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Revealed: women's fertility app is funded by anti-abortion campaigners

Wed, 05/29/2019 - 20:00

The Femm app has users in the US, EU and Africa and sows doubt over the safety of birth control, a Guardian investigation has found

A popular women’s health and fertility app sows doubt about birth control, features claims from medical advisers who are not licensed to practice in the US, and is funded and led by anti-abortion, anti-gay Catholic campaigners, a Guardian investigation has found.

The Femm app, which collects personal information about sex and menstruation from users, has been downloaded more than 400,000 times since its launch in 2015, according to developers. It has users in the US, the EU, Africa and Latin America, its operating company claims.

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Disney CEO: abortion law would make it difficult to keep filming in Georgia

Wed, 05/29/2019 - 16:17

Bob Iger said many who work for Disney would not want to work there if the strict law, which bans abortion as early as six weeks, was in effect

The chief executive of the Walt Disney Company said Georgia’s new strict abortion law would make it “very difficult” for the media company to keep filming in the state.

Walt Disney Co chief executive Bob Iger told Reuters on Wednesday that the law would cause many people to not want to work in the state if it were to go in effect.

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Louisiana is latest to pass six-week abortion ban

Wed, 05/29/2019 - 13:01

In a 79-23 vote, Louisiana house passed bill that would prohibit the procedure before some women even know they are pregnant

Louisiana lawmakers on Wednesday passed a strict new abortion ban that would prohibit the procedure before some women even know they are pregnant, joining a half-dozen conservative states with similar measures.

In a 79-23 vote, the Louisiana house gave final passage to a bill barring abortion beyond the sixth week of pregnancy. The law is described inaccurately by its supporters as banning abortion after a “fetal heartbeat” is detected, but experts have pointed out that this terminology is wrong on both accounts.

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The BBC ripped off my Slay in Your Lane slogan – now I’m being attacked | Yomi Adegoke

Wed, 05/29/2019 - 04:55

The phrase, which my co-author and I trademarked in 2018, is the title of our book about uplifting black women. When I called out an all-white team at the BBC for using it on a billboard, I was shocked at the reaction

In 2015, my best friend, Elizabeth Uviebinené, sent me a picture of Solange Knowles at Paris fashion week, basking in the pre-release glow of a seminal album and coming into her own after years under the moniker “Beyoncé’s little sister”. Elizabeth captioned it “Slay in Your Lane”. I rang her to say it would be the name of the book we were going to write – a guide to life aimed at black British women, featuring advice from trailblazing interviewees.

We hadn’t come across the phrase elsewhere and thought it was clever, so in 2018 we trademarked it. The BBC thought it was clever, too: last week, our readers began to notify us of billboards they had seen emblazoned with the slogan. Most who contacted us assumed, since it used a bold font like the one on the cover of our book and was fronted by Dina Asher-Smith, a successful black British sprinter, that there was some affiliation or that we were at least aware of the BBC’s use of the slogan for its campaign. We weren’t, and immediately made contact with the BBC. We received no response for four days.

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How Joe Hildebrand made the murder of a woman about his feelings | Van Badham

Tue, 05/28/2019 - 20:26

Either we can truthfully have the conversation about how we work together to transform the social understanding of gender roles or – do what, exactly?

Commentator Joe Hildebrand informed me this morning that one of my Twitter followers is a murderer.

He can’t tell me which one, of course. He’s speaking statistically, not to me direct, in a comment piece he published to justify the remarks he made on Studio 10 earlier this week.

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Next time you have a meeting dominated by men, consider how it is affecting homelessness | Ben Burge and Catharine Lumby

Tue, 05/28/2019 - 08:00

We need to recognise our contribution to economic and social factors that render many women less financially self-sufficient than men

There’s a wonderful New Yorker cartoon that shows a woman seated at a conference table with five men. The man chairing the committee says: “That’s an excellent suggestion, Ms Smith. Perhaps one of the men here would like to make it.”

When we think about gendered bias in workplaces we naturally focus on what happens to women at work. But it’s equally important to understand how discrimination affects women in daily lives and well into their futures.

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Supreme court upholds Indiana abortion law but avoids broader issue

Tue, 05/28/2019 - 06:17

Court is splitting 7-2 on fetal remains measure but staying out of debate over limits on a woman’s right to an abortion

The US supreme court is upholding an Indiana law that requires abortion providers to dispose of aborted embryos and fetuses in the same way as human remains. But the justices are staying out of the debate over a broader provision that would prevent a woman in Indiana from having an abortion based on gender, race or disability.

The court is splitting 7-2 in allowing Indiana to enforce the fetal remains measure that had been blocked by a federal appeals court.

