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UAE's gender equality awards won entirely by men

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 01:38

Emirati authorities ridiculed on social media after Gender Balance Index awards announced

Authorities in the United Arab Emirates have been ridiculed after it emerged that all of the winners of an initiative designed to foster gender equality in the workplace were men.

Certificates and medals were awarded by Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the vice-president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, in the categories of “best government entity supporting gender balance”, “best federal authority supporting gender balance” and “best gender balance initiative” at a ceremony on Sunday.

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Women still have to use their frozen eggs in 10 years – or lose them. Why?

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 23:00

The original legal time limit may have been related to technology, but that has changed now, and so should the law

Fertility experts are urging the government to dump legislation that demands women who have frozen their eggs must use them within 10 years. After this time fertility clinics are obliged to destroy the eggs, irrespective of what the woman they belong to wants – unless she has been through the egg-freezing process because her fertility is compromised, which can happen for a number of reasons.

The law at present dictates that any woman who has had her eggs frozen for “social” reasons – that is, not medically indicated (for instance, she may not have met someone she wants to have children with yet) – has a maximum of 10 years in which to use them. Before we even begin to unpack the implications of such restrictions, though, the term “social” in itself warrants our attention. Pejorative is putting it lightly.

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The Guardian view on working hours: when more means less

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 08:36
A four-day working week is a step in the right direction, but only if both men and women take it

The poet Philip Larkin, no friend of feminism, wondered why he let “the toad work / Squat on my life? … Six days of the week it soils / With its sickening poison – / Just for paying a few bills! That’s out of proportion.” Six days a week was even then rather old-fashioned: most of the industrial world had moved on to a five-day, 40-hour week by 1970, after more than a century of agitation, and there was an influential body of thought which held that further progress towards shorter working hours was inevitable as well as desirable.

What went wrong? Was the movement towards shorter working hours just part of a future that has largely disappeared, along with flying cars and world government? It hasn’t entirely vanished. In fact, it keeps reappearing: most recently with the announcement this month by the Wellcome Trust that it is going to explore the possibility of a four-day week for all employees; in France there is a 35-hour working week, but most people end up doing five hours’ poorly paid overtime anyway. The Swedish companies that investigated the possibilities of a six-hour working day earlier this century have for the most part retreated from them.

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If young women are dying of shame about their bodies, we need a rethink | Suzanne Moore

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 08:36
1970s feminists taught us to examine our anatomy, but porn has sent us spiralling back to the past

God I miss pubic hair. During a recent bonding session with my teenager, we watched Carrie together. What is shocking now about the 1976 horror movie is not just how brilliant it is, – and brilliantly short – but also that opening shower scene. All that pubic hair on the teenage girls. “Where has it all gone?” I wondered, as my daughter shifted uncomfortably in her chair.

I thought about it again reading about why so many young women are reluctant to have cervical smears. The latest statistics are alarming; the worst for 21 years. Only 71.4% of women in England who should be screened are getting tested. Between the ages of 25 and 49, women should have a smear test every three years, and currently only 69.1% do. Coverage is better for older women, with more than 76% showing up for screening. Robert Music, chief executive at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said the figures were “highly frustrating and, coupled with rising cervical cancer diagnoses, an enormous worry”. Not to put too fine a point on it, cervical cancer kills. Yet, if it is detected early, most women are fine.

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Working mothers ‘up to 40% more stressed’

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 20:00
Shortening hours reduces pressure but flexitime and home-based jobs offer no benefit, major study finds

They may have had more than a sneaking suspicion that it was the case, but now working mothers have the data to back it up: they are indeed more stressed than other people – 18% more, in fact.

And that figure rises to 40% for those with two children, according to a major study that analysed 11 key indicators of chronic stress levels.

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Who are you calling a diva? It’s just another way of damning women | Barbara Ellen

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 09:30

Why don’t men suffer from the spoilt monster tag? Double thinking, that’s why

It would seem that not only are high-profile lawsuits between celebrities and assistants becoming more common, increasingly they feature female stars. In 2013, Lady Gaga labelled her former personal assistant Jennifer O’Neill a “hood rat who is suing me for money she didn’t earn” in a case eventually settled out of court. Mariah Carey is suing Lianna Azarian for $3m, alleging that Azarian filmed her in order to blackmail her. Azarian is countersuing, alleging that Carey’s former manager, among other things, urinated on her while the singer watched (nice!). And so it goes on.

