of invention

Women | The Guardian

Why have some brilliant innovations – from rolling luggage to electric cars – taken so long to come to market? Macho culture has a lot to answer for

In 1972 an American luggage executive unscrewed four castors from a wardrobe and fixed them to a suitcase. Then he put a strap on his contraption and trotted it gleefully around his house.

This was how Bernard Sadow invented the world’s first rolling suitcase. It happened roughly 5,000 years after the invention of the wheel and barely one year after Nasa managed to put two men on the surface of the moon using the largest rocket ever built. We had driven an electric rover with wheels on a foreign heavenly body and even invented the hamster wheel. So why did it take us so long to put wheels on suitcases? This has become something of a classic mystery of innovation.

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June 24th 2021, 6:13 am

Aphra Behn fans campaign for statue of playwright in Canterbury home

Women | The Guardian

Fundraisers say 17th-century author who was first woman to make her living as a professional writer should be celebrated by town

Playwright, poet, novelist and spy: Aphra Behn is often referred to as the first ever woman to make her living as a professional writer. And now, a mere three centuries after her death, a committed group of fans are campaigning to get a statue of her erected in her home city of Canterbury.

It is about time that the “original smasher of the glass ceiling” was rightfully celebrated alongside other literary Canterburians Chaucer and Christopher Marlowe, said local poet Charlotte Cornell, chair of A is for Aphra.

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June 24th 2021, 1:26 am

Irish couple to receive damages over advice that led to unnecessary abortion

Women | The Guardian

Rebecca Price terminated pregnancy after being mistakenly told foetus had fatal abnormality

A couple in Ireland are to be awarded damages for being mistakenly told their unborn baby had a fatal foetal abnormality, which led them to terminate the pregnancy.

The high court in Dublin will consider the damages to be paid to Rebecca Price and Patrick Kiely on Wednesday after medical personnel and institutions involved in the case admitted liability.

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June 23rd 2021, 12:37 pm

NHS nurse sacked over weekend working wins landmark case

Women | The Guardian

Woman fired by North Cumbria NHS trust wins appeal in ruling hailed as victory for women’s workplace rights

A community nurse who was sacked for not agreeing to work weekends has won a “landmark” ruling for working mothers after a judge said employment tribunals must take childcare disparity into account.

Gemma Dobson worked fixed shifts in order to care for her three children, two of whom are disabled. She was fired by North Cumbria integrated NHS foundation trust in 2016 after she was unable to meet a new requirement for community nurses to work flexibly, including some weekends.

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June 23rd 2021, 11:08 am

Thelma & Louise stage musical in the works

Women | The Guardian

The writer of the 1991 feminist road movie has revealed a musical version is in progress, but will be ‘a completely different animal’

A musical based on Thelma & Louise, the Oscar-winning 1991 film starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, is in preparation, it has emerged.

The film’s writer, Callie Khouri, told the Hollywood Reporter at a 30th anniversary screening that the project was in its “very early stages”. “We’ve got a book and we’ve got music but because of the pandemic, we haven’t all been together in a very, very long time. So, it’s still in its nascent stages, but it’s very promising.”

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June 23rd 2021, 6:37 am

On International Widows’ Day, Boris Johnson must add action to his words | Letter

Women | The Guardian

Margaret Owen urges the government to end the silence on the plight of widows worldwide and help them gain basic rights and dignity

Boris Johnson’s government betrays not just children (Punishing the young serves Johnson’s politics of nostalgia, 22 June) but also women and girls – not just here, but across the world – by its brutal cuts in aid to the communities that need it most, and by its breach of legal obligations under Cedaw (the UN convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women).

Its arms sales and trade deals to racist, misogynist and authoritarian regimes, whose wars create uncounted millions of widows of all ages, violate the UN’s arms trade treaty. Where rape and displacement are weapons of war, overcrowded camps for internally displaced people and refugees are full of impoverished widows. And now Covid-19 competes with armed conflict to be another supreme widow-maker.

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June 22nd 2021, 1:39 pm

Debt for women has been rebranded as a naughty little treat

Women | The Guardian

You can get into debt at the touch of a button, without realising you’ve borrowed a penny

Last weekend a pink ice-cream van parked in Shoreditch and handed mermaid-themed treats to young people fizzing through the shops as lockdown lifted. It was a promotion by leading “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) service Klarna, whose pastel-pink logo is on the checkout page of fashion sites like H&M and Urban Outfitters, and the mermaid element interested me because I have hovered often over that logo, then pulled back with the dready feeling that it could lure me to the rocks.

If you had asked me 20 years ago what I thought would be fashionable today, it would have taken some time, many sugary drinks and four or five relationships before I settled on “debt”. Debt as the new feminism. Debt rebranded as a naughty little treat. Debt as an aspirational lifestyle choice. And yet, here we are.

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June 22nd 2021, 11:08 am

Switch to more home working after Covid ‘will make gender inequality worse’

Women | The Guardian

Men are more likely to be in the office after the pandemic while women become less visible to employers

The permanent switch to more home working following the pandemic will cause rising gender inequality in the workplace, according to experts, unless employers carefully monitor their new working policies to make sure women aren’t disadvantaged.

Traditionally, more women than men – particularly those with children or caring responsibilities – have requested flexible working. The switch to working from home necessitated by coronavirus lockdowns has, 15 months on, resulted in a permanent change in corporate culture, to the extent that the government is considering legislating to make home working the “default” option.

