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Five takeaways from US supreme court’s Mississippi abortion rights case hearing

Women | The Guardian

The Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Oganization case could weaken the provisions of the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade ruling

The US supreme court heard oral arguments on Wednesday in the most significant abortion rights case since the landmark 1973 supreme court ruling in Roe v Wade which effectively legalized abortion in the US.

The case, Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, pits the leadership of Mississippi against the state’s last abortion clinic. The state seeks to ban abortion after 15 weeks gestation and asks the highest court to overturn Roe.

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December 2nd 2021, 5:21 am

El Salvador ‘responsible for death of woman jailed after miscarriage’

Women | The Guardian

Inter-American court of human rights orders Central American country to reform harsh policies on reproductive health

The Inter-American court of human rights has ruled that El Salvador was responsible for the death of Manuela, a woman who was jailed in 2008 for killing her baby when she suffered a miscarriage.

The court has ordered the Central American country to reform its draconian policies on reproductive health.

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December 2nd 2021, 5:21 am

America’s deep political divisions play out on courthouse steps as justices hear abortion case

Women | The Guardian

Supporters of abortion rights acknowledge that in many states, restrictions have already ushered in a ‘post-Roe world’

Hannah Wolfe, 24, brandished a rubber model that she said depicted a 16-week-old foetus. “It’s important for people to see the humanity of a child in the womb,” she said. “You can see the fingers, you can see the toes, you can detect a heartbeat at this stage.”

Wolfe was among the anti-abortion protesters who turned out in force at the supreme court on Wednesday with a sense that victory is finally within reach. In contrast to the sombre arguments being heard in the ornate, marble-clad court, in the streets below the air filled with a cacophony of speeches, shouts, chants and songs from activists on both sides.

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December 1st 2021, 2:50 pm

Oral arguments in pivotal Mississippi abortion case begin at supreme court

Women | The Guardian

Abortion rights advocates fear a new conservative majority on the court may be prepared to overturn or alter landmark Roe decision

The US supreme court is expected to hear oral arguments on Wednesday in the most important abortion rights case in decades, which will decide the future of abortion access across the country.

Campaigners warn the case poses a direct threat to the legal underpinnings of Roe v Wade, a landmark 1973 decision that guaranteed the constitutional right to abortion.

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December 1st 2021, 2:34 am

Mother jailed for harming baby hits out at ‘unjust’ appeal ruling

Women | The Guardian

Lawyers and campaigners fear decision not to grant appeal against conviction risks silencing other victims of domestic abuse

A mother jailed for harming her baby has accused the courts of “injustice” after judges accepted she was a victim of abuse but ruled against an application for an appeal against her conviction made on the grounds that her violent ex-partner coerced her to lie at her trial.

The woman, known as “Jenny”, was convicted in 2017 of causing or allowing serious harm after her child sustained skull fractures and bleeding on the brain. The baby’s father was her co-defendant but was acquitted on a lesser charge.

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December 1st 2021, 1:36 am

Punched: Sadie Frost appears in ‘no frills’ drama exploring domestic abuse

Women | The Guardian

Tracy-Ann Oberman, Donna Air and Annie Lennox will perform in the one-off fundraising West End drama

Women’s experiences of domestic and sexual violence will be dramatised in a West End theatre next week to “give voice” to survivors and highlight the scale of abuse.

“We all carry a lifetime of experiences, it doesn’t matter who you are or what your background is,” said Sadie Frost, one of those performing in Punched.

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November 28th 2021, 10:42 am

Screenwriter Jed Mercurio to speak at inaugural Sarah Hughes lecture

Women | The Guardian

TV’s treatment of police corruption and of healthcare will be discussed at an event in memory of the Observer journalist

Jed Mercurio, one of Britain’s leading television writers and the creator of Line of Duty, will speak in London on Friday at the inaugural Sarah Hughes Lecture. But this time Mercurio is more likely to be asked about the challenges of representing the world of healthcare and hospitals on television than dramatising investigations into police corruption.

Because Mercurio, a former medical practitioner, is also the creator of the witty and dark BBC hospital dramas Cardiac Arrest, about young medics, and, more recently, Bodies.

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November 28th 2021, 4:28 am

UK health trusts suspend home birth services as midwives shortage deepens

Women | The Guardian

‘Crisis’ in maternity care leaves expectant mothers facing difficult births in hospital or without support at home

A severe shortage of midwives has led to home birth services being closed or reduced by a number of hospital trusts across the UK, with pregnant women frequently left in limbo as to where they will be able to give birth.

The Observer has found more than 20 trusts that have had disrupted home birth services in the past three months. Eight confirmed their services remain suspended due to staff shortages. They include East Kent Hospitals, Swansea Bay University Health Board and NHS Dumfries and Galloway – all of which report that the situation is under constant review.

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November 28th 2021, 1:12 am

A shopping guide to the best … party necklaces

Women | The Guardian

Buy, rent or thrift it – alternative ways to shop. This week, jewellery that will elevate your workaday outfit to a party get-up

A cocktail necklace – a bit bold, party-ready, not subtle – is the fashion pro’s secret addition to your jewellery box. With very little effort it helps make a statement with even the most nondescript outfit.

A lot of fun can be had by renting a cocktail necklace – go for one as ornate as Venna’s from Mywardrobe and that LBD will look much more interesting.

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November 27th 2021, 3:24 pm

A moment that changed me: The haircut that liberated me as a butch lesbian

Women | The Guardian

I came out in my late teens, but still felt repressed by my appearance. Almost 10 years after first booking a short back and sides, I finally took the plunge – and immediately felt revitalised

The hairdresser steadied my head as I sat in the swivel chair, face mask on, staring into the mirror. In December 2020, another lockdown loomed, and nearly 12 months earlier I had made it a New Year’s resolution to get short hair that year. Within 45 minutes, my shoulder-length mop was down to a couple of inches.

People often get radical haircuts in response to life-changing events, such as a breakup or the loss of a loved one. I got mine because I wanted to embrace how I felt as a butch lesbian.

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November 24th 2021, 5:04 am

Jennifer Lawrence defends Leonardo DiCaprio’s higher pay for Don’t Look Up

Women | The Guardian

Despite their equal billing on the forthcoming Adam McKay disaster comedy, Lawrence says she is ‘extremely fortunate and happy with my deal’

Jennifer Lawrence has defended the higher salary paid to Leonardo DiCaprio for Don’t Look Up, their forthcoming film for which they receive equal billing.

Speaking to Vanity Fair, Lawrence said: “Leo brings in more box office than I do. I’m extremely fortunate and happy with my deal.” A recently published report in Variety suggested that DiCaprio will receive $30m (£22.5m) for the movie, and Lawrence will be paid $25m ($18.7m) – meaning DiCaprio’s fee is 20% higher.

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November 23rd 2021, 1:16 pm

UK workforce shrinks after sharp rise in people choosing to leave work

Women | The Guardian

Resolution Foundation says more than half a million more people are now economically inactive

The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has made Britain’s workforce smaller, younger and more female after a sharp rise in people leaving work during lockdown, according to a report.

The Resolution Foundation said that while mass unemployment had been avoided during the Covid-19 emergency, there had been an increase in people who had exited the workforce and were no longer looking for a job.

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November 22nd 2021, 7:46 pm

Pregnant women at risk in Malawi as drug shortage prevents caesareans

Women | The Guardian

Patients travelling long distances to find surgery cancelled as lack of anaesthetics shuts operating theatres in half of hospitals

Almost half of Malawi’s district hospitals have closed their operating theatres due to a dire shortage of anaesthetics.

Maternity care has been affected by a lack of drugs, said doctors. Surgery, including caesareans, has been cancelled and patients needing emergency care have been moved hundreds of miles around the country.

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November 22nd 2021, 3:33 am

Planned Virginia Woolf statue challenged as insensitive

Women | The Guardian

Memorial to novelist would be by Thames, which would evoke her suicide by drowning

Concerns have been raised about a planned statue of Virginia Woolf overlooking the Thames, which has been called insensitive because of the way she killed herself.

