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How Kate Moss Close could pave the way to a better world

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 06:49

A drive for more streets to be named after women won’t solve sexism and racism – but it’s a start

A new initiative in Bradford is hoping women will take up more literal and figurative space in the UK. Through the Pioneering Bradford Lasses campaign, more streets and public spaces in the city will be named after women in order to correct the gender imbalance of the figures whose achievements are publicly honoured. Bradford will kick off by naming a new street – Lillian Armitage Close – after a local suffragette who campaigned for women’s right to vote.

I am under no illusion that more brown faces on bank notes, more women’s names on blue plaques or the toppling of the statues of colonialists we continue to celebrate will actually see minorities getting better-paid jobs, an increase in women climbing the ranks or somehow end white supremacy. I do, however, think that these can be brilliant and necessary moves. It is important that a city, town or country acknowledges not just the existence but the contributions of those who helped make it great.

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Kylie Jenner’s party was stupid. But it won’t curtail the power of The Handmaid’s Tale | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 21:00

Celebs can drink their Gilead cocktails. Margaret Atwood’s story remains a pertinent warning about misogyny’s mission creep

I felt a small spark of joy yesterday, as I imagined Margaret Atwood’s facial expression when confronted with the news that a member of the Kardashian family – Kylie Jenner – had provoked internet outrage by organising a Handmaid’s Tale-themed party. The novelist is known for taking no prisoners, and the footage, which shows Jenner and her friends squealing as they are confronted with Handmaid-themed costumes and cocktails, lays bare some of the most flagrant stupidity I think I have ever witnessed.

Was I particularly offended? Before anyone cries “snowflake”, I was not. But I was astonished at the ignorance and privilege of the women in the video, who will never suffer if Roe v Wade is repealed, abortion is outlawed in the US and women’s bodily autonomy is drastically curtailed. The Handmaid’s Tale is a TV series to them, a piece of pop culture iconography that can be stripped of its context, but even then it is not without its dark connotations. The first series was a brilliant and faithful adaptation of the book, before the next series descended into violence so disturbing and gratuitous, that many women I know stopped watching. Yet the rape and the female genital mutilation and the torture did not preclude this story from being chosen by a young woman as the theme of a glossy celebration ripped of its context and appropriated.

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Want to be a male ally? Start by helping to clean the house | Moira Donegan

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 20:00

Liberal men say they want to be equal partners in housework and parenting. But it hasn’t happened

Imagine if the dishes stopped getting done. Imagine if no one did the laundry, and it piled up, stained and mildewing in hampers and in piles on the floor. Imagine if no one fed the baby, or changed her, and imagine if no one made dinner. Imagine if no one scheduled grandma’s cardiologist appointment, and no one reminded her of the appointment after it had been scheduled, and if no one drove her to the appointment on the morning she was supposed to go. Imagine if no one vacuumed, or washed the windows, or picked up the various detritus that accumulates around the house.

Imagine that this goes on for a week, two weeks, two months. Imagine the domestic fights behind closed bedroom doors. Imagine the wailing infants. Imagine the hunger, and the injuries, and the infections. Imagine the paid work that happens at the shop or at the office that would be delayed, then phoned in, done badly and eventually not done at all.

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Nancy Meyers: focusing on my movie kitchens is sexist

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 00:25

Director of It’s Complicated and Something’s Gotta Give says male directors who make ‘gorgeous’ films don’t face similar criticism

Nancy Meyers, the multimillion-dollar grossing director of The Intern and It’s Complicated, has hit out at critics who focus on the lavishly designed domestic interiors featured in her films, saying the attention is sexist and that male directors would not be criticised in the same way.

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Kylie Jenner’s Handmaid’s Tale party was tasteless, but is the TV show any better? | Arwa Mahdawi

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 22:59

The Kardashian scion completely missed the point of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, but the small-screen adaptation seems to revel in violence against women

Praise be, ladies. The world may be a dismal place at the moment, but Kylie Jenner is here to remind us that there is a bright side to everything – even torture, rape and oppression. The 21-year-old reality TV star and cosmetics mogul recently had the bright idea of throwing a Handmaid’s Tale-themed party for one of her BFFs. The book and TV show may be a downer, but, hey, the bright-red gowns look great on Instagram! Guests sipped “praise be vodka” and “under his eye tequila” cocktails while taking selfies – and completely missing the point of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel.

Jenner’s bash, which she shared on social media (naturally), has prompted a backlash. It does seem remarkably tone-deaf to treat The Handmaid’s Tale like a hilarious joke when the US is becoming more like the fictional Gilead by the day. If you think that is an overdramatic comparison, just take a look at Alabama, which recently became the latest state to pass an extreme abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest. Not only does the bill force women to have their rapist’s babies, but Alabama law means the rapist can get parental rights and sue for custody. Meanwhile, any doctor caught performing an abortion could get 99 years in prison.

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The CPS is denying justice to thousands by secretly changing rape prosecution rules | Rachel Krys

Sun, 06/09/2019 - 21:00

Reported rapes have soared, but cases reaching court have plummeted. That’s why women’s groups are taking legal action

Rachel Krys is co-director of End Violence Against Women Coalition

This is a sad day. I belong to a national coalition of women’s organisations that have finally been forced to launch a legal challenge against the Crown Prosecution Service for its failure to prosecute rape.

