Women's News from the Web

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Women at risk of babies being put in care more likely to have mental health issues

Tue, 06/16/2020 - 19:00

Wales study shows 53% have condition, showing need for early support for mothers

Pregnant women who are at risk of their babies being removed from their care in the first year of life are far more likely to have had mental health problems compared with other expectant mothers, a report has found.

A study of more than 1,000 women in Wales who were subject to care proceedings found that just over half reported an existing mental health condition at their initial antenatal assessment, and three-quarters had a GP or hospital contact or admission related to mental health at some point prior to their child’s birth.

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Women stage 'mass scream' in Switzerland over domestic violence and gender pay gap

Sun, 06/14/2020 - 14:53

Thousands of marchers screamed for a minute at 3.24pm – the time of day when women in effect start working without pay

Women across Switzerland have let loose with screams during a national protest demanding equal treatment and an end to violence at the hands of men.

Last year half a million people marched to highlight the nation’s poor record on women’s rights. This year’s version of what organisers call the Women’s Strike was more subdued on Sunday due to coronavirus restrictions.

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Doctors accused of blocking abortions in Northern Ireland despite legalisation

Sat, 06/13/2020 - 01:35

Patients forced to buy pills online or go overseas for terminations

Women seeking abortions in Northern Ireland are still struggling to access services. Although abortion was legalised more than two months ago, claims persist that healthcare professionals are refusing to treat patients.

A leading reproductive rights group and a doctors’ organisation say that GPs are refusing to refer pregnant women to hospital services so they can access the tablets needed to undergo a medical abortion. They are also aware of midwives and nurses refusing to care for patients before and after the procedure.

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Chile's women's minister, Pinochet's great-niece, resigns following backlash

Tue, 06/09/2020 - 09:03

Macarena Santelices oversaw a string of controversial decisions, prompting #WeDoNotHaveAMinister to trend

Chile’s women and gender minister, a great-niece of the late dictator Augusto Pinochet, has resigned after just a month following a furious backlash to her appointment and a string of misssteps in office.

Macarena Santelices stood down on Tuesday, tweeting: “The day it is understood that women’s rights are not political – that they belong to all and for all – we can move forward.”

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Domestic violence victim denied legal aid seeks judicial review

Mon, 06/08/2020 - 21:00

Woman contests rules that could force her to cross-examine ex-partner in court

A victim of domestic violence, who is surviving on universal credit but has been denied legal aid in a battle to hold on to her home, is challenging strict regulations that could force her to cross-examine her former partner in court.

The woman, known as Claire (not her real name), has launched a judicial review of the refusal to provide funding made by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA). Without legal aid, she cannot pay for a lawyer and will have no option but to represent herself. Her challenge will be heard in the high court on Tuesday.

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Sexist forum posts hundreds of private images of Australian female journalists and celebrities

Sat, 06/06/2020 - 10:00

Women whose social media pictures were uploaded to the site say they feel ‘violated’ by intrusion on their privacy

Female journalists say they feel “violated” by a sexist forum that has been posting personal images and lewd comments about women in the Australian media industry for more than a decade.

Hundreds of high-profile journalists and emerging reporters have had their images uploaded onto the forum, which also posts suggestive images of Australian actresses, female sports stars and models.

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New Zealand tackles 'period poverty' with free sanitary products for all schoolgirls

Tue, 06/02/2020 - 18:56

More than 90,000 girls stay away from school because they cannot afford pad or tampons, Jacinda Ardern says

Girls in New Zealand high schools will no longer have to pay for sanitary products after the government announced it would foot the bill in an attempt to stamp out widespread period poverty.

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern said sanitary supplies for a monthly period were not a luxury, but a necessity and too many girls were skipping school because they weren’t able to afford pads and tampons.

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The Guardian view on nurseries: a case of neglect | Editorial

Mon, 06/01/2020 - 08:03

The low status of early years education harms women as well as children

Unless you are the parent or grandparent of a toddler, or employed in early years education, you may have missed the announcement that nurseries and other childcare settings in England were due to reopen on Monday, along with almost half of primary school classes. The sector, which includes around 40,000 childminders working from their own homes and a slightly smaller number of nurseries, has not featured much in lockdown reports or ministers’ speeches, despite having remained open throughout the lockdown to vulnerable children and those of key workers. This is hardly a surprise. It is more than 20 years since New Labour placed under-fives at the heart of public policy, with its Sure Start programme. Since then, a decade of austerity has put a brake on progress and returned early years to its former lowly status.