Aside from lawsuits, the general rule seems to be that, somewhere along the line, the celebrity boss gets denounced for being a diva. It’s as though, when things go wrong, the power imbalance between employer and employee is redeployed as a powerful PR weapon.

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Chloe Delevingne has cervical cancer smear test on live TV

Fri, 01/25/2019 - 08:24

Cancer charity co-founder has test on Victoria Derbyshire show in bid to combat stigma

The co-founder of a gynaecological cancer charity has had a cervical smear test on live television in a bid to combat the stigma around a health check that can potentially save thousands of lives.

Chloe Delevingne, the older sister of the models Cara and Poppy Delevingne and co-founder of the Lady Garden gynaecological cancer fund, has been campaigning to raise awareness on cervical cancer prevention after a smear test discovered abnormal cells when she was 21.

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Tories praise Queen's common ground 'Brexit speech'

Fri, 01/25/2019 - 02:17

Ministers laud monarch’s calls for respect for others that were interpreted as Brexit reference

Ministers have praised the Queen after she spoke about seeking “common ground” and “never losing sight of the bigger picture”, remarks widely interpreted as a veiled reference to the toxic debate around Brexit.

In a speech to mark the centenary of the Sandringham Women’s Institute (WI), the Queen spoke of the virtues of respecting other people’s points of view.

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Mexican woman jailed for miscarriage released after conviction is overturned

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 23:00

Dafne McPherson was accused of murdering her newborn and found guilty in July 2016, but an appeals court says evidence was flimsy

A Mexican woman who was sentenced to 16 years in jail after suffering a miscarriage in a department store bathroom has walked free after a court in the central state of Querétaro overturned her homicide conviction.

Prosecutors had accused Dafne McPherson, 29, of murdering her newborn, but an appeal court judge found that the scientific evidence used to convict her was flimsy.

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Scotland unveils plans to become world leader in gender equality

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 14:01

Proposals include offering free childcare and two months of paid paternity leave

Radical proposals intended to make Scotland a world leader in gender equality have been put forward in the first annual report from the country’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls.

The recommendations include offering two months of paid paternity leave, 50 hours of free childcare a week for all children aged between six months and five years old, and establishing a world-leading process for complainants of sexual violence.

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May proposes to extend new mothers' redundancy protection

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 09:07

Government consults on protected period lasting up to six months after return to work

New parents returning to work could receive greater protection from redundancy under government proposals.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will launch a consultation on Friday which will look at extending the legal protection against redundancy for pregnant and new mothers so it continues for up to six months after they return to work.

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Police arrest 19 people over FGM gang attacks on women in Uganda

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 03:36

Critics say police should have acted earlier on reports of forceful mutilation of more than 400 women in a month by armed groups

Sixteen men and three women have been arrested for allegedly aiding and abetting female genital mutilation (FGM) in eastern Uganda after reports of gangs attacking women in the region.

The suspects were taken into custody earlier this week after joint police and military operations in Kween district. The arrests followed local media reports of more than 400 women, some as young as 12, being mutilated by force by local gangs in the past month.

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Don't slate Kate, Duchess of Cambridge for her baby moan – she speaks for all of us | Zoe Williams

Wed, 01/23/2019 - 21:00

Rich mums get it in the neck for not knowing the burden of child-rearing, but she has always been pretty open about it

At a charity event in south London this week, the Duchess of Cambridge made an observation about parenting: “It’s so hard. You get a lot of support with the baby as a mother particularly in the early days, but after the age of one it falls away. After that there isn’t a huge amount – lots of books to read.” I wasn’t there, but I like to think she tailed off after “read …” expressing only with her eyes the unspoken wail: “I don’t want to read a sodding book about the magic of a two-year-old’s developing brain while it’s having a tantrum because its shoes are the same colour!”

The duchess has always been relatively open about motherhood, and spoken about the loneliness of it. While these are all anodyne, relatable statements, they are also incredibly courageous. If there is one thing mothers are even less allowed to do than complain, it is to have tons of money and then complain. It is the peculiar privilege of motherhood to be simultaneously idealised by society – in the sense that, if you don’t get round to it, you’re seen as deviant – and comprehensively slated for any sign that you are insufficiently appreciative. The ire always concentrates its force on the rich mother, who cannot possibly know the emotional burden of child-rearing, since she could always afford someone to “do all that stuff for her”.

