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Science finally admits that it’s a myth that we fall off a fertility cliff at 35 | Arwa Mahdawi

Fri, 04/09/2021 - 18:00

A new study has extended women’s reproductive life spans to 37.1 but the earlier figure was always arbitrary and unscientific

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In a difficult year, my female friends have made everything a little better | Emma Withers

Fri, 04/09/2021 - 10:00

The talking and sharing of the things we love feels like something unmissable. It makes me sit up a little straighter

I have a lot of female friends. It was not always like this, but somewhere between having very few female friends in my early 20s and my now late 30s, I started to furiously seek out the company of other women. That I came late to it is only indicative of my own insecurities; women it seemed to me were reflective surfaces mirroring my own failings – all their talents and glories diminishing my own, but now that I more or less like myself I am able to embrace all the excellent women I know. Sometimes I catch myself in the amazement that I should have the good luck to be surrounded by so many excellent women.

Related: My old diaries are a capsule of myself, and I am protective over that girl | Emma Withers

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Stomachs in? Return of low-rise jeans leads to social media flare-up

Thu, 04/08/2021 - 02:47

UK online searches up 73% since last year but some users are railing against the ‘bad taste’ trend

One of the most polarising fashions from the 2000s is making a return: the low-rise, stomach revealing jeans. Models Hailey Bieber and Bella Hadid have been seen in the style and, according to Digitalloft.co.uk, online searches have increased by 73% in the past 12 months.

The trend has been lighting up social media but not for the right reasons. Like the divisive skinny jeans, the return of the 20-year-old staple made famous by Paris Hilton, Destiny’s Child and Britney Spears has given Twitter commentators cause for concern.

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Hidden human rights crises threaten post-Covid global security – Amnesty

Wed, 04/07/2021 - 19:00

‘Crises will multiply’ if escalating repression by governments under pretext of pandemic ignored, says secretary general

Neglected human rights crises around the world have the potential to undermine already precarious global security as governments continue to use Covid as a cover to push authoritarian agendas, Amnesty International has warned.

The organisation said ignoring escalating hotspots for human rights violations and allowing states to perpetrate abuses with impunity could jeopardise efforts to rebuild after the pandemic.

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Drama about Flint water crisis takes major theatre award

Wed, 04/07/2021 - 10:00

US activist and dramatist Erika Dickerson-Despenza wins Susan Smith Blackburn prize with the play cullud wattah

A “bold and urgent” play about the Flint water crisis, seen through the eyes of an all-female Michigan family, has won this year’s Susan Smith Blackburn prize for female, transgender and non-binary playwrights. The award went to Erika Dickerson-Despenza for cullud wattah, part of a tetralogy about water which the playwright hopes will “raise consciousness and radicalise” audiences.

“I’m a black woman who has grown up in a family of primarily black women,” said Dickerson-Despenza. “I wanted to write about women living under siege – environmental racism, classism and gender dynamics, and what this does to women and girls in the black midwest. Because I’m a grassroots organiser and activist, I think of all my work as a vehicle. My goal is to radicalise people … I will explore an issue in a creative way to raise collective consciousness.”

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Poland accused of abandoning domestic violence victims

Wed, 04/07/2021 - 03:25

Government criticised over bill that will in effect withdraw country from key international convention

Women’s rights activists and opposition MPs have accused the Polish government of abandoning victims of domestic violence as a bill that would in effect take the country out of a key international convention on violence against women moved through parliament.

A vote last week on its first reading prompted demonstrations around Warsaw, including at the parliament, constitutional court and education ministry. Activists fear that victims of domestic violence will be left with no support or protection.

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Women reach 40 and hit their stride … only to be cruelly shoved aside at work | Rachel Shabi

Tue, 04/06/2021 - 21:00

It’s no coincidence that women are sidelined once they become confident enough to stop conforming to sexist standards

Perhaps you have heard about the mysterious case of the disappearing older woman, who almost overnight seems to vanish from the workplace, the media landscape and society’s line of vision. As others have chronicled, women over 40 face a sucker punch of ageism wrapped in sexism: as our youth recedes, our currency crashes.

This hits hard at work, where we already know that multiple barriers stymie careers for those women who decide to have children. The unequal burden of unpaid labour only adds an extra blockade. Throw in some everyday workplace sexism: role-stereotyping, devaluing, appearance-judging and harassment dressed up as banter. Put it all together and it turns out that these endless obstacles do in fact obstruct, leaving fewer older women in senior jobs, or even in work at all. But the absolute kicker to this trajectory is that the sidelining takes place precisely at the time when many women find their confidence and hit their stride.

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Lena Dunham announces plus-size fashion range: ‘There’s so much judgment’

Mon, 04/05/2021 - 08:04

Girls creator aims to fight idea that bigger women are ‘stupid’ and remove ‘huge barrier to entry’ into the fashion world

Announcing her own plus-size fashion range on Monday, the writer and actor Lena Dunham said her aim was to stop the perception that plus-size women are “stupid”.

The five-piece collaboration with 11 Honoré follows the Girls creator’s catwalk debut last year, for 16Arlington at London Fashion Week.

