Women's News from the Web

Cannes 2019: jury speaks out against 'rage and anger' of populist politicians

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 06:04

Jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu takes aim at Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policies

A familiar trio of topics – Netflix, gender disparity and Donald Trump – were on the agenda as the this year’s Cannes film festival got under way.

At the press conference introducing this year’s festival jury, its president, Birdman and The Revenant director Alejandro González Iñárritu, took aim at Trump and offered support to theatre chains battling the dominance of the streaming service. Another jury member, Happy as Lazzaro director Alice Rohrwacher, criticised the film industry for failing to promote female film-makers.

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A sex strike is not enough: women need to down tools completely | Suzanne Moore

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 06:31

The idea proposed last week by Alyssa Milano won’t cut it. To assert their worth, women should refuse to fulfil the unpaid labour expected by society

Sex is the very least of our concerns, the last thing that has to be crossed off the to-do list. Or so I have heard from harassed women in the school playground. Yet sex is the very meaning of life, the cement that glues together every relationship, half our culture also tells us, while the remainder portrays women as a series of orifices to be penetrated.

Perhaps sex is all and none of these things. When people write to experts asking for help, their problems inevitably boil down to: “I want more or less sex, or of a different kind, or with a different person from the one I am currently having sex with.”

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My Mother, The Brisket, and The Rabbi: A Love Story

Women's eNews - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 05:33

I am a pathological liar. I stand by my superior ability to fabricate the truth, to create a false narrative, to lie on command. And I would do it all again if I had to.

When my mother was approaching the final stage of her life, she was often inconsolable. Dementia has a way of robbing those it latches onto with assorted unspeakable atrocities. The confusion, the fear, the sheer frustration amid the utter sadness, often overtakes not only the afflicted, but those who are ultimately left behind. Until an adult child enters the frightening and chaotic world of caring for a parent diagnosed with this insidious disease, one never truly knows the lengths they may go to in an effort to minimize a loved one’s suffering.      

Watching someone slowly deteriorate, day by day, moment by moment, is like dismantling a puzzle; piece by piece, the picture, no longer recognizable, begins to fade, its meaning has eroded, until it is no more.     

Piece by piece, my mother was leaving us.       

Though we didn’t know it at time, when my sister Barbara and I moved our mother from West Palm Beach to New York City into nursing care near us, she would live for just nine months. Those months proved to be transitional for her, but also, transformative for us.     

Confused, sad, angry, Esther Sheryl Prizant, “Sherry” was nothing like the sweet, funny, kind-hearted woman who was considered a second mother by many of our childhood friends. Because of my mother’s unremitting compassionate nature, our home, “the fun house” became a respite for many a wayward teen in need of comfort, some who even left home. 

When I was in college, I began to notice a pattern: boyfriends would spend an inordinate amount of time with my mother, having coffee, playing cards, watching basketball, under the guise of waiting for my return from the nearby university. On one occasion, I arrived home to find a boyfriend having coffee with my mother in the kitchen, while another waited on the porch for his time with my mom. Though I would like to believe that I was the main attraction, I have come to accept that this kind of behavior goes with the terrain when one is blessed with a mom like mine. 

“To understand everything is to forgive everything.”  Buddha

Watching my father and mother interact was like being an unwitting character in “Who’s Afraid Virginia Wolf.” It was fairly brutal. Between my father’s drinking, as he tried to provide for his large brood after his clothing store was destroyed by fire, coupled with many people occupying our modest home, it was often unmanageable. Even so, my mother never succumbed to the bitterness that could have been the proverbial response to living in such a chaotic and unforgiving environment.  

My mother, a dark-haired, green-eyed beauty of Hungarian descent, raised six children amidst financial duress and emotional turmoil. Yet, she always wore this bright smile no matter what the circumstances. While I am left with vivid memories of my mother, it’s her interminable spirit in the face of life’s unexpected challenges I often call upon when in need of guidance and support.   

It was from my mother that I learned my most important lessons about compassion and grace. When an unkempt, poor neighborhood child wanted to play with me and my twin sister, Joan, I recoiled. But my mother wouldn’t have it. “We are no better or no worse than anyone,” she chided, while encouraging me to play with the child. She also insisted that I give the young girl a hug. And I did.  

