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Gareth Southgate says his England team setup urgently needs more women

Thu, 09/16/2021 - 09:02

Manager says men’s national team training setup ‘nowhere near where we should be’ on gender equality

Gareth Southgate has said he urgently needs to hire more women to work with the England men’s football team, after accepting the current training setup is “nowhere near where we should be” when it comes to gender equality.

The England manager named just two women who currently work with the squad to prepare them for international matches. He said the Football Association as a whole was better on gender equality, with about 38% of staff being female. “But as my daughter said to me: ‘Oh, that’s good is it?’”

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No shelf respect for the suffragettes | Brief letters

Thu, 09/16/2021 - 05:55

Misplaced books | Scathing critiques | Hungry children | Tea scum | Lord Frost

I empathise with Malorie Blackman who discovered her novels tucked away on a shelf marked “multicultural” (‘Hope is the spark’, 11 September). Some years ago, in a branch of a well-known chain looking for books on the suffragettes, I searched the history section and then the politics section with no success. A member of staff directed me to a tiny section marked “women’s studies”.
Alison Botterill
Cardiff

• When I was an undergraduate at Edinburgh, our philosophy lecturer was a Prof Walsh, whose book on David Hume I had avidly devoured. Spotting a Hume question in an exam paper, I immediately set forth Walsh’s interpretation, anticipating a good mark. I was disappointed to receive only 50%, accompanied by the wry comment: “Read Hume, not Walsh” (Letters, 15 September).
Dr Allan Dodds
Nottingham

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‘Now I know love is real!’ The people who gave up on romance – then found it in lockdown

Wed, 09/15/2021 - 19:00

Dating apps can be difficult and daunting at the best of times, and many users give up on them entirely. But for some the pandemic was a chance to reassess their priorities, and they were able to forge a much deeper connection


When the country first went into lockdown, I – reluctantly – reloaded my dating app. With the world on pause and friends navigating the choppy waters of home schooling, I needed something to pass the time. I had never had much luck with the apps but, this time, I connected with Bart, a Dutch PR manager who lived in Windsor. To begin with, I assumed our conversation would follow the same pattern as most of my chats on the apps – last a few days, then fizzle out. To my surprise, this time was different. Instead of ending in the great bin-fire of Hinge matches lost, a friendship grew. We began to have regular Zoom cinema nights – watching the same film online and chatting about it afterwards. As we got to know each other, I began to notice how kind and thoughtful he was, and I appreciated his interest in my life. Slowly I found myself opening up, something that had not happened for years.

Before the world turned upside down, I was happy with my single life. I have never wanted children, and spent my time with friends, occasionally dipping my toes into the murky pool of online dating. The process was always the same. Dates lasted an hour or two, before I would slink off home to catch up on Love Island. Every few years I would find that elusive spark but it was always with a charismatic, gym-honed banker who would allude to a string of heartbroken ex-girlfriends and send me aubergine emojis at 3am. I knew this penchant for unavailable men was unhealthy, but despite my efforts, I somehow never managed – or bothered – to break the cycle.

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Facebook and Google condemned over ads for ‘abortion pill reversal’

Wed, 09/15/2021 - 02:26

Adverts promoting ‘dangerous, unproven and unethical’ procedure shown millions of times, study finds

Facebook has served “abortion reversal” adverts 18.4m times since January 2020, according to a report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), promoting an “unproven, unethical” and “dangerous” procedure.

Google shows the adverts on more than four-fifths of searches related to abortion across a number of US cities, according to the CCDH research, targeted at search terms such as “unwanted pregnancy” and “abortion pill”.

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#DoNotTouchMyClothes: Afghan women’s social media protest against Taliban

Tue, 09/14/2021 - 19:28

Women around the world are sharing pictures of themselves in traditional colourful clothes in a campaign against the new strict dress code for female students

After street demonstrations across major cities in Afghanistan, women have now taken to social media to protest against the Taliban’s hardline policies towards them.

An online campaign has seen Afghan women around the world share photos of themselves wearing traditional colourful clothes, using the hashtag #DoNotTouchMyClothes.

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Court rules against woman who became face of China’s #MeToo movement

Tue, 09/14/2021 - 11:14

Zhou Xiaoxuan, who accused CCTV host of sexual harassment, vows to appeal ‘unfair treatment’

A Chinese woman whose sexual harassment case against a popular TV host sparked a nationwide debate over #MeToo has accused a Beijing court of unfair treatment and vowed to appeal after it ruled against her.

The Haidian people’s court said in a judgment released late on Tuesday that Zhou Xiaoxuan did not meet the standard of proof in claiming that Zhu Jun, her superior at work, sexually harassed her.

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I’m worried my husband’s porn use has ruined his sex drive

Tue, 09/14/2021 - 00:00

He lied to me about watching porn and now only wants sex when he’s already aroused. It makes me feel like I no longer turn him on

When I married my husband, one of the conditions was: no pornography. We have been married 25 years. In 2018, I discovered my husband had been watching porn regularly for six years. I found out because it gave him erectile dysfunction. He said he would give it up, which he did for 18 months. Then he started again. I was furious. We went to counselling. My husband only wants to have what I consider lazy sex. He wants sex only when he wakes up with an erection. I have told him that it is important to me to make love and have sex at night, too. I am concerned the past long-term regular porn use has affected his desire for intimacy and lovemaking, since he wants sex only when he has already got a hard on. It makes me feel like I don’t turn him on.

