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: 2 hours 20 min ago

Prince William's ticking off means Bafta must get serious about diversity

Mon, 02/03/2020 - 05:41

Bafta seeks to project the image of a global, inclusive institution but the reality suggests it is guided by outdated traditions and prejudices

Bafta likes to think of itself as a cut above its American counterparts, in terms of classiness at least, if not actual importance. Our world-beating film industry might have blurred into Hollywood more than we would like to admit, but I think you’ll find we Brits invented the “black tie” dress code. And the president of our esteemed institution is the second in line to the throne, no less. And we’ve got the Royal Albert Hall. Beat that, “Hollywood royalty”.

But when Bafta’s royal figurehead is giving the institution a royal ticking off, you know they’ve got problems. At Sunday’s ceremony, Prince William addressed the elephant in the hall: the overwhelming whiteness and maleness of this year’s nominees. His speech was surprisingly direct: “In 2020, and not for the first time in the last few years, we find ourselves talking again about the need to do more to ensure diversity in the sector and in the awards process – that simply cannot be right in this day and age.”

Continue reading...

Sexual harassment: Ecuador president says women tend to accuse ugly people

Mon, 02/03/2020 - 04:24
  • Lenín Moreno scrambles to apologize for remarks to investors
  • President tweets: ‘I reject violence against women in all forms!’

Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno has scrambled to apologize for comments suggesting women tend to complain about sexual harassment when it comes from ugly people.

In a speech to investors on Friday in the port city of Guayaquil, Moreno said men were under threat of being denounced for harassment and added, “at times, with harassment, they torment ugly people.

Continue reading...

FGM doctor arrested in Egypt after girl, 12, bleeds to death

Mon, 02/03/2020 - 03:30

Child had been taken by her family to have the procedure, still prevalent in the country despite new laws to combat it

A doctor has been arrested after the death of a 12-year-old girl he had performed female genital mutilation (FGM) on.

Nada Hassan Abdel-Maqsoud bled to death at a private clinic in Manfalout, close to the city of Assiut, after her parents, uncle and aunt took her for the procedure.

Continue reading...

Rates of insolvency among women over 65 rapidly increasing

Sun, 02/02/2020 - 14:01

Across all age groups insolvency rate of women overtaken men

The number of insolvencies among women aged 65 and over increased from 1,109 in 2008 to 2,082 in 2018 – an increase of 88% – according to new analysis of data from the government’s Insolvency Service.

Insolvencies jumped for every age group over the same decade but the increase was biggest in the over-65s, followed by women aged 45-54 (69%), according to the analysis by Rest Less, a jobs, volunteering and advice site for the over-50s.

Continue reading...

The menopause isn’t so scary that young women need to sign up for costly surgery | Catherine Bennett

Sat, 02/01/2020 - 21:30

The benefits of tissue harvesting to delay a supposed middle age hell are doubtful

Against a background of tasteful pastel – which signals from the off that we are in the land of discretionary spending on faulty female anatomy – the ProFaM website makes its unique bid for women’s money. Ovarian tissue storage! And not only for fertility-related reasons. Who’d want a menopause? “Will you be ready?” the website challenges. “You never know what the future holds, so freeze the biological clock and prepare for the future.”

For many women, alas, the offer will be empty. The ProFaM clockstopping technique requires young ovarian tissue and costs up to £7,000 for removal (storage and reinstatement extra). “Age 25-30 is optimal,” the doctors say. Once reinstalled, the tissue is supposed to function as “natural HRT”.

Continue reading...

Why do men get exams re-graded more than women? | Torsten Bell

Sat, 02/01/2020 - 20:30

Female candidates outperform male in the examination hall – but they’re less likely to complain about disappointing results

Men have got a problem when it comes to exam performance. It’s called women, who, across a range of countries and stages of education, are coming out on top in examination results. Clearly this hasn’t reversed millennia of patriarchy overnight, but it’s an important trend at a time when educational achievement has become more important in driving the jobs we do and the pay we earn.

Not to be outdone, it appears some men have a cunning plan to level things back up. Crucially, they’re doing so after they’ve left the exam hall. How? By doing a lot better out of the process of getting their exams re-graded. That’s the answer from new research digging into university exam results in Colorado. The research found that male university students were 18.6% more likely than female students to have their grades bumped up in a re-mark, even after accounting for differences in ability, teaching and subjects. Men, it turns out, are both more likely to request, and more willing to pay for, re-grades.

Continue reading...

Marian Keyes: ‘I used to mainline Mills & Boon’

Sat, 02/01/2020 - 04:00

The novelist, 56, on depression, nihilism, ‘chick lit’, being born an alcoholic and how she dealt with the death of her dad

My proudest achievement by far is learning to drive, aged 37. I often still marvel at myself, changing the gears with one hand. I feel very empowered and really very, very pleased with myself.

