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: 15 hours 19 min ago

Parr’s makeup ad for Gucci has a brush with controversy

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 23:08

The shoot, featuring musician Dani Miller in mascara, has reignited debate about realistic standards of beauty

One is famed for warts-and-all realism, the other for high-end gloss, so there was always going to be something spectacular in the offing when British photographer Martin Parr was asked to shoot a make-up advertising campaign for the Italian fashion house Gucci.

The imagery – for the brand’s new L’Obscur mascara – features New York punk musician Dani Miller and her now-famous gap-toothed smile. With lashings of heavy black mascara, natural eyebrows (complete with, shock horror, regrowth), and minimal foundation, it has divided customers and started yet another debate about diversity, even in these times of increased body positivity.

Continue reading...

I loved appearing on University Challenge. Then I looked at Twitter…

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 21:51

There are few women on the show, and after receiving a torrent of abuse on social media, Lucy Clarke (Jesus, Oxford) isn’t surprised

After my team’s latest episode of University Challenge, I idly scrolled through Twitter. It was much as ever: old men telling me to wipe my nose (I have a septum piercing), some praise, and the usual criticism: “What a mess, did she get dressed in the dark”; “She deserved to mess that up after her poncey Kraftwerk pronunciation”. So far, so much as we’d been warned. But then came the real doozy. A man whose bio proclaimed him to be “grandad of six … married to my lovely teacher wife”, had tweeted: “All these knobs on here saying they got [a question on] massive attack along with everyone else, what other question have you answered ? Plus I’ll guess Clarke sucks like a fucking Dyson.”

I stared at it for a long time, trying to understand the bizarre conjunction of defending me and matter-of-fact sexual objectification.

Continue reading...

For some people, social distancing means being trapped indoors with an abuser | Arwa Mahdawi

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 03:00

As more cities go under lockdown, activists are worried that attempts to curb coronavirus will inadvertently lead to an increase in domestic violence

Sign up for the Week in Patriarchy, a newsletter​ on feminism and sexism sent every Saturday.

Continue reading...

Rising numbers of UK mothers falling into long-term debt – report

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 00:12

Precarious employment and pension age increase among causes, say researchers

Precarious employment, low pay, the increased pension age and real-term reductions in welfare benefits are causing increasing numbers of mothers to fall into long-term debt, according to research based on figures from the Office for National Statistics and in-depth interviews.

The research, titled Mothers in Debt – Shame, Abuse and Resilience, by researchers at the University of Manchester, found that separated or divorced mothers aged 55 and over were more likely to have significantly worse financial problems than fathers of the same age.

Continue reading...

India executes four men convicted of 2012 Delhi bus rape and murder

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 15:02

Four found guilty of attack that shocked the world were hanged in capital on Friday morning

India has executed the four men who were convicted of the brutal gang rape and murder of a young woman on bus in Delhi in 2012, a case which shocked the world and brought India’s problem with sexual violence against women into the spotlight.

Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh had been found guilty in a 2013 trial and sentenced to death by hanging, but their execution had been postponed multiple times due to Supreme Court appeals.

Continue reading...

This week we have brought New Zealand's abortion laws into the 21st century | Andrew Little

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 13:56

Seeking an abortion was a crime until now, but new legislation has removed the stigma and given women a choice

New Zealand’s current abortion laws are more than 40 years old and were enacted when there were more MPs in Parliament named Bill than MPs who were female. This week we brought the laws into the 21st century.

Up to now, women seeking an abortion in New Zealand were committing a crime under our main criminal statute but had a defence if they followed the requirements of the abortion legislation. These requirements included the woman being referred by their doctor to two specialists who each had to certify she faces a serious danger to her life or physical or mental health. Other conditions also applied, such as whether the pregnancy was a result of incest or the woman lacked capacity to consent. For abortions after 20 weeks, conditions were more stringent.

Continue reading...

Older people widely demonised in UK, ageism report finds

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 01:01

Older members of society mostly seen as incompetent, hostile or a burden, says report

The UK’s ageist attitudes have been revealed in a report that shows older people are widely mocked, patronised and demonised by the rest of society.

Older people are mostly seen as incompetent, hostile or a burden on others, according to a review of the evidence that found they are subject to a litany of damaging stereotypes.

Continue reading...

It's time to embrace the internet's perma-positive brigade

Wed, 03/18/2020 - 08:16

Instagram’s relentless optimism and promises of silver linings are giving me unexpected comfort when I’m distinctly lacking my own

The ramifications of the coronavirus outbreak are still unfolding, changing how we work, interact and, for me at least, use social media. Self-isolation means that most of us are using our phones even more than usual. It was already a great deal, with the average Brit checking their phone about every 12 minutes of the waking day. A digital detox is probably more necessary than ever during this period and yet also less feasible.

Over the past few days, overwhelmed by rolling news coverage and conspiracy theories, I’ve only managed to survive online by frequenting the “sunny side up” social media channels that are so often the subject of ridicule.

Continue reading...

