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Induced lactation: why a woman doesn't need to bear a child in order to breastfeed it

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 06:44

A viral photograph of a couple breastfeeding their twin babies has highlighted the process that allows a woman to nurse a child she has not carried. So how does it work?

A photograph of Jaclyn and Kelly Pfeiffer breastfeeding their twin babies has gone viral, highlighting the fact that it is possible to nurse a baby you haven’t given birth to. Jaclyn didn’t carry the babies but has been able to breastfeed them thanks to a process known as induced lactation. It tends to be used by same-sex couples, as well as adoptive parents and women whose babies were carried by a surrogate.

The outcome can be variable, depending on the situation and what the goal is, says Helen Gray, from Lactation Consultants of Great Britain, an organisation that describes itself as the professional voice of breastfeeding. “They might want to try to bring in a full breast-milk supply and provide all of the baby’s milk, or, if they are co-parenting in a same sex relationship, they may be hoping that each mother will provide enough so they can share the breastfeeding.” Or they may want to provide a small amount to top up bottle feeds.

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The new feminist armpit hair revolution: half-statement, half-ornament

Sun, 06/23/2019 - 19:00

Female body hair is becoming more visible in popular culture and, while the issue has been around for decades, the new enthusiasm for hirsuteness has a 21st-century twist

I am usually late to catch on to shifts in the zeitgeist; this one came to my attention just recently. While watching the HBO show High Maintenance, I noticed that Lee, the protagonist’s hip and beautiful love interest, was sporting hairy armpits.

“Look!” I cried to my husband, as though I’d unexpectedly spotted a T-shirt emblazoned with the name of my favorite obscure band. For the past couple of decades, I have seldom shaved my armpits. Now, all of a sudden, I was on-trend.

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Girls will see a path for themselves if we show how engineering makes a difference

Sun, 06/23/2019 - 13:01

When people ask what it’s like to be a woman in this sector, I long for the time we stop boxing people into stereotypes

If there was a single key to levelling the gender imbalance in engineering and technology careers, we’d have cracked it by now. Plenty of evidence shows programming of prejudice starts with babies, and girls begin to be put off engineering between the ages of five and nine.

We need a shift in thinking so people are treated as individuals from birth rather than pigeonholed. There are many good initiatives targeting teenagers – we just need to reach younger children.

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Parenting guides teach us everything – except how to be parents | Eva Wiseman

Sat, 06/22/2019 - 21:59

From breast feeding to sleep training, there is a manual to help new parents. But how useful are they really? And don’t they just make us feel even more stressed?

Visiting a maternity ward last week I saw the oddest thing. A series of posters designed to promote breastfeeding, each one a disembodied white woman’s torso. The first featured her tits being groped by a variety of hands. “Bond with your baby,” said a slogan over the tit pictured stage left, a child’s hand covering the nipple. And above the second tit, this one enclosed by a pink male hand, the words, “Bond with your man.” OK. The next poster showed the tits in a leopard-print bra, a baby sucking on one nipple, and the slogan, “Designer mum. Designer milk.” An involuntary shudder. Not just at the suggestion that the reason so many women bottle-feed their babies is to protect their “designer” bosom, but at the memory of drowning in similarly delirious mothering advice, in finding myself bleeding on a battleground, its lines drawn in crayon.

Parenting advice is big business, despite appearing to consist of just two contrasting ideas: the first, control the kid; the second, control yourself. The many millions of books written, about feeding, sleeping, carrying, playing, inevitably extend into a variety of things to buy, whether tech-driven sleep aids or parenting coaches, or “mumpreneur” networking events. And yet, despite so many parents’ shaky investments (at a time when their earnings must be impacted) much of the advice is offered without much, if any, serious explanation why.

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There are better answers than jail for women who have offended | Yvonne Roberts

Sat, 06/22/2019 - 19:00

We can both deliver justice and give women a real chance of rebuilding their lives after punishment

Chris Tchaikovsky – queen of charisma, 6ft tall, witty, clever, the only one of six middle-class sisters to serve time in prison – was, for a period, head of the Happy Firm, a team dealing in stolen travellers’ cheques. Then she went straight, co-founding the charity Women in Prison. She died, aged 57, in 2002, but on Wednesday, her spirit will be at Westminster as women come to lobby their MPs to invest in a different kind of justice – one that works.

A year ago this week, the government published its female offender strategy. It contained much of what Tchaikovsky campaigned for over decades. The strategy says that if justice is to be delivered and reoffending reduced, prison for women, the majority of whom (85%) commit non-violent offences, should be replaced. In its stead should come sentences in the community and intensive support to address the issues common to chaotic lives – addiction, trauma, debt, homelessness. By and large, it’s not posh people who do porridge.

