Women's News from the Web

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Updated: 3 hours 27 min ago

Mothers say they are being kept at work in UK as fathers stay home

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 02:35

Charities hit out at firms’ unequal coronavirus stance as pregnant women also lose out

Mothers with school-age children are being told they cannot work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, while fathers at the same companies are encouraged to do so, according to organisations providing legal advice and support for parents.

Legal advice lines have also been inundated with calls from pregnant women who have been made redundant while male workers have been kept on, and others who have been told they must go to work or face the sack despite being categorised as a vulnerable group in government guidance.

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Japan Airlines ditches compulsory high heels and skirts in big win for #KuToo movement

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 18:09

Company becomes first major employer in the country to stop forcing dress code on women

Female flight attendants working for Japan Airlines will no longer be required to wear high heels or skirts, the airline has said, in a rare victory for Japan’s #KuToo campaign against workplace dress codes for women.

The airline is the first major Japanese company to relax its regulations in response to complaints from women that having to wear high heels was uncomfortable and often left them in considerable pain.

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Outrage in South Korea over Telegram sexual abuse ring blackmailing women and girls

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 18:29

Alleged ringleader forced victims to carve ‘slave’ into their bodies and send him degrading images that were shared with scores of others

A sexual blackmail ring that operated on the app Telegram and targeted dozens of women, including underage girls, has rocked South Korea and triggered demands for authorities to crack down on the rising number of sexual offences online.

Police on Wednesday took the unusual step of naming the man who allegedly ran an online network that lured at least 58 women and 16 girls into what authorities called “virtual enslavement” by blackmailing them into sending degrading and, in come cases, violent sexual images of themselves.

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UK abortion law briefly changes during Covid-19 outbreak

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 05:10

Guidance, deleted after a few hours, said women could take both early medical abortion pills at home

The UK government published then deleted changes to abortion law that would have allowed women to access medical terminations without travelling to a clinic, leaving women’s health charities “staggered”.

In the guidance, which was published for at least five hours on Monday, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said: “The secretary of state for health and social care has approved two temporary measures in England to limit the transmission of coronavirus (Covid-19) and ensure continued access to early medical abortion services.”

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Clinics in Ohio and Texas ordered to stop ‘nonessential’ surgical abortions

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 14:00

State officials cited guidelines to conserve medical supplies amid the coronavirus outbreak as advocates call the move political

Ohio and Texas have ordered health care providers in the state to stop performing “nonessential” abortions, touching off a deeply contentious debate over reproductive rights in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Both states cited federal guidelines aimed at conserving necessary medical supplies to combat the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in the US and argued that abortions do not qualify as essential surgeries. But advocates say the moves taken by two conservative attorneys general is about advancing a political agenda, not protecting public health.

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Today, more than on any other Mother's Day, I appreciate my mum | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Sun, 03/22/2020 - 02:00

Thanks to this crisis, I don’t know when I’ll see my brilliant mum again. I want her know how grateful I am to her

We emerged from isolation yesterday to post Mother’s Day cards, the short walk around the corner to the postbox offering a degree of novelty I never thought I would come to crave. I chose Matisse’s Woman in Blue: a red-headed woman who looks like a queen. Fitting, for my mum.

I once had an editor who didn’t like the word “mum”. Maybe she thought it was, I don’t know, mumsy, a word that is often used in a derisive tone. Mumsy is defined as “giving an impression of dull domesticity; dowdy or unfashionable”. How unfair that, on top of all the bum-wiping and wound-dressing and tucking-in and spoon-feeding, mothers should have to contend with an image problem for frequently performing those tasks.

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Parr’s makeup ad for Gucci has a brush with controversy

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 23:08

The shoot, featuring musician Dani Miller in mascara, has reignited debate about realistic standards of beauty

One is famed for warts-and-all realism, the other for high-end gloss, so there was always going to be something spectacular in the offing when British photographer Martin Parr was asked to shoot a make-up advertising campaign for the Italian fashion house Gucci.

The imagery – for the brand’s new L’Obscur mascara – features New York punk musician Dani Miller and her now-famous gap-toothed smile. With lashings of heavy black mascara, natural eyebrows (complete with, shock horror, regrowth), and minimal foundation, it has divided customers and started yet another debate about diversity, even in these times of increased body positivity.

