Women's News from the Web

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Latest Women news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice
Updated: 6 hours 59 min ago

Labour pledges £58bn for women caught in pension trap

Sat, 11/23/2019 - 12:30

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell says party ‘owes debt of honour’ to 3 million over changes in retirement age

More than 3 million women who believe they have been left thousands of pounds out of pocket after steep increases to the state pension age are being promised compensation by Labour as part of a £58bn scheme designed to end a “historic injustice”.

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

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'France's shame': thousands protest against gender violence

Sat, 11/23/2019 - 07:54

More than 100 women in France have been killed by a current or former partner this year

Several thousand people marched in France on Saturday to protest against alarming levels of deadly domestic violence against women, which the president, Emmanuel Macron, has called “France’s shame”.

The biggest rallies were in Paris. The streets of the capital became a sea of purple and white as thousands marched carrying banners, placards and flags calling for an end to femicide.

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Anti-abortion group renews attack on pregnant Labour candidate

Sat, 11/23/2019 - 07:06
Stella Creasy says constituents are being sent leaflets in a bid to sway vote

An anti-abortion group under investigation by the police has been accused of trying to interfere in the general election by working with a religious organisation to target a prominent Labour figure.

The Christian Peoples Alliance (CPA) distributed fresh leaflets on Friday in an apparent attempt to turn the Muslim community in the London constituency of Walthamstow against the pro-choice Labour candidate Stella Creasy, who is standing for re-election.

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The naked truth about on-screen nudity: women don’t like it, guys | Barbara Ellen

Sat, 11/23/2019 - 07:00

Let’s hope a new set of rules will make it harder for directors to ask actresses to disrobe

Why do some men feel aggrieved when actresses admit that they don’t enjoy doing nude scenes? To listen to men carp, you’d think that viewing on-screen female nudity was a basic human right.

Emilia Clarke has just spoken about doing “terrifying” nude scenes for Game of Thrones. Later, she became more assertive, thinking “fuck you”, when film-makers wanted her to strip, suggesting that, otherwise, she would “disappoint her Game of Thrones fans”. (Anyone else shuddering?) Clarke was only 23, fresh out of drama school, when she took on the role of Daenerys Targaryen, but she’s still been lambasted for complaining about the part that made her rich and famous. Clarke wasn’t moaning about the role, though – she was talking honestly about nude scenes. Is that OK or is it not enough for female performers to disrobe? Or do they have to pretend they like it too?

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To secure a safer future for AI, we need the benefit of a female perspective | John Naughton

Sat, 11/23/2019 - 06:00

The most perceptive criticism of the technology often comes from women

Everybody knows (or should know) by now that machine learning (which is what most current artificial intelligence actually amounts to) is subject to bias. Last week, the New York Times had the idea of asking three prominent experts in the field to talk about the bias problem, in particular the ways that social bias can be reflected and amplified in dangerous ways by the technology to discriminate against, or otherwise damage, certain social groups.

At first sight, the resulting article looked like a run-of-the-mill review of what has become a common topic – except for one thing: the three experts were all women. One, Daphne Koller, is a co-founder of the online education company Coursera; another, Olga Russakovsky, is a Princeton professor who is working to reduce bias in ImageNet, the data set that powered the current machine-learning boom; the third, Timnit Gebru, is a research scientist at Google in the company’s ethical AI team.

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Topless bans are just laws that treat female bodies like sex objects | Arwa Mahdawi

Sat, 11/23/2019 - 04:00

A Utah woman is being taken to court for bearing her breasts in her home – an explicit example of a double standard

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

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Concern grows over ‘rough sex gone wrong’ defence in courts

Fri, 11/22/2019 - 09:10

UK lawyers and activists demand action as researchers find tenfold rise in usage

Senior lawyers and women’s organisations have condemned the increasing use of “rough sex gone wrong” as a courtroom defence to the murder of women and called for a change to the law in the UK.

In the wake of the conviction of British backpacker Grace Millane’s killer in New Zealand, researchers have revealed a tenfold rise over the past two decades in the number of times similar claims have been made in UK courts.