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June 22nd 2021, 11:08 am

Biden threatened with communion ban over position on abortion

Women | The Guardian

US bishops vote to stop pro-choice Catholics receiving eucharist

Roman Catholic bishops in the US have voted to press ahead with moves that could result in Joe Biden being banned from receiving communion because of his stance on abortion, and that risks increasing tensions in a divided church.

After three days of online debate, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted by three to one to draft new guidance on the eucharist. The unexpected strength of support for the move among the bishops was a rebuff to the Vatican, which had signalled its opposition.

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June 22nd 2021, 11:08 am

What life lessons can we really learn from ‘femininity coaching’?

Women | The Guardian

Femininity-focused Instagram profiles are on the rise, but what do they teach us about being the person we want to be?

Summer has arrived and through the hayfevered mists it’s clear to see the femininity industry is thriving. It smells amazing. The parks, the streets, they’re alive with flicky skirts, clicky heels, bronzer dusted 2cm thick in order to make up for those lost lockdown months. I have purchased a tinted lipbalm, some herbal tea and a pair of high-leg period pants this week alone. But it’s not just the vanilla-scented accessories of femininity that are available to buy today; no, these are simply the scaffolding on which the project leans.

A piece I read on Refinery29 this week introduced to me the trend of “femininity coaching”, and the rise of femininity-focused Instagram profiles. Sami Wunder earns more than £1m a year coaching “high-achieving women” on how to “attract lasting romantic love” by teaching them how to use their “feminine energy” and refrain from masculine “doing” or “giving”. The Instagram account, Levels of Women, has 16,500 followers, here for content from a psychologist whose advice includes “learn to cook”, “never swear” and “don’t be impressed by a man’s wealth unless he’s spending it on you”. Instinctively, I bristle. Of course I do, a person so slathered in various posts of feminism I must complete a mental guilt worksheet before I allow myself to shave even my shins. But the timing of this trend, it interests me.

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June 22nd 2021, 11:08 am

‘I’ve decided to stop apologising’: Lisa Taddeo on women and rage

Women | The Guardian

When a man acts in anger, we step aside, but a woman gets labelled ‘crazy bitch’. In a personal, ferocious treatise, the author says we need to change the script

My mother once told me – no that’s not true – my mother many times warned me: “If you ever sell any of my jewellery after I’m dead, I’ll come back from the grave and bite your toes.”

I don’t know if she meant she would nibble on my toes, or fully eat them, but I was petrified of her doing the things she threatened. My mother, after all, was a crazy bitch.

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June 22nd 2021, 11:08 am

Celebrity buzz: how stars’ bedroom toys have got us all talking about sex

Women | The Guardian

With famous users leading a rebrand, pleasure accessories lose their stigma in a £90bn health and wellness boom

Lily Allen has one. Cara Delevingne has one. Dakota Johnson has developed her own range. Is the celebrity sex toy 2021’s answer to the celebrity perfume?

For some, getting busy has been the last thing on the menu during the pandemic. Study after study, from India to Italy, has revealed that lockdown libido loss is real and that stress has killed the buzz in the bedroom. Sexual wellness, on the other hand, has reached a dizzying peak. Not only has the conversation around sexual pleasure changed for generation Z, but the industry attached to it – from apps to toys, herbal supplements to specialist oils – is also booming.

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June 22nd 2021, 11:08 am

Young, hot and bothered: ‘I was a 31-year-old newlywed – and then the menopause hit’

Women | The Guardian

Rage, sweats and sleepless nights... this wasn’t how I’d pictured my 30s. But it was the start of a dual quest – to get pregnant, and control my demon hormones

I’m not crazy about birthdays, but crying in a church is a touch more melodramatic than I anticipated for my 31st. It’s January 2017, and my friends and I are watching standup comedy. As laughter ricochets around the gothic architecture, I look down to conceal what’s about to happen: flared nostrils, downturned mouth, wincing eyes. Utter devastation.

Sneaky weeping has become my dirty little secret. It started at Christmas, when the sweetness of family and food was kiboshed by the same sudden thwack of melancholy. It was also happening during my work hours, as a music writer and editor: one minute I would be proofing a three-star review of P!nk, then boom, off to a toilet cubicle for a silent scream.

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June 22nd 2021, 11:08 am

‘Don’t betray women of Tigray’: calls grow for international action against rape in war

Women | The Guardian

Politicians among signatories of two open letters urging investigation into reports of sexual violence in Ethiopian conflict

The former prime minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, and Zimbabwean author and 2020 Booker prize nominee Tsitsi Dangarembga are among the signatories of two separate letters demanding international action after shocking reports of sexual violence in Tigray.

In one, more than 50 women of African descent call for an immediate ceasefire and express horror at reports that African women and girls are “once again the victims” of violence and rape in war.

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June 22nd 2021, 11:08 am

Key abortion provider Marie Stopes closes regional clinics in Queensland, NSW

Women | The Guardian

Abortion counsellors concerned shutdowns more heavily impact vulnerable women in Queensland communities

Family planning organisation Marie Stopes Australia says its regional abortion clinics are “no longer financially viable” and will close next month, prompting concerns some women in regional Queensland could have to travel more than 2000km to access services.

Marie Stopes operates the only private clinics offering surgical abortions north of the Sunshine Coast – in Rockhampton and Townsville. The non-profit organisation will also close clinics on the Gold Coast and in Newcastle, New South Wales.

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June 22nd 2021, 11:08 am

New play recounts ‘petticoat rule’ in the UK’s first female-majority council

Women | The Guardian

Frankie Meredith’s Petticoat Council – to be performed as part of Coventry’s city of culture celebrations – celebrates women’s pioneering achievements in Bishop’s Itchington

In an unassuming village in Warwickshire after the second world war, a group of six women were quietly making history. As part of the first female-majority parish council in the UK, they transformed Bishop’s Itchington into a thriving community and broke down barriers for women in local politics despite opposition from the men on the council.

