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Updated: 1 hour 26 min ago

Over half of UK women killed by men die at hands of partner or ex

Wed, 02/19/2020 - 20:00

Femicide Census for 2018 shows 149 women killed, the highest number since census began

More than half the women killed by men in the UK in 2018 were killed by a current or former partner, many after they had taken steps to leave, according to a report on femicide.

The fourth Femicide Census, conducted by the campaigner Karen Ingala Smith, found 149 women were killed by 147 men in 2018. The number of deaths is an increase of 10 on the previous year and the highest number since the census began.

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Why do men get away with killing women – is there an amnesty on male violence? | Julie Bindel

Wed, 02/19/2020 - 20:00
Cuts to domestic violence services, refuges and legal aid have resulted in increased levels of risk for women targeted by men

The latest UK Femicide Census shows that, despite more than 50 years of feminist campaigning against male violence, the number of women and girls dying at the hands of men is increasing. The annual report on such crime in the UK shows that of the 149 women killed in 2018, the vast majority – 91 – died at the hands of a current or former partner; 12 were killed by sons or stepsons; five by a current or former son-in-law. Only nine were killed by a stranger or where there was no known relationship. Three of the perpetrators had killed women previously.

Karen Ingala Smith, the founder of Counting Dead Women, from which the Femicide Census grew, first collected data in January 2012. She began after looking into the death of Kirsty Treloar, a young woman who had been in touch with a domestic violence charity Ingala Smith was involved with. It was later found that Treloar was murdered by her boyfriend. Once she started, Ingala Smith found she could not stop. No one else was doing this work, and yet domestic violence alone kills 15 times more women annually than terrorism.

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Natalie Portman's husband denies signing letter backing fired ballet director

Wed, 02/19/2020 - 11:40

Choreographers Benjamin Millepied and William Forsyth deny signing letter demanding director’s return after dismissal for pregnancy discrimination

Choreographer Benjamin Millepied, the husband of Natalie Portman, has denied signing an open letter calling for the reinstatement of a ballet director who was fired for pregnancy discrimination.

The announcement follows a number of reports about the letter that was printed in the French newspaper Libération, purporting to be from a number of dance luminaries, some of whom – including the choreographer William Forsythe – have also since said that they did not sign it.

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Why do we only care about incels when they are men? | Arwa Mahdawi

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 21:00

The idea of involuntary celibacy – first adopted by a woman – was roundly ignored until it was co-opted by a violently misogynistic movement

Back in the 90s, Alana couldn’t get a date. Lonely and frustrated, the self-described late bloomer started an online support group for people like her, whom she termed “involuntary celibates”, or “incels”. Alana’s Involuntary Celibacy Project soon became a community for people of all genders and orientations who weren’t able to have sex or romantic relationships.

Her social life eventually improved and she ceded her site to someone else. She didn’t realise the group had evolved into a violently misogynistic movement until 2014, when she read about Elliot Rodger, who had killed six people in California and identified as an incel. A few years later, Alek Minassian, another incel, killed 10 people in Toronto in revenge for “not getting laid”.

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Rose McGowan says she regrets Natalie Portman Oscars dress comments

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 01:24

McGowan tweets that she ‘lost sight of the bigger picture’ after calling fellow actor a ‘fraud’

Rose McGowan has expressed regret for her attack on Natalie Portman over the latter’s Oscar dress “protest”, which took aim at the exclusion of women from the best director Academy Award nominations.

Related: Rose McGowan: Natalie Portman's Oscars dress protest 'deeply offensive'

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BFI accused of stealing concept of Thirst Aid Kit podcast

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 05:30

New film season called Thirst covers same themes as podcast and has similar artwork

The British Film Institute has been accused of “erasing” a popular podcast series after the launch of a forthcoming film season that shares part of its title, covers the same themes and has similar artwork.

Thirst: Female Desire on Screen was announced last week, with the BFI being accused of stealing the concept of Thirst Aid Kit, which was launched by the former Guardian columnist Bim Adewunmi and the US writer Nichole Perkins in October 2017.

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I’ve seen the terrible harm workplace harassment inflicts. Australia must catch up with the rest of the world | Aimee Cooper

Sun, 02/16/2020 - 06:30

The way we handle sexual harassment in the workplace isn’t working and isn’t fair. What can we learn from other countries?

Lydia’s* boss regularly touched her bottom, sexually propositioned her, made comments about her appearance and invited her to his home. He behaved this way to other women he worked with. He owned and ran the business – there was nobody to complain to. When she spoke up, Lydia’s position was made redundant.

Alice* was 21 and worked at a trucking company. “I recall sitting in a truck and my male colleague sitting next to me saying ‘shut your legs, it’s smiling at me’. I pretended that I didn’t hear him.”

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Women's Equality party candidate pulls out of London mayoral race

Sun, 02/16/2020 - 03:35

Mandu Reid will replace Sue Black, who was forced to withdraw after vaginal mesh implant complications

The Women’s Equality party’s candidate for London mayor has been forced to pull out of the race after suffering complications from a vaginal mesh implant.

