Women's News from the Web

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French gynaecologists' union threatens to stop performing abortions

Thu, 03/14/2019 - 06:43

Health minister calls protest about lack of medical insurance ‘taking women hostage’

A French gynaecologists’ union has threatened to halt pregnancy terminations in an attempt to force the country’s health minister to meet disgruntled doctors.

The Syngof union wrote to its 1,600 members calling them to be prepared to stop carrying out abortions to “make ourselves heard” and force the government’s hand.

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Government to provide free sanitary products in English secondary schools

Wed, 03/13/2019 - 04:47

Chancellor’s statement follows campaigns to end period poverty

The government will provide free sanitary products in secondary schools and colleges in England from the next school year.

The chancellor made the announcement in the spring statement, where the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast growth of 1.2% this year – a downgrade from the 1.6% forecast at the budget in 2018.

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Genetics may reduce efficacy of hormonal contraception – study

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 11:15

Tentative link found between genetic variant and faster breakdown of hormone

An unintended pregnancy while using hormonal contraception may not always be down to the woman’s mistake, according to research that suggests for some genetics could play a role.

Millions of women use hormonal contraceptives such as different types of the pill, contraceptive implants or hormone-releasing intrauterine systems (IUS) or vaginal rings. These devices release hormones to prevent the release of an egg, as well as triggering other changes in the body to prevent a pregnancy.

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Pete Davidson is dating an older woman - why is the world shocked?| Arwa Mahdawi

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 06:00

Misogyny is behind the criticism of the Saturday Night Live comedian’s relationship with Kate Beckinsale

Quiz time! Put your calculators away, please, I have a maths problem designed to test every inch of your natural intelligence. Ready? Here we go: Pete Davidson is a 25-year-old comedian. He is dating Kate Beckinsale, a 45-year-old actor. What’s their age difference?

Twenty years? Wrong. The correct answer, judging from popular responses, is: “Too many years to be acceptable”. While society takes older men hooking up with younger women for granted, we still seem to have a lot of hang-ups about women dating younger guys. There is a one-word explanation for this: misogyny.

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Tucker Carlson's sexist rants reveal an ugly truth | Moira Donegan

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 04:27

The Fox News host has shown us just how much misogyny continues to be tolerated – and encouraged – by men

Tucker Carlson, the Fox News commentator with a primetime show and a history of vitriolic racist rants, is in the news again after the media watchdog group Media Matters unearthed recordings of him from the mid-aughts, in which Carlson calls into a radio shock jock program to make a series of luridly sexist assertions and racist asides, palling around with a host who goes by the moniker “Bubba the Love Sponge”.

Related: R Kelly and the art of the male meltdown | Arwa Mahdawi

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BirthStrikers: meet the women who refuse to have children until climate change ends

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 02:00

A movement of women have decided not to procreate in response to the coming ‘climate breakdown and civilisation collapse’. Will their protest be a catalyst for change?

As soon as Blythe Pepino got together with her partner Joshua two years ago, she felt “this overwhelming urge to create a family with him”, she says. “I think it was the fifth day after having met him, I said: ‘I’ve got to meet your parents.’ He was like: ‘You’re mad.’”

Then, late last year, she attended a lecture held by the direct action group Extinction Rebellion, which set out starkly the catastrophic reality of the changing climate. That galvanised Pepino, an activist and musician (she is the former singer of Vaults, now Mesadorm), to do research of her own and, eventually, to have a series of sad conversations with Joshua.

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Ending period poverty shouldn’t have to be like getting blood from a stone | Yomi Adegoke

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 21:00

The announcement of free sanitary products in English schools is a big win for activists – but women’s desperate needs are still going unheard

Period poverty campaigners have put two Twitter fingers up to those who claim hashtag activism doesn’t work. After an onslaught of online campaigns and petitions, an announcement is expected this Wednesday from the chancellor, Philip Hammond, stating he will fund a scheme to make free sanitary products available in English secondary schools from September. It’s the second big win for activists – the NHS has said that the products would be available to hospital patients from July.

It has certainly been a slog, akin to (for lack of a less obvious idiom) getting blood from a stone.

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Feminism with no human warmth leaves me cold | Zoe Williams

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 20:00

I’m a fan of the acclaimed young writer known as ‘the Slumflower’. But her sexual creed of exploitation appals me

A couple of years ago, the feminist society of Deptford Green secondary school convened a conference. It was there that I met Chidera Eggerue: aka the Slumflower, author of What a Time to be Alone, hashtagger of the #saggyboobsmatter movement. She was a remarkable woman. I don’t want to call her a “remarkable young woman,” even though she was 23 at the time: “young” is such a modifier and she would have been remarkable at any age.

