Women's News from the Web

‘Inspiring’ protester becomes symbol of resistance for Sudanese women

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 04/09/2019 - 07:18

The woman at a Khartoum demonstration ‘was trying to give hope,’ says eyewitness

The image is striking: a young woman, alone, standing above the crowd, urging them on with songs of revolution.

Taken on Monday night in the centre of Khartoum, as tens of thousands thronged the roads in front of the heavily guarded complex housing the headquarters of the military and the feared intelligence services, the picture of the woman in white with gold circular earrings has become an icon of a protest.

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Penny Mordaunt says UK will defend abortion rights amid global pushback

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 04/09/2019 - 01:46

Development secretary vows government will ‘hold a strong line’, after attempts by Trump administration to weaken commitments

Britain’s international development secretary has promised to stand firm in her support for abortion rights in the face of growing opposition.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Canadian embassy on Monday, Penny Mordaunt said: “Leadership means not shying away from issues like safe abortion when the evidence shows us these services will save women’s lives.”

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Coalition announces $10m for endometriosis research and awareness

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 20:33

Women living with crippling pain experience average eight- to nine-year diagnostic delay

After allocating $4.7m in 2018 towards a national action plan to tackle endometriosis, the health minister on Tuesday announced a further $10m towards researching and raising awareness about the crippling and chronic menstrual condition.

Related: Endometriosis action plan follows decades of lobbying – and suffering

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The #MeToo movement gave a voice to silenced women – so why are films about it all made by men?

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 20:00

From the David Mamet play Bitter Wheat to Steven Berkoff ‘s Harvey, how ironic that women directors are being written out of the narrative

The #MeToo movement intended to give a voice to the silenced, and one of the more literal ways it is now attempting to do so is through the stage and screen. There’s a highly anticipated offering on the Fox News boss Roger Ailes, written by Charles Randolph and directed by Jay Roach. John Malkovich will play the disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein in the David Mamet play Bitter Wheat, and Harvey, another play about him, was directed and performed by Steven Berkoff. Ryan Murphy is in talks for a #MeToo-themed anthology series called Consent. The stories that were scaremongered, bribed and blackmailed out of the public domain are finally being told – and almost entirely by men.

There is a churning sense of irony in the fact that a campaign created to amplify women’s voices is instead amplifying the voices of men. The silencing, albeit in a different, less obvious form, continues. This, in my mind at least, is not to say that men cannot write accurately, or empathetically, about sexual assault and power dynamics. It is also not to suggest that there aren’t male victims who have been part of the #MeToo movement also, as in those allegedly abused by Kevin Spacey and Bryan Singer (though it is worth noting that it is the stories of abuse against women specifically that directors are choosing to tell). Weinstein, Spacey and Singer deny all claims against them. It doesn’t bode well for women in the film industry if, even in instances where they are the mobilisers of a movement, it is men who still dominate its narrative.

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From overlooked extra to Spike Lee star: how I beat Hollywood's colorism

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 19:00

Like many darker skinned actors, DeWanda Wise was offered stereotypical roles of criminals and prostitutes. So she made her own movie and caught the eye of one of the industry’s leading directors

Growing up in the DC metro area, I was cute with a caveat: I had chocolate skin.

When I was six years old, a close relative quipped that if I continued to play in the sun, I would end up “looking like a tar baby”. It was like touching a hot stove for the first time: I hadn’t even thought about the color of my skin before that moment, even though I went to an all-white school.

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Vera Brittain challenges the idea that wifehood is an occupation - archive, 9 April 1929

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 18:30

9 April 1929 Wifehood and motherhood are not jobs; like husbandhood and fatherhood they are personal relationships

Perhaps no argument against the combination of marriage and a career is quite so popular as the familiar cliché that wifehood is a profession. “I was always taught that marriage was a career in itself,” disapprovingly remarked a young woman at the close of a recent lecture in which I had maintained that if wives preferred employment outside their homes they should be free to make the choice. Shortly afterwards I opened the pages of Dr. Meyrick Booth’s newly published treatise Woman and Society to find the old confusing argument stated with all the old naive simplicity. “The occupation of wifehood,” remarks the author, “is the largest of all the careers open to the young citizen of our country. And this career is a female monopoly … Being a husband is not an occupation by which a man earns his living. But 5,000,000 women secure their economic existence by being wives.”