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People with eating disorders in England denied help as 'BMI not low enough'

Mon, 04/05/2021 - 01:14

Experts warn of surge in condition in pandemic, and say patients being put in ‘life-threatening position’ to lose more weight

Growing numbers of women and men in England with eating disorders are being denied support because they are not considered to be thin enough to warrant it, a leading psychiatrist and other experts have warned in a briefing shared with ministers.

Against the backdrop of a fourfold rise in people admitted to hospital with eating disorders during the Covid pandemic, doctors said body mass index (BMI) was too often used as a blunt measure to decide whether someone should get treatment.

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My rock’n’roll friendship with Lindy Morrison

Sun, 04/04/2021 - 01:00

She was in the Go-Betweens, Tracey Thorn was in the Marine Girls, their 30-year friendship enhanced both their lives

On 31 March 1983, she burst into my dressing room, asking at the top of her voice, “Has anyone here got a lipstick I can borrow?” I looked up to see a tall woman in a Lurex dress, with a mass of blonde hair. Our two bands, Marine Girls and the Go-Betweens, were on the same bill at the Lyceum in London. I was 20, and she was 31. I was a tentative singer, she was a loud, outspoken drummer. I was from suburbia, she was from Brisbane, Australia. And I was still a student, while she had already been a social worker, then joined a feminist punk band called Xero. She’d hitchhiked across Europe with a girlfriend, she’d seen every art film, read every avant-garde book. She’d slept at Shakespeare and Co in Paris, she’d swum with Roger Moore, she could recite Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics. But I didn’t know any of this. I just knew that she looked like self-belief in a minidress, and that she had arrived in my life. “Who was that?” I asked when she had gone. “That,” came the reply, “was Lindy Morrison.”

It took a couple of years for us to become friends. We were opposites in many ways, and at different stages of life, but there were similarities: we both lived with the boyfriend we were in a band with; we had strong opinions about everything – feminism, love and art; we liked Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, Patti Smith, Simone de Beauvoir, and we had no time for a lot of the men who surrounded us in the music business. I’d watch her on stage, fierce and sweating behind the drum kit, long hair flying in her face, all energy, all concentration, and I was proud to be her friend.

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Lockdown ‘glow-up’? We’ve done enough already | Eva Wiseman

Sat, 04/03/2021 - 21:00

Our bodies do so much for us, when we will we appreciate and celebrate them, rather than focus on flaws

A time-lapse video of my body over lockdown would have seen the kinds of bloom and decay of a felled forest or demolished building. Not that I’m comparing it to any structure of architectural interest – let me be clear, my body is very much not “the Shard”, more “the second chicken shop you come to if you turn right out of the Shard and start walking towards Whitechapel”.

I began lockdown pregnant and thoughtful, easing myself gently into cushioned chairs, my moisturised face turned to the sun. Over the following months my body softened and ruined; my makeup-less skin confused by light, mottled, then wattled; my hair choosing its own adventure every morning. Sedentary and unsatisfied, I have aged eight years in the past three months alone. I look in the mirror and see a bag for life.

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Mere confession won’t cut it – men must do the hard work of repentance and change | Brad Chilcott

Sat, 04/03/2021 - 10:00

We must believe women, learn from the women in our lives and reflect on what is broken to eradicate ancient evils

The last thing we need right now is a bloke showing up to announce themselves as the saviour of the world. It would be fair to say we’ve tried that. For millennia.

The facts speak for themselves. Ninety-five per cent of all violence – against women, children and other men – is perpetrated by men. It will take at least 26 more years to bridge the gender pay gap. Women who are raped lose their careers and are told to be more careful.

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Women’s anger at ‘abuse of power’ during Bristol police raids

Sat, 04/03/2021 - 08:41

Two protesters claimed they were subject to terrifying ordeals at the hands of male officers pretending to be postal workers

The police have been accused of an abuse of power by using anti-terror style tactics against protesters after two young women claimed they endured terrifying ordeals at the hands of male officers pretending to be postal workers.

The women were caught up in a series of undercover raids by Avon and Somerset Police as part of the force’s high-profile investigation into a fortnight of the “kill the bill” protests in Bristol. So far 50 people have been arrested in connection with clashes during protests against the government’s police and crime bill, which will give the police wide-ranging powers over demonstrations.

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Why Silicon Valley's most astute critics are all women | John Naughton

Sat, 04/03/2021 - 05:00

Tailors and dressmakers long ago worked out that men and women are different shapes and sizes. The news has yet to reach Palo Alto

In November 2019, which now seems like an aeon ago, I wrote about an interesting correlation I had stumbled across. It was that the authors of the most insightful critiques of digital technology as deployed by the tech companies were women. I listed 20 of them and added that I made no claims for the statistical representativeness of my sample. It might simply have been the result of confirmation bias – I read more tech commentary than is good for anyone and it could be that the stuff that sticks in my memory happens to resonate with my views.

