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Updated: 11 hours 46 min ago

Video game company Activision Blizzard sued over ‘frat boy culture’ allegations

Thu, 07/22/2021 - 11:13

California’s DFEH files suit after investigation reveals discrimination against women

The video game company behind World of Warcraft and Candy Crush is being sued over allegations of its “frat boy culture” and treatment toward its female employees.

California’s department of fair employment and housing (DFEH) filed suit against Activision Blizzard Inc in California’s superior court after a two-year investigation into the company revealed discrimination against women generally and pregnant employees, sexual harassment, retaliation and unequal pay.

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‘I had a crush on my sexy manager’: seven readers on their summers of love

Thu, 07/22/2021 - 00:30

A virtual lockdown date that blossomed, an encounter on a backpackers’ bus and a school trip to Spain – readers share their most memorable summer romances

After just one week of living in New York, the city locked down, and a summer of love seemed unlikely. I did go on a series of virtual dates, with around 20 guys over four months; some were funny, kind and smart, and some were a little weird. One or two of them became my friends. Then, I finally got a call from Mr Right on the long weekend of 4 July. We started talking and he was everything I’d hoped for – except he was in Michigan, hundreds of miles away. In early August, he casually mentioned he’d be coming to NYC to meet me, and the next day he drove for 10 hours to take me for dinner.

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Public street harassment could be made illegal in England and Wales

Tue, 07/20/2021 - 11:30

Strategy to stop violence against women and girls may also ban non-disclosure agreements

Public street harassment is likely to be criminalised under plans being drawn up by the government as part of its long-awaited strategy to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG) for England and Wales.

The use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in cases of sexual harassment and abuse in higher education settings could be also be banned after a review.

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Pregnancy has taught me to relinquish control. So when lockdown arrived, I absorbed the shock | Léa Antigny

Tue, 07/20/2021 - 07:30

What pregnancy has also taught me so far is to feel my fear and then hope for the future anyway

I found out I was pregnant on an otherwise ordinary Wednesday in early April, ordinary except for the fact I’d been counting down to this day, the earliest possible I’d permit myself a test. Three minutes of averting my eyes for fear of jinxing the result and then the faint blue cross confirming what I’d already known for a week, with no proof but for a barely perceptible shift inside me, somewhere previously unknowable.

So began a blissful time, a sweet introduction to the ongoing paradox of pregnancy: a complete shrinking of the outer world alongside a glorious expanse of our inner lives. And then the sickness kicked in – already the bliss was a distant and inaccessible memory.

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Meghan, good luck with your feminist show but can I offer some tips? | Martha Gill

Sat, 07/17/2021 - 22:30
The Duchess of Sussex is working on a Netflix series about notable women. Here are some traps to avoid

Still smarting from its reckoning in 2018, Hollywood’s new politics is starting to seep out in its products. We have had a slew of feminist films and TV series and, in particular, feminism set in the past: The Favourite, The Queen’s Gambit, Little Women, Mary Queen of Scots. Last week, the Duchess of Sussex announced she would be “celebrating extraordinary women throughout history” with her own Netflix series – about the adventures of a 12-year-old girl who meets notable women from before her time.

This is of course all very welcome, yet why do so few of these titles read as feminist? Instead, turning historical events into contemporary liberal parables often seems to result in something rather unsatisfying – even unfeminist. Here are some classic pitfalls for Meghan to watch out for.

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We got the bill for having a baby – $37,000. Welcome to life in America | Arwa Mahdawi

Sat, 07/17/2021 - 03:00

Our insurance covers most of it, but the extortionate prices in America’s healthcare system – and the absurd bureaucracy – boggles the mind

For the last couple of months my wife and I have been playing a quintessentially American game of Guess the Baby Bill. The rules are simple: try to guess exactly how much we would be charged for the birth of our daughter earlier this year. Last week the hospital bill finally came, putting an end to the guessing game. The cost of an uncomplicated vaginal birth? $37,617.69.

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If we want Port Moresby to rise in the liveability rankings, start by protecting its women | Rosario Sam

Thu, 07/15/2021 - 19:20

The 2020 murder of Jenelyn Kennedy rocked Papua New Guinea to its core. Many of us know what it’s like to be covered in bruises under our clothes

A year ago women and men across Papua New Guinea came together to protest in the streets. They wore black and held placards calling for an end to violence against women.

The movement was sparked by the murder of Jenelyn Kennedy, an act of such extreme violence it rocked our nation to its core.

My colleague Emma David wrote in the Guardian at the time that we must ensure Jenelyn did not die in vain. But 12 months on Covid-19 threatens to undo the progress we’ve made.