The party claims Prof Sue Black has been a victim of entrenched “health inequalities” affecting thousands of women and that it will be campaigning to get the mesh permanently banned in the UK.

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How to check yourself for breast cancer

Sun, 02/16/2020 - 03:00

Every woman is different and it’s best to get into the habit of examining yourself regularly so you can spot any changes

There is no evidence to suggest that a particular technique works best, but checking your breasts regularly is vital; the sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the more effective treatment may be.

All breasts are different, so women are encouraged to get to know their own breasts over time. Follow this simple advice: touch, look and check (TLC). Some breasts have natural bumps or nodular breast tissue, and women often have one breast larger than the other. Changes can also occur to the breasts during women’s cycles.

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‘I look at the clock… it’s 3am’: Why can’t women sleep?

Sat, 02/15/2020 - 22:00

While her husband snores peacefully beside her, Mariella Frostrup, like women everywhere, is wide awake – mind spinning. But why? And what can she do about it?

It is 3am. I know because I’ve checked the clock three times since I crept to the loo at 1.45am. Within minutes of my return to bed I feel the delicious fog of slumber evaporate, my heart rate rises and my brain begins its relentless scan for topics to keep me engaged. Occasionally, I get a laugh out of what I dream up as a priority worry; more often I’m shocked by the banality. A thank you note I failed to send a year ago; the small part for a kitchen appliance I keep forgetting to order; whether I booked Ocado for Friday; whether Stormzy will agree to talk to me about his favourite books; the shirt my son needs; guilt because I didn’t call my friend with breast cancer; where to go on summer holidays; how to get the car to its service in Yeovil; why the person I discussed documentary ideas with hasn’t replied; did I book a blowdry on Tuesday? And where has that blue dress gone?

I look at the clock again, it’s 3.15am and I’m getting closer to the moment when I’m going to have to medicate or resign myself to staying awake. Now adding to my copious preoccupations: what do I have to do in the morning? Can I afford to be exhausted or should I resort to the cornucopia of drugs and sleep aids crammed into my bedside drawer? While I attempt to follow the cognitive behavioural therapy advice I’ve been given and count my breaths – five in, five out – to restore my equilibrium and compartmentalise the turmoil, my husband snores deafeningly beside me.

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Male makeup signals a move away from rigid gender roles – but there's a catch | Arwa Mahdawi

Sat, 02/15/2020 - 04:00

Male body image issues are on the rise and studies suggest men are as likely to be insecure about their appearance as women

Sign up for the Week in Patriarchy, a newsletter​ on feminism and sexism sent every Saturday.

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Fighting the tyranny of ‘niceness’: why we need difficult women

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 22:00

Today’s thumbs-up, thumbs-down approach to feminism is boring and reductive. It is time to embrace complexity

Difficult. It’s a word that rests on a knife-edge: when applied to a woman, it can be admiring, fearful, insulting and dismissive, all at once. In 2016, it was used of Theresa May (she was “a bloody difficult woman,” Ken Clarke said, when she ran for Tory leader). A year later, it gave the US author Roxane Gay the title for her short story collection. The late Elizabeth Wurtzel took “in praise of difficult women” as the strapline for her feminist manifesto in 1998. The book’s main title was, simply, Bitch.

The word is particularly pointed since it recurs so often when women talk about the consequences of challenging sexism. The TV presenter Helen Skelton once described being groped on air by an interviewee while pregnant. She did not complain, she said, because “that’s just the culture that television breeds. No one wants to be difficult.” The actor Jennifer Lawrence told the Hollywood Reporter that she had once stood up to a rude director. The reaction to the incident left her worried that she would be punished by the industry. “Yeah,” chipped in fellow actor Emma Stone: “You were ‘difficult’.”

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Why the battle over trans rights is a minefield for Labour | Gaby Hinsliff

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 20:00

A pledge supported by three of the four leadership candidates has exposed a faultline running through the party

This is a story about how politics fails. It starts with a hairline crack that slowly widens, until it’s big enough for some people to slip through. Eventually, the gap becomes a chasm. And if nobody builds a bridge, eventually the other side almost disappears from sight. This week brought another small earthquake along the faultline running through the Labour party over trans rights. Three women running for the leadership – Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Emily Thornberry – all signed a pledge drawn up by a hitherto unknown group of trans activists demanding a battle against what it calls transphobic “hate groups”. (The lone male candidate, Keir Starmer, didn’t sign; Thornberry warned against using the phrase “hate group”.) The pledge specifically named Woman’s Place UK (WPUK), a grouping of leftwing feminists and trade unionists who insist they don’t hate anybody but do worry about trans women accessing all-female spaces – such as domestic violence refuges, prisons, changing rooms and toilets, given proposed reforms making it easier to transition legally. The hashtag launched by defiant supporters of Woman’s Place UK – #ExpelMe, daring Labour to either kick them out or have the guts to defend them, a choice the party seems desperate to avoid – reflects long-simmering tensions.