When I was two, my mother’s chip pan caught fire – and that’s how religion started for me. She’d taken down a plate from the wall that had a prayer on it; I linked the fire to us interfering with God’s word. Today, I despise organised religion – they’re all misogynistic, they’re all about keeping people terrified, controlling women. Catholicism is obsessed with people’s sex lives. Having been brought up with it, fear and shame are still my core emotions.

Continue reading...

All it takes for a woman to be reduced to an object is too much eyeliner | Arwa Mahdawi

Sat, 02/01/2020 - 04:00

A new study finds women who wear heavy makeup are perceived as less competent. Perhaps it’s time to make our own rules

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

Continue reading...

Murdered Salvadoran journalist's boyfriend given 50 years for femicide

Fri, 01/31/2020 - 10:03
  • Mario Huezo convicted of killing Karla Turcios in 2018
  • Sentence ‘sends a message’ about gender-based killing

The boyfriend of a murdered Salvadoran journalist has been found guilty of femicide and given the maximum 50-year prison sentence on Friday, a rare conviction in the deadly gender violence that often goes unpunished in the Central American nation.

Mario Huezo was convicted by a judge of killing Karla Turcios, with whom he lived and had a child with, after a nine-day trial in a court that hears gender violence cases in San Salvador.

Continue reading...

Baftas' status at stake in diversity debate, say film industry insiders

Fri, 01/31/2020 - 04:28

Challenging Hollywood by recognising more minority artists risks ‘deflating the balloon’

Changes that Bafta needs to make to ensure it is more representative could cost the event its status as the second most important film awards in the world, industry figures have said on the eve of the biggest night in the British film calendar.

This year’s buildup has been dominated by the debate over the lack of diversity for some of Bafta’s most prestigious awards, after no actors of colour were included in any of the major acting categories, and no women were nominated in the best director category.

Continue reading...

Transvaginal mesh: Johnson & Johnson fined $344m for deceptive marketing to women

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 16:04

Company ‘knew the danger of its mesh products but put profits ahead of the health of millions of women’, says California attorney general

A California judge has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay nearly $344m in penalties for deceptively marketing pelvic mesh devices for women, as the state attorney general accused the company of putting “profits ahead of the health of millions of women”.

Eddie Sturgeo, a San Diego superior court judge, ruled against the medical company in a lawsuit brought by the California department of justice in 2016. A Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman, Mindy Tinsley, said the New Jersey-based company planned to appeal the decision.

Continue reading...

We need to move on from self-care to something that cannot be captured by capitalism | Brigid Delaney

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 06:30

Rather than just seeing ourselves, we need to recognise that our health and fates are inextricably linked to our fellow human beings and find collective care

Any chance that my hope the odious phrase “self-care” would be expelled from popular use this new decade disappeared when I saw the cover of this month’s Cosmopolitan (UK) magazine.

The cover star is Lena Dunham and the strapline is “on sex, love and self-care”. That she is talking about self-care in terms of a health problem (endometriosis) that took 13 years before it was diagnosed – and left her serious health problems, a series of operations, and feeling chronically run down and low on energy – is a signal that self-care is currently a better option than the care that society currently gives us.

Continue reading...

Why women shouldn't apologise for winning awards (especially if they're Lizzo) | Yomi Adegoke

Wed, 01/29/2020 - 22:00

Displays of sisterhood are great – but when a woman suggests someone else should have won their prize, it perpetuates the sense we’re undeserving

One of my favourite things about awards season speeches is listening to a category winner wax lyrical about the runners-up. In an age that is increasingly about shouting our individual achievements from the rooftops, these moments of humility are particularly heartwarming.

When it comes to female winners, however, veneration of other nominees can verge on denigrating their own achievements. Take Billie Eilish, who this week began her album of the year acceptance speech by saying: “Can I just say that I think Ariana [Grande] deserves this?” Similarly, during the dramatic pause before the unveiling of the best pop solo performance, Lizzo was filmed crossing her fingers and furiously chanting the name of fellow nominee Beyoncé, before her own name was called.

Continue reading...

‘I feel liberated’: the women celebrating their body hair

Wed, 01/29/2020 - 07:23

For the past month, women around the world have been celebrating the joys of ditching hair-removal products as part of a campaign called Januhairy. Here, they share their stories

Things have come a long way since 1999, when the actor Julia Roberts hit headlines globally for wearing a dress that exposed her unshaven armpits. These days, Gen Z pop stars, from Amandla Stenberg to Miley Cyrus, are regularly seen with body hair. Brands are cottoning on, too. Last year, Nike and No7 ran advertisements with models showing body hair (underarms and upper lip respectively). Even the ubiquitous advert trope of a woman shaving an already shaven leg was challenged by the razor company Billie, which had marketing collateral that showed underarm, leg and pubic hair.