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Don't hate the Instagram engagement stunt – 'branded' love began long ago | Arwa Mahdawi

Sat, 06/22/2019 - 02:00

Viral videos posted by social media influencers has drawn a lot of ie, but many ‘traditional’ rites of romance are based on ad campaigns

Dearly beloved, we are assembled here today to witness a heartwarming story of modern #love. I hope you’ve got tissues at the ready because it’s guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye.

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Busy Philipps on abortion: ‘Women have held on to a lot of this shame’

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 19:00

The actor and author who recently testified before Congress on why she got an abortion discusses the power in being vocal about uncomfortable experiences

Busy Philipps’ big dreams for the stage never included testifying before Congress about why she got an abortion at age 15. But with more and more US states passing extreme anti-abortion measures, she saw it as a responsibility.

“There is power to being vocal about your experiences as a person because whether we like it or not, people lack empathy, they lack the ability to understand someone else’s situation until they’re really faced with it – until it’s really shown to them,” she tells me over the phone, cutting out to field texts from her husband and make arrangements for her daughter’s hair appointment. “There’s a great deal of value in sharing all of our stories and experiences in order to elicit change.”

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No luxury: book containing tampons is runaway hit

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 04:04

Protest against Germany’s 19% tax on sanitary products sells out first print run in one day

Open up a book and you can find a whole world. But the first book from the German startup the Female Company offers something more straightforward: within its covers are 15 tampons. And it is flying off the shelves.

The Tampon Book is a protest against Germany’s 19% tax on tampons as “luxury goods” – and a way of getting round it. Books are taxed at 7% in Germany, and so the founders of the Female Company, which sells organic sanitary products, decided to publish one and include tampons inside it. Released earlier this spring, the first print-run sold out in a day and the second in a week, said the publisher, with around 10,000 copies sold to date. Only the English-language edition is currently available.

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Senior Islamic cleric issues fatwa against child marriage

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 20:00

Deputy grand imam of al-Azhar calls for marriage based on mutual consent with minimum age set at 18

One of the world’s most prestigious centres of Islamic learning has issued a fatwa against child marriage, saying marriage should be based on the consent of both parties and “particularly the young woman”.

The deputy grand imam of al-Azhar, considered by some Muslims to be the highest authority of Islamic jurisprudence, hammered out the document with his team and young activists at the first African summit on child marriage and female genital mutilation, which took place in Senegal this week.

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Lloyds Pharmacy apologises to woman refused emergency contraception

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 04:19

Pharmacy says sorry after staff member refused to dispense product for ‘personal reasons’

A pharmacy chain has apologised after a woman was refused emergency contraception because the pharmacist said it went against her personal beliefs.

Siani, 41, who did not want to give her surname, pre-ordered and paid for contraception online through the Lloyds Pharmacy website.

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Pakistan to create 1,000 courts to tackle violence against women

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 14:39

Chief justice says in televised speech that abuse survivors will be able to ‘speak their heart without any fear’

Pakistan is to set up more than 1,000 courts dedicated to tackling violence against women, the country’s top judge has announced, seeking to tackle a problem activists say the criminal justice system has long neglected.

Chief justice Asif Saeed Khosa said the special courts would allow victims to speak out without fear of retaliation in the conservative Muslim country, where domestic violence is often seen as taboo.

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Society is obsessed with women’s genitals. So why are ads for sex toys still taboo? | Yomi Adegoke

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 07:05

Dame Products is suing the company that runs New York’s subway for rejecting its tasteful advertisements for female sex toys. Strangely, there were no objections to similarly suggestive ads aimed at men

Given society’s obsession with women’s sexual organs – how they should look, how they should smell – it is ironic that they are so intentionally concealed. The latest attempt to obscure any mention of women’s nether regions comes from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the company that runs the New York subway, which has rejected adverts by women’s sexual health startup Dame Products showing sex toys. Dame is now suing the MTA over its decision.

Although the MTA maintains that the promotion of “sexually oriented business” has long been prohibited, the definition appears to be slippery (much to its disgust, no doubt). Several sexually suggestive, tongue-in-cheek-and-God-knows-where-else ads have been allowed, including ones for condoms and erectile dysfunction medication.

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Women outperform men after Japan medical school stops rigging exam scores

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 18:16

Juntendo University says abolishing unfair treatment of women is behind rise in entrance exam scores

Women have outperformed their male counterparts in entrance examinations for a medical school in Japan that last year admitted rigging admission procedures to give men an unfair advantage.

Juntendo University in Tokyo said that of the 1,679 women who took its medical school entrance exam earlier this year, 139, or 8.28%, had passed. The pass rate among 2,202 male candidates was 7.72%.

