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: 3 hours 16 min ago

Pinterest pays $20m to settle gender discrimination lawsuit

Tue, 12/15/2020 - 09:33

Former chief operating officer Françoise Brougher accepts settlement on condition it is made public

The virtual scrapbook company Pinterest is paying out a record $20m (£15m) to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit brought by a female executive who had alleged she was fired after “speaking out about the rampant discrimination, hostile work environment, and misogyny” at the San Francisco firm.

Françoise Brougher, the company’s former chief operating officer, had accused it of marginalising and silencing women and excluding them from decision-making.

Continue reading...

‘We had no privacy, no respect’: demands for tighter rules on reporting of fatal domestic abuse

Sun, 12/13/2020 - 02:25

Families of women who were killed by men talk about their fight to improve the way the media covers cases of fatal domestic abuse

Kevin Blunnie describes 26 June 2012 as “an ordinary day for our ordinary family”. In the early hours of the following morning, in Harlow, Essex, everything changed. His daughter, Eystna Blunnie, 20, three days away from giving birth to her daughter, Rose Louise, was beaten to death in the street by her former abusive partner, Tony McLernon, 24. He was convicted of murder and child destruction in 2013. He will serve 27 years before he is eligible for parole.

Blunnie and his wife, Susan, have spent eight years campaigning to improve the system of investigation and accountability around femicide, the killing of a woman by a man. Negative treatment by the media was one trial they had not expected to have to endure. “It was totally wrong. We had reporters knocking on our door within hours,” Blunnie says. “We had no privacy and they showed no respect. It still goes on today.”

Continue reading...

Death of father at hands of mob casts a dark light on rise in Malawi rape cases

Fri, 12/11/2020 - 01:35

Police have warned against increased vigilantism after spate of sexual abuse cases

A father who was reportedly beaten by a mob after he allegedly killed the man who attacked his daughter has died in hospital, in a case that has drawn attention to Malawi’s rise in reported rape cases.

The death of the 47-year-old man in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe was reported on Thursday. He had allegedly been beaten and left for dead by a vigilante mob, said to be relatives and friends of the man he had killed.

Continue reading...

Maternity scandal report calls for urgent changes in England's hospitals

Thu, 12/10/2020 - 04:30

Report on Shrewsbury and Telford failings includes series of ‘must do’ recommendations for all maternity services

Urgent and sweeping changes are needed in all English hospitals to prevent avoidable baby deaths, stillbirths and neonatal brain damage, a damning report into one of the biggest scandals in the history of the NHS has said.

It uncovers a pattern of grim failures at Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals (SaTH) that led to the deaths and harming of mothers and babies from 2000-2019. These included a lethal reluctance to conduct caesarean sections; a tendency to blame mothers for problems; a failure to handle complex cases; a lack of consultant oversight, and a “deeply worrying lack of kindness and compassion”.

Continue reading...

Covid-19 has turned back the clock on working women's lives | Gaby Hinsliff

Thu, 12/10/2020 - 04:19

Nursery closures, job losses and home schooling have all affected women this year. But there is a way forward

It’s a bittersweet thing, watching your baby fall in love with someone else. But for working parents, that’s the dream: finding a childminder or nursery worker your child is so thrilled to see every morning that you can slip away almost unnoticed. When the chemistry is right you’d give anything to sustain it, which is why childcare providers going bust isn’t quite the same as other businesses going under. It’s not just nursery workers whose jobs go up in smoke, painful as that is, but small children’s sense of security and sometimes their parents’ working lives too. Each closure represents some family’s precious house of cards collapsing. So why isn’t there more fuss over a survey showing one in six early years providers say they may not last the year, thanks to Covid-19?

The all-party parliamentary group on women and work, jointly chaired by Labour’s Jess Phillips and Tory rising star Laura Farris, will shortly publish the findings of a detailed inquiry spelling out the impact of the pandemic on working women’s lives. As they make clear, this goes well beyond the manic days of lockdown, when many mothers took on the lion’s share of home schooling and toddler wrangling while still attempting to do their actual jobs, and consequently lived in fear of getting fired. (On which note, the report will call for redundancies during the pandemic to be recorded by protected characteristics – which should show if women, or workers of colour, or people with disabilities are being singled out unfairly.) The real problem is what happened next: Farris, a former employment lawyer hardly given to wild exaggeration, warned in parliament last week that “we are on the brink of a bloodbath in terms of female employment”, with the economic impact of Covid looking decidedly unequal.

