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Victoria’s most damaging Secret? The pantmaker’s appeal to the likes of Jeffrey Epstein | Catherine Bennett

Sat, 11/30/2019 - 08:00
Farewell to the show that was always more about male fantasy than empowering women

After a week of cultural losses, something has gone, too, from the fashion world. Traditionally, at this time of year, supportive women’s magazines and pages would have been running awed interviews with stars of the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, marvelling at their exercise routines and extolling the distinction, in their ranks, of being picked to wear the year’s most risible outfit.

Which of the show’s uniformly shaped bodies will get to wear the platinum brassiere, the miraculous suspender, the surpassingly rare crystal thong? As ever, Vogue led the coverage last year, with an excitable “everything you need to know” primer. “Elsa Hosk was chosen to wear the Victoria’s Secret Fantasy Bra. This year’s show-stopping piece was created using 100 per cent Swarovski Created Diamonds and responsibly sourced topaz.”

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I might never have become a chess grandmaster if I’d stuck to women-only tournaments | Judit Polgár

Fri, 11/29/2019 - 21:00

Female chess players, like me, thrive when they play against the world’s best men

• Judit Polgár is a Hungarian chess grandmaster and was the highest-ranking female player until her retirement in 2014

I am used to being cited as living proof that women can play chess at the same elite level as men. When I was 15, I became the youngest grandmaster in the world, breaking the record set by Bobby Fischer more than three decades earlier. It turned out that I was not able to become the overall world champion, but I always strived to fulfil this ambition – and at my peak, I was the eighth highest ranked player in the world.

Even if women think and compete differently, we can attain the same achievements as men: be it in science, art or chess

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Ohio bill orders doctors to ‘reimplant ectopic pregnancy’ or face 'abortion murder' charges

Thu, 11/28/2019 - 22:54

Ohio introduces one of the most extreme bills to date for a procedure that does not exist in medical science

A bill to ban abortion introduced in the Ohio state legislature requires doctors to “reimplant an ectopic pregnancy” into a woman’s uterus – a procedure that does not exist in medical science – or face charges of “abortion murder”.

This is the second time practising obstetricians and gynecologists have tried to tell the Ohio legislators that the idea is currently medically impossible.

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Labour’s policies will benefit millions, but now it needs to sell them better | Polly Toynbee

Thu, 11/28/2019 - 06:45

The party’s promise to restore women’s stolen pension entitlements is laudable, but it is not doing enough to win round voters

Brutal attacks on Labour’s tax and spending plans are part of the furniture of any election. No surprise at the incoming fire over Labour’s promise to compensate women born in the 1950s for the state pension entitlements stolen from them. The equalisation of men and women’s pension age was accelerated by the Tories, cheating them of firm entitlements.

Related: Women hit by pension age changes to appeal against court ruling

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Theresa May unveils statue of pioneering MP Nancy Astor

Thu, 11/28/2019 - 06:32

Former PM pays tribute on Plymouth Hoe to first woman to take up seat in Commons

A bronze statue of Nancy Astor, the first woman MP to take up a seat in parliament, has been installed in Plymouth exactly a century after she was elected to represent the Devon city.

Theresa May unveiled the memorial, paid for through a crowdfunding campaign, on Plymouth Hoe outside Astor’s former home, watched by hundreds of schoolchildren and students.

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US abortion rate is lowest in nine years, new data shows

Wed, 11/27/2019 - 08:14

CDC examined abortion rate from 2007 to 2016 and found abortions dropped 26% over the period of the study

Fewer women in the US are having abortions than at any time in the last nine years, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC collects data on abortions by contacting the central health agency for 48 states. The study excludes California, one of the most populous states in the nation. This study examined the abortion rate from 2007 to 2016.

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TRNSMT music festival boss: 50-50 gender balance is 'a while' away

Wed, 11/27/2019 - 00:50

Geoff Ellis blames a dearth of female acts for the lack of women on the Scottish festival’s initial 2020 lineup

The director of Scotland’s TRNSMT festival has said “it will be a while” until there is a 50-50 gender balance on festival bills “because there’s far, far less female artists”.

Lewis Capaldi and Liam Gallagher will headline the festival in 2020. Of the 13 acts announced so far, only two are women, pop star Rita Ora and rapper Little Simz.

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Woman trying to visit Indian temple attacked with chilli spray

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 04:02

Police ‘looked on and watched’ during assault as activists tried to enforce right to visit shrine

Female activists in India were violently attacked by protesters and stopped by police as they attempted to make a pilgrimage to a Hindu temple which was controversially ordered to open its doors to women.

A group of seven women, led by the gender equality activist Trupti Desai, arrived at Cochin airport in the early hours of Tuesday to exercise their right to visit the holy Sabarimala temple, in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

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The death of Sharron Maasz shows why domestic abuse services are vital

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 02:45

Domestic violence is a key cause of women experiencing homelessness – and cuts mean services to protect them have been destroyed

I first came across Sharron Maasz in January this year when I watched her being interviewed on a number of videos on YouTube. I discovered them after hearing that a woman had died in accommodation designated for women experiencing homelessness in my home city of Oxford. Sharron was 44 years old.

