Women's News from the Web

Syndicate content The Guardian
Latest Women news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice
Updated: 26 min 43 sec ago

The Guardian view on attitudes to rape: from Ayia Napa to Manchester | Editorial

Tue, 01/07/2020 - 08:32
Two highly unusual cases shed light on our understanding of attitudes towards sexual assault

What can the most extreme cases tell us about more common ones? Generalising from extraordinary instances is risky. Yet outliers can still inform us. Their glare does not always distort our vision but can sharpen it too, allowing us to see muted patterns more clearly.

The conviction of a British teenager in Cyprus for lying about being gang-raped is such a case. On Tuesday she was handed a four-month suspended sentence. Though her family has expressed relief, given that she had faced the prospect of up to a year in jail, her lawyers will appeal her conviction. She has vowed to clear her name.

Continue reading...

The Cyprus rape case is a chilling reminder of the price women pay for speaking up | Gaby Hinsliff

Tue, 01/07/2020 - 06:39
It is impossible to feel the British teenager convicted of lying about what happened to her in Ayia Napa has received justice

All she wanted was one last summer adventure before buckling down to the beginnings of adult life.

If all had gone to plan, the 19-year-old would have flown home from Cyprus with nothing more than a few lively gap year stories to show for it, and by now would presumably have been happily settled into university life.

Continue reading...

White, male and boring: diversity row should make Bafta look in the mirror

Tue, 01/07/2020 - 05:57

This year’s outrageous crop of overwhelmingly white Bafta nominations shows that the academy needs to act now to make its members more diverse

This year’s crop of Bafta nominations are a dispiriting start to the decade. With its glaringly white, overwhelmingly male and thuddingly boring choices, its voting body of film industry members seem to have a limited understanding of “excellence”. All 20 acting nominations have been given to white performers: Scarlett Johansson and Margot Robbie received two nominations each, with Robbie claiming two spots in the best supporting actress category (a real slap in the face). No women appear in the best director category, and none of this year’s best film nominees were directed by women.

It’s not at all surprising, but it is outrageous. Consider exceptional female-directed films such as Atlantics, Booksmart, Clemency, The Farewell, For Sama, Harriet, Honey Boy, Hustlers, Little Women, The Nightingale, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and The Souvenir. Recall performances from Lupita Nyong’o, Jennifer Lopez, Cynthia Erivo, Alfre Woodard, Marianne Jean-Baptiste. The work is there and should speak for itself, but institutions aren’t listening. The same small pool of “talent” continues to be rewarded.

Continue reading...

The film industry has utterly failed women. I won’t put up with it any longer | Alice O’Keeffe

Mon, 01/06/2020 - 21:00

I’m sick of films dominated by male characters and perspectives. This year I’m changing my cinematic diet

Recently I seem to have developed a sort of allergic reaction to films. The symptoms are as follows: about an hour into watching almost any given movie, I find myself contorted with irritation, and begin muttering like a mad person: “But what about her? What does she have to say?” After a lifetime of happily sitting through films directed almost exclusively by men, this allergic reaction seems to be telling me I need a more balanced cultural diet.

Admittedly I have always been more of a book lover, but my husband is a cinema buff, and every so often he’ll try again at converting me. “This one is critically acclaimed,” he will say. “Tipped for an Oscar! I’m sure it will be fine. Just give it a go.” Most recently, we settled on Marriage Story, the almost universally praised film by Noah Baumbach. I’d read a couple of reviews, which had assured me that this was an admirably balanced portrait of the disintegration of a relationship. Great! I love relationships. I love disintegration. Surely this would be a safe bet?

Continue reading...

Greggs, guilt and glucose: what I've learned from a life of dieting

Sat, 01/04/2020 - 03:00

I’ve spent decades trying every fad and detox, looking for the magic formula for weight loss

Since I’ve been a journalist, I’ve done a ton of diets for one article or another. I never had to justify it, or explain what I think about my own body, and how that relates to other women’s body images, and how the tension between living as a feminist and living as a woman in the world is resolved – because it was always for a piece.

Continue reading...

Republicans know that Americans don't support their anti-abortion extremism | Danielle Campoamor

Sat, 01/04/2020 - 00:30

Thirty-nine Republican senators signed a brief asking the supreme court to overturn Roe v Wade. But who didn’t sign is more telling

The anti-abortion movement has one resounding goal: overturn Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 US supreme court case that solidified abortion as a constitutional right. And while this goal is often shrouded in faux concern for the safety of pregnant people or the sanctity of life, dismantling the right to bodily autonomy for more than half the population has always been their holy grail.