Now, the stresses placed on the sector by coronavirus threaten to destabilise it further. Neil Leitch, the chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, a membership organisation for nurseries and childminders, has accused the government of a “frankly appalling” attitude, and warned that multiple providers could go out of business.

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‘Many girls have been cut’: how global school closures left children at risk

Sun, 05/31/2020 - 20:45

Covid-19 lockdown made children vulnerable to abuses including FGM and child marriage say NGOs, as schools in England prepare to reopen

Covid-19 school closures have exposed children around the world to human rights abuses such as forced genital mutilation, early marriage and sexual violence, child protection experts say.

Globally, the World Bank estimates that 1.6 billion children were locked out of education by Covid-19. As schools in England and around the world prepare to reopen this week, NGOs warn that millions of the world’s most vulnerable children may never return to the classroom, and say that after decades fighting for girls’ education the pandemic could cause gender equality in education to be set back decades.

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Covid-19 crisis could set women back decades, experts fear

Thu, 05/28/2020 - 20:00

Concerns 50 years of progress could be put into reverse unless government intervenes

The coronavirus pandemic is having a devastating effect on gender equality and could set women back decades, experts have said on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act. 

In a week during which it was revealed that women are bearing the brunt of extra childcare and housework and are losing jobs in greater numbers than men, campaigners, politicians and work experts said a dearth of female voices at the heart of government also risks putting 50 years of progress into reverse. 

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'We are losers in this crisis': research finds lockdowns reinforcing gender inequality

Thu, 05/28/2020 - 18:00

Campaign groups warn women across Europe risk being pushed back into traditional roles

Life during the coronavirus lockdown has reinforced gender inequality across Europe with research emphasising that the economic and social consequences of the crisis are far greater for women and threaten to push them back into traditional roles in the home which they will struggle to shake off once it is over.

Throughout the continent, campaign groups are warning that the burdens of the home office and home schooling together with additional household duties and extra cooking, has been unequally carried by women and that improvements made in their lives by the growth in equality over the past decades are in danger of being rolled back by the health crisis.

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MPs bring bill to ban late abortions for cleft lip, cleft palate and clubfoot

Thu, 05/28/2020 - 05:39

Cross-party group proposes ending UK abortions after 24 weeks for minor disabilities

A cross-party group of MPs are seeking to change Britain’s abortion laws to ban late terminations that are carried out on the grounds of minor physical abnormalities.

The abortion (cleft lip, cleft palate and clubfoot) bill, which is led by the Conservative MP Fiona Bruce and supported by 13 MPs, will be presented in parliament on 3 June.

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Argentina's abortion campaign launches virtual events to revitalise movement

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 22:30

Activists seemed on the brink of victory when they were stalled by the pandemic and a historic bill wasn’t formally introduced

Feminists in Argentina like to say: “la lucha está en la calle” — the battle is in the streets.  But with the country under a strict coronavirus lockdown, the women’s movement can no longer flood the streets.

So on Thursday, activists have planned a series of virtual events to mark 15 years of their campaign to legalize abortion – and inject new momentum into a campaign which was stalled by the pandemic, just as it seemed on the brink of victory.

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Working mothers interrupted more often than fathers in lockdown - study

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 01:18

Mothers more likely to have lost jobs and are doing more childcare and housework

Working mothers have been able to do only one hour of uninterrupted paid work for every three hours done by men during lockdown, according to a study that exposes the work imbalance between men and women

A report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the UCL institute of education also says mothers in England are more likely than fathers to have lost their jobs during lockdown, increasing fears that the coronavirus crisis has exacerbated inequality and could lead to the gender pay gap increasing.

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Dominic Cummings surely knew he was exploiting a rule meant for abuse victims | Anna Cafolla

Tue, 05/26/2020 - 05:51

The ‘exceptional circumstances’ clause was designed for vulnerable people in fear for their life

During Dominic Cummings’ bolshy defence of his cross-country tour to Durham, breaking lockdown regulations, he centred on his “exceptional” need for childcare. This led him to drive 260 miles to his parents’ farm after his wife started to feel ill.