Related: Jenelyn Kennedy's death was senseless – we must all ensure she did not die in vain

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Nepal sees huge rise in maternal deaths as Covid keeps women at home

Wed, 07/14/2021 - 20:00

Health workers fear deaths could reach levels not seen this century as up to 90% miss check-ups and many opt for home births

Earlier this month, 21-year-old Lakhu BK decided to have her baby at home in her village in the far west of Nepal. She had feared contracting Covid-19 if she went to a health centre. She lost her life giving birth.

“I thought my daughter-in-law will die from [the] virus but did not think she would die from being unable to give birth,” said her mother-in-law, Pamfi BK, 50.

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Women in TV are gaslit and overlooked. No wonder they’re leaving the UK | Deborah Frances-White

Wed, 07/14/2021 - 07:05

Female creatives in Britain are less likely to be allowed to create original dramas and comedies than men. So they are heading off across the Atlantic

I have been working on a television script set in the OG, glamorous roaring 20s. All the futurists tell us that the end of lockdown is the beginning of the raunch relaunch, and we don’t need experts to tell us we wouldn’t say no to a masked ball as long as the mask wasn’t surgical.

I’ve been writing about all the American women who came to Britain to make their fortune and be taken seriously. Actor and wit Tallulah Bankhead – who famously said “My father warned me about men and booze but never said a word about women and cocaine” – couldn’t catch a break on Broadway but became the most famous woman in the UK. Virginian Nancy Astor was an elected MP a year before she even got the vote in the US. Singer and dancer Josephine Baker, who refused to perform for segregated audiences in the US and made Paris her home, was also a West End star.

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Planned Parenthood files lawsuit against Texas’s extreme abortion ban

Wed, 07/14/2021 - 02:00

Groups in the lawsuit, including doctors, health clinic staff and clergy members, say SB8 violates Texans’ constitutional rights

In a highly anticipated move, Texas abortion providers filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday against the state’s draconian six-week abortion ban, Senate Bill 8, which would empower private citizens to enforce the law.

“The Texas legislature’s well-documented hostility to the rights of pregnant people has gone to a new extreme,” reads the lawsuit, filed by groups including Whole Woman’s Health and Planned Parenthood, along with abortion support fund groups, doctors, health clinic staff and clergy members. “Senate Bill 8 flagrantly violates the constitutional rights of Texans seeking abortion and upends the rule of law in service of an anti-abortion agenda.”

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George W Bush fears for women as he criticises Afghanistan pullout

Wed, 07/14/2021 - 00:58

Former US president says west’s withdrawal is a mistake and could cause ‘unspeakable harm’

The former US president George W Bush has criticised the western withdrawal from Afghanistan in an interview with a German broadcaster, saying he fears Afghan women and girls will “suffer unspeakable harm”.

Asked in an interview with the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) whether the withdrawal was a mistake, Bush replied: “You know, I think it is, because I think the consequences are going to be unbelievably bad.”

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Ecuador abortion laws discriminate against minority ethnic women – report

Wed, 07/14/2021 - 00:49

Criminalisation disproportionately affects indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian women and exacerbates inequality, says Human Rights Watch

Gladys, an indigenous woman from rural Ecuador, went to hospital after injecting poison into her stomach to end her pregnancy. Doctors went straight to the police, and she was sentenced to two months in jail for having an abortion with consent.

Elsewhere in the South American country, a 20-year-old Afro-Ecuadorian woman went to hospital after a fall, and found out she was pregnant and miscarrying. She was swiftly arrested and spent four months awaiting trial, where she was cleared.

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‘I haven’t been paid a cent’: Jerusalema singer’s claim stirs row in South Africa

Tue, 07/13/2021 - 01:30

Nomcebo Zikode threatens legal action, claiming she was never paid for the song that became a global hit during the pandemic

While her haunting vocals on the global hit song Jerusalema continue to reverberate around the world, the South African singer Nomcebo Zikode claims she is yet to receive any money for her work.

The singer took to social media on Sunday threatening legal action against Open Mic Productions, the label that recorded Jerusalema in late 2019.

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Guidance to induce minority ethnic pregnancies earlier condemned as racist

Mon, 07/12/2021 - 22:40

Draft Nice guidelines for England, Wales and Northern Ireland will not solve poorer maternity outcomes for women of colour, say doctors

Proposed guidance that recommends inducing labour at 39 weeks in pregnant women from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds has raised concerns from doctors and midwives and been branded “racist” by activists.

White women with uncomplicated pregnancies should be offered an induction of labour at 41 weeks, according to the draft guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice). The institute’s clinical guidelines such as this apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland but do not cover Scotland.

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‘Mixed advice’ driving Covid vaccine hesitancy in pregnant UK women

Mon, 07/12/2021 - 19:00

Exclusive: campaign group warns of ‘wildfire’ of negative messaging given by healthcare professionals

Pregnant women are being given dangerously mixed messaging from health professionals, with figures suggesting a “very high” vaccine hesitancy among the vulnerable group, according to campaigners.

