Women's News from the Web

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Germany's cabinet approves revision to Nazi-era abortion law

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 03:38

Doctors are currently banned from advertising services and offering information online

Germany’s cabinet has approved a revision to the country’s controversial, Nazi-era abortion law, a move that – pending parliamentary approval – would allow doctors and medical associations to provide women with more information about where and how to seek abortions.

Under the current law – paragraph 219a of Germany’s criminal code – doctors are prohibited from advertising abortion services or providing information about abortions on their websites. German law allows abortions during the first trimester, but uses various measures, such as the advertising ban, which came into force in 1933, to in effect discourage women from obtaining them.

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Liam Neeson laid bare the logic of lynching, in all its horror | Moira Donegan

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 03:12

The actor’s admission echoes 19th-century mob murders of black people – committed under the pretence of protecting white women

In an interview with the UK’s Independent newspaper, the action star Liam Neeson, who was on a press junket to promote his new action movie, Cold Pursuit, admitted to wanting racist revenge. Decades ago, he said, a friend of his had confided that she had been raped. Neeson asked if she knew the man who had raped her, and when she said no, he asked the man’s race. She told him that the attacker had been black. Neeson said that after this, he was intent on murdering a black man. He said he walked the streets carrying “a cosh” – British slang for a bludgeon – going into black neighborhoods and hoping to find himself in a fight, so that he would have an excuse to beat a black man to death. All of this came from a feeling of defensiveness toward his friend, he said. Thus, he would murder a black man on her behalf.

The comment sparked controversy and anger; black people rightly pointed out that this attitude seeks to impose collective punishment, putting their communities in grave and pointless danger. Many were angry at Neeson for not condemning his own past racism, instead saying that the episode had taught him a lesson about the danger and futility of revenge. In response, Neeson went on Good Morning America. “I am not a racist,” he said, and added, unhelpfully, that he had overcome his urges by “power walking”. While he was there, he also promoted his new movie.

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Democratic women in white stand out against Trump at State of the Union

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 19:16

Honoring women’s suffrage, congresswomen stood in spirited opposition to Trump, while Nancy Pelosi stole the spotlight

Most of the applause lines throughout Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech hewed to the familiar party lines of border crises, perceived foreign threats, abortion and the benefits of big tax cuts.

But one completely unexpected moment came in a spirited exchange with the Democratic women of the House who, all dressed in suffragette white, were already the most striking group in the chamber and, to many observers, seemed primed to upstage the president.

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'Treated like cattle': Angelina Jolie takes aim at Myanmar over Rohingya plight

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 16:02

Hollywood star meets refugees in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district where 740,000 Rohingya have fled since August 2017

Angelina Jolie has shared the stories of rape survivors during a visit to Rohingya refugee camps and said the responsibility to let them return “lies squarely with the government and the authorities in Myanmar”.

The envoy for the UN refugee agency said Myanmar must “show genuine commitment” to end violence that has driven hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims into neighbouring Bangladesh.

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Nearly 65% of prisoners at women's jail 'show signs of brain injury'

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 14:01

Call for screening as women tell study their injuries were caused by domestic violence

Nearly 65% of prisoners at a women’s jail may have suffered traumatic brain injuries at some point in their lives, a study has found.

Research by the Disabilities Trust and Royal Holloway, University of London, found that of the 173 women screened at Drake Hall prison in Staffordshire answering questions about blows to the head, 64% gave answers consistent with having symptoms of a brain injury. The symptoms of 96% of the women suggested that these arose from physical trauma.

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So Revolut, I’m a single woman. How does that make me a sad, lonely loser? | Christina Patterson

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 05:23
The startup’s single-shaming ad relies on the old trope that women have to be defined by their relationships. Let’s move on

Face it. You’re a loser. You’re a sad, lonely, loser. There you are, slumped on your sofa, gulping down a bowl of grease alone. And you thought you could keep it secret! Well, we know exactly what you’re doing and we think it’s tragic – but also quite funny. So we thought we’d get everyone else to titter at the mess you’ve made of your life.

This appeared to be the message one company was keen to send out to single women this week. Next to a giant bank card on one of the billboard ads for financial technology company Revolut were the words: “To the 12,750 people who ordered a single takeaway on Valentine’s Day”. Followed by the punchline: “You OK, hun?”

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Who’s going to care about the women being forced out of work? | Gaby Hinsliff

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 03:20

As hundreds of carers quit the workforce every day, leaving families at breaking point, it’s time to fix the safety net

What would drive thousands of people a year out of jobs they love, or need, with no certainty about whether they will ever be able to come back?