Continue reading...

Witty, sexual – and menopausal: how reality TV made middle-aged women aspirational

Thu, 12/10/2020 - 03:10

While many elements of the genre are seen as retrograde, in series like the hit Real Housewives franchise being an older woman is no barrier to fabulousness

After the runaway success of Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking, reality TV fans waited with bated breath for its latest Mumbai export, Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives. A cross between the Kardashians and the Real Housewives franchise, the show follows the lives of four friends of 25 years - Maheep, Neelam, Bhavana, and Seema – across eight episodes. However, though the premise has potential, the first series fell flat; the lifestyles of the rich and famous are nothing without a side serving of schadenfreude. We don’t see enough of casts’ inner lives, or of Indian culture, to differentiate it from the conveyor belt of similar shows. It felt like we’d seen it all before.

Even so, it was still refreshing to see older women talking about their hopes and fears on TV. In fact, it’s refreshing to see older women on a TV show, full stop. While many elements of reality TV are seen as retrograde, it is perhaps more progressive than other genres when it comes to the depiction of older women, inasmuch as it bothers to depict them. I’ve always adored the old-time glamour, only embodied after a certain age, that we see in snatches from the few older women we still allow to act – Cicely Tyson, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren. My style hero since a young age has been my jewellery-dripping, high-flying grandmother (who only lets us call her “nana”, as she thinks “grandma” is less chic). But the Dynasty days of stylish, multifaceted older women are long gone, with most disappearing from the media past 50. They do in part, however, live on in a subsection of reality TV.

Continue reading...

'Alarming': female prison population rises by 100,000 in past decade – report

Wed, 12/09/2020 - 22:30

New data finds number of women behind bars growing, despite most being convicted of low-level nonviolent crimes

The number of women being jailed globally has increased by more than 100,000 in the past decade, despite international rules aimed at reducing the female prison population.

New data released by Penal Reform International around the 10th anniversary of the “Bangkok Rules” adopted by the UN show there are now 741,000 women and girls in prison.

Continue reading...

We have failed to recognise the contributions of First Nations women and girls | June Oscar

Wed, 12/09/2020 - 15:39

At every turn women face structural barriers and a system without adequate support. They are exhausted

As the first woman to become the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, I knew it was time for our women and girls to define their lives on their own terms.

Our voices heard and understood. Our lives and expertise recognised. Our actions counted and invested in, which is critical to the health and wellbeing of society. These are the powerful and determined calls of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls in Australia today.

Continue reading...

Lockdown-fuelled novelty of domestic chores wanes for men

Wed, 12/09/2020 - 07:58

Increased sharing of childcare and housework was seemingly temporary, research suggests

Lockdown has changed us. We have slept more, worked less, spent more time doing hobbies and – perhaps most remarkably – shared childcare and housework more equitably.

But, while the world may have tilted on its axis in the spring, any change appears to have been depressingly temporary, research suggests.

Continue reading...

Caroline Criado Perez demands end of NHS Covid partner ban after having miscarriage alone

Wed, 12/09/2020 - 07:24

Feminist campaigner says practice is ‘traumatising’ and ‘inhumane’

A prominent feminist campaigner and writer has described in devastating detail how she was left feeling “humiliated and alone” as she was forced to deal with a miscarriage without her partner.

Caroline Criado Perez, the author of Invisible Women, called on NHS trusts to allow partners to attend medical appointments, scans and emergencies in maternity services, because the refusal to do so was “traumatising an already traumatised woman”. She added: “It needs to stop, now.”

Continue reading...

Argentina moves closer to historic abortion legalization

Wed, 12/09/2020 - 00:00

A pro-abortion movement, symbolized by a green handkerchief, has swept through Latin America, where abortion is punishable by law

Belén ended up in jail after suffering a spontaneous miscarriage. Unaware that she was pregnant, the 25-year-old went to seek medical care at a hospital in Argentina’s northern province of Tucumán when she suffered abdominal pain.