This is not necessarily about you – or your husband’s desire, or lack of it, for you – and his pornography use may not be related to his needs regarding the timing of sex with you. Many men are so afraid of not being able to achieve an erection that they approach their partners for sex only when they are already aroused – and for him that may be mornings only.

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Labia liberation! The movement to end vulva anxiety for good

Sun, 09/12/2021 - 23:00

Women have long been taught to be ashamed of their vulvas, with increasing numbers turning to cosmetic surgery in pursuit of genital ‘perfection’. But a new generation is fighting back

When Florence Schechter opened the Vagina Museum – the world’s first museum dedicated to gynaecological anatomy – in London in 2019, it was partly a response to a dramatic rise in labiaplasty surgery. Instances of such surgery more than doubled in the first decade of this century, then carried on climbing. Zoe Williams, the spokesperson for the museum (who shares my name), says part of the problem is that most women have not seen other vulvas. “Quite a lot of people have never even seen their own, so it’s hard to have a concept of what’s normal. Certainly, throughout art history, the pictures of nude women very seldom had any protruding labia; you just had a neat little cleft.”

Labiaplasty is surgery to alter the appearance of the vulva – generally by trying to reduce the size of the labia minora, the inner genital lips, so that they don’t hang below the labia majora, the outer ones. The reasons for such surgery are not solely cosmetic – they could be related to childbirth, or chafing during sport – yet the rise is staggering. The number of labiaplasty surgeries in 2016 was up 45% on 2015 – the biggest growth of any cosmetic surgery procedure, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

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Afghan women at university must study in female-only classrooms, Taliban say

Sun, 09/12/2021 - 03:26

Islamic dress code will be compulsory as new regime enforces gender segregation in Afghanistan

The Taliban have announced that women in Afghanistan will only be allowed to study at university in gender-segregated classrooms and Islamic dress will be compulsory, stoking fears that a gender apartheid will be imposed on the country under the new regime.

On Saturday, the Taliban raised their flag over the presidential palace on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, signalling that their work governing the newly formed Islamic emirate had begun. The white banner bearing a Qur’anic verse was hoisted by Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the prime minister of the interim Taliban government.

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Escaping the parent trap | Eva Wiseman

Sat, 09/11/2021 - 21:00
Parental regret might be taboo, but when it comes to the crunch we are only human after all

School started again last week, but I was so dazzled and desperate I got the day wrong. New uniform was laid out cat-like on the bed, work was stacked until evening in half-hour blocks, and then the cold light of Wednesday morning arrived shaking its head. An inset day. So once again the toddler was forced into an extended nap and the seven-year-old was handed the warm TV remote, and I sat on the stairs next to my headache for a minute to catch my breath.

There’s a video going round where a New Zealand politician is interrupted during a live TV interview by her son who is wielding a phallic carrot. I paused on her face – chuckling, exasperated – as she tries to bat him out of the room, then looked in the mirror to check my own expression. Blank. Muddied. Last year I wrote about the realities of work and childcare at the start of the pandemic, and while much of our practical life has changed, inside our bodies much is the same. The biggest difference is that now, nobody asks how we’re doing.

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Men are inventing new excuses for killing women and judges are falling for them | Catherine Bennett

Sat, 09/11/2021 - 20:30
Sam Pybus claimed his fatal act was consensual, and was given just four years in prison

Although it takes some ingenuity to kill a woman and face no penalty whatsoever, the justice system continues to ensure that, for the right killing, in the right circumstances, the punishment – given the right judge – could still be a fraction of what you might expect.

Earlier this year, for instance, the five-year term for a man who blamed strangling his wife, Ruth Williams, on lockdown difficulties, confirmed that being married to your victim may actively – perhaps counterintuitively – heighten judicial compassion. Judge Paul Thomas thought Anthony Williams’s mental state must have been severely affected, though this was contradicted by a psychiatrist. The court of appeal refused to increase the sentence.

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Salesforce offers to help staff leave Texas as abortion law takes effect

Sat, 09/11/2021 - 07:03

Software company sends message to workforce addressing access to reproductive healthcare

The cloud-based software giant Salesforce is offering to help relocate employees out of Texas following the state’s enactment of its extreme new abortion law.

Referring to the “incredibly personal issues” that the law creates, a message to the company’s entire workforce sent late on Friday said any employee and their family wishing to move elsewhere would receive assistance.

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The Taliban are not the only threat to Afghanistan. Aid cuts could undo 20 years of progress

Fri, 09/10/2021 - 21:00

The most vulnerable people will bear the cost of sanctions, as services and the economy collapse

Watching Afghanistan’s unfolding trauma, I’ve thought a lot about Mumtaz Ahmed, a young teacher I met a few years ago. Her family fled Kabul during Taliban rule in the late 1990s.

