Women's News from the Web

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Latest Women news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice
Updated: 14 hours 6 min ago

'We've been robbed': how women hit by rise in pension age intend to vote

Mon, 12/02/2019 - 05:21

Some lifelong Conservative supporters are abandoning the party and voting Labour

Almost 4 million women born in the 1950s, whose retirement age was increased from 60 to 66, have been weighing their voting intentions since Labour announced a £58bn compensation plan to pay back the “historic debt of honour”.

Jeremy Corbyn has said affected women could receive up to £31,300 in compensation, depending on their age. Boris Johnson, who previously pledged to consider the impact of the policy, now says he “cannot promise I can magic up that money”. The Liberal Democrats have committed to providing some compensation but offered no detailed plan or costings.

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One-stop shops needed for women's health services

Sun, 12/01/2019 - 14:01

Women often required to visit multiple clinics for routine procedures, says report

One-stop shops should open in the high street, where women can go to get contraception, screening services, menopause advice and help with other health needs, while the morning-after pill should be sold off the shelf without consultation, say leading UK experts.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, which has been working on a blueprint for women’s health services for more than a year in conjunction with other groups and government, says services for women need to be completely overhauled to give them far more control over their health.

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Abortion should be a medical matter, not a criminal one. The law needs to change | Hilary Freeman

Sun, 12/01/2019 - 02:48
Manifesto promises by Labour and the Liberal Democrats to decriminalise abortion are welcome news for women

There has been a predictably overwrought response to the election manifesto promises of both Labour and the Liberal Democrats to decriminalise abortion. Rightwing and Catholic commentators alike imagined hordes of heavily pregnant women at abortion clinics, demanding their fully formed foetuses be evacuated from their uteruses. Just because the law said that they now could.

I, unfortunately, know far more than I want to about what utter nonsense this emotive, anti-abortion rhetoric is. On 26 September 2012 I ended the life of my much-wanted daughter, Elodie, at 24 weeks’ gestation. It’s the hardest and most painful thing I’ve ever done. One thing I now know, with certainty, following this traumatic experience, is that no woman would choose to terminate a pregnancy that late on unless she felt there wasn’t any other option. And no doctor would countenance it, whatever the law said.

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Keep us busy with babies and we’ve no time for crime | Torsten Bell

Sat, 11/30/2019 - 20:00
Offending rates among women and men plunge as soon as they’ve got a child on the way

Unless you’re in a mafia clan, we all want to see crime come down. But different people approach that in different ways. Economists like to think of criminals as getting out their calculators to see if crime pays, so they focus on the impact of deterrence: increasing the severity of punishment or the likelihood of being caught.

Unfortunately, deterrence doesn’t do a great job because criminals don’t care enough about the future to pay much attention to jail terms. And of course everyone knows that reducing crime goes beyond more police or prisons – it’s about people’s roles in society.

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Victoria’s most damaging Secret? The pantmaker’s appeal to the likes of Jeffrey Epstein | Catherine Bennett

Sat, 11/30/2019 - 08:00
Farewell to the show that was always more about male fantasy than empowering women

After a week of cultural losses, something has gone, too, from the fashion world. Traditionally, at this time of year, supportive women’s magazines and pages would have been running awed interviews with stars of the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, marvelling at their exercise routines and extolling the distinction, in their ranks, of being picked to wear the year’s most risible outfit.

Which of the show’s uniformly shaped bodies will get to wear the platinum brassiere, the miraculous suspender, the surpassingly rare crystal thong? As ever, Vogue led the coverage last year, with an excitable “everything you need to know” primer. “Elsa Hosk was chosen to wear the Victoria’s Secret Fantasy Bra. This year’s show-stopping piece was created using 100 per cent Swarovski Created Diamonds and responsibly sourced topaz.”

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I might never have become a chess grandmaster if I’d stuck to women-only tournaments | Judit Polgár

Fri, 11/29/2019 - 21:00

Female chess players, like me, thrive when they play against the world’s best men

• Judit Polgár is a Hungarian chess grandmaster and was the highest-ranking female player until her retirement in 2014

I am used to being cited as living proof that women can play chess at the same elite level as men. When I was 15, I became the youngest grandmaster in the world, breaking the record set by Bobby Fischer more than three decades earlier. It turned out that I was not able to become the overall world champion, but I always strived to fulfil this ambition – and at my peak, I was the eighth highest ranked player in the world.