“The only thing better than singing is more singing.” Ella Fitzgerald

When my mother’s stress levels would rise during the Dementia daze, she would display a range of varied emotions; the anger, the sadness, coupled with the relentless confusion, was typically not quelled by the many psych drugs doctors prescribed in an attempt to reduce her anxiety.

After finding my mother overmedicated, passed out in her bed in the nursing home, or planted in front of the nurse’s station in a wheelchair, yelling, confused, fearful, while sporting fresh bruises and bedsores, we were forced to make a change.  

And we become very creative in finding ways to help calm my mother, if not for her sake, for the sake of my neighbors who may not have approved of the loud disturbances emitting from my Big Apple crib, when we moved my mother into my Gramercy Park apartment, after her short stint at the Manhattan nursing home.   

First and foremost, we sang, all my mother’s favorites. “Bei mir bist do schön, please let me explain, Bei mir bist do schön means you’re grand.” We may not have been the Andrew Sisters, but we had our moments, creating some nice harmonies, and soothing memories.  

We also quickly learned the importance of focusing on activities that my mother would succeed in, such as spelling, geography.  

Me:   “What’s the capital of Alaska?”

Mom “I don’t know, Juno?”(ba dum bum tss)  

It was around this time my sister introduced a new way to reach our mother as she further descended into some other world, a seemingly dark, unfamiliar place. So, we persuaded her to stay in our world a bit longer by embellishing the truth.

“The truth is a beautiful and terrible thing and should therefore be treated with great caution.” Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Among my mother’s hopes and dreams, she wanted me to settle with a nice, Jewish man. Though I wasn’t able to fulfill her wish, my sister Barbara’s creative attempts to soothe my mother resulted in Sherry’s dream being fulfilled, even if only briefly, and only in fantasy.

Upon my return from grocery shopping one afternoon, I was met by an unfamiliar calm when I entered my apartment. It was uncharacteristically quiet, and surprising to see my mother engaged in conversation with my sister.  

Barbara: “Do you think I should make brisket or stuffed cabbage?”

Mom:” Definitely the brisket! That’s the winner!”  

Barbara: (speaking to me) “I’m having lunch with the Rabbi on Sunday, and Mom thinks I should make brisket!”

Me: (chiming in while putting away the groceries) “I don’t think you should have brisket. You know, animals have feelings like we do and just want to live. Why not make vegetarian stuffed cabbage?” 

Barbara: (whispering to me)”What’s the matter with you? There’s no Rabbi, there’s no brisket, Beevis! Just play along–Sheesh!”

Me: (Oh! I finally get it! Winking at my sister)

“Yes! I agree! Let’s have the brisket! The bloodier the better! Vegetarian stuffed cabbage is sooo boring…”

Barbara: (rolling her eyes) …And Jill is going to be visiting with the Cantor.

Mom: Oh, that’s wonderful!”

Me: (whispering excitedly to Barbara) “I don’t mean to complain, but wondering why you get the Rabbi and I get the Cantor? I mean, isn’t the Rabbi higher in rank than the Cantor? I don’t necessarily mind having the Cantor per se, but still…”

Barbara: (cutting me off, whisper fight ensues)“OMG! Where did you get your degree? Trump University? OK you can have the Rabbi!”

Me:“I didn’t say I wanted the Rabbi, and I take umbrage to your suggestion that…”

Barbara: (ignoring me) “Yes, Jill and the Cantor have a lot in common since they both studied singing.”

Mom: “Oh! That’s lovely!”

Barbara: “Ok. Let’s plan the menu for Sunday.”

Mom: “You’re having brisket, salad, roasted potatoes…”

So, this is how we spent many hours during my mother’s Big Apple residency: singing, spelling bees, practicing state capitals, and menu planning for our pretend Jewish husbands-to-be.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

My mother entered hospice care twice. The first time, we made a decision to hydrate and provide intravenous nutritional support after she stopped eating and drinking. It seemed cruel not to.

But when my mother became alert, she was livid, angry that I “brought her back.” With an unparalleled lucidity and razor-sharp clarity, she recounted her near-death experience in vivid detail. 