With the election of Donald Trump and the appointment of two conservative supreme court justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, the need to hide this goal from a public that overwhelming supports Roe v Wade has vanished. Recently, 39 Republican senators signed an amicus brief calling for the supreme court to reconsider and overturn Roe. It was the anti-abortion movement going all in – seizing a moment they’ve been working towards since 1973.

Continue reading...

Broadest ever therapeutic HPV vaccine to be tested in clinical trial

Fri, 01/03/2020 - 01:16

Treatment could clear up persistent infections and reduce risk of cervical cancer

The broadest vaccine yet that could clear up persistent HPV infections and reduce the risk of women developing cervical cancer is to be tested in a clinical trial.

Human papillomavirus infections are common and are generally cleared by the body. However, about 10% of infections are not cleared, with persistent infections of certain types of HPV known to increase the risk of a number of cancers, including cervical cancer.

Continue reading...

Drunk men are a danger to women. Should feminists oppose boozing? | Moira Donegan

Fri, 01/03/2020 - 00:15

Rather than moralist disdain, Prohibition activists wanted alcohol banned for a more practical reason: women’s safety

The temperance movement seized American public life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, galvanizing women in a mass social crusade. Linked to the abolitionist and women’s suffrage movements – with which it shared prominent intellectuals and overlapping leadership, including the likes of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony – the temperance movement was part of a mass mobilization of American women fighting for social change. Like the abolitionist and women’s suffrage movements, temperance eventually achieved its political goal: for the 13 years of Prohibition, 1920 to 1933, the sale and consumption of alcohol was banned in the US.

But unlike its sister struggles, the temperance movement now has a bit of a bad reputation. It is easy to see the woman-led, often explicitly religious movement as a group of reactionaries, attempting to impose moral obsequiousness on a public that did not share their values. In the end, Prohibition itself was an obscene failure: alcohol continued to be sold and consumed, and the government’s vain attempts to enforce the ban on booze bred their own kinds of violence. The leaders of the movement were mocked as nagging housewives, out to ruin the fun. The temperance movement petered out, and is now remembered as a Pollyannaish bust.

Continue reading...

Faster, higher, longer: how female ultra-athletes started to beat men

Thu, 01/02/2020 - 21:59

From swimming the Channel four times to outrunning every man, we meet the women at the top of their game

At the top of a wind-scoured hill outside Edinburgh, Jasmin Paris’s dog, Moss, patiently waits for his owner. He is, I think, wondering what on earth is taking her so long. The answer, I’m afraid, is me.

We are in the Pentland Hills near her home – easy terrain for a skilled fell runner. For me, it’s a painful reminder that road marathons and track races do not help in the hills. I spend my clumsy descents looking at my feet, and each time I look up, Paris is defying gravity – not so much dropping as floating down.

Continue reading...

More than 200 members of Congress urge US supreme court to reconsider Roe v Wade

Thu, 01/02/2020 - 13:09

Appeal in an amicus brief in a Louisiana case was signed by 205 Republicans and two Democrats

More than two hundred members of Congress have urged the US supreme court to reconsider the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade ruling which legalized abortion nationwide.

The appeal came in an amicus brief in a Louisiana case, and was signed by 205 Republicans and two Democrats, and calls on the high court to revisit the ruling, which affirmed that access to safe abortion is a constitutional right.

Continue reading...

More women than ever working in film – but men still dominate key roles

Thu, 01/02/2020 - 11:14

Men outnumber women 4 to 1 in roles such as director and cinematographer, study finds

The number of women working in the film industry reached a historic high in 2019, but men still outnumber women four to one in key roles.

Women made up 20% of behind-the-scenes roles on the top 100 domestic grossing films of 2019, a sharp uptick from 16% in 2018, a study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego University revealed. However, when it comes to key jobs like director and cinematographer, men continue to dominate.

Continue reading...

BBC seeks to settle equal pay cases ahead of Samira Ahmed tribunal verdict

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 02:48

Broadcaster in apparent attempt to avoid repeat of tribunal embarrassment

The BBC has approached women who are bringing equal pay cases against it to discuss potential settlements, in an apparent attempt to head off a repeat of Samira Ahmed’s employment tribunal in which embarrassing details of the corporation’s inner workings were made public.

Individuals with knowledge of the equal pay cases said some women who were preparing to follow Ahmed and take their cases to tribunal, having exhausted internal BBC processes, were being approached and asked if they would be interested in a settlement.

Continue reading...

The Cyprus case shows how easily rape victims are let down and distrusted | Joan Smith

Tue, 12/31/2019 - 06:50

What happened to the teenager is a stain on the Cypriot justice system. Not believing women, however, is almost universal

The message to foreign women thinking of booking a holiday in Cyprus could hardly be more stark: if you are attacked don’t expect the authorities to help you. On the contrary, reporting a rape carries a significant risk that it won’t be properly investigated, as appears to have happened to the 19-year-old British woman who went to the police in Ayia Napa in July saying she had been gang-raped. Moreover, you might end up deprived of your own liberty.

