Women's News from the Web

Syndicate content The Guardian
Latest Women news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice
Updated: 8 hours 45 min ago

‘The doctors in Northern Ireland knew my baby would die. But I was refused an abortion’

Sat, 10/05/2019 - 22:45

One grieving woman tells of the suffering the current ban caused her

Denise Phelan was denied an abortion three years ago in circumstances so extreme she still finds it harrowing to speak about it, and does so only because she is determined that no other woman should be forced to go through a similar experience.

“My anger wakes me up at night. It’s a deep, almost in-the-bone anger,” she says. She and her husband, Richard Gosnold, are also still grieving for the loss of their baby, Alenja. Their trauma has been prolonged and they feel it is too late now to try for another pregnancy.

Continue reading...

Pensions scandal: broken promises, cruelty and contempt

Sat, 10/05/2019 - 21:07
Despite the setback in the courts, few would dispute the injustice faced by those 1950s women who have lost six years of benefits

Last week, in a landmark case, the high court decided that almost four million women born in the 1950s would not be compensated for the money they lost – for some individuals up to £40,000 – when the female pension age was raised from 60 to 66.

Julie Delve, 61, and Karen Glynn, 63, from the campaign group BackTo60, challenged the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) with a judicial review, arguing that raising their pension age “unlawfully discriminated against them on the grounds of age, sex and age and sex combined”. Previously, women could claim a state pension at 60, men at 65 (by 2020 both men and women will receive their pension at 66). Lord Justice Irwin and Mrs Justice Whipple dismissed the claim, saying there was no discrimination as the decision did not treat women less favourably than men but corrected a historic discrimination against men.

Continue reading...

Is architecture at last breaking through its own glass ceiling? | Rowan Moore

Sat, 10/05/2019 - 08:00

A welcome gold award, and now the RIBA has begun to recognise that what matters is the team

Some kind of congratulations are due to the Royal Institute of British Architects for choosing as this year’s winners of the royal gold medal for architecture the Irish practice Grafton. For Grafton Architects is run by two women, Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell, which means that for the second time since Queen Victoria awarded the first such medal in 1848, it has gone outright to members of the same sex as the late queen-empress. On two other occasions, women have won the prize together with their husband-colleagues.

This year, the RIBA could hardly have done otherwise, given a campaign by an action group called Part W to highlight the scarcity of women among the winners of the gold medal and the world’s other top awards for architecture. It is flabbergasting that this conversation still has to be had now, in 2019. Still, baby steps. The choice of Grafton can’t be faulted, either – they are outstanding architects.

Continue reading...

A newborn baby’s death proves pregnant women are not safe in UK prisons | Joan Smith

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 21:00

The tragedy that took place in HMP Bronzefield is like something out of a Victorian novel. Why are such vulnerable women being abandoned?

How could this happen in 21st-century Britain? A woman has reportedly given birth alone in a prison cell, in the early hours of the morning. It is alleged that help wasn’t summoned until 8.30am, when prison staff visited the cell and found the newborn “unresponsive” – the baby died. This shocking event, which sounds like something out of a Victorian novel, happened just over a week ago in Europe’s largest female prison.

No matter what that woman was in prison for, she and her unborn child desperately needed medical treatment

Continue reading...

Supreme court likely to rule on Louisiana abortion case months before 2020 election

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 06:45

Louisiana law is virtually identical to a Texas law court struck down in 2016, before Trump’s two high court picks took the bench

The US supreme court will hear a challenge to a Louisiana abortion restriction, which could have broad implications for women’s reproductive freedom. The case is likely to be decided just four months before the 2020 presidential election.

The Louisiana restriction requires doctors at the state’s three remaining abortion clinics to seek admitting privileges to local hospital emergency departments.

Continue reading...

Baby dies in UK prison after inmate 'gives birth alone in cell'

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 01:12

Police investigate unexplained death at Bronzefield women’s prison in Surrey

Police are investigating the death of a baby in Britain’s largest female prison after an inmate gave birth alone in her cell at night.

The Guardian understands that the woman, who had been at an advanced stage of pregnancy, gave birth alone in her cell in the early hours of Friday last week. A source with knowledge of the events said that when prison staff visited the woman’s cell on Friday morning the baby was unresponsive.

Continue reading...

Turkey says Rebel Girls children's book should be treated like porn

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 01:04

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls must only be sold to adults, government says

Turkey has ruled that the million-selling book Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls should be partially banned and treated like pornography because it could have a “detrimental influence” on young people.

The book, which has been published in 47 languages, offers a series of inspiring stories about women from history for young children. But in a decision published last week, the Turkish government’s board for the protection of minors from obscene publications said: “Some of the writings in the book will have a detrimental influence on the minds of those under the age of 18.”

Continue reading...

Why are female cyclists targeted by aggressive drivers for abuse?

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 00:09

By being on the road, women seem to be transgressing a boundary that some men find intolerable

I commute in London by bike. Run-ins with aggressive drivers are as much a part of my daily routine as brushing my teeth. Recently though, I’ve started to wonder whether there is a distinctly gendered dimension to the frequency and intensity with which I am shouted, sworn and honked at.

When I talk to friends who cycle, I’m struck by the instant recognition of this phenomenon by fellow women, who are quick to share their stories. Sometimes the abuse is explicitly sexual, more often it’s simply aggressive and unpleasant, or merely patronising. Almost without exception, it’s perpetrated by men.

Continue reading...

Breast cancer deaths almost halved since 1989, UK figures show

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 19:00

Research suggests more than 130,000 deaths from disease have been avoided in 30 years

The death rate for women with breast cancer in the UK has dropped by 44% over the past 30 years, according to new figures.

Analysis by Cancer Research UK suggests that more than 130,000 UK breast cancer deaths have been avoided in the last three decades.

Continue reading...

Julie Delpy 'refused' to be in Before Midnight without equal pay

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 07:02

French actor and director says she insisted on being paid the same as co-star Ethan Hawke in romantic drama

The French actor and director Julie Delpy has revealed that she refused to make Before Midnight, the third in the celebrated romantic drama “Before” trilogy, unless she received the same pay as her co-star Ethan Hawke.

In an interview with Variety, Delpy said that for the first film in the series, 1995’s Before Sunrise, she was paid “about a 10th” of Hawke’s fee, and for the second, Before Sunset, released in 2004, she received half of what Hawke was paid. For the final 2013 film, Before Midnight, which earned her a nomination for a best screenplay Oscar along with Hawke and the film’s director, Richard Linklater, she says she insisted on pay parity. “I said: ‘Listen guys, if I am not paid the same, I am not doing it.’”

Continue reading...

This brutal judgment on pensions is blind to the reality of older women’s lives | Polly Toynbee

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 04:52

The sweeping decisions made by politicians about retirement age ignore the harsh consequences for millions of women

Equality for women is not always a victory. Women and men’s entitlement to a state pension was equalised by law back in 1995, so women retire at 65 now, at 66 next year – just the same as men. Sounds fair? Not to women born in the 1950s whose lives were hard work and slim savings, with no chance to build up pensions: they expected to retire at 60 and draw their state pension.

BackTo60 took their case to court for compensation and today they lost. BackTo60 and Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) are implacable campaigners for the pension rights of nearly 4 million women born in the 1950s. Waspi turn up at every political event and tail each Department for Work and Pensions secretary relentlessly to protest about pension changes that left many in penury. Politicians groan inwardly when they see them coming, but these women never give up.

Continue reading...

Northern Ireland abortion law ruled to breach human rights

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 04:31

High court in Belfast rules against Northern Ireland’s strict abortion law

Northern Ireland’s near-blanket abortion ban breaches the UK’s human rights commitments, the high court in Belfast has ruled.

The decision, on Thursday, was made following a case brought by Sarah Ewart, 29, who was denied a termination in 2013 despite a scan showing the foetus she was carrying would not survive.

Continue reading...

Why Ireland’s battle over abortion is far from over

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 01:00

From sham websites to rogue crisis pregnancy centres, Irish anti-abortionists are using shocking tactics to block women’s rights to safe abortions

It has been more than a year since the landslide vote for abortion rights in Ireland, yet last weekend hundreds of people were once more marching through the streets of Dublin, chanting: “Get your rosaries off our ovaries!” “It’s nonsense, what are they marching for?” a guard standing on the road outside the National maternity hospital asked a colleague on a motorbike – referring to the 2018 referendum in which the Irish public voted overwhelmingly to repeal the law prohibiting abortion. The answer is that, while the law may have changed, many people are still struggling to access abortions in Ireland due to a lack of provision, the time restrictions on terminations, the illegal activities of anti-abortion campaigners – and an enduring legacy of shame.

Since abortion became legally accessible in January, vigils have sprung up outside those maternity hospitals that provide terminations, meaning that patients must go past protesters who are using child-sized coffins as props.

Continue reading...

Women not entitled to pension age change compensation, high court rules

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 23:11

Nearly 4m women born in 1950s not entitled to restitution over pension age rise, judges rule

Almost 4 million women born in the 1950s will not be compensated for the money they lost when the pension age was raised from 60 to 66, the high court has decided.

Two claimants took the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to court, arguing that raising their pension age “unlawfully discriminated against them on the grounds of age, sex, and age and sex combined”.

Continue reading...

High court ruling expected today on women's pensions

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 20:43

Raising pensionable age from 60 to 66 discriminated on grounds of sex, say claimants

Women affected by changes to the state pension age are expected today to hear the outcome of their high court fight against the government.

Nearly four million women born in the 1950s have been affected by the changes, which have raised the state pension age from 60 to as high as 66.

Continue reading...

Greta Thunberg’s defiance unsettles the patriarchy – wonderful | Suzanne Moore

Mon, 09/30/2019 - 20:00

The 16-year-old climate-emergency activist refuses to kowtow to old men, and it has left them squirming

Sometimes you don’t realise how conditioned you are until you meet someone who isn’t. Sure, I may be blunt in my work, but I still say sorry when someone barges into me in the street. I smile when others are being difficult. After all, I am of a certain age, and was brought up, consciously or not, to be a people-pleaser.

In the 80s, I stood hesitantly outside an assertiveness training class – feminists used to do lots of stuff like that – unsure whether to knock or not, as I was five minutes late. As I have got older, I please myself far more and everyone else far less. And I often look to younger women for guidance.

Continue reading...

Why sleeping alone was the great, unexpected gift of my divorce

Mon, 09/30/2019 - 19:30

For years I shared a bed, but after my marriage ended I had a place that was now exclusively mine – and where I could get eight hours of undisturbed sleep

My husband and I had toyed with the idea of splitting up for years, but when I finally decided that we should no longer live together, not sleeping in the same bed felt much more tangible than getting a divorce.

If the beginning of our marriage was snap, crackle and pop, the end was a bowl of soggy cornflakes. It was difficult to find things to celebrate in those early days of living separately. The realisation that our kids would have to turn their backs on one parent to go to the other seemed like an act of cruelty. But if I am making it all sound miserable, it wasn’t. Now, a few years on, the kids are all right and my ex and I are far happier for going our separate ways. One of the biggest surprises of our split has been that having my own bed contributes to a large part of that happiness.

Continue reading...

Debbie Harry on heroin, rape, robbery – and why she still feels lucky

Mon, 09/30/2019 - 19:00

She’s been through stalking, sexism and drugs – and had her house taken by the tax collector. But at 74, the Blondie star is still irrepressibly creative, and happier than she’s ever been

It wasn’t until she was 31 – relatively old by pop-star standards – that Debbie Harry became famous. This goes some way to explain how she managed to cram in so much before she became the superstar frontwoman of Blondie. To name but a few of her experiences, as a child, she survived being in a coma as a result of pneumonia; as a young woman in New York, she worked for the BBC, hung out with Andy Warhol and other New York faces, escaped an abusive relationship, became a driver for the New York Dolls, started a girl band, formed Blondie and believes she had a lucky escape from the serial killer Ted Bundy. “I’m sure I don’t have all my experiences on tap,” Harry writes in her new autobiography, Face It.

I meet her in a suite at the Savoy in London. She appears alone, wearing sunglasses. Harry is tiny (despite her platform trainers) and pale, with her instantly recognisable peroxide hair swept back. She looks as delicate and ethereal as a dandelion clock, but the sunglasses come off and her eyes are quick and determined. She seems warm and tries to ask me as many questions as I ask her – I can’t decide if it is her enduring curiosity or a deflection technique. Perhaps it is both.

Continue reading...

'I know love is real': why is stunning comic Nicole Byer still single?

Mon, 09/30/2019 - 06:44

In her Why Won’t You Date Me? podcast, the presenter and actor speaks with unusual candour about her search for a partner. She talks about racist algorithms, people’s fear of rejection – and the difficulties of dating in LA

Nicole Byer regularly gets asked for dating advice. “Not by my friends,” she says, “because why would you ask a person who’s single about dating? But strangers ask me so many questions. I’m like, my podcast is literally called Why Won’t You Date Me? I don’t know anything about dating! If I knew, I would be dating somebody.”

The podcast she is referring to is one of the world’s funniest and most vulnerable; for the past two years, she has been sitting down with friends and fellow comedians to discuss her search for love, and theirs, and is soon to hit her hundredth show. As the description of the podcast has it, Byer, who is now 33, has been single for decades, despite being smart, funny and sexually voracious. Her honesty about this makes the podcast feel radical. She is open about her yearning to be loved and her frustration at how difficult it is to find the right man or woman. At a time when dating is arguably more difficult than ever, she offers candour from the trenches.

Continue reading...

Boris Johnson groping a woman’s thigh? I can believe that | Suzanne Moore

Mon, 09/30/2019 - 06:41
The prime minister denies Charlotte Edwardes’ allegations. But his sexual incontinence is hardly a secret

I believe Charlotte Edwardes had her thigh squeezed by the prime minister because I have been round the block myself. Not his particular block, let me hasten to add, although I have been on press trips with Boris Johnson when he was a “journalist”. Any woman who has reported on politics will have experienced the underhand leg manoeuvre. At one conference dinner, I had it from both sides simultaneously. I pulled their hands together under the table so that they were fondling each other. It was the least I could do. They both twitched slightly, and then everyone carried on discussing the decline of the “proper” family.

Johnson denies Edwardes’ allegations, but his sexual incontinence is not news. We know full well how he treats the women around him; how easily he betrays them. He cannot tell us how many children he has. All of this is presumably “priced in” and part of his incomprehensible “charm”. Also accepted, somehow, by broadcasters is his whiff-whaff lies. We now need contemporaneous factchecking. Half of what Johnson said to Andrew Marr on Sunday was demonstrably untrue. Forty new hospitals? Patent rubbish.

Continue reading...