We believe the CPS has altered its approach in how it makes decisions on whether to charge or drop rape cases. For almost a decade, the CPS used a “merits-based” approach to building rape cases. This meant working from a thorough consideration of the law on rape (the seeking as well as the giving of consent, and being in a fit state to do so) and building a case that assumes the jury will make a decision without relying on “rape myth” prejudices.

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Fighting to protect women at work | Letters

Sun, 06/09/2019 - 06:58
Signatories including Helen Pankhurst, Sadiq Khan and Harriet Harman say the International Labour Conference in Geneva presents an opportunity to end violence and harassment against women, and call on the UK government to use its influence wisely

Over the last few years, we have come together around #March4Women to demand action to end violence and sexual harassment in the workplace. This week, world leaders have a crucial chance to answer this call, and turn the wave of global outrage following #MeToo into systemic change for women in the workplace. We call on the UK government not to waste this opportunity to champion a strong global law that protects all women.

Governments, employers and workers are meeting in Geneva for the International Labour Conference to negotiate a new global convention to end violence and harassment in the world of work. We urge them to remember the 235 million women around the world who work without any legal protection because one in three countries have no laws against sexual harassment at work. It is the poorest women who are the most vulnerable – domestic workers, factory workers, those women living hand-to-mouth who cannot afford to risk their jobs by standing up for themselves and for each other. An international law is urgently needed.

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Canadian volunteers scour river for missing Indigenous women

Sun, 06/09/2019 - 00:00

Drag the Red searches for human remains in the Red River as a report recently concluded Indigenous women face a ‘genocide’

As a government inquiry compiled its landmark report on the epidemic of violence against Canada’s Indigenous women, Bernadette Smith and a group of volunteers continued what they have done for years – scouring Manitoba’s Red River for human remains.

Since 2014, Smith and her team at the Drag the Red initiative have used a small motor boat to drag the murky waters in the faint hope providing closure to grieving families.

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Natalie McGarry deserved to be punished but did we really have to lock her up? | Kevin McKenna

Sat, 06/08/2019 - 19:00
The imprisonment of the ex-MP was greeted with howls of glee that ignored her plight and that of others like her

Social media is a place to be avoided when it’s time for a public execution. At these times, it becomes something savage, as an assortment of semi-literate grotesques gather to yell insults and throw eggs.

On Thursday, it was Natalie McGarry’s turn to face these gargoyles. The former Scottish Nationalist MP, who has an 18-month-old child, was jailed for 18 months for embezzling more than £25,000 from pro-independence campaign groups during and after the 2014 independence referendum. She is a first-time offender.

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Like May, the first woman in cabinet faced a lonely battle in a male-dominated world | Rachel Reeves

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 19:00
Ninety years after Margaret Bondfield was appointed, the challenges for female politicians are different but real

The imminent departure of Britain’s second female prime minister reminded me of Margaret Bondfield. Unlike Theresa May, the former shop worker and union organiser is far from a household name – but she should be. Her story tells us much about the battle women fought to secure political representation and the way they were treated when they arrived in Westminster. It also tells us something about women in politics today.

Ninety years ago today Bondfield made history when she became the first female cabinet minister.

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The Guardian view on the limits of economics: people are priceless | Editorial

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 07:25
Human beings have a value in themselves that can’t be measured

A McKinsey report this week estimates that one in five women’s jobs in Britain and the US will be automated away in the next 10 years. Although men’s jobs will disappear at about the same rate, the study says, they will do so in a different way: women may face particular difficulties in the transition to the future. It is striking that the report, like others of its kind, values women’s work entirely in terms of money.

There are two problems with this. The first, well-known, is that women’s work is valued less by the market than men’s. The second and larger question is how to think about the value of women’s lives, and men’s too.

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Brexit effect forces women to go to Netherlands for abortions

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 04:57

Charity says visa delays making it harder for immigrant women in Ireland to travel to UK

A pro-choice charity that for decades has helped thousands of Irish women access abortions in England is sending foreign nationals to the Netherlands due to tighter UK visa regulations and the effects of Brexit.

The Abortion Support Network (ASN) said it was guiding immigrant women in Ireland towards Dutch abortion facilities because it was taking too long to obtain visas for English clinics.

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Is the new James Bond film cursed – or just losing the plot?

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 01:20

Explosions, injuries, rewrites … Bond 25 seems beset by crisis. The result of intense media scrutiny, or a sign that the series is struggling to find a new direction?

The new Bond film is tearing the roof off – literally, it would seem. Reports emerged this week from Pinewood Studios that an explosion on the film’s set on Tuesday destroyed part of a sound-stage roof and tore off large chunks of exterior panelling, as well as causing a “minor injury” to a crew member.

The explosion is the latest setback to affect production of the film known as Bond 25, the 25th and latest in the hugely profitable series based on Ian Fleming’s books that began in 1962 and has earned over $7bn worldwide. The UK’s Health and Safety Executive has announced it is to make inquiries into the incident, though it as yet has stopped short of a full investigation.

