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White Ribbon has ended up selling something that stinks | Van Badham

Tue, 03/26/2019 - 18:12

Its latest campaign ‘Cheese for Change’ is a river of dairy pouring through a chasm of staggering misjudgment

“The aim of marketing,” explained the corporate guru Peter Drucker, “is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself”.

If that’s the theory, I am more than intrigued to understand the practice which informed one Australian organisation’s recent “Cheese for Change” campaign.

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Trump expands global gag rule that blocks US aid for abortion groups

Tue, 03/26/2019 - 06:07

Policy bans aid going to foreign groups that support abortion rights as secretary of state Pompeo says: ‘This is decent and right’

The Trump administration has expanded its ban on funding for groups that conduct abortions or advocate abortion rights, known as the global gag rule, and has also cut funding to the Organisation of American States for that reason.

Related: How Trump signed a global death warrant for women | Sarah Boseley

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Nasa cancels all-female spacewalk, citing lack of spacesuit in right size

Tue, 03/26/2019 - 01:57

Space agency blames shortage of outerwear after first-of-its-kind mission falls through

Nasa’s plans for the first all-female spacewalk have fallen through – at least in part because the agency doesn’t have enough spacesuits that fit the astronauts.

What should have been a giant leap for womankind has turned into a stumble after Nasa said on Monday night that they will only have access to one correctly sized spacesuit top by Friday when the walk was scheduled. One of the two women on the mission, Anne McClain, will now have to give up her place to a male colleague.

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‘I had a huge swelling’: why my life as a female cyclist led to vulva surgery

Mon, 03/25/2019 - 23:59

There needs to be serious, urgent research into better saddles for female cyclists, says Hannah Dines, who has endured years of pain and swelling caused by friction as she rides

The plastic surgeon, in that particularly endearing way of surgeons, was trying to reassure me that although he had never operated on an endurance cyclist before, he had seen “presentations” like mine. “I’ve seen chronic inflammation and long-term trauma to the vulva like this. You know …” he paused, “in patients who compulsively rub up against bedposts.” Silence.

I decided against explaining that the relationship with my bike saddle did not, perhaps, deserve to be in among the psychiatric cases in his cognitive filing system. However, he had a point. While there is no love lost between me and the necessary evil that is my saddle, I have continued to train, despite huge amounts of destruction to my body, pain and trauma.

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Girls of 13 are lining up for Botox. Here’s why

Mon, 03/25/2019 - 08:29

Cosmetic surgeons are concerned that a growing number teenagers are trying to stave off wrinkles before they arrive – so what or who is really to blame?

We’re living in an age where messages of “self-love” are everywhere: from high-street stationery to pop music. Yet young women’s self-esteem is abysmally low, with cosmetic surgeons becoming increasingly concerned at a spike in girls as young as 13 getting Botox. Doctors cite mental health problems and, of course, the ever looming bogeyman of “celebrity culture” as being responsible. “Girls are having treatment at an age when they don’t need it,” Dr Nick Lowe, the dermatologist who helped to pioneer the injections in the 1990s, told the Sunday Times. “We’re seeing body dysmorphic syndromes and a terrible loss of self-confidence. They’re convinced that looking like a celebrity is going to make them happier and more successful.”

While it is particularly troubling that tweens are smiting smile lines before they can feasibly form, the very idea that Botox is “needed” at any time in a woman’s life is as much a part of the problem as anything else. Young girls are trying to preempt a grim reality: that their worth dwindles as their age increases. Yet it seems that the horror of an older woman is still greater than that of needles jutting from baby faces – there are still no legal age restrictions on Botox and the industry remains woefully unregulated.

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Women’s lib freed us from domestic drudgery – so what’s with today’s competitive cleaning? | Suzanne Moore

Mon, 03/25/2019 - 07:43

Forget about gleaming worktops and shiny showerheads. Life is for living, not for tidying your cutlery tray

The world is a mess. Pollution and all that eco-jazz. Your body is also a mess, full of toxins that need cleansing. Your skin is ungodly and needs a good hot-cloth treatment and expensive cream. And your house? Well, it’s an absolute tip.

Foxes have eaten my recycling, so rubbish is strewn all over the road. A card was popped through my door offering to steam my carpets, a treatment that seemed more expensive than buying some new carpets. The last man who cleaned my windows disappeared after a complicated divorce and, quite frankly, I can’t be bothered any more.

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Lady Hale: at least half of UK judiciary should be female

Sun, 03/24/2019 - 03:55

Supreme court president calls for full equality at event for centenary of women in law

At least half of the judiciary should be women, Britain’s most senior judge has said.

Speaking at an event in the supreme court to mark the centenary of women’s entry into the legal profession, Brenda Hale, president of the supreme court and the first woman to take on that role, made the call for full gender equality across the judiciary.

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Kellyanne Conway is no 'badass' – and she's certainly no feminist | Arwa Mahdawi

Sat, 03/23/2019 - 05:42

Conway plays an integral role in Trump’s racist and misogynist agenda. She’s no feminist – she’s simply a bad person

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

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Gripping refugee tale wins Waterstones children's book prize

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 05:17

Anti-trafficking campaigner Onjali Q Raúf was inspired to write adventure story The Boy at the Back of the Class by a Syrian mother and baby she encountered in a Calais camp

Onjali Q Raúf has won the Waterstones children’s book prize with her debut novel, which she wrote while recovering from life-saving surgery.