“I got really tearful when I was reading through the minutes from the meetings, because there’s just pages and pages of these women getting stuff done,” said playwright Frankie Meredith, who trawled through archives to bring the story to life on stage for the first time in her folk musical Petticoat Council.

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June 10th 2021, 4:25 am

‘Unchain your wife’: the Orthodox women shining a light on ‘get’ refusal

Women | The Guardian

Orthodox Jewish men give their wives a ‘get’ as the couple is divorcing, which seals the divorce according to religious law

On Route 59 in Monsey, New York, an Orthodox Jewish enclave in upstate New York, there is a large billboard that says in big block letters: “Dovid Wasserman. Give your wife a get!”

A “get” is a document Orthodox Jewish men give their wives as the couple is divorcing; it seals the divorce according to religious law, meaning that the husband decides if and when the divorce is final. Without it, the woman cannot move on with her life.

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June 10th 2021, 4:25 am

The Peequal: will the new women’s urinal spell the end of queues for the ladies’?

Women | The Guardian

Research shows women in the UK spend 34 times longer queueing for public loos than men do. Now, two young designers think they have the solution

Name: The Peequal.

Age: Brand new.

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June 10th 2021, 4:25 am

Celebrate the beauty that comes with age | Letters

Women | The Guardian

Ian Flintoff and Teresa McDonnell on notions of beauty, age and women in response to an article on Kate Winslet

Gaby Hinsliff (Kate Winslet shows there’s more to middle age than a saggy belly, 3 June) raises a question of massive importance to women, but also to us all. It is a myth that humans are less beautiful as they age – on the contrary. Years ago, to help me to understand things better, I got a season ticket to a Rembrandt exhibition. Many hours, day after day, taught me that, with the more truthful eyes of the artist, age is an etching of beauty on the more stereotyped images that are thrust upon us by adverts, pin-ups and porn. If the rosebush had eyes, it would peer at any human with wonder and exclaim: “How can anything of such wonder, beauty and complexity possibly exist?”

An analogy I often use is of the flashy cover on the latest novel in a bookshop, comparing this with the patina, beauty and handcrafting of an antique volume in a museum. Things – and people – lose beauty with age? No! The opposite is the case by any other than the most superficial standards of self-interest.
Ian Flintoff
Oxford

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June 10th 2021, 4:25 am

Keira Knightley says every woman she knows has been harassed

Women | The Guardian

British actor tells magazine about precautions she takes walking home and says situation is ‘depressing’

Keira Knightley has spoken about how sexual harassment is such a big problem she “literally” does not know any woman who has not been subjected to it, including herself.

The British actor said that, from groping to being flashed, “everybody” has been harassed in some way.

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June 10th 2021, 4:25 am

Disaster patriarchy: how the pandemic has unleashed a war on women

Women | The Guardian

As Covid-19 has swept the world there has been an explosion of violence against women, and a full-blown assault on their rights. It’s time to fight back against a system that allows women to be sacrificed, erased and violated

Covid has unleashed the most severe setback to women’s liberation in my lifetime. While watching this happen, I have started to think we are witnessing an outbreak of disaster patriarchy.

Naomi Klein was the first to identify “disaster capitalism”, when capitalists use a disaster to impose measures they couldn’t possibly get away with in normal times, generating more profit for themselves. Disaster patriarchy is a parallel and complementary process, where men exploit a crisis to reassert control and dominance, and rapidly erase hard-earned women’s rights. (The term “racialized disaster patriarchy” was used by Rachel E Luft in writing about an intersectional model for understanding disaster 10 years after Hurricane Katrina.) All over the world, patriarchy has taken full advantage of the virus to reclaim power – on the one hand, escalating the danger and violence to women, and on the other, stepping in as their supposed controller and protector.

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June 10th 2021, 4:25 am

End all legal barriers to abortion, say leading European politicians

Women | The Guardian

Belgium’s prime minister among signatories to open letter backing global right to safe abortions and reopening of clinics closed in pandemic

Government ministers from five European countries, including Belgium’s prime minister, Alexander de Croo, are among 29 politicians, healthcare and women’s rights activists who have signed an open letter calling for the removal of all legal barriers to abortion.

The letter, signed by gender and equality ministers from France, Canada and Norway, and international development ministers from Sweden and the Netherlands, states that women’s right to safe, legal abortion is being eroded by misinformation and attacks on services. It calls for the reopening of abortion clinics closed during the pandemic.

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June 10th 2021, 4:25 am

My husband knew all about the waterworks | Brief letters

Women | The Guardian

Obituary mistakes | Short walks | Ageing | Medical euphemisms | Cuckoos

Regular readers will know that Barbara Ewing (Letters, 3 June) is far from alone in appearing prematurely in the obituary pages and subsequently in corrections. Might it not be an idea to arrange an occasional “resurrections” column?
Mike Hine
Kingston upon Thames, London

• With the current long waiting lists for hip and knee replacements, these shorter walks are just what is needed for the older, lamer family members too (10 easy walks in Britain for families with younger children, 2 June). I would have welcomed the presence of a few more pubs.
Alberta Swan
Scarborough, North Yorkshire

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June 10th 2021, 4:25 am

Female anatomy still causing a blush | Letters

Women | The Guardian

If a gynaecologist is embarrassed to use real terms, perhaps he or she should have chosen a different speciality, says Susan Wolfe. While Susan Boyd finds the obsession with the vagina tiresome

Re your article (Most Britons cannot name all parts of the vulva, survey reveals, 30 May), I put some of the blame for this on the medical community for using infantilising euphemisms for female genitalia when addressing adult female patients.

