Women's News from the Web

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Men now avoid women at work – another sign we're being punished for #MeToo | Arwa Mahdawi

Wed, 08/28/2019 - 19:00

A new study has found US men appear to be following Mike Pence’s lead. Maybe they’re angry that #MeToo ever happened

It looks like Mike Pence is quite the trendsetter. The US vice-president famously refuses to have dinner alone with any woman who isn’t his wife – and now working men across corporate America appear to be following his lead.

Related: NYT columnist quits Twitter after daring critic to 'call me a bedbug to my face'

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The G7 was the final straw – world leaders’ wives should refuse to travel with their spouses

Wed, 08/28/2019 - 07:00
Over the last week, these women have been depicted as a useful way to boost their husbands’ standing, rather than as powerful people in their own right

It was Donald Tusk on Instagram that did it. Four wives of world leaders – Melania Trump, Brigitte Macron, Małgorzata Tusk and Akie Abe – dressed in a spectrum from white to cream, skirts aflap, were enjoying the sea views at Biarritz during the G7 summit. It was a delineation of the acceptable limits of women on the world stage: they look like brides and it is their backs – their backs! – that are demurely captured on film. It would have been just about bearable were it not for the European council president’s caption: “Melania, Brigitte, Małgosia and Akie – the light side of the Force.” It is a statement that says so much: these women are the summer to the winter of us men, the fragility to our strength, the light side of our force. It was the first time I wanted to leave the EU.

Maybe Tusk was having an off day. Surely, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, does not see his wife, Brigitte, as the “light side of his force”. Yet the patriarchy has many tendrils – and a much greater reach even than Tusk’s Instagram account.

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I shaved off my afro because I felt like it. That's all

Wed, 08/28/2019 - 05:49

Black women’s hair isn’t public property: but the styles we choose are too often seen as statements for others to judge

Last week, I joined a club of black British girl bosses who have decided to go bald. From the founders of Black Girl Fest – the first arts festival to celebrate black women and girls – to gal-dem magazine’s Liv Little, shaving off our hair has become the busy black woman’s equivalent of Steve Jobs wearing the same polo neck and jeans combo every day, given how long our hair can take to prep. Black women’s hair is known for its versatility (the recent viral #DMXChallenge, which saw countless video montages of black women flawlessly rocking various different styles, attests to this) – so a shaved head is easy and eliminates an overwhelming range of choice.

Since my afro was large and healthy when I shaved it off, the assumption was that something must have gone wrong: traction alopecia from the tight hairstyles black women endure is a common reason for a drastic cut. Many women do a “big chop” to be rid of hair damaged by heat and chemicals. A bad breakup is often assumed, or a quarter-life crisis (as my dad still suspects). These are all valid reasons, but mine was far less interesting – I simply decided to cut it because I thought it would suit me.

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Meg Mathews: We need to talk about the menopause as loudly as we can

Tue, 08/27/2019 - 21:00

Campaigner, who was once a fixture on the Britpop scene, had no idea what was going on when she became perimenopausal

“I consider myself a woman of the world and I didn’t know what being perimenopausal was,” says Meg Mathews, the former music PR. But since launching a blog about the menopause in 2017, she has become a prominent campaigner on the subject.

Mathews believes the subject is not discussed as much as it should be. “We need to talk about the menopause as loudly and as much as we can because we have to get past the stigma and shame our society places on the menopause,” she says. “We have to break the taboo.”

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Federal judge blocks Missouri's law banning abortions after eight weeks

Tue, 08/27/2019 - 07:54

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU sued the state last month over the law, arguing it would cause ‘significant and irreparable’ harm

A federal judge has blocked Missouri from enforcing a law banning abortion in the state after eight weeks except in cases of medical emergency.

A day before the law was set to take effect, US district judge Howard Sachs ruled that the state not enforce it, pending litigation or further order of the court, according to a court document.

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The Guardian view on the menopause at work: a healthy conversation | Editorial

Tue, 08/27/2019 - 07:34
From new employee entitlements to soap opera storylines, older women’s health needs a bigger profile

Connected as it is with ageing, it is not surprising that the menopause has a bad reputation. Even for women who have generally found their periods to be a nuisance, the cessation of the monthly cycle of egg production often comes as a shock. As well as the psychological impact of what used to euphemistically be called “the change”, the menopause brings with it symptoms for which a lot of women find themselves alarmingly unprepared – as many readers told us when we invited them to share their stories.