Her broad message was one of body positivity: if you love yourself and your shape, nobody can shame you. She built what I thought was a brisk, convincing and quite dispiriting picture of the various problems her generation faces: late capitalist consumerism combined with intense pressure to conform physically – you must be this shape, to fit into this item, to look this good on Instagram – while the new misogyny of the “alt-right” built an army of enforcers, angry men happy to roam the internet looking for any woman who might look happy with herself, to tell her about the state of her upper arms. And perhaps some men took that corrosive body-pedantry into their relationships and made women feel rubbish about themselves in real life, but the Slumflower’s message – love yourself, and that is your suit of armour – was much more important and universal than relationship advice, and spoke powerfully to girls who were ages away from their first shitty boyfriend, as well as enlighteningly to women who were ages from being able to remember him.

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How to buy the perfect-fitting bra

Sun, 03/10/2019 - 22:00

Your bra is almost certainly too big, you’re probably putting it on wrong – and you should wear a red one under a white T-shirt

Many women go wrong with the band size – probably 85%-90% of us are wearing a bigger bra than we should. Around 80% of support comes from that back band, and if it is too loose, the shoulder straps over-compensate, so they dig in, or there’s not enough support in general. The band should feel firm, not tight – you should be able to fit two fingers comfortably around the elastic all the way round. Start on the loosest set of hooks and eyes because as the bra stretches naturally with wash and wear, you can tighten it.

In an underwired bra, the wires must not sit on the breast tissue, but right underneath, and the bridge should be flat against the sternum. Next, there should be a bust in each cup – nothing falling out, cutting in, or no gaping in the cup. The straps should feel comfortable on your shoulders – not falling off, or taking too much pressure.

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Women with Allergan breast implants may sue over cancer link

Sun, 03/10/2019 - 08:29

UK women claim they were not told enough about potential risk of rare breast cancer

A group of more than 200 women are considering legal action over controversial breast implants that have been linked to a rare form of cancer.

The women claim they were not sufficiently informed about the risks of textured Allergan implants, which were pulled from the European market in December. Six of the women developed anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a rare blood cancer that has been linked to textured implants.

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Phoebe Waller-Bridge 'empowered' to see violent women on TV

Sun, 03/10/2019 - 08:02

Creator of BBC’s Killing Eve says it’s refreshing not to see ‘women on slabs the whole time’

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who developed the award-winning BBC drama Killing Eve, has spoken of how it is “refreshing and oddly empowering” to see female characters being violent after decades of television in which women have been brutalised.

The writer and actor acclaimed for her role in a new series of the BBC sitcom Fleabag which she created, addressed the issue as fans eagerly await the second series of Killing Eve starring Jodie Comer as a psychopathic killer and Sandra Oh as an MI5 operative.

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A feminist's guide to raising boys

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 21:00

Before I became a mother, I thought my feminism was a battle fought and won. But having three sons has challenged everything

It’s always the things you think will be a doddle that end up causing most heartache. When I was asked to write about being a feminist and a mother to three boys, I imagined dashing off something witty, yet touching and wise, and never thought for a moment I’d end up losing my temper (several times) or in tears, or storming away from meals, and feeling like a failure. Did not see that coming.

How do you raise boys? My extremely authoritative sources for this article were: my friends; my children (I interviewed two of them, but the middle one refused and now says, “Is it a gender thing?” every time it seems funny); my husband; some brilliant books; and a huge number of conversations, including one in the pub with a friend who is, genuinely, a professor of feminism. In no particular order, this is what I learned.

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Hammond to promise funds to end period poverty in English schools

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 21:00

Scheme to make free sanitary products available is expected to echo one already in place in Scotland

Philip Hammond will promise at Wednesday’s spring statement to end “period poverty” in English secondary schools by funding a scheme to make free sanitary products available from September, the Guardian has learned.

Campaigners have been calling for action from the government, amid claims that girls from low-income families can end up missing school during their periods because they are unable to afford sanitary protection.

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International Women's Day 2019: US women's soccer team sues over discrimination - as it happened

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 12:27

Follow all the news and developments as people mark International Women’s Day around the world, including

10.27pm GMT

Thank you to everyone who followed our liveblog of International Women’s Day. Women around the world staged protests against abortion restrictions and gender violence, and for equal labor rights.

9.53pm GMT

International Women’s Day has also been a reminder about some of the pioneering women in history, including Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, who in 1864 became the first African American woman physician in the US.

Today and always, let’s remember these female pioneers in medicine:

Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first African-American woman to be a doctor in the U.S. in 1864.