For example, four separate private gynaecologists in central London each referred to my adult menopausal uterus as my “tummy”. English women to whom I related my surprise at this replied: “The doctor’s probably just embarrassed.” If a gynaecologist is embarrassed to use real terms for a woman’s body, perhaps he or she should have chosen a different speciality.

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June 10th 2021, 4:25 am

‘A career change saved my life’: the people who built better lives after burnout

Women | The Guardian

Chronic stress at work can lead to listlessness, fatigue – and a much higher risk of stroke and heart disease. But there are ways to save yourself before it’s too late

Spencer Carter had been signed off work for three months with stress. Before that time was up, his employers “encouraged” him back early, then doubled the size of the team he managed – and his responsibility. “In the last couple of years, everything got worse,” he says, with a degree of understatement. In fact, his GP warned him the stress was going to kill him, thanks to his astronomically high blood pressure. He took, he says, “voluntary redundancy to save my life”.

Although he had tried counselling in the run-up to his redundancy, it hadn’t helped with his overly demanding working environment as a business operations manager for a global company – endless data and spreadsheets, running teams across different time zones, and being responsible for huge budgets in a highly competitive culture.

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June 10th 2021, 4:25 am

Rape is being used as weapon of war in Ethiopia, say witnesses

Women | The Guardian

Ethiopian nun speaks of widespread horror she and colleagues are seeing on a daily basis inside the heavily isolated region of Tigray

Thousands of women and girls are being targeted by the deliberate tactic of using rape as a weapon in the civil war that has erupted in Ethiopia, according to eyewitnesses.

In a rare account from inside the heavily isolated region of Tigray, where communications with the outside world are being deliberately cut off, an Ethiopian nun has spoken of the widespread horror she and her colleagues are seeing on a daily basis since a savage war erupted six months ago.

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May 14th 2021, 1:22 am

UK women forced to wear face masks during labour, charity finds

Women | The Guardian

Survey of 936 women in December shows nearly one in five made to cover up, despite official guidance to contrary

Nearly one in five pregnant women in the UK were forced to wear a face covering during labour, according to research by a charity, despite official health guidance saying they should not be asked to do so.

Women described feeling unable to breathe, having panic attacks or even being sick during labour because they were made to wear a face covering.

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May 14th 2021, 1:22 am

Coalition tries to woo women with a federal budget that’s all about making amends

Women | The Guardian

Violence and sexual harassment targeted, with $1.7bn investment in childcare and help for female-dominated industries

After a year in which the Morrison government’s commitment to tackling violence against women and sexual harrassment has been questioned, and it has been accused of targeting Covid assistance to industries dominated by men, Josh Frydenberg’s budget is unashamedly about making amends.

It includes a $1.7bn investment in childcare, more money for preschools, funding to build skills in industries dominated by women and changes to superannuation that will help people working part time – mostly women.

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May 14th 2021, 12:52 am

Outrage as male voice actor dubs Laverne Cox in Italian-language Promising Young Woman

Women | The Guardian

Cox’s character in the revenge thriller given deep voice of Roberto Pedicini, sparking backlash over European dubbing of trans actors

The Italian-language version of Emerald Fennell’s revenge thriller Promising Young Woman has come under fire for giving trans actor Laverne Cox a male voice. Scheduled to hit theatres across the country on 13 May, the release has been pushed back after a clip of Una Donna Promettente was posted by Universal Pictures Italy on 6 May. In the since-restricted video, Cox’s character, Gail, talks to protagonist Cassie, played by Carey Mulligan, in a distinctively masculine tone. The Orange Is the New Black star was given the deep tones of voice actor Roberto Pedicini. Italian viewers couldn’t believe their ears, immediately taking to social media to voice their outrage.

“I think this dubbing choice was a straight-up act of violence,” Italian trans actor and voice actor Vittoria Schisano tells the Guardian. “It’s insulting. I’d feel bullied if I were [Cox],” she added. Schisano dubbed Cox on Netflix documentary Amend: The Fight for America, and was the Italian voice behind trans character Natalie on the latest season of Big Mouth. Her most recent project is Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, where she voices General Atitaya. Schisano says she doesn’t know any other trans voice actors in Italy and wasn’t even asked to read for Cox’s role in Promising Young Woman.

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May 14th 2021, 12:52 am

The people who want to keep masking: ‘It’s like an invisibility cloak’

Women | The Guardian

More than a year into the pandemic, some people prefer to keep wearing their face mask – even outdoors in public

She’s been fully vaccinated for three weeks, but Francesca, a 46-year-old professor, does not plan to abandon the face mask that she’s come to view as a kind of “invisibility cloak” just yet.

“Maybe it’s because I’m a New Yorker or maybe it’s because I always feel like I have to present my best self to the world, but it has been such a relief to feel anonymous,” she said. “It’s like having a force field around me that says ‘don’t see me’.”

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May 14th 2021, 12:52 am

Men who harass women from cars should be prosecuted, MPs say

Women | The Guardian

Cross-party group raises pressure on government to bolster anti-misogyny measures in police and crime bill

Men who harass women from cars should face criminal charges, a cross-party group of MPs has urged, as the government comes under mounting pressure to criminalise sexual harassment.

Labour’s Harriet Harman and Caroline Nokes, the Conservative chair of the women and equalities select committee, have formed a cross-party alliance to push the government to beef up anti-misogyny measures via amendments in the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill.

