Women's News from the Web

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Updated: 7 hours 34 min ago

Woman who defied Indian temple ban 'shunned' by family

Tue, 01/22/2019 - 22:39

Kanakadurga, 39, allegedly beaten and ousted from home for entering Sabarimala shrine

A woman who defied violent protests to worship at a centuries-old south Indian shrine that banned females of “menstruating age” has been spurned by her family, attacked by relatives and locked out of her home.

On New Year’s Day, Kanakadurga, 39, along with Bindu Ammini, became the first women to enter the inner sanctum of Kerala state’s Sabarimala temple, one of the country’s holiest Hindu sites.

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Wollombi music festival bans Wicked Camper vans over 'misogynistic' slogans

Tue, 01/22/2019 - 16:48

Organisers say ‘disrespecting and degrading women isn’t funny or libertine, it’s just disgraceful’, and they hope other festivals follow suit

Wollombi music festival in northern New South Wales has banned “pathetically unfunny and misogynistic” Wicked Camper vans from their 2019 event – the latest in a series of actions taken against the car hire company.

Wicked Camper, known for courting controversy, has a range of camper vans available across the country emblazoned with provocative graffiti and images. Since 2009, according to the Advertising Standards Bureau, more than 70 of them have been subject to complaints for messaging deemed to be offensive to women, LGBT communities and others.

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Anger in New Zealand over interview with leader of gang accused of sexually assaulting girls

Tue, 01/22/2019 - 14:03

Joseph Parker, who led ‘Roast Busters’ group that boasted of sex with underage girls, has also launched fundraiser for his music career

Women’s advocacy groups have criticised the decision to broadcast a TV interview with the ringleader of a gang that bragged about having sex with underage, intoxicated girls in New Zealand. The interview coincided with an attempt to crowdfund his music career.

Joseph Parker told Newshub he was not a “monster”, adding: “we didn’t do all the things that people thought we did.” The interview comes years after Parker became known as the ringleader of Facebook group “Roast Busters”, in which he and a core group of four other young Auckland men boasted about group sex with young, drunk girls.

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It's a false comfort to say the murder and rape of women is caused by sexism | Gay Alcorn

Tue, 01/22/2019 - 13:47

Aiia Maasarwe’s death has been used as grist for the gender culture wars, a pointless loop of generalisation, accusation and defensiveness

We don’t have to politicise every act of violence against a woman. It may relieve the anger and sadness to cry “this must stop”, or to blame the patriarchy, or to, as writer Clementine Ford did after the horrific murder of Aiia Maasarwe last week, demand men “pick a side” because “you are all implicated”.

But it doesn’t help.

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Pregnant then screwed: how gagging contracts are used to silence sacked mothers

Tue, 01/22/2019 - 01:10

They have been used to buy the silence of victims of sexual assault – but non-disclosure agreements are also being used to hide the sidelining and sacking of new mothers. It’s time we knew the extent of it

In the months since the Harvey Weinstein story broke and the #MeToo movement exploded, there has been a growing awareness of the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), in some cases, to gag victims of sexual assault, or buy their silence, preventing them from going public with their stories, or even sharing information with colleagues and acquaintances. Many people, however, remain unaware of the extensive use of such agreements to silence women who have experienced maternity discrimination.

We know that such discrimination is rife in the UK: an Equality and Human Rights Commission report estimated in 2015 that 54,000 women a year lose their jobs as a result. But the full picture may be masked by the widespread abuse of NDAs.

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A year ago I was raped. Here’s what I have learned | Anonymous

Tue, 01/22/2019 - 00:00
Since the attack I have experienced an astonishing concoction of trauma, pain and grief. Life is hard, but it goes on

On a grey autumn evening in London just over a year ago, I went out for drinks with a friend to celebrate a new job. Eight hours later I was raped by somebody I’d never met before.

My assault happened in late 2017, when the #MeToo movement was still fresh and gaining momentum every day; I felt lucky for this. (Lucky in the way you might feel if you’d escaped a house fire, thinking you were alone, only to find that the people next door had escaped a house fire too.) In the state of shock that followed, which lasted for several months, I became obsessed with this new wave of feminism.

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Comedy travel shows are a huge TV trend. So why can’t Whoopi Goldberg get commissioned?

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 21:00

When comedian London Hughes got her hero to appear on a travel programme with her, she was overjoyed. Until she tried to get it made ...

‘I didn’t think 2019 would start with me in my house in a onesie, hungover and watching Sister Act, angry,” says London Hughes, a 29-year old comedian and TV presenter from Brighton. But this anger did inspire a tweet that went viral: “Sister Act is on, and I’m still a tiny bit pissed off that in 2018 a whole Whoopi Goldberg agreed to do a travel show with me but no TV channels wanted it,” she posted on New Year’s Day.