In real life, however, the sight of a woman in public with body hair remains rare, although norms are slowly changing (almost one in four women under 25 no longer shave their armpits, compared with just one in 20 in 2013, according to the market analyst Mintel).

Continue reading...

Climate breakdown 'is increasing violence against women'

Wed, 01/29/2020 - 03:57

Exclusive: attempts to tackle crisis fail because gender issues are not addressed, report finds

Climate breakdown and the global crisis of environmental degradation are increasing violence against women and girls, while gender-based exploitation is in turn hampering our ability to tackle the crises, a major report has concluded.

Attempts to repair environmental degradation and adapt to climate breakdown, particularly in poorer countries, are failing, and resources are being wasted because they do not take gender inequality and the effects on women and girls into account.

Continue reading...

'Wild swimming'? We used to just call it swimming | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Tue, 01/28/2020 - 22:00

Don’t get me wrong, I love outdoor bathing – but I object to its appropriation by a privileged urban elite

The romantic poets – Coleridge, Byron, Keats – loved to swim. Swimming in open water offered the opportunity to connect with nature, nourish creativity, garner spiritual inspiration and experience the sublime. Their obsession was called hydromania, and it’s back. “Wild swimming”, as it is now known, is growing in popularity across the UK. It is increasingly featured in the press and on social media, often coupled with intensely romantic language. In publishing, memoirs about swimming and its ability to heal addiction and mental health problems have become their own niche genre.

Related: ‘I launch naked into the unknown’: writers on the joy of wild swimming

Continue reading...

Shetland's Up Helly Aa festival challenged over exclusion of women

Tue, 01/28/2020 - 05:32

Campaigners put up banner of female Viking warrior warning organisers: ‘Act lest the gods should intervene!’

As the men of Shetland gathered in Lerwick early on Tuesday morning for the dramatic commencement of Up Helly Aa, Europe’s largest fire festival, they were greeted by an unexpected sight.

A banner depicting a female Viking warrior astride her horse hung down the stone pillar at the Market Cross in the town centre, with a direct challenge to the organisers of the exclusively male procession: “Have you forgotten those that bore you? Act lest the gods should intervene!”

Continue reading...

Women literally pay the price of being denied an abortion | Torsten Bell

Sat, 01/25/2020 - 20:30

As well as the emotional toll, they are much more likely to be made bankrupt or be evicted

Abortion policy is controversial in many countries, although thankfully less so in the UK. Alongside big moral arguments on both sides, most research focuses on health outcomes for mothers and children.

However, a recent paper takes a different perspective, examining instead the financial impact of women seeking abortions but being denied them. Looking at those seeking abortions in the US close to a gestation limit after which abortions are not allowed, the study considered years of detailed credit reports of two groups of women – one that had abortions because they were under the gestation limit and the other made up of women who were denied one because they were just over it.

Continue reading...

I’m almost 50 and full of regret it’s too late to have children | Dear Mariella

Sat, 01/25/2020 - 20:00

It sounds like a midlife crisis so visit your GP and focus on what you’ve achieved – not what you haven’t, says Mariella Frostrup

The dilemma I’m a 49-year-old woman. I work hard, own a home and live a fairly good life. My problem is that I can’t help but feel regretful that I never had children. I can’t quite believe this is how my life turned out. When I was younger I ached for my own child.

I have a partner currently. We don’t live together, he’s younger than I am and quite possibly the loveliest man I’ve been in a relationship with. It’s too late for me to conceive now and IVF isn’t an option as we don’t have the money. He says he doesn’t care, but he dotes on friends’ children and I fear that when he’s older he’ll feel regretful, too.

Continue reading...

When judges don’t know the meaning of rape, there is little hope of justice | Sonia Sodha

Sat, 01/25/2020 - 09:00
As we watch the Harvey Weinstein trial unfold, other horror stories emerge in our own courts

Harvey Weinstein is at last facing justice in a New York courtroom. As I hear in graphic detail the accounts of the women he allegedly raped and sexually assaulted, it’s hard to stop myself imagining what I would do if a 21-stone man suddenly reappeared naked and lunged at me after manipulating me to accompany him to his hotel room on false pretences. Scream? Fight back? Try to escape?

It’s impossible to tell unless you find yourself there. Our body’s response to acute danger is not rational: it releases a flood of hormones that trigger an automatic response over which the thinking part of our brain has little control. For decades, that response was understood as fight or flight. But that was a highly gendered understanding developed as a result of tests primarily done on men. (Women were considered too complicated as test subjects because of the hormone fluctuations associated with our menstrual cycles.)

Continue reading...