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May 14th 2021, 12:52 am

Women face significant jobs risk during Covid pandemic, UK analysis finds

Women | The Guardian

Exclusive: women are experiencing far higher levels of redundancy than in previous recessions

Working women are facing a significant risk in the labour market, with far greater numbers being made redundant as a result of the pandemic than during the 2007 financial crisis, according to analysis seen by the Guardian.

Women are experiencing much higher levels of redundancies during the Covid pandemic than in previous recessions, according to the Trades Union Congress. Female redundancies in the UK hit 178,000 between September and November 2020, according to its analysis – 76% higher than the peak reached during the height of the financial crisis when female redundancy levels hit 100,000.

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May 4th 2021, 2:34 am

Marriage certificates in England and Wales to include mothers’ names for first time

Women | The Guardian

Home Office says reform is biggest change to marriage registration system since 1837

Marriage certificates in England and Wales will now include the names of both parents of each half of the couple, instead of only their fathers, after legal changes to the process came into force.

The change is part of the introduction from Tuesday of a new digital system to modernise, simplify and speed up the process by which marriages are registered, helping to tackle a backlog.

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May 3rd 2021, 7:34 pm

Concern as just a third of candidates in English local elections are women

Women | The Guardian

Fawcett Society says more needs to be done to encourage women into politics

More needs to be done to encourage women into politics, the UK’s leading charity for gender equality has said, as data reveals that just one-third of candidates in this week’s English council elections are women.

Research by the Fawcett Society charity and the Democracy Club also found that less than one in four police and crime commissioner candidates in England and Wales are women, and one in four mayoral candidates.

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May 3rd 2021, 7:34 pm

The dancehall divas who set the pace in Egypt’s roaring 20s

Women | The Guardian

Midnight in Cairo tells how the city’s vibrant nightlife was driven by female cabaret entertainers and club entrepreneurs

The birth of the women’s movement in Egypt is not usually associated with music hall singers, dancers and actresses. But it was on the stages of theatres and nightclubs in Cairo, in the roaring 20s, that early feminists first asserted themselves, a new book will argue.

The capital’s biggest stars were independent, transgressive Arabic-speaking women who, in the 1920s, were seeking to redefine their place in the world, according to Raphael Cormack, the author of Midnight in Cairo, out on 6 May.

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May 2nd 2021, 8:32 am

Biden urged to end US aid ‘abortion ban’

Women | The Guardian

More than 140 rights groups call for repeal of 1973 Helms amendment widely misinterpreted as total ban on funding abortion services overseas

Joe Biden is being urged to clarify a longstanding US law restricting overseas aid that has been misinterpreted by successive administrations as an outright ban on funding abortion for any reason.

As the US president marked his first 100 days in office on Friday, more than 140 human rights and global health organisations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International US and the Global Justice Center, signed a letter asking him to confirm that US aid can be used for abortion care in cases of rape, incest and when the woman’s life is in danger.

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April 30th 2021, 1:48 pm

Female political prisoners in Iran facing ‘psychological torture’, say campaigners

Women | The Guardian

Reports of deteriorating treatment of human rights activists, with an increase in moves to ‘dangerous’ jails often far from families

Female human rights activists imprisoned in Iran face increased jail terms and transfers to prisons with “dangerous and alarming” conditions, hundreds of miles away from their families, according to campaigners.

Warnings of the deteriorating treatment of female prisoners in Iran come days after Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian national who has served a five-year prison sentence in Iran, was sentenced to a further year in jail and a year-long travel ban by the Iranian courts.

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April 30th 2021, 9:19 am

‘Devastating for women and girls’: UK cuts 85% in aid to UN family planning

Women | The Guardian

UNFPA says £130m being withheld would have helped prevent 250,000 child and maternal deaths in poorest countries

The British government is slashing its funding to the UN population fund (UNFPA) in a move described as “devastating” for women and girls.

The agency confirmed on Wednesday that the UK, its largest donor, is cutting funding for contraceptives and reproductive health supplies by 85% this year – from £154m to £23m – and cutting core funding from £20m to £8m.

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April 29th 2021, 8:31 am

Blue plaque honours Caroline Norton, ‘unsung hero of women’s rights’

Women | The Guardian

19th-century campaigner helped change divorce law after being ruined by abusive husband

Caroline Norton, a woman at the centre of one of the most publicised court cases of the 19th century and an “unsung hero in the fight for women’s rights”, is being celebrated with a heritage blue plaque in London.

The biographer Lady Antonia Fraser this week unveiled the plaque for someone she said deserved to be far better known, a woman who was in an abusive marriage and was ruined by her husband, but fought back and helped change the law.

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April 29th 2021, 2:17 am

The big squeeze: welcome to the pelvic floor revolution

Women | The Guardian

There are books, podcasts, apps and devices devoted to it. But what’s behind this new obsession with a strong pelvic floor?

If you want to know about the wonders of a healthy pelvic floor, you could do worse than look to Coco Berlin, who styles herself “Germany’s most famous belly dancer”. Berlin started belly dancing in 2002, but it wasn’t until a few years later, when she went to Egypt to study dancers there, that she wondered why they were so much better. She concluded they were seriously in touch with their pelvic floor, the internal muscular structure that supports the internal organs and prevents incontinence, among other important functions.

“When I connected to my pelvic floor, for the first time in my life, I had this feeling of embodiment,” Berlin says. It improved her dancing – before, she says, it had felt “like mimicry” – but also affected the rest of her life. She felt more confident, “I had the feeling that I own my body”. Her enjoyment of sex was greatly improved, and she felt stronger and less stressed. She thinks it is a prime reason why people assume she is much younger than she is (she’s 42 and, speaking over Zoom from her home in Germany, she looks like a woman in her 20s).