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I loved appearing on University Challenge. Then I looked at Twitter…

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 21:51

There are few women on the show, and after receiving a torrent of abuse on social media, Lucy Clarke (Jesus, Oxford) isn’t surprised

After my team’s latest episode of University Challenge, I idly scrolled through Twitter. It was much as ever: old men telling me to wipe my nose (I have a septum piercing), some praise, and the usual criticism: “What a mess, did she get dressed in the dark”; “She deserved to mess that up after her poncey Kraftwerk pronunciation”. So far, so much as we’d been warned. But then came the real doozy. A man whose bio proclaimed him to be “grandad of six … married to my lovely teacher wife”, had tweeted: “All these knobs on here saying they got [a question on] massive attack along with everyone else, what other question have you answered ? Plus I’ll guess Clarke sucks like a fucking Dyson.”

I stared at it for a long time, trying to understand the bizarre conjunction of defending me and matter-of-fact sexual objectification.

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For some people, social distancing means being trapped indoors with an abuser | Arwa Mahdawi

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 03:00

As more cities go under lockdown, activists are worried that attempts to curb coronavirus will inadvertently lead to an increase in domestic violence

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

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Rising numbers of UK mothers falling into long-term debt – report

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 00:12

Precarious employment and pension age increase among causes, say researchers

Precarious employment, low pay, the increased pension age and real-term reductions in welfare benefits are causing increasing numbers of mothers to fall into long-term debt, according to research based on figures from the Office for National Statistics and in-depth interviews.

The research, titled Mothers in Debt – Shame, Abuse and Resilience, by researchers at the University of Manchester, found that separated or divorced mothers aged 55 and over were more likely to have significantly worse financial problems than fathers of the same age.

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India executes four men convicted of 2012 Delhi bus rape and murder

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 15:02

Four found guilty of attack that shocked the world were hanged in capital on Friday morning

India has executed the four men who were convicted of the brutal gang rape and murder of a young woman on bus in Delhi in 2012, a case which shocked the world and brought India’s problem with sexual violence against women into the spotlight.

Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh had been found guilty in a 2013 trial and sentenced to death by hanging, but their execution had been postponed multiple times due to Supreme Court appeals.

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This week we have brought New Zealand's abortion laws into the 21st century | Andrew Little

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 13:56

Seeking an abortion was a crime until now, but new legislation has removed the stigma and given women a choice

New Zealand’s current abortion laws are more than 40 years old and were enacted when there were more MPs in Parliament named Bill than MPs who were female. This week we brought the laws into the 21st century.

Up to now, women seeking an abortion in New Zealand were committing a crime under our main criminal statute but had a defence if they followed the requirements of the abortion legislation. These requirements included the woman being referred by their doctor to two specialists who each had to certify she faces a serious danger to her life or physical or mental health. Other conditions also applied, such as whether the pregnancy was a result of incest or the woman lacked capacity to consent. For abortions after 20 weeks, conditions were more stringent.

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Older people widely demonised in UK, ageism report finds

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 01:01

Older members of society mostly seen as incompetent, hostile or a burden, says report

The UK’s ageist attitudes have been revealed in a report that shows older people are widely mocked, patronised and demonised by the rest of society.

Older people are mostly seen as incompetent, hostile or a burden on others, according to a review of the evidence that found they are subject to a litany of damaging stereotypes.

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It's time to embrace the internet's perma-positive brigade

Wed, 03/18/2020 - 08:16

Instagram’s relentless optimism and promises of silver linings are giving me unexpected comfort when I’m distinctly lacking my own

The ramifications of the coronavirus outbreak are still unfolding, changing how we work, interact and, for me at least, use social media. Self-isolation means that most of us are using our phones even more than usual. It was already a great deal, with the average Brit checking their phone about every 12 minutes of the waking day. A digital detox is probably more necessary than ever during this period and yet also less feasible.

Over the past few days, overwhelmed by rolling news coverage and conspiracy theories, I’ve only managed to survive online by frequenting the “sunny side up” social media channels that are so often the subject of ridicule.