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NHS drive for diversity in key roles ‘going backwards’

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 13:01

Study finds fewer woman and BME people in key jobs at NHS trusts, despite initiatives to improve representation

Fewer women and people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are being given key roles running NHS trusts, prompting claims that the health service is going backwards on diversity and inclusion.

The proportion of chairs and non-executive directors of NHS trusts in England who are from an ethnic minority has almost halved from 15% in 2010 to just 8%, research shows.

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Edinburgh LGBT+ committee resigns in row over speakers at feminist meeting

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 08:36
  • University network says opposition to event was censored
  • Speaker Julie Bindel left ‘shaken’ after alleged abuse

All 12 members of Edinburgh University’s staff pride network committee have resigned after accusing the university authorities of “failing to take a stand against transphobic hate on campus”.

The committee claims the mass resignation was prompted by the university’s attempts to censor its opposition to a feminist meeting, held on Wednesday evening, which included speakers who have previously been critical of proposed reforms to transgender rights.

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Watch Elizabeth Warren blast Biden for his stance on abortion funding

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 05:00

‘We do not pass laws that take away freedom from women who are most vulnerable’ Warren said, in speech against Hyde amendment

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren delivered a scorching criticism of her fellow candidate in the 2020 election and former vice-president, Joe Biden, and his continued support for the Hyde amendment, a provision of federal law that restricts abortion access for poor and disabled women on public health insurance.

The Hyde amendment bars the federal government from paying for abortion care through Medicaid,the government program that provides health insurance to roughly 17 million US women of reproductive age. An abortion costs roughly $600 in the US.

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'Femtech' startups on the rise as investors scent profits in women's health | Gene Marks

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 00:00

Venture capital firms – mostly male-led – are starting to overcome their wariness over women-orientated products

What if a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle could be turned into a diagnostic tool that warned of potential medical problems or even fatal diseases? That’s what one young company is trying to prove. One of a new generation of “femtech” companies that are finally attracting serious attention, and money.

Nextgen Jane, an Oakland, California-based startup, is using its technology to determine whether a woman has endometriosis (a medical condition of the uterus that affects millions of women and causes pelvic pain which could in some cases lead to infertility) as well as cervical cancer and other potential medical problems. The company raised more than $9m this past April to fund the further development and clinical testing of what it calls “smart tampons”. The custom-made product – assuming it can one day get Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval – would be worn for about two hours and then placed inside a test tube that’s part of a home kit sent to a lab for testing.

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Listen to Japan’s women: high heels need kicking out of the workplace | Summer Brennan

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 22:41

The #KuToo campaign against the requirement to wear high heels at work reflects a long history of women’s repression

We’re used to talking about high heels in terms of fashion, fantasy and even feminism. But we’re somewhat less accustomed to speaking about them as business etiquette and workplace obligation – even though, to many women, that’s exactly what they represent.

Related: High heels at work are necessary, says Japan's labour minister

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It's time for men to step up and share responsibility for birth control | Moira Donegan

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 20:00

Why does the onus of birth control always fall on women? With access to contraception and abortion under threat, men must do their part

A woman who doesn’t want to get pregnant can take a pill, or wear a patch or insert a hormone-filled ring into her vagina. She can have hormone-secreting implants inserted into her arm or her uterus, or she can have a copper IUD inserted, which prevents pregnancy without hormones. She can get a shot. She can place a spermicide-soaked sponge next to her cervix prior to sex, or she can have herself fitted for a diaphragm or cervical cap that acts the same way. If all else fails, she can use the morning-after pill, Plan B. If she never, ever wants children, she can undergo major, irreversible surgery to get her tubes tied.

She does all of these herself, booking the doctor’s appointment (none of these birth control methods are available over the counter, with the exception of Plan B), and paying out of pocket for the appointment or using her insurance benefits, if she has them. The site of the birth control is on her body, and she alone will experience the side-effects, which in the case of hormonal methods can be numerous and severe. She can’t get pregnant alone – for that, she needs a male partner – but she prevents pregnancy alone. Birth control is perceived to be her responsibility, not his.

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Makeup millionaires show how women are taking control of the beauty industry

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 07:24

Forbes’ list of the richest ‘self-made women’ in the US has includes 10 in the skincare business, including Rihanna and Kylie Jenner. But is it something to celebrate?

In 2019, if women want to earn big bucks, fashion and beauty is the way to do it. Forbes has released its fifth annual list of the US’s richest so-called “self-made women”. Of the 80 women on it, 10 are from the makeup and skincare industries. Those who have reached millionaire and billionaire status through their own beauty brands and fashion lines include Kylie Jenner, Anastasia Soare of Anastasia Beverly Hills, the Gap co-founder Doris Fisher, Forever 21’s Jin Sook Chang and the creator of Spanx, Sara Blakely.

Rihanna, bolstered by her Fenty Beauty brand, has become the world’s richest musician – despite not having released any music since 2016. Fenty Beauty, which she launched in 2017 with the luxury goods group LVMH, generated an estimated $570 million in revenue last year.

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