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April 29th 2021, 2:17 am

First female west coast Marines graduate at Camp Pendleton – in pictures

Women | The Guardian

After Congress ordered the US Marine Corps to fully integrate women into its west coast training battalions, the first 53 female recruits have become Marines

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April 28th 2021, 6:33 am

‘Bras are a curse!’ How lockdown changed readers’ views of their breasts

Women | The Guardian

A year since the pandemic started, women’s bodies and habits have changed. Here they discuss underwiring, sleep underwear, and how going bra-free helps with polymastia

I was a teen in the 70s and morphed into a feminist. I find bras hideously uncomfortable; I only started wearing one in 2018 when I went back to work and the lack of confidence that often besieges women over 60 made me too self-conscious to face the public bra-free. Lockdown has released me from the bra, and the job, and I doubt I’ll wear one again. Jackie, writer, Midlands

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April 28th 2021, 6:33 am

Oscars fashion trends: midriffs and tuxedos catch up with Gen Z style

Women | The Guardian

On the red carpet, cleavage gave way to abs for Hollywood’s women, while men’s suits stole the show with colour and variety

The dresses at the 2021 Oscars confirmed what a walk through any park or beer garden this weekend would have told you: for the younger generation, a cantilevered cleavage has been replaced by a flash of bare midriff as the key signifier of party dressing.

For Generation Z, a plunging neckline is what mums wear in date-night photos they post on Facebook. A crop top above high waisted jeans, to show a few inches of skin, or a dress with a shark-bite sized cut out to show some side-ab, is a more modern way to power (party) dress.

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April 26th 2021, 8:58 am

Model’s ‘hands off my hijab’ post sparks protest over France’s proposed ban

Women | The Guardian

Rawdah Mohamed, whose Instagram selfie went viral, says she wants to fight ‘deeply rooted stereotypes’

A Somali-Norwegian model whose Instagram post criticising a proposed ban on the hijab in France went viral has said she wants to fight “deeply rooted stereotypes” against Muslim women.

Rawdah Mohamed posted a selfie on Instagram with “hands off my hijab” written on her hand, starting a campaign that has been trending on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

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April 25th 2021, 8:42 am

He had an affair when I was at my lowest. Can I trust him again? | Dear Mariella

Women | The Guardian

You’re at a major turning point in life so figure out what you want, says Mariella Frostrup. Don’t waste time digging for more dirt

The dilemma It’s the usual. He was unhappy, he didn’t feel wanted, blah, blah, blah… We’re in our mid-50s, not married and no children. Together for 16 years and friends for 18.

He left me last year. I then discovered the affair, but he told me it started only three months before he left. After nine weeks apart we reconciled and he ended his relationship. I didn’t understand why he was so upset and eventually discovered it was a three-year affair, not three months, and happened three years ago. Why didn’t he just end it? We’ve got no ties. He said it was because he really loves me and was hoping we would be happy again.

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April 25th 2021, 3:42 am

Rape victims in south Asia still face vaginal tests, report finds

Women | The Guardian

Unscientific ‘morality’ examination linked to low conviction rates and violates women’s rights, says Equality Now

Physical vaginal tests are still used to determine whether women and girls have been raped in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, according to a new report.

The practice remains widespread in all three countries and some courts refer to the test in judgments, despite it having no scientific basis and being banned in India.

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April 23rd 2021, 3:57 am

The clitoris, pain and pap smears: how Our Bodies, Ourselves redefined women’s health

Women | The Guardian

First published 50 years ago, the feminist classic was hugely influential, telling truths about women’s bodies long obscured by a chauvinist medical establishment

In 1969, Wendy Sanford was still in the early days of her marriage, living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and their newborn son. A couple of years earlier, she had graduated with high honours from the prestigious Radcliffe College, and yet the path before her was clear: domesticity, home decor, dinner parties. She struggled with this new life. “My husband was so disappointed that I wasn’t happy,” Sanford remembers. “I cried a lot. I was in the middle of postpartum depression, and had no words for it at all.”

Sanford spoke to her doctor, who suggested she find solace in raising the next generation and supporting her husband. He also prescribed a diaphragm. She asked when she ought to put it in, and the doctor gave her the same mantra he gave all of his female patients: dinner, dishes, diaphragm. “So that was the era,” Sanford says. “And he was a very kind man, but he embodied sexist medical care. He had no idea that he was just pushing me into the arms of feminism.”

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April 22nd 2021, 5:26 am

Most new mums say NHS six-week checks fail to focus on their health

Women | The Guardian

Survey finds appointments – required of GPs in England – are often mainly or equally about baby’s health

Six out of seven new mothers in England are not getting a checkup of their health six weeks after giving birth, despite such appointments becoming a new duty on the NHS last year.

Just 15% of women who have recently had a child are having a dedicated consultation with a GP to discuss their physical and mental health, according to a survey by the parenting charity National Childbirth Trust (NCT).

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April 21st 2021, 8:26 pm

Melissa Doyle on ageing: ‘We spend so much time worrying about wrinkles when that’s only 0.05% of it

Women | The Guardian

After 25 years in front of the camera at Seven, the TV presenter has spent the last year out of view working on a ‘very personal’ project

Melissa Doyle had been a major star on Channel Seven for 25 years when she was dumped by the financially struggling network several months after turning 50.