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Beaten, raped and forced to work: why I'm exposing the scandal of Nigeria’s house girls

Tue, 03/17/2020 - 07:43

Mariam and Edna were just two of millions of children trapped in domestic slavery. Their tragic stories inspired me to write a novel targeting a practice that is rife in the country

One day, when my daughter was eight, I asked her to help me unload the dishwasher. She moaned, dragged her feet and pleaded for Haribo in exchange for this simple task. I asked her if she knew how lucky she was and told her that, in many homes in Nigeria, girls as young as her were forced to do chores all day, every day. They were not allowed to go to school, or eat at the table, or watch TV. She was amazed. Looking into her face, the horror of what was considered so normal during my childhood really hit me. It was child slavery – and it continues today. It was for these forgotten girls, trapped in domestic slavery, that I wrote my debut novel, The Girl With the Louding Voice.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the number of working children under the age of 14 in Nigeria is estimated to be as high as 15 million, but due to the nature of the problem it is almost impossible to land on an accurate number. A large proportion of these children are young girls, who work as “house girls”: domestic servants who are often underage and forced against their will into this kind of work. Many of them never see their “wages”, as they are paid directly to agents or family members.

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Joe Biden's pledge to pick a female vice-president smells like tokenism | Arwa Mahdawi

Tue, 03/17/2020 - 05:00

Of course I want him to choose a woman as his running mate. But his grand gesture feels more like pandering than policy

Stacey Abrams? Kamala Harris? Elizabeth Warren? Nobody knows for sure whom Joe Biden will choose as a running mate if – as is almost certain – he wins the Democratic nomination, but we do know it will be a woman.

“I’ll pick a woman to be vice-president,” Biden promised during Sunday’s presidential debate with Bernie Sanders. “There are a number of women qualified to be president tomorrow.” While none of those eminently qualified women will be president any time soon, one lucky lady may have the privilege of playing second fiddle to a gaffe-prone white guy. To cement his position as intersectional male feminist of the year, Biden also promised to appoint an African American woman to the supreme court.

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Secret policy change by CPS cut number of rape trials, high court told

Tue, 03/17/2020 - 03:14

Application on behalf of women’s group follows concern over fall in number of charges

A legal challenge over alleged changes to Crown Prosecution Service policy on bringing charges in rape cases has been dismissed by the high court.

The judges, Dame Victoria Sharp, president of the Queen’s Bench Division, and Lord Justice Singh, denied permission for the case to proceed to a full hearing on Tuesday.

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Kenya split over campaign to give women the right to safe abortions

Mon, 03/16/2020 - 22:00

MP Esther Passaris says lives are being put at risk in a country where 40% of pregnancies are unplanned

The pills arrived with no instructions. Delivered on a Sunday to Joy’s home in Kayole, an informal settlement in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, by someone she didn’t know.

She had ordered them because she was pregnant, and didn’t want to be. At 19, she said, she couldn’t support a baby, and the father had stopped answering his phone after she told him. Desperate, she had asked an older friend, who said she knew someone who could help.

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Sunday with Sophie Walker: ‘I run to clear my head’

Sat, 03/14/2020 - 20:45

The activist on art and the joy of jogging

What time are you up? Having worked for 20 years at Reuters doing breaking news you become an early bird – a junkie for knowing what’s going on. But on Sunday I sleep until 8am. Over breakfast we have a (not always entirely democratic) vote with the kids to decide what we’ll do with our day.

Do you work? I’m at the Young Women’s Trust Monday to Friday, but at the weekend I work on Activate, a project to get women community activists elected. I try to take days off when I can. I’m fighting my own eternal battle to just be with my family.

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The real-life heroes of Misbehaviour inspired my feminism | Julie Bindel

Fri, 03/13/2020 - 22:00

Activists are increasingly operating in the online space but this film is a timely reminder of the power of public protest

When I first encountered feminism, in 1979, aged 17, there was one story I heard about over and over from the activists I was hanging out with: the direct action that disrupted the 1970 Miss World competition, in front of a live audience of 100 million TV viewers worldwide, 20 million of them in Britain. Several women had dressed up and bought tickets to the televised event at the Royal Albert Hall in London and, at the height of proceedings, threw flour bombs and shook loud rattles, leading to the programme being taken off air and sending the host, the US comedian Bob Hope, scuttling backstage. The massive success of that action taught me that huge change can come from women being inventive and brave.

At a screening of the film Misbehaviour, based on that protest, I was honoured to sit next to a couple of elderly women who had taken part in the protest. I thanked them for setting an example of proper feminism for future generations, and they told me they have been heartened by what looks like a resurgence of public feminist protest.

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