Related: Labour leadership: row over support for trans rights charter

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Caped crusader: who is the real target of Natalie Portman's reply to Rose McGowan? | Catherine Shoard

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 04:45

Under fire for ‘tassel campaigning’ at the Oscars, Portman showed restraint and defiance in her riposte – plus mindful respect for women colleagues

It’s hard to predict what the big stories from Oscar night will turn out to be. Parasite’s victory was a slight surprise – but not an earth-shaker. Mystic Meg wasn’t required in order to guess that Elton John might give us a tune or Joaquin Phoenix could bringout the vegan big guns.

The joy of the night is the curveball: Scorsese goggling at Eminem; Janelle Monáe popping her shirt button while struggling with a Mr Rogers cardie. Diane Keaton.

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Tracy Brabin's off-the-shoulder dress raises £20,000 for Girlguiding

Thu, 02/13/2020 - 09:48

MP auctioned dress after facing criticism on social media when wearing it in the Commons

An off-the-shoulder dress worn by Tracy Brabin in the House of Commons has raised more than £20,000 for Girlguiding UK.

The Labour frontbencher was forced to defend her attire last week after the dress slipped off her shoulder when she leaned on the despatch box because of a broken ankle.

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Gender equality and the world of work | Letters

Thu, 02/13/2020 - 08:38

Working practices need to be overhauled to address the gender pay gap, says Patricia Murphy, and separation from a newborn baby is incredibly painful for many mothers, says Alison Watson

Alexandra Topping presents an admirable evidence-based analysis of the effect of government policy on parental leave for newborns (Journal, 11 February), and says that “until a progressive government does step up, companies and individuals will have to kickstart a cultural change” in working practices.

I would like to expand on the cultural change she refers to. Working practices in the UK need much more of an overhaul to address the gender pay gap: the key is to make these genuinely family-friendly. The structures and patterns in the world of work are still manmade, stemming from the postwar era of man as the breadwinner and woman as the homemaker. Studies have shown that flexible working hours, job shares and even the reduction of the working week all increase productivity, but preferential attitudes to “full-time” work still hold sway. This is what militates against economic equality for women with children in the current cultural climate.

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The Guardian view on the rise in female homicide victims: going backwards | Editorial

Thu, 02/13/2020 - 08:35
Jumps in the numbers of female and child homicide victims should galvanise efforts to tackle domestic and sexual violence

New figures showing a 10% rise in the number of female victims of murder, manslaughter and infanticide in England and Wales in the year to March 2019, to its highest level for 14 years, are extremely concerning. So is an increase in the number of homicides in which the victim was under 16, to its highest level since 2004. Caution must always be taken in forming conclusions based on a single year’s figures. The human tragedies behind such data are shaped by a multitude of factors. But it is impossible not to be disappointed that violence against women and children increased during a period when the government was led by a prime minister, Theresa May, who counted domestic abuse among her personal priorities.

Almost half of the 241 killings of women and girls were domestic, with 38% involving a partner or ex-partner, while 31% of the 68 victims aged under 16 (including boys, and 30 babies aged less than one) were killed by a parent or step-parent. This figure is set to rise, as a perpetrator has yet to be confirmed in 53% of child homicides – and killings of children by strangers are very rare.

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Number of female homicide victims rises 10% in year

Thu, 02/13/2020 - 00:58

Figures for England and Wales show there were 429 male and 241 female victims in 2018-19

The number of women killed by a current or former partner has surged by nearly a third, fresh figures have revealed, as overall numbers of female victims of homicide hit a 14-year-high.

There were 80 women killed by a partner or ex in the year to March 2019, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, an increase of 27% from the previous year.

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Labour leadership contenders split over trans group pledge card

Thu, 02/13/2020 - 00:17

Candidates differ on pledge that describes Woman’s Place UK and LGB Alliance as ‘trans-exclusionist hate groups’

A controversial pledge card calling on the Labour party to expel “transphobic” members has split the party’s leadership contenders.

Lisa Nandy has joined Rebecca Long-Bailey in signing the 12-point pledge card by the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights (LCTR) that also describes some organisations including Woman’s Place UK as “trans-exclusionist hate groups”.

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Rose McGowan: Natalie Portman's Oscars dress protest 'deeply offensive'

Wed, 02/12/2020 - 12:13

McGowan strongly criticizes Portman, who responds by saying ‘I agree with Ms McGowan that it is inaccurate to call me brave’

• Who is the real target of Portman’s reply?

Activist and actor Rose McGowan has labelled Natalie Portman a “fraud” for wearing a dress to the Oscars embroidered with the names of female film-makers including Greta Gerwig and Lulu Wang who were passed over for best director nominations.

In a post on Facebook, McGowan said Portman had made “the kind of protest that gets rave reviews from the mainstream media” but was “more like an actress acting the part of someone who cares. As so many of them do.”

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