The memorial the author, designed by Laury Dizengremel, would be positioned on a park bench overlooking the river on Richmond riverside in south-west London, where she lived for about a decade from 1914.

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November 20th 2021, 5:15 pm

Domestic and sexual abuse of silenced Sikh women revealed

Women | The Guardian

First ever report shows 70% of respondents have suffered at the hands of a partner or members of their extended family

“Toxic cultural practices” and a lack of culturally sensitive services means many women who are victims of domestic and sexual abuse in the Sikh community are suffering in silence, according to the first comprehensive report into the issue.

The report by Sikh Women’s Aid (SWA), the UK’s only frontline service for Sikh women, will be released later this week to coincide with the launch of the United Nations’ women’s annual 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. It creates a harrowing picture of the prevalence and effect of domestic abuse and child sexual abuse in the Sikh community.

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November 20th 2021, 5:15 pm

Are the 2020s really like living back in the 1970s? I wish …

Women | The Guardian

With queues for petrol, inflation and Abba on the radio, it’s easy to compare the two decades. But you wouldn’t if you were there, says Polly Toynbee, as she revisits the styles of her youth

Queueing for petrol, I turn on the radio and there are Abba, singing their latest hit. Shortages on shop shelves are headline news, with warnings of a panic-buying Christmas. And national debt is sky high. But this isn’t the 1970s; it’s 2021. People who weren’t born then have been calling this a return to that decade. There are similarities, of course: this retro-thought was sparked by the recent petrol queues, people as frantic to fill up to get to work as I remember back then. Elsewhere, flowing floral midi dresses are back, just like the ones I wore; Aldi is selling rattan hanging egg chairs; and, as well as Abba, the charts have been topped by Elton John. But is this really a 1970s reprise?

No, nothing like it; not history repeated, not even as farce – just a stylist’s pastiche, as bold as the wallpaper I’m posing in front of here. Folk memory preserves only the 1974 three-day week; the miners’ strike blackouts, with no street lights and candle shortages; the embargo that quadrupled the price of oil. True, I did queue at the coal merchant’s to fire up an ancient stove for lack of any other heat or light. But the decade shouldn’t be defined by this, or by 1978-79’s “winter of discontent” strikes, a brief but pungent time of rubbish uncollected and (a very few) bodies unburied by council gravediggers.

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November 20th 2021, 7:42 am

New organisation launched to tackle sexual harassment in live comedy

Women | The Guardian

Get Off! was set up by Kiri Pritchard-McLean and Nina Gilligan in order to create safer workplaces within little-regulated industry

An organisation has been established to tackle sexual harassment in the UK comedy industry. Get Off! Live Comedy was launched this week with a fundraiser at London’s Comedy Store featuring Sara Pascoe, Nish Kumar, Russell Howard and Sikisa Bostwick-Barnes.

The lack of structure and regulation within the live comedy industry, plus the fact that most of its workers are self-employed, has led to problematic power imbalances and difficulties reporting harassment. The new organisation was set up by comedians Nina Gilligan and Kiri Pritchard-McLean following a wave of revelations from the industry in 2020. “We think everyone deserves a safe, respectful workplace,” said Pritchard-McLean.

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November 19th 2021, 9:27 am

‘Families are desperate’: an au pair agent on life without EU workers

Women | The Guardian

Jamie Shackell used to place 500 young people with British families every year. She hasn’t matched any since December – and some working parents are being forced to cut their hours

Before Brexit, Jamie Shackell placed about 500 au pairs from mainland Europe with British host families every year. She hasn’t placed a single one since December. She says her agency, Busy Bee Au Pairs , is now essentially “nonexistent”. Shackell – who is also the chair of the British Au Pair Agencies Association (Bapaa ) – says it is the same for other similar agencies. At one point, there were about 30 members . “ Now, there’s only a handful of us left,” she says. “A lot have shut up shop.”

Occasionally, someone from the EU with pre-settled status, will look for a placement. “Then we’ve got the agencies that are left scrabbling after her or him, as well as families that are looking independently,” says Shackell.

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November 18th 2021, 11:11 am

Campaigners urge bosses to stop asking job applicants for salary history

Women | The Guardian

Asking about earnings discriminates against women and other groups, says Fawcett Society

Campaigners have urged employers to stop asking job applicants for salary history, saying it discriminates against women, people of colour, people with disabilities and shores up the gender pay gap.

A survey by the Fawcett Society to mark Equal Pay Day on Thursday – the date women effectively start to work for free because they are paid less than men on average – found that asking details about previous earnings is also unreliable because four in 10 working adults have lied about their past salary.

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November 18th 2021, 8:58 am

Parliament to vote on bill to ban child marriage in England and Wales

Women | The Guardian

Marriage of under-18s associated with risk of domestic, sexual and ‘honour’-based violence, say MPs, who will vote on Friday

A bill that would ban child marriage in England and Wales will be presented to parliament for its second reading this week and has been welcomed by campaigners as a “huge stride” forward.

Currently, marriage and civil partnerships are legal at 16 and 17 with parental consent. This is not just out of step with international legislation but also a loophole that is “more often used as a mechanism for abuse”, according to Pauline Latham, MP, who will present her bill on Friday.

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November 16th 2021, 12:28 pm

Rising humidity could be linked to increase in suicides, report finds

Women | The Guardian

Increasingly intense and frequent spells of humidity linked to global heating may exacerbate mental health conditions, with women and young people worst affected

More frequent spells of intense humidity caused by the climate crisis are more likely than heatwaves to be linked to increased rates of suicide, according to new research.

The study found that women and young people were particularly affected by levels of humidity, the intensity and frequency of which are increasing because of global heating.

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November 15th 2021, 7:11 am

Here’s something you can’t ignore, says tampon plastics activist

Women | The Guardian

Ella Daish to hand Procter & Gamble giant Tampax applicator, made from 1,200 discarded contributions

A British environmental activist is stepping up her campaign against single-use plastics in period products by calling on the world’s bestselling manufacturer of tampons to make greener alternatives.

Ella Daish, the founder of the #EndPeriodPlastic campaign, will go to the European headquarters of Tampax-maker Procter & Gamble in Geneva on Monday to present executives with a giant tampon applicator, made of 1,200 discarded Tampax applicators found littering British waterways, rivers and beaches.

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November 15th 2021, 7:11 am

The agony of choosing termination for my baby who had foetal anomaly

Women | The Guardian

There is a silence around the death of a baby, and a greater hush around the issue of termination for foetal anomaly. Laura Doward shares her life-changing experience

I’m looking at my name, handwritten in capital letters, neat as a button. Considering asking for another form to rewrite it, make it shakier.

“Foeticide,” the doctor is saying.

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November 14th 2021, 11:26 am

‘I loved my job in the police. Then the Taliban came for me’

Women | The Guardian

After a vicious beating, Fatima Ahmadi fled Afghanistan with her children for Pakistan. But her pleas for asylum in the west are met by silence

Fatima Ahmadi only stopped screaming when the Taliban held a knife to her child’s throat, and told her: “Shut up, or we will kill your son.” They had burst into the policewoman’s Kabul home one late September morning, demanding she hand over her weapons. She told the Taliban she had no guns at home, but they said she was lying, ransacked the house, then began beating her, pulling out handfuls of hair, and when she would not stop shouting, they grabbed her nine-year-old son.

The knife was pressed so violently into his throat it left a red welt, visible in photographs seen by the Observer. Ahmadi’s back was covered with bruising from an assault so vicious that she lost control of her bodily functions. The men eventually left, but with an ominous warning. “We will come back.”

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November 14th 2021, 7:10 am

Women working from home risk being caught in a ‘she-cession’

Women | The Guardian

Bank of England policymaker warns spontaneity vital for career progress hard to replicate in virtual setting

Women who work mostly from home risk hurting their careers and getting caught in a “she-cession” as more men return to the office working post-pandemic, a Bank of England policymaker has warned.

Catherine Mann, a member of the Bank’s monetary policy committee (MPC), said that virtual working methods, such as video conferencing, were unable to replicate spontaneous office conversations that are important to career advancement.

