Women's News from the Web

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Updated: 4 hours 38 min ago

Rough sex excuse in women's deaths is variation of 'crime of passion' – study

Tue, 11/10/2020 - 01:33

Normalisation of BDSM enabling abusers to justify fatal violence against women, says researcher

Men who kill women are increasingly using the “sex game gone wrong” excuse as a contemporary variation on the traditional crime of passion defence, research has found.

In one of the first academic studies into the issue, Prof Elizabeth Yardley, a criminologist at Birmingham City University, found that the normalisation of bondage, domination and sado-masochism (BDSM) across various media had generated a “culturally approved script” for men who kill women.

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Mary Wollstonecraft finally honoured with statue after 200 years

Mon, 11/09/2020 - 14:01

‘Mother of feminism’ commemorated by Maggi Hambling sculpture in north London

It shows a silvery naked everywoman figure emerging free and defiantly from a swirling mingle of female forms and, thanks to a 10-year slog of fundraising, is the world’s only memorial sculpture to a woman known as the “mother of feminism”.

“It will definitely start a conversation,” said the writer Bee Rowlatt, who has led the campaign to get a sculpture celebrating Mary Wollstonecraft in Newington Green, north London. “It will definitely promote comment and debate and that’s good, that’s what Mary did all her life.”

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'Stand By Her': China university students campaign to end period shaming

Sun, 11/08/2020 - 09:00

Free sanitary pad dispensers installed on campuses in effort to counter ‘stigma of menstruation’ in the country

Chinese students have launched a program setting up free sanitary pad dispensers in toilets at universities across the country in a bid to end period shaming of young women.

“Sanitary pad support boxes” have been set up in almost 250 campuses following a campaign on social media by an advocacy group called Stand By Her. Those who take from the period support boxes are encouraged to help replenish its stock later.

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UK supreme court could be left with only one female justice

Sun, 11/08/2020 - 06:01

News that Lady Black is to step down has raised fears of reversal in progress on gender diversity

Progress towards gender diversity on the UK’s highest court is in danger of being thrown into reverse, following the announcement that another female justice will retire shortly.

Lady Black’s replacement could leave the supreme court with only one woman and 11 white men on the bench – a prospect that has triggered an urgent search for candidates to avoid that outcome.

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Blue plaque to honour Yorkshirewoman who was locked in asylum for calling vicar a liar

Sun, 11/08/2020 - 00:45

Mary Heaton spent 41 years in a Wakefield asylum for challenging a cleric. Finally, her life and suffering are being recognised

She caused a disturbance in church, challenging the vicar over an unpaid bill. For that, Mary Frances Heaton was declared insane and sent to a lunatic asylum in 1837.

She never emerged into the world again, spending the last 41 years of her life locked up. But this weekend her life has been acknowledged with a blue plaque to “the tragic patient” unveiled in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. It highlights her small collection of needlework samplers, a legacy of her life in stitches.

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Look to Poland for a lesson in how popular protest works | Kenan Malik

Sat, 11/07/2020 - 20:30
Demonstrations against new abortion restrictions have forced the government to call for talks

Last month, Poland’s top court ruled it unconstitutional to have an abortion on the grounds of a foetal defect. In a country in which abortion was already highly restricted, this all but banned the procedure – 98% of all abortions in Poland are because of foetal abnormalities.

In 2016, when the governing rightwing Law and Justice party (PiS) attempted to push similar anti-abortion legislation through parliament, it was forced to back down in the face of mass protests and a national women’s strike. So this time, the PiS government chose the judicial route, having already packed the constitutional court with conservative judges.

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My friend unloads her anxiety on me, and now I feel drained | Dear Mariella

Sat, 11/07/2020 - 20:00

Discord is rife, emotions are volatile and people need kindness, but you need to protect yourself too, says Mariella Frostrup

The dilemma My former colleague, who became a friend, has always been a little self-centered. Once we stopped working together, I accepted the lopsided nature of our relationship, because I found her fun and we shared the experience of being immigrants navigating British work environments.