Raised as a refugee in Pakistan, Ahmed had defied the odds and made it to university. Now, she was back in Afghanistan teaching maths in a rural girls’ school. “I came back because I believe in education and I love my country,” she told me. “These girls have a right to learn – without education, Afghanistan has no future.”

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Thanks to Real Housewives, I no longer dread getting older. Honestly, it looks great | Katie Cunningham

Wed, 09/08/2021 - 20:00

As a woman in her 30s worried the pandemic is swallowing the last of my youth, it’s a gift to see middle-aged women thrive

In a now legendary Real Housewives of New York scene, then 49-year-old Luann de Lesseps is hungover and unapologetic. On a girls trip to Turks and Caicos, a wild night of partying has ended with a naked man asleep in the group’s rented villa, much to the dismay of castmate Heather Thompson. “Be cool,” an unbothered de Lesseps tells Thompson, strutting around their lavish accommodation dressed only in a bikini, robe and dark glasses. “Don’t be all like, uncool.”

At home in Sydney, I gleefully watched this drama unfold while horizontal on my couch. Ten-odd weeks into another lockdown, there has not been much to do besides inhale episode after episode of reality television. Boredom and cabin fever has been a fixture of my Covid experience, as I’m sure it has for everyone else. But as a woman in her early 30s, I’ve also contended with the bubbling anxiety that the pandemic is swallowing the last of my youth, and with it the final gasps of both possibility and my relevance to society. (Yes, I am prone to dramatics.)

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Taliban ban protests and slogans that don’t have their approval

Wed, 09/08/2021 - 08:56

Rallies in Afghanistan have already been broken up violently, now ‘severe consequences’ are threatened for demonstrators

The Taliban has moved to tighten its crackdown on escalating protests against its rule, banning any demonstrations that do not have official approval for both the gathering itself and for any slogans that might be used.

In the first decree issued by the hardline Islamist group’s new interior ministry, which is led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is wanted by the United States on terrorism charges, the Taliban warned opponents that they must secure permission before any protests or face “severe legal consequences’”.

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Afghan women to be banned from playing sport, Taliban say

Wed, 09/08/2021 - 00:32

National cricket team included in prohibition, as interim government containing no women starts work

Afghan women, including the country’s women’s cricket team, will be banned from playing sport under the new Taliban government, according to an official in the hardline Islamist group.

In an interview with the Australian broadcaster SBS, the deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, said women’s sport was considered neither appropriate nor necessary.

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Mexico’s supreme court rules criminal penalties for abortion unconstitutional

Tue, 09/07/2021 - 10:39

Court orders Coahuila to remove sanctions for abortion from criminal code, clearing a path to decriminalisation across Mexico

Mexico’s supreme court has struck down a state abortion law, ruling that criminal penalties for terminating pregnancies are unconstitutional, in a decision which advocates say provides a path to decriminalisation across the country.

In a unanimous 10-0 ruling, the top court ordered the northern state of Coahuila to remove sanctions for abortion from its criminal code – with several justices arguing the prohibitions on voluntarily interrupting a pregnancy violated women’s rights to control their own bodies.

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Grace Tame calls Morrison government’s pick as human rights commissioner a ‘grave mistake’

Tue, 09/07/2021 - 00:00

The Australian of the Year criticises the appointment of Lorraine Finlay, who has expressed concern about affirmative consent laws

Sexual assault survivor and Australian of the Year Grace Tame says the Morrison government has made a “grave mistake” in appointing a new human rights commissioner who has expressed concern about affirmative consent laws.

In addition to Tuesday’s pointed criticism from Tame, Guardian Australia understands the government’s recent appointment of the Western Australian lawyer Lorraine Finlay has triggered concerns within the Australian Human Rights Commission itself.

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Australia Covid live news update: NSW reports 1,220 cases and eight deaths; Victoria premier attacks ‘secret’ vaccine allocations to Sydney

Mon, 09/06/2021 - 20:38

Eight deaths mourned in NSW; at least 90 of Victoria’s new cases linked to known outbreaks; Queensland leaders criticise federal government over vaccine supply as state records another Covid-free day – follow the latest updates

7.35am BST

Anne Ruston, federal Minister for Women’s Safety, has denied the government has rejected the 55 recommendations of the Respect@Work national inquiry into workplace sexual harassment.

Only six of those recommendations have been enacted so far, with Ruston saying the government has not acted on the centrepiece recommendation to impose a new legal obligation on employers to prevent sexual harassment, because it apparently already exists:

My understanding is that currently within the Work Heath and Safety Act that there is an affirmative requirement of employers to do that already.

I know the Attorney-General [Michaelia Cash] is currently consulting on this particular aspect and a number of other issues that are still yet to be resolved in relation to the delivery of those recommendations to make sure we have the regulations or the legislation to make sure that we have the safest workplaces we possibly can.

7.15am BST

South Australia has recorded six new positive cases in hotel quarantine.

They include two children, three teenagers and a woman in her 30s, who have all been in a medi-hotel since arriving from overseas.

South Australian COVID-19 update 7/9/21. For more information, go to https://t.co/mYnZsGpayo or contact the South Australian COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787. pic.twitter.com/P5nSGDFZmy

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