“I was waiting in line with the others to get on the train, we were dressed properly, preparing to leave, but you wouldn’t permit it because you were not ready to let me go.”

I promised her then that I would allow her to do what she needed to do, and that I wouldn’t stop her from getting on the train when it was time, next time.

It wasn’t until months after my mother’s death that I had an epiphany.     

Grief is an odd, unrelenting, strange trip, full of twists and surprises, with an uncanny ability to surface at the most unexpected times. I suppose grief never really dies, rather we just adjust while learning to cohabitate with our new circumstances.      

In hindsight, it’s not surprising that I got involved with my college boyfriend, now married, who reemerged after 25 years, surprisingly (or not) right around the time of my mother’s death. “If the world had more people like your mother,” he told me during our first meeting, “it would be such a wonderful place.”  

Rekindling a past love offered a comforting familiarity and bittersweet reminder of a simpler time. Being absorbed in a past love-turned-current also provided a convenient opportunity to avoid the grief process.   

But grief will not be ignored.   

While in the check-out line at Whole Foods, nearly a year after my mother’s passing, I came to realize the magnitude of grief, after the cashier looked at me strangely, asking if I was ok. I assured her I was. 

But I wasn’t ok. As I left the store, I was overcome with an overwhelming anxiety and unexplained urgency, as tears began streaming down my face. Instead of running from these uncomfortable feelings, I walked, through the green market, through the park.

And I walked some more, blending into a sea of unfamiliar faces crowding the bustling city streets, while feeling a sense of uneasiness, intertwined with moments of despair, when I was finally was able to put into words what I had feared most: That no one would ever love me the way that she did.   

It would be some time before I would find relief from the cascading sea of sadness that enveloped me that day. But gradually, this sorrow was slowly replaced with an acceptance, and that all-knowing feeling of what lies beneath the fear: the gut-wrenching truth. In a surprisingly strange way, it felt like a weight had been lifted. 

For I am one of the lucky ones.     

I am aware that not everyone gets to experience the gift of true unconditional love while a visitor on this earthly place. As difficult as that time was, there was a sense of calm too, in the knowledge that we can survive what we fear most: We can survive our greatest fear.  

Of the most unique and wondrous things about being a thinking, feeling, sentient being, is that every moment is an opportunity for renewal; a chance for change. In every moment we are given a choice: to act in fear or love.

I have learned my lessons well from my kind teacher, my mother. And each day, I choose to honor her by acting out of love, as she surely did.  

So, I’m not going to dine on brisket or marry the Cantor. Though my mother did not approve of lying, I would do it again if I had to. I’m sure she would make an exception this time.

Jill Rachel Jacobs is a New York based writer whose publishing credits include The New York Times, Reuters, The NY Post, The Independent, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Newsday, The Chicago Sun Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Organic Style, The Chicago Tribune, NPR’s Marketplace and Morning Edition.

Sexual abuse charities need money – but not from Tommy Robinson | Sarah Green

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 05/12/2019 - 23:00
The anti-Islam activist is feigning concern for women to stoke hatred – we won’t let him

• Sarah Green is co-director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition

On Friday 43 women’s organisations published an open letter voicing our disgust at Tommy Robinson’s pledge to donate his MEP salary to victims of sexual abuse if he is elected in the north-west of England. We are calling on voters throughout the region to reject him.

We thought long and hard about potentially giving Robinson – whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – further publicity and initiating a fight that he and his thuggish friends probably want to have. But we can no longer stay silent as he makes lies about the sexual abuse of girls his main campaigning and recruitment message.

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The Guardian view on abortion: protecting a human right | Editorial

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 05/12/2019 - 07:30
Cruel laws risk lives and harm women around the world. Attempts to extend them must be resisted

No law can end abortions, however severe its restrictions and however harsh its penalties. Each day almost 70,000 unsafe abortions are carried out around the world, and they are vastly more likely to happen in countries with strict laws. What such legislation does do is force some women to continue pregnancies against their wishes, while risking the lives and wellbeing of others. Women in the US have seen their ability to terminate pregnancies dismantled piece by piece. Now states are racing to outlaw or dramatically curb abortions with extreme and unconstitutional bills. The aim is to directly challenge Roe v Wade, the US supreme court ruling that established that abortion is legal before the foetus is viable outside the womb, at around 24 weeks. Last Tuesday, the governor of Georgia signed a bill essentially banning abortions after six weeks from 2020. Some described it as a sign that men who wish to control women’s bodies have no idea of how they actually work. More likely, those who pushed hardest for the change understand all too well that many women will not know they are pregnant until it is too late.