Three-quarters of pregnant women in the UK feel anxious about the easing of coronavirus restrictions with many saying the move is like “another lockdown” for expectant mothers, according to a survey of about 9,000 pregnant women by campaigning group Pregnant Then Screwed.

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Kate Baer on the burden of motherhood: ‘My book is like an angry friend’

Sat, 07/10/2021 - 23:00

When her no-holds-barred collection of poetry came out, Kate Baer was inundated with grateful messages. Why had it hit a chord with ordinary mothers struggling to be heard?

Kate Baer wrote her first book of poetry, What Kind of Woman, from a booth at a chain café in the Philadelphia suburbs. She couldn’t work at home – that’s where the children were. “We were living in this 1,200sq ft place in town,” she says, over Zoom. “With four kids.” It was the beginning of 2019. Baer was writing in pockets of time snatched from busy days, hoping to escape the attention of staff. “I kept thinking, ‘They’re going to kick me out.’ And I tried to keep ordering stuff, but you can only take so much of that kind of food.” When the book was published, last November, and became an immediate bestseller, the café was temporarily closed, pandemic-style. So she parked her car nearby, close enough to pick up the café’s wifi, and took interviews out there in the quiet and the cold.

What Kind of Woman brings to verse the state that leads to these kinds of scenarios: modern motherhood, the burden and sacrifice, the rituals, the fleeting happiness. Many of the poems in Baer’s collection justly brim with anger at the weight mothers carry, the frustrating unfairness of being forced to live a subordinate life squeezed around and in service to the family. Throughout the book, her voice is self-revealing and relateably wearied. “She keeps an office in her sternum,” she writes, in the poem Motherload, “the flat / bone in the centre of her chest, with all its / urgent papers, vast appointments, list of / minor things. In her vertebrae she holds more / carnal tasks: milk jugs, rotten plants, heavy- / bottomed toddlers in all their mortal rage.”

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Salud! Spain’s female winemakers use their intuition to rise to the top

Sat, 07/10/2021 - 22:30

The industry has a growing number of women earning plaudits at its renowned bodegas. But are they really better than men?

“I think of my wines as barefoot children that need love and care,” says winemaker Marta Casas, holding her glass up to the light. Below her, the vineyards of Penedès roll away almost to the sea, but she could be virtually anywhere in Spain.

Just as they fought their way into the male domain of haute cuisine, a growing number of Spanish women are seeking a career in winemaking, with three times as many taking courses in oenology compared with 10 years ago. This was given an added boost in 2018 when Almudena Alberca was made Spain’s first female master of wine, one of only 149 in the world.

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‘My story resonates’: India Walton details the life experience that put her on a mayoral path

Sat, 07/10/2021 - 21:00

A candidate for Buffalo’s mayor seat, Walton attributes her success to ‘really experiencing so many tragedies and traumas’

India Walton was just 14 when she had her first baby. After leaving a home for young mothers, and quitting high school at 19 when her twins were born, she went on to get her GED (the general educational development test for those who did not complete their schooling), have a fourth child and become a nurse.

Now she’s firmly on the path to becoming the mayor of Buffalo, New York – the first socialist mayor elected to a major US city since 1960, when mayor Frank Zeidler of Milwaukee, Wisconsin left office.

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The Cat Person debate shows how fiction writers use real life does matter

Fri, 07/09/2021 - 02:15

Kristen Roupenian’s viral 2017 short story is again being debated, now over her alleged use of details drawn from life. The questions this raises do not have neat answers

Since its publication in the New Yorker nearly four years ago, Kristen Roupenian’s Cat Person remains the most discussed short story ever to have hit the internet. Roupenian’s portrayal of an encounter between a young woman called Margot and an older man called Robert rode the wave of the #MeToo movement, and as a result readers often seem to use the work as a vessel for their own projections. The story provoked widespread anger among some men for its negative depiction of Robert, the man who shows his true colours at the end of the story, and whose wounded reaction to Margot’s rejection resonated with many women.

Related: Why is ‘Cat Person’ going viral again?

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Why do so few men read books by women? | MA Sieghart

Thu, 07/08/2021 - 21:00

No matter if it is Austen or Atwood, the Brontës or Booker winners, data shows men are reluctant to read women – and this has real world implications

The byline at the top of this piece reads MA Sieghart, not Mary Ann. Why? Because I really want men to read it too. Female authors through the centuries, from the Brontë sisters to George Eliot to JK Rowling, have felt obliged to disguise their gender to persuade boys and men to read their books. But now? Is it really still necessary? The sad answer is yes.

For my book The Authority Gap, which looks at why women are still taken less seriously than men, I commissioned Nielsen Book Research to find out exactly who was reading what. I wanted to know whether female authors were not just deemed less authoritative than men, but whether they were being read by men in the first place. And the results confirmed my suspicion that men were disproportionately unlikely even to open a book by a woman.

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