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November 12th 2021, 4:54 am

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

Women | The Guardian

As new data released, campaigners ask why racial disparity in maternal mortality rates is so persistent

Black women are still four times more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth than white women, according to new data that has reignited calls to tackle racial inequality in maternal healthcare.

The findings show a slight drop in the maternal mortality rate for black women, but remained the same for mixed ethnicity women and Asian women, which was two times higher and almost twice as high, respectively.

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November 11th 2021, 12:40 pm

‘World designed by men has destroyed many things,’ Cop26 warned

Women | The Guardian

Climate crisis cannot be ended without the empowerment of women, politicians and campaigners tell summit

“The world as designed by men has destroyed many things,” Cop26 delegates have been told, as leaders and campaigners warned that the climate crisis could not be ended without the empowerment of women.

Women and girls around the world suffer disproportionately from the impacts of climate breakdown, as they are on average poorer, less educated and more dependent on subsistence farming. A UN report found 80% of those displaced by the climate emergency are women.

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November 9th 2021, 3:41 pm

Greek minister urges victims to ‘speak up’ amid wave of domestic violence

Women | The Guardian

New campaign will encourage survivors to access help and support in response to spate of femicides and rise in reports of abuse

Greece is to launch a public campaign urging victims of domestic violence to “speak up” after a spate of femicides whose ferocity has stunned the nation.

The country has seen a rise in domestic violence cases so far in 2021, accentuated by a number of brutal murders of women that have dominated media coverage as people from the arts and sports worlds – including the Olympic gold medallist Sofia Bekatourou – have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse.

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November 9th 2021, 8:27 am

Nice has failed parents with its U-turn on induced labour | Letter

Women | The Guardian

Catherine Roy, Susanna Haddon and Dr Ruth-Ann Harpur are deeply concerned by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s revised guidance

Lobbying maternity organisations have convinced the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) to remove the choice for patients to consider induction of labour from 39 weeks gestation. Nice has also downgraded an offer to induce labour at 41 weeks gestation to a “discussion” (Watchdog U-turns on recommendation to induce pregnant women at 41 weeks, 4 November).

This is deeply concerning. The evidence shows that inducing labour at 39 weeks gestation reduces the chance of a caesarean birth and may lead to an easier birth (Arrive trial). There is also evidence that stillbirth increases after 41 weeks of gestation (Swepis and Index trials).

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November 8th 2021, 3:09 pm

‘Get the vaccine’: family of Covid victim’s plea to pregnant women

Women | The Guardian

Saiqa Parveen planned to have jab after giving birth but died from disease after daughter was delivered by emergency caesarean

She was eight months pregnant and weeks from welcoming her fifth daughter to the world, but Saiqa Parveen died of Covid after putting off getting the coronavirus jab. Her family have now issued an emotional plea for pregnant women to get vaccinated.

Parveen, 37, had planned to delay having the jab until her baby was born, her family said, but she was admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties in September and put on a ventilator.

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November 7th 2021, 5:09 pm

Colour is the new black as fashion looks to a bright future

Women | The Guardian

Once the epitome of cool, the dark and moody look is out of favour among a generation tired of bad news and restrictions

From the classic little black dress to a for ever cool biker jacket, black has long been fashion’s last word in chic. “I love black because it affirms, designs and styles,” Yves Saint Laurent once said. “A woman in a black dress is a pencil stroke.” But, in a post-restriction world, even this stamp of approval has been undermined. Because, in 2021, colour is the new black.

Harper’s Bazaar ran a feature titled How Gen Z killed basic black in which writer Isabel Slone argued that “utilitarianism has been replaced with a spirit of experimentation” in fashion. Black, such a useful and versatile staple in wardrobes, is the fall guy. “An all-black wardrobe is no longer shorthand for a mysterious and brooding individual,” wrote Slone. “More and more, it telegraphs that a person is, well, old-fashioned.”

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November 7th 2021, 9:54 am

Launch of campaign to tackle violence against women delayed

Women | The Guardian

A UK Home Office strategy to target perpetrators of misogynistic crimes that was unveiled in July will not be up and running until next year

End Femicide – An Observer campaign to stop the killing of women by men

The government’s much-hyped information campaign targeting perpetrators of violence against women will not be launched until next year, the Observer has learned. This comes just as new research indicates the vast majority of females have experienced unwanted violent, aggressive or sexual behaviours on UK public transport.

As part of the home secretary’s strategy to tackle violence against women and girls launched in July, Priti Patel promised a “multimillion communications campaign with a focus on targeting perpetrators and harmful misogynistic attitudes”.

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November 7th 2021, 4:54 am

Poles march against abortion ban after pregnant woman’s death

Women | The Guardian

Protesters link woman’s death by septic shock to new restrictions on ending unviable pregnancies

“Her heart was beating too,” thousands of protesters across Poland chanted on Saturday during demonstrations sparked by the death of a pregnant 30-year-old woman in hospital. Her family say that the hospital staff refused her life-saving health care because they were afraid of breaking the country’s strict abortion law.

Demonstrators were joined by senior opposition politicians, including Donald Tusk, the former president of the European Council.

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November 6th 2021, 5:09 pm

Women’s rights activist shot dead in northern Afghanistan

Women | The Guardian

Frozan Safi, 29, is believed to be the first women’s rights defender to be killed since Taliban return to power

A 29-year-old activist and economics lecturer, Frozan Safi, has been shot and killed in northern Afghanistan, in what appears to be the first known death of a women’s rights defender since the Taliban swept to power almost three months ago.

Frozan Safi’s body was identified in a morgue in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif after she went missing on 20 October. “We recognised her by her clothes. Bullets had destroyed her face,” said Safi’s sister, Rita, who is a doctor.

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November 5th 2021, 7:24 pm

Police Scotland apologises to women in Glasgow after streets blocked off

Women | The Guardian

Nicola Sturgeon says women’s safety paramount particularly after Sarah Everard murder

Police Scotland has apologised to women in Glasgow who had to walk home in darkness on Monday night after well-lit streets were blocked off due to Cop26 climate summit security concerns.

Residents near the Cop venue said police guarding the security cordon told them to walk long distances through Kelvingrove Park and side streets in Finnieston because main streets had suddenly been closed off.

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November 2nd 2021, 2:01 pm

‘My Elizabeth Barrett Browning film needs a woman’s touch – but where are all the female directors?

Women | The Guardian

Screenwriter of biopic about the radical poet says the industry must do more to get women behind the camera lens

A new film about a 19th-century poet and early feminist is crying out to be filmed through a woman’s lens, but it is likely to be directed by a man because there is such a shortage of female directors, according to one of Britain’s leading screenwriters.

Paula Milne has written a feature film inspired by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who campaigned against social injustice, including slavery and child labour, while living in fear of her own father. Milne believes that such a story, with its many contemporary parallels, should be filmed by a woman, because of the natural empathy that women have for one another, but that is unlikely to happen.

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October 31st 2021, 10:19 am

Exposed: UK clinics still offering to ‘restore virginity’ before marriage

Women | The Guardian

Undercover reporters for ITV documentary find procedure widely available in London

Dozens of clinics, private hospitals and pharmacies are offering controversial hymen repair surgery, an undercover investigation has revealed, as the government moves closer to banning the harmful practice.

It has already pledged to outlaw virginity tests – an intrusive and unscientific examination to assess whether the hymen is intact.

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October 31st 2021, 10:19 am

Record number of domestic abuse victims made homeless

Women | The Guardian

Charities call for more social housing to address ‘heartbreaking and shameful’ new statistics

Domestic abuse caused nearly one in six new homelessness cases in England between April and June, with numbers rising even as the overall increase in homelessness slowed, according to government figures.

Data out last week from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities shows that of 34,830 households newly assessed in early 2021 as homeless 5,590 were in that position because of domestic abuse. The number of cases attributable to domestic violence was the highest since records began in 2018 – and a third higher than in the same period in 2019.

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October 30th 2021, 12:17 pm

You be the judge: ‘Should my boyfriend tell me how to drive?’