We no longer work together but, twice weekly, we share a co-working space that I use to change up my environment and help my mental health. She had a serious mental health setback during lockdown and is, understandably, having a really hard time. She seeks me out to unload on: how unfair she thinks her colleagues are; how they don’t appreciate her; how anxious she is about the pandemic and politics, etc. It’s become less about having conversations and more about listening to an exhausting monologue.

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Oxford Dictionaries amends 'sexist' definitions of the word 'woman'

Sat, 11/07/2020 - 08:43

Publisher labels ‘bitch’ as offensive but fails to satisfy some equality campaigners

Oxford University Press has updated its dictionaries’ definitions of the word “woman” following an extensive review triggered by equality campaigners.

Among the updates to Oxford Dictionaries’ definitions is the acknowledgement that a woman can be “a person’s wife, girlfriend, or female lover”, rather than only a man’s.

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Heard lost public sympathy for standing up against Depp assaults, says QC

Tue, 11/03/2020 - 10:41

Abused women expected to be ‘meek and subservient’ to receive public sympathy, says QC

Amber Heard’s stand against Johnny Depp’s assaults should not have deprived her of public sympathy for suffering the ordeal of domestic violence, a leading human rights lawyer has said.

Heard was subjected to death threats and misogynistic attacks on social media during the libel trial that left her feeling “down and beleaguered”, according to Helena Kennedy QC, who met Heard while the case was before the high court.

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Poland delays abortion ban as nationwide protests continue

Tue, 11/03/2020 - 04:16

Anti-government rallies continue over court’s ruling to restrict access to terminations

Poland’s rightwing government has delayed implementation of a controversial court ruling that would outlaw almost all abortion after it prompted the largest protests since the fall of communism.

“There is a discussion going on, and it would be good to take some time for dialogue and for finding a new position in this situation, which is difficult and stirs high emotions,” Michał Dworczyk, the head of the prime minister’s office, told Polish media on Tuesday.

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'Lives have been lost': Pregnant women in Zimbabwe forced to pay bribes when giving birth

Mon, 11/02/2020 - 21:15

Two women took Harare authorities to court to force them to reopen 42 maternity clinics

In agonising labour pain and turned away from a Harare health centre, Aurage Katume feared that, like many other Zimbabwean women, she could lose her unborn baby.

She struggled to another clinic in the country’s capital. The midwives there were not ready to help her either.

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Women, and women of color, running for seats in Congress are setting a record

Mon, 11/02/2020 - 21:00

Of the 318 female candidates running for the 470 seats available, 117 of them are women of color, building on 2018’s midterm elections

A record number of women, including a record number of women of color, could be elected to Congress on Tuesday, in what would represent a further step towards a US government that represents the makeup of the nation.

An unprecedented 318 women are running as Democratic or Republican candidates for the 470 seats available across the House of Representatives and the Senate, up from a previous record of 257 set in 2018.

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The sole function of the clitoris is female orgasm. Is that why it’s ignored by medical science?

Sat, 10/31/2020 - 09:00

Medical textbooks are full of anatomical pictures of the penis, but the clitoris barely rates a mention. Many medical professionals are uncomfortable even talking about it

Professor Caroline de Costa is awaiting feedback. Several months ago the editor of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology requested an editorial from a world-renowned Melbourne urologist to address what she saw as a lack of research and, more concerningly, a persistent lack of knowledge about an essential part of the female reproductive system.

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If childcare providers go under, what hope is there for working mothers? | Barbara Ellen

Sat, 10/31/2020 - 08:00
If the government doesn’t step in, one in four English nurseries could close by Christmas

If you take away a woman’s childcare, then you take away her life. A survey of 2,000 childcare providers conducted by the Early Years Alliance (EYA) reports that a quarter of childminders and nurseries in deprived areas of England won’t be able to stay open beyond Christmas without extra funding.

In total, one in six childcare providers is in danger of closing, because of falling demand and insufficient government aid. While the Department for Education says that it has provided support by “bulk-buying” places and the sector will further benefit from funding plans, the EYA says that money often isn’t reaching those who need it. It estimates that a £240m emergency fund is required for providers to avoid closure.