If you have parents of a certain age, you might already have guessed the answer. About 600 people a day are giving up their jobs to look after elderly or sick relatives, the charity Carers UK estimates, a hidden exodus from working life that we don’t discuss nearly enough. Young women are bombarded practically from the cradle with conflicting advice about how to “have it all” as working mothers, yet hear almost nothing about coping as working daughters in an age of unravelling safety nets. (And yes, about 42% of carers are male, which means many thousands of men are also toiling unpaid round the clock; but women are statistically more likely to care for parents and men for spouses, meaning men are more likely to care in retirement and women when they are still young enough to be working).

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‘I had no job, no savings. I knew he’d destroy me’ – the women fighting against economic abuse

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 01:30

Controlling someone’s access to money, monitoring their spending and running up debts in their name could soon become illegal. But will this help victims?

When Rebecca Beattie went to her bank to query some transactions, she did not expect to be told she was eligible for a £6,000 loan. She muttered that she wasn’t too sure, but her partner shot her a look and asked: “Why not?” The bank clerk noted the tension, suggested the couple take a moment alone and excused herself.

“We were barely surviving, but he talked me into it,” says Beattie, now 31, from York. “You’re in this dangerous relationship, this constant state of trying to manage, to not make him mad.” So she signed up for a personal loan in her name. When the couple got back to their car (also registered in Beattie’s name), it had a parking ticket. “He ripped it up and said: ‘We don’t need to worry about that now, we’re loaded!’”

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Japan's deputy PM blames women for nation's falling population

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 18:39

Anger after Taro Aso appears to say women not giving birth are the ‘problem’

Japan’s gaffe-prone deputy prime minister, Taro Aso, has been forced to retract remarks that appeared to blame women who do not have children for problems associated with the country’s low birthrate and ageing population.

Aso, who doubles as finance minister, told a constituency meeting in Fukuoka, south-west Japan, at the weekend that older people were being unfairly singled out to explain the country’s demographic crisis.

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Brazil: four women killed every day in 2019, human rights body says

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 11:39

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on country to implement strategies to prevent and prosecute femicides

Four women have been killed every day so far this year in Brazil, a rate the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) called “alarming” on Monday.

The IACHR, the human rights arm of the 35-member Organization of American States, said more must be done to prevent and prosecute femicides in Brazil. Femicide is the killing of a woman by a man because of her gender.

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Blood, sweat and faeces: why doulas aren’t just for wealthy women like Meghan

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 07:04
The Duchess of Sussex is right to hire a doula. I liked mine so much that I retrained to become one

Eyebrows have been raised at news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have hired a doula. I’m no princess but I made the same decision 10 years ago. The practical and emotional support I received made my start to motherhood so positive that I retrained as a doula myself.

Doulas are experienced lay people, taking on a non-medical role and often getting to know a family over many months. The work is intense and rewarding: from helping a woman plan her second birth after previous trauma, to answering a tearful and exhausted parent’s call at 3am.

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The future of maternity leave? Back straight away, but choose your own hours

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 07:00

The ‘choices’ new mothers have to make as they return to work are not choices at all. But new ideas for what is needed are out there

Maternity leave, as all mothers know, is not leave from anything except life as you once knew it. The job of looking after a baby full-time for up to a year, for those women who can afford it, can be joyous, lonely, stressful, inane, refreshingly mundane, brainless, hilarious, body-and-soul-destroying, the best thing you have ever done and crushingly boring. Often at the same time.

Every mother’s response to this bewildering, byzantine system will be different. For some, the 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay – which can be divided into shared parental leave, but mostly isn’t because it’s a completely unworkable policy that even the minister promoting it couldn’t take up – is too long and the desperation to return to work increases exponentially with each spirit-breaking viewing of Bing on CBeebies. For others the end of maternity leave looms like a Beckettian nightmare in which your baby is wrenched from your arms and you are expected to act like the whole life-changing thing never happened while quietly spending all your earnings on childcare.

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Saudi female activists face jail conditions akin to torture, say UK MPs

Sun, 02/03/2019 - 23:35

Panel finds detained activists subject to sleep deprivation, assault and threats to life

Saudi Arabia is detaining female activists in cruel and inhumane conditions that meet the threshold of torture under both international and Saudi law, a cross-party panel of three British MPs has found.

The conclusions indicate growing unease among western allies over alleged rights abuses under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto leader, who is already facing opprobrium over the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year.

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How dare they tell us women not to jog alone

Sat, 02/02/2019 - 04:00

A police campaign is advising women to run in groups to avoid being harassed. That’s just putting the onus on the victims…

I discovered running about five years ago, during a stressful and sad period of my life. Years of anxiety had left me unable to do much on my own, but running broke that pattern.

