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Faster, higher, longer: how female ultra-athletes started to beat men

Thu, 01/02/2020 - 21:59

From swimming the Channel four times to outrunning every man, we meet the women at the top of their game

At the top of a wind-scoured hill outside Edinburgh, Jasmin Paris’s dog, Moss, patiently waits for his owner. He is, I think, wondering what on earth is taking her so long. The answer, I’m afraid, is me.

We are in the Pentland Hills near her home – easy terrain for a skilled fell runner. For me, it’s a painful reminder that road marathons and track races do not help in the hills. I spend my clumsy descents looking at my feet, and each time I look up, Paris is defying gravity – not so much dropping as floating down.

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More than 200 members of Congress urge US supreme court to reconsider Roe v Wade

Thu, 01/02/2020 - 13:09

Appeal in an amicus brief in a Louisiana case was signed by 205 Republicans and two Democrats

More than two hundred members of Congress have urged the US supreme court to reconsider the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade ruling which legalized abortion nationwide.

The appeal came in an amicus brief in a Louisiana case, and was signed by 205 Republicans and two Democrats, and calls on the high court to revisit the ruling, which affirmed that access to safe abortion is a constitutional right.

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More women than ever working in film – but men still dominate key roles

Thu, 01/02/2020 - 11:14

Men outnumber women 4 to 1 in roles such as director and cinematographer, study finds

The number of women working in the film industry reached a historic high in 2019, but men still outnumber women four to one in key roles.

Women made up 20% of behind-the-scenes roles on the top 100 domestic grossing films of 2019, a sharp uptick from 16% in 2018, a study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego University revealed. However, when it comes to key jobs like director and cinematographer, men continue to dominate.

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BBC seeks to settle equal pay cases ahead of Samira Ahmed tribunal verdict

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 02:48

Broadcaster in apparent attempt to avoid repeat of tribunal embarrassment

The BBC has approached women who are bringing equal pay cases against it to discuss potential settlements, in an apparent attempt to head off a repeat of Samira Ahmed’s employment tribunal in which embarrassing details of the corporation’s inner workings were made public.

Individuals with knowledge of the equal pay cases said some women who were preparing to follow Ahmed and take their cases to tribunal, having exhausted internal BBC processes, were being approached and asked if they would be interested in a settlement.

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The Cyprus case shows how easily rape victims are let down and distrusted | Joan Smith

Tue, 12/31/2019 - 06:50

What happened to the teenager is a stain on the Cypriot justice system. Not believing women, however, is almost universal

The message to foreign women thinking of booking a holiday in Cyprus could hardly be more stark: if you are attacked don’t expect the authorities to help you. On the contrary, reporting a rape carries a significant risk that it won’t be properly investigated, as appears to have happened to the 19-year-old British woman who went to the police in Ayia Napa in July saying she had been gang-raped. Moreover, you might end up deprived of your own liberty.

The teenager found herself convicted on Monday with inventing the whole thing, and faces a potential prison sentence when she appears at the Famagusta district court next week. Predatory young men, on the other hand, might easily come to the conclusion that they have nothing to fear.

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I used to feel my rage was righteous. But on its own, it can be toxic | Elif Shafak

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 05:00
Anger against inequality is powerful, but it needs to be coupled with feelings such as empathy and love

I used to love my anger. When I was young, it was precious to me, this burning fire, this smouldering rage, which I would hold between my palms like a lantern, without realising that it was not much of a provider of either light or warmth, it burned my flesh instead. But at the time anger felt good. It felt right and righteous. It even made me love Aristotle. “For since nobody aims at what he thinks he cannot attain, the angry man is aiming at what he can attain, and the belief that you will attain your aim is pleasant.” That sounded all right to me. I particularly agreed with the US philosopher and poetRalph Waldo Emerson. “A good indignation makes an excellent speech.” Not only speech, I thought to myself. It could also make good books, especially novels. What better motivation could there be for a novelist than the right kind of anger?

In Strasbourg, ‘revolution' was not just a noun. It was a verb, a way of life

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Manchester gives Women's Institute revival a modern twist

Sun, 12/29/2019 - 21:00

After years of waning popularity organisation regains its appeal by blending traditional pastimes with progressive events

For decades now, the reputation of the Women’s Institute has been somewhere between endlessly supping tea, baking homemade sponges in a twin set with pearls, and discussing the latest village scandal.

