Women's News from the Web

DUP to return to Stormont to protest against abortion rights

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 10/20/2019 - 19:00

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

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

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

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Domestic abuse within police force to be investigated

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 10/19/2019 - 21:45
The ‘boys’ club’ that protects officers has come under scrutiny

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

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

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

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 10/19/2019 - 19:30

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

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

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

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Channel 4 launches menopause policy for employees

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 13:01

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

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

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

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Aprons as Art: No Strings Attached

Women's eNews - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 02:09

Aprons are potent symbols of women and domesticity. 

As utilitarian garments, they are worn and connected to a variety of professional and occupational settings: chefs, butchers, blacksmiths, waiters and waitresses, bartenders, gardeners; even the helpful associates at Home Depot all wear aprons.

But the most persistent meanings associated with aprons are gender specific.

The word and the visual conjure up a life lived, a meal cooked, a life suppressed, a secret stashed away, a meal served, and a joyous holiday with all the trimmings.

Described as a shield, a bib, and a smock; what began as a masculine garment for practical purposes morphed into a statement of femininity; the housewife, the grandmother, the mother. The apron became a symbol of family, home cooked-meals, comfort food. While wealthy and upper class women would often accessorize their lace-trimmed aprons with a string of pearls and cluster earrings, lower and middle class women wore simple aprons – splattered with sauces and gravies; the day’s meal, and-their accessory: a ladle or a spatula, utensils.

But what lurked under that apron?

That garment?

That stained half-skirt?

Pockets filled with tissues and recipes and phone numbers and packs of cigarettes and long lost memories.

How many of us tugged at our mother’s apron strings hoping to be seen and heard and loved, hoping to get her attention? How many women hid their deepest desires or their most painful abuses underneath a stained and frayed apron? How many women were domestics – the perfectly starched ironed apron their daily uniform? How many women wore frilly aprons for their husbands and their lovers in the privacy of their bedrooms?

How many young girls and young boys sat at the kitchen table watching as their aproned mother stood over a stove basting a turkey, or stirring a pot of soup… or burning a roast?

In the late 1960’s and the 70’s something else began to stir: women burning their bras – marching for equality and raising their consciousness – no longer accepting the idea that a woman’s place was in the home; aprons were untied and tossed, banished to drawers and hooks where they would hang on the back of a door.

If you ask a fifty- or sixty-year-old woman today what memory she has and holds of her mother wearing an apron she will often answer: Suppression, unfulfilled dreams, longing, entrapment and emotional bondage.

But times have changed and women are no longer tethered to the kitchen and memories can be recycled into art.

Domestic Matters: The Uncommon Apron, curated by Gail M. Brown, a remarkable exhibit of contemporary objects and sculptural forms, explores aprons in this context: as political and emotional symbols of traditional women’s roles and domestic labor.

Brown originally conceived of this show more than twenty years ago after viewing a collection of commercially produced aprons in a regional museum in NY State. The experience of that show, which Brown described as “souvenir-shop-like…tediously repeating places and issues of domestic labor, the worker as the wearer and her identify and recognition,” prompted her to consider what artists could do with this functional object.

Brown invited forty-eight contemporary artists to create one of a kind works in craft media “which comment and challenge changing social roles and mores, topics about work, familial life and identity…”

The results, now on view at the exhibit at Peters Valley School of Craft in Layton, NJ, are diverse in form and substance, breathtaking in the depth and breadth of their social and political commentary and challenge. They celebrate a range of personal narratives, as well as the rich possibilities for creative expression offered by craft media. 

As functional objects, aprons are protective garments, meant to shield the wearer from dirt or harm. In several works in this show, the makers have taken this one step further.

Liz Alpert Fay’s #Me Too (shown above), a solid hooked rug in the shape of a shield, embeds narrative imagery that literally speaks to the #MeToo movement.

Mary Hallam Pearse’s Leaded is a traditional apron form constructed from black lead, stitched together with silk. This solid protective garment includes the menacing suggestion of a hidden gun underneath.

Marian (mau) Schoettle’s clever Untitled apron is made from the type of ‘No Trespassing’ signs typically found posted on trees to deter hunters on private property.  Isn’t a woman’s body her private property?

The sheer weight of the working mother’s daily tasks is made palpable in Kate Kretz’s Emotional Labor Apron. It literally recounts in a painstakingly and perfectly embroidered narrative the multitude of things that are done to make a household run; work that is not necessarily acknowledged and generally not shared. 