Recovering from the sadness she says she felt, Doyle threw herself into making a “very personal” podcast series, Age Against the Machine, which tackles Australian society’s prejudice against older women.

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April 21st 2021, 1:55 pm

Pregnant women need better Covid safety at work, say campaigners

Women | The Guardian

Husband of UK nurse Mary Agyapong, who died in 2020, says government still not doing enough

Five pregnant women wearing “I Am Mary” T-shirts in memory of the nurse Mary Agyapong protested in Parliament Square on Wednesday after figures revealed nearly 1,000 pregnant NHS staff were still working in patient-facing roles.

Despite evidence revealing that pregnant women may be at an increased risk of severe disease and losing their baby if they contract Covid, 984 pregnant staff in 25 trusts across the UK continue to work in frontline roles, a request under freedom of information laws by the campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed has revealed.

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April 21st 2021, 9:55 am

Killing of female polio vaccinators puts Afghan eradication campaign at risk

Women | The Guardian

Rise in cases feared as murders halt campaigns and leave many women too afraid to work

Gul Meena Hotak was on her regular rounds, going door-to-door giving polio vaccinations in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, when she heard gunshots.

The 22-year-old’s immediate concern was for the safety of her friend Negina and other colleagues nearby. “Negina and my supervisor were in a neighbourhood close by when a gunman approached and shot at them. My supervisor escaped with gunshot injuries, but Negina was killed on the spot,” Hotak said.

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April 21st 2021, 2:53 am

Me and my ‘she shed’: women on the joys of their garden retreats

Women | The Guardian

Move over man caves! Now women are discovering what a life-saver their own private sheds can be

At the entrance to Angela Benjamin’s shed is a copper sign that reads: “She Cave”, and a deep purple clematis weaves its way through the letters. The shed is a simple wooden structure at the end of her garden in Ealing, west London that backs on to a cemetery – “so I don’t disturb anyone when I’m working!”

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April 20th 2021, 8:18 pm

The Pinnacle Club: rock-climbing for women – archive, 2 April 1921

Women | The Guardian

2 April 1921 A letter to the Manchester Guardian announces the formation of a new club

A club which was certain to come has come at last. A letter which we print elsewhere tells us that the Pinnacle Club, for women rock-climbers, was formed on March 26. Of course climbing on rock, snow, and ice has long been successfully practised by women. A Manchester woman was a member of one of the earliest parties to climb the Napes Needle; one of the most pleasant Alpine stories is that of the early traverse of the Sesiajoch, on Monte Rosa, by two resolute English spinsters, conducting a terrified “guide,” and rumour says that one of the most famous of Alpine pioneers used to divide peaks into three classes, in an ascending order of difficulty: (I) those which he climbed with other male amateurs, (2) those which he climbed by himself, and (3) those which he climbed with his aunt.

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April 20th 2021, 8:18 pm

Covid jabs offered to pregnant women: your questions answered

Women | The Guardian

Pfizer or Moderna jabs to be given after US data confirms that they are safe and effective

All pregnant women are now eligible to get a Covid vaccine, according to updated guidance by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Previously, the committee had recommended that only pregnant women at high risk of exposure, such as frontline health workers, or those with certain underlying medical conditions be offered a jab.

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April 20th 2021, 8:18 pm

English universities to be told to work harder to stop sexual misconduct

Women | The Guardian

Office for Students will publish new guidance requiring robust reporting procedures

Universities in England will be asked to step up their efforts to tackle sexual harassment and violence on campus or face sanctions, amid accusations that they have ignored repeated warnings to tackle rape culture.

The higher education regulator, the Office for Students, will publish new guidance next week asking institutions to take responsibility for protecting their students with “robust” reporting procedures and increased mental health support, as well as bystander and consent training for staff and students.

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April 20th 2021, 8:18 pm

I worry constantly about the safety of my grown-up daughters | Dear Mariella

Women | The Guardian

The dangers women face make your anxiety understandable, says Mariella Frostrup. However, you must – as we all must – keep worries to a minimum in order to live life

The dilemma I have four lovely children, all now adults and left home. I rarely worry about my sons, but I constantly, constantly fret about my daughters, who both live in shared houses in distant cities.

They are very good about keeping in touch, and sympathetic to my anxiety, but it is reaching unmanageable proportions. For example, if I look at WhatsApp, I might see that one daughter was on it, say, 30 minutes ago, but the other hasn’t been on it all day. I will then look to see when they were last active on Facebook. If she hasn’t been active on Facebook either, I will telephone her.

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April 20th 2021, 8:18 pm

My rock’n’roll friendship with Lindy Morrison

Women | The Guardian

She was in the Go-Betweens, Tracey Thorn was in the Marine Girls, their 30-year friendship enhanced both their lives

On 31 March 1983, she burst into my dressing room, asking at the top of her voice, “Has anyone here got a lipstick I can borrow?” I looked up to see a tall woman in a Lurex dress, with a mass of blonde hair. Our two bands, Marine Girls and the Go-Betweens, were on the same bill at the Lyceum in London. I was 20, and she was 31. I was a tentative singer, she was a loud, outspoken drummer. I was from suburbia, she was from Brisbane, Australia. And I was still a student, while she had already been a social worker, then joined a feminist punk band called Xero. She’d hitchhiked across Europe with a girlfriend, she’d seen every art film, read every avant-garde book. She’d slept at Shakespeare and Co in Paris, she’d swum with Roger Moore, she could recite Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics. But I didn’t know any of this. I just knew that she looked like self-belief in a minidress, and that she had arrived in my life. “Who was that?” I asked when she had gone. “That,” came the reply, “was Lindy Morrison.”