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The stigma over periods won’t end until boys learn about them too | Amika George

Tue, 05/28/2019 - 00:40
One in five young women in the UK has experienced bullying about periods. Boys must be taught menstruation is not taboo

My friend Ben told me how, in a house of three boys, his mum would stealthily hide her box of tampons to avoid questioning from her sons. Other male friends remember being separated from the girls in their class to be taught sex education, or being left in complete bewilderment when the “time of the month” or “PMS” was mentioned in teenage conversation. A male friend at university told me: “The thing is with periods, you don’t even know what you don’t know.” The world of menstruation is often a mystery to those who haven’t experienced it. A big, red secret that half the world’s population endure while the other half remain in blissful ignorance. That cultural taboo needs to change.

Related: One in five girls and young women bullied about periods – study

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One in five girls and young women bullied about periods – study

Mon, 05/27/2019 - 20:59

Two-thirds of UK girls miss classes because of periods in culture of ‘stigma and shame’

One in five girls and young women in the UK are teased or bullied about their periods, with many suffering in silence, according to research.

Of the 20% of 14- to 21-year-olds to tell pollsters they were targeted, nearly half (49%) said they had not spoken to anyone about the abuse. About 67% said abuse mainly happened at school, and 66% said they had missed classes because of their period.

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Access to menstrual health and hygiene is a right. Period. | Elizabeth Payne

Mon, 05/27/2019 - 18:20

Right now, 800 million girls and women are menstruating: so why is it still ‘secret women’s business’?

That time of the month, shark week, Aunt Flow, on your rags, the flowers, period.

There are more than 69 different terms that we use globally to describe menstruation other than the word itself. We have so many code words and euphemisms because, in 2019, sadly, many of us are still uncomfortable talking openly about periods. Don’t you think it’s time we got over it?

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Marriage and children don’t always make women happy. Who knew? | Suzanne Moore

Mon, 05/27/2019 - 07:12

Should Prof Paul Dolan’s pronouncements change the way we think about life? Er …

Some of my best friends are in a subgroup: “unmarried and childless women”. Its members, according to a professor of behavioural science at the London School of Economics, are the “happiest subgroup in the population”. Paul Dolan, in a talk at the Hay festival, told the audience that the latest evidence, including longitudinal studies, shows that the markers conventionally used to measure success – marriage and children – do not correlate with happiness. Well, knock me down with a Fetherlight condom. Who knew? Except the many women who actually have quite nice lives?

We are told that marriage, usually of the heterosexual, monogamous kind, is the key to intimacy, if not ecstasy, and that it is somehow good for our health. It is good for men because their wives nag them to see the doctor and, possibly, to eat better. For women, this is not necessarily the case. Indeed, as most women have children and work, life can be pretty tough.

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The Guardian view on ‘discovering’ overlooked artists: look to the present, too | Editorial

Sun, 05/26/2019 - 07:25
It’s wonderful when artists are given the attention they deserve late in life – but there’s little cause for self-congratulation

Last week an exhibition opened at the Serpentine Gallery in London devoted to an artist whose work, hitherto unheard of by most art lovers, is receiving a glowing response from critics. This “emerging” artist, receiving her first solo show at a public institution, is 98 years old. Luchita Hurtado, who was born in Caracas, has lived a long, eventful and peripatetic life in the Dominican Republic, Chile, the USA, Mexico and Italy. She was friends with the De Koonings, Chagall, Léger and Duchamp, among others. The exhibition contains work from a career spanning the 1930s to the present.

Her third husband was a painter, Lee Mullican. As the Guardian’s critic, Adrian Searle, noted, it appears that his work “took up most of the physical and mental space” in the marriage. Though she never stopped making art, she hardly ever showed her paintings. Some are self-portraits, done without a mirror, produced in confined spaces – herself looking down on her own body. This lack of room seems an eloquent metaphor in itself. It was only by chance that she was “spotted”. The director of Mullican’s estate found paintings of hers stacked among her husband’s work.

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Dominic Raab defends calling feminists ‘obnoxious bigots’

Sun, 05/26/2019 - 03:35

The potential future PM says he does not want ‘double standards’ in equality debate

Dominic Raab has defended his claim that feminists are some of the most obnoxious bigots and that men are getting a raw deal, saying he does not want “double standards” in the debate on equality.

The former Brexit secretary, a leading candidate to be the next prime minister, was challenged on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show about his comments from 2011, when he said: “From the cradle to the grave, men are getting a raw deal. Feminists are now amongst the most obnoxious bigots.”

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Christian rightwingers warn abortion fight could spark US civil war

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 20:00

Wave of extreme bans seems to have amped up predictions of coming conflict

Prominent figures on the Christian right in the US ranging from religious magazines to authors to elected politicians have warned that the fight over abortion rights could lead to a new civil war.

Though such dire predictions are not necessarily new on the extreme right wing in the US, the passing of a wave of hardline anti-abortion laws in numerous states this year appears to have amped up the conspiracy-minded predictions that depict abortion squarely as a root cause of a coming conflict.

