Women's News from the Web

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Updated: 3 hours 48 min ago

'This is where I need to be': the UK women defying fishing stereotypes

Sun, 01/03/2021 - 05:33

Not-for-profit Women in Fisheries aims to get more women involved in male-dominated industry

Superstition among fishing crews has traditionally said that women on ships are bad luck – and it is among many of the reasons women in the fishing industry are in short supply.

Now though, they are being urged to join Britain’s fishing fleet by the first UK organisation to emerge that is actively encouraging women to join the fishing industry.

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Tampon tax: government axes VAT on sanitary products

Thu, 12/31/2020 - 05:02

Key campaigner Laura Coryton accuses Tory politicians of trying to turn issue into ‘pro-Brexit thing’

The tampon tax has been abolished after the government honoured its March commitment to remove VAT on women’s sanitary products.

But the campaigner who played a pivotal role in the drive to axe the tax has accused the government of using the issue as a political football, after politicians said it had been scrapped thanks to Brexit. Existing EU law prevented member states from reducing VAT below 5%.

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‘I’m fascinated by power, force and bravery’: the woman who surfed the biggest recorded wave of 2020

Thu, 12/31/2020 - 02:00

Seven years ago, she was nearly killed in pursuit of the sport she loves, but she defied experts’ predictions and made a stunning comeback

In the photographs of her record-breaking ride, the Brazilian surfer Maya Gabeira is a tiny blade on the water, cutting a line of white spume down the deep ridge of the vast grey wave that climbs behind her. The wave in question measured 22.4 metres (73.5ft), the highest ever surfed by a woman, the first to be measured and verified by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and a couple of feet greater than the one surfed by her nearest rival. It is also the biggest wave measured this year, surfed by man or woman.

Gabeira, who broke her own previous Guinness world record of 68ft, attributes her achievement to what she calls “taking a critical line”. In short, she takes her board to the fiercest and tallest part of the wave, “where the most powerful energy is, where it is actually breaking”. This, she says, is how “you put value into your wave”.

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Jane Garvey bows out of Woman's Hour with tribute to listeners

Thu, 12/31/2020 - 01:56

BBC Radio 4 presenter says ‘cataclysmic’ 13 years on show taught her much about feminism

Jane Garvey has paid tribute to her “remarkable” listeners as she presented her final Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 after fronting the show for 13 years.

The broadcaster said presenting the show had taught her more about feminism, and that women were held to higher standards.

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I spend a stupid amount of time thinking about my appearance. How can I care less? | Leading questions

Wed, 12/30/2020 - 06:30

This preoccupation is understandable, writes advice columnist Eleanor Gordon-Smith. To break it you must reframe what you see as beautiful

I’m a young, conventionally attractive woman. I’m happy and self-confident; I have wonderful people and relationships in my life; I am doing well in university and feel excited about my future. Yet, despite my immense luck and privilege, I spend a stupid amount of time thinking about my appearance. I scrutinise my face and body every day. Even more oppressive is my fear of getting older: I am constantly anxious about how my looks will slip as I age.

I know this is a sexist waste of time; it’s disrespectful to myself, and to all the older women I’m terrified of becoming. But I can’t seem to shake it. I wish I could care less. How can I?

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Argentina on brink of historic vote to legalise abortion

Mon, 12/28/2020 - 07:45

Senate debates bill that would make it first major Latin American country to allow terminations

Argentina is on the verge of making history as the first major Latin American country to legalise abortion.

Its 72-member senate convened on Tuesday to debate a bill that was approved by the lower house earlier this month to the delight of pro-choice activists.

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Women over 50 paid £8,000 a year less than men for full-time work

Sun, 12/27/2020 - 07:29

Analysis by Rest Less finds median salary among workers over 50 is 23% less for women

Women over 50 in the UK are paid almost £8,000 a year less than men, according to research revealing that the collapse of retailers during the pandemic has hit women much harder than men.

An analysis of official data found that the median annual salary of women working full-time in their 50s was 23% less than that of men in the same age group, according to a report by Rest Less, a company that offers help and advice to people over 50. Women in their 60s were paid 25% less.

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Some pretty smart women claim to be racked by impostor syndrome. Do men just not get it? | Catherine Bennett

Sat, 12/26/2020 - 22:00
Perhaps it’s an affliction of only the most able. Compare the records of New Zealand’s PM and some male leaders

By most standards Jacinda Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand, has shown herself a competent politician. Notable achievements include winning two elections, demonstrating (since some men questioned it) that maternity is compatible with national leadership, and guiding her country through the shocks of the Christchurch terrorist attack, a volcanic eruption and now the pandemic. New Zealand, cautious from the start, is likely to end this year with 25 deaths from Covid, having apparently achieved this result without Ardern quietly enriching her friends or exposing her country to international contempt.

