Women's News from the Web

Healthcare to get $100bn boost as India aims to cut maternal deaths

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 19:00

Spending on health will double by 2025, with India intent on improving its record on mortality of mothers and infants

India has pledged to spend $100bn (£79bn) more on healthcare over the next seven years in a move partly aimed at reducing maternal mortality rates.

The country will more than double its health spending from just over the current 1% of GDP to 2.5% by 2025, prime minister Narendra Modi announced.

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WRighteous: In Honor of Nancy Pelosi

Women's eNews - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 16:31
WRighteous In honor of Nancy Pelosi #Courage   Sometimes it’s hidden deep, way deep, under fear and anger and resentment.  Sometimes it rears its sexy gorgeous head – says hello – and then runs away.  Sometimes it makes a big huge splash.  Sometimes it’s in the back of a drawer next to a box of stale Newport lights.  Sometimes it’s accompanied by god-awful unbearable sadness.  Sometimes it’s an accessory to kindness.  Sometimes it shows up hand-in-hand with goodness.  Sometimes it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with grief.  Sometimes it’s backed into a corner.  Sometimes it comes roaring out full-force full-on.  Sometimes it’s so quiet you can barely hear it.  Sometimes it mix-matches with fierce & mighty.  Sometimes it comes knocking at the door with flowers.  Sometimes it appears just when you fall to your knees.  Sometimes it finds its way back home to you.  Sometimes it walks out the door forever.  Sometimes it’s the word no.  Sometimes it’s the word yes.  Sometimes it’s the pen.  Sometime’s it’s the brush.  Sometimes it’s the stranger at a gas station.  Sometimes it’s the neighbor you never knew.  Sometimes it’s the old friend who shows up unexpectedly.  Sometimes it’s opening a closet door. Sometimes it’s declaring your worth. Sometimes it’s standing up. Sometime’s it’s speaking up. Sometime’s it’s I’m sorry. Sometime’s it’s I forgive you. Sometime’s it’s I love you.   Sometimes it’s a raised hand.  Sometime’s it’s a raised fist.    Sometime’s it’s rising up. And sometimes it takes one seventy-eight year old feisty tough broad to prove that yes, Goddess yes, a woman’s place is mostly definitely in the House.

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.

Talk to your child, not your mobile | Brief letters

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 06:42
Advice for modern parents | Dotterels | Christmas recipes | Austerity | Crescendos

In the early 2000s I produced a booklet, Talk to Your Child, which was funded by Sure Start. The text to one of the photos in the book was “Talk to your child, not your mobile” (Let’s take the baby for a scroll, Weekend, 8 December). I wore a badge with the same slogan on it, and wrote to various MPs raising my concerns about the excessive use of phones by parents but never received a response. I’m retired now but talk to my own grandchildren on buses, in parks, anywhere in fact, in the hope that some parents will get the message and put their phones away.
Shelagh Alletson
London

• Paul Evans quotes John Clare as referring to an “old huge ash-dotterel” (Country diary, 12 December). I’ve never heard the word dotterel since my Northamptonshire grandfather (who died in 1977) used it to mean a sapling in a hedgerow, so it’s good to know it still survives in some form. The two trunks growing from a single base are presumably because the seedling tree was bitten off by some grazing animal and grew back with an extra shoot.
Paul Houghton
Shutlanger, Northamptonshire

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Regular female-led football coverage ‘generations’ away, says Jacqui Oatley

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 05:13
• Broadcaster supports Women in Football’s #WhatIf campaign
• Fewer than a third of 2018 major sport roles filled by women

The sports broadcaster Jacqui Oatley has said it will take “a couple of generations” before women working in football as reporters, commentators and presenters is seen as normal.

“When I was growing up I didn’t think it was an option to work in football,” said Oatley, who went on to become the first female commentator on Match of the Day.

