Women's News from the Web

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Gisèle Halimi, trailblazing French feminist MP and lawyer, dies aged 93

Wed, 07/29/2020 - 03:20

Instrumental in decriminalising abortion in France, Halimi spent her life fighting for women’s rights

The Tunisian-born French feminist MP and lawyer Gisèle Halimi, described as a “trailblazer” and a “rebel”, has died one day after her 93rd birthday.

Halimi was instrumental in the decriminalisation of abortion in France and spent her life fighting for women’s rights. “Injustice is physically intolerable to me. All my life can be summed up with that,” she once said.

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Mexico’s activists brace for landmark supreme court abortion ruling

Tue, 07/28/2020 - 23:00

The ruling could set a precedent; in states that have restrictive regulations, injunctions could be granted to allow the procedure

Activists on both sides of Mexico’s abortion debate are bracing for a potentially historic supreme court hearing on Wednesday, which could lead to decriminalisation across the country.

The case before the five judges of the high court’s first bench involves an injunction granted in the eastern state of Veracruz, which ordered the local legislature to remove articles from its criminal code pertaining to abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

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Keeping score of gender inequalities | Brief letters

Tue, 07/28/2020 - 06:48

Women’s representation | Cricket | Garlic | Fake news and moths

It isn’t surprising that women are getting such a raw deal and feeling left out during the pandemic (UK working mothers are ‘sacrificial lambs’ in coronavirus childcare crisis, 24 July). Priti Patel is the only woman in the upper echelons of the government. Where it matters, there’s virtually no one to speak up for women and little recognition of the huge contribution they make to the country’s economy.
Dr Sylvia Dunkley

• Unlike Margaret Waddy (Letters, 27 July), my early cricketing experience was of my twin brother being allowed in the exciting score box as my dad played, while I was expected to help my mam make the sandwiches. My angry refusal led to the first stirrings of feminism and an abiding dislike of cricket.
Dyllis Wolinski
Mossley, Greater Manchester

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Venice becomes first major film festival to return after coronavirus lockdown

Tue, 07/28/2020 - 03:48

Festival reveals 2020 line-up for physical event, with Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland one of eight films by female directors to compete for the Golden Lion

Helen Mirren, Shia LaBeouf and Greta Thunberg are among the big names due to be on display at the 2020 Venice film festival, as it gears up to be the first major festival to stage a physical event in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Inevitably the lineup has a slimmed-down feel, with many films delayed or held back, meaning there is little in the way of Venice’s traditional dose of Hollywood glamour.

Festival director Alberto Barbera announced the main list of titles on Tuesday, which drew together films by the likes of Alex Gibney, Chloé Zhao and Luca Guadagnino. Zhao’s film, Nomadland, is arguably the most prized: following her indie hit The Rider, Zhao has adapted Jessica Bruder’s non-fiction account of older Americans forced on to the road by economic crisis, with Frances McDormand acting as producer as well as taking the lead role. In a sign of the pressures on film festivals, Nomadland will simultaneously premiere at the Toronto film festival, as well as subsequently filling the prestigious Centrepiece screening at the New York film festival.

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Free pads and tampons now available to all Victorian public school students in Australian first

Mon, 07/27/2020 - 20:29

The initiative aims to boost inclusivity and break down ‘the stigma of periods’

Victorian public schools are the first in Australia to offer free pads and tampons to students as part of an attempt to boost inclusivity and break down “the stigma of periods”.

The initiative is aimed at “reducing discomfort and embarrassment around periods for girls” at school, and will provide pads and tampons for free in bathrooms at the more than 1,500 government schools in Victoria.

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Egypt jails women for two years over TikTok videos

Mon, 07/27/2020 - 07:06

Court sentences Haneen Hossam, Mowada al-Adham and three others for ‘violating public morals’

An Egyptian court has sentenced five female social media influencers to two years in jail each on charges of violating public morals, a judicial source said.

The verdict against Haneen Hossam, Mowada al-Adham and three others came after they had posted footage on the video-sharing app TikTok. The ruling, which can be appealed, included a fine of 300,000 Egyptian pounds (£14,600) for each defendant.