But long before this cliched image took hold, the WI was actually established in Britain to help with the first world war effort, bringing together generations of women who worked together embodying a real sense of community spirit.

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The year in patriarchy 2019: from Epstein conspiracy theories to Japanese high heels | Arwa Mahdawi

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 04:00

As strongmen try to take over the world, women have been fighting back and making their voices heard. Here are some highlights – and lowlights

A young Sudanese woman, dressed in white, standing high above a crowd and demanding change.

Related: You're not helping, Obama – just reinforcing myths about men v women | Arwa Mahdawi

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From renewables to Netflix: the 15 super-trends that defined the 2010s

Fri, 12/27/2019 - 00:00

It was the decade of austerity, fracking, populism and internet lies. But not everything about the 2010s was terrible

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'Everybody is talking about it': women's rights to take centre stage in 2020

Thu, 12/26/2019 - 21:00

Campaigners hail year of key global gatherings and events as vital opportunity to secure ‘bold, accountable commitments and action’

World leaders, civil society and the private sector are preparing to make 2020 the biggest year yet for the advancement of women’s rights.

Over the course of the year, thousands of people are expected to attend high-level UN events and forums in Mexico City and Paris to mark the 25th anniversary of the Beijing platform for action, a landmark agreement to end gender inequality.

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Why the new Little Women adaptation is more than just a film for females | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Wed, 12/25/2019 - 01:00
Greta Gerwig has created an inspirational movie, brimming with humanity. It should be required viewing for everyone

My sister-in-law confesses that she is nervous about the Greta Gerwig adaptation of Little Women, in cinemas from Boxing Day. In her family of women, the 1994 film starring Winona Ryder is a Christmas tradition; another version will, she fears, inevitably disappoint. Having just seen the new film, starring Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and Eliza Scanlen as the sisters Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth March, I assured her there was nothing to worry about. The rave reviews are pouring in, and to the universal acclaim I can add my own: this clever, spirited, witty adaptation is pure pleasure from start to finish. Furthermore, it serves as a timely reminder of just how feminist the original novel, published in two parts in 1868 and 1869, was.

“When I read it at 30 I couldn’t believe it, I felt like I’d never read it before,” Gerwig told the New Yorker. “I couldn’t believe how modern it was, how strange it was, how spiky it was. I’d allowed it to become this snowglobe of sweetness, and it was nothing like that. It was much more complicated.”

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Single woman sues Chinese hospital for refusal to freeze eggs

Tue, 12/24/2019 - 02:35

Teresa Xu says doctor told her to hurry up and get married before having children

At the end of last year, Teresa Xu visited a hospital in Beijing to discuss options for freezing her eggs. The doctor said she could not help Xu, a single woman, because it went against regulations. Then she gave the 31-year-old some sisterly advice: hurry up, get married and have children now.

Xu was shocked and disappointed. “I had no way to express my anger,” she said. She felt like she was being treated like a wayward child. “Like I was an intruder, delaying other couples … like my demands were too much. I felt powerless and depressed.”

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Gloria Steinem meets Gloria Allred: ‘Donald Trump has made us woke’

Mon, 12/23/2019 - 02:00

The feminist activist and the US attorney trade notes on the president, Prince Andrew and abortion, then and now

Gloria Steinem, 85, is a feminist icon, in trademark black leather trousers and turtleneck top, hair streaked blond and back straight as a ballerina’s. Gloria Allred, sitting beside her on a green velvet couch, is, at 78, small and ferocious, one of the best-known attorneys in the world, with a four-decade history of defending women’s rights and an avowed “fangirl” of Steinem. We are in Steinem’s house on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where the women have convened to talk about recent high-profile cases brought by women – many of them represented by Allred – against Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein and Bill Cosby, as well as the forthcoming US presidential election, attacks on abortion legislature, and the history of women’s rights in the US.