I started small, only venturing on to local roads, but soon I was able to run far from my designated safety zones. Running gave me back my independence and allowed me to recognise my own strength. I recently wrote a book, Jog On: How Running Saved My Life, about my experience, and have been overwhelmed by responses from people who feel the same. Mostly they are women, who value the freedom and space that running gives them.

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'We took inspiration from Mumsnet': the footballers’ wives' support network

Sat, 02/02/2019 - 02:00

Partners of high-profile players including Wes Brown and Fabio Borini talk about how they cope with loneliness, addiction and life-changing injuries

“Welcome to Cheshire,” says the taxi driver, pulling out of Wilmslow station, “home of millionaire housewives and footballers.” As we drive, we pass designer boutiques, mock Tudor houses and shiny sports cars. In Cheshire’s golden triangle it is easy to buy in to the stereotype of the footballer’s wife.

And on the surface, at least, the image rings true. Leanne Brown, formerly of the reality TV show The Real Housewives Of Cheshire and wife of former Manchester United defender Wes Brown, lives in an 11,000 sq ft mansion, complete with swimming pool, grand piano and the heady scent of Jo Malone candles.

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How uplifting to hear David Bowie’s ‘girl with the mousy hair’ tell her story | Stuart Jeffries

Fri, 02/01/2019 - 06:01

Artists’ muses rarely get a chance to speak out. If only it happened more often

How lovely to hear from Hermione Farthingale, the girl with the mousy hair and muse of David Bowie for his 1971 song Life on Mars. Finally we’ll be able to get closure on those questions that have baffled us for the best part of half a century. Why was her mother yelling no? Why did her father tell her to go? And why didn’t she consider some sort of colouring product to brighten up her hair?

In fact, none of these questions is satisfactorily answered in the interview Farthingale gives for the forthcoming BBC film David Bowie: Finding Fame. We learn, though, that after they fell in love in 1968 (“He looked ridiculously young, he looked about eight”) they formed a band called Feathers. The following year the dancer and actor ditched him to make a film called Song of Norway.

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Man fined £2,000 for upskirting at London tube station

Fri, 02/01/2019 - 04:59

Hiroshi Yuasa seen taking photo up skirt of woman with his mobile phone

A 38-year-old man who upskirted a woman at a London Underground station has been fined £2,000.

Hiroshi Yuasa was spotted crouching behind the woman at Victoria tube station in April 2018, and taking a photograph up her skirt with his mobile phone.

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Major western brands pay Indian garment workers 11p an hour

Thu, 01/31/2019 - 20:01

Study reveals ‘unchecked’ exploitation of women and girls from marginalised communities

Most consumers don’t think twice about the buttons on their shirt, or the sparkles on their dress. But these finishing touches are sewn by some of the world’s most vulnerable women and girls.

A week on from revelations that women in a Bangladesh factory were paid the equivalent of 35p an hour to make Spice Girls T-Shirts sold to raise money for Comic Relief, a new report highlights the exploitative conditions facing millions of home-based garment workers in India.

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Online women's magazine The Pool enters administration

Thu, 01/31/2019 - 10:31

Journalists face redundancy after rescue talks fail, in further blow to online news outlets

Online women’s magazine The Pool has gone bust, leaving 24 journalists facing redundancy and many freelancers facing a battle to get paid, in another blow for the online news business.

Staff have been told that the publisher, founded by broadcaster Lauren Laverne and former Cosmopolitan editor Sam Baker in 2015, is now insolvent, and administrators are set to be appointed on Friday after rescue talks failed.

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Why are the police suggesting women jog in packs? | Zoe Williams

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 21:00

Telling women to stay together is no answer to unsafe streets

After a jogger was sexually assaulted in Shepton Mallet last year, the local running club advised women to travel in packs. Extroverts hate running with other people; we don’t like company without chat, and talking while running is a literal waste of breath. Introverts hate running with other people, because they are other people. Avon and Somerset police, meanwhile, have recommended that runners don’t listen to music and vary their routes. (Everybody hates running without music and most hate changing their routes.) It’s fine, ladies, the police seem to say. We have got your back. You can still do that thing you enjoy, you just have to make yourself safer by enjoying it less.

In the 90s, the What Women Want survey drew on the largest sample since the Hite report on sexuality in the 70s. It had the same methodological problems – it wasn’t a probability sample and women were self-selecting, simply choosing to fill in a postcard or not. And it wasn’t as sexy as the Hite report; women, given infinite choice to talk about utopia, talked a lot about the sunlit uplands of being able to go places without being attacked. When the survey was conducted again a couple of years ago, nothing had changed: young women who you would expect to demand better youth services were instead asking for street lighting; professionals whom might, in another world, be worrying about boardrooms were talking about safety as a tax, cabs because it’s late, gyms because the park was too dicey.

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