In accordance with Argentina’s stringent anti-abortion legislation, Belén (not her real name) was reported by the hospital to the authorities and sentenced to eight years in prison for homicide. She did not regain her freedom until almost three years later, in 2017, after a feminist lawyer who took up her case convinced the Tucumán supreme court to overturn her conviction.

“There are many Beléns in Argentina and this madness will continue until abortion is legalized,” said Ana Correa, pro-abortion campaigner and author of the book Somos Belén (We Are Belén).

That long-awaited moment may be about to arrive.

Argentina is expected to move within one step of becoming the first major Latin American nation to legalize abortion on Thursday, when the lower house of congress votes on a legal abortion bill sponsored by President Alberto Fernández. The president holds a majority in the lower house, and a government source said the senate could vote the move into law as soon as next week.

The push for reform in Argentina is part of a pro-abortion “green wave” sweeping through Latin America, symbolized by the green handkerchief that has become the campaign’s instantly recognizable flag across the entire region.

“The women of Argentina now enjoy the encouragement of all Latin America, where the green handkerchief is being raised up high from north to south,” said Claudia Piñeiro, an Argentinian author who has spent years campaigning for legal abortion.

Continue reading...

Former Eton students write letter backing under-fire headteacher

Tue, 12/08/2020 - 04:49

Video over which English teacher was fired was ‘intellectually feeble’ and misogynistic, says open letter

Former students at Eton college have written an open letter in support of the school’s headteacher after he came under fire following the dismissal of an English teacher over a controversial video about patriarchy, masculinity and gender roles.

The teacher, Will Knowland, is due to appeal against his dismissal at a hearing on Tuesday.

Continue reading...

Yemeni woman makes epic eight-month journey to reach UK

Tue, 12/08/2020 - 03:12

After walking across deserts and crossing seas on small boats, Noor wants to reveal the plight of women and girls in Yemen

A woman who crossed eight borders, two deserts and one sea to get to the UK to claim asylum has spoken for the first time about her incredible journey.

The 29-year-old, who calls herself Noor, escaped from Yemen when her life was threatened and travelled alone with only smugglers and other desperate migrants for company en route. It is highly unusual for a woman from a country such as Yemen to embark on this kind of journey unaccompanied.

Continue reading...

Japan town's sole female councillor ousted after accusing mayor of sexual assault

Mon, 12/07/2020 - 20:57

Shoko Arai was voted out of her seat after making allegations against mayor that most residents said damaged the town’s reputation

The only female member of a town assembly in Japan has been voted out of her seat after she accused the mayor of sexual assault, in a setback for the country’s nascent #MeToo movement.

Shoko Arai, until Monday a councillor in Kusatsu, a popular hot spring resort north-west of Tokyo, lost her seat after more than 90% of residents voted to recall her, saying she had damaged the town’s reputation, Japanese media reported.

Continue reading...

The Guardian view on online child abuse: this horror must be faced | Editorial

Mon, 12/07/2020 - 09:15

New revelations about Pornhub should prompt immediate action. For leaders to voice ‘concern’, while doing nothing, is shameful

Just over a year after PayPal cut off its payment services from Pornhub, the internet pornography giant, Visa and Mastercard are under pressure to follow suit. Distressing details were reported at the weekend of more cases in which content featuring children was uploaded, causing long-term damage to those involved. These are far from the first occasions on which girls and women have been humiliated on pornography websites for profit. In January, 22 women who were tricked by the GirlsDoPorn website into making pornography which was then uploaded and widely shared, were awarded $13m in damages.

While these crimes were committed in the US, girls and women in poorer countries, who are far less likely to have access to lawyers, politicians, journalists or anyone else who might possibly be able to influence these companies, are even more vulnerable. Evidence points to sexual exploitation on a vast scale. In the US, in 2018, there were 18.4m reports of child sexual abuse imagery online – up from 3,000 20 years previously.

Continue reading...