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Let’s Send One More Woman to DC in 2019

Women's eNews - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 15:33

 

From the Executive Director

Lori Sokol, PhD

As 2018 comes to an end, Women’s eNews is planning for the future. The results of the November midterm elections ensure that we will see a lot of change in Congress next year due to many new faces in government, including the first Native American congresswomen (Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland), the first Muslim congresswomen (Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib), the first black congresswoman from Massachusetts (Ayanna Pressley), the first Latina congresswoman from Texas (Veronica Escobar), and the youngest woman to be elected to Congress (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez). In total, there will be 42 women as incoming members of Congress who will be walking the halls of the House of Representatives and the Senate next year.

And we want to add one more.

In honor of the fellowship named after our founder, Rita Henley Jensen, Women’s eNews is planning to hire a seasoned female reporter, based in Washington, DC, to provide immediate, insightful, and compelling coverage of the momentum building on Capitol Hill. From on-the-ground news coverage of Nancy Pelosi’s new role as House Speaker, to the future of women’s reproductive rights; from new plans to add changing tables in the congressional members-only bathrooms at the Capitol, to talks to possibly change voting schedules so that parents can video chat with their children to help them with homework, Women’s eNews will be there to report on it all.

But we can’t do it without you, our loyal readers and supporters. I hope you will therefore consider making a year-end gift to help us reach our $50,000 goal to hire, train and house our 2019 Rita Henley Jensen fellow in DC!

To help make your decision a little easier, we would like to provide you with a digital compendium of all of the articles written by our 2018 Rita Henley Jensen fellow, Christina Saint Louis, a rising-senior at Barnard College of Columbia University. You will find it by clicking here.

The entire staff at Women’s eNews would like to thank you in advance for your continued support of the honest, factual and transparent journalism you have come to expect as a Women’s eNews subscriber. We look forward to continuing to deliver these professional standards of journalism in the coming year,  and beyond.

Wishing you a joyous and healthy Holiday Season and New Year!

In solidarity,

Lori Sokol, PhD

 

 

Women-led films dominate at the box office, study finds

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

Media research agencies found that films with female leads that pass the Bechdel test did better than male-led equivalents at every budget level

Blockbuster films with female leads outperform male-led equivalents at the global box office, a new study has reported.

In a report compiled by media research agency Shift7 in collaboration with leading agency CAA, revenue for 350 high-grossing films released between 2014 and 2017 was assessed, and the average results for female-led films did best, at every budget level.

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Chinese women trafficked to UK 'being failed by Home Office'

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

Campaigners say victims being locked up for long periods and being denied medical help

A worrying number of vulnerable Chinese women, many of whom are trafficking victims, are being detained under threat of deportation, campaigners and lawyers have warned.

Several of the women have been picked up in immigration raids on restaurants, brothels and massage parlours, campaigners said, adding that trafficking victims are being held in detention often with no legal representation or access to interpreters, and have medical needs that are going unmet.

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Female scholars are marginalised on Wikipedia because it's written by men | Victoria Leonard

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 21:00

I’m writing entries about celebrated female figures to make male-dominated online spaces more inclusive

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia edited collectively by a global community, arguably determines the narrative about who has power and influence in our world. It is the largest global source of information and the fifth most visited website in the world; the English-language Wikipedia had more than 7.7bn page views in October.

But Wikipedia has a gender bias that really bites: between 84-91% of editors are men. The vast majority of people who create this incredible knowledge resource come from a very narrow demographic. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, 83% of biographies on Wikipedia are about men.

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Overcoming My Fear By Pressing ‘Post’

Women's eNews - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 14:05

I could feel my stomach tightening as my finger hovered over the ‘Post’ button. I swallowed, trying to push the nerves back down my throat. What was going on? It was just an Instagram post, right? A simple square, a picture, some text. Nothing life-changing. Just a quick announcement about an event a few weeks in the future. So why was I so anxious?