Five other states have signed similar bills; several more are considering them. (Others have introduced more incremental curbs.) The Alabama senate will this week consider a near-total ban on abortion – with prison sentences of up to 99 years for doctors – which Republicans initially tried to sneak through without even a vote. The state’s lieutenant governor said he believes Roe v Wade will be overturned thanks to Donald Trump’s appointment of conservative jurists.

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Welcome to Planet Rumpole, where rank misogyny still holds sway | Catherine Bennett

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 05/11/2019 - 08:00
The law remains a hostile environment for women. What does that say about the judges supposed to uphold it?

Following in the footsteps of Bertrand Russell, Grayson Perry and Stephen Hawking, this year’s BBC Reith lecturer will be Jonathan Sumption QC, retired supreme court judge, historian, chateau dweller and author, with the eminent Thatcherite Keith Joseph, of Equality (a 1979 polemic against egalitarianism). To date, the choice seems to have been entirely uncontroversial.

“Who better,” asks the controller of BBC’s Radio 4, “than Jonathan Sumption to take a clear, hard look at the law and how it serves modern society?”

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Meghan McCain, John McCain's daughter, is the very definition of toxic femininity

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 05/11/2019 - 03:00

Daughter of the late senator has made herself the authority on antisemitism. Did we mention she’s John McCain’s daughter?

Meghan McCain seems to have appointed herself the leading authority on antisemitism in America. She may not be Jewish herself but some of her best friends are Jewish, you know? And of course, she’s also the daughter of the late senator John McCain, something she is not shy about pointing out, which automatically qualifies her as an expert on everything.

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Tent dress: new trend aiming to capitalise on warm weather

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 06:19

Many women are finding the new style not just comfortable but empowering, too

This season in fashion, size matters – but not in the way you might think. With temperatures set to reach the 20s in the UK next week, there’s a new larger-than-life dress shape billowing across the horizon aiming to capitalise on the warm weather.

The cut is non-specific, but the tent dress – as it is loosely known – is united by three things: size (very wide), shapelessness (there is no waist), and fabric (natural, such as linen, cotton or calico). Proof can be found on the summer catwalks at Valentino and Molly Goddard, on the high street at Zara and H&M, and even on the red carpet: last week’s Met Gala was a case in point, with Lady Gaga and Gwyneth Paltrow ditching the usual flesh flashing for silhouettes of truly impressive girth.

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Cannes festival adapts to #MeToo era – but gender issues remain

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 03:43

Film event adds family-friendly initiative yet for female directors it looks to be business as usual

This year, the Cannes film festival is rolling out an initiative called Le Ballon Rouge – named after a children’s film by Albert Lamorisse – which offers a package of services aimed at making the festival more attractive to families.

There is a breast-feeding and baby-changing area; a dedicated kids’ pavilion; an accreditation process providing two free additional badges for a nanny and baby; priority and easy access for parents with young children and prams; plus something called Le Ballon Rouge baby VIP kit, which includes a list of certified nannies for after-hours care.

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And the least feminist nation in the world is... Denmark?

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 20:25

A poll of more than 25,000 people in 23 major countries found that just one in six Danes consider themselves a feminist

It is one of the best places in the world to be a woman, with a narrow gender pay gap, equal employment rights, universal nursery care, and some of the happiest female retirees on the planet.

So it comes as a surprise to find, in a global survey of attitudes towards gender, equal rights and the #MeToo movement, that Denmark is one of the least feminist countries in the developed world.