She was popular and, according to those who knew her, warm, kind, compassionate and loving. Sharron was a mother and a grandmother. She died after a long period of experiencing homelessness in Oxford, the city where we were both born and raised, and which we both called home. Later, through devastated mutual friends, I learned that we attended the same school; our paths never crossed as she was older than me, and we ended up living very different lives.

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Spain's far-right Vox blocks violence against women declaration

Mon, 11/25/2019 - 09:20

Vox refusal to sign joint all-party statement outrages civil rights groups and embarrasses allies

Spain’s far-right Vox party has refused to sign an all-party declaration condemning violence against women, drawing outrage from civil rights groups and embarrassing its allies in the conservative People’s party.

Vox’s refusal to sign the declaration by Madrid city council on Monday meant that for the first time since a landmark 2004 law on gender violence, local authorities in the Spanish capital were unable to issue a joint all-party statement.

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The Guardian view on Grace Millane’s murder: outlaw the ‘rough sex’ defence | Editorial

Mon, 11/25/2019 - 08:58
Men who kill women must not be allowed to blame them in court for asking to be harmed

There are many reasons to be upset by the violent death of Grace Millane, the backpacker from Essex who was murdered a year ago in a New Zealand hotel room by a man she met on the dating app Tinder. Speaking after her killer (whose name has yet to be released) was convicted, the victim’s father described the murder of his “beautiful, loving, talented” daughter as barbaric. Since she was strangled on the eve of her 22nd birthday, the 27-year-old murderer has continued to inflict pain.

The defence offered at his trial, that the death was the accidental result of a sex act that she had requested, meant that her parents sat through a trial in which intimate details were picked over and broadcast across the world. New Zealand has the reputation of a safe, welcoming country. It is horrifying to know that this young woman’s trip of a lifetime ended with her bruised body being stuffed into a suitcase and buried in the bush.

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‘Friendship out-of-office’ messages are all very well – until you find yourself in need | Coco Khan

Mon, 11/25/2019 - 05:30
A Twitter thread about warning friends if you’re at ‘capacity’ taps into a wider conversation about women’s emotional labour

A friend in need is a friend indeed, but a friend who asks permission to talk is better. That’s at least according to Melissa Fabello, a US-based activist and writer who posted a screengrab of a text message she’d received from a friend, asking if Fabello had the “capacity” to listen to her “vent about something medical/weight-related”. Fabello argued that this was something we should all be doing – asking our friends if they can listen to our problems rather than “unloading without warning” – in a now-viral thread that divided audiences online.

Fabello lays out the benefits of this practice, such as recognising that a friend may have limited time or that the conversation may be upsetting, and encourages people to say no to their friends if they choose to. She even drafts a “delete as appropriate” template message that reads: “Hey, I’m so glad you reached out. I’m actually at capacity/helping someone else who’s in crisis/dealing with personal stuff right now and I don’t think I can hold appropriate space for you. Could we connect [later time or date] instead/do you have someone else you could reach out to?”

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French PM on back foot over domestic violence amid fury over inaction

Mon, 11/25/2019 - 04:37

After protests, government announces series of measures critics say are insufficient

The French government has announced a series of measures aimed at tackling domestic violence as anger grows over inaction and indifference to victims.

At least 137 women have been killed in incidents of domestic violence so far this year and protesters took to the streets at the weekend to demonstrate against the authorities’ response.

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America has an infant mortality crisis. Meet the black doulas trying to change that

Sun, 11/24/2019 - 23:30

In the US, black babies die at twice the rate of white babies. In Cleveland, the mortality rate is nearly three times as high. Can birth advocates make a difference in one of America’s most segregated cities?

Rachel is a college-educated professional pianist who lives in a middle-class leafy Cleveland suburb with her husband and their baby boy.

The 34-year-old is fit and healthy with good medical insurance and a close-knit family network, but these socio-economic advantages were not sufficient insurance to insulate her from the racial disparities that characterise America’s infant and maternal mortality rates: African American babies are twice as likely to die before reaching their first birthday than white babies, regardless of the mother’s income or education level.

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Gender health gap: Australian medical research ignoring drugs’ side effects in women

Sun, 11/24/2019 - 14:02

Clinical trials often failing to report results for sex and gender, despite the fact many drugs cause adverse effects in women

Women are being ignored in medical trials and reports, according to a report which calls for more Australian medical research to include gender-specific data.

Failing to account for the different effects a drug may have on men and women compromises quality of care for women, according to the report published in the Medical Journal of Australia on Monday.

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The Guardian view on prisons and mothers: an injustice | Editorial

Sun, 11/24/2019 - 08:27
The shameful treatment of pregnant inmates and of the children of jailed women must be addressed. No babies should be born behind bars

Shock and outrage was the widespread reaction to the death of a newborn baby girl at Bronzefield prison in Surrey in September, after her mother (neither have been named) gave birth alone in her cell at night. How could a such a thing have happened in the UK in 2019? Eleven inquiries were launched. A justice minister, Lord Keen, declared the incident “distressing” and “rare”.