Last winter, I created Girl Speak, an event-based organization built to foster education and action on issues affecting teenage girls, as an answer to the calling I’d felt for years. When I first started labeling myself a feminist in middle school, I began searching for a way to become more engaged in social justice work and start making more of an impact on the world.

I struggled to find a central cause to undertake, for which I felt a strong connection. For a long time I did volunteer work here and there and posted many rants on social media, but my efforts felt unfocused. I was drifting. I told myself I wanted to be an activist, but I wasn’t acting on anything. It felt like a betrayal — a lie.

At the same time, I was examining my connection to Judaism and as my Jewish identity evolved, so did my dedication to tikkun olam. My religious faith became deeply intertwined with my concept of community and global service; one did not exist without the other. Suddenly, my lack of focus and action became a crisis of both my feminist and spiritual selves.

One day, though, I figured out my direction.

I can vividly remember the thought that went through my head, “Write what you know.” It had been hammered into me as a writer, a North Star to follow in the search for inspiration, and it occurred to me that there was no reason it couldn’t apply to my activism as well. I didn’t need to search for a cause; there was so much work to be done in the realm of my own experiences.

I began brainstorming Girl Speak as an answer to the questions I had about myself: What does it mean to have self-confidence? How can I work on claiming space and owning my voice? How do I navigate the mind-boggling world that is a high school social life? I spent weeks figuring out how I wanted Girl Speak to look, who I could bring in to share their knowledge and, even, what my Instagram feed theme would be.

Emma Cohn’s first “Girl Speak” event on body image featuring body image activist Lisa Zahiya (far left).

In the end, I created an event-based organization; each event centers around talks led by community experts on topics like body image and confidence, paired with workshops on the material I design. My intention has been to craft a space dedicated to education, discussion, and action around real issues affecting teenage girls. And it had all led to this moment: pressing ‘Post’ on the announcement I’d created for my very first ever Girl Speak event.

I was so proud of the work I’d done and couldn’t wait to share it with the world, so why was I having such a hard time? Why was I stalling? Why do I still stop each time I wanted to post a new event or to reach out to potential attendees? Because opening oneself up to the world is terrifying.

No matter how proud we are of what we create, and no matter how confident we are that it’s important and beneficial and beautiful, putting it out there for everyone to see and judge takes a lot of bravery, and vulnerability. Additionally,  asking people to evaluate your creation and decide if it is worthwhile for them to dedicate their time feels highly personal; it often feels like I’m asking people to decide if they think I’m good enough…if I’m important…if I’m worthwhile.

I’ve struggled tremendously with self-promotion. I often feel like I’m bragging or being arrogant, or that what I’ve created isn’t really worth attention. It’s an issue that’s based in both a fundamental questioning of the space I take up (or don’t take up) in the world, as well as a fear of putting myself out there. Luckily, in these moments of wavering, I have people to whom I can turn. I look to my sheroes, the women risking far more than minor mockery from my schoolmates to stand up for what they believe in, and I look to my faith. Stories of influential Jewish women in history remind me that there’s a long line of powerful Jewish women standing behind me, women who have my back and who are ready to catch me if I fall. And, through it all, I’ve realized that in the end that I just have to do it. I have to press ‘Post’ because amazing things may result? My first Girl Speak event was a success and each one since has taught me, as well its attendees, more and more.

Learning how to share what I create while asking for people’s attention is going to be a lifelong process as I continue to build my self-confidence and become more comfortable with my vulnerability. It’s therefore a journey I’m willing to take because I now know that I do deserve to own my space, and that my work matters.

Sexual assault victims waiting a year for counselling, MPs say

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 08:05

Specialist services for victims could disappear completely due to lack of funding, report finds

Sexual assault victims are waiting up to 14 months for counselling as specialist support services struggle to cope with unprecedented demand, MPs have said.

A report by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on sexual violence said specific support services for victims could cease to exist completely due to the lack of funding and a surge in the number of people needing help.