Fe del Mundo, a Filipina who was the first woman to attend Harvard Medical School in 1933.#InternationalWomensDay pic.twitter.com/dkoiKcwKPs

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The Guardian view on literature: we need the Nobel prize | Editorial

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 08:25
The Swedish Academy, with its credibility shattered by a scandal, could not award a prize last year. This year, it will award two. It would have been better to let the gap in the record stand

After cancelling last year’s Nobel prize in literature because of a high-profile scandal in its ranks, the Swedish Academy is making up for lost ground by awarding two this year. A double award is not unprecedented – it has happened before, in 1917, 1966 and 1974 – but on the earlier occasions the money was split. This year’s decision is a mistake. As the former permanent secretary, Sara Danius, suggested, the prize for 2018 should have been left as a gap in the record, as an acknowledgment of the scandal.

Since last year’s debacle, oceans of ink have been spilled debating whether the secretive Academy is in any fit state to remain the world’s premier arbiter on world literature. In response to these criticisms, the Nobel Foundation has, in effect, purged the Academy of most of the key figures in the scandal that convulsed it last year, among them Ms Danius (who exposed it), and brought in five independent members to help the prize committee in its deliberations. But, entertaining as the continuing ructions are, they are a sideshow to the central question: do we actually need a Nobel prize in literature any more, or would the 9m kroner (£731,000) be better spent on, say, initiatives to save the planet from environmental catastrophe? The addition of a new category might not seem heretical: economics was only added in 1969 to the big five stipulated in Alfred Nobel’s will. However, the Nobel Foundation has set its face against any further new prizes and discouraged the unauthorised use of its name.

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International Women's Day marked across the world

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 07:50

Protesters call for an end to domestic violence, sexual attacks and pay discrimination – except in Russia

Protests and celebrations were staged across the world to mark International Women’s Day as issues of gender equality and gender violence were highlighted in myriad ways.

In Spain, an estimated six million – reportedly including nuns – took part in a mass two-hour walkout to demand equal pay and rights for women, according to UGT, one of the country’s largest unions. Thousands of women flooded the streets and squares of Madrid carrying placards saying, “Liberty, Equality, Friendship” and “The way I dress does not change the respect I deserve.”

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Mother jailed for 11 years in first British FGM conviction

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 07:44

Woman who cut three-year-old daughter also given two more years for other offences

A mother has been jailed for 11 years after becoming the first person in Britain to be convicted of female genital mutilation (FGM) in a landmark case.

The 37-year-old woman was found guilty of cutting her three-year-old daughter.

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The terrifying case of a six-week embryo suing an abortion clinic | Jill Filipovic

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 07:03

An Alabama case brings into sharp clarity what is at stake with the legal battle over a woman’s right to choose

In Alabama, a man is suing for what he believes is his right: to allow any man to force a female partner to give birth against her will. In a bizarre twist, a judge has allowed a no-longer-in-existence embryo to sue as well. It’s a case that highlights the fundamental divide between the pro-choice movement and the anti-abortion (and, often, anti-contraception) one: is the debate just about “life”? Or is it about allowing men and the government to control women – our lives, our futures, and the very skin, organs and bones we live in?

This case brings the stakes into sharp clarity.

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Neither oppressed nor trailblazing, Muslim women need to be heard | Raifa Rafiq

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 06:40
The representation of us in media and politics is too often decided by others – but we can speak for ourselves

The politics of the Muslim woman remains wrapped up in “debate”. The oppressed-terrorist-bride complex is rampant within our societal infrastructures – and it’s still deeply ingrained in the consciousness of the supposedly reasonable “man on the Clapham omnibus”. Are we now, though, seeing any visible difference in the representation of Muslim women within mainstream media and politics? I’m inclined to think not.

Her identity is still up for discussion by others: if she is perceived to be oppressed, then the secular, white British media must highlight the oppressive nature of her religion and save her from it; if she is on the terrorist-bride-Shamima-Begum side of the scale, she must be reminded that she is not an actual citizen of this country and resides here at the mercy of public and political opinion.

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T-shirts are all very well. But it’s unions that win rights for women | Janey Starling

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 05:16

Forget the gloss and the gimmicks – feminism was forged in the struggle to escape the sweatshop

Looking for a way to celebrate International Women’s Day? Join a union. That might seem a bit abstract, but it’s not at all.

Every year International Women’s Day becomes pinker, glossier and more about gimmicks and discounts than collective power. Feminist T-shirts are cute, but the roots of International Women’s Day are as ugly as it gets: in working-class and migrant women’s protests against life-threatening conditions in sweatshops. They were born out of the vision of Theresa Malkiel, a former garment worker and anti-racist socialist, in 1909 New York. If she knew her legacy was now shopping discounts and free prosecco, she’d be pretty bemused – to be honest, so am I.

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