Sister act is on, and I’m still a tiny bit pissed off that in 2018 a whole Whoopi Goldberg agreed to do a travel show with me but no TV channels wanted it.

In 2019 let’s have more female comedians travelling and making TV and not just male comedians and their mum’s please. Thnx

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Avon apologizes for anti-cellulite ad after being accused of 'shaming women'

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 12:18

Avon responded to actor’s criticism: ‘We realize that we missed the mark with this messaging. We have removed this messaging’

Cosmetics giant Avon USA has apologized for an anti-cellulite product after the ad campaign was accused of “shaming women”.

Actor Jameela Jamil had criticized the ad, which features a seated woman in shorts and tank top with the caption “dimples are cute on your face (not on your thighs),” on Saturday afternoon on Twitter.

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Why Iron Girl went down like a lead balloon

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 07:44
In the week in which Jasmin Paris won the 268-mile Spine Race, and women are winning more and more endurance races, a 5K night-time race for ‘women over 16’ had to be hastily rebranded

Last week Jasmin Paris became the first woman to win the 268-mile Spine Race, running for four days solid on fewer than eight hours’ sleep. In the same week, Ironman England advertised an event called Iron Girl, a 5K night-time race, as part of a triathlon festival. An Ironman race consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile cycle ride and a marathon. Iron Girl was billed as being less intimidating, by using the word “girl”. In the attempt to attract grown women (the event was for over-16s), Iron Girl went down like a lead balloon. It was quickly renamed Night Run, and opened to men, too.

Of course, getting more people active is to be encouraged. But assuming that women would be intimidated by an event called “Ironman” goes against recent form. Jasmin Paris is not alone in winning an endurance event overall – in December 2016, women won five ultra distance races outright. Many believe that women may have a physical advantage in running or cycling longer races because they have more stamina, greater fat reserves (which can be called upon for energy) and better mental strength. Women are better at pacing and we cope better with heat.

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If we don’t stop smearing smear tests, women will die of embarrassment

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 07:05

Women continue to receive negative messages about this simple, benevolent test – and that could mean thousands of lives lost unnecessarily

A smear test, or cervical screening, as it has been rebranded in the hope of making this most unfairly loathed of all tests sound a bit more appealing, hurts. So the lore goes, anyway. Of all the routine medical checks out there, it’s the one devised by “Dr Pap” in the 1940s, when cervical cancer was the biggest killer of women, that gets most, well, smeared. It is seen as being intrusive, offensive, scary, gross. Never mind the fact that cervical screening helps pick up changes to cells that could eventually lead to cancer. Never mind that they save thousands of lives every year. Smear tests are embarrassing.

These are the messages women continue to receive, whether openly, subliminally, through word of mouth, by default or negative association. While it’s true that most things are more fun than a smear test – and I say this as someone who has had abnormal smears and after the birth of my first baby, developed an unexpected, thankfully short-lived fear of speculums – the same could be said of many routine checks.

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Want to tackle domestic violence? Then ensure refuges are properly funded | Jane Dudman

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 05:23
Domestic abuse bill won’t reverse dangerous cuts to women’s refuges and other vital local services

Many UK citizens will welcome the publication of the government’s draft domestic abuse bill this week. But there are six Sussex women with particular reason to hope the bill makes lasting changes in tackling this crime, which costs England and Wales £66bn a year. Poppy, Norma, Alice, Vivienne, Natalie and Lorraine all feature in an online exhibition raising awareness of the importance of local support services like refuges in escaping violent partners. Like other campaigners, the women in Sussex will be cheered by many of the measures in the bill, including banning perpetrators being able to cross-examine victims in court, the appointment of a domestic abuse commissioner, and financial and manipulative non-physical abuse being included in the statutory definition of domestic abuse, as well as children being recognised as victims of domestic violence.

Related: Domestic abusers may face lie-detector tests on release from prison

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At last, the Elizabeth v Mary catfight trope of history is being reassessed | Jerry Brotton

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 02:25

Male historians long pitted Elizabeth I against Mary Queen of Scots, but Josie Rourke’s film opens the door for new tellings

The argument that history is written by the winners depends on your definition of winning. Who “wins” in the struggle between Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots may seem obvious in the director Josie Rourke’s new film, with its opening scene of Mary’s execution on Elizabeth’s orders in February 1587. But in naming the film after Mary, Rourke and screenwriter Beau Willimon imply that although Elizabeth won the battle over her Scottish cousin, it was Mary who triumphed in the longer historical war of sympathy and affection.

For the first time in this story’s cinematic history, the two female leads are directed by a woman who avoids the catfight trope and instead sees Elizabeth and Mary as potentially kindred spirits, whose antagonism is manufactured by their fearful and violent male lovers and counsellors.

