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Updated: 5 hours 33 min ago

Women without children: ‘I don’t want to be pitied – I’m really happy'

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 19:00

Some have chosen not to have a baby, others can’t, or have lost them: five women talk frankly about being childfree

I grew up in a single-parent family: my mother raised four girls on her own. I watched her struggle and from an early age I knew I didn’t want to do that. I’ve faced hostility for not having children – I’ve been called a barren freak and even had people tell me that I’ll never understand what love is until I have a child.

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It shouldn’t be left to women to fight alone for abortion rights | Gaby Hinsliff

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 19:00

Pro-choice men should have the guts to campaign against the rolling back of laws that benefit both sexes

No woman can be free who does not control her own body. That’s been the pro-choice mantra down the ages, no less true now than it ever was, and from it flows the equally fierce conviction that men should keep their noses out of reproductive rights. If it isn’t your womb, your life, on the line here, then what right do you have to interfere in a grown adult’s decision? No wonder that powerful image of the 25 male politicians who collectively approved Alabama’s cruel new ban on terminations beyond six weeks, struck such a chord. The sight of old men desperately clawing back their lost power over women’s lives still triggers a deep, visceral fear. Six weeks! That’s barely a missed period, a time when many women won’t even have realised they’re pregnant.

Related: Trump takes war on abortion worldwide as policy cuts off funds

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Missouri lawmakers approve extreme eight-week abortion ban

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 16:35

The legislation, which is expected to be signed by the governor, echoes even tighter restrictions passed by Alabama this week

Missouri lawmakers on Friday approved legislation to ban abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy, becoming the latest state to put severe restrictions on the procedure.

The legislation passed the Republican-led state house of representatives on Friday afternoon after being approved by the senate early on Thursday, and now heads to the desk of Missouri’s Republican governor, Mike Parson. Parson is expected to sign it.

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West Point set to see record number of black women graduate

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 05:15

Class of 2019 will include 34 female African America graduates, the largest in the military academy’s history, and 19 Hispanic women

The US Military Academy at West Point is set to see a record number of black women graduate this spring. The group of 34 female African American graduates is the largest in history according to the prestigious military academy, following last year’s 27.

The class of 2019 will also include 19 Hispanic women, the largest number so far.

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Romance novelists pledge to confront abortion 'taboo' after Alabama ban

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 04:29

State senate’s near-total abortion ban prompts demand for genre to treat issue as ‘a normal part of life, not a moral lesson’

Dip into the fast-moving world of romantic fiction and it quickly becomes clear that very few of the fictional couples enjoying mind-blowing sex have any idea how to use a condom. The number of novels that use an unplanned pregnancy as a major plot point is almost as staggering as the sex they contain.

Take The Greek’s Pregnant Cinderella, in which a hotel maid is “utterly pleasured” by a Greek tycoon but “discovers her midnight mischief had nine-month consequences!” Or Her Forgotten Lover’s Heir, where “brooding Pietro Agosti is stunned when his sizzling fling with vibrant teacher Molly Armstrong results in her pregnancy”. Was it really that much of a surprise?

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In Northern Ireland, our hearts break for Alabama: we know about abortion bans | Elizabeth Nelson

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 03:18
The criminalisation of women held to ransom by political deal-making must be resisted. In our society, abortion is freedom

It feels like a lifetime ago since 25 May 2018. In many ways it was, because that day – when the Republic of Ireland voted to repeal the eighth amendment of its constitution, which outlawed abortion in virtually every circumstance – was a unique step forward for abortion rights in a world where they are rapidly being dismantled.

While the legislation brought in after the Irish referendum is imperfect, the overall success of the repeal movement against so many obstacles gave campaigners across the world an incredible sense of hope. But one year on, global abortion rights are under increasing threat, and that moment in May 2018 feels like an exception, instead of a promise of what was to come.

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The clubs aiming to break the mould for self-employed women

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 01:52

Co-working spaces, immensely popular across the US, are now opening their doors in London

When 32-year-old Kylie Griffiths wants to unwind, she heads to the sea. The Londoner loves the city she grew up in, but she feels it can quickly become claustrophobic. She turned to surfing in her late 20s to get away from it all, and soon other women were reaching out to join her on her trips to the beach. “It was the only time I felt like I wasn’t in my phone and was fully in the moment,” Griffith said. “You’re something so small in something so great.”

Griffiths would go on to found London Girls Surf Club, which encourages landlocked city women to escape the concrete and submerge themselves in the sea. It is one of many clubs for women to have flourished in London and across the UK in recent years.