Women | The Guardian

We air both sides in a domestic disagreement – and ask you to deliver a verdict

My boyfriend gets angry at my driving, saying it’s unsafe. I think he acts negatively towards all female drivers

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October 29th 2021, 6:15 am

Northern Ireland Office may directly instruct trusts to offer abortion services

Women | The Guardian

Exclusive: Brandon Lewis warns he will soon have ‘no alternative but to take further steps’ to ensure services are provided

Brandon Lewis could override the Northern Ireland executive and directly instruct the nation’s health trusts to provide abortion services, warning leaders in a leaked letter that the continued delay is unacceptable conduct in public office.

The Northern Ireland secretary wrote to the first minister, Paul Givan, and his deputy, Michelle O’Neill, warning he would soon “have no alternative but to take further steps to ensure that women and girls have access to abortion services as decided by parliament, and to which they have a right”.

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October 27th 2021, 12:57 pm

When the mystical goes mainstream: how tarot became a self-care phenomenon

Women | The Guardian

Tarot used to be seen as the domain of the credulous. It’s now seen as a means of coping with the present, thanks to psychology-minded practitioners like Jessica Dore

When Jessica Dore was growing up, her mother had a tarot deck from which she’d pull cards – much to the mounting mortification of her daughter. As a child, Dore went along with it as fortune-telling fun. But “as an adolescent, it was sort of like ‘Mind your own business’”, she says wryly.

It meant Dore was at least familiar with tarot. The deck of 78 cards, split between major arcana and minor arcana (“greater” and “lesser secrets”), is used with varying degrees of sincerity to divine past, present and future. “But I never had any sense that it could be something that would be of value for me in my life,” Dore says.

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October 27th 2021, 6:11 am

Jailing of most mothers for non-violent crimes should stop, says report

Women | The Guardian

UK consultancy also, for first time, uncovers huge cost of putting children in care during sentences

The imprisonment of many mothers serving sentences for non-violent and relatively minor crimes should be ended and community women’s centres used instead, according to research that has found separation can increase the risk of children being exploited and cost hundreds of thousands of pounds for just a single case.

A report from UK crime and justice consultancy Crest Advisory, called Counting the Cost of Maternal Imprisonment, has tracked the impact of the imprisonment of mothers on both them and their children and, for the first time, worked out the financial cost.

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October 25th 2021, 12:25 am

More than 30,000 Polish women sought illegal or foreign abortions since law change last year

Women | The Guardian

Tens of thousands have travelled to other European countries including England for legal terminations since near-total ban, campaigners say

At least 34,000 women in Poland are known to have sought abortions illegally or abroad since the country introduced a near total ban on terminations a year ago.

According to Abortion Without Borders (AWB), an organisation that helps women access safe abortion services, more than 1,000 Polish women have sought second-trimester abortions in foreign clinics since the country passed draconian new laws.

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October 22nd 2021, 4:24 pm

Supreme court refuses to block Texas abortion ban but will hear challenges

Women | The Guardian

Justices will hear arguments on 1 November and said they will decide whether the federal government has the right to sue

The US supreme court allowed a Texas law that bans the vast majority of abortions to temporarily remain in effect, but will hear arguments on 1 November. The law, known as Senate Bill 8, bans the procedure after roughly six weeks gestation or before most women know they are pregnant.

The justices said they will decide whether the federal government has the right to sue over the law. The court’s action leaves in place, for the time being, a law Texas clinics say has led to an 80% reduction in abortions in the nation’s second-largest state.

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October 22nd 2021, 4:24 pm

Plainclothes Met police who stop lone women will video call uniformed officer

Women | The Guardian

Met commissioner Cressida Dick announces change in wake of Sarah Everard’s abduction and murder

Plainclothes police officers in London will video call a uniformed colleague to confirm their identity when stopping a lone woman, the head of the Metropolitan police has announced in the wake of Sarah Everard’s abduction and murder.

Cressida Dick said the change would put the responsibility on the officer to prove they were acting properly, after senior police figures were criticised for their reaction to the case in which a serving officer, Wayne Couzens, was jailed for life for staging a fake arrest before kidnapping and burning Everard’s body in March.

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October 20th 2021, 2:16 pm

‘My friends called him PC Perv’: the police officers who prey on crime victims for sex

Women | The Guardian

Nicola Brookes was groomed by a senior officer she trusted and she is not alone – 2,000 police officers have been accused of sexual misconduct in four years. In the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder, what can be done?

Nicola Brookes was at the lowest point of her life when she turned to the police for help. By the time she met Inspector Anthony Lumb, she had suffered years of online abuse – including death threats, letters sent to her house and relentless trolling.

Her problems began in November 2011, when she sent an innocuous message of support to an X Factor contestant on Facebook. The contestant was being trolled online and Brookes wrote: “Keep your friends and your family close. They’ll move on to someone else soon.” Within hours, she had received hundreds of abusive messages. Brookes was stunned – she was called an “insane old crone”, a “demented witch”. A cloned Facebook account was created in her name, suggesting she was a paedophile and a drug dealer. Her address was even published online. Then the campaign spread to multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts, blogs, online radio and video channels.

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October 20th 2021, 8:48 am

Biden urges supreme court to block Texas’ near-total abortion ban

Women | The Guardian

The justice department wrote in its plea that the law defies the supreme court’s major decisions on abortion rights

The Biden administration has asked the supreme court to block Texas’ extreme abortion ban as a battle over its constitutionality plays out in the courts.

The Texas law, which has halted most abortions in the state, defies the supreme court’s major decisions on abortion rights “by banning abortion long before viability – indeed, before many women even realize they are pregnant”, the US Justice Department wrote in its plea to the court.

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October 19th 2021, 12:03 am

Women on reality TV shows get far more abuse online than men – study

Women | The Guardian

Analysis of posts on several social media platforms also reveals recurrence of gendered tropes

Women reality TV contestants are far more likely to be targeted for abuse by online trolls than men, new research reveals.

Women of colour are particularly vulnerable to extreme and violent threats online, according to a report from Demos thinktank, which looked at contestants on reality shows Love Island and Married at First Sight.

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October 18th 2021, 1:18 pm

‘I feel hurt that my life has ended up here’: The women who are involuntary celibates

Women | The Guardian

What is it like to go without a partner when you long for one – and when even a fleeting sexual connection feels impossible?

When a woman named Alana coined the term “incel” in the late 90s, she couldn’t have predicted the outcome. What started as a harmless website to connect lonely, “involuntary celibate” men and women has morphed into an underground online movement associated with male violence and extreme misogyny.

In 2014, Elliot Rodger stabbed and shot dead six people in California, blaming the “girls” who had spurned him and condemned him to “an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires”. There have since been numerous attacks by people who identify with incel culture, including Jack Davison, who killed five people in Plymouth this summer, before turning the gun on himself. In the darkest corners of the internet, incel groups have become a breeding ground for toxic male entitlement, putting them on hate crime watchlists across the UK.

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October 18th 2021, 8:48 am

Female directors wait longer than men for their big break, report reveals

Women | The Guardian

A huge equality gap in top jobs and pay has been highlighted between women TV documentary-makers and male colleagues

Television documentary teams in Britain today are full of ambitious and capable women but most of them have to wait much longer than their male colleagues to become directors and earn a bigger wage.

The findings of the campaigning group We Are Doc Women (WADW), released this weekend, have revealed that gender equality is still a goal, not a reality, in factual programme-making.

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October 17th 2021, 7:32 am

Viva la vulva: why we need to talk about women’s genitalia

Women | The Guardian

Ignorance about the basic biology of vulvas is still shockingly high – yet there are huge health benefits, physical and emotional, to be won with better understanding

If you have a vulva between your legs, could you identify the seven separate structures in a mirror? If your partner has a vulva, can you identify theirs?