Not all women think fondly of pub culture | Letter

Mon, 12/07/2020 - 06:44

Terri Kelly has memories of pubs as alienating, male-dominated spaces, and finds it hard to join in the chorus of laments

I am impressed that pubs have changed so much that they are “the hubs of communities” (Britain’s pubs: we’ll soon see the value of them, but will it be too late?, 29 November). As a nearly 70-year-old woman, that was not my experience from my teenage years onwards – at least not until pubs became eateries rather than just drinking dens. For me – and possibly for other women – pubs were always alienating, white male territory.

Girls and women were made to feel either unwanted, or leeringly wanted in a very specific way. It took courage to overcome this long enough to down a drink or two. I have some very specific memories associated with pub-going, ranging from seeing a young mother with a baby being treated with such hostility she quickly exited, to an academic conference where all the men sidled off to the pub together at the end of the day, leaving all their female colleagues behind.

Continue reading...

‘Women feel they have no option but to give birth alone’: the rise of freebirthing

Fri, 12/04/2020 - 21:00

As Covid infections rose, hospital felt like an increasingly dangerous place to have a baby. But is labouring without midwives or doctors the answer?

On the morning of 3 May, Victoria Johnson prepared to give birth at her home in the Highlands. One by one, her three children came downstairs to where she was labouring in a birthing pool surrounded by fairy lights, the curtains tightly shut against the outside world.

Suddenly, she felt an urge to get out of the pool. “I stood up and it felt as if the weight of the universe crashed from my head to my toes.” Her waters broke – “all over the carpet, which wasn’t ideal” – and the baby started to crown. “Everyone was there, including both grandmothers on video call,” she says. “Once the baby was out, my eight-year-old son came over and said, ‘I’m so proud of you.’ And that was everything.”

Continue reading...

The Guardian view on a rape crisis: failing victims and society

Fri, 12/04/2020 - 08:30

Only a tiny fraction of reported rapes lead to a charge, let alone a court case. It’s time to overhaul this broken system

It is not news that the system for investigating and prosecuting the crimes of rape and sexual assault in England and Wales is broken. Concerns about the large number of these offences that go unreported, and the low rate of convictions, date back decades and have long formed part of wider feminist critiques of the justice system. But the position with regard to rape prosecutions has, rather than improving, recently grown markedly worse. While the number of rapes reported to police almost tripled between 2014 and 2018 – an extraordinary statistic that deserves more attention than it has received – the proportion of such reports leading to criminal convictions has plummeted.

In 2019, 55,259 rapes were reported to police in England and Wales; the same year saw 702 rape convictions. Currently, there is around a one in 70 chance that a complaint of rape will result in even a charge, let alone a prison sentence. Little wonder that a report by an alliance of women’s groups, published earlier this week in the hope of influencing a government-commissioned review that is due to be released shortly, describes the situation as an “unprecedented crisis” in which these crimes have been effectively decriminalised.

Continue reading...

Calls to investigate possible link between menopause and Covid risk

Fri, 12/04/2020 - 02:20

Some evidence suggests falling oestrogen levels could make older women more vulnerable

A possible link between the menopause and Covid-19 needs to be investigated, researchers have said, with some evidence suggesting that falling oestrogen levels could leave older women at increased risk from the disease.

Men are at greater risk of severe Covid, and dying of the disease, than women but recent research has suggested that in women, infections and long-lasting symptoms might be more common among those who have gone through the menopause.

Continue reading...

In these days of scrolling and outrage, have we lost our ability to discuss art? | Sam Byers

Fri, 12/04/2020 - 02:00

The outcry over the statue to Mary Wollstonecraft should not be dismissed as mere noise by either lovers of art or its creators

Three weeks ago – ancient history in the opinion cycle – Maggi Hambling’s sculpture for Mary Wollstonecraft was unveiled on Newington Green in north London. I say “unveiled”, but it was really more a question of the sculpture being set loose.

First it was photographed in truncated, misleading closeup, then it was exposed, via news sites and social media, to the glare of fevered and largely hostile public opinion. Even with clarification that the naked figure atop a gout of primordial matter was not, in fact, Wollstonecraft herself, but an “everywoman”, few found this attempt to redress the entrenched misogyny of public art and memorial successful. Why did this everywoman need to be naked? And even if she had to be naked, why did she need to be so toned? Was this how we wanted to memorialise a foundational feminist thinker, with yet another idealised and inexplicably denuded female body?

Continue reading...