The women’s careers exist, to some degree, in tandem, with Steinem’s decades-long work as an activist changing public consciousness that Allred may then convert into victories in court. Hers has been a controversial career, defending victims of sexual harassment in class action suits, and going after powerful men in a way that has occasioned accusations of publicity-seeking. When a high-profile story breaks featuring allegations of sexual misconduct against celebrated men, Allred’s name is often not far behind. But she has also won victories in hundreds of unglamorous suits that represent the grunt-work of legal activism. In 2004, Allred successfully filed the first lawsuit in California challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage; in 2008, she secured a $15m payout for 200 women in an anti-age discrimination suit against a giant electronics chain. This month, she won a sexual harassment case against Alki David, a billionaire accused of harassing a former employee. And so it goes on.

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'No galaxies collapsed': Jodie Whittaker on being first female Doctor

Sun, 12/22/2019 - 20:00

Opening episode of new Doctor Who series will feature in BBC One’s New Year’s Day schedule

When Jodie Whittaker was cast as the 13th incarnation of the eponymous star of Doctor Who it made headlines everywhere because she was the first woman. Now, finally, that “gender question” is going away.

Whittaker will star in her second series of Doctor Who in 2020 with the opener being a highlight of BBC One’s New Year’s Day schedule.

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You're not helping, Obama – just reinforcing myths about men v women | Arwa Mahdawi

Sat, 12/21/2019 - 03:00

Obama’s remark that women are ‘indisputably’ better than men points to the trope that women and men are innately different

Sign up for The week in patriarchy, a newsletter​ on feminism and sexism sent every Saturday.

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'Hey, beautiful ladies': Rotterdam man cleared of street harassment

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 00:57

First man convicted under catcalling law entitled to free speech, appeal court rules

The first man convicted under Rotterdam’s new street harassment laws, also referred to as the catcalling ban, has been cleared by a court of appeal on the grounds that he has a right to freedom of expression.

The 36-year-old had approached two women making kissing gestures as he called out: “Hey, beautiful ladies. Where are you going?”

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Lady Hale’s story is a lesson in self-belief. We need more like her in positions of power | Gaby Hinsliff

Thu, 12/19/2019 - 20:00

The motto of our first female law lord is ‘women are equal to everything’. Now we must give everyone the chance to prove it

Brenda Hale only went into the law because her headteacher told her she wasn’t clever enough to read history.

So it’s no surprise she felt a little overawed on coming up to Cambridge in the 1960s and finding it full of blithely confident young men behaving as if a place at the university was merely their due. It was only when she excelled in her first-year exams that the woman who would eventually become the UK’s first female law lord and subsequently president of the supreme court realised she might actually be quite good at this, after all.

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Two Northern Ireland women to get abortion costs compensation

Thu, 12/19/2019 - 05:56

European court orders UK government to reimburse mother and daughter forced to travel to England for abortion

A mother and daughter from Northern Ireland who were forced to travel to England for an abortion are to be compensated by the government over their costs.

The European court of human rights has instructed the government to reimburse the women for the cost of travel and the termination at a private English clinic seven years ago.

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Will the new Tory intake help to build a more progressive party? Don’t count on it | Tim Bale

Thu, 12/19/2019 - 04:31
Many MPs who have taken over in former Labour strongholds are young, female or gay. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re moderate

Each general election brings with it a bunch of new MPs itching to make their mark – especially if, as in 2019, it results in a big turnover of seats. And this one has given us a new intake of 140, nearly 100 of whom are taking their places on the Conservative benches, a third of them from the so-called “red wall” seats gained from Labour on 12 December.

Related: Who are the Conservatives' most controversial new MPs?

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Low-cost breast cancer drug 'could save lives in low-income countries'

Wed, 12/18/2019 - 08:39

World Health Organization approved cheap version of ‘essential medicine’ Herceptin

A cheap version of the groundbreaking breast cancer drug Herceptin has been approved by the World Health Organization, raising the possibility of lifesaving treatment for the first time for women in low-income countries.

Herceptin is the brand name of trastuzumab, a drug which by 2006 in the UK was the subject of a huge battle for access for the 20% of women with the type of cancer, called HER2+, that it targets. Trial results released at a conference in the United States fired up campaigners. There were marches in the streets, legal actions and an unprecedented political decision by the then UK health secretary Patricia Hewitt to pay for the drug regardless before any cost-effectiveness assessment had been completed.

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