Women's News from the Web

Mothers say they are being kept at work in UK as fathers stay home

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 02:35

Charities hit out at firms’ unequal coronavirus stance as pregnant women also lose out

Mothers with school-age children are being told they cannot work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, while fathers at the same companies are encouraged to do so, according to organisations providing legal advice and support for parents.

Legal advice lines have also been inundated with calls from pregnant women who have been made redundant while male workers have been kept on, and others who have been told they must go to work or face the sack despite being categorised as a vulnerable group in government guidance.

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Japan Airlines ditches compulsory high heels and skirts in big win for #KuToo movement

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 03/26/2020 - 18:09

Company becomes first major employer in the country to stop forcing dress code on women

Female flight attendants working for Japan Airlines will no longer be required to wear high heels or skirts, the airline has said, in a rare victory for Japan’s #KuToo campaign against workplace dress codes for women.

The airline is the first major Japanese company to relax its regulations in response to complaints from women that having to wear high heels was uncomfortable and often left them in considerable pain.

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Shelter-in-Place: How it Impacts Sexual Violence

Women's eNews - Thu, 03/26/2020 - 02:01

As millions of Americans are asked to stay home with “shelter in place orders” and social media is exploding with memes and quips about a “coronial” baby boom very little is thought about how staying at home may increase sexual violence.  The #MeToo movement grew stronger with the Harvey Weinstein verdicts but will the isolation and increased stressors of COVID-19 create a surge in sexual coercion

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence estimates that nearly 20 people every minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.  Domestic violence also known as intimate partner violence (IPV) can span from physical and sexual abuse to less identified abuses that also center around intimidation and control.  One form of domestic and intimate partner violence that is still largely unknown and under-recognized is called sexual or reproductive coercion (RC).  Masked by the pretense of love, desire, and family; reproductive coercion is a potent powerplay in an abusive and sexually violent relationship.

Reproductive coercion occurs when an abusive intimate partner intends to maintain control in a relationship by using manipulation, guilt, intimidation, threats, acts of violence, or sabotaging contraception attempts in order to pressure a partner to become or remain pregnant.  Other non-violent forms of control such as economic control, social isolation, constantly discussing or negotiating having children, ovulation tracking, insisting on use of invitro fertilization (IVF), and any other behavior that can compromise the reproductive autonomy of an individual is considered abuse.  

According to reports, IPV and reproductive coercion is reported in 1 in 8 teen girls and anywhere from 25% of women on the National Domestic Violence Hotline to 53% of women seen in emergency rooms and family health clinics.  With IPV and RC creating significant physical and psychological effects on victims, and increasing US healthcare costs up to $12.6 billion annually, these abuses are already a public health crisis.

So how do you know if you or someone you love is a victim of IPV and reproductive coercion?  Look for signs of reproductive coercion such as missing or adulterated oral birth control, partner removal of IUD and vaginal contraceptives, tampering with or refusing to use condoms, and any other behavior that compromises the reproductive autonomy of the individual.  Victims also often experience stress-induced physical health effects such as direct injuries, increased incidence of sexually transmitted infections and HIV, long-term pain syndromes, and chronic conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, and asthma. Emotional and psychological effects to watch out for include post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and attempted suicide.

The COVID-19 isolation and “shelter in place” orders may be a door to identifying family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances that are abusers.  Many abusive individuals have personality traits such as being charismatic, successful, charming, and “well-liked” while inwardly having low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy or powerlessness.  Signs that an individual may have abusive tendencies can include inconsistent moods, hypersensitive or overreactive behaviors, being overly critical or narcissistic, and being controlling, jealous, or manipulative.  Other tools for recognizing abusive behavior include the Reproductive Coercion Self-Quiz, the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence Power and Control Wheel, and the Cycle of Domestic Violence

Reproductive coercion is sexual violence and its survivors deserve a voice especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. To support these unheard survivors, take this time to be more observant and have conversations with loved ones that you may not have had before. Organizations and institutions need more research to thoroughly understand the full impact while physicians, pharmacists, school nurses, healthcare providers and the general public need further awareness. It’s our responsibility to give survivors hope in this difficult time; so speak out to have reproductive consent respected, reproductive autonomy protected, and share that #loveisrespect.

Dr. K. Ashley Garling Pharm.D. is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy and a UT Austin Public Voices Fellow of The OpEd Project.

Outrage in South Korea over Telegram sexual abuse ring blackmailing women and girls

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 03/24/2020 - 18:29

Alleged ringleader forced victims to carve ‘slave’ into their bodies and send him degrading images that were shared with scores of others

A sexual blackmail ring that operated on the app Telegram and targeted dozens of women, including underage girls, has rocked South Korea and triggered demands for authorities to crack down on the rising number of sexual offences online.

Police on Wednesday took the unusual step of naming the man who allegedly ran an online network that lured at least 58 women and 16 girls into what authorities called “virtual enslavement” by blackmailing them into sending degrading and, in come cases, violent sexual images of themselves.

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SHERAPY: Coping with COVID-19

Women's eNews - Tue, 03/24/2020 - 12:15

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a NYC-based psychotherapist. In this episode of her podcast, Sherapy – Real Therapy with Sherry Amatenstein, she discusses coping with COVID19 and the STAY at HOME orders, while finding your true self. (This episode includes Sloan Smiloff, Amy Ferris, and Karen Hale):

https://www.spreaker.com/user/newclevelandradio/sherapy-real-therapy-with-sherry-amatens_4

Sherry portraits

Sherry Amatenstein is the author of The Q&A Dating Book, Love Lessons From Bad Breakups and The Complete Marriage Counselor (www.marriedfaq.com). She edited the anthology, How Does That Make You Feel: True Confessions From Both Sides of the Therapy Couch. Before becoming a therapist she spent two years volunteering at a suicide hotline. She was also an interviewer for Steven Spielberg’s USC Shoah, a foundation dedicated to taking audio-visual testimony from Holocaust survivors.

UK abortion law briefly changes during Covid-19 outbreak

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 03/24/2020 - 05:10

Guidance, deleted after a few hours, said women could take both early medical abortion pills at home

The UK government published then deleted changes to abortion law that would have allowed women to access medical terminations without travelling to a clinic, leaving women’s health charities “staggered”.

In the guidance, which was published for at least five hours on Monday, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said: “The secretary of state for health and social care has approved two temporary measures in England to limit the transmission of coronavirus (Covid-19) and ensure continued access to early medical abortion services.”

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Clinics in Ohio and Texas ordered to stop ‘nonessential’ surgical abortions

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 03/23/2020 - 14:00

State officials cited guidelines to conserve medical supplies amid the coronavirus outbreak as advocates call the move political

Ohio and Texas have ordered health care providers in the state to stop performing “nonessential” abortions, touching off a deeply contentious debate over reproductive rights in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Both states cited federal guidelines aimed at conserving necessary medical supplies to combat the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in the US and argued that abortions do not qualify as essential surgeries. But advocates say the moves taken by two conservative attorneys general is about advancing a political agenda, not protecting public health.

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What to Expect if you are Expecting during the Pandemic

Women's eNews - Sun, 03/22/2020 - 09:28

Over the past few days, all of us have been faced with the stark reality of what it means to survive in the midst of a pandemic. While stress levels are understandably through the roof, among the highest are those of expectant parents. As a former labor and delivery nurse, a certified nurse midwife, and a professor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, I have heard some recurring themes in the questions surrounding pregnancy and delivery during the Covid-19 crisis and can offer some advice. 

First and foremost — don’t panic. Mothers have been having babies since the dawn of time, through wars and famines and natural catastrophes. You have the creative power within you to have formed your perfect little person; you have the power within you to usher her or him safely into the world – even in the middle of a pandemic. 

What we know today about the coronavirus and pregnancy:

Of the case reports coming out from around the world of women who tested positive for the virus, and were ill at the time they gave birth, the babies born to those women have been born healthy, without any signs of infection. The babies have also largely tested negative for the virus.  There has been at least one newborn who tested positive, after being born to a woman who was positive at the time of the birth. 

Pregnant women are assumed to be at a higher risk because pregnancy puts women into an immunocompromised state. That means that the immune system, which is what fights off illness, is purposely suppressed during pregnancy. That said, from what we are hearing, the virus does not seem to be affecting pregnant women as severely as may have been suspected that it would. 

What to expect if giving birth during this time: 

Your provider may stretch your prenatal visits out a little further than you had planned. That’s okay; the traditional schedule of every four weeks up to 28 weeks, every two weeks up to 36 weeks, and weekly after that is really outdated. Research has shown that prenatal visits can actually be scheduled further apart, with no adverse effect on mothers and babies — and with the benefit of enhanced patient satisfaction 

       Many hospitals have implemented a restriction on visitors for all hospital patients in the midst of this health crisis. This is important for the safety of all hospitalized patients, many of whom are at significant risk if exposed to the virus. Though women having babies are healthy upon arrival, it is important to keep vulnerable newborns away from potential visitors who could be infected. One area exceptions have been made is in the labor and delivery units, where visitors may be limited to one support person only. Note that non-hospital employed doulas may well be considered visitors. To be mentally prepared, you may want to check with the facility where you plan on giving birth as to their visitor policy at this point. If you were planning on having a doula at your birth, one good strategy is to have your doula review some of the basic comfort techniques that she/he uses with your partner, so that she/he can have some “tools” in their bag to assist you. 

       If you were planning on an “elective” induction of labor on a given date (meaning a labor induction that is not done for any medical reason), know that depending on the hospital’s census on the labor unit – particularly if they have a heavier patient census of laboring women infected with the virus – elective inductions may need to be put off for some time, or rescheduled to a different day. 

       While many of the babies born to mothers ill with the virus have had no untoward effects, at this point it really isn’t known whether these babies have a higher risk of severe complications. There is still concern that babies may be infected via their mothers after birth. For that reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending temporary separation of mothers (who have the confirmed illness) and babies until the mother’s transmission-based precautions are completed. Of course, the CDC notes that this should be done after a discussion of risks and benefits with the baby’s mother.

       Current figures  show that the virus is not transmitted from mother to baby in breastmilk. If mothers test positive for the virus, they can express breastmilk during separation from their baby to establish their milk supply. If a test positive mother and baby are rooming together, mothers should wear a facemask and wash hands well prior to putting baby to breast.

What you can do to help yourself: 

       If you had been planning on attending an in-person childbirth education class that will likely be cancelled (if not already), don’t despair; there are great online options. Rather than risk seeming to endorse any particular one, I recommend just Googling it; you will find a plethora! And don’t forget there are plenty of great books to get you into the mindset. 

       Be flexible… you have planned and looked forward to the big day for months; no doubt about that. That said, birth is a test for the rest of parenthood. Our mind’s eye pictures ourselves in a flowing white gown serenely rocking a cherubic faced angel to sleep while reality ends up with us stumbling around the room at 4am to find a diaper, exhausted after the fifth feeding of the night, wearing the same nightshirt we put on after a shower three (or was it four?) days ago, now nicely primed with the smell of baby poop and spit-up. Parenthood is full of unexpected twists and turns; this is the first of many. 

        Have confidence in your chosen provider to look out for your best interests. I know of home birth practices suddenly being inundated with transfer of care requests from women who are now afraid to give birth in hospitals because of the virus. Although I support home birth for many low risk women, not all who may want to change their care to a home birth practice will be appropriate candidates. Do your homework, make sure it’s right for you, and find a homebirth provider with whom you feel you can mesh. 

       One option I would steer anyone away from is making a plan to give birth at home without the attendance of a qualified midwife or physician (often called “freebirthing”). Labor and birth follow a normal course the vast majority of the time, but every woman needs — and deserves — a qualified birth professional to watch over and guide her through the journey, and to know what to do if problems do arise. 

       If you give birth in a hospital, think about asking for an early discharge home at 24 hours (if 48 hours is the standard where you are). The appropriate candidate for early discharge will have had an uncomplicated labor and birth, be nursing well, and have support at home. Having said that, many women are great candidates to be discharged at 24 hours.

       If you are the partner of someone who is expecting, know that she has enough on her hands just gestating. Be as supportive as you can; if you have to have a meltdown do it – maybe just not in front of her. Reassure her by participating in the labor and birth planning whenever possible; go to any provider appointments that you are able to; read what she is reading about the birthing process, and join in activities like the online childbirth classes. In short, walk as closely as possible next to her as she travels this path. This is scary for everyone, but less so with someone holding your hand through it.  

        Give handwashing its due diligence; it’s a simple message that can’t be said enough. At least 20 seconds (preferably 30) is needed to rid your hands of what may have found a home on them. 

        Keep yourself (and baby, once the little one arrives) out of the limelight. In some cultures, there is a tradition for new mammas and babies to be isolated from visitors for a period of time. That’s not a bad idea in general, and especially in the midst of a pandemic. Thank goodness for instant photos, phones that instantly transmit pictures and videos, and Facetime. Loved ones can track baby’s every move via technology; they can wait to hold baby. Your job as a new parent is to protect your baby… and no better time to start than at birth! 

       Breastfeed, breastfeed…and oh yes, breastfeed! The antibodies (virus and bacteria fighting proteins in your blood) are plentiful in breastmilk. Via breastfeeding you pass those super germ fighting properties along to your baby, enhancing their resilience to illness in a huge way. 

        One more time… don’t panic, parents; you got this!

 Michelle Collins, PhD, is a professor of nursing at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and a certified nurse-midwife with over 30 years of experience in the field of maternal-child health. She is also a Public Voices Fellow with the OpEd Project.

Today, more than on any other Mother's Day, I appreciate my mum | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 03/22/2020 - 02:00

Thanks to this crisis, I don’t know when I’ll see my brilliant mum again. I want her know how grateful I am to her

We emerged from isolation yesterday to post Mother’s Day cards, the short walk around the corner to the postbox offering a degree of novelty I never thought I would come to crave. I chose Matisse’s Woman in Blue: a red-headed woman who looks like a queen. Fitting, for my mum.

I once had an editor who didn’t like the word “mum”. Maybe she thought it was, I don’t know, mumsy, a word that is often used in a derisive tone. Mumsy is defined as “giving an impression of dull domesticity; dowdy or unfashionable”. How unfair that, on top of all the bum-wiping and wound-dressing and tucking-in and spoon-feeding, mothers should have to contend with an image problem for frequently performing those tasks.

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Parr’s makeup ad for Gucci has a brush with controversy

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 03/21/2020 - 23:08

The shoot, featuring musician Dani Miller in mascara, has reignited debate about realistic standards of beauty

One is famed for warts-and-all realism, the other for high-end gloss, so there was always going to be something spectacular in the offing when British photographer Martin Parr was asked to shoot a make-up advertising campaign for the Italian fashion house Gucci.

The imagery – for the brand’s new L’Obscur mascara – features New York punk musician Dani Miller and her now-famous gap-toothed smile. With lashings of heavy black mascara, natural eyebrows (complete with, shock horror, regrowth), and minimal foundation, it has divided customers and started yet another debate about diversity, even in these times of increased body positivity.

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I loved appearing on University Challenge. Then I looked at Twitter…

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 03/21/2020 - 21:51

There are few women on the show, and after receiving a torrent of abuse on social media, Lucy Clarke (Jesus, Oxford) isn’t surprised

After my team’s latest episode of University Challenge, I idly scrolled through Twitter. It was much as ever: old men telling me to wipe my nose (I have a septum piercing), some praise, and the usual criticism: “What a mess, did she get dressed in the dark”; “She deserved to mess that up after her poncey Kraftwerk pronunciation”. So far, so much as we’d been warned. But then came the real doozy. A man whose bio proclaimed him to be “grandad of six … married to my lovely teacher wife”, had tweeted: “All these knobs on here saying they got [a question on] massive attack along with everyone else, what other question have you answered ? Plus I’ll guess Clarke sucks like a fucking Dyson.”

I stared at it for a long time, trying to understand the bizarre conjunction of defending me and matter-of-fact sexual objectification.

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For some people, social distancing means being trapped indoors with an abuser | Arwa Mahdawi

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 03/21/2020 - 03:00

As more cities go under lockdown, activists are worried that attempts to curb coronavirus will inadvertently lead to an increase in domestic violence

Sign up for the Week in Patriarchy, a newsletter​ on feminism and sexism sent every Saturday.

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Rising numbers of UK mothers falling into long-term debt – report

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 03/20/2020 - 00:12

Precarious employment and pension age increase among causes, say researchers

Precarious employment, low pay, the increased pension age and real-term reductions in welfare benefits are causing increasing numbers of mothers to fall into long-term debt, according to research based on figures from the Office for National Statistics and in-depth interviews.

The research, titled Mothers in Debt – Shame, Abuse and Resilience, by researchers at the University of Manchester, found that separated or divorced mothers aged 55 and over were more likely to have significantly worse financial problems than fathers of the same age.

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India executes four men convicted of 2012 Delhi bus rape and murder

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 03/19/2020 - 15:02

Four found guilty of attack that shocked the world were hanged in capital on Friday morning

India has executed the four men who were convicted of the brutal gang rape and murder of a young woman on bus in Delhi in 2012, a case which shocked the world and brought India’s problem with sexual violence against women into the spotlight.

Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh had been found guilty in a 2013 trial and sentenced to death by hanging, but their execution had been postponed multiple times due to Supreme Court appeals.

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This week we have brought New Zealand's abortion laws into the 21st century | Andrew Little

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 03/19/2020 - 13:56

Seeking an abortion was a crime until now, but new legislation has removed the stigma and given women a choice

New Zealand’s current abortion laws are more than 40 years old and were enacted when there were more MPs in Parliament named Bill than MPs who were female. This week we brought the laws into the 21st century.

Up to now, women seeking an abortion in New Zealand were committing a crime under our main criminal statute but had a defence if they followed the requirements of the abortion legislation. These requirements included the woman being referred by their doctor to two specialists who each had to certify she faces a serious danger to her life or physical or mental health. Other conditions also applied, such as whether the pregnancy was a result of incest or the woman lacked capacity to consent. For abortions after 20 weeks, conditions were more stringent.

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Older people widely demonised in UK, ageism report finds

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 03/19/2020 - 01:01

Older members of society mostly seen as incompetent, hostile or a burden, says report

The UK’s ageist attitudes have been revealed in a report that shows older people are widely mocked, patronised and demonised by the rest of society.

Older people are mostly seen as incompetent, hostile or a burden on others, according to a review of the evidence that found they are subject to a litany of damaging stereotypes.

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Sex Doesn’t End at 40, and Other Reasons to End Silence About Menopause

Women's eNews - Wed, 03/18/2020 - 12:27


         When Gwyneth Paltrow’s Netflix show Goop Lab debuted a few months ago, it garnered plenty of media hate for its pseudoscience and self-promotion. But there’s one important bright spot in the show we should all pay attention to: 90-year-old sex educator Betty Dobson offering advice on sensuality. She’s living proof that sex doesn’t end at menopause—and that’s just one of the powerful lessons our culture needs to learn about post-reproductive years.  Our national silence on menopause has lead to misdiagnoses, mistreatment and needless suffering for millions of women. 

            On average, women live for about 78 years—of that, only about 15 years fall in the peak reproductive period (25-40).  Most women will spend far longer in the post-reproductive years.  And many know almost nothing about what to expect when those years end. We are ignorant because of chronic misinformation and silence. Our mothers did not typically have the tools to help guide us themselves. When I have surveyed women over the years in my practice less than 5% report That their mother or another significant female figure shared information about the menopausal years. 

This shouldn’t be surprising: For most of the 19th and 20th century, women’s body’s and health needs were regarded as less important than men’s.  As researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital reported in 2014, “The science that informs medicine—including the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease—routinely fails to consider the crucial impact of sex and gender”

            As a gynecologist and author of a book on menopause, I’ve been astounded at the mistreatment of women that results from our culture’s silence on menopause. Just a few examples: Recently, a new 67-year-old patient came to me for severe vaginal dryness and pain with intercourse. She had been seen by at least two other medical providers.  One told her she should simply expect her sex life to suffer as she ages. That’s ridiculous.  Many therapies are available for dryness and pain, either over the counter or by prescription.  Another doctor offered her anti-depressants and sleeping pills.   She needed a doctor who understood menopause. I prescribed a combination of vaginal hormone therapy and CO2 laser tissue rejuvenation.  Three months later, she could resume sexual relations  with her husband and they now report intercourse twice weekly. It has changed their marriage.

            I see this all the time.  Women frequently hear that painful intercourse after menopause is all in their head, not an actual medical condition that can be treated

This is true of other symptoms related to menopause as well.  A fifty year old women with newly diagnosed anxiety and heart palpitations is likely to get a psychiatric and cardiology workup, despite the fact that she is experiencing some of the most typical symptoms of estrogen imbalance.  

            Even me—a 53-year-old gynecologist! I was so steeped in traditional (male) approaches and mindsets in medicine, that when I started feeling irritable, depressed,, had difficulty sleeping and experienced night sweats, I complete overlooked the fact that I was entering perimenopause,  the one-to -eight year period preceding menopause. Once I realized what was happening I treated my symptoms through integrative  approach. I changed my diet, focused on self-care, and eventually started hormone replacement therapy. 

But more importantly,  I realized that I was not going crazy.  Within weeks I was feeling better but it was a long journey to begin to understand how my body was actually changing. I realize that if a gynecologist could be this confused about this period in  her life, what must the average woman experience?

            Some of this comes from the same shame and silence that has historically surrounded the female body—but it’s even worse for menopause than other conditions.  Every woman knows where to turn if she is contemplating motherhood—sisters, girlfriends, best friends, obstetricians, and thousands and thousands of books. . Yet, of the hundreds of women I’ve talked to about menopause, less than 10% have told me that there were women (or sometimes men) in their lives who described menopause, what it was, or what to expect. With a lack of intergenerational conversations, we will always lack understanding of the unique experiences of women entering this transition. 

            While the Goop Lab may not survive its savage reviews, I fervently hope that the show’s willingness to explore taboo subjects—including menopause—continues.  But fortunately, we don’t have to depend on Netflix and Paltrow to continue that movement.  

            Women can change the narrative right now, by starting the conversation with their mothers, sisters, daughters, and yes, even their doctors. Transparent, evidence-based, unbiased healthcare should be the standard of care delivered by our health care professionals not only during a women’s reproductive years but also in the decades that follow. 

About the author: Arianna Sholes-Douglas is an OB-GYN and author of The Menopause Myth: What Your Mother, Doctor, And Friends Haven’t Shared About Life After 35

It's time to embrace the internet's perma-positive brigade

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 03/18/2020 - 08:16

Instagram’s relentless optimism and promises of silver linings are giving me unexpected comfort when I’m distinctly lacking my own

The ramifications of the coronavirus outbreak are still unfolding, changing how we work, interact and, for me at least, use social media. Self-isolation means that most of us are using our phones even more than usual. It was already a great deal, with the average Brit checking their phone about every 12 minutes of the waking day. A digital detox is probably more necessary than ever during this period and yet also less feasible.

Over the past few days, overwhelmed by rolling news coverage and conspiracy theories, I’ve only managed to survive online by frequenting the “sunny side up” social media channels that are so often the subject of ridicule.

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Beaten, raped and forced to work: why I'm exposing the scandal of Nigeria’s house girls

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 03/17/2020 - 07:43

Mariam and Edna were just two of millions of children trapped in domestic slavery. Their tragic stories inspired me to write a novel targeting a practice that is rife in the country

One day, when my daughter was eight, I asked her to help me unload the dishwasher. She moaned, dragged her feet and pleaded for Haribo in exchange for this simple task. I asked her if she knew how lucky she was and told her that, in many homes in Nigeria, girls as young as her were forced to do chores all day, every day. They were not allowed to go to school, or eat at the table, or watch TV. She was amazed. Looking into her face, the horror of what was considered so normal during my childhood really hit me. It was child slavery – and it continues today. It was for these forgotten girls, trapped in domestic slavery, that I wrote my debut novel, The Girl With the Louding Voice.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the number of working children under the age of 14 in Nigeria is estimated to be as high as 15 million, but due to the nature of the problem it is almost impossible to land on an accurate number. A large proportion of these children are young girls, who work as “house girls”: domestic servants who are often underage and forced against their will into this kind of work. Many of them never see their “wages”, as they are paid directly to agents or family members.

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Joe Biden's pledge to pick a female vice-president smells like tokenism | Arwa Mahdawi

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 03/17/2020 - 05:00

Of course I want him to choose a woman as his running mate. But his grand gesture feels more like pandering than policy

Stacey Abrams? Kamala Harris? Elizabeth Warren? Nobody knows for sure whom Joe Biden will choose as a running mate if – as is almost certain – he wins the Democratic nomination, but we do know it will be a woman.

“I’ll pick a woman to be vice-president,” Biden promised during Sunday’s presidential debate with Bernie Sanders. “There are a number of women qualified to be president tomorrow.” While none of those eminently qualified women will be president any time soon, one lucky lady may have the privilege of playing second fiddle to a gaffe-prone white guy. To cement his position as intersectional male feminist of the year, Biden also promised to appoint an African American woman to the supreme court.

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