For over half the population, the vulva is a significant part of their body; an exit and an entrance, a site of pleasure and, often, pain, that speaks to core human function and need. In 2021, it can feel as if we’re on the cliff-edge of emancipation from the history of oppression and ick surrounding female genitalia. The booming sex toy market, a growing awareness of hormonal cycles and the messy reality of periods, a sharper focus on female pleasure and evolving conversations about menopause all point to real progress. Yet there remains a well of misunderstanding in society about what’s down there (clitoris, labia majora, labia minora, urethral opening, vaginal opening, perineum and anus, by the way), with tangible consequences.

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October 16th 2021, 10:31 am

Blind date: ‘A man on the next table was watching a horror film’

Women | The Guardian

Marta, 30, project manager, meets Andrew, 33, broadcast journalist

Marta on Andrew

What were you hoping for?
Romance, naturally. Failing that, someone I could have an interesting conversation with.

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October 16th 2021, 4:46 am

A shopping guide to the best … statement coats

Women | The Guardian

Buy, rent or thrift it – alternative ways to shop. This week, how to stand out and stay warm

Hopefully, we won’t have another winter of socialising in the park, but it’s probably a good idea to expect the worst. Designs that go beyond the black classic are worth investing in – look for strong colours or prints, or an interesting texture to see you cheerfully through this winter and beyond.

For party season, renting a coat is a good trick: it allows you to make a statement without any commitment. For a party where you might be huddled outside, it means your outfit is exciting, even if no one sees what you’re wearing underneath.

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October 16th 2021, 4:46 am

Let her finish: interruptions of female justices led to new supreme court rules

Women | The Guardian

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said oral argument rules were revamped after a study found women were more prone to being interrupted

Justice Sonia Sotomayor has revealed that changes have been made in the supreme court’s structure of oral arguments following studies confirming what women on the court have long noticed – that female justices were more prone to being interrupted by male justices and attorneys.

Speaking at a New York University School of Law event on Wednesday, Sotomayor said the new format now allows justices to ask questions individually, in order of seniority, after an attorney’s time is up.

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October 15th 2021, 7:31 am

‘Right to request’ flexible work not granted for half of UK’s working mothers

Women | The Guardian

One in two have request turned down while those that work flexibly face discrimination, survey finds

Half of the UK’s working mothers do not get the flexibility they ask for, while those that do work flexibly face discrimination, according to a survey.

The survey of almost 13,000 mothers carried out by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the campaign group Mother Pukka found that one in two had had a request for flexible working turned down or only partly accepted by their current employer.

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October 15th 2021, 3:31 am

‘Absolutely heartbreaking’: Texans seeking abortions forced to travel for hours

Women | The Guardian

After Texas passed a near-total ban, clinics in surrounding states are being inundated with people making often difficult trips

The 33-year-old Texas woman drove alone four hours through the night to get to the Louisiana abortion clinic for a consultation. She initially planned to sleep in her car, but an advocacy group helped arrange a hotel room.

Single and with three children ranging from five to 13, she worried that adding a baby now would take time, food, money and space away from her three children.

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October 14th 2021, 1:29 pm

Northern Ireland secretary failed to comply with abortion duty, judge rules

Women | The Guardian

Ruling will put pressure on UK government to address ongoing lack of abortion facilities in region

The Northern Ireland secretary, Brandon Lewis, has failed to uphold his duties to provide full abortion services in the region, a high court judge has ruled.

The ruling will put the government in Westminster under pressure to address the situation in Northern Ireland, where women are struggling to access safe abortion services more than 18 months after the procedure was made legal in the country.

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October 14th 2021, 10:29 am

Vagina lasering for postmenopausal women ‘may be placebo’

Women | The Guardian

UK study suggests therapy for dryness, itching and pain should be used with caution, say experts

An expensive laser treatment purporting to help women with postmenopausal vaginal symptoms such as dryness, itching and pain when having sex may be no better than a placebo, research suggests.

According to the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), vaginal laser therapy involves inserting a laser device into the vagina to heat the vaginal wall and create tiny holes or “micro-traumas”. It has been claimed this stimulates the production of collagen, helping to alleviate postmenopausal vaginal symptoms.

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October 12th 2021, 12:16 pm

Sarah Everard’s death prompts men to join groups trying to halt male violence

Women | The Guardian

Experts hope deaths of Everard and Sabina Nessa could mark a turning point of violence against women in the UK

The murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa could mark a turning point in men taking responsibility for male violence against women and girls, experts have said.

Groups led by men that work to end violence against females have experienced a surge in interest from other men, but organisers say if the momentum is not harnessed the opportunity will be lost.

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October 12th 2021, 3:14 am

Nobel prize will have no gender or ethnicity quotas, academy head says

Women | The Guardian

Only 59 Nobel prizes – or 6.2% of the total – have gone to women since their inception in 1901

Swedish scientist and head of the academy that awards Nobel prizes has ruled out the notion of gender or ethnicity quotas in the selection of laureates for the prestigious award.

Göran Hansson, the secretary general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, accepted that there are “so few women” in the running but conceded the prize would ultimately go to those who are “found the most worthy”.

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October 12th 2021, 3:14 am

Day of the Girl is critical, but support is needed year-round, say campaigners

Women | The Guardian

From period poverty to blockchain, initiatives raising awareness of girls’ rights abound on 11 October, but long-term help is needed after Covid setbacks

International Day of the Girl is critical in highlighting girls’ rights globally, but action is urgently needed to reverse the damage of the pandemic, campaigners have said.

“Girls who were once hopeful about their futures say to us: ‘We’re not sure if we’re going to achieve our dreams now, if we’re ever going to go back to school’,” said Emily Wilson, chief executive of UK and Uganda-based organisation Irise International, which works to combat period poverty.

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October 11th 2021, 1:00 pm

Bolsonaro blocks free tampons and pads for disadvantaged women in Brazil

Women | The Guardian

Campaigners say president’s veto is ‘absurd and inhumane’ in country where period poverty keeps one in four girls out of school

President Jair Bolsonaro’s decision to block a plan to distribute free sanitary pads and tampons to disadvantaged girls and women has been met with outrage in Brazil, where period poverty is estimated to keep one in four girls out of school.

Bolsonaro vetoed part of a bill that would have given sanitary products at no charge to groups including homeless people, prisoners and teenage girls at state schools. It was expected to benefit 5.6 million women and was part of a bigger package of laws to promote menstrual health, which has been approved by legislators.

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October 11th 2021, 7:45 am

Digital gender gap ‘keeping women offline’ and costing billions, finds report

Women | The Guardian

Men 50% more likely to be online than women in least developed countries, hampering economies and fuelling gender inequality

A failure to ensure women have equal access to the internet has cost low-income countries $1tn (£730bn) over the past decade and could mean an additional loss of $500bn by 2025 if governments don’t take action, according to new research.

Last year, governments in 32 countries, including India, Egypt and Nigeria, lost an estimated $126bn in gross domestic product because women were unable to contribute to the digital economy.

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October 11th 2021, 5:02 am

One in six most critically ill patients are unvaccinated pregnant women with Covid

Women | The Guardian

NHS England release statistics after evidence Covid can cause serious problems for mothers-to-be and their babies

One in six patients requiring the NHS’s highest form of life-saving care are unvaccinated pregnant women with Covid, new figures reveal.

Twenty of the 118 patients with Covid who received extra corporeal membrane oxygenation (Ecmo) between July and September were mothers-to-be, NHS England said.

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October 10th 2021, 11:46 pm

Priti Patel’s fury as Johnson blocks public sexual harassment law

Women | The Guardian

Home Office fears PM views aggressive targeting of women and girls as ‘mere wolf whistling’ amid moves to create specific offence

Boris Johnson has infuriated the home secretary by overruling attempts to make public sexual harassment a crime. This has prompted concern at the Home Office that the prime minister views the issue as mere “wolf whistling”, rather than the aggressive targeting of women and girls going about their daily lives.

Sources say tensions have emerged between Johnson and Priti Patel, and other senior Home Office figures, after he blocked plans to make public sexual harassment a specific offence.

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October 9th 2021, 3:02 pm

Statue of pioneering MP Barbara Castle joins recent memorials to prominent British women

Women | The Guardian

Depiction of veteran Labour MP latest in series of sculptures of significant women, including Diana Princess of Wales

Barbara Castle, the pioneering British female politician and prominent national figure from the 1950s to the 70s, has been commemorated with a new statue in Blackburn, where she served as a Labour MP for 34 years.