Compared, then, with prevailing British standards, her record is dazzling, or to render it into Johnsonian, world-beating. As Britons resign themselves to years more chaotic, divisive, corrupt, untrustworthy and fatally incompetent governance, Ardern’s period in office, while imperfect, has been good enough to win international tributes, including recently an International Activist Award whose first recipient was Nelson Mandela.

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Cutting foreign aid will put girls at risk

Sat, 12/26/2020 - 21:15

Now, mid-pandemic, would be the worst time to abandon our commitment to the world’s poorest countries

“The great strategic prize of the 21st century is the full economic, political and social empowerment of women,” said William Hague, when he was foreign secretary. “There are still large parts of the world who are undervaluing, under-utilising, under-developing half their population.” That was five years ago, and there is still a long way to go. I am speaking out now, because we are about to go into reverse.

Parliament’s women and equalities committee, which I chair, isn’t afraid to take the prime minister to task when his policies fall short in providing for the marginalised and under-represented. We’ve held the government’s feet to the fire on the domestic abuse bill, the role of women in the response to Covid-19 and the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on BAME communities. But the need to level up society doesn’t stop at our borders, and many of the world’s poorest countries are also the most unequal.

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The menopause is ruining my sex life. How can I stop feeling so numb?

Sat, 12/26/2020 - 20:00

Losing your libido is a symptom, not a life sentence

The dilemma I am a 52-year-old woman who has had a difficult perimenopause. I have read extensively on the subject and tried various supplements to ease this transition. My experience has included hot flushes, night sweats, depression, anxiety, insomnia and heavy periods. I was suffering the most debilitating anxiety to the point where I could barely function. I am on bio-identical HRT (Oestragel and Utrogestan), but these had little effect in easing the symptoms. I had no choice but to take antidepressants even though my symptoms were due to hormone fluctuations.

As a side effect my libido fell drastically (a healthy sex life had been maintained until this point and I have always found it easy to orgasm). What I did not expect was that my clitoris physically shrunk and orgasms become almost impossible to achieve.

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Was this a tale of true love, or of a conman finding another mark? | Barbara Ellen

Sat, 12/26/2020 - 08:00
Christie Smythe reported on fraudster Martin Shkreli, then fell for him. The drama continues

Sometimes, your own passion can be hyped. Your feelings can become a corny, overwrought storyline you lose control over.

Christie Smythe, a Bloomberg News reporter, broke the story of the arrest of Martin Shkreli, controversial hedge funder, “Pharma Bro” and online provocateur, who became notorious for inflating the price of the lifesaving toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim by 5,000%. After Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in 2018 for securities fraud and conspiracy, Smythe visited him in prison and fell in love, losing her job and marriage. When she spoke to Elle magazine, in a story that went viral, Shkreli cut her off, saying: “Mr Shkreli wishes Ms Smythe the best of luck in her future endeavours”. She interpreted this as Shkreli being concerned about the fallout for her.

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Covid and climate of fear puts Italian birth rate at lowest since unification

Sat, 12/26/2020 - 02:00

With an estimated 400,000 new Italians this year to replace the 700,000 who have died, the fortunes of Europe’s fourth largest economy are looking ever more dire

Italy’s birth rate is expected to diminish further as the economic strife and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic exacerbate its demographic crisis.

Italy registered 420,000 births in 2019 – the lowest rate since the country’s unification in 1861 – while deaths totalled 647,000. The birth rate could fall to around 408,000 this year, while coronavirus fatalities will drive total deaths beyond 700,000, according to recent estimates from Istat, the national statistics agency.

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Sex at Christmas tends to be off menu until fireworks at new year – study

Tue, 12/22/2020 - 02:10

Stress and overconsumption of food and alcohol leave people feeling less amorous, find researchers

If Christmas leaves you feeling less than amorous, you’re not alone. Whether it’s the stress of last-minute present buying or overconsumption of food and alcohol, interest in sex drops off in the run-up to Christmas, research suggests. However, this is compensated for by a big spike in sexual activity over the new year.

Researchers have long noticed differences in birthrates at various times of the year, but whether this was the result of seasonal fluctuations in fertility or sexual activity was unclear. To investigate, Laura Symul at Stanford University in California and her colleagues turned to data from the Clue women’s health app, which included anonymous sexual activity logs from more than 500,000 women in the UK, France, Brazil, and the US. “It’s self-reported, but it is still the largest dataset of real-time reports of women’s sexual activities,” Symul said.

