Women's News from the Web

Gloria Steinem: ‘Go too far, or you’re not going far enough’

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 07/04/2020 - 03:00

The feminist activist, 86, on worldwide sisterhood, Spaceship Earth, sexual harrassment in the 1970s and being bitten by rats

My parents were kind and funny and taught me that kindness and a sense of humour are invaluable. Much later, I learned that in the oldest cultures laughter is the only free emotion. Obviously, fear can be compelled. So can love, if we’re dependent for long enough, we enmesh even with a captor in order to survive. But you can’t compel laughter. It’s a flash of recognition. Never go anywhere you’re not allowed to laugh, including church.

I became a grown-up too early, from 10 to 17, a small person responsible for a big person. My mother was ill and often couldn’t look after herself. I never knew what I would find when I got home. Since then I’ve had friends who were the children of alcoholics, and I’ve learned we share some of the same feelings.

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Beauty sector angry and puzzled as pubs reopen, but not salons

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 05:54

Ministers accused of sexism for overlooking industry in lockdown easing plan

After three months in lockdown, many had assumed the days of DIY pedicures would soon be over. But, unlike cinemas and hairdressers, nail bars and beauty and tanning salons will be forced to keep their doors shut on Saturday, with no idea when they can reopen them.

“It’s really disappointing,” said Alix Claxton-Wood, the owner of Sheffield’s Hudson & Wood beauty salon. “We had a fully booked diary for the day that we were going to open.”

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Cancellation might feel good, but it's not activism | Suzanne Moore

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 04:55

While denouncing someone can get you high, it ignores human complexity, and is no substitute for the hard work of persuasion

How do you change someone’s mind? This may appear to be a simple question, but it’s a very complicated one. What makes you change your mind?

How about this: even though you tried your best in life, you had a couple of bad thoughts that I find offensive, so I make sure you lose your job and that none of our mutual friends ever speak to you again?

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Women's careers will suffer most if UK childcare sector collapses, say experts

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 07/02/2020 - 13:01

Fawcett Society flags economic imperative of supporting childcare sector in letter to Rishi Sunak

The childcare sector is facing unprecedented financial challenges due to a sharp fall in income from parents and social distancing putting limits on their capacity, MPs and business leaders have warned.

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Too many women are caught in a low-income trap. They can’t simply ‘put back’ their super | Emma Dawson

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 07/01/2020 - 18:07

Why does the government still ignore the realities of women’s financial insecurity, both during and after their working lives?

Data released by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority on Monday showed that the fears of critics of the government’s superannuation early release scheme were well placed: more than $17bn has been ripped out of Australia’s retirement savings in just two months.

Funds have paid out an average of $7,492 to at least 2.3 million Australian workers who have applied to withdraw their super as they face the loss of jobs and income due to Covid-19.

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Dear Supreme Court: Shouldn’t the ERA Be Next?

Women's eNews - Wed, 07/01/2020 - 10:37

In the three minutes before she clicked onto our phone call, Carol Jenkins heard the breaking news: “The Supreme Court decision is out.”

It was an incredible week for social justice. That day, June 15, the Supreme Court ruled that LGBTQ and transgender workers were protected from workplace discrimination.  Simultaneously, hundreds of thousands of people around the country marched through the streets, protesting against racism and police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. The energy was ineffable. But something was missing. 

“Everything was happening,” said Jenkins, co-president and CEO of the ERA Coalition and Fund for Women’s Equality. “We were sending out congratulatory messages. Black and brown people count now! The Supreme Court said LGBTQ people counted now! And then we [at the coalition] looked at each other and said, ‘When exactly will women count?’ We — and Black women especially — are still at the bottom of consideration.” 

Unequal pay and lower paying jobs, unpaid labor at home, workplace discrimination, no equal protection in court —  women’s disparity has been a long-raging issue. And as the Coronavirus pandemic sweeps the United States, it further exposes the holes within its systems, some of which have left women — especially women of color, especially mothers — with additional struggles to navigate. 

These issues have kept the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the conversation. First proposed in 1923, the amendment aims to include women in the United States Constitution; currently, there is nothing written in the historic document that calls for equality based on sex, preventing women and men from legally sharing equal rights. In January 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA, and the following month the House of Representatives voted to remove the time limit on its decision to ratify the amendment. The Senate’s decision is still pending.  

While no single law can secure anyone from the impact of a pandemic, having the ERA in place is a crucial longterm step. 