In cobbling together this narrative during yesterday’s lengthy press conference, the prime minister’s senior adviser seemed to rely on a loophole in the government’s quarantine laws. After the guidelines were imposed in March to counteract the Covid-19 outbreak, a clause was subsequently added to provide protective measures for women and children stuck in domestic abuse households: the lockdown could be broken in these exceptional circumstances, where vulnerable people were in danger. Cummings, the chief strategist in the government that devised this rule, surely knew that safeguarding women and children from abuse and neglect was the intention.

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It is a tragedy that women are being turned away from motherhood | Barbara Ellen

Sat, 05/23/2020 - 06:30

Intensifying economic pressures have led to plummeting birth rates in Britain and America


Financial insecurity is one of the best, most sensible reasons not to have a baby. It’s also one of the saddest and creepiest.

The US birthrate is at its lowest for 35 years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The sharpest fall was teenagers, but rates dropped in almost every age and race group. There are indications that people are delaying having children until they’re older or don’t feel they should enlarge their families. There are similar drops elsewhere, including the UK in 2018, with the Office for National Statistics reporting a fall of 3.2% from 2017, down nearly 10% from 2012. In particular, millennial Britons appeared to be indefinitely deferring children because of practical considerations such as insecure work, low wages and unaffordable housing. Like I say, sensible, but sickening.

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On coronavirus, men are calling all the shots. We're seeing why it matters | Gaby Hinsliff

Fri, 05/22/2020 - 04:59

Women are naturally more cautious: would the government have made so many missteps over the lockdown if it was more inclusive?

Don’t go out alone in the dark. Don’t get carried away in the heat of the moment. Work twice as hard in order to be taken half as seriously, but don’t work so hard that you somehow forget to have a baby. Be nice, be good, but above all be careful.

To grow up as a girl is so often to grow up being told that the world is a perilous place full of chances to get it horribly wrong, where if something bad happens it will probably be your fault somehow.

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Gloria Steinem says TV drama of 1970s feminist history ‘ridiculous'

Fri, 05/22/2020 - 04:15

In interview for Hay festival feminist writer says Mrs America misrepresents equal rights movement

It stars Cate Blanchett and Rose Byrne in a glossy, big-budget TV account of 1970s feminist history but one key player who was there, Gloria Steinem, is withering: it is ridiculous, undermining and just not very good, she said on Friday.

Steinem, arguably the world’s most famous feminist, has revealed she is not a fan of the new Hulu TV show Mrs America, which premiered in the US last month and is coming to BBC2 in the UK later in the year.

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'Where are the women?' Outcry over all-male government meeting in Afghanistan

Fri, 05/22/2020 - 03:13

Tweet showed 12 male political leaders after Ghani promised women would be involved in high-level decision-making

People in Afghanistan protested on social media that no women were present at a high-level government meeting, despite assurances from the president that they would be involved in important decision-making roles.

The outcry followed a tweeted photo of a meeting of 12 political leaders at the presidential palace – all of them men.

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This pandemic threatens to undo what generations of feminists have fought for | Moira Donegan

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 00:06

With schools and daycares closed, and employers embracing permanent work-from-home arrangements, women will be forced to pick up the slack

During this pandemic, a contracting economy, public health fears, and steadily reduced public services have shifted massive amounts of work and caregiving responsibilities to the home – and it is women who are picking up the slack. Even as lockdowns lift and the virus recedes, many of these needs that were previously met outside the home will still be left to families to try to meet within it, and women will be disproportionately affected. The result is a potentially long-term constricting of women’s lives to the domestic sphere. This threatens to undo a century’s worth of progress that women have made in claiming access to public life.

Some women are home because they’ve lost work. The economic recession that has been prompted by the pandemic has disproportionately hurt woman-dominated service industries, meaning that this time, unlike the 2008 recession, women make up the majority of the newly unemployed. In April, the unemployment rate climbed to 15.5% for women, with black women and Latinas facing even higher average unemployment rates.

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