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Brexit party candidate's book favoured benefit cuts for single mothers

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 19:00

James Bartholomew also criticised culture of majority-black US cities in 1993 article

A candidate for Nigel Farage’s Brexit party in the European elections described majority-black inner cities as being dominated by “a culture of physical violence, selfishness and predatory sex”, it has emerged.

James Bartholomew, a journalist and author who is standing in the south-east region, called black neighbourhoods of US inner cities “a Lord of the Flies culture” where “uncontrolled male adolescent values” are the norm.

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Missouri set to pass eight-week abortion ban following senate vote

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 07:47

Bill needs another vote of approval in Republican-led House before it can go to the governor, who voiced support for an earlier version

Missouri’s Republican-led Senate has passed a wide-ranging bill to ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy, acting only hours after Alabama’s governor signed a near-total abortion ban into law.

The Missouri bill needs another vote of approval in the Republican-led House before it can go to Mike Parson, the Republican governor who voiced support for an earlier version Wednesday.

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Alabama’s abortion ban is about keeping poor women down | Emma Brockes

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 04:49
For the 25 white, male state senators voting for it, this is not about the foetus but about maintaining the social order

A lot of good points were made about the inconsistencies and hypocrisies of Alabama’s 25 white male lawmakers who passed the anti-abortion bill in the state senate this week. It was pointed out that Republicans in favour of banning abortion are by and large against banning guns because, by their own logic, “banning things doesn’t work”.

It was observed that the “life” of a six-week-old bunch of cells is precious to these men, but the life of a child born to a mother of no means, in a state that voted to repeal Obamacare – that notional kid, not so much. And while the point was made that no one who has watched a woman struggle through labour could, in good conscience, criminalise her disinclination to do so, these arguments seemed to me bizarre, premised on the notion that the men in Alabama were acting in good faith; that they had the health of anyone but themselves in mind.

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‘I want to tilt the lens’ – Sinéad Burke's fight to make fashion more diverse

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 22:59

She has accosted Anna Wintour, been hired by Vogue and has a custom Burberry wardrobe made especially for her small stature. Meet the woman who insists design should be for everyone

One of the rumours that swirls around the disabled activist, advocate, educator, Vogue contributing editor and lifelong fashion-obsessive Sinéad Burke is that she has a complete Burberry wardrobe. Not a collection tailor-made for her, but clothes personally selected off the rack by Burke and then customised for her 3ft 5in (1.04 metre) frame. It turns out that the truth is even better than the gossip. “I’m very fortunate to have a wardrobe full of beautiful, well-made clothes,” she says. “Not just from Burberry, but Gucci, Prada, Ferragamo, Christopher Kane … As a teenager I’m not sure I could even have visualised it.”

As the eldest of five children, she grew up “envious of my sisters, who were average height. They had access to what I saw as the entirety of the fashion industry, even though they had far less interest than I did.” And now? “They look at my wardrobe and are like: ‘Would that fit me?’” She laughs.

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'We're in the fight of our lives': Alabama abortion law spurs lawsuits and protests

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 12:25

Women’s health advocates and Democratic leaders vow to fight the measure and the conservative-led effort to challenge abortion rights nationwide

The fight to prevent Alabama from implementing a near-total ban on abortion is set to rage for months after the state senate made it a crime to perform the procedure at any stage of pregnancy on Tuesday night.

The abortion legislation, the strictest of its kind in the country, is one of several recent abortion restrictions enacted at the state level designed as a direct challenge to Roe v Wade, the supreme court ruling that legalized abortion across the US four and a half decades ago.

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Susan Sontag is just the latest woman known to have had her work stolen by a man

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 06:51

Women are increasingly taking control of their narratives, but we will need a lot more books and films to right all the wrongs

Behind every great man is a great woman – as being beside him may betray his painful mediocrity, the truer saying would go. Now, a new biography of Susan Sontag claims she was the brains behind her first husband Philip Rieff’s most famous book, Freud: The Mind of the Moralist. She has long been known as its unofficial co-author, but the biography says textual and anecdotal evidence shows a then twentysomething Sontag is likely to have been its creator.