The striding figure, sculpted by Sam Holland, is clutching a bronze copy of the Equal Pay Act 1970. It is the latest in a string of commissioned works slowly redressing the heavy dominance of male statues. Other recent moves to mark the lives of influential British women include London statues of Diana, Princess of Wales and of campaigning writer Mary Wollstonecraft, as well as the 2018 statue of suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst in Manchester.

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October 9th 2021, 12:14 pm

Texas’ restrictive abortion law temporarily reinstated one day after being blocked

Women | The Guardian

A New Orleans-based appeals court quickly granted the state’s request to set aside a suspension until the case is reviewed

A federal appeals court on Friday night allowed Texas to temporarily resume banning most abortions, just one day after clinics across the state began rushing to serve patients again for the first time since early September.

Abortion providers in Texas had been bracing for the 5th US court of appeals to act quickly, even as they booked new appointments and reopened their doors during a brief reprieve from the law known as Senate Bill 8, which bans abortions once cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks.

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October 8th 2021, 10:59 pm

New 888 service to protect women ‘wins Patel’s support’

Women | The Guardian

Home secretary reportedly praises app, proposed by BT, which would check users had got home

A proposal by BT for a new service to help protect women travelling alone has reportedly secured the support of the home secretary, Priti Patel.

Users would download a mobile phone app and enter their home address and other frequent destinations, said the Daily Mail.

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October 8th 2021, 7:59 pm

Tory peers to defy Boris Johnson with push to make misogyny a hate crime

Women | The Guardian

Exclusive: Lady Newlove confident of cross-party support for amendment, despite PM’s stance

Conservative peers and MPs will defy Boris Johnson’s stance that misogyny should not be a hate crime and push ahead with attempts to change the law, the Guardian understands.

The former victims’ commissioner and Conservative peer Helen Newlove is leading the charge, tabling an amendment to the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill, currently at committee stage in the House of Lords.

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October 8th 2021, 6:59 pm

A new start after 60: ‘I had the most dishonest dark hair imaginable. So at 65 I shaved it all off’

Women | The Guardian

When her daughter’s hair began to turn grey, Marsha Coupé decided she had to say goodbye to her own dyed locks. It was like being reborn

For her first 65 years, Marsha Coupé had dark hair. She wore it in a blunt pageboy style, with red lipstick. She was wedded to her look, she says. Six weeks ago, she got a No 1 shave. Afterwards, she looked at the floor of the salon in her home town of Davis, California. Seeing the black locks scattered, she put her hands to her head. “I could not believe how good it felt. Like a baby’s head,” she says, rubbing her scalp as she speaks. “Almost like you’re a baby who just got born.”

It was Coupé’s daughter, Antoinette, 48, who suggested the cut. “She said: ‘Mom, hair is an accessory. Women make too big a deal. Every woman should shave her head at least once,’” Coupé says.

Tell us: has your life taken a new direction after the age of 60?

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October 8th 2021, 6:44 am

Men must challenge misogynistic behaviour, says Nicola Sturgeon

Women | The Guardian

Scotland’s first minister says society should stop expecting women to fix problems of sexism and harassment

Men across Scotland must challenge themselves and one another over misogynistic behaviour, Nicola Sturgeon has said, as she called for events of the past few weeks to mark a turning point “where we stop expecting women to fix these problems, and put the full glare where it belongs, on men who behave in a deeply unacceptable way”.

Sturgeon was responding to a question at first minister’s questions on Thursday about Rhona Malone, a former firearms officer who was found by an employment tribunal to have been victimised by Police Scotland colleagues in a “horrific” workplace culture condemned as an “absolute boys’ club”.

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October 7th 2021, 10:43 am

Female scientists strike success at the Australian Museum’s 2021 Eureka prizes

Women | The Guardian

Women awarded in 10 of 16 award categories, while a STEM education program for remote Indigenous students was also recognised

Trailblazing female scientists, black summer bushfire research, a 3D cell printer and a science education program for remote Indigenous students were among those recognised at the Australian Museum’s Eureka prizes on Thursday night.

Described as the Oscars of Australian science, the Eureka prizes are awarded annually in the categories of science leadership, research and innovation, science engagement and school science.

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October 7th 2021, 10:43 am

Invisible fridges and cooling cubbies: how kitchens have been designed for the rich

Women | The Guardian

The latest status symbol in kitchens is invisible appliances – but hiding behind that fridge disguised as a cabinet is a long history of people trying to engineer society

Rich people are having a couture cooling moment. The new status symbol, according to the New York Times, is an invisible fridge. Rich people buy enormous $15,000 Sub-Zero fridges and then stick panels on them that match their custom cabinetry. The result? As if by magic, it looks like there are no appliances in the house.

There are cooling drawers, too. The drawers are mostly built into kitchen islands, although it’s increasingly common for the ultra-rich to have them installed in bathrooms for temperature-controlled face creams.

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October 7th 2021, 10:43 am

US judge temporarily blocks Texas’ near-total abortion ban in blow to contentious law

Women | The Guardian

Judge excoriates ‘unprecedented scheme’ to deny women abortion right as law faces uncertain future

A US federal judge has temporarily blocked the near-total ban on abortion in Texas, dealing the first legal blow against the contentious law and throwing its future into uncertainty.

The law, known as Senate Bill 8, banned most abortions in the nation’s second-most populous state and, until now, had withstood a wave of early challenges.

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October 7th 2021, 6:40 am

Austerity hit police’s ability to tackle violence against women, say ex-officers

Women | The Guardian

Former senior figures call for ‘Stephen Lawrence moment’ to overhaul forces in England and Wales

Systematic underfunding of the police in England and Wales during 10 years of austerity “severely diminished” officers’ ability to recognise and target criminals who attack women and girls, according to former senior police figures.

They called for a “Stephen Lawrence moment” of transformation in the service and a full judge-led inquiry to restore faith in policing.

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October 7th 2021, 6:40 am

‘Tottymeter’ and ‘girly swots’: how Johnson shows women respect

Women | The Guardian

As PM confirms his commitment to women’s rights, his previous dubious comments tell different story

He has insisted everyone should be treated with “respect and dignity”, spending this week’s Tory party conference reaffirming his commitment to women’s rights, but Boris Johnson has a long history of making less-than-respectful comments about women.

Relax. It’s only Kimberly, with some helpful suggestions for boosting circulation. Just pat her on the bottom and send her on her way.

The unanimous opinion is that what has been called the ‘Tottymeter’ reading is higher than at any Labour party conference in living memory.

Time and again the Tottymeter has gone off as a young woman delegate mounts the rostrum.”

Voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts and increase your chances of owning a BMW M3.

… have got to find men to marry.

I blame the male sex for the appalling proliferation of single mothers, to which John Redwood has correctly alluded, by which 500,000 women have chosen to marry the state.

J’accuse men of being responsible for a social breakdown which is costing us all, as taxpayers, £9.1bn per year, and which is producing a generation of ill-raised, ignorant, aggressive and illegitimate children who in theory will be paying for our pensions.

It is no use blaming uppity and irresponsible women for becoming pregnant in the absence of a husband. Given their natural desire to have babies, and the tininess of what the sociologist William Julius Wilson has called the ‘marriageable pool’, it is the only answer.

Something must be found, first, to restore women’s desire to be married. That means addressing the feebleness of the modern Briton, his reluctance or inability to take control of his woman and be head of a household.

I seemed to be averaging a speed of X and then the M3 opened up before me, a long quiet Bonneville flat stretch, and I am afraid it was as though the whole county of Hampshire was lying back and opening her well-bred legs to be ravished by the Italian stallion.

In the last 30 years an ever-growing proportion of British women have been ‘incentivised’ or socially gestapoed into the workplace, on what seems to me to be the dubious assumption that the harder a woman works the happier she will be, when I am not sure that is true of women or anyone else.