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Cheshire prison worker warned of problems before death of baby

Mon, 07/27/2020 - 05:47

Manager of mother-and-baby unit at Styal Prison wrote to politicians about her concerns for pregnant inmates

The former manager of a prison mother-and-baby unit warned just months before the stillbirth of a baby there that such a tragedy was likely to happen because of concerns about conditions for pregnant women at the prison, the Guardian has learned.

Tamsin Morris, a lawyer, who previously managed the mother-and-baby unit at Styal Prison in Wilmslow, Cheshire, wrote to the MP for the area, Esther McVey, to the Ministry of Justice and to the mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, in February of this year, raising concerns about conditions for pregnant women at the prison in the wake of the stillbirth of a baby at HMP Bronzefield last September.

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Council of Europe 'alarmed' at Poland's plans to leave domestic violence treaty

Sun, 07/26/2020 - 04:37

Rights body condemns move to withdraw from treaty aimed at stopping violence against women

The Council of Europe has said it is alarmed that Poland’s rightwing government is moving to withdraw from a landmark international treaty aimed at preventing violence against women.

Poland’s justice minister, Zbigniew Ziobro, said on Saturday that he would begin preparing the formal process to withdraw from the Istanbul convention on Monday. The treaty is the world’s first binding instrument to prevent and tackle violence against women, from marital rape to female genital mutilation.

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The fight to clear Johnny Depp’s name exposes an altogether nastier agenda | Catherine Bennett

Sat, 07/25/2020 - 21:15

Playing out at the high court is nothing less than a festival of misogyny

Two weeks into the Johnny Depp libel hearing, a subset of supporters arrived with a giant mobile Fathers4Justice advert reading, over a picture of the actor and his ex-wife Amber Heard: “Ditch the Witch”.

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Betty, Gloria and Shirley… we can learn so much from Mrs America's pioneers | Natasha Walter

Sat, 07/25/2020 - 20:45

As the TV drama shows, solidarity is forged by being in the room with rivals, not by cancelling them

If you try to learn what it’s like to be a feminist from many of the popular narratives you get right now, the books about “gutsy women” or “awesome women”, the films about black female scientists or white suffragettes, you might consider it a pretty straightforward life. A life characterised by a sense of destiny, which moves pretty swiftly along the clear road to progress. I’m sure – I hope, anyway – that many activists do recognise that rhythm to their lives.

I, not so much. Particularly over the past few years, being politically active has often felt more like being lost in a dark field without a torch. Are we going forwards or backwards? Who the hell put that boulder in our path? Why is everyone fighting over the map? Does anyone even have the map?

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UK working mothers are 'sacrificial lambs' in coronavirus childcare crisis

Fri, 07/24/2020 - 05:00

Exclusive: Survey reveals lack of childcare played role in almost half of female layoffs

Women are being treated as “sacrificial lambs” as the UK economy contracts, with half of working mothers unable to access the childcare they need to return to work, according to a survey exposing the scale of the UK’s childcare crisis.

As the government was accused by MPs from both sides of the political divide of ignoring and sidelining women in its response to the coronavirus pandemic, the survey revealed a lack of childcare played a role in the job losses of almost half of the women made redundant since the pandemic hit.

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Jenni Murray to quit BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour

Thu, 07/23/2020 - 13:01

‘It’s time to move on,’ says broadcaster after 33 years presenting the show

Dame Jenni Murray, whose mellifluous voice has graced the airwaves as the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour for more than three decades, is to leave the programme.

Murray, 70, who is the longest-serving presenter in Woman’s Hour’s 74-year history, would be “moving on to a new stage in her long and distinguished broadcasting career”, the BBC said.

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Of course birthrates are plunging – the Tories have created a child-unfriendly society | Polly Toynbee

Thu, 07/23/2020 - 06:06

Austerity-era cuts to pre-school help, education and benefits have put parenthood out of reach for many

The austerity decade has diminished us in many ways, and this week there came news of a new one: the birthrate is plummeting. The Office for National Statistics has revealed a fall of 12.2% since 2012. That’s a replacement rate of just 1.65 children per woman – lower in Wales.

Cue panic. Who will look after the old? Who will do the jobs to pay for their pensions? Some think fewer humans are good for the environment, others that it signifies national decline: size means status and strength among wealthier nations.