Several artists recall the “June Cleaver Mom” storybook era of the 1950s using recycled materials from that period. 

Harriete Estel Berman’s Reality Studded with Thorns Hides the Door from the Street is constructed from recycled tin cans and vintage steel dollhouses. The bright red front door is framed with old fashioned roses, beautiful and dangerous, “Not,” the artist writes, “unlike the idealized portrayal of women” and their traditional roles.

Donna Rhae Marder’s 50’s Apron was sewn following a 1950’s sewing pattern. Her ‘fabric’ is patched together from pieces of old 50’s Gourmet magazines, publications that set standards for the perfect housewife for cooking and entertaining.

Other works celebrate more personal and sometimes fond memories.

Jen Blazina’s glass and bronze aprons, irons, and spools of thread recall her grandmother busy in the kitchen, fulfilling the prototypical idea of ‘women’s work.’

Cynthia Consentino’s stoneware sculpture, Grandma’s Apron, pays homage to her grandmother, a Sicilian immigrant who clung to traditional roles and values, and ’embraced her place in the world.’

Lisa Hunter’s A Comfort of Tea Pots and A Proper Cup recall the comfort of domestic life, ‘supportive, consistent and repeatable,’ as reflected in the ritual of afternoon tea.

The impact of the exhibit in its entirety is far more provocative than brief descriptions that only a few works convey. Surrounded by the wealth of references and messages from the totality of the compelling two and three dimensional forms in this exhibition, we are challenged to reflect on our own life, memories, and dreams; in Brown’s words, “our shared, domestic experience.”

Visit Domestic Matters: The Uncommon Apron, on view at the Sally D. Francisco Gallery in Layton, New Jersey through November 3, 2019. The Exhibition Catalog and views of the gallery can be found here.

About the Authors:

Amy Ferris is a highly accomplished author, screenwriter, television writer and editor. She was also honored by Women’s eNews as one of our ‘21 Leaders for the 21st Century‘ for 2018. Her memoir, Marrying George Clooney: Confessions From A Midlife Crisis, was adapted into an Off-Broadway play at CAP21 Theater Company.

Maleyne Syracuse is the author of “Grethe Sørensen: Construction of Textiles,” in Out of Pixels: Grethe Sørensen (2017)and “Richard Landis: A Productive Mind” in Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot (Fall 2018).

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

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 10/16/2019 - 23:00

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

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

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

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

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 10/16/2019 - 11:49

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

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

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

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Nasa plans historic first all-female spacewalk in coming days

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 10/16/2019 - 09:46

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

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

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

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'Calm down dear, it’s only an aneurysm’ – why doctors need to take women’s pain seriously

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 10/16/2019 - 06:25

Female heart-attack victims are half as likely as men to receive treatment. Is ‘hysteria’ still being used to deny women adequate medical care?

Though arising from the #MeToo movement, the phrase “believe women” is applicable anywhere. Believe women when we say the office is too cold, when we say we’re being paid less and especially when we say we’re in pain.

Scepticism toward the latter is costing lives: according to a study led by the University of Edinburgh and funded by the British Heart Foundation, women who had gone to A&E after experiencing chest pain (and were later found to be suffering from a heart attack) were half as likely as men to receive the recommended medical treatment. The research comes after it was revealed that entering identical heart symptoms for women and men on Babylon, a virtual GP app praised by the health secretary, Matt Hancock, resulted in different diagnoses. Its artificial intelligence tells a 60-year-old female smoker who reports chest pain and nausea that she is simply having a panic attack. A 60-year-old male smoker with exactly the same symptoms is told that he might be having a heart attack and is advised to go to A&E. Here’s hoping that the researchers from the University of Edinburgh are predominantly male, so that their research is taken more seriously than the anguished cries of women that have rung out since the beginning of time.

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Congratulations, Esther Duflo. The world needs more female economists | Jill Priluck

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 10/16/2019 - 00:00

The long history of bias, discrimination and underestimation of women in the field of economics is why Duflo’s prize is a such a great step forward

This week, MIT’s Esther Duflo became the second female economist to win a Nobel prize. She and her husband, Abhijit Banerjee, also of MIT, and Michael Kremer of Harvard University, shared the award “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”.

In Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, Duflo and Banerjee studied the poor not as “cartoon characters” but as human beings “in all their complexity and richness”. In 2003, they founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT to study poverty.