Even if women think and compete differently, we can attain the same achievements as men: be it in science, art or chess

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Ohio bill orders doctors to ‘reimplant ectopic pregnancy’ or face 'abortion murder' charges

Thu, 11/28/2019 - 22:54

Ohio introduces one of the most extreme bills to date for a procedure that does not exist in medical science

A bill to ban abortion introduced in the Ohio state legislature requires doctors to “reimplant an ectopic pregnancy” into a woman’s uterus – a procedure that does not exist in medical science – or face charges of “abortion murder”.

This is the second time practising obstetricians and gynecologists have tried to tell the Ohio legislators that the idea is currently medically impossible.

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Labour’s policies will benefit millions, but now it needs to sell them better | Polly Toynbee

Thu, 11/28/2019 - 06:45

The party’s promise to restore women’s stolen pension entitlements is laudable, but it is not doing enough to win round voters

Brutal attacks on Labour’s tax and spending plans are part of the furniture of any election. No surprise at the incoming fire over Labour’s promise to compensate women born in the 1950s for the state pension entitlements stolen from them. The equalisation of men and women’s pension age was accelerated by the Tories, cheating them of firm entitlements.

Related: Women hit by pension age changes to appeal against court ruling

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Theresa May unveils statue of pioneering MP Nancy Astor

Thu, 11/28/2019 - 06:32

Former PM pays tribute on Plymouth Hoe to first woman to take up seat in Commons

A bronze statue of Nancy Astor, the first woman MP to take up a seat in parliament, has been installed in Plymouth exactly a century after she was elected to represent the Devon city.

Theresa May unveiled the memorial, paid for through a crowdfunding campaign, on Plymouth Hoe outside Astor’s former home, watched by hundreds of schoolchildren and students.

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US abortion rate is lowest in nine years, new data shows

Wed, 11/27/2019 - 08:14

CDC examined abortion rate from 2007 to 2016 and found abortions dropped 26% over the period of the study

Fewer women in the US are having abortions than at any time in the last nine years, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC collects data on abortions by contacting the central health agency for 48 states. The study excludes California, one of the most populous states in the nation. This study examined the abortion rate from 2007 to 2016.

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TRNSMT music festival boss: 50-50 gender balance is 'a while' away

Wed, 11/27/2019 - 00:50

Geoff Ellis blames a dearth of female acts for the lack of women on the Scottish festival’s initial 2020 lineup

The director of Scotland’s TRNSMT festival has said “it will be a while” until there is a 50-50 gender balance on festival bills “because there’s far, far less female artists”.

Lewis Capaldi and Liam Gallagher will headline the festival in 2020. Of the 13 acts announced so far, only two are women, pop star Rita Ora and rapper Little Simz.

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Woman trying to visit Indian temple attacked with chilli spray

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 04:02

Police ‘looked on and watched’ during assault as activists tried to enforce right to visit shrine

Female activists in India were violently attacked by protesters and stopped by police as they attempted to make a pilgrimage to a Hindu temple which was controversially ordered to open its doors to women.

A group of seven women, led by the gender equality activist Trupti Desai, arrived at Cochin airport in the early hours of Tuesday to exercise their right to visit the holy Sabarimala temple, in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

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The death of Sharron Maasz shows why domestic abuse services are vital

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 02:45

Domestic violence is a key cause of women experiencing homelessness – and cuts mean services to protect them have been destroyed

I first came across Sharron Maasz in January this year when I watched her being interviewed on a number of videos on YouTube. I discovered them after hearing that a woman had died in accommodation designated for women experiencing homelessness in my home city of Oxford. Sharron was 44 years old.

She was popular and, according to those who knew her, warm, kind, compassionate and loving. Sharron was a mother and a grandmother. She died after a long period of experiencing homelessness in Oxford, the city where we were both born and raised, and which we both called home. Later, through devastated mutual friends, I learned that we attended the same school; our paths never crossed as she was older than me, and we ended up living very different lives.

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Spain's far-right Vox blocks violence against women declaration

Mon, 11/25/2019 - 09:20

Vox refusal to sign joint all-party statement outrages civil rights groups and embarrasses allies

Spain’s far-right Vox party has refused to sign an all-party declaration condemning violence against women, drawing outrage from civil rights groups and embarrassing its allies in the conservative People’s party.

Vox’s refusal to sign the declaration by Madrid city council on Monday meant that for the first time since a landmark 2004 law on gender violence, local authorities in the Spanish capital were unable to issue a joint all-party statement.

