Women's News from the Web

The BBC sent a heartless Christmas message to working mothers | Barbara Ellen

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 12/08/2018 - 07:14
Festive ads are never true to life, but this heartwarming tale fails to acknowledge some harsh realities

For those who’ve yet to see the BBC Christmas advert, Wonderland, the one that’s caused a furore, it’s a heartwarming tale of a harassed mother bunking off from work to hang out with her child, which, unwittingly, employs a somewhat unfestive good mum/bad mum narrative.

Bad mum is first seen (selfishly) prioritising her career (translation: leaving for work) over her teenage son’s desperate yearning to hang out with her at a funfair. However, while bad mum is in the office, coldly neglecting her family, cackling evilly over her keyboard (I may be embellishing slightly here), she’s struck by a revelation (and some time-stopping gimmick) about “What Really Matters”, and runs off to meet her son and go on the dodgems with him. By which point, she’s become good mum – whether that’s good sacked mum for leaving the office during what appears to be a frantically busy working day remains tantalisingly unclear.

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The Guardian view on women’s rights: do not take progress for granted | Editorial

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 08:30
Austerity, as the UN’s poverty expert noted, is especially harmful to women. The economic shock from Brexit is likely to widen the inequality gap

When Theresa May became prime minister and set out her vision, women were among the groups she promised to champion. She cited unequal pay on a list of “burning injustices” alongside race and class inequalities. This year companies with more than 250 employees were for the first time compelled to report on their gender pay gap. This can be calculated in different ways, but the Office for National Statistics has it at 17.9%, down 0.5% from last year. At this rate it will be decades before women and men are paid the same, but the data is moving in the right direction.

Unfortunately, even such modest progress is the exception rather than the rule in 21st-century Britain. Unpalatable though it may be both to ministers and feminists, the evidence suggests that women’s advancement has stalled and is in danger of going backwards – if it is not doing so already. The government did not accept last year’s finding by the House of Commons Library that 86% of the burden of austerity since 2010 has fallen on women – £79bn, against £13bn for men – and refuses to conduct its own analysis. But work by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Women’s Budget Group and Runnymede Trust has shown that women, and particularly BAME women, are disproportionately affected by cuts to public services and other spending.

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'No world to leave our children’: progress on women's rights still lags, shows study

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 03:36

Researchers find efforts to curb early marriage are failing while laws in many countries allow men to hold sway

Progress on women’s rights has been far slower than expected across the world as a report shows underage marriage rates have barely come down this decade, while dozens of nations still legally prioritise men.

Forty-one countries recognise only a man to be the head of the household; 27 countries still require that women obey their husbands by law; and 24 countries require women to have the permission of their husband or a legal guardian (such as a brother or father) in order to work.

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Weekly Column: WRighteous = #TragicChoices