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

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 10/15/2019 - 19:00

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

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

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

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Testosterone boosts women's athletic performance, study shows

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 10/15/2019 - 12:30

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

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

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

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Passing the ERA: Countdown to Virginia

Women's eNews - Mon, 10/14/2019 - 13:06

Today, more than 166 million women live in the United States, and roughly 96 percent of them believe that women– who make up slightly over fifty percent of the nationwide population– are equal to men by law. This is untrue. As far back as the year 1848, when the first Women’s Rights Convention was held, there has been a demand for equality. In 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment– a move that would ensure equality between women and men and prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, was introduced.

The amendment was passed forty-six years ago by Congress in 1972. After its passage, Congress handed it over to the states to be ratified–a process that can only occur if three-quarters of the country, or thirty-eight states approve. To date, fifteen states have yet to ratify the amendment, preventing women and women from legally being considered equal in the US. But, that could change in just a couple of weeks since Americans are now only one state shy from benefitting from the ERA. On November 5, 2019, the state of Virginia will serve as the country’s deciding factor.

“If you consider yourself a feminist, you need to put your skin in the game,” said Kamala Lopez, founder of the movement Equal Means Equal, to educate Americans about the importance of equal rights under federal law for women and complete the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.founder of a movement called “Equal Means Equal” whose mission is to educate Americans about the importance of equal rights under federal law for women and complete the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution.

“You must care about this, and you must care about this right now,” Lopez in an exclusive interview with Women’s eNews.

Lopez, originally from New York City, and her co-director, Natalie White, originally from West Virginia, temporarily moved to Virginia’s 76th district which consists of Suffolk, Norfolk and Chesapeake counties, to encourage every person eligible to vote to go to the polls.c“We’re hustling,” Lopez said

Within just one month of their stay, the pair has thus far reached thousands of local residents through daily community organization events. Each day, they hand out roughly five-hundred ice cream cones, gather dozens of people for happy hours and host dinners for voters on Sunday nights.

Members from local church communities and black sororities such as Delta Sigma Theta Inc. have sat with Lopez and White at the table to eat fried chicken, scalloped potatoes and pecan pie to discuss the potential and debunk the myths of the ERA. Their hope is that accurate information about the ERA and its national importance are circulated to as many micro-communities as possible before election day. “There were people who were hugging us and just started crying because we cared so much,” White said. “I was born and raised in Fairmount, WV so I know how things work in small towns like this where it feels like no one cares,” she added.

One woman in particular, who provided catering for the Sunday dinners, had shared that she was a victim of domestic violence, and watched as her two children had to remove knives from their father’s clenched hand. “She would be eavesdropping on our discussions,” Lopez recalled. “As [the caterer] learned more about the ERA and the empowerment it would give her and her family, she began feeling better.” For Lopez and White, hosting these discussions are vital because they believe misinformation is being circulated at this critical time.

For example, a debate between Democratic candidate Jess Foster of the 88th district and her opponent, Mark Cole, was held at the University of Mary Washington. Around one-hundred-fifty people were in attendance, but before the political battle commenced on stage Cole, who has served in the House of Delegates since 2002, had circulated a flyer titled “The Truth About the Equal Rights Amendment,” which suggested that the ERA was outdated and a new one should take its place–one that is geared towards the pro-life movement. “People are going to think that Cole is a proponent of the ERA,” Lopez said in response. “One of the things being circulated is that the ERA is an abortion bill,” White added. “We’re asking for equality, nothing more.”

When the ERA was passed in 1972, Congress had set a deadline of seven years–and later ten–for thirty-eight states to approve the bill. By 1982, the US had thirty-five states on board, but as time progressed the bill became inactive and was replaced by a false notion that an amendment was already in place to protect from gender-biased discrimination. Article II of the Fourteenth Amendment, for example, declares that “ no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” However, the amendment was written at a time when women were considered second-class citizens with no legal right to vote. “Essentially, they are trying to rewrite the truth so that people won’t see its important and go out to vote,” White. Added Lopez, “But we are putting lives and jobs on hold just to fight for this.”

It’s a fight the pair decided to take on more than a decade ago. In the past few years, their efforts have gained traction. In 2016, White led a 250-mile march between New York City and Washington DC to raise awareness about the ERA. That same year, Equal Means Equal, released a documentary to inform the country about the impact the ERA would have. The film was awarded Best US Documentary Audience Award, Traverse City Film Festival (2016).

Since then, the momentum has been building. In 2017, Nevada ratified the ERA, followed by Illinois the following year in 2018.