So it was extraordinarily disturbing to learn, through a Guardian investigation, that far from being an isolated incident, this baby’s death followed the birth of another child in a cell at the same, privately-run prison earlier this year, and a series of other incidents in which women who went into labour were transferred to hospital late. Bronzefield is the largest women’s prison in Europe, but the questions raised relate to other institutions too.

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'Life should mean life': Italian activists call for tougher femicide laws

Sun, 11/24/2019 - 03:53

Swift judicial processes and more funding for shelters are badly needed, say campaigners

Sara Di Pietrantonio was 22 when she was strangled and burned to death by an ex-boyfriend who could not accept the relationship was over. Her smouldering body was found at the side of a road on the outskirts of Rome by her mother, Concetta Raccuia. The police officer leading the case said Di Pietrantonio’s murder in June 2016 was the most heinous crime he had ever seen. Four months later, Stefania Formicola, 28, was shot dead in Naples by the husband she was trying to leave. Her two sons are being cared for by their grandmother, Adriana Formicola.

As more than 10,000 people marched in Rome on Saturday to mark the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Raccuia and Formicola shared their stories with the Guardian. More than three years have passed since their daughters were murdered but Italy is still struggling to protect women from violent men. Official figures released last week showed 142 women were murdered in 2018, up from 123 in 2017. Of that number, 119 were killed by their husband, boyfriend or former partner. In more than 30% of the cases, the perpetrators described themselves as jealous and possessive.

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Pushed to the limit: six birth stories from around the world

Sun, 11/24/2019 - 01:00

From pop songs to warm pools, Candice Pires hears six very different accounts of women’s experience in labour

My mum fainted with excitement the day I gave birth. I came home from hospital to find her and my dad waiting outside our flat and, as I got out of the car and they embraced me, she collapsed into our group hug. That’s the story most of my friends and family know about my birth experience. It’s sweet, it’s censored, it deflects from the stitches, the rollercoaster emotions, the stuff that’s harder for everyone to say or to hear. Our birth stories get lost when our newborns are put into our arms. There’s no time to look back as we hurtle headfirst into caregiving. But birth is a miracle, right? Another person grows inside you and then gets out of your body and lives its own life. It is objectively, painfully, hilariously awe-inspiring. As traumatic as it is hopeful. And interesting, too. So why don’t we make more room to talk about it? And why is discussion of the topic generally confined to women who are about to give birth or have recently done so? As part of an ongoing project, I spoke to women around the world to hear different stories that were also in many ways universal. Here are six of them…

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I live as a feminist, but I’m tired of being so furious all the time | Dear Mariella

Sat, 11/23/2019 - 20:00

Raging is easy but is neither good for your sanity, nor the best way to effect change, says Mariella Frostrup

The dilemma Ever since I made the conscious decision to live my life fully as a feminist, it has been fraught with conflict and stress. I’m determined to make a mental note of any discrimination against my gender, to open my eyes and stop editing out instances – on the television, internet, radio and day-to-day life – of women being treated differently to men. I’ve also stopped putting a man’s psychological comfort ahead of my own – at work, in the street, in a queue, at home, in the pub, everywhere. My conflict and stress don’t originate in interactions or arguments with others, but from the mental effort of attempting not to live in a dreamlike state, ignoring evidence everywhere, all the time. What advice do you have so that I can manage the fury of being downgraded daily because I’m female, and at the same time endure women being ridiculed, ignored or simply laughed at by men who just dismiss it as an angry made-up “female” thing?

Mariella replies There’s a challenge! You vividly conjure up the reality of the path you’ve chosen, alert to every slight and misdemeanour and gloves on ready to battle back rather than simply let the buggers get away with it. Believe it or not, despite experiencing the slow, simmering rage brewed up by simply existing in the face of so much obvious injustice, you’ve taken the easiest path. Assuaging male egos and entering into negotiation is a more time-consuming business than being woke to the #everydaysexism that weaves itself into our lives like a jellyfish tentacle, barely perceptible but no less painful when we brush into it.

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‘The Tories stole my state pension when I was 60, now I want it back’

Sat, 11/23/2019 - 12:30

Thousands of women have had their pension age raised from 60 to 65. Now Labour is making a £58bn pledge to compensate them

Ten years ago Catherine Williams made a big decision: in order to spend more time with her family, she would reduce her hours as a nurse and take a pay cut at the age of 55. The move was based on the assumption that she would be entitled to her state pension at 60. “I did fewer hours and voluntarily went down to a staff nurse level,” said Williams, from Barrow-in-Furness. “Unfortunately, I shouldn’t have really done that. At 62, I just couldn’t do it any longer. I was expected to do 13-hour shifts, work nights. So I left work without my state pension.”

Related: Labour pledges £58bn for women caught in pension trap

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