Sixteen months later, I find that my list of formidable female tech critics has extended. It now includes (in alphabetical order): Janet Abbate, Lilian Edwards, Maria Farrell, Timnit Gebru, Wendy Hall, Mar Hicks, Kashmir Hill, Lina Khan, Pratyusha Kalluri, Rebecca Mackinnon, Margaret Mitchell, Safiya Noble, Kavita Philip, Mitali Thakor, Corinna Schlombs, Dina Srinivasan and Carissa Véliz. If any of these are unknown to you then any good search engine will point you to them and to their work. Again, the usual caveats apply. I’m not claiming statistical representativeness, just that as someone whose various day jobs involve reading a lot of tech critiques, these are the thinkers who stand out.

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The Pinnacle Club: rock-climbing for women – archive, 2 April 1921

Thu, 04/01/2021 - 18:30

2 April 1921 A letter to the Manchester Guardian announces the formation of a new club

A club which was certain to come has come at last. A letter which we print elsewhere tells us that the Pinnacle Club, for women rock-climbers, was formed on March 26. Of course climbing on rock, snow, and ice has long been successfully practised by women. A Manchester woman was a member of one of the earliest parties to climb the Napes Needle; one of the most pleasant Alpine stories is that of the early traverse of the Sesiajoch, on Monte Rosa, by two resolute English spinsters, conducting a terrified “guide,” and rumour says that one of the most famous of Alpine pioneers used to divide peaks into three classes, in an ascending order of difficulty: (I) those which he climbed with other male amateurs, (2) those which he climbed by himself, and (3) those which he climbed with his aunt.

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French woman overturns conviction for accusing man of sexual harassment

Wed, 03/31/2021 - 06:01

Sandra Muller, who founded French version of #MeToo, wins appeal against defamation ruling

A French appeals court has overturned the defamation conviction of the woman behind France’s answer to the #MeToo movement, who was sued by the man she accused of sexual harassment.

Sandra Muller, a French journalist, coined the viral hashtag #BalanceTonPorc (“expose your pig”) to describe the TV executive Éric Brion.

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Swiss army to begin issuing female recruits with women's underwear

Tue, 03/30/2021 - 16:25

Female recruits to stop being given male underwear in a bid to up recruitment

The Swiss armed forces is taking a big step to recruit more women – by no longer making female recruits wear men’s underwear.

At present, all recruits are issued with “loose-fitting men’s underwear, often in larger sizes”, the BBC reported. In a trial set to begin in April, the Swiss army said women would be issued with two sets of female underwear – one for warmer months and one for colder months.

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Grace Tame expresses incredulity at PM's choice of Amanda Stoker as assistant minister for women

Tue, 03/30/2021 - 13:23

Scott Morrison either ignorant of issues or making calculated moves, Australian of the Year says

The Australian of the Year, Grace Tame, has criticised Scott Morrison for elevating Amanda Stoker as the new assistant minister for women, declaring that the Queensland senator had supported a “fake rape crisis tour” that inflicted great suffering on survivors.

Tame said Morrison had exhibited either very poor judgment, or cultural calculation, when he elevated the Liberal National party conservative who had conducted public advocacy “aimed at falsifying all counts of sexual abuse on campuses across the nation”.

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One in 10 young Australian women believe work culture in federal politics is safe

Tue, 03/30/2021 - 12:02

Poll released as Victorian law requires public sector to tackle pay gap and sexual harassment

As federal parliament continues to grapple with the fallout from the sexual harassment of staff, three-quarters of Australian women aged 18 to 21 say they do not believe that women in politics are treated equally to men (73%), rising to almost eight in 10 among women aged between 22 and 25 (78%).

A poll of 507 women, conducted by YouGov for the charity for girls’ equality Plan International Australia, found that the perception of inequality applied across the political spectrum. Eighty-nine per cent of Green voters, 77% of Labor voters and 71% of Coalition voters do not believe that women involved in politics today are treated equally to men.

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The disappearance of department stores will rob us of a certain kind of magic | Kitty Drake

Mon, 03/29/2021 - 00:26

As John Lewis and other big names cut retail space, we’re not just losing shops – but spaces to dream in

There is an advert I like from the glory days of the department store: “I was lonely,” a woman says, “so I went to Selfridges … one of the biggest and brightest places I could think of.” Selfridge’s cut 450 jobs in 2020; Harrods axed 700. Debenhams went into administration in April 2019 and House of Fraser has been taken over by Mike Ashley. More than 17,500 shops disappeared from British high streets last year, but the closure of 16 John Lewis stores feels particularly significant. When lockdown lifts, half of the flagship John Lewis store on London’s Oxford Street may be converted into office space.

The high street has been in decline since the growth of out-of-town shopping centres in the 80s but despite this, John Lewis had maintained a reputation for solidity. Founded in 1864, the company is the UK’s largest employee-owned business; each worker has part-ownership of the company and a share of its annual profits. Yet Covid-19 restrictions have had a devastating effect on high-street businesses, particularly those in city centres. This is the first year in the company’s history that it has reported an annual loss, and the first time since 1953 that John Lewis won’t pay staff a bonus.

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