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Iran arrested 7,000 dissidents in 'year of shame', says Amnesty

Wed, 01/23/2019 - 14:01

Journalists, lawyers, minority rights activists and anti-hijab protesters among those held

Iranian authorities arrested more than 7,000 dissidents last year in a sweeping crackdown that led to hundreds being jailed or flogged, at least 26 protesters being killed, and nine people dying in custody amid suspicious circumstances, according to Amnesty International.

Those rounded up during violent dispersals of peaceful protests in what Amnesty called “a year of shame for Iran” included journalists, lawyers, minority rights activists and women who protested against being forced to wear headscarves.

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Woman who defied Indian temple ban 'shunned' by family

Tue, 01/22/2019 - 22:39

Kanakadurga, 39, allegedly beaten and ousted from home for entering Sabarimala shrine

A woman who defied violent protests to worship at a centuries-old south Indian shrine that banned females of “menstruating age” has been spurned by her family, attacked by relatives and locked out of her home.

On New Year’s Day, Kanakadurga, 39, along with Bindu Ammini, became the first women to enter the inner sanctum of Kerala state’s Sabarimala temple, one of the country’s holiest Hindu sites.

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Wollombi music festival bans Wicked Camper vans over 'misogynistic' slogans

Tue, 01/22/2019 - 16:48

Organisers say ‘disrespecting and degrading women isn’t funny or libertine, it’s just disgraceful’, and they hope other festivals follow suit

Wollombi music festival in northern New South Wales has banned “pathetically unfunny and misogynistic” Wicked Camper vans from their 2019 event – the latest in a series of actions taken against the car hire company.

Wicked Camper, known for courting controversy, has a range of camper vans available across the country emblazoned with provocative graffiti and images. Since 2009, according to the Advertising Standards Bureau, more than 70 of them have been subject to complaints for messaging deemed to be offensive to women, LGBT communities and others.

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Anger in New Zealand over interview with leader of gang accused of sexually assaulting girls

Tue, 01/22/2019 - 14:03

Joseph Parker, who led ‘Roast Busters’ group that boasted of sex with underage girls, has also launched fundraiser for his music career

Women’s advocacy groups have criticised the decision to broadcast a TV interview with the ringleader of a gang that bragged about having sex with underage, intoxicated girls in New Zealand. The interview coincided with an attempt to crowdfund his music career.

Joseph Parker told Newshub he was not a “monster”, adding: “we didn’t do all the things that people thought we did.” The interview comes years after Parker became known as the ringleader of Facebook group “Roast Busters”, in which he and a core group of four other young Auckland men boasted about group sex with young, drunk girls.

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It's a false comfort to say the murder and rape of women is caused by sexism | Gay Alcorn

Tue, 01/22/2019 - 13:47

Aiia Maasarwe’s death has been used as grist for the gender culture wars, a pointless loop of generalisation, accusation and defensiveness

We don’t have to politicise every act of violence against a woman. It may relieve the anger and sadness to cry “this must stop”, or to blame the patriarchy, or to, as writer Clementine Ford did after the horrific murder of Aiia Maasarwe last week, demand men “pick a side” because “you are all implicated”.

But it doesn’t help.

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Pregnant then screwed: how gagging contracts are used to silence sacked mothers

Tue, 01/22/2019 - 01:10

They have been used to buy the silence of victims of sexual assault – but non-disclosure agreements are also being used to hide the sidelining and sacking of new mothers. It’s time we knew the extent of it

In the months since the Harvey Weinstein story broke and the #MeToo movement exploded, there has been a growing awareness of the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), in some cases, to gag victims of sexual assault, or buy their silence, preventing them from going public with their stories, or even sharing information with colleagues and acquaintances. Many people, however, remain unaware of the extensive use of such agreements to silence women who have experienced maternity discrimination.

We know that such discrimination is rife in the UK: an Equality and Human Rights Commission report estimated in 2015 that 54,000 women a year lose their jobs as a result. But the full picture may be masked by the widespread abuse of NDAs.

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A year ago I was raped. Here’s what I have learned | Anonymous

Tue, 01/22/2019 - 00:00
Since the attack I have experienced an astonishing concoction of trauma, pain and grief. Life is hard, but it goes on

On a grey autumn evening in London just over a year ago, I went out for drinks with a friend to celebrate a new job. Eight hours later I was raped by somebody I’d never met before.

My assault happened in late 2017, when the #MeToo movement was still fresh and gaining momentum every day; I felt lucky for this. (Lucky in the way you might feel if you’d escaped a house fire, thinking you were alone, only to find that the people next door had escaped a house fire too.) In the state of shock that followed, which lasted for several months, I became obsessed with this new wave of feminism.

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