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‘I think my husband thinks Santa does it all’: why women dread the emotional labour of Christmas

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 02:00

Buying presents, decorating the tree, food shopping – it’s all part of the festive run-up. But what is often forgotten is the extra work women do in smoothing over complex family emotions

If you’re a woman in a heterosexual relationship, chances are that you’re the one doing a disproportionate amount of the work this Christmas: shopping for presents, wrapping them, making up spare beds and decorating the tree, organising the cooking, clearing up the wrapping paper and discarded ribbons, cleaning the plates and storing the leftovers, and a thousand other physical chores in between. The Office for National Statistics has found that women do 40% more housework and childcare than men. A recent nationwide poll even suggested that British men will spend 11 hours over the Christmas period hiding away from their families. One colleague remarked to me that she has no idea where her husband thinks all the presents magically appear from. “Maybe he still believes in Santa!”

Over the past few years, however, there has been a growing awareness not just of the unpaid domestic chores that women take on, but also of the more subtle, unnoticed and unrewarded tasks: the burden of what has become widely known as “emotional labour”. At no time is this burden heavier than at Christmas.

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Indifference to sexual violence eats away at us all, say Nobel pair

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 06:19

We’re putting commerce before victims, argue Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad

The Nobel laureates Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad have called on the world to protect victims of wartime sexual violence as they angrily criticised indifference to the plight of women and children in conflict in their peace prize acceptance speeches.

The gold medals were presented to Mukwege, a Congolese gynaecologist who has spent his career treating tens of thousands of rape survivors, and Murad, a Yazidi woman from Iraq who was kidnapped and kept as a slave by an Isis judge, raped and beaten every day, before she escaped and became a human rights campaigner.

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The Garrick Club might finally admit women. But why would any woman want to go there? | Chitra Ramaswamy

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 06:00

As the 187-year-old club once again discusses whether to admit women, it is eye-opening to discover how they view ‘ladies’

Women, or to use the correct anachronistic language “ladies”, rest assured. One more door might perhaps – but probably not – be one day creaking ever so slightly ajar to admit some of us. (Though not welcoming us, understand.) While we busy ourselves despairing over the fact that 27 countries still require women to obey their husbands by law, the Garrick Club has been pondering the deeply divisive question of whether to permit female members. Again.

Honestly, this so-called question – which, no joke, has led incensed members to rip pages from leather-bound ledgers and to snip out a woman’s name written in the Garrick’s hallowed candidates’ book with a pair of scissors – seems to come around as often as MasterChef these days. Except the format is more predictable. Really it’s a wonder how the 1,400 members of this 187-year-old bastion of white male privilege have any time left for the banter, shoulder-rubbing, dissection of objective facts, consumption of whisky and off-the-cuff networking after so much energy is spent considering whether the club would be critically endangered by the paid-up presence of a lady.

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Self-Worth vs. Net Worth: An Interview with Gloria Steinem

Women's eNews - Sun, 12/09/2018 - 16:30

Letting Her Truth Take The Lead

One of money’s greatest gifts is that it can reflect back when we are, and are not, living in step with who we truly are. Through more than two decades of work as a financial journalist, I have learned so much about human nature by observing the choices and beliefs people bring to their financial lives. We often overlook how money can help bring about a level of awareness that helps us move beyond false conditioning.

Money mirrors, and their power, are coming to mind as I reflect on a conversation I had with Gloria Steinem about her relationship with money. As someone who has the pleasure of having Gloria as a friend, I am inspired, but not surprised, by how her relationship with money embodies who she truly is:

                 “If I had one lesson to convey about money, it is this. Money has been used to rank us. It could be used to link us. You and I can decide.”  – Gloria Steinem

Early Lesson$

For better or worse, a tremendous part of our financial behavior and belief systems are set by childhood conditioning – the ways in which we saw money handled in our formative years. Steinem is a study in this.

“As a child, I used to go with my father to Household Finance – a high-interest lender for people who couldn’t qualify for bank loans – and listen to my otherwise funny and independent father as he made a brave, but nervous, case for his dependability and our family need to an impervious guy behind a desk,” she shared.