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Revealed: concerns over string of incidents at UK prison where baby died

Fri, 11/22/2019 - 05:47

At least four prisoners at HMP Bronzefield have given birth in potentially unsafe circumstances since 2017

The death of a newborn baby girl in a cell at HMP Bronzefield in September came after a string of concerning incidents involving pregnant women at the prison in the past two years, the Guardian has learned.

On at least four occasions in this period, women held at the privately run Surrey prison have given birth in distressing and potentially unsafe circumstances, including one woman who gave birth in her cell and another who was left in labour at night-time supported only by another pregnant prisoner.

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Pregnant in prison: 'I could feel the blood but didn’t put the light on to see'

Fri, 11/22/2019 - 05:47

Polly cried for help when she began bleeding heavily in her cell, but no one answered

Polly was alone in her cell at night when she started bleeding heavily. Doubled over in pain, she rang her bell over and over again, but nobody answered her cries for help. She was four months’ pregnant and terrified she would lose her baby while locked in a cell.

“I tried to sit it out in my cell, all night nearly,” she says. “I got no sleep at all, the pain was awful and I knew without looking the bleeding was worse, I could feel it but I didn’t put the light on to see. I was terrified, I thought: ‘I’m going to lose this baby here in this bloody cell.’

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Latina women will finally earn the same as white men – in 2224

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 10:04

Latina women in the US get paid 53 cents to a white man’s dollar. On current trends equality is a long way off

Yesterday, nearly 23 months after the start of 2018, the average Latina woman in the US finally earned what a white man earned in a year.

That’s because Latina women were paid barely half of what a white man was in 2017 – earning 53 cents to every white man’s dollar. That pay gap has also widened at an alarming rate: in 2016, Latina women were paid 67 cents to every white man’s dollar.

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‘I’m not going to be bullied into silence.’ The women defying abuse to stand as MPs

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 00:00

There has been a well publicised exodus of senior female MPs, yet more women than ever are standing in this election. They explain why

Tucked away in the office of Labour candidate Natalie Fleet is a pop-up wendy house, meant to keep the children of campaign volunteers happy. But on the morning I visit, nobody can play there. In the middle of the night, someone smashed in the windows of her campaign headquarters in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, showering everything in broken glass. Now the office is out of bounds for volunteers until it can be made safe.

“It’s deliberate, it’s targeted and it’s not very nice; and, unfortunately, in this climate it’s also predictable,” sighs Fleet, sipping a mug of tea amid the wreckage. Yet the prospective Labour MP for Ashfield is still out daily knocking on doors for Labour because for her, the prospect of her home town – which voted heavily for Brexit and where the anger at the failure to deliver it is palpable – turning Tory is both unimaginable and a real possibility.

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Australian women win landmark vaginal mesh class action against Johnson & Johnson

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 17:00

The case was launched on behalf of 700 women who had pelvic mesh and tape products implanted to treat common complications of childbirth

Hundreds of women left in debilitating pain by faulty transvaginal mesh devices have won a landmark case against multinational giant Johnson & Johnson.

The Australian class action against companies owned by Johnson & Johnson – watched closely across the world – was won on behalf of 1,350 women who had mesh and tape products implanted to treat pelvic prolapse or stress urinary incontinence, both common complications of childbirth.

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Induction recommended for women still pregnant at 41 weeks

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 13:30

Swedish study shows that induction of labour at or beyond term gestation is safer for babies

Inducing birth for women whose pregnancy lasts to 41 weeks could reduce the death toll from stillbirths, say experts, following publication of the results of an important trial in which six babies died after spending longer in the womb.

The results of the trial in Sweden, revealed last month in the Guardian, may change practice around the world. They confirm what experience and smaller studies have suggested – that there is a small increased risk of stillbirth for babies after 41 weeks’ gestation. The trial was stopped early after five babies of women who were more than 41 weeks’ pregnant were stillborn and one died shortly after birth.