It is depressing, but it is hardly surprising. The crediting of the work of female scientists to men is so common it has its own name – the Matilda effect – but the phenomenon is prominent in most areas. For years, women’s contributions have been made invisible, or demoted to that intangible role of “inspiration”. Marianne Faithfull played the part of Mick Jagger’s muse publicly for years, but was, in fact, his collaborator: she was only given a credit for the song Sister Morphine almost 30 years after the song was released. Yoko Ono had to wait 46 years to be considered for a credit on John Lennon’s 1971 hit Imagine. Artist Jean Cooke, wife to the more established painter John Bratby, was pressured to stop signing off her paintings with her full name in favour of simply “Cooke” because, according to her obituary in the Times, Bratby “feared and resented the competition she offered to his reputation”.

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Cannes festival in row after director and baby blocked from Palais entry

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 05:00

British film-maker claims she was denied access to Marché du Film, then told to pay fee for baby and wait two days for it to be processed

The Cannes film festival has been criticised for its treatment of mothers and babies after a female director claimed she and her child were prevented from entering the festival site.

British director Greta Bellamacina, whose film Hurt By Paradise is screening in the market section of the festival, said the festival had displayed an “outrageous” attitude after she attempted to enter the festival with her four-month son.

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Abortion law 'harsher in Northern Ireland than in Alabama'

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 03:03

Campaigners say women can face jail sentences up to life in UK owing to 1861 legislation

Alabama’s near total ban on abortion mirrors the situation in one corner of the UK: Northern Ireland.

But pro-choice campaigners in the region say Northern Irish anti-abortion laws are actually stricter than the legislation Republican senators have introduced in the southern US state.

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Female authors listed on just 30% of recent UK academic research

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 01:00

Progress rate ‘disheartening’, says expert as 2014-17 figure is small improvement on 2006-09

Women are listed as authors of just 30% of academic research from British universities, according to a major new ranking of higher education institutions.

Although the number of women named as authors is gradually increasing, the slow pace was described by one expert as “disheartening”. The 30% figure is for studies published between 2014 and 2017, which is an improvement from an average of just under 26% between 2006 and 2009.

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Could abortion become illegal in America? All signs point to yes | B Jessie Hill

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 16:41

America is facing a full-frontal attack on Roe v Wade. There is no guarantee that the supreme court will protect the right to terminate a pregnancy

On Tuesday night, the Republican-controlled state senate in Alabama voted to effectively ban abortion at every stage of a pregnancy, including in cases of rape or incest. The legislation would ensure that doctors who perform abortions could face up to 99 years in prison.

The measure is just the latest in a spate of anti-choice legislation that has recently been passed in the United States. Last week, Georgia became the fourth state to pass a so-called “heartbeat” abortion ban in 2019. (Two other states – Iowa and North Dakota – passed similar laws in prior years.) These laws – the Center for Reproductive Rights calls them “bafflingly” unconstitutional – are designed to be full-frontal attacks on Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 US supreme court case recognizing the fundamental constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.

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Which states are seeking to make abortion illegal and who is behind it?

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 10:22

Alabama will debate the most restrictive abortion ban in the US as more than a dozen states this year tried to outlaw the procedure

Alabama lawmakers on Tuesday are expected to debate the most restrictive abortion ban in the nation, which, if passed, would outlaw abortion from the point of conception with exceptions only if the woman’s life is seriously at risk.

The law is one example of a severe clampdown on women’s reproductive rights spreading across Republican-led states. The White House has stoked anti-abortion campaigners’ fervor, with conservative court nominations and a litany of bureaucratic changes restricting reproductive freedom and related funding.

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Cannes 2019: jury speaks out against 'rage and anger' of populist politicians

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 06:04

Jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu takes aim at Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policies

A familiar trio of topics – Netflix, gender disparity and Donald Trump – were on the agenda as the this year’s Cannes film festival got under way.

At the press conference introducing this year’s festival jury, its president, Birdman and The Revenant director Alejandro González Iñárritu, took aim at Trump and offered support to theatre chains battling the dominance of the streaming service. Another jury member, Happy as Lazzaro director Alice Rohrwacher, criticised the film industry for failing to promote female film-makers.

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A sex strike is not enough: women need to down tools completely | Suzanne Moore

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 06:31

The idea proposed last week by Alyssa Milano won’t cut it. To assert their worth, women should refuse to fulfil the unpaid labour expected by society

Sex is the very least of our concerns, the last thing that has to be crossed off the to-do list. Or so I have heard from harassed women in the school playground. Yet sex is the very meaning of life, the cement that glues together every relationship, half our culture also tells us, while the remainder portrays women as a series of orifices to be penetrated.

Perhaps sex is all and none of these things. When people write to experts asking for help, their problems inevitably boil down to: “I want more or less sex, or of a different kind, or with a different person from the one I am currently having sex with.”

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