“A huge, important part of the Equal Rights Amendment is that it’s able to lift women’s status in our society,” said Bettina Hager, D.C. director of the ERA Coalition and Fund for Women’s Equality. “If we did have a more equal society, I think there would be different laws around domestic violence, and there would hopefully be laws around healthcare and childcare that would help women.”

Before the pandemic, families were already trying to navigate the childcare system to find high-quality yet affordable care, while juggling school with work demands. Now for some, it’s become a nearly impossible situation. Jessica Mason, senior policy analyst for the National Partnership for Women & Families, recently said the effect on many of her coworkers has exceeded the stress of the virus itself: “Many are looking after their children and acting as home-school teachers while working full time, and others are caring for older relatives and family members who need extra support during this time.”

Mason added, “It has really driven home all the work that we’ve been dedicated to for so long around the impossibility of managing work and family and caregiving without really supportive policies.”

It’s been especially difficult for women, considering that they comprise a large portion of essential workers throughout the pandemic, including 78% of health care workers, according to The New York Times. They also represent the majority of employees who were among the first to be cut, such as retail and housekeeping. 

For too many women, these conflicts are nothing new. Once having children, women historically have been pushed out of the workforce, and for those who remain, many are only able to hold a part-time job. That has taken a toll on women’s income over time, Mason continued, resulting in less savings. And those part-time jobs are often lower quality and less likely to include benefits like paid family leave, paid sick leave or health insurance. Over the last several decades, the United States has made “glacial but measurable steps toward gender equality in some parts of the economy,” she explained, “With men taking more of an interest in equally dividing the caregiving work.” Women still shoulder the bulk of it, however, and with the economy edging toward “reopening” while school and childcare remain in flux, the country is at risk of losing at least a generation of progress for equality.

“One of the data signals that has been most disturbing to me was this spring, Mason continued. “For the first time in almost 40 years, we saw the percentage of adult women who are in the labor force drop below 50%. Geez, we already know that this has pushed people out of the workforce, but the only question is: Is that going to be long term or is it going to be temporary?”

Her uncertainty is universal. In New York City, where one of the Department of Labor’s approaches for reopening schools is to have students in the classroom on alternate days, author Deb Perlman concludes: “In the COVID economy, you’re only allowed a kid OR a job.” 

The National Partnership for Women and Families has been deep in the fight for national paid family leave and paid sick days for many years, beginning with its role in enacting the Family and Medical Leave Act in1993. The original purpose of paid family leave was to allow people to take time off from work due to a medical condition, to care for ill or injured family members, or to give birth. Now childcare has become a necessary factor to consider as well.  

“Previously we had not put childcare in that bucket because we, like so many people, had never anticipated a world where someone would need potentially weeks and weeks and weeks of time over the course of a year away from their jobs to do childcare,” Mason said. “We’re all adjusting on the fly as we deal with the situation.”

For assistance today, Mason recommends looking into the The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, emergency legislation enacted in March that offers workers two weeks of paid sick days. But it has significant, problematic gaps that disproportionately affect women, and women of color in particular, since it allows employers to exclude healthcare workers and first responders. 

“It’s egregious,” she said. “Think of women nurses or women home health aides who are providing that essential care. Those are the last people you want to have going to work sick. So many of them are also parents.” 

Mason speculates that while the COVID-19 crisis further exposes society’s gender and racial disparities, it also draws new awareness to those who haven’t paid mind to these gaps; the way women and people of color are pushed into lower paying jobs with fewer protections and fewer rights; the importance of transforming unpaid care work into paid caregiving; and how essential teachers, healthcare workers and grocery store workers are supported in the workplace. 

The mission to ratify the ERA too, has been around for almost 100 years, yet is now returning to the forefront of the political conversation. 

“It resonates with this new level of conversation that has just burst across intersectional conversation about the Black Lives Matter movement and the importance of racial equity in our economy, in our political system and in our justice system,” Mason said. “It does seem to me that there is an incredible appetite among a large, large part of the public to finally create that society and political system and economy that really reflects the best of our values.”

If true, women’s equality could be next on the docket. As Jenkins said, simply yet staunchly, “The Equal Rights Amendment would be a major force in recognizing our rights.” 

About the writer: Alyssa Fisher, who recently earned her undergraduate degree in Journalism at the University of Florida, is a 2020 fellow in the Sy Syms Journalistic Excellence Program* at Women’s eNews, funded by the Sy Syms Foundation. The Sy Syms Journalistic Excellence Program at Women’s eNews fellowship supports editorial and development opportunities for editorial interns in the pursuit of journalistic excellence.