Related: Shirley Williams: testament to my extraordinary mother Vera Brittain

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Seasons of the witch: as women we nurture the riches of earth, food and health

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 17:42

The correlation of the feminine to nature, repressive for so long, can be a source of power

In the past few months I have started putting down roots. It’s a cliche but it’s literally what I’m doing. I spend my weekends transforming the tired old lawn into garden beds, layering woodchips, straw and horse shit I’ve shovelled from the paddocks next door into rich soil to grow my lettuces and kale. I have always loved gardening but now, more than ever, working with the earth has taken on an element of the spiritual.

As a teenager, like many suburban white girls, I got way into Wicca, that gentle, nature-centred neo-pagan religion beloved by would-be witches everywhere. Much later, in my early 20s, I revisited witchcraft, finding an unstructured feminine spirituality that helped me make sense of the world.

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Pressuring women to stay in their homes will kill them | Anna Spargo-Ryan

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 13:44

Women don’t need marriage counselling. They need help for starting over and law enforcement that takes abuse seriously

Against expert advice, the government has created a $10 million grants program to deliver services to people (mostly women) being violently abused by their intimate partners. The conditions of the grant actually state that it is to deliver a “whole of family approach”, incorporating counselling, dispute resolution and education for violent or abusive individuals. “Whole of family” includes both the person being abused and the person abusing them.

When this was announced, a close friend shared her experience. In her mid-20s, she told her husband she was leaving. It was the second time she had tried, after her husband had refused to accept it. This time he offered a non-compromise: that they would try marriage counselling first, and if it didn’t help, she would be allowed to go. The counsellor, appointed by the church, saw the couple in her home. Each week, she was made to justify why she wanted to leave while her husband sat less than arm’s reach away.

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Three cheers for Holly Willoughby's refusal to talk about her diet | Frances Ryan

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 04:51

By not indulging the media’s toxic obsession with celebrities’ bodies, the This Morning presenter is showing that women are worth more than their weight

“It’s not up to me to give you a blow-by-blow account of what I’ve eaten that day. It’s not helpful, and it’s not what’s important,” Holly Willoughby told the Sunday Times, presumably to the cheers of women everywhere.

The This Morning presenter’s weight loss last year was predictably picked over by the tabloids. And Willoughby is used to attention for how she looks – she shares her wardrobe with her 5 million Instagram followers daily. But she explained that the silence over the issue of her smaller frame has been intentional.

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Why women need to stop saving their cash – and start investing

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 04:11

Money is still a taboo subject for women and they are the poorer for it. But it’s easy to invest in stocks and shares, starting with £25 a month

Fourteen years ago, I edited a magazine for investors. I took over the job from another woman, many of the journalists I commissioned were women, and most of the press officers I spoke to were women. But when it came to the fund managers we interviewed, almost all were men. The readership, too, was overwhelmingly male. Women clearly understood how the stock market worked; they just weren’t investing in it themselves.

An adage in the financial sector goes that women save and men invest – and this still rings true. It seems that even women who have money to put aside tend to squirrel it away rather than try to grow it. In 2015/16, the last year for which data is available, 892,000 women invested in the government’s stocks and shares Isas (which allow you to invest up to a fixed amount with potential tax-free returns) as against 1.1 million men. In contrast, when it comes to much safer cash Isas, 5.2 million women invested in the same year against 4.4 million men.

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Why we asked 27 black women to speak out on taboo of colorism

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 04/07/2019 - 19:00

Guardian US’s new series will explore the discrimination based on skin complexion that exists within the black community

  • Share your experience of colorism: use #ShadesofBlack on social media
  • Have you experienced colorism? Share your story here

You already know black American women are paid considerably less than white men; that young black men are five times more likely to be incarcerated as white youth; and that black children are suspended from school at a much higher rate than white children.

This is how racism works. But what is less discussed is another “ism” that also derives from slavery.

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'People don't even look at me': eight black women discuss politics of light and dark skin – video

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 04/07/2019 - 19:00

As part of our Shades of Black series, we invited eight women to talk about their experience of colorism in their relationships, careers and everyday life. 

Colorism is the discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone. This means that darker-skinned black people have to fight prejudice even within their own community, where lighter skin is seen as more desirable. As such, darker-skinned black people can experience both racism and colorism.

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Tampon tax: women's charities urge for cash to be ringfenced

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 04/07/2019 - 08:04

Open letter from Women’s Resource Centre says current allocation damages ‘fragile women’s charity sector’

The struggling women’s charity sector is suffering further damage as a result of the way funds raised from the tampon tax are being allocated, it has been claimed.

In an open letter to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, more than 100 women, including academics and representatives of women’s charities, have urged the government to ringfence cash raised from the unpopular levy to be donated to organisations dedicated to women.