The colossal expansion in the numbers of female graduates is in many ways a marvellous thing; but it has boosted the well-documented process of assortative mating, by which middle-class graduates marry middle-class graduates and thereby entrench their economic advantages, pooling their graduate incomes to push up house prices and increase the barriers to entry for the rest.

The result is that in families on lower incomes the women have absolutely no choice but to work, often with adverse consequences for family life and society as a whole – in that unloved and undisciplined children are more likely to become hoodies, Neets [Not in education, employment, or training], and mug you on the street corner.

You great big girl’s blouse.

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October 6th 2021, 12:57 pm

Dominic Raab confuses meaning of misogyny in BBC interview

Women | The Guardian

Justice secretary appears to suggest term could apply to abuse against women or men

Dominic Raab has rejected the idea that misogyny should become a hate crime in the wake of the Sarah Everard murder, but then appeared confused about its meaning as he suggested it could apply to abuse against either women or men

The justice secretary, who has said he is not a feminist and previously complained about the “raw deal” men are getting, said it was his “number one priority to make sure women feel confident in the justice system”.

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October 6th 2021, 6:59 am

Finn Mackay: the writer hoping to help end the gender wars

Women | The Guardian

The sociologist and feminist campaigner believes it is possible to champion both women’s and trans rights. Can their new book help define some common ground?

Some of Finn Mackay’s best childhood memories involve just being one of the boys – playing out on the street, getting into mischief, running in and out of friends’ houses, with someone’s mum calling them all in for tea. But all that ended the year Mackay’s beloved grandmother let her neighbours know that the child who came down to Nottingham every summer from rural Scotland wasn’t actually the little boy they had assumed.

“My male friends felt undermined because they’d respected me, and basically this toxic girl-ness had been in their midst, and they’d not known. So they felt like: ‘Oh, we had a girl in our gang all along,’’” says Mackay, ruefully, as we sit drinking coffee in a cafe overlooking Bristol harbour.

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October 5th 2021, 8:59 am

Why are so many pregnant women not taking the vaccine?

Women | The Guardian

Only 31% of pregnant Americans are fully vaccinated. I felt responsible for this bean-like bundle forming in my body. But the conflicting advice made it hard for me to decide

These are the first three things I did when I found out I was pregnant in February. I took about six more tests. Then, I called the doctor’s office to make an appointment. A few days later, I signed up for a Covid-19 vaccine. I stood in line, freezing, at a high school in Coney Island to get my shot.

Deciding to get the vaccine that same month was not easy – even as a former health reporter accustomed to deciphering medical journals. I felt a very visceral and personal responsibility toward this bean-like bundle forming in my body. There were only preliminary studies about vaccine safety – saying the vaccine was likely safe – but based on participants who didn’t know they were pregnant during trials. Gynaecologists and family physicians had not yet achieved full and public consensus on their recommendations as most have now.

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October 5th 2021, 12:26 am

Women’s March targets US supreme court, with abortion on line

Women | The Guardian

Thousands gather in Washington DC and other cities protesting against Texas’s new law which has banned most abortions

The first Women’s March of the Biden administration was heading straight for the steps of the supreme court on Saturday, part of nationwide protests that drew thousands to Washington DC and other cities to demand continued access to abortion in a year when conservative lawmakers and judges have put it in jeopardy.

Many thousands of women filled a square near the White House for a rally before the march. They waved signs that said “Mind your own uterus,” “I love someone who had an abortion” and “Abortion is a personal choice, not a legal debate,” among other messages. Some wore T-shirts reading simply “1973”, a reference to the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which made abortion legal for generations of American women.

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October 2nd 2021, 3:08 pm

Fear on the ward: UK mothers threatened with social services for refusing maternity care

Women | The Guardian

Women who turn down advice from health service staff say they are being coerced with threats of referrals to agencies and police

Pregnant women and new mothers are being referred to social services by midwives for refusing to follow their advice, patient advocacy groups have warned.

Expectant parents who have declined care, including opting out of scans, refusing inductions or failing to attend antenatal appointments, are among those who have faced threats from healthcare professionals amounting to coercion, according to the Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services (Aims).

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October 2nd 2021, 10:10 am

Boris Johnson: police failings on violence against women ‘infuriating’

Women | The Guardian

PM points to criminal justice delays that mean sexual violence and other cases can take years to be heard

Boris Johnson has said the police’s failure to take sexual violence against women seriously was “infuriating”, pointing in particular to long delays in the criminal justice system that can result in people waiting years for their case to be heard.

The prime minister and senior ministers joined widespread criticism of the police over their handling of violence against women and girls in the wake of the Sarah Everard case.

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October 2nd 2021, 7:40 am

Senior female officer wants ‘zero tolerance’ on sexist police banter

Women | The Guardian

Met risks breakdown in confidence among women, warns Janet Hills, ex-chair of London’s Black Police Association

A senior black female police officer has said the Metropolitan police should stop treating sexism as banter as anger escalates at the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer.

Janet Hills, who retired this month as the chair of London’s Black Police Association, warned that the Met risked an irrevocable breakdown in confidence between the force and women if the issue was not taken more seriously.

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October 2nd 2021, 2:40 am

Police log 10,000 indecent exposure cases, but fewer than 600 reach court

Women | The Guardian

Exclusive: England and Wales figures show ‘epidemic’ of flashing against women, after allegations against Wayne Couzens emerged

Women are facing an “epidemic” of flashing and other forms of indecent exposure, with police in England and Wales recording more than 10,000 cases last year but taking fewer than 600 people to court over them, Guardian analysis reveals.

The findings come after Wayne Couzens was reported for repeated instances of alleged indecent exposure in the years and days before he raped and murdered Sarah Everard, but faced no action. Police accepted they may have had enough clues to identify the police officer as a threat to women sooner, amid fears that flashing is a gateway to other sex crimes.

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October 1st 2021, 2:37 pm

Sarah Everard murder: police commissioner urged to resign over ‘streetwise’ comment

Women | The Guardian

Philip Allott accused of victim-blaming for advising women to be better informed about legalities of being arrested

A police commissioner is facing calls to resign for saying that women “need to be streetwise” about powers of arrest in the wake of the Sarah Everard murder.

Philip Allott, who oversees North Yorkshire police and the region’s fire service, was accused of victim-blaming after saying women should “just learn a bit about that legal process” in case they are falsely arrested.

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October 1st 2021, 1:10 pm

Sex, power and humiliation: eight lessons women learned from Monica Lewinsky’s shaming

Women | The Guardian

She was a 22-year-old intern, he was the most powerful man in the world – yet everyone blamed her for their affair. As the story is retold in a new drama, this is what that vicious period taught us

In November 1995, a 22-year-old White House intern called Monica Lewinsky had the first of nine sexual encounters with Bill Clinton, the 49-year‑old US president. As an official investigation would later reveal, these included fellatio, but not penetrative sex. The relationship, such as it was, continued until March 1997. It was a high-risk enterprise, occurring at the president’s official residence and at a time when Clinton was accused of sexually harassing a former Arkansas state employee, Paula Jones. But perhaps it didn’t seem that high-risk to either of them: Clinton had got away with much longer affairs before – and Lewinsky didn’t see Linda Tripp coming.

Tripp, a former White House official then working at the Pentagon, already had a dim view of the Clinton administration. When Lewinsky, who had transferred from the White House to the Pentagon in April 1996, began confiding in her colleague in late 1997, Tripp recorded their conversations and persuaded Lewinsky to keep safe a dress with Clinton’s semen on it. Tripp then passed the tapes and intel to Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel who was investigating the Clintons over historical property investments in Arkansas, the president’s home state.

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September 30th 2021, 6:09 am

HRT not linked to increased risk of dementia, says study

Women | The Guardian

UK researchers studied 600,000 women over three decades

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not linked to an increased risk of developing dementia, according to the largest study of its kind.

The treatment is used by millions of women worldwide to relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, sleep disturbance, mood swings, memory losses and depression.

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September 29th 2021, 11:24 pm

Do period undies work and are they good value for money?