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The Guardian view on Grace Millane’s murder: outlaw the ‘rough sex’ defence | Editorial

Mon, 11/25/2019 - 08:58
Men who kill women must not be allowed to blame them in court for asking to be harmed

There are many reasons to be upset by the violent death of Grace Millane, the backpacker from Essex who was murdered a year ago in a New Zealand hotel room by a man she met on the dating app Tinder. Speaking after her killer (whose name has yet to be released) was convicted, the victim’s father described the murder of his “beautiful, loving, talented” daughter as barbaric. Since she was strangled on the eve of her 22nd birthday, the 27-year-old murderer has continued to inflict pain.

The defence offered at his trial, that the death was the accidental result of a sex act that she had requested, meant that her parents sat through a trial in which intimate details were picked over and broadcast across the world. New Zealand has the reputation of a safe, welcoming country. It is horrifying to know that this young woman’s trip of a lifetime ended with her bruised body being stuffed into a suitcase and buried in the bush.

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‘Friendship out-of-office’ messages are all very well – until you find yourself in need | Coco Khan

Mon, 11/25/2019 - 05:30
A Twitter thread about warning friends if you’re at ‘capacity’ taps into a wider conversation about women’s emotional labour

A friend in need is a friend indeed, but a friend who asks permission to talk is better. That’s at least according to Melissa Fabello, a US-based activist and writer who posted a screengrab of a text message she’d received from a friend, asking if Fabello had the “capacity” to listen to her “vent about something medical/weight-related”. Fabello argued that this was something we should all be doing – asking our friends if they can listen to our problems rather than “unloading without warning” – in a now-viral thread that divided audiences online.

Fabello lays out the benefits of this practice, such as recognising that a friend may have limited time or that the conversation may be upsetting, and encourages people to say no to their friends if they choose to. She even drafts a “delete as appropriate” template message that reads: “Hey, I’m so glad you reached out. I’m actually at capacity/helping someone else who’s in crisis/dealing with personal stuff right now and I don’t think I can hold appropriate space for you. Could we connect [later time or date] instead/do you have someone else you could reach out to?”

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French PM on back foot over domestic violence amid fury over inaction

Mon, 11/25/2019 - 04:37

After protests, government announces series of measures critics say are insufficient

The French government has announced a series of measures aimed at tackling domestic violence as anger grows over inaction and indifference to victims.

At least 137 women have been killed in incidents of domestic violence so far this year and protesters took to the streets at the weekend to demonstrate against the authorities’ response.

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America has an infant mortality crisis. Meet the black doulas trying to change that

Sun, 11/24/2019 - 23:30

In the US, black babies die at twice the rate of white babies. In Cleveland, the mortality rate is nearly three times as high. Can birth advocates make a difference in one of America’s most segregated cities?

Rachel is a college-educated professional pianist who lives in a middle-class leafy Cleveland suburb with her husband and their baby boy.

The 34-year-old is fit and healthy with good medical insurance and a close-knit family network, but these socio-economic advantages were not sufficient insurance to insulate her from the racial disparities that characterise America’s infant and maternal mortality rates: African American babies are twice as likely to die before reaching their first birthday than white babies, regardless of the mother’s income or education level.

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Gender health gap: Australian medical research ignoring drugs’ side effects in women

Sun, 11/24/2019 - 14:02

Clinical trials often failing to report results for sex and gender, despite the fact many drugs cause adverse effects in women

Women are being ignored in medical trials and reports, according to a report which calls for more Australian medical research to include gender-specific data.

Failing to account for the different effects a drug may have on men and women compromises quality of care for women, according to the report published in the Medical Journal of Australia on Monday.

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The Guardian view on prisons and mothers: an injustice | Editorial

Sun, 11/24/2019 - 08:27
The shameful treatment of pregnant inmates and of the children of jailed women must be addressed. No babies should be born behind bars

Shock and outrage was the widespread reaction to the death of a newborn baby girl at Bronzefield prison in Surrey in September, after her mother (neither have been named) gave birth alone in her cell at night. How could a such a thing have happened in the UK in 2019? Eleven inquiries were launched. A justice minister, Lord Keen, declared the incident “distressing” and “rare”.

So it was extraordinarily disturbing to learn, through a Guardian investigation, that far from being an isolated incident, this baby’s death followed the birth of another child in a cell at the same, privately-run prison earlier this year, and a series of other incidents in which women who went into labour were transferred to hospital late. Bronzefield is the largest women’s prison in Europe, but the questions raised relate to other institutions too.

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