It took a couple of years for us to become friends. We were opposites in many ways, and at different stages of life, but there were similarities: we both lived with the boyfriend we were in a band with; we had strong opinions about everything – feminism, love and art; we liked Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, Patti Smith, Simone de Beauvoir, and we had no time for a lot of the men who surrounded us in the music business. I’d watch her on stage, fierce and sweating behind the drum kit, long hair flying in her face, all energy, all concentration, and I was proud to be her friend.

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April 20th 2021, 8:18 pm

Lockdown ‘glow-up’? We’ve done enough already | Eva Wiseman

Women | The Guardian

Our bodies do so much for us, when we will we appreciate and celebrate them, rather than focus on flaws

A time-lapse video of my body over lockdown would have seen the kinds of bloom and decay of a felled forest or demolished building. Not that I’m comparing it to any structure of architectural interest – let me be clear, my body is very much not “the Shard”, more “the second chicken shop you come to if you turn right out of the Shard and start walking towards Whitechapel”.

I began lockdown pregnant and thoughtful, easing myself gently into cushioned chairs, my moisturised face turned to the sun. Over the following months my body softened and ruined; my makeup-less skin confused by light, mottled, then wattled; my hair choosing its own adventure every morning. Sedentary and unsatisfied, I have aged eight years in the past three months alone. I look in the mirror and see a bag for life.

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April 20th 2021, 8:18 pm

‘I felt humiliated’: parents respond to NHS maternity care racial bias inquiry

Women | The Guardian

Black, Asian and ethnic minority women report being denied pain relief or feeling unheard to panel investigating mortality disparity

Feeling manipulated into having medical procedures, dismissed by professionals and labelled with racial stereotypes are among the complaints of parents who responded to a national inquiry into racial injustice in UK maternity care.

A panel established by the charity Birthrights is investigating discrimination ranging from explicit racism to racial bias and microaggressions that amount to poorer care.

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April 20th 2021, 8:18 pm

Pregnant women in UK given green light to have Covid jab

Women | The Guardian

Bereaved families welcome decision to offer Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, based on age and clinical risk

Hundreds of thousands of pregnant women in the UK have been given the green light to receive a Covid vaccine in a move welcomed by bereaved families and campaigners.

All pregnant women would be offered the Pfizer or Moderna jab based on their age and clinical risk group after real-world data from the US showed about 90,000 pregnant women had been vaccinated without any safety concerns, the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said on Friday.

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April 20th 2021, 8:18 pm

My sons ask if a man has ever hurt me. Not really, I lie | Hadley Freeman

Women | The Guardian

Living in fear of harassment is a universal female experience. This is my own story, in 10 parts

A recent YouGov survey found that 86% of women aged 18-24 in the UK have been sexually harassed. This statistic shocked me: did the other 14% not understand the question? To live in fear of harassment or assault is such a universal female experience that many of us don’t even think about it, having learned to accept it from an absurdly early age. It doesn’t break you but it shapes you, like a rock face getting battered by strong waves. This is my own story, in 10 parts.

Aged seven: my friends and I are in the park when a bush next to us trembles. A man climbs out holding his penis towards us, as if he’s offering a special on the menu. This is the first time I’ve seen a penis, and it is disgusting and terrifying, an impression it takes decades to shake.

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April 20th 2021, 8:18 pm

Young mothers pin hopes on the American dream – in pictures

Women | The Guardian

Dozens of families pass daily through the Brownsville immigration depot in Texas, nearly all women with small children, telling the same story. They make their way north from Central America through Mexico hoping for jobs in the US that are often on the bottom rung of the economic ladder, but better than anything back home, and leaving leaving behind endemic violence. Paul Handley documents their plight

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March 23rd 2021, 9:10 am

Calls to domestic abuse helpline in England up by 60% over past year

Women | The Guardian

Exclusive: Covid lockdown contributes to surge in women seeking help, Refuge charity says

The conditions of lockdown in England and increased awareness about domestic abuse led to a 61% surge in calls and contacts logged by the official domestic abuse helpline in the past year, the charity behind the service has revealed.

Refuge, which runs the 24-hour national domestic abuse helpline as well as online alternatives such as live chat, said the increase peaked in the summer, when compared to the average calls and contacts logged above the January to March 2020 period.

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March 23rd 2021, 2:22 am

Nawal El Saadawi, trailblazing Egyptian writer, dies aged 89

Women | The Guardian

Award-winning feminist author of more than 55 books was a resolute challenger to Egyptian governments

Egypt’s trailblazing writer Nawal El Saadawi died on Sunday at the age of 89, after a lifetime spent fighting for women’s rights and equality.

The feminist author of more than 55 books first spotlighted the issue of female genital mutilation (FGM) with The Hidden Face of Eve in 1980. A trained doctor, El Saadawi also campaigned against women wearing the veil, polygamy and inequality in Islamic inheritance rights between men and women.

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March 21st 2021, 6:04 pm

Covid has made life far harder for single parents, says UK activist

Women | The Guardian

Call for lone parents to be protected by equality law to end ‘systematic discrimination’

The mother who successfully campaigned for Dominic Cummings to change lockdown restrictions for single parents has said the economic future of one-parent families such as hers risks being set back years by the pandemic if they do not receive targeted help.

Ruth Talbot, founder of the campaign group Single Parent Rights, said the “systematic discrimination which goes back generations” would worsen as a result of the impact of the coronavirus. This is unless urgent action is taken to reduce these inequalities, including adding single parents to the Equality Act as a protected characteristic.

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March 21st 2021, 1:32 pm
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