Women | The Guardian

Australian consumer advocacy group tests effectiveness, comfort and value of 10 blood-absorbing intimates on the market

The majority of period underwear available in Australia perform well, but the more eco-friendly alternatives to tampons may not suit everyone, a review by consumer advocacy group Choice has found.

In an Australian first, Choice recruited 56 volunteers to test which undergarments give women the best bang for their buck. The review, which trialled 10 different pairs from brands Bonds, Modibodi, Thinx, Eco Period and Love Luna, comes in response to what Choice sees as a “growing market” for blood-absorbing intimates.

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September 29th 2021, 6:08 pm

Wales honours Betty Campbell, country’s first black headteacher

Women | The Guardian

Cardiff pays tribute to woman who became a model for best practice in equality and multicultural education

She was a pioneer and a rule-breaker, an educator, community leader and race relations campaigner who met Nelson Mandela and rubbed shoulders with royalty – but always had time to call out the bingo numbers at a local event or sign a passport photo.

In bright sunshine on Wednesday, a choir from the school Betty Campbell led with distinction sang her favourite song, Something Inside So Strong, as a huge bronze monument to her was unveiled in a Cardiff city centre square.

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September 29th 2021, 12:23 pm

Anita Hill on sexual harassment and survival: ‘You have to think: what is my life for?’

Women | The Guardian

Before Christine Blasey Ford and Monica Lewinsky, there was Anita Hill, shamed for exposing the actions of a powerful man. She explains how she withstood the tumult

Anita Hill sits so still that, when she is not speaking, I worry that the screen through which we are talking may have frozen. Yet despite her lawyerly, academic poise, she exudes warmth: you would feel safe confiding in her. And that is what people have been doing for the past 30 years – telling her of their own experiences with sexual harassment and assault. “I was a symbol of so many people’s experiences,” she says.

In the pantheon of women shamed for exposing the actions of high-profile men – before Christine Blasey Ford in 2018 and Monica Lewinsky in 1998 – there was Anita Hill. In 1991, the US president, George HW Bush, nominated Clarence Thomas to the supreme court. Senate hearings for his confirmation were completed without incident, until an interview of Hill by the FBI was leaked to the press. In it, Hill accused Thomas of sexual harassment while he was her supervisor in two separate jobs, at the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Among other claims, Hill said that Thomas discussed women having sex with animals, and pornographic films depicting group sex or rape scenes, and described his own sexual prowess and anatomy. According to Hill, Thomas’s behaviour forced her to resign from her job.

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September 28th 2021, 9:23 am

China to clamp down on abortions for ‘non-medical purposes’

Women | The Guardian

Policy uses women as tool for economic goals and could endanger their lives, says rights group

China’s pledge to limit abortions puts women’s bodies under the state’s control just as the one-child policy did and could endanger the lives of women seeking abortions, rights groups have said.

The Chinese government announced on Monday that it would seek to reduce abortions for “non-medical reasons” – a move seen as being in line with its attempts to accelerate birthrates.

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September 27th 2021, 2:08 pm

Japan urged to abolish third-party consent from abortion law

Women | The Guardian

Restrictions amount to ‘sexual assault’ on women by Japanese state, say rights campaigners

Women’s health campaigners have urged Japan’s government to amend a law that forces married women to seek consent from their husbands before they can have an abortion.

Japan is one of only 11 countries that require third-party consent for abortions, despite calls to end the practice by the World Health Organization and other groups.

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September 27th 2021, 9:23 am

Australian anti-harassment website given ‘woefully inadequate’ budget

Women | The Guardian

Tanya Plibersek criticises lack of funding for a Respect@Work portal compared to the government’s controversial $3.8m ‘milkshake and taco’ site

A key part of the Respect@Work program to prevent sexual harassment has a “woefully inadequate” budget, especially compared to the $3.8m dedicated to the widely panned “milkshake and taco” site, shadow minister for women Tanya Plibersek says.

A website to help workplaces tackle sexual harassment was the 48th of 55 recommendations in sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins’ landmark report on making workplaces safer.

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September 26th 2021, 2:37 pm

UK urged to resettle fleeing Afghan women’s football team

Women | The Guardian

Leeds United have offered support but players face return to Taliban regime unless accepted soon

The UK government is being asked to urgently resettle female players from Afghanistan’s junior football team who fled the Taliban and have been offered a new life with Leeds United.

The 35 young women – many of whom are in their teens – their families and football coaches are in Lahore, Pakistan, on 30-day visas. But the 136-strong group face returning to Afghanistan unless they are accepted by a third country soon – they have to leave Pakistan by 12 October.

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September 26th 2021, 9:53 am

San Marino votes in referendum on lifting abortion ban

Women | The Guardian

Landlocked state within central Italy is one of last places in Europe with total ban on abortion

Residents in San Marino are voting over whether or not to lift a ban on abortion following a tense referendum campaign.

The extremely conservative landlocked state within central Italy, which has a population of about 33,000, is one of the last places in Europe that has a total ban on abortion.

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September 26th 2021, 6:38 am

Prison guards, but not mother, get counselling after baby dies in cell

Women | The Guardian

Exclusive: Report from the ombudsman found that the guards who failed to help were offered bereavement support but not the grieving teenager

A vulnerable 18-year-old whose baby died after her calls for help were ignored as she gave birth alone in a prison cell was not provided with bereavement support – but the prison guards who failed to get her medical assistance were offered counselling, the Observer can reveal.

The details were buried in a devastating report from a prison watchdog published last week that described how the teenager was found in bed cradling her dead baby more than 12 hours after pressing her cell bell and telling staff at the privately run HMP Bronzefield that she needed an ambulance.

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September 25th 2021, 2:19 pm

Cop26: Women must be heard on climate, say rights groups

Women | The Guardian

Those worst hit by global heating are left out of talks, says feminist coalition calling for systemic change

Women must be enabled to play a greater role at the Cop26 summit, as the needs of women and girls are being overlooked amid the global climate crisis, a coalition of feminist groups has said.

The Global Women’s Assembly for Climate Justice has laid out a call for action at the UN general assembly, including demands that world leaders meeting at Cop26, in Glasgow this November, must end fossil fuel expansion and move to 100% renewable energy.

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September 25th 2021, 2:12 am

House Democrats vote to establish federal right to abortion

Women | The Guardian

Women’s Health and Protection Act is part of strategy to push back against rush of state laws but unlikely to advance in Senate

House Democrats voted on Friday to establish a federal right to abortion, moving swiftly to advance the measure after the supreme court declined to stop a Texas law effectively outlawing the procedure and as they await a separate ruling next year that could further erode access.

The legislation, named the Women’s Health and Protection Act, is part of the party’s strategy to push back against the rush of state laws restricting abortions and to show their determination to defend reproductive rights, an issue they believe will resonate ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. Joe Biden has urged support for the measure, but Republican opposition in the Senate all but ensures the bill will not reach his desk.

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September 25th 2021, 2:00 am

Cosmetic procedure industry is like the ‘wild west’, say campaigners

Women | The Guardian

Non-surgical treatments can cause serious injuries when they go wrong, with poor regulation exacerbating risks in UK

The non-surgical cosmetic procedure industry is like the “wild west”, say experts and campaigners, who are calling for the government to stop ignoring increasingly urgent pleas for the regulation of non-invasive procedures.

The call comes after former supermodel Linda Evangelista said she had been “permanently deformed” after a non-surgical cosmetic procedure went wrong.

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September 25th 2021, 2:00 am

Immersion tank study will explore impact of space travel on the female body

Women | The Guardian

Experiment aims to address a gender gap where most space medicine research has been carried out on men

It may sound like a prolonged spa break but when 20 women tuck themselves into a waterbed in the south of France for five days this week, it will be under the guise of a scientific study into the impact of space flight on the female body.

The experiment, by the European Space Agency, will simulate the impact of microgravity on the musculoskeletal system, immune and cardiovascular health and hormone levels. With an increasing number of female astronauts participating in long-duration missions the immersion study is aimed at addressing a gender gap where the vast majority of space medicine research has been carried out on men.

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September 24th 2021, 11:34 am
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