Beaten, raped and forced to work: why I'm exposing the scandal of Nigeria’s house girls

Tue, 03/17/2020 - 07:43

Mariam and Edna were just two of millions of children trapped in domestic slavery. Their tragic stories inspired me to write a novel targeting a practice that is rife in the country

One day, when my daughter was eight, I asked her to help me unload the dishwasher. She moaned, dragged her feet and pleaded for Haribo in exchange for this simple task. I asked her if she knew how lucky she was and told her that, in many homes in Nigeria, girls as young as her were forced to do chores all day, every day. They were not allowed to go to school, or eat at the table, or watch TV. She was amazed. Looking into her face, the horror of what was considered so normal during my childhood really hit me. It was child slavery – and it continues today. It was for these forgotten girls, trapped in domestic slavery, that I wrote my debut novel, The Girl With the Louding Voice.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the number of working children under the age of 14 in Nigeria is estimated to be as high as 15 million, but due to the nature of the problem it is almost impossible to land on an accurate number. A large proportion of these children are young girls, who work as “house girls”: domestic servants who are often underage and forced against their will into this kind of work. Many of them never see their “wages”, as they are paid directly to agents or family members.

Continue reading...

Joe Biden's pledge to pick a female vice-president smells like tokenism | Arwa Mahdawi

Tue, 03/17/2020 - 05:00

Of course I want him to choose a woman as his running mate. But his grand gesture feels more like pandering than policy

Stacey Abrams? Kamala Harris? Elizabeth Warren? Nobody knows for sure whom Joe Biden will choose as a running mate if – as is almost certain – he wins the Democratic nomination, but we do know it will be a woman.

“I’ll pick a woman to be vice-president,” Biden promised during Sunday’s presidential debate with Bernie Sanders. “There are a number of women qualified to be president tomorrow.” While none of those eminently qualified women will be president any time soon, one lucky lady may have the privilege of playing second fiddle to a gaffe-prone white guy. To cement his position as intersectional male feminist of the year, Biden also promised to appoint an African American woman to the supreme court.

Continue reading...

Secret policy change by CPS cut number of rape trials, high court told

Tue, 03/17/2020 - 03:14

Application on behalf of women’s group follows concern over fall in number of charges

A legal challenge over alleged changes to Crown Prosecution Service policy on bringing charges in rape cases has been dismissed by the high court.

The judges, Dame Victoria Sharp, president of the Queen’s Bench Division, and Lord Justice Singh, denied permission for the case to proceed to a full hearing on Tuesday.

Continue reading...

Kenya split over campaign to give women the right to safe abortions

Mon, 03/16/2020 - 22:00

MP Esther Passaris says lives are being put at risk in a country where 40% of pregnancies are unplanned

The pills arrived with no instructions. Delivered on a Sunday to Joy’s home in Kayole, an informal settlement in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, by someone she didn’t know.

She had ordered them because she was pregnant, and didn’t want to be. At 19, she said, she couldn’t support a baby, and the father had stopped answering his phone after she told him. Desperate, she had asked an older friend, who said she knew someone who could help.

Continue reading...

Sunday with Sophie Walker: ‘I run to clear my head’

Sat, 03/14/2020 - 20:45

The activist on art and the joy of jogging

What time are you up? Having worked for 20 years at Reuters doing breaking news you become an early bird – a junkie for knowing what’s going on. But on Sunday I sleep until 8am. Over breakfast we have a (not always entirely democratic) vote with the kids to decide what we’ll do with our day.

Do you work? I’m at the Young Women’s Trust Monday to Friday, but at the weekend I work on Activate, a project to get women community activists elected. I try to take days off when I can. I’m fighting my own eternal battle to just be with my family.

Continue reading...

The real-life heroes of Misbehaviour inspired my feminism | Julie Bindel

Fri, 03/13/2020 - 22:00

Activists are increasingly operating in the online space but this film is a timely reminder of the power of public protest

When I first encountered feminism, in 1979, aged 17, there was one story I heard about over and over from the activists I was hanging out with: the direct action that disrupted the 1970 Miss World competition, in front of a live audience of 100 million TV viewers worldwide, 20 million of them in Britain. Several women had dressed up and bought tickets to the televised event at the Royal Albert Hall in London and, at the height of proceedings, threw flour bombs and shook loud rattles, leading to the programme being taken off air and sending the host, the US comedian Bob Hope, scuttling backstage. The massive success of that action taught me that huge change can come from women being inventive and brave.

At a screening of the film Misbehaviour, based on that protest, I was honoured to sit next to a couple of elderly women who had taken part in the protest. I thanked them for setting an example of proper feminism for future generations, and they told me they have been heartened by what looks like a resurgence of public feminist protest.

Continue reading...

Swedish midwives who oppose abortion fail in rights case

Fri, 03/13/2020 - 05:51

Women argued that being denied employment breached their rights to freedom of religion and conscience

Two nurses denied midwife jobs as midwives for refusing to carry out abortions have lost their legal bid to take Sweden to a top European court for violating their religious beliefs.

Ellinor Grimmark and Linda Steen had told the European court of human rights (ECHR) that being denied employment due to their beliefs against abortion was an illegal breach of their rights to freedom of religion and conscience.

Continue reading...

Universities traumatise student student sexual misconduct survivors by mishandling cases | Anna Bull and Tiffany Page

Thu, 03/12/2020 - 21:00

It’s time for universities to overhaul their sexual misconduct complaints processes to protect their students

Sexual harassment complaints processes in universities are a feminist issue. Our research has shown that these processes systematically place (mainly female) survivors of sexual misconduct at a disadvantage compared to those (mainly men) accused of sexual misconduct.

Why? Because in staff-student sexual misconduct complaints, students are silenced. They have no right to see evidence submitted against them, to attend a hearing into their complaint, to know the full outcome or to appeal it. Universities have even been known to reach confidential settlements with staff members without the student having any input.

Continue reading...