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Domestic abusers may face lie-detector tests on release from prison

Sun, 01/20/2019 - 14:01

Domestic abuse bill published as £66bn a year cost of abuse in England and Wales revealed

High-risk domestic abuse offenders could face mandatory lie-detector tests when released from prison under long-awaited proposals published on Monday.

The Home Office, meanwhile, has released analysis that puts the cost of domestic abuse in England and Wales at about £66bn a year.

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Smear tests: women asked to discuss fears as test rate plummets

Sun, 01/20/2019 - 14:01

Charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust launches campaign #SmearForSmear in cervical cancer prevention week

Young women put off smear tests due to feelings of embarrassment and concerns about being hurt, a survey suggests.

New data from the charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust found that those aged 25 to 35 are also put off by the idea of a stranger examining them.

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'An angel, a diamond': Aiia Maasarwe's Palestinian identity was erased after her death | Jennine Khalik

Sun, 01/20/2019 - 13:44

It shouldn’t matter where Maasarwe comes from, but it does

The senseless killing of student Aiia Maasarwe last week was a bitter reminder that women can have their lives pointlessly cut short by men, even when walking along streets they have memorised.

The alleged rape and murder of Maasarwe is one of several brutal attacks on women in Melbourne in recent years, with Eurydice Dixon and Jill Meagher meeting similar fates. It has left women once again asking ourselves: where are we safe? Where do we go from here?

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'Inhuman conditions': life in factory making Spice Girls T-shirts

Sun, 01/20/2019 - 08:00

Staff at Bangladesh plant tell of fainting and abuse while sewing charity tops designed by group

Salma has never even heard of the Spice Girls. Her life, hunched over a sewing machine for up to 16 hours a day, is a world away from the luxuries enjoyed by the millionaire pop band.

But while neither knows it, Salma and the Spice Girls are connected. The factory where she has worked for more than five years, off a narrow, winding road three hours’ drive from Dhaka, is where charity T-shirts designed by the group were made.

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Revealed: Spice Girls T-shirts made in factory paying staff 35p an hour

Sun, 01/20/2019 - 08:00

Workers producing tops sold to raise money for Comic Relief receive far below a living wage

Spice Girls T-shirts sold to raise money for Comic Relief’s “gender justice” campaign were made at a factory in Bangladesh where women earn the equivalent of 35p an hour during shifts in which they claim to be verbally abused and harassed, a Guardian investigation has found.

The charity tops, bearing the message “#IWannaBeASpiceGirl”, were produced by mostly female machinists who said they were forced to work up to 16 hours a day and called “daughters of prostitutes” by managers for not hitting targets.

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I’m not 50, but it’s a relief to be invisible to men like Yann Moix

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 22:59

The French novelist’s sexist, ageist, racist remarks caused offence – yet there’s some unexpected comfort in what he said

I’m writing this standing up in an Apple store in New York, here in the city for 24 hours without a charger. Nobody has said a word to me, as I furtively steal their power while carefully keeping my face in neutral. The shop is busy with teenagers upgrading their iPhones and aggressively friendly staff, and the only still points are me and a man wearing three coats and broken flip-flops playing Candy Crush on an iPad. It is a quite lovely feeling to be, if not invisible, then at least translucent.

A book called An Unexplained Death came out last month, and I reread it on my journey – it appears to be a true crime thriller about a man’s final days, but quickly and sneakily reveals itself to be a memoir of the writer, Mikita Brottman. Years before starting it, Brottman went to see a psychoanalyst because she’d started to feel invisible. “I appeared to be completely forgettable,” she writes. To be “invisible”, she elaborates, “feels a little like being a ghost – people don’t seem to notice or acknowledge my presence, or look right through me. This has its advantages, though. I often feel as though I can learn people’s secrets, and get away with anything.”

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Bill bans ‘abhorrent’ quizzing of domestic abuse victims in court

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 19:59
Landmark draft legislation also includes measures to raise awareness and support survivors

Domestic abusers will no longer be able to cross-examine their former partners in family courts under a comprehensive government package of reforms to tackle the issue.

The landmark draft domestic abuse bill, published tomorrow after an 18-month delay, will prevent victims from being subjected to the “abhorrent practice” of being interrogated in court by their abusers, alongside other measures designed to raise awareness, support survivors and tackle perpetrators.

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Thousands rally at Sydney Women's March in shadow of Aiia Maasarwe's death

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 18:31

Author and sexual assault survivor Bri Lee tells crowd it’s ‘so hard to keep an olive branch in the palm of your hand when you need your keys between your fingers’

“We march today and think of Aiia,” the writer Bri Lee told more than 3,000 people at the Sydney Women’s March on Sunday.

The coordinated worldwide protests, held in dozens of major cities, sought to highlight an extensive patchwork of women’s rights issues.

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