Women's eNews - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 16:17
WRighteous   #TragicChoices   “An abortion?” she asks. “What’s that?’ “It’s when you don’t want the baby.” “I didn’t either,” she says. “You wanted an abortion?” I ask. “Oh, yes.”   “What happened?”   “I had you.”   This was at the end of my mother’s life, when moments of clarity were life-stopping and earth-shattering…literally. I could feel the earth give way under my feet. I wasn’t at all surprised. It made sense, perfect sense. I had always felt unwanted. Always. She would treat me with disdain and dissatisfaction, and there were many days and months and years while I was growing up that she would tell me – in a heat of red hot anger – that she loved me because I was her child, but she didn’t like me.    That always made me cower. Shrivel up.   I would shrink right in front of her eyes, and she would watch me shrink and my insides would crumble and my heart would crack and I would wait for her to say she didn’t mean it or that it was a lie or that she was sorry and hold me.   That didn’t happen.   I turned sixty-four yesterday, and as I was face-down getting a ‘Sixty-minute with  Aromatherapy sides’ massage, I had this sudden urge to flip over on the table, and sit upright and face this – being unwanted – this demon that I had been carrying and burying and carrying and burying and yes, trying to abort for sixty-four years.    Unwanted.   I am a firm believer in a woman’s right to choose, pro-choice, across the board. I am what you would call a hardliner. I, myself, have had a few abortions. To say that they saved my life would be an understatement. To say that the boys I slept with were the bad choice in the equation would be the blatant hard-core reality. To take it one step further and say I would never had been a good mother at the ripe age of 18 or 19 would be the absolute irrefutable truth. I didn’t want children. I suppose being secretly unwanted webbed itself into my entire body, and I didn’t quite get the whole picture.    But here, back in 2008, my mother was telling me that she didn’t want me. And the pieces fit; all the cracked and messy and edgy frayed pieces fit.    She, like millions of other women, had babies when what they really wanted was a different life path. My mom was an artist. She was creative and wild and gorgeous and sexy and emotional and vibrant and she wanted to have a Bohemian life, but her choices were limited and, so, she chose to be married and have two kids, ten years apart, and lived in the suburbs and it was there, on a street like every street in middle America, where the split levels all looked the same and the flower beds all had the same floral arrangements and the gardener would show up and mow the lawn and the mail would come at the same time everyday and everything was in its place…and it was there that she lost pieces of herself, fragments, while she sat in front of the television screen watching Gail Storm and Lucille Ball and Donna Reed and Father Knows Best, and Queen for a Day, and she played Mahjong, and made meals, and went bowling with the girls and chain smoked and coughed, and had bouts of depression that no one ever talked about, no one, and on occasion, I would find her sitting on the edge of her bed, the one that was perfectly made with a cream color chenille bedspread dotted with magenta and rose chenille balls, crying her eyes out. And I would tip-toe into her bedroom and I would sit down next to her, and I would put my skinny little arm around her and tell her that everything would be okay. But everything was not okay. Everything was far from okay, and if she didn’t like something I wore or said or did, she wouldn’t speak to me for days.    Unwanted.    Which brings me to this:   Don’t pop babies out and then treat them with disdain.  Don’t pop babies out and ignore their needs, their wants. Don’t pop babies out and discard their feelings, their pain, their sorrow. Don’t pop babies out and then refuse to acknowledge their existence especially when they are standing right in front of you dying – dying – to be acknowledged.   No wonder so many women feel unsafe in this world.  We didn’t feel safe in the womb.   It has taken me years to understand that feeling unwanted has been a road map for me, a bumpy scary road map. The decisions I made, the choices I made, the roads I travelled, getting hugely lost; the mistakes that piled up, the bad boys and the awful drugs and bad, bad nights, and the rebellious acts and the need to be seen and loved and the deep desire to feel as if I belonged. To be accepted. Included. It all comes with a big neon sign: Unwanted.    That was the very foundation where I made most of my decisions: children who don’t feel wanted are always looking to fill that deep dark awful hole. And trust me, it is awful,  it is dark, and it is unbearably deep. It is a deep hole that seems to go on forever.    Do not pop babies out if you can’t love them, or like them, or care for them, or nurture them. Do not pop babies out if you have no plan on putting your life on hold for them. Do not pop babies out and then destroy their confidence, or take their joy, or diminish their hearts and souls because you didn’t want them in the first place.    Do not pop babies out and then hurt them.    When I stopped needing my mother to want me, I was able to want my own life; accept myself; ignite my wild rebellious crazy sexy life and dream up and dream big. Epic, as I like to say. Permission and validation were no longer on the menu.   And the other truth, the hardest truth of all – my mother could have never told anyone, not a soul, sixty-four years ago that she didn’t want to have another child, that she didn’t want another baby, that she wanted an abortion, or even thought of an abortion – she would have never been able to admit that sacred truth, that deep desire, because she, herself, was unable to make choices that were for her own benefit, for her creativity, for her own wild dreams, for her own life.  If you don’t really want to bring a child into the world, if you’re doing it for some religious right fundamentalist reason – stop – seriously stop – and think about the burden you’re about to lay on an innocent child. The burden will trail her or him their whole life.     A pregnancy can very much be unwanted. It happens all of the time – it’s a powerful realization. It takes enormous courage and guts to know that no child deserves to be brought into this world feeling unwanted. The effect on that one life can be catastrophic; the ripple-effect enormous.    An unwanted child is far worse than an unwanted pregnancy.   

amy ferris

author. writer. girl. Women’s eNews weekly columnist 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. Every Friday, you will continue to be invited into her world, where she will champion, encourage and inspire women to awaken to their greatness, as only she can, through passion, truth, hope, and humor — along with a heaping side of activism.

Hannah Gadsby takes aim at 'good men' who try to commandeer #MeToo

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 15:40

Comedian tells Women in Entertainment gala she’s fed up hearing late-night TV’s ‘Jimmys’ monologue about misogyny

The Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby has hit out at the “incredibly irritating” phenomenon of “good men talking about bad men” in her opening speech at the Women in Entertainment gala, presented by the Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.

In the speech, which tapped into the #MeToo moment and went viral overnight, Gadsby cited the male hosts and guests of US late shows who “monologue their hot take on misogyny”, to draw a line in the sand about which men are good and which are bad – a line that invariably benefits them.

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Men underestimate level of sexual harassment against women – survey

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 21:00

Campaigners shocked that public awareness is low despite #MeToo movement

Men greatly underestimate the level of sexual harassment experienced by women, according to a new survey.

Related: #MeToo founder Tarana Burke: ‘You have to use your privilege to serve other people’

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Quarter of adults think marital sex without consent is not rape, UK survey finds

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 14:01

Campaigners say findings show large proportion of potential jurors are unclear about rape

Potential jurors hold “alarming” views about sexual violence, a major report into attitudes towards rape has revealed.

A survey commissioned by the End Violence Against Women Coalition found that a third of people in the UK think it isn’t usually rape if a woman is pressured into having sex but there is no physical violence.

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Michelle Obama’s show was remarkable – her wisdom is a beacon | Afua Hirsch

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 08:02
There are few opportunities to hear a black woman in a position of unparalleled visibility. It was unforgettable

Michelle Obama has, she says, learned to grasp the art of reinvention. And watching her appearance at London’s South Bank Centre on Monday night – the only European stop on the tour for her sales record-breaking book Becoming – was like winning a front-row seat as this remarkable reinvention happens, in real time.

Admittedly, the circumstances of this particular episode in Michelle Obama’s journey were partly not of her own making. The only time I have seen an even remotely comparable audience; at least a thousand black women in the 2,700 audience, a proliferation of natural and shaved hairstyles, bright ankara print, an intense concentration of, as I heard several people describing it, #BlackGirlMagic, was when the novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was being interviewed on stage at this very same venue last year.

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Israeli women protest over domestic violence in nationwide strike

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 06:28

A moment of silence was held to mark killings of 24 women and girls in Israel this year

Thousands of Israeli women have protested against domestic violence in a nationwide strike, calling for more action and state funding to deal with the problem.

The strike came after two girls were killed last week, bringing the number of women and girls murdered in Israel this year to 24, according to Israeli media reports.

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Ada Hegerberg stepped forward for women’s football, but sexism kicked her back | Suzanne Wrack

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 04:12
Martin Solveig’s twerking comments to the Ballon d’Or winner aren’t unusual for women in sport, but are hugely disappointing

It should have been about moving forward, a historic moment: the first women’s Ballon d’Or should have been a celebration.

Because what a player to celebrate. Ada Hegerberg is still only 23, with her best years lying ahead of her. Having lit up the 2013 European Championships at 17, where Norway finished runners-up, she has gone on to win a hat-trick of Champions League trophies, this year breaking the record for the most goals in a Champions League season – matching Ronaldo on 15 – and scored 33 goals in 21 games for her fourth league title with Lyon. The Norwegian picked up the Uefa best player award in 2016, the BBC women’s footballer of the year in 2017 and now the Ballon d’Or.

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Alcohol-related deaths among UK women at highest rate in 10 years

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 04:09

ONS figures show eight deaths per 100,000 women in 2017, as total death rate also rises

Alcohol-related deaths among women in the UK have reached the highest rate since 2008, statistics have shown.

There were eight deaths per 100,000 women in 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics – a similar level to when ONS records began in 2001. Death rates among men continued to be at least double that figure, at 16.8 per 100,000 – the highest since 2010, when there was an equivalent rate.

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This abortion law isn't what Ireland voted for | Emer O'Toole

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 23:13

The Dáil should listen to the voters, not generate red tape that could stop vulnerable people getting the care they need

In 1983, as the Irish electorate voted in favour of a constitutional ban on abortion, campaigners warned in bold print: “This Amendment Could Kill Women.”

It did.

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Europe's tech startups suffer from 'diversity debt', survey finds

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 20:00

Study by investment firm finds 85% of funding deals are made with all-male founding teams

Europe’s startup sector has a “shocking” lack of diversity, with 93% of all funds raised in 2018 going to all-male founding teams, according to a report by the investment firm Atomico.

Out of 175 large startups included in the survey, just one had a female chief technology officer, only 6% had a female chief executive, and even the roles most often held by women – chief marketing officer and chief financial officer – were held by men 80% of the time.

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Australia still has a long way to go when it comes to sexism | Catharine Lumby and Amira Aftab

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 19:59

A majority of Australians support gender equality. What is stopping those who don’t?

The Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act came into being in 1984. It is worth reflecting on that because over 30 years later women are still grappling with many of the same forms of discrimination.

The Sex Discrimination Act was introduced with the aim to promote gender equality; eliminate discrimination on the basis of sex; and eliminate “discrimination involving sexual harassment in the workplace, in educational institutions and other areas of public activity”.

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Guilty pleasures? For women that’s most of our culture

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 08:11
From John Martyn and Lars von Trier to Woody Allen and William Burroughs, women must deal with ‘problematic’ artists on a daily basis

One of the things I hate is the idea of “guilty pleasures” – especially about music. It is so blokey and always comes down to some guy liking something that is a vaguely different genre from the one he is associated with. I always remember Slash saying his guilty pleasure was Rihanna. What? Rihanna is a goddess. Also, no one is actually truthful. None of these people are blasting out Gary Glitter singles at a disco. How guilty is their pleasure, really?

For women, much of culture is, in some shape or form, always guilty. Surprisingly, I don’t live in a separatist commune and much of what I like has been produced by men of dubious morality, to say the least. Separating the art from the artist is not only a subject of intellectual debate, but a physical reaction. When you hear James Brown, you want to dance. Sure, I would prefer great art to be made by people who adhere to my own personal belief system and who are kind to those around them. But I know this not to be the case.

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The fake feud between Meghan and Kate reveals the prejudice of the press | Yomi Adegoke

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 07:38

As an even more common commoner than her ‘rival’ – and a black woman – the Duchess of Sussex never stood a chance

Clothing is often the only prism through which many publications are able to discuss high-profile women – something Amal Clooney, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton know too well. So, when Meghan Markle’s engagement to Prince Harry was announced last year, the media welcomed her into the royal family with an onslaught of articles pitting her outfits against the Duchess of Cambridge’s in a fabricated war of “Who wore it best?” It didn’t matter that they were almost never wearing the same thing – more often than not, they were decked out in different coats or fascinators in a vaguely similar shade. By virtue of being women, it was impossible for them to be discussed in the same breath if it was not to debate who was better dressed (read: better).

So desperate was the British press for competition that, before Meghan’s arrival, comparisons were made between Kate and Princess Diana, implying that Kate was adopting her late mother-in-law’s look. When you are a woman, not even death can exempt you from an imaginary cat fight.

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Revealed: bias faced by minorities in UK driving tests

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 02:13

Exclusive: equality groups say ‘depressing’ figures reveal racial bias being applied in practical examinations

Revealed: the stark evidence of everyday racial bias in Britain

Women and people of colour are significantly less likely than white men to pass UK practical driving tests, according to data analysed by the Guardian.

Related: An instructor on driving test bias: 'he was fine with white students...'

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How do I get my male colleagues to respect that I have a young child?

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 02:00

Make a stand against this culture or make it clear you will resign, says Sharmadean Reid

Everyone at my law firm works late into the evening. I have a young child and can’t do that, but my (mostly male) team don’t seem to respect me. What do I do?
I’m a big believer in a work/life balance, spending time with your family and Parkinson’s law: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” If work expands to fill the time allotted to it, make less time available to get more work done quicker.

There is little to gain by working late. It’s usually counterproductive; your efficiency dips and the quality of work drops. The only thing you gain is respect within a dated company culture. Mary Portas’ new book, Work Like A Woman, asks why we are trying to fit into workplace cultures created by and for men who traditionally have made little or no contribution in the home.

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Yes, I do want your taxes to pay for abortion | Moira Donegan

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 01:00

Ending the Hyde amendment, which bans federal funding of abortions, will give Americans their full rights – and dignity

Abortion rights did not fare well in the midterm elections. Alabama voters approved a measure that will grant full legal personhood to fertilized eggs, a move that will massively restrict the rights of pregnant and fertile women and ban all abortions in the state after the fall of Roe v Wade. West Virginians removed state Medicaid funding for abortion procedures via a constitutional amendment.

Meanwhile, Republicans expanded their control of the Senate, allowing them to continue to stuff the federal courts with their rabidly anti-choice judicial nominees. Encouraged by the appointment of the multiply accused sexual assault perpetrator Brett Kavanaugh to the supreme court in October, Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country have resumed their favorite habit of forwarding baroquely sexist abortion restriction bills at the state level.

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