These symptoms include the heavy or irregular bleeding that often precedes the cessation of menstruation, hot flushes and night sweats, an increased risk of osteoporosis (brittle bones), disrupted sleep, anxiety, vaginal dryness and reduced sex drive. Given all this, and the fact that millions of women are going through the menopause at any one time (around 1 million women in the UK take hormone replacement therapy, although four in five do not medicate), it is remarkable the extent to which the taboo surrounding the menopause remains untouched. Even as other aspects of female reproductive health have become more widely discussed, the menopause has been stuck on the shelf.

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Mexico's 'glitter revolution' targets violence against women

Mon, 08/26/2019 - 02:36

Protests called in response to alleged rape of girl by police officers aim for change in a country where 10 women are murdered every day

Sandra Aguilar-Gomez remembers an atmosphere of camaraderie and celebration when thousands of Mexican women took to the streets for the “violet spring” protests of 2016.

Three years later and the demonstrators are back to demand an end to violence against women – but this time the mood has soured.

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Menopause experts say compounded HRT is unsafe

Mon, 08/26/2019 - 01:00

Women told not to use cBHRT because of concerns over ‘purity, potency and safety’

Women are being warned not to use a form of hormone replacement therapy marketed as being “more natural” than that available from NHS doctors, with experts saying it is unsafe, expensive and could increase the risk of developing cancer.

Compounded bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (cBHRT) is tailor-made for each person, using hormones identical to those produced in a woman’s body. The hormone combinations are put together, usually as creams or gels, by pharmacists working in private clinics. The dose of the different hormones used varies from one woman to the next.

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Sexist attitudes towards sex are cheating women of orgasms – and worse | Rebecca Hitchen

Mon, 08/26/2019 - 00:30
The myth that women just ‘go along’ with sex denies their right to pleasure and makes it harder to convict men who rape

We may like to think we’re quite sexually free and equal these days, but an End Violence Against Women Coalition/YouGov survey of nearly 4,000 adults finds that two-fifths of people think men want sex more than women do. And between a third of and half of us think it is more likely that in heterosexual couples men will initiate and orgasm during sex, and decide when sex is finished, than women. In contrast, women are believed to be much more likely to refuse sex and to “go along with sex to keep their partner happy”.

The 'orgasm gap' exists solely in heterosexual sex – lesbians are not having this problem

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What is the menopause and when does it strike?

Sun, 08/25/2019 - 20:00

It’s a natural part of the female life cycle – so why don’t we talk more about the menopause, its debilitating effects and possible mitigation?

The menopause is when a woman’s fertile period comes to a halt. This is generally a gradual process over months or even years, but technically the menopause is defined as when a woman has gone 12 months without a period. In the UK, the average age for this happening is 52 years, but about one in 100 women have a menopause before the age of 40.

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G7 leaders told to scrap discriminatory gender laws from statute books

Sun, 08/25/2019 - 07:59

Gender equality advisory council says states must begin enshrining equal rights in law

The G7 leaders have been told to get rid of discriminatory gender laws that still exist on their statute books and begin enshrining equal rights in the legal system.

All G7 countries, including the UK, still have discriminatory laws on their statute books or substantial loopholes that allow discrimination, the G7’s gender equality advisory council said at a key summit session attended by all leaders, including the US president, Donald Trump.

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Workplaces must protect women going through menopause, say MPs

Sun, 08/25/2019 - 05:00

Action urged as research shows the impact of symptoms on large proportion of workforce

British MPs are pushing for clear workplace policies to protect women going through the menopause, which exacts a hefty personal and professional toll on as many as one in four females.

A menopause policy should be as commonplace as maternity schemes in businesses and organisations, said the MPs, some of whom want legislation to force through the reforms.

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Insights... the high price successful working women pay | Torsten Bell

Sat, 08/24/2019 - 20:48

Research from Sweden shows that career success increases the likelihood of divorce for women but not men

The world of work isn’t one of gender equality. You may have noticed. On average, women earn 18% less than men. Partly that’s because four in 10 of them work part time compared with one in 10 for men, but there’s still a 9% pay gap even just looking at full-time workers.