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My ex was charming but critical. Now I’ve lost all my confidence | Dear Mariella

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 19:00

Work out why you were so susceptible to him – and pursue only what appeals to you, says Mariella Frostrup

The dilemma I’m a woman in my early 30s and six months ago I was dumped. Our relationship was long distance, developed quickly and was the most intense of my life. He is 10 years my senior and is a unique, charismatic, charming man who makes a good impression on everyone. In private, however, he could be unkind, judgmental and emotionally distant. He could also be demanding, controlling and critical. During our relationship he pushed me to enter his world of ideas, books, films and art. If I didn’t show enough interest, he would become disappointed and irritable. He would often ask me to articulate my thoughts and tell him what I needed, but I felt put on the spot and could never seem to act decisively in those moments – including in the bedroom. Now I am suffering a crisis of confidence as I struggle to define what makes me interesting. I can’t seem to separate my own interests from his – and they all remind me of him. I was in the process of moving to his city (for career reasons as well) when he ended it. My plans have become totally destabilised and I have lost my sense of self.

Mariella replies No wonder. That’s exactly what he was programmed to do. Most women I know have one such Svengali-style relationship under their belt. My own took up most of my late 20s, so I know what you are feeling. Often it’s men that little bit older whose inability to achieve their own ambitions gives them a craving for moulding others. These characters thrive on the taste of power it offers and the distraction from their own insecurities. Mostly, such relationships occur in our 20s when we are young enough to still be searching for our true selves and impressionable enough to cede responsibility to someone who makes it very clear that we’re not up to scratch. These “role models” tend to impress upon us our own deficiencies with enough conviction that we foolishly hand over the reins to them to make better people of us.

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Men don’t have abortions. That’s no reason not to fight for women’s rights | Kenan Malik

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 19:00

Traditionally feminist arenas of campaigning for social equality are everyone’s concern

The decision by Alabama effectively to ban abortion has refocused attention in America on the issue of reproductive rights. The Alabama law is the most dramatic move in a long-running campaign by Republican states to curtail abortion rights and perhaps even overthrow Roe v Wade, the 1973 supreme court decision that legalised abortion in the US.

Inevitably, the abortion debate has come to be seen through the lens of the gender divide. It’s women who get pregnant, women who need abortions, and women who suffer when abortion rights are restricted.

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Women are happier without children or a spouse, says happiness expert

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 03:47

Behavioural scientist Paul Dolan says traditional markers of success no longer apply

We may have suspected it already, but now the science backs it up: unmarried and childless women are the happiest subgroup in the population. And they are more likely to live longer than their married and child-rearing peers, according to a leading expert in happiness.

Speaking at the Hay festival on Saturday, Paul Dolan, a professor of behavioural science at the London School of Economics, said the latest evidence showed that the traditional markers used to measure success did not correlate with happiness – particularly marriage and raising children.

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Can someone please send mushrooms to all the men’s rights activists out there? | Arwa Mahdawi

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 02:00

If Roosh V, rape-apologist and leading voice in the online ‘manosphere’, can change his ways, perhaps psychedelics can advance feminism

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

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How about the ‘pro-life’ lobby get behind these life-positive causes instead? | Hadley Freeman

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 22:00

Banning abortion isn’t the most effective place to start if you want to save lives

It’s always more fun to be on the winning side, and in the US right now there is no question that the pro-life side is – well, “killing it” seems like the wrong term, so let’s say it’s enjoying some triumphs. Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio have banned abortion from six to eight weeks into a pregnancy – before many women even know they’re pregnant – and last week, 25 men passed a law in Alabama banning nearly all abortions, including in cases of rape and incest, which was then signed by the state’s female governor, Kay Ivey. I encourage all of you to look at a photo of these men and say their names out loud: Jabo Waggoner. Garlan Gudger. Shay Shelnutt. If Martin Amis were writing a book about a bunch of woman-hating morons, he would reject these as just too on the nose.

It must be a real bummer to the smug bros (and Susan Sarandon) who insisted in the run-up to the 2016 election that there was no real difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Well, no difference to them, perhaps. But to millions of vulnerable women in the US, things are a little different. President Trump has effected a rightwing judicial wave across the US, filling the federal court system at all levels with deeply conservative judges. This includes, of course, the supreme court, with the appointments of justices Neil Gorsuch and the famously charming Brett Kavanaugh; “pro-life” law-makers are hoping to take advantage of this and overturn Roe v Wade.

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Like many women before her, Theresa May was set up to fail | Stefan Stern

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 21:00

While men like Chris Grayling manage to keep their jobs, the prime minister’s failure will confirm to macho Westminster that women just can’t cut it

You can have sympathy for the person even while you are reading out a lengthy charge sheet. This is not a plea in mitigation for the departing prime minister. Theresa May was handed a difficult task and she botched it. By her own admission, she failed. But then there is no such thing as a good Brexit, and no one can achieve one.

In a pattern familiar from senior appointments made in business and elsewhere, the step up to the top job proved a stretch too far. The qualities which seemed to have served May pretty well in her career to that point proved a weakness and a vulnerability in the highest office. Sadly, she (or her advisers) believed her own hype. May appeared to relish being labelled “a bloody difficult woman”, and saw obstinacy as a virtue – fatal at a time when flexibility and imagination were required.

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