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I swiped left on Tinder so he found me on LinkedIn. Why can't some men take no for an answer? | Katie Cunningham

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 15:09

Online dating is good in theory but it relies on people to respect boundaries. On apps, as in real life, that doesn’t seem to be happening

Last week I got a message on LinkedIn from a man I’ve never met. This was weird enough to begin with – like most millennials, I go on LinkedIn approximately never – but he wasn’t reaching out with an exciting new job opportunity. Instead, he’d written to proposition me. This man had seen me on Tinder and, (correctly) suspecting we wouldn’t match, had found my last name, sought out my profile on a professional networking website and used it to try to pick me up.

I posted a screenshot of the message on Twitter and was met with an avalanche of sympathetic replies. Women around the world told me their horror stories, detailing the times men they’d already rejected on dating apps somehow found their Facebook or Instagram accounts and asked them out. One told me about a woman who’d received a phone call at her office from a hopeful suitor, who had apparently Googled her work contact number. Later that day a friend of mine was frightened and frustrated when she got home to find a stranger had printed a shirtless photo of himself and slid it under her front door, in some sort of profoundly misguided attempt at getting her attention.

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Trump 'very surprised' Republican-led committee issued subpoena for his son – as it happened

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 14:11

President defended Donald Trump Jr’s cooperation with investigators and claimed the Mueller report exonerated his son

1.11am BST

Quiet end to the day, but former FBI director James Comey will be speaking at a CNN town hall momentarily and that will be sure to liven things up:

1.08am BST

The Miami Herald is reporting that the FBI has opened a public corruption investigation into Li Cindy Yang, the founder and one-time owner of a Florida spa implicated in a human-trafficking ring - the ring that New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft is allegedly caught up in - who is accused of promising Chinese investors access to President Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

The investigation is focusing on whether Yang, who was famously photographed at Donald Trump’s Super Bowl watch party at his West Palm Beach country club, had “illegally funneled money from China into the president’s re-election effort or committed other potential campaign-finance violations”, according to the Miami Herald.

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Tommy Robinson's offer of MEP salary rejected by charities

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 13:01

Women’s groups say pledge to donate hypothetical earnings to victims of grooming is insulting

Tommy Robinson’s pledge to donate his hypothetical European parliament salary to child victims of sexual grooming has been criticised as “an insult to survivors of abuse” by women’s groups who said he was “no ally for the children he claims to stand up for”.

More than 40 women and charities including the End Violence Against Women and Girls Coalition declared in a letter to voters and community leaders in the north-west that they would not accept money from the English Defence League founder, criticising Robinson for “factually incorrect messages about grooming”.

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Handmaids and Jezebels: New York Must Not Legalize Harm

Women's eNews - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 12:49

Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison once spoke of an enslaved pregnant woman whose master decided to punish her. The slaveowner dug a hole in the ground large enough to place her swollen belly. That way, he could whip her back, her face down swallowing dirt, without jeopardizing his future financial assets.

In that dark historic vein, New York State legislators are now proposing two bills to preserve this legacy of human chattel, defining women as vessels for economic profit.

The first bill is on the fast Albany track, sponsored by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and Senator Brad Hoylman, to legalize commercial reproductive surrogacy. Under this bill, unfittingly called the “Child-Parent Security Act,” anyone can contract the renting of women’s wombs. Governor Andrew Cuomo is lauding the bill; yet over one hundred New York-based women leaders signed a letter expressing their vehement opposition to the bill. Link to letter: http://catwinternational.org/Content/Images/Article/754/attachment.pdf

The other ill-advised bill proposed by Senators Jessica Ramos and Julia Salazar, and Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, also with the support of Senator Hoylman, would fully decriminalize the sex trade, including pimping, brothel owning and sex buying. Together, these elected officials, under the guise of progressive politics, are saluting an acutely regressive status of women, jeopardizing their rights to health, safety, bodily integrity and hindering any collective efforts to reach equality.

New York has vowed to reduce maternal mortality, improve women’s health, combat sexual harassment in the workplace, and take other measures for women’s equal treatment in life. Yet both bills are antithetical to those promises.

First, the commercial reproductive surrogacy bill provides no protection from abuse. Requiring only a 90-day New York residency with no background checks, anyone, including human traffickers, could haul women here from anywhere around the world for embryo implantation.  Under this bill, similar to the enslaved pregnant woman and contrary to established New York law, neither the fetus, nor the baby, belongs to the birth mother. 

Like the romantic fallacies portrayed in Hollywood’s “Pretty Woman” or “The Girlfriend Experience,” commercial surrogacy websites feature Hallmark-type images with names like Growing Generations. Remove those rose-colored glasses, however, and dark realities quickly reveal themselves.

In commercial reproductive surrogacy, for example, two women are often contracted: the egg donor and the surrogate mother carrying the fetus. Heavy dosages of hormones are injected into the egg donor, typically a tuition-strapped college student, to produce ova, at a proportion that can generate four years’ worth of eggs in one month. These women can suffer extreme pain and contract illnesses, such as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which can lead to strokes or heart attacks. Other long-term health risks for egg donors, including reproductive cancers and even death, have yet to be researched. A three-time commercial surrogate mother, Brooke Brown, died died to a placental rupture, as did the twins she was bearing.

Regarding the Salazar-Ramos bill, which would protect pimps from accountability, brothels would be turned into businesses and, like any other business, would give New York’s “If You Can See It You Can Be It” girls’ empowerment program an entirely different meaning. New York doesn’t even know how many women have died in the sex trade.

Both commercial surrogacy and prostitution are industry-driven – one by gestational surrogacy companies, and the other by a multibillion-dollar sex trade and its lobby. Both thrive on the vulnerabilities of disenfranchised people, especially women of color. Both turn their profits on growing demand for women’s bodies as commodities, and both kick open a wide door for sex and reproductive trafficking.

Women’s control over their bodies, reproductive systems and sexuality must be rights-driven. In a society where marginalized populations live with limited opportunities, the State must not bless the deceptive argument of “personal choice,” dictated by the power and control of reproductive surrogacy consumers, sex buyers and profiteers in exploitative enterprises.  

The European Parliament and many countries condemn and prohibit commercial reproductive surrogacy because it undermines the human dignity of women. After fatalities and other devastating outcomes stemming from commercial surrogacy tourism, India, Thailand, Nepal and Cambodia have all banned it. Parallel to these efforts that recognize harm, an increasing number of governments worldwide are enacting legislation that recognizes prostitution as systemic violence against women, perpetrated by sex buyers and organized criminal networks. These laws, known as the Equality Model, solely decriminalize the prostituted and offer them services.

New York must recognize that commercial reproductive surrogacy and the sex trade are stitched with that same noxious thread. A quilt where women’s bodies, especially Black and Brown bodies, are sown into history for the profit of others, disdaining the idea that women are human. Don’t we deserve better, New York?P

Taina Bien-Aime is the Executive Director of Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), the first and oldest international non-governmental organization dedicated to ending trafficking in women and girls and related forms of commercial sexual exploitation as practices of gender-based violence. CATW has national coalitions in over fifteen countries including thePhilippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Chile, the United States,Canada, Norway, France and Greece.

Pakistan: where the daily slaughter of women barely makes the news | Mohammed Hanif

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 00:00

The stories of murdered women are recorded with grim regularity in one and half inches of a single newspaper column

You can find the news about Pakistan’s war on women buried deep inside the metro pages of Urdu newspapers. I stumbled upon it a few years ago. I noticed that I could pick up my newspaper and almost every day find news about a murdered woman. I thought maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe Karachi is a huge city, these things happen. But it went on and on. It became so routine that I could pick up the paper, open the exact same pages, just like you can bet that you’ll find a crossword or letters to the editor, and it was always there.

Names changed, localities changed, the relationship between the murdered and her murderer changed and of course there were minor variations on how she was killed and where the body was found, but it was always there: single column, one and a half inches. Often the woman wasn’t even named: she was someone’s sister or mother of four, or the girl who ran away with her lover or the girl who refused to marry a suitor. Sometimes the news made it to the front page of the metro section but for that the murder had to be particularly gruesome, or the killer had killed himself after killing the woman, or the victim was very young, or the murderer killed the children along with the mother. That last one usually ends up on the front page if it’s a slow news day.

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We’re in a golden age of feminist TV, and don’t even need the Bechdel test to prove it

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 23:00

Killing Eve, Derry Girls, Glow, Big Little Lies, The Bold Type, Claws: with this sort of variety, female-led shows no longer have to speak for every woman

Almost every single show I have watched this year has female protagonists. This isn’t because of some pious attempt to correct my predominantly white, male back catalogue. They’re just very good and there’s a lot of them now. When it comes to female representation in television (and more importantly, decent female representation in television), we have lost some serious heavyweights this year: Fleabag, Broad City and Catastrophe to name a few. But unlike the case with most trends, their endings haven’t spelled the end of change, with equally brilliant newer offerings cropping up.

Killing Eve and Derry Girls and Glow and Big Little Lies and The Bold Type and Claws to name a few. As the canon of shows with strong female leads grows, the pressure for these programmes to be groundbreaking lessens. Many of them are simply expanding the work that has already been done. Tuca and Bertie (pictured below), a bawdy cartoon about a toucan (Tiffany Haddish) and her neurotic best friend (Ali Wong, a thrush), dubbed an “animated version of Broad City” is an important depiction of female desire. But it is by no means the first – and it doesn’t have to be, it’s part of a wave that could one day render the Bechdel test redundant. Another Netflix newcomer, Dead to Me has been described as a “Gen Z Grace and Frankie”. While these comparisons can feel draining at times, it’s worthwhile remembering that a few years ago, it would simply have been a “female version” of a male-fronted show, because nothing else existed.

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Busy Philipps speaks about her abortion and condemns Georgia's six-week ban

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 06:47
  • Philipps reveals her own abortion at age 15 on her talkshow
  • Governor Brian Kemp signed highly restrictive law on Tuesday

The actor Busy Philipps condemned Georgia’s six-week abortion ban, signed into law yesterday, on her talk show Busy Tonight by revealing the story of her own abortion at age 15.

“I had an abortion when I was 15 years old, and I’m telling you this because I am genuinely really scared for women and girls all over this country,” she said, her voice full of emotion. “And I think that we all need to be talking more and sharing our stories more.”

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Being breastfed is a baby’s birthright | Letters

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 06:42
Babies cannot speak for themselves, so we have to, writes Naomi Stadlen

Hadley Freeman argues that breastfeeding is “the maternal ideal” (Weekend, 4 May). But breastfeeding is why women have breasts. British women find it difficult because they rarely see mothers breastfeeding. It’s a visual art, passed on often wordlessly from one generation to the next. Freeman’s article mentions women and mothers 13 times, but babies only five times. Breastfeeding is a two-person activity. Babies cannot speak for themselves, so we have to. Their mothers’ breastmilk is their birthright. It’s not a question of “judging” mothers who find it difficult but of ensuring that health services have enough resources to support them. With better support, more mothers can breastfeed, more girls and women can see them, and more babies can enjoy being breastfed.
Naomi Stadlen
London

• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

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The Vatican editor who exposed the sexual abuse of nuns – and took on the Pope

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 02:33
In the church women’s magazine, Lucetta Scaraffia exposed rape and secret abortions. Then, she and her team quit. She reveals what happened

On 26 March, Lucetta Scaraffia sent a letter to Pope Francis. She was, at the time, the editor of the Vatican’s glossy women’s magazine Women Church World: a title that in its seven years had taken aim at misogyny in the church, exposed the shocking sexual abuse of nuns and the secret abortions priests had paid for to get rid of the evidence.

“We are throwing in the towel,” she told the pope. “Because we feel surrounded by an atmosphere of distrust and progressive delegitimisation.” The “we” was the 11-strong editorial team, all but two of whom quit on the same day, accusing the church elders of attempting to gag them. “A vital initiative has been reduced to silence and there has been a return to the antiquated and arid custom of choosing women considered trustworthy from on high, under the direct control of men.”

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Canadiens and Canadiennes in uproar as student paper takes stand on gender

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 23:00

A publication at the Université du Québec is ceasing to favour masculine over feminine in its language – not everyone is happy

The changes were slight, though Molière probably wouldn’t have approved.

Montréal Campus – the student newspaper serving Université du Québec à Montréal – announced in February that it would cease favouring the masculine over the feminine.

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