Alongside any (illegal) pay discrimination, much of the gap is driven by women being underrepresented in higher-paying occupations. This isn’t about education – slightly more than half of the working-age population with a master’s degree are women but they make up just 32% of corporate managers and 21% of science and tech professionals.

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Economics will stay a man’s game while women are kept out of the equation | Yvonne Roberts

Sat, 08/24/2019 - 18:59

We should heed the Women’s Budget Group if we want a better economic future

Keep the home fires burning! After the apocalyptic vision of post-Brexit Britain revealed last week in the leak of Operation Yellowhammer, we learn that the government will spend £4m on “local resilience forums” across England (and £1.7m for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) supporting Brexit preparations for public services.

The reasonably sane response might be – what public services? Central government funding for local government will have fallen by 56% in the 10 years to 2020. Or, to put a more human face on it, 1.4 million older people are not receiving the home care they need, 155 women and 103 children are turned away by refuges every day and hundreds of libraries, youth services, Sure Starts and day centres are closing weekly.

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Age shall not weary Dorothy Byrne’s wisdom... or her sharp tongue | Vanessa Thorpe

Sat, 08/24/2019 - 08:00
Her MacTaggart lecture told some timely home truths about the media

Soulful laments for the passing of a golden age of broadcasting freedom, for a time when news editors and documentary-makers were kings, are fairly standard at the Edinburgh television festival. Back then, the newsrooms were full of smoke and dynamism. Decisions were made on the hoof, with no recourse to compliance rules nor balance guidelines.

So Dorothy Byrne’s startling MacTaggart lecture last week was a true tonic. This accomplished messenger from the past, a woman who, unusually, still has a top job in television, reminded us it was really not such fun in those frontier days. Yet she was very funny about it.

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It’s 2019 – we need to talk about why most bras are still so terrible

Sat, 08/24/2019 - 02:00

Women are walking around in bad bras because the focus is on sexiness not function – who cares if women are uncomfortable?

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

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HRT shortage leaves thousands of UK women without treatment

Fri, 08/23/2019 - 23:47

Doctors say HRT is becoming difficult to prescribe because of supply crisis

Medical experts are calling for action to resolve the national shortage of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) products used to treat menopausal symptoms.

The shortage is causing difficulties for thousands of women in the UK, medical experts have said.

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Taylor Swift: Trump thinks his presidency is an autocracy

Fri, 08/23/2019 - 02:00

Exclusive: songwriter discusses her political awakening in a Guardian interview

Taylor Swift has spoken of her disillusionment with American values in an exclusive interview with the Guardian.

The 29-year-old songwriter said she began feeling conflicted about what the US stood for when “all the dirtiest tricks in the book were used and it worked”. The Pennsylvania-born musician described the atmosphere in her home country as “gaslighting the American public into being like, ‘If you hate the president, you hate America.’”

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Too many women have pain during sex. This must not be a taboo subject | Susannah Thraves

Thu, 08/22/2019 - 23:54

It’s a common complaint, and help is available. Yet, because of isolation, fear and shame, few seek it out

Like so many, I adore Fleabag. She’s outrageous, with a sexual animalism that I love to see in female characters on-screen. With Fleabag, Phoebe Waller-Bridge fearlessly draws out female desires that women have long buried under mounds of unwarranted shame. Now that her theatre run is enthralling London, I’m reminded that we’re in a time when female sexual enjoyment is finally celebrated.

Related: Why is sex painful for some women – and what can they do?

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Australia to get its first gallery showing only female artists

Thu, 08/22/2019 - 22:59

Melbourne’s Finkelstein Gallery opens this month with exhibition featuring 10 women

In the age of viral feminist hashtags and global movements against gender discrimination, it’s perhaps surprising that it has taken until now for Australia to open its first contemporary art gallery focusing exclusively on female artists.

Finkelstein Gallery, which opens in Melbourne on 29 August, might be the first, but its founder hopes it won’t be the last. The gallery is the brainchild of the art consultant Lisa Fehily, whose 15 years of experience in the field led her to the project.

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