Raúf is founder of the charity Making Herstory, which fights the trafficking and enslavement of women. After botched surgery for endometriosis left her vomiting and in crippling pain, she was told she had only three weeks to live. Further major surgery saved her life, but forced Raúf to spend three months recovering in bed.

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Mary Warnock embodied the best of Britain’s ruling class before Thatcher | Andrew Brown

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 04:18

Her ambition was harnessed to a kind of patriotism and an ideal of serving society that is much less widely believed in today

In many ways Mary Warnock, whose death was announced on Thursday, represented the best of Britain’s ruling class as it was between the war and the rise of Margaret Thatcher.

The kind of tough-minded, realistic and self-confident liberalism that she embodied was once a quality that foreigners admired in Britain. It was elitist and not particularly democratic: she and her husband rose to the very top of the Oxbridge system, he as vice-chancellor of Oxford University, she as the head of colleges in both universities. When I went to see her in her semi-retirement, in a village on the edge of Savernake Forest, Wiltshire, she was unashamed about collecting her attendance allowance from the House of Lords. She needed the money, she said, and she earned it – she did the work.

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'She's rebellious': actor on giant Plymouth sculpture she inspired

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 23:40

Nicola Kavanagh says crude criticism of Messenger may be fuelled by fear of the unknown

An actor who was the inspiration behind a giant bronze sculpture of a female figure has described her sense of awe at the scale of the piece, and suggested crude criticism of it may be fuelled by fear of the unknown.

Nicola Kavanagh said she found the 7-metre-high, 9.5-tonne statue, Messenger, which was delivered in suitably dramatic fashion to the Theatre Royal Plymouth this week, striking and beautiful.

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Kachin women from Myanmar 'raped until they get pregnant' in China

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 04:26

Women from Kachin minority are allowed to go home only if they leave baby behind, says HRW report

Burmese and Chinese authorities are turning a blind eye to a growing trade in women from Myanmar’s Kachin minority, who are taken across the border, sold as wives to Chinese men and raped until they become pregnant, a report claims.

Some of the women are allowed to return home after they have given birth, but are forced to leave their children, according to an investigation by Human Rights Watch, titled Give Us a Baby and We’ll Let You Go.

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The depressing truth about female creativity and the pram in the hallway | Fiona Sturges

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 20:00

Sweeping the subject of working mothers under the carpet only implies there isn’t a problem

There are times in every parent’s life when, however much they try to avoid it, the professional and the domestic messily collide. It happened to me a few years ago when, during a teachers’ training day, I took my seven-year-old with me to interview Joan Collins over lunch. Collins was delighted at her presence and ordered her a giant bowl of ice-cream. However, halfway through the conversation, she suddenly looked startled, fumbled under the table for a bit, and then pulled out a sticky, pink-spattered Chanel shoe. “I do believe dear Lily has dropped ice-cream in my shoe,” she announced, looking a little pained.

Related: It is a scandal that working mothers are 40% more stressed than other people | Chitra Ramaswamy

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Arrests over hotel spycam porn ring that filmed 1,600 guests across South Korea

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 16:56

Cameras were set up in hair dryer holders and wall sockets in 10 cities, say prosecutors

Police in South Korea have arrested two men for secretly filming 1,600 hotel guests and streaming the footage live online, in the latest voyeurism scandal to hit the country.

The suspects, who have not been named, set up secret cameras in 42 rooms at 30 hotels in 10 South Korean cities between November last year and the start of this month, media reports said.

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NHS removes cervical screening contract from Capita

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 08:44

Outsourced service’s blunders led to nearly 50,000 women not receiving vital information

NHS chiefs are bringing the cervical screening service back in-house after expressing dissatisfaction at the way it has been performing.

The chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, told the Commons public accounts committee that the changes would come into force from June.

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The Guardian view on regulating porn: wrong step, right direction | Editorial

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 08:31

Damaging both to the producers and the consumers, online pornography is finally being tackled

Successive governments have been under pressure to control children’s access to pornography and, after years of wrangling, something is to be done soon. Next week an announcement is expected on when regulations will come into effect that make age verification compulsory on commercial pornographic websites. No one under 18 will be able to access them legitimately. That, at least, is the theory. In practice the regulations have been attacked both for being too onerous and too easy to evade. The requirement that users prove that they have verified their age disturbs privacy advocates.

One of the chief suppliers of such technology is a subsidiary of Mindgeek, a company best described as the Facebook of the online pornographic industry, and just as keen to use algorithms to manipulate its users. Although the company says it will have no access to the data collected by its subsidiary, such undertakings don’t inspire confidence. Beyond these practical objections lies a philosophical swamp. As a society we have very confused ideas about pornography. It is a growing blight of uncertain reach. One survey concluded that people in the UK had spent a total of 2,600 years watching porn online in the month of December 2013 alone, an accomplishment that required the efforts of nearly a quarter of the adult population.

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Emilia Bassano isn’t the only woman denied her place in the literary canon | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 04:49
This week’s report into the gender gap for authors is a timely reminder of bias in the media against female writers

Have you heard of Emilia Bassano? I hadn’t until this week, when her name was lent to a report on media coverage of male versus female writers. Bassano was England’s first published female poet, in 1611, and a play has been written about her struggle for recognition. It’s good timing – across the arts, people have been dredging the depths to conjure up history’s forgotten women and, in the case of books, reassess the canon.

The Emilia report into the gender gap for authors, commissioned by the play’s producers and written by Danuta Kean, found a “marked bias” