Women's News from the Web

The young royals draw deep on family tradition: opting for weird child-rearing ways | Catherine Bennett

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 09/05/2020 - 21:00

Blood sports for all is the chosen approach as the Cambridges take the children shooting

The British royal family rather prides itself on its affinity with young people. Perhaps they are seen as mercifully uncritical as well as, in time, potentially well-disposed. Anyway, after Prince Philip, a distant father to his own children, had launched his character-building Duke of Edinburgh awards, Prince Charles followed up with his Prince’s Trust endeavours; now they are joined by both Prince Andrew’s ex, with her “Storytime with Fergie and Friends” promotions and the Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton for anyone with occasional title-blindness), who is going in for early childhood development. The BBC has dutifully stressed Kate’s professional-level seriousness: “She has built up an expertise and wants to prevent the same problems affecting the same families generation after generation.”

Pre-lockdown, for instance, the duchess, on her quest to prevent the same problems affecting the same families generation after generation, spent “over an hour at a daycare in Cardiff, south Wales”. A royal reporter said she “joined in a drawing session with the pre-schoolers and visited an outdoor play area, where she met the centre’s guinea pigs”.

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How Victorian female brewers broke the (pint) glass ceiling

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 09/05/2020 - 20:03

As more women take charge of commercial beer production, a new book reveals their pivotal role in the industry historically

It’s an industry long associated with men, from the whiskered industrialists of the 19th century to the hipster craft brewers of the present. But women have played a significant role in brewing beer in Britain, and are increasingly running breweries and creating new beers.

A new book, published this week, unearths the pivotal role of women in family breweries. “Beer is often portrayed as a male domain, even though many iconic breweries would not be what they are today if they didn’t have strong women at the helm,” says its author, the veteran beer expert and real-ale advocate Roger Protz.

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Sorry, gym bunnies, but men with dad bods just make better fathers | Barbara Ellen

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 09/05/2020 - 06:30

A new study shows what women really look for as ideal parent material

Men who have put on lockdown weight, rejoice – women have a positive opinion about it. Researchers from the University of Southern Mississippi found that women perceived men with dad bods to be better parent material. While the gym-honed body is considered generally more attractive, it scores the lowest with women regarding monogamy and child-rearing.

For the study, 800 women were shown bodies ranging from lean to slightly overweight. The dad bod came out on top, while the gym bod came last. Dad bods scored high with positive behaviours: “Babies melt this person’s heart”; “This person tries to teach their child new things”. Gym bods were assigned negative traits, such as “This person thinks kids are annoying” and “This person grabs or handles their child roughly”. The research also alludes ominously to gym bods’ “pluralistic mating strategies”.

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Tilda Swinton: championing talent, regardless of gender | Rebecca Nicholson

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 09/05/2020 - 05:00

The star was the first to welcome the abolition of male and female awards at the Berlin film festival

It is rare that a move being described as “eminently sensible” is newsworthy; still, at the Venice film festival last week, this is how Tilda Swinton referred to the fact that the Berlin film festival will no longer be handing out acting awards by gender.

“I think it’s pretty much inevitable that everybody will follow. It’s just obvious to me,” she said. Cate Blanchett also expressed her support, explaining that she prefers to be known as an actor. “I am of the generation where the word actress was used almost always in a pejorative sense. So I claim the other space,” she said.

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Jessica Krug is a symptom of a bigger problem: the way blackness is appropriated | Arwa Mahdawi

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 09/05/2020 - 03:00

There are endless examples of celebrities and Instagram influencers changing their appearance to make it seem like they have black heritage

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

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Women's sex lives in lockdown prove online comedy hit

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 09/03/2020 - 20:00

Show backed by BBC Studios using real-life stories and starring Aimee Lou Wood and Miriam Margolyes being adapted for TV

A groundbreaking new comedy sketch show based on women’s sex lives during lockdown, starring Aimee Lou Wood and Miriam Margolyes, is designed to “claim the stage” for women, its co-creator, Joanna Scanlan, says.

Sex Lives, believed to be the first interactive comedy backed by the BBC’s commercial wing, BBC Studios, documents stories submitted anonymously by women and has proved a hit online.

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Childcare shortage looms after Covid lockdown hits providers – study

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 09/03/2020 - 19:00

Nurseries and childminders in England that rely on parents’ fees have seen income collapse and could close without support

Nurseries and childminders in England who rely on fees from parents may be forced to close or quit the sector, creating a national shortage of childcare places, according to new research published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The study found that the coronavirus lockdown caused severe financial pressures for providers that received the bulk of their income from fees rather than through the government’s childcare entitlement, leaving about 25% of private sector nurseries vulnerable.

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The Road Ahead for Gender, Racial, and LGBTQ Equality: Activists Share Their Views

Women's eNews - Thu, 09/03/2020 - 13:07

What do Gender, Racial and LGBTQ activists believe are the most pressing issues impacting their communities? You’ll find some of the answers here:

Lori Sokol, PhD, Women’s eNews Executive Director, talks about the need for the ERA, how mandatory quarantines are increasing opportunities for fathers to nurture, and how it is now up to women to save the world (with Carol Jenkins, Co-President and CEO of the ERA Coalition and Fund for Women’s Equality).

Executive Director Lori Sokol speaks with Carol Jenkins about Women’s Equality and her new book, She is Me: How Women Will Save The World

Women’s eNews presents the first in a series of panel discussions on the topic of Race Relations in collaboration with The Root, the award-winning African-American news site. (with Danielle Belton, Imara Jones, Mona Sinha, and Marcy Syms)

Watch It Here!

Women are losing out in coronavirus job cuts | Letter

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 09/03/2020 - 06:31

Women are being singled out for redundancies, says one anonymous writer – and the economic crisis risks reversing the progress for women in the workforce

The TUC is right to be worried that “women will be pushed out of the workforce” (Report, 3 September), and it is at the behest of men, still too often the decision-makers at all levels, that this is happening. To give just one example, my daughter works for a small specialist company that employs 20 people, which, until April this year, was proud that 50% of its workforce were women. Along came Covid-19, when the company furloughed almost half its workforce – all of them women. When this was pointed out to the male owner, he claimed not to have noticed.

With the furlough scheme coming to an end, and orders for the company drastically reduced, its survival plan determined that redundancies were necessary. Two women volunteered. Four more compulsory redundancies were announced – all of them women. The company has reduced its female workforce by 60% while the men remain unscathed. This doesn’t even make economic sense as, typically, most of the women made redundant were in lower paid and/or part-time roles. Were these skilled and experienced women employed just for decoration, one wonders?

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The Shewee revolution: how 2020 has changed urination

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 09/02/2020 - 23:00

Since lockdown, sales of devices that help women and trans men pee standing up have gone through the roof. But would it be healthier for everyone to just sit down?

Natasha Bright watched in horror as she saw her friends drinking beer after beer in the park. She had gone out to meet them as lockdown restrictions eased and maybe have a drink herself. But one thought plagued her: what if I need the toilet?

It was the same when she went to walk her dog in the Peak District near her home in Sheffield. With the already dwindling numbers of public toilets closed, and pubs and cafes shuttered, the options were to hold it in or find a bush. “There’s a lot that can go wrong when you’re squatting outside,” says the 33-year-old charity communications manager. “It takes longer to get your trousers up than it does for men, there’s nettles and the fear of being caught … oh God. If the choice was to have a drink and have to go in the bushes, or not have a drink and wait until I got home, it was easy.”

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Cate Blanchett says she would rather be called an actor than an actress

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 09/02/2020 - 13:57

Venice film festival jury chief backs Berlin event’s move towards gender-neutral prizes

The Hollywood star Cate Blanchett has said she would rather be called an actor than an actress.

The Australian, who is heading the jury at the Venice film festival, gave her backing to Berlin festival’s controversial decision last week to do away with gendered prizes and only give a best actor award.

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Childcare crisis risks pushing women out of workforce, says TUC

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 09/02/2020 - 13:00

Families in Britain struggle with reduced access to nurseries and informal care during pandemic

Two in five working mothers with children under 10 in Britain are struggling to find the childcare they need, as breakfast and after-school clubs remain shut and care from friends and family remains limited, according to a survey for the TUC.

The lack of access to childcare has resulted in a crisis that risks turning the clock back on decades of labour market progress, warned Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress.

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Q&A with Nell Merlino, Founder of Count Me In

Women's eNews - Tue, 09/01/2020 - 14:08

A powerful force for the advancement of women and girls, Nell Merlino has developed numerous collaborative campaigns and programs that mobilize millions of people to take action. Creator of “Take Our Daughters To Work Day”, she is also the Founder & President of Count Me In. Originally founded in 1999. Count Me In (CMI) was the world’s first online micro lender, pioneering a unique model that combined business pitch competitions, mentoring, education, and access to financing for female entrepreneurs. Today, in response to an increasingly challenging business climate brought on by COVID-19, coupled with protests in support of Black Lives Matter, Count Me In has launched a Revival to support women-owned business in transforming their products, services, and companies to meet the new safety, health and racial justice imperatives.

The following is a Women’s eNews (WeN) Q&A with Nell Merlino:

WeN: Why did you launch Count Me In at this time?

Merlino: In 1999 I founded the Count Me In organization after noticing a gap in the market — a lack of support for women business owners who had already passed the startup phase. While there is certainly nothing wrong with staying small, I felt that more opportunities and resources could help those who wanted to get to the next level. 

As for relaunching it now through Count Me In Revival, I think people recognize that in this moment we have to help each other. As business women we already knew that — it’s why a lot of us started our businesses in the first place. But I think that same creativity and sensibility that we have about our products and services has to be shared throughout the business world.

Today, Count Me In supports women in business in a huge array of industries, from language translation services to companies that provide medical testing to patients, providing financial assistance through contests and grant programs.

WeN: How has this launch been similar/different to the Take Our Daughters to Work Day launch?

Merlino: What is similar is the common theme of helping women or girls who will one day become women, value themselves and be valued by society in the business world.

When I created Take Your Daughters to Work Day in 1993, I really thought about what would happen if every girl got a chance to appreciate what their parents do outside the house. It was seeing what mothers and fathers did outside of the home that was a revelation for a lot of girls. Back then it was not the norm for girls to show up at work with their parents and far fewer women had a role in the business world.

Although there’s still a long way to go, women are rightfully making their mark in the workplace and accepted more than ever not just as employees but as entrepreneurs.  For me what’s different with the launch of Count Me In Revival from Take Your Daughter to Work Day is empowering women to grow bigger and stronger versus trying to give them that initial shot at being seen in any kind of role in the workforce and/or company.

WeN: What do you hope will be gained by the recipients of the Count Me In grants?

Merlino: We are excited to provide nineteen exceptional women entrepreneurs grant money to help them adapt and thrive in the COVID-19 economy.  There has never been a better time for women to lead in business and to support one another. The founders of Smart & Sexy and Curvy Couture who provided the $250,000 in grant money are a great example of showing the power women entrepreneurs hold to help lift one another toward the common goal of success.  Together as a community we have survived and thrived through 9/11 and The Great Recession.  As we face these new obstacles, I have no doubt we will continue to innovate and grow our businesses with the help of community support including through help of the awarded grants.  

WeN: Are there specific areas of focus that your organization is supporting, and why?

Merlino: We focus our efforts on working with women entrepreneurs who own and run small businesses in any and all sectors.  If you take a look at the recent nineteen women who were awarded the grant money, you’ll see a very diverse group of companies covering many different industries.  You’ll notice representation of consulting, legal services, agriculture, manufacturing, retail sales, and many other sectors represented by the awardees as well as others involved in Count Me In Revival.

WeN: What have the results been thus far?

Merlino: The response to the Count Me In Revival was overwhelming with 2200 female-owned businesses expressing interest in applying for grant money.  In the end, 444 businesses submitted applications.  The nineteen grant winners awarded on 7/31/20 are now utilizing their grant money and the CMI Revival Award business, financial and communication coaching to adapt and grow in these challenging times. 

Click here to learn more about Count Me In Revival.

Click here to learn more about Nell Merlino.

'It destroys lives': why the razor-blade pain of vaginismus is so misunderstood

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 08/31/2020 - 02:54

This common condition can lead to relationship breakdown and unnecessary surgery. So why is treatment still so poor and underfunded?

I was just a few weeks into a new relationship when the pain started. Whenever my boyfriend and I started to have penetrative sex, it felt as if there were razor blades inside me. At first I laughed it off, but soon I became terrified of intercourse. My body would freeze with fear as my clothes came off. By the time we said: “I love you,” even kissing made me feel anxious. I would spend entire day trips and holidays with him worrying about the pain.

When I first went to my GP, the advice I got was to “try and relax”. It was about as helpful as telling someone having a panic attack to “just chill out”. Without a real solution, I started to question whether I was imagining the pain. Or if maybe, somehow, I was to blame for it. My boyfriend was kind and supportive but I felt I was letting him down. Some days, I would feel so ashamed that it was hard to think about anything else. Other days, I’d feel an overwhelming sense of loss for the carefree woman I had been.

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‘Women are future of the Catholic church’: Anne Soupa leads renewed fight for equality

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 08/29/2020 - 23:12

French academic’s bid to become archbishop of Lyon reflects growing calls for women in leadership roles

A French female academic has put herself forward to be the next Catholic archbishop of Lyon in a move that is gathering support around the world even though she stands no chance of succeeding.

Anne Soupa, 73, a theologian and biblical scholar, says there is “an awakening of women within the Catholic church”. Seven other Catholic women in France have followed her move in applying for ministries that are open only to men.

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Ladies, don't worry about Zoom face - the rapacious beauty industry is here to help | Catherine Bennett

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 08/29/2020 - 20:52

Botox has become a solution for ageing – even for leading feminists

If we date British lockdown to 23 March, it seems to have taken all of four weeks before video meetings were identified as the cause of “Zoom face”, a sort of reverse Narcissus experience whereby contemplation of your own face leads only to dissatisfaction and despair. On the other hand, a happy ending – facial repair work – is possible.

It may be superfluous to add that sufferers from this syndrome are, predominantly, women. “Are you suffering from Zoom face?Grazia asked. “Looking at ourselves on video-conferencing calls is taking a toll on our faces and our minds.” While carefree male users were still chewing gum in glistening close-up, it emerged that women, including very young women, were experiencing agonies of self-consciousness in meetings via laptop, which were only exacerbated by the lockdown ban on hair and skin treatments.

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'I don't have to smile if I don't feel like it!': Covid freed me from politeness and unwanted touching

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 08/28/2020 - 02:32

I had been brainwashed into ‘nice girl’ behavior, meaning: never do or say anything that might anger or humiliate a man. Then came a global pandemic

Just before the New York shutdown for Covid, I’d been kvetching all over the place about people touching me too much. It was the feminist rant of a woman with experience in the service industry, mostly. But in particular, a guy who’d recently not-really-asked me out had decided to repeatedly reinforce his ambiguous, undeclared interest in me by putting his hands on my shoulders at the slightest provocation whenever he ran into me in public, coming up from behind me while I sat working at my computer at a cafe, or just going full-frontal, sometimes sideways, even.

Along came the shutdown. Suddenly, people who used to reach for me found themselves spasmodically curling their arms back to bring their hands to their chests, and standing six feet away from me.

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Lesbian love story wins Popcorn Writing award for new play Edinburgh never got to see

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 08/27/2020 - 01:00

Jennifer Lunn wins £2,500 prize for drama Es and Flo, whose fringe premiere was sabotaged by the Covid pandemic

A drama about an ageing lesbian couple’s love, and their experience of discrimination and dementia, has won a prize for new plays that were due to be presented at this year’s Edinburgh fringe.

Jennifer Lunn’s play, Es and Flo, was set to premiere at Edinburgh’s Traverse theatre this summer before the Covid-19 pandemic led to the fringe’s cancellation. It has now beaten more than 130 other scripts to win the Popcorn Writing award 2020 for new work.

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Laura Bates on the men who hate women: 'They canonise and revere and idolise murderers'

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 08/27/2020 - 00:00

For years, the founder of the Everyday Sexism project has had vile abuse heaped upon her. But that still didn’t prepare her for what she found in the toxic world of online misogyny

Laura Bates founded the Everyday Sexism project in 2012, when she was 25, inviting women on social media to detail sexist encounters they’d had. Two years later, she published the book of the same name, curating a document that was horrifying but unsurprising. It should have been shocking but nobody was shocked. Six years on, we meet in King’s Cross, in London, where the cafe has separated the tables with Perspex, so I have a flash-forward to a dystopian near-future where one of us is in prison for feminist activism (obviously her, I decided, ruefully). She is as passionate and determined as I have ever seen her (I have met and interviewed her a few times before), yet somehow more cautious, for reasons that become clear.

Bates was surprised by certain elements of the Everyday Sexism project, like how many of the accounts came from girls in their mid-teens (she had expected more responses to be from women working in offices), but not the phenomenon of sexist harassment itself, which she knew was “hidden in plain sight. It was an invisible problem and this was very much trying to make it visible.” In doing so, Bates seeded an idea that would be proved again and again in the following years, in more and more vivid ways. From the #MeToo movement to Black Lives Matter, the inflection point for resisting injustice is not when one crusader saves the day, but when everybody is emboldened to speak out at once. Bates comes back to this repeatedly, and not, I think, for reasons of modesty. It was never, she insists, about her.

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A third of girls say they won’t post selfies without enhancement

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 08/26/2020 - 19:00

Charity behind survey says unrealistic images increase pressures as girls spend more time online

A third of girls and young women will not post selfies online without using a filter or app to change their appearance, while a similar proportion have deleted photos with too few “likes” or comments, research has found.

About half regularly alter their photos to enhance their appearance online and “find acceptance”, Girlguiding’s annual Girls’ Attitudes survey found.

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