Sy Syms Journalistic Excellence Program

The Sy Syms Journalistic Excellence program at Women’s eNews was launched in 2014 with support from the Sy Syms Foundation. The fellowship provides support and development opportunities for editorial interns in the pursuit of journalistic excellence.

“For a democracy to flourish all voices must be heard.” says Marcy Syms, a founding Trustee and President of the Sy Syms Foundation. “Through its investigative reporting Women’s eNews gets at the essence of good journalism. The Sy Syms Foundation is proud of this collaboration to support today’s newest women journalists.”

As part of its mission to create social change for women and girls through investigative reporting, Women’s eNews helps foster, train, and support the career development of new journalists with a focus on social justice and women’s rights.

To all men who are in on the ‘open secret’: you have failed us | Rhea Dhillon, Olivia McMillan and Sally Shera-Jones

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 07/01/2020 - 07:30

For all the work feminism has done, here we are in 2020 where sexual harassment is still a basic barrier to entry to the profession

When the Dyson Heydon story broke last Monday afternoon, the allegations started to fill the online chat in our workplace. For a number of women lawyers in the firm, there was a single theme running through our minds that made us all feel squeamish. Then upset. Then outright mad.

Heydon has “emphatically” denied any allegation of predatory behaviour or breaches of the law. For many of us, Heydon’s alleged sexual misconduct is not only a story about sexual harassment in the legal profession, nor about the absence of effective complaints mechanisms, nor about updating the high court’s HR policies.

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Woman loses legal challenge to NHS charges for pregnant migrants

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 07/01/2020 - 03:50

Charity and woman argued government policy hindered access to maternity healthcare

A woman who faces decades of repayments to the NHS for maternity care has lost a case in the high court challenging the government’s healthcare charging regime for migrants.

The woman, who cannot be named, brought the legal challenge along with the charity Maternity Action, which works to end inequality and improve healthcare for pregnant women.

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Sexual harassment is prevalent across all industries and sectors. We can and must stop it | Kate Jenkins

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 06/30/2020 - 07:30

My inquiry has highlighted that it has been ignored for too long. There are simple ways Australians can drive change

Conditions are ripe for Australian to change our response to, and prevention of, sexual harassment.

As Australia’s sex discrimination commissioner, I spent 18 months conducting Respect@Work, a world-first national inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces.

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Forget blokes with shovels, shouldn’t stimulus go to nurses and teachers? | Peter Lewis

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 06/29/2020 - 17:22

Workers who guide our kids into the world and care for us when we are ill are still not fully valued. This must change

There’s a direct line that runs from the harassment allegations against a retired high court judge and the emergency ward of the local hospital that bears scrutiny.

It starts with an elite profession charged with enforcing the law, where women routinely feel compelled to endure the unwanted attentions of powerful men, and wends its way through the economy and our broader society by devaluing the caring professions.

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Tony Blair won’t do housework, but Boris Johnson will do press-ups – spare me these macho politicians | Suzanne Moore

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 06/29/2020 - 06:34

While male politicians flex their muscles, women are doing double and triple shifts at home. Is the solution to this 1950s-style problem some 1970s-style consciousness-raising?

It’s wonderful when the house is tidied, the children dressed, a meal prepared, the clothes ironed. Well, not in my house. Do pop by when it’s safe to. I haven’t done any laundry since 1997. What actually is a vacuum cleaner? I may have made an omelette. Sorry, bit hazy on that one. Washing up? Not my thing. Cleaning the loo? Er … no. As for children, I was terribly good with mine. Sometimes, I fed them at night and changed nappies. Possibly. I had quite a few. What matters is that I was “both present and involved in a detailed way”. Although details of anything, least of all nappy-changing, are not my forte. Anyway, watch me pump up and down doing press-ups on a carpet that – hopefully – someone has vacuumed. This will reassure you that all is well in the world.

So, this is not actually me, slattern that I am, but some of the stuff that Tony Blair and Boris Johnson have said in interviews over the weekend. The subtext: important men don’t do housework. Blair admitted he had done no housework, been to the supermarket or even washed his own clothes since 1997. As Dominic Cummings ignores the freshly pressed suits hanging in his townhouse wardrobe to rummage in the laundry basket for the most “screw you” trackies he can find, the message is clear: “I didn’t get where I am today by being bogged down in domestic duties.” Childcare is something that other people do. (Possibly up north?) Anyway, it’s unfair to expect people to have full-on jobs and get their hands dirty. Especially when we have to wash them all the time.