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Rail union in push for more female and BAME train drivers

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 13:01

Just 6.5% of drivers in England, Wales and Scotland are women, and 8% are an ethnic minority, says Aslef

A campaign to increase the number of female, BAME and younger train drivers is being launched after a study revealed the “glaring gap” between their numbers and those in the population they serve.

Aslef, the train drivers’ union, said just 6.5% of drivers in England, Wales and Scotland were women, 8% were from a minority ethnic background and 15% were under 35.

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People often sneer at it, but small talk is hugely significant | Eva Wiseman

Sat, 06/15/2019 - 21:59

It’s a social lubricant, a way of easing the day or the foreplay to a deeper connection. These are the small shared moments that bind us together

Every week my dad’s family would gather at an auntie’s house and argue about the best route to Ridley Road. They would drink tea and describe, with glee and not a flake of detail spared, the buses they’d each taken, and the madness of having started in the wrong place, always. Arguments about shortcuts and the benefits of the No 38 would roll around the table like pennies as whole weekends passed quite happily with absolutely nothing of worth or depth apparently being shared at all. Like a Monet, the fine art of small talk (an art that is under threat) is best viewed from a distance.

“I hate small talk,” is a phrase one hears regularly today. “I have no time for it,” boast introverts, swishily. It is classed as the very worst of the talks, the Garibaldi of the talks, the Home Alone 3, the Phoebe, the Ryanair, the Niall Horan of the talks. It is treated with a disdain usually reserved for Esther McVey by Lorraine Kelly. Small talk is commonly spoken of as shallow, as dull, a stain on the otherwise flawless shirt of our humanity. Christ, there are even apps to help you avoid it, as if small talk were a traffic accident that must be driven around. As Uber trial an option allowing customers to select “Quiet preferred” when they book a car, alerting their driver to their preference for “no small talk”, it’s time, I think, to plead its case.

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Sarah Sanders' job was to be the female face of a misogynistic administration

Sat, 06/15/2019 - 02:00

Sanders helped to roll back women’s rights while allowing the Trump administration to boast about ‘empowering women’

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

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Adwoa Aboah: ‘I thought I was hideous. I wanted to jump out of my skin’

Fri, 06/14/2019 - 23:00

The supermodel turned mental-health activist on how battling dyslexia, drugs and depression helped her find her voice

Adwoa Aboah’s clothes are causing a stir, and not – as you might expect from one of the world’s most recognisable models – in a fashion sense. Her team are worried that her black hoodie, featuring the colourful logo of a young, disruptive sportswear brand, won’t fit with the podcast she is recording about girls’ mental health when the pictures go up on Instagram.

Aboah’s not having it. “Nah – these are my boys,” she says, of the designers behind the hoodie. “Anyway, would you prefer the one I have on underneath?” She lifts her top to reveal a white T-shirt that says: “Blowjobs are real jobs.”

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Swiss women strike to demand equal pay

Fri, 06/14/2019 - 02:27

Hundreds of thousands protest against ‘culture of sexism in everday life’

Hundreds of thousands of women across Switzerland have taken to the streets to demand higher pay, greater equality and more respect, protesting that one of the world’s wealthiest countries continues to treat half its population unfairly.

Nearly 30 years after the first nationwide equal rights demonstration by Swiss women, a “purple wave” of pram marches, whistle concerts, extended lunch breaks, giant picnics and city-centre rallies took place on Friday.

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'There are almost no women in power': Tokyo's female workers demand change

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 20:42

Japan has a 27.5% gender pay gap and ranks just 110th in the world for gender equality – but social change is slowly happening

Last week, after Yumi Ishikawa’s petition against being forced to wear high heels at work went viral around the world, responses ranged from solidarity – with some cheering Ishikawa and denouncing “modern footbinding” – to surprised disappointment. In 2019, in a liberal democracy such as Japan, could the issue of women’s rights still be stuck on stilettos?

But the global spotlight on the hashtag #KuToo (a pun on a word for shoes and a word for pain) may have obscured what’s really happening in Japan. “It’s so trivial,” says one senior female publishing executive, who wished to remain anonymous. After all, on the streets of Tokyo, there is a growing movement for real change for women, not merely more comfortable footwear.

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Mira Sorvino says she was date raped and calls for 'justice' for survivors

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 16:20

Oscar winner at forefront of #MeToo movement says she felt ‘ashamed’ and that incident was somehow her fault

The Oscar-winning actor Mira Sorvino has said she is a survivor of date rape, saying she was talking about it publicly to lend her voice to a push for stronger sexual assault laws in New York.

Sorvino, who was one of the first women to accuse the film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, spoke during a news conference with New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, in support of the push to drop the statute of limitations on rape allegations.

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