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Menstruation apps store excessive information, privacy charity says

Sun, 12/20/2020 - 20:00

Exclusive: Privacy International finds apps collect information on birth control habits or how hard it is for women to reach orgasm

Menstruation apps are unnecessarily storing personal data such as what medication women are on, their birth control habits and how hard women find it to reach orgasm, privacy campaigners have said.

A study of five leading apps by Privacy International, a UK-based charity, found that companies held intimate information on users including answers to questions about when they have yeast infections and how often they have sex or see a gynaecologist.

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Breastfeeding mothers will not be offered Covid vaccine, say regulators

Sat, 12/19/2020 - 22:15

Campaigners claim women face ‘impossible’ choice between feeding their child naturally or being inoculated against Covid-19

Women’s rights and breastfeeding organisations are challenging government and NHS guidance that the groups say forces mothers to choose between feeding their infants in the way that they choose and protecting themselves from Covid by being vaccinated.

The NHS website advises lactating mothers to wait until they have stopped breastfeeding before having the Covid-19 vaccine. It adds: “There’s no evidence it’s unsafe if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. But more evidence is needed before you can be offered the vaccine.”

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Women in Japan are 'crushed', says councillor ousted after alleging sexual assault

Thu, 12/17/2020 - 22:16

Shoko Arai says she was ‘punished’ for making accusation against mayor

A former assembly member in Japan who alleges she was sexually assaulted by the mayor of the town she represented has spoken out, claiming residents were unduly pressured into voting to expel her last week.

Shoko Arai, who was the only woman on the 12-member assembly in the hot-spring resort of Kusatsu, accused the mayor, Nobutada Kuroiwa, and other prominent local men of seeking to drive her out of office after she went public with her allegations in an ebook in late 2019. She claimed Kuroiwa sexually assaulted her in his office in 2015. He denies the claim.

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Denmark strengthens rape laws, outlawing sex without explicit consent

Thu, 12/17/2020 - 14:53

Justice minister says: ‘Now it will be clear, that if both parties do no consent to sex, then it’s rape’

Denmark has strengthened its rape laws by criminalising sex without explicit consent.

The new law passed by parliament on Thursday also widened the circumstances that could constitute rape – under the old legislation, prosecutors had to show the rapist had used violence or attacked someone who was unable to resist.

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Pakistan approves tough anti-rape law amid outcry over victim blaming

Wed, 12/16/2020 - 04:53

Legislation will speed up rape trials, protect victims’ identity and create sex offender register

Pakistan’s president has approved a tough new anti-rape law that includes the establishment of special courts to speed up rape trials and the chemical castration of serial rapists.

The legislation, which must be approved by parliament to remain in effect, requires courts to conclude the trials of alleged rapists and issue verdicts within four months. It also prohibits the disclosure of the identity of rape victims and will create a national sex offenders’ register.

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Skipper Pip Hare on the toughest test in sailing: 'It's about coping with adversity – on your own'

Wed, 12/16/2020 - 02:00

During the Vendee Globe, boats have broken apart and sleep is caught in snatches. The yachtswoman – currently in 18th place and still going – explains the dangerous thrill of racing solo

Pip Hare has just a few things to sort out, and she needs to have a check outside. She will text me again when she is free to chat, which she does. Hi, Pip, where are you? “Heading south-east across the South Atlantic,” she replies, cheerfully, casually, as if she was saying she was heading home across the park.

I can hear the South Atlantic, fizzing past in the background, and the creaks and groans of her 60ft boat Medallia, as it blasts towards the Southern Ocean. It’s glorious out there, she says. “The wind is moderate, the sea quite flat, the sky as blue as can be, with just a smattering of clouds, a sign that the low pressure is catching up with me. I’ve got three sails up, the boat is full of energy, flying along at between 18 and 20 knots. The colours are amazing.”

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Female leaders make a real difference. Covid has proved it | Jane Dudman

Tue, 12/15/2020 - 22:00

It may be no coincidence that countries with women at the helm have had fewer infections and deaths

What do Erna Solberg, Sanna Marin, Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Mette Frederiksen have in common apart from all four being female prime ministers (of Norway, Finland, Iceland and Denmark, respectively)? The answer is that their countries have much lower rates of Covid-19 infection than male-led neighbouring nations such as Ireland, Sweden and the UK.

Are those facts connected? There’s a growing body of evidence to suggest they may be.

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