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The pandemic put paid to some big arguments. Here are the ones we need to revive | Zoe Williams

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 06/28/2020 - 21:00

When coronavirus began spreading, we stopped arguing about sovereignty – and survived. But failing to address racism caused the world to erupt

I had one intoxicating gulp of the old days this week, when I got into an argument about feminism. When I say “old days”, I don’t mean the kind of intrafeminist schism we used to get into three months ago, pre-pandemic: I mean a true, vintage argument, about class, consumerism, Sheryl Sandberg, rabid possessive individualism, race, Bridget Jones, depoliticising the political, Edwina Currie, the resilience myth, social fragmentation, the whole works. (No one actually mentioned Edwina Currie, but whenever gender equality smashes against the neoliberal order, I always think about her nostalgically, if not necessarily fondly.)

If you want to know more about those weighty themes, I strongly recommend the new book by the sociologist Angela McRobbie, Feminism and the Politics of Resilience. Here are some more general observations: we have spent most of this year in intellectual hibernation, where nothing seemed important except what to do in the next 12 hours. Everything else – feminism, racism, Brexit, the climate crisis – quietly receded.

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Labour MP apologises to JK Rowling for sexual assault remark

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 06/28/2020 - 10:07

Lloyd Russell-Moyle accused author of using her experience against trans people

Labour frontbencher Lloyd Russell-Moyle has apologised to Harry Potter author JK Rowling after accusing her of using her own sexual assault as “justification” for discriminating against trans people.

Russell-Moyle, a shadow environment minister, made a public apology to Rowling after he wrote a piece in the Tribune saying he felt she had used her past experience to pass comment on a group of people who were not responsible for it.

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Egyptian belly-dancer given three-year jail term for 'inciting debauchery'

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 06/27/2020 - 11:01

Sama el-Masry was accused of posting suggestive images that violated family values

A high-profile Egyptian belly-dancer, Sama el-Masry, was sentenced to three years in prison and fined 300,000 Egyptian pounds (£15,000) on Saturday for inciting debauchery and immorality as part of a crackdown on social media postings.

El-Masry was arrested in April during an investigation into videos and photos on social media, including the popular video-sharing platform TikTok, that the public prosecution described as sexually suggestive.

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‘Parents can look at their foetus in real time’: are artificial wombs the future?

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 06/27/2020 - 00:00

Scientists are currently pushing on an ethical boundary. Will out of body gestation ever replace the experience of human birth?

The lamb is sleeping. It lies on its side, eyes shut, ears folded back and twitching. It swallows, wriggles and shuffles its gangly legs. Its crooked half-smile makes it look content, as if dreaming about gambolling in a grassy field. But this lamb is too tiny to venture out. Its eyes cannot open. It is hairless; its skin gathers in pink rolls at its neck. It hasn’t been born yet, but here it is, at 111 days’ gestation, totally separate from its mother, alive and kicking in a research lab in Philadelphia. It is submerged in fluid, floating inside a transparent plastic bag, its umbilical cord connected to a nexus of bright blood-filled tubes. This is a foetus growing inside an artificial womb. In another four weeks, the bag will be unzipped and the lamb will be born.

When I first see images of the Philadelphia lambs on my laptop, I think of the foetus fields in The Matrix, where motherless babies are farmed in pods on an industrial scale. But this is not a substitute for full gestation. The lambs didn’t grow in the bags from conception; they were taken from their mothers’ wombs by caesarean section, then submerged in the Biobag, at a gestational age equivalent to 23-24 weeks in humans. This isn’t a replacement for pregnancy yet, but it is certainly the beginning.

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Important Event Reminder: CREW | 2020 SENECA FALLS REVISITED VIRTUAL CENTENNIAL EXPERIENCE

Women's eNews - Thu, 06/25/2020 - 05:08

100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment of Women’s Right to Vote JULY 23-25, 2020 Empowering and Energizing Women in New York State and Nationally about the Importance of Voting WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT:

We will celebrate together the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment of Women’s Right to Vote following in the footsteps of the NYS suffragists, to be part of affecting change. You will experience visionary insights from our amazing speakers, legacy descendants and inspiration from the voices of the past as well as the next up and coming generation.

THE PROGRAM

A star-studded awareness event with the most incredible prominent female leadership, advocates, entrepreneurs – and inclusive and diverse audience of women as we set the tone for “Energizing the Power of our Vote in 2020!” – making our voices heard during Congressional and Presidential elections this year.