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Pro-choice supporters hold biggest-ever protest against Polish government

Fri, 10/30/2020 - 12:15

About 100,00o people take to the streets of Warsaw to oppose tightened abortion law

About one hundred thousand protesters took to the streets of the Polish capital, Warsaw, on Friday, in the largest demonstration of popular anger directed against Poland’s ruling rightwing Law and Justice party (PiS) since it assumed office in 2015.

Protests have been held across the country since Poland’s constitutional tribunal declared earlier this month that abortions in instances where a foetus is diagnosed with a serious and irreversible birth defect were unconstitutional. Such procedures constitute about 96% of legal abortions in Poland, which already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe.

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Qatar says those behind search of Australian women at Doha airport committed 'illegal actions'

Fri, 10/30/2020 - 02:05

Following a preliminary investigation the government said ‘those responsible have been referred to the public prosecution office’

The Qatari government says those responsible for the intimate medical examinations of women at Doha airport did not follow standard procedures and have been referred to the public prosecution office.

Women on 10 flights – including 18 women bound for Sydney – were strip-searched in early October after a newborn baby was found dumped in the terminal. Officials said they were looking for evidence that any of the women had recently given birth.

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Women Deliver racism investigation verdict described as a 'slap in the face'

Fri, 10/30/2020 - 00:33

Complaints of ‘white saviourism’ and harassment at the group led to the review, which found no individual responsible

The results of an investigation into allegations of racism and harassment at one of the world’s most high profile women’s rights organisations has been described as a “slap in the face” to those who complained.

Investigators concluded this week that no single person was responsible for the “challenges” at the group, Women Deliver, which had undergone a period of rapid growth “during which its policies and practices lagged behind”. The report added the workplace culture had been “too demanding, urgent, and high-pressure”.

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Australian MPs pull out of dinner with Qatari ambassador over Doha airport incident

Wed, 10/28/2020 - 21:15

Members of security and intelligence committee snub invite in protest at invasive treatment of women before flight to Sydney

Australian politicians from the major parties have pulled out of a formal dinner at the Qatari ambassador’s residence in protest at the invasive treatment of women at Doha airport.

Members of parliament’s security and intelligence committee have taken the stand as political pressure grows for the government to strengthen its response to the compulsory medical examination travellers endured before travelling from Doha to Sydney on 2 October.

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Rules-based order on pavements too | Brief letters

Wed, 10/28/2020 - 07:04

Childcare hearings | Cycling | Trade deals | ‘Essential’ products

I was dismayed to read about babies being taken into care during remote video hearings (Report, 27 October). My husband was a childcare solicitor for 30 years. Being with a client when they heard their child was to be removed from them was a part of his job that he considered extremely important, to give human comfort as well as legal advice. If he had a grave, he would be turning in it. He was probably one of those “lefty lawyers” who spent his whole working life defending those who needed his skills, with little financial reward.
Lesley Barnes
Greenford, London

• Interesting to read about Cycling UK’s call for the Highway Code to put more emphasis on riding two abreast (UK cycling groups say rule on riding side-by-side is ‘causing confusion’, 26 October). Now if only Cycling UK would put more emphasis on the bit in the Highway Code that says it’s unlawful to ride on the pavement.
Ken Ward
Crewe, Cheshire

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Poland's abortion ban is a cynical attempt to exploit religion by a failing leader | Karolina Wigura

Wed, 10/28/2020 - 05:41

Kaczyński’s populist move aims to keep the Catholic church on side, but mass protests suggest he’s gone too far

Coronavirus may be new, but the authoritarian instinct is as old as politics itself. One of the standard tricks of the Covid-19-era illiberal populist is to reach for religion when you are being accused of incompetence. Donald Trump posed for photos with the Bible, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, converted the Hagia Sophia into a mosque, and in Poland Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the Law and Justice party (PiS), has resorted to an almost total ban on abortion.

A ruling from Poland’s constitutional tribunal last week outlawed abortion in cases where the foetus is severely damaged or malformed. This in practice now means almost all forms of abortion are banned.

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