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We escaped Julia Roberts playing Harriet Tubman – but whitewashing lives on | Yomi Adegoke

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 08:19
Behind closed doors, roles meant for ethnic minority actors are being rewritten as white

It is a headline that reads as if it were ripped from a Saturday Night Live skit: Julia Roberts was once the favourite to play the legendary African American 19th-century abolitionist Harriet Tubman. The revelation came from Gregory Allen Howard, the screenwriter and producer of the recently released film Harriet, in a Q&A earlier this month.

“I was told how one studio head said in a meeting: ‘This script is fantastic. Let’s get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman,’” Howard said. “When someone pointed out that Roberts couldn’t be Harriet, the executive responded: “It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference.”

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Stuck for ideas on the lesbian tourist trail? Welcome to Halifax!

Tue, 11/19/2019 - 07:02

Yorkshire town rivals Lesbos as popular destination thanks to TV series Gentleman Jack

The Greek island of Lesbos has long been a magnet for gay women, attracted by the poetry of Sappho, literature’s most famous lesbian, who wrote an ode to the goddess Aphrodite in the 7th century BC.

Now Lesbos has a rival on the sapphic tourism circuit. Halifax in Yorkshire is rapidly becoming a popular destination for lesbians thanks to the BBC/HBO series, Gentleman Jack.

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Ego trip: why are some male runners so threatened by a speedy woman?

Mon, 11/18/2019 - 21:00

Being overtaken by a woman seems to get under some men’s skin, as elite athlete Lily Partridge pointed out last week. But the intimidation tactics need to stop

At this time of year, many women stop running in the dark. The same quiet roads that are great for training are precisely those that can make you feel vulnerable. Attacks, fortunately, are rare – but intimidation is not.

I don’t know a single female runner who hasn’t been heckled or mocked while out pounding the streets. And, yes, always by men. But there is something else you also occasionally see, too: male runners reminding you of their power.

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Pregnant and waiting for your baby? Forget sex and hot baths – here's my advice

Mon, 11/18/2019 - 07:21

Bananas, nipple stimulation, castor oil: none of these will hasten labour. Instead, soak up your last chance to be alone

My daughter has passed her due date and we are all on tenterhooks for the baby to be born. What a strange space this is. Constantly texting – “Anything?” – is probably not the best idea. I am simply waiting for the call. But still, this is yet another part of a woman’s life in which one is bombarded with weird and contradictory advice.

I thought it would have changed over the years, but no, it’s much the same. Sex. Curry. Various kinds of herbs.

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2020 could see an end to safe, legal abortion anywhere in America

Sun, 11/17/2019 - 23:00

It’s more crucial than ever to have a president in office who won’t just pay the usual lip service to women’s rights

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If you care about the rights of women to make their own reproductive choices, 2020 is the year that matters.

It’s too late to do anything about the current makeup of the court – except, of course, for women and the people who love them to be very, very loud in our support of abortion rights, and signal that there will be a serious cost if the court overturns or scales back Roe.

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More fathers are taking paternity leave, but mothers are still doing all the work

Sun, 11/17/2019 - 21:30

A survey found 62% of fathers in the US took full time off for their newborn, but women saw a greater damage to future job prospects

Attitudes towards paternity leave have drastically changed in America in the last five years as more fathers feel comfortable taking extended time off, but gender stereotypes persist when it comes to career prospects and the home, according to a new study of working parents.

Research by the Boston College Center for Work & Family, which surveyed new parents at four large US companies who were eligible for at least six weeks paid parental leave, found that 81% of the 1,240 employees surveyed said the notion of fathers taking leave has become more acceptable.

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Who’s the daddy? Difficult to say in Victorian times | Sarah Ditum

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 10:30
New research sheds light on the parlous lot of women during the Industrial Revolution

The women of the 19th-century urban poor were at it. Sneaking around, getting some. That, anyway, is the conclusion drawn from some recently reported DNA research, published in the journal Current Biology.

The authors of the paper compared the Y chromosomes of 513 pairs of men who supposedly share a common ancestor to determine the prevalence of what they called “extra-pair paternity” over the past 500 years – in other words, the number of times in the men’s family trees that the father named on the birth certificate wasn’t the same as the man who supplied the sperm.

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