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Covid-19 threatens access to abortions and contraceptives, experts warn

Thu, 07/23/2020 - 05:29

Unplanned pregnancy rates have fallen globally, report finds, but coronavirus could endanger access to services

Rates of unplanned pregnancies have fallen around the world, according to new data published by health research organisation the Guttmacher Institute and the UN Human Reproduction Programme (HRP) on Wednesday.

Global rates of unintended pregnancies have fallen from 79 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 49 in 1990 to 64 in 2019, thanks in part to a concerted effort to increase access to contraceptives, but there are concerns that decades of progress in reducing the numbers risk being undone by Covid-19, as lockdown restrictions hamper health services.

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Tackling sexual misconduct in universities isn't optional – it's essential | Michael Arthur

Wed, 07/22/2020 - 20:00

As a university leader, I’ve come to understand how widespread sexual misconduct on campus is – and why change is urgent

Last year, members of my senior management team were asked to publicly describe our most recent consensual sexual experience. All around the room, jaws dropped, eyes darted to the floor and we shifted uncomfortably in our seats.

The hypothetical question was posed during a Rape Crisis South London workshop and was deeply humbling. While we, as university leaders, felt deep discomfort at the prospect of sharing our recent consensual sexual experiences with our colleagues, we could not begin to understand how traumatic or excruciating it would be to recount non-consensual experiences such as sexual harassment and assault.

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Women took on bulk of childcare during British lockdown, study finds

Wed, 07/22/2020 - 03:37

ONS polls show impact of home-schooling on parents’ mental health, with women hardest hit

Women carried out significantly more daily childcare duties than men during lockdown, for an average of more than three hours a day compared with just two hours for men, in households with children aged 18 or younger, according to new figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

The study also found that one in three women with school-aged children said their mental health had suffered as a result of home-schooling, compared with 20% of men – although the ONS warned that women generally were more likely to report their wellbeing had been affected by the cononavirus outbreak.

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Women at Google miss out on thousands of dollars as a result of pay discrimination, lawsuit alleges

Wed, 07/22/2020 - 00:00

An ongoing 2017 case found that discriminatory practices may be pushing women into lower-paying career tracks

Women at Google lose out on thousands of dollars each year compared with men as a result of discriminatory practices including pushing female employees into lower-paying career tracks, a lawsuit has alleged.

The findings stem from an ongoing lawsuit brought against Google in 2017, which accused the tech company of gender pay discrimination between female employees – from coders to teachers in its in-house childcare department – and their male counterparts. More details about the extent of the pay disparity emerged in a memorandum filed in court on Tuesday to classify that lawsuit as a class action, which, if approved, would mean it applies to 10,800 women who have been employed by Google at any time since September 2013.

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Reni Eddo-Lodge and Emma Watson to redraw London tube map with women's names

Tue, 07/21/2020 - 04:11

Suggestions sought for public history project inspired by similar map of New York led by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro

Londoners Reni Eddo-Lodge and Emma Watson are spearheading a project to reimagine the city’s iconic tube map, by renaming all 270 stops after the women and non-binary people who have shaped the history of each pocket of the capital.

Eddo-Lodge, author of the bestselling Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race, and the actor and activist Watson, were inspired by a similar project in the book Nonstop Metropolis by Rebecca Solnit and geographer Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, which featured a New York City subway map with all the stations renamed after great women. Both Solnit and Schapiro are working with Eddo-Lodge and Watson to help create the City of Women London.

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IMF urges swift action to protect women from Covid-19 economic hit

Tue, 07/21/2020 - 04:00

Pandemic could reverse progress for women all over the world without governments taking powerful measures

Governments around the world have been warned by the International Monetary Fund to take swift action to limit the economic damage for women that has been unleashed by Covid-19.

Sounding the alarm over the disproportionate impact on women amid the worst global recession since the 1930s Great Depression, the Washington-based organisation said the pandemic threatened to roll back gains in women’s economic opportunities, widening gender gaps that persist despite 30 years of progress.

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Avon reports big surge in UK sign-ups to be cosmetics sellers

Sun, 07/19/2020 - 08:39

Number of new reps who sell products to people in their homes has more than doubled

Avon looks set to be calling at many more UK homes after the cosmetics company revealed that the number of people signing up to be sales representatives had more than doubled in the lockdown.

The company, which boasts 5 million “reps” globally, said it had seen a 114% “surge” in the number of new representatives joining its UK business since lockdown began.

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