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Five ways to give up using tampons

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 04/07/2019 - 04:00

Whether you want to lessen your reliance on standard tampons for the sake of the environment or your health, or simply for a change – here are some options

Made of medical-grade silicone and typically available in two sizes, menstrual cups can hold up to 12 hours’ flow, compared with four to eight hours with a tampon – and as they are reusable and can last up to 10 years, they are much better for the environment. Though the Mooncup may still be the best-known, there is now an abundance of menstrual cups, from Intimina’s Ziggy, which claims to be the only one that can be worn during sex, to the FemmyCycle designed specifically for low cervixes. However, Dr Leila Frodsham, a consultant gynaecologist and spokeswoman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, warns that menstrual cups are not suitable for women who have been advised not to use tampons.

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More vagina dialogues are needed, but they shouldn’t be about profits

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 04/06/2019 - 21:59

It’s healthy to talk publicly about something so private, but there’s a risk of commercialisation, too

You can’t move at the moment for vaginas. For something so private, the vagina has never been more public. Walk down the high street, whomp, there’s a massive one made of felt, winking at you from a Waterstones window. Turn on the telly, kerflump, there’s an earnest conversation about them before the breakfast news. Books with covers in pink and red pile politely beside my desk, a user’s guide, a re-education, a history, one with a lipsticked mouth printed vertically. Crowdfunding has opened to build the world’s first Vagina Museum. Silver vulvas hang around feminists’ necks on fine chains, slogan T-shirts imply Vagina is a hot new band.

I could go on. In fact, I will. This month, makeup shop Cult Beauty launched its Vulvalution campaign by urging customers to “stop beating around the bush”. Under the vast and fleshy umbrella of “wellness”, they’re selling “everything from pH-balanced cleansers to lubricants, pelvic-floor trainers to sex tech by way of libido-enhancing ingestibles” with 10% of profits going to a charity that promotes awareness about gynaecological health. In New York recently, I trotted up subway stairs papered with adverts for period underwear – suggestive photographs of grapefruits, split. I feel a little like I’m seeing the world through the eyes of a pubescent straight boy. But, it’s not just me. Vaginas are in fashion.

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The sex revolution of my youth wasn’t so great. Maybe today’s celibacy is a sign of progress | Yvonne Roberts

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 04/06/2019 - 18:59

For many women, the swinging decade was a grim affair. Perhaps less is better after all

In 1967, in the so-called summer of love, hippies, drug dealers and the homeless young filled San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, saturated with the scent of incense and dope. Flower power, love and peace were visibly fraying into psychedelic seediness. I was 19, a British student on a full grant, travelling by Greyhound bus. I had stopped off in California to see what the revolution was all about.

While I dressed the part – mini-skirt and silver boots – the 60s for me, until then, had been identical to that experienced by the poet Michelene Wandor, “full of people I didn’t sleep with/ joints I didn’t smoke/ plays I wasn’t in”. On this particular afternoon, a heavily bearded male, not much interested in personal hygiene and festooned in beads, stopped me in the street. “Wanna ball?” he asked speculatively. So much for free love. I politely declined.

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Don't get your hopes up about Chicago's first black lesbian mayor | Arwa Mahdawi

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 04/05/2019 - 21:00

While the election of Lori Lightfoot made history, many fear she will simply maintain the status quo

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

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Fleabag proves that women can do glorious failure, too | Gaby Hinsliff

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 04/05/2019 - 05:04
Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s brilliant comedy reminds a generation of anxious young women that low-flying can be enormous fun

It isn’t just because of the hot priest. Although to be honest, the hot priest does have quite a lot to do with it. But the other reason almost every woman I know is gripped by the bittersweet BBC comedy Fleabag is that there’s something so exhilarating about its attitude to women getting things wrong. Its heroine leads an intensely interesting life but a faintly disappointing one, at least in the eyes of her well-to-do family: she is the classic underachieving younger sister, the screw-up, the damaged one always on the verge of doing or saying something inappropriate. Compared with older sister Claire – she of the hysterically uptight manner, creepy husband and tediously successful corporate career – she’s a mess.

Related: 'It is complete': final episode of Fleabag to air on Monday

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Fiona Bruce: BBC boss queried need for pay rise as I had a boyfriend

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 04/05/2019 - 01:06

Presenter says her boss asked her: ‘What does your boyfriend do?’ when she sought a rise

The TV presenter Fiona Bruce has said a BBC boss once suggested she did not need a pay rise because she could rely on her boyfriend.

Bruce, who took over from David Dimbleby as Question Time host, also said the corporation, at which she has spent 30 years, was previously “not a nice place to be”.

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