The teenager found herself convicted on Monday with inventing the whole thing, and faces a potential prison sentence when she appears at the Famagusta district court next week. Predatory young men, on the other hand, might easily come to the conclusion that they have nothing to fear.

Continue reading...

I used to feel my rage was righteous. But on its own, it can be toxic | Elif Shafak

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 05:00
Anger against inequality is powerful, but it needs to be coupled with feelings such as empathy and love

I used to love my anger. When I was young, it was precious to me, this burning fire, this smouldering rage, which I would hold between my palms like a lantern, without realising that it was not much of a provider of either light or warmth, it burned my flesh instead. But at the time anger felt good. It felt right and righteous. It even made me love Aristotle. “For since nobody aims at what he thinks he cannot attain, the angry man is aiming at what he can attain, and the belief that you will attain your aim is pleasant.” That sounded all right to me. I particularly agreed with the US philosopher and poetRalph Waldo Emerson. “A good indignation makes an excellent speech.” Not only speech, I thought to myself. It could also make good books, especially novels. What better motivation could there be for a novelist than the right kind of anger?

In Strasbourg, ‘revolution' was not just a noun. It was a verb, a way of life

Continue reading...

Manchester gives Women's Institute revival a modern twist

Sun, 12/29/2019 - 21:00

After years of waning popularity organisation regains its appeal by blending traditional pastimes with progressive events

For decades now, the reputation of the Women’s Institute has been somewhere between endlessly supping tea, baking homemade sponges in a twin set with pearls, and discussing the latest village scandal.

But long before this cliched image took hold, the WI was actually established in Britain to help with the first world war effort, bringing together generations of women who worked together embodying a real sense of community spirit.

Continue reading...

The year in patriarchy 2019: from Epstein conspiracy theories to Japanese high heels | Arwa Mahdawi

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 04:00

As strongmen try to take over the world, women have been fighting back and making their voices heard. Here are some highlights – and lowlights

A young Sudanese woman, dressed in white, standing high above a crowd and demanding change.

Related: You're not helping, Obama – just reinforcing myths about men v women | Arwa Mahdawi

Continue reading...

From renewables to Netflix: the 15 super-trends that defined the 2010s

Fri, 12/27/2019 - 00:00

It was the decade of austerity, fracking, populism and internet lies. But not everything about the 2010s was terrible

Continue reading...

'Everybody is talking about it': women's rights to take centre stage in 2020

Thu, 12/26/2019 - 21:00

Campaigners hail year of key global gatherings and events as vital opportunity to secure ‘bold, accountable commitments and action’

World leaders, civil society and the private sector are preparing to make 2020 the biggest year yet for the advancement of women’s rights.

Over the course of the year, thousands of people are expected to attend high-level UN events and forums in Mexico City and Paris to mark the 25th anniversary of the Beijing platform for action, a landmark agreement to end gender inequality.

Continue reading...

Why the new Little Women adaptation is more than just a film for females | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Wed, 12/25/2019 - 01:00
Greta Gerwig has created an inspirational movie, brimming with humanity. It should be required viewing for everyone

My sister-in-law confesses that she is nervous about the Greta Gerwig adaptation of Little Women, in cinemas from Boxing Day. In her family of women, the 1994 film starring Winona Ryder is a Christmas tradition; another version will, she fears, inevitably disappoint. Having just seen the new film, starring Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and Eliza Scanlen as the sisters Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth March, I assured her there was nothing to worry about. The rave reviews are pouring in, and to the universal acclaim I can add my own: this clever, spirited, witty adaptation is pure pleasure from start to finish. Furthermore, it serves as a timely reminder of just how feminist the original novel, published in two parts in 1868 and 1869, was.

“When I read it at 30 I couldn’t believe it, I felt like I’d never read it before,” Gerwig told the New Yorker. “I couldn’t believe how modern it was, how strange it was, how spiky it was. I’d allowed it to become this snowglobe of sweetness, and it was nothing like that. It was much more complicated.”

Continue reading...

Single woman sues Chinese hospital for refusal to freeze eggs

Tue, 12/24/2019 - 02:35

Teresa Xu says doctor told her to hurry up and get married before having children

At the end of last year, Teresa Xu visited a hospital in Beijing to discuss options for freezing her eggs. The doctor said she could not help Xu, a single woman, because it went against regulations. Then she gave the 31-year-old some sisterly advice: hurry up, get married and have children now.

Xu was shocked and disappointed. “I had no way to express my anger,” she said. She felt like she was being treated like a wayward child. “Like I was an intruder, delaying other couples … like my demands were too much. I felt powerless and depressed.”

Continue reading...