“I’ve never borrowed a penny in my life, no doubt, because I didn’t want to be vulnerable to a humiliating guy behind a desk. Though now I have a mortgage, for most of my life, I never borrowed a penny. My father was always in debt, and bill collectors coming to the door were scary to me as a child. I’ve always avoided that.”

Steinem’s observations of her mother’s financial behavior also greatly informed her own relationship with money.

“At home, my mother used to save change and dollar bills in a big glass jar in the closet, ‘just in case our car was re-possessed or there was some other disaster.’ On leaving any restaurant, she also put sugar packets in her purse,” said Steinem.

        “Neither the Household Finance guy’s condescension, nor my mother’s worry, seemed to have anything to do with who my parents really were.”Gloria Steinem

Fighting Fear With Self-Sufficiency

Whether it’s that we won’t have enough, we won’t make enough, or we will not be able to take care of ourselves, everyone has one money fear, or ten. Steinem’s was that she would end up a bag lady, although she recently pointed out to me that she’s never held down a ‘steady’ job. I was always sure I would end up as a bag lady, a fear I handled by thinking, ‘It’s a life like any other.’ I’ll just organize the other bag ladies,” she said.

I learned to support myself by different stages of doing it, from working as a salesgirl after high school and on Saturdays, to being a lifeguard in summers during college, to writing for newspapers and tourists when I lived in India, to freelancing as a writer in New York. I think one of the most important things I learned about money is that I could support myself and buy freedom, despite all the instruction to my generation of women to marry a good provider.”

There is a saying that for women, life begins at 50. For Steinem, that’s when her efforts to preserve and build wealth kicked in. “I began to save money after 50, and I also lucked into buying an apartment at the all-time low of real estate,” she continues. “I have to say that owning my home, plus a pension fund, did finally do away with my bag lady fantasy. I plan to live to be 100, and in the event of a shortfall, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have to burden any one of my friends too much. They help you live longer and are a form of insurance.”

Money Myths, Gender, and Power

While the incredibly humble feminist icon would likely demure at the statement that her life is a shining example of how to have a healthy emotional and compassionate relationship with money, her observations reveal her wisdom and insightful nature. “I’ve noticed that friends with a lot of money worry at least as much: Are they being ripped off? Is someone being truly friendly or just looking for a contribution?” “One of the advantages of being a female human being is that you can blend in with a variety of social groups,” Steinem asserts. “I’ve witnessed people–more men than women since power is still supposed to be masculine – for whom no amount of money is enough. They like to make people jump, regardless of where they are jumping to. Like addicts looking for a fix, they are locked into defeating others. Our premiere business schools should give a course called, Money Is Boring, with a special seminar: How Much Is Enough?”

The Wisdom in Reflection

We often overlook the invitation our money mirrors extend to help us live more authentic lives, and the roadmap they provide to the place where our choices and values are aligned. We should embrace feelings of conflict as we look in the mirror at the varying aspects of our financial lives, because those feelings are the sign posts that show where we need to take a different turn if we are to truly live authentic lives.

“Altogether, we each deserve enough to eat, a home, and a little dancing, but after that, I’ve discovered money doesn’t change who we really are,” Steinem says. Pearls of wisdom that can remind us all that net worth has absolutely nothing to do with self-worth.

 

About the Author: Stacey Tisdale, a Women’s eNews Board Member, is an award-winning on-air financial journalist who has reported on business and financial issues for more than 20 years. She has contributed to some of the largest and most prestigious news organizations in the world including CNN, CBS, NBC’s Today Show, PBS, ABC’s Good Morning America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Black Enterprise, and Al Jazeera America. Stacey is also president and CEO of financial media and education content provider Mind Money Media Inc., and authored a book titled,’ The True Cost of Happiness: The Real Story Behind Managing Your Money.‘ (Publisher: John Wiley & Sons).

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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