Click Below to View Virtual Event Trailer :

“CREW100 Presents: Suffrage Celebration” from iCampaignNY

PROGRAM CHAIR  PROGRAM NEW YORK STATE ADVISOR   LEGACY CO-CHAIRS 

About CREW:

Civically Re-Engaged Women (CREW) is incorporated in New York State as a national not-for profit corporation, a 501(c)3 and 501 (c) 4.   CREW provides education and training with a political focus. CREW hosts annual conferences and special events featuring best practices for winning results.  At the conferences, private and public sectors compare playbooks on efficiency, volunteerism, corporate social responsibility, and contemporary progress to prominent societal values and practices. Additionally, CREW offers subcontractor leadership and “branding” services to prominent organizations and institutions and creates original training/programming for a variety of disciplines.

To Learn More and Register, Click Here

Why does Covid-19 kill more men than women? Researchers grapple with gender mystery

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 06/24/2020 - 07:30

Australian project to remove the sex and gender biases commonly seen in medical research to study global coronavirus data for men and women separately

Why Covid-19 seems to kill more men than women, and how the virus is impacting frontline health workers who are predominantly women, are some of the unanswered questions researchers are grappling with amid the global pandemic.

On Thursday, the Australian Human Rights Institute announced it had partnered with the George Institute for Global Health to undertake two Covid-19 research projects that will remove sex and gender biases so often seen in medical research that can prevent patients from getting the best care. Traditionally, medical research has been dominated by men in lead research roles, and their medical research has involved male cells, animals and humans. It means advances in treatments have been tailored to, and based on, male biology.

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Many US women want fewer children because of pandemic, survey finds

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 06/24/2020 - 03:01

Women also having increased difficulty accessing contraception, Guttmacher Institute reports

In spite of some early predictions of a baby boom, many American women want to delay pregnancy and have fewer children because of the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey from the reproductive rights-focused Guttmacher Institute has found.

But whether they will have the access to the reproductive health services they need to fulfil those wishes is another question. The same survey reported that women are having increased difficulty accessing contraception. Shutdown orders to slow the spread of Covid-19 cost millions of women their jobs and temporarily closed health clinics they relied on.

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I encouraged my wife to be dominant, but I’m worried it’s gone too far

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 06/22/2020 - 21:00

I haven’t managed to find a space where I, too, can have my sexual needs met. I’m not sure that being submissive is what I really want

I am having a little trouble with my marriage, sexually. While I am quite kinky and highly sexual, my wife is not as comfortable with her sexuality, or communicating about it. I accept that, and have been encouraging her to open up, feel pleasure and tell me what she wants in the bedroom more. This has recently taken an unusual turn, in that I have been encouraging her to role-play being dominant over me, with some success. This has led to a lot of massages for her and very little oral sex for me! I think this is positive, but I have not managed to find a balance or find a space where I am also able to express what I want and have my needs met. I wonder if being submissive is what I truly want.

Your aim might have been to encourage her to adopt a classic BDSM dominant role, but she has interpreted it as permission to demand that her needs be met – and this is not a bad thing at all. Try to view this as it really is: an important stage in her sexual development – and yours. I am sure you know that BDSM is an advanced sexual style and that an awakening to power-exchange sex is a gradual process. Be patient. Encourage playfulness. Continue to allow her to order her pleasure from you. Very gradually, introduce the notion of switching (between dominance and submission). Besides giving you some respite, this should help her – and you – to better understand and enjoy the pleasures of fluidity, rather than rigidity, in polarised games.

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The coronavirus backlash: how the pandemic is destroying women's rights

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 06/22/2020 - 19:00

Women are bearing the brunt of the economic fallout and taking on a greater share of domestic work and childcare – while visits to the Refuge website are up 950%. Is this the biggest ever leap backward for women?

When lockdown began, Naomi initially hoped she could muddle through. She was used to working from home as a management consultant, and her boss was flexible about when the work got done. But, as a single parent to two children, seven and six, a few weeks of home schooling by day and working late into the night left her exhausted.

“I’m the school cook, cleaner and caretaker, I’m the teacher, and as well I’m trying to be the consultant after they’ve gone to bed. I realised I was going almost 24/7,” she says. So, in April, she asked to be added to her company’s furlough list; when her boss agreed, she felt nothing but relief. “I tried; I really did try. But I’m only human, and I can only be stretched so far before everything falls apart.”

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