Now, with only a few weeks left until voting day in Virginia, Lopez and White are continuing to spread awareness to ensure that every person who is eligible to vote will go to the polls. “We’re hoping that we can drive people to the polls, we’ve got two big vans and if people can’t get there, we will drive them there ourselves,” Lopez said.

“We’re as close to the finish line as never before,” she added. “We will not quit the game until we win the fight.”

Tatyana Turner is a student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She is a 2019 fellow in the Sy Syms Journalistic Excellence Program* at Women’s eNews, funded by the Sy Syms Foundation. The Sy Syms Journalistic Excellence Program at Women’s eNews fellowship supports editorial and development opportunities for editorial interns in the pursuit of journalistic excellence.

Sy Syms Journalistic Excellence Program

The Sy Syms Journalistic Excellence program at Women’s eNews was launched in 2014 with support from the Sy Syms Foundation. The fellowship provides support and development opportunities for editorial interns in the pursuit of journalistic excellence.

“For a democracy to flourish all voices must be heard.” said Marcy Syms, a founding Trustee and President of the Sy Syms Foundation. “Through its investigative reporting Women’s eNews gets at the essence of good journalism. The Sy Syms Foundation is proud of this collaboration to support today’s newest women journalists.”

As part of it’s mission to create social change for women and girls through investigative reporting, Women’s eNews helps foster, train, and support the career development of new journalists with a focus on social justice and women’s rights.

Does Labour really want to elect a female leader? | Suzanne Moore

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 10/14/2019 - 07:40

John McDonnell is calling for a woman to succeed Corbyn, but it feels as though the party is being embarrassed into it

Not now, darling. There are really more important things than women. And the Labour party. There is Brexit, the Queen’s speech, voter suppression, almost every other issue – and the unfettered egos of Boris Johnson and the posh bouncer Dominic Cummings. And there is the Brexit party on the sidelines, with its Stepford Wives view of femininity.

This is not the time to think about that “single issue” of female representation, because everything else is more urgent. Except, actually, there is no policy that doesn’t affect the majority of the population – women. And there is no future for Labour unless it attracts women voters. When John McDonnell spoke of shortening the working week, which is great, I wondered how this plays out in the double shift of paid work and domestic work that is most women’s lives. Jeremy Corbyn’s power is leaking away. No simple chant can bring it back – and if you want to call me a Tory for saying so, more fool you. Polls, schmolls.

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

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 10/13/2019 - 19:00

Reports continue about inappropriate behaviour despite helpline and series of changes

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

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

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

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 10/13/2019 - 19:00

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

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

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

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Helping the victims of domestic abuse | Letters

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 10/13/2019 - 07:52
Jan Williams highlights the importance of civil protection, and Simon Davis voices support for the domestic abuse bill

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

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

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The lord provost was only guilty of trying to look good for Glasgow | Kevin McKenna

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 10/12/2019 - 23:00
A personal allowance comes with the job and Eva Bolander didn’t even spend all of hers. The shame is on her critics

‘Optics”, like its close brethren “toxic” and “woke”, belongs to a dismal suite of words that contribute to the modern idiom of mob outrage on social media. These words are detached from their original environment and made to perform the task of harnessing indignation. Thus, if an action isn’t illegal or even unethical but seems questionable nonetheless, its “optics” are deemed to be bad.

Eva Bolander, the lord provost of Glasgow, now finds herself in the crosshairs of these aggressive optics. Last week, it was revealed that she had run up a bill of £8,000 spread over a period of more than two years on a number of items of clothing and personal grooming including dresses, lipstick, shoes and underwear. This has elicited a vindictive and tawdry response designed to cause maximum humiliation with a careful measure of titillation because, well… she’s a woman and a woman’s choice of foundation garments is so much more tantalising than men’s and thus worthy of exposure.

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

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 10/12/2019 - 22:00

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

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

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

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'You don't have to settle': the joy of living (and dying) alone | Keli Goff

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 10/12/2019 - 22:00

Data confirms more women have realized there are far worse things than dying alone, which is bad news for the patriarchy

Not long ago I had a discussion with a friend about why she married, and ultimately divorced, someone she knew wasn’t right for her. She said she bought into society’s deafening message that being with a man – any man – is better than being alone, and certainly better than dying alone, which is allegedly the worst fate anyone, especially any woman, can suffer.

When I told her that I’ve never feared dying alone, and in fact have sometimes feared the opposite, she told me I was incredibly lucky. Because this meant I wouldn’t end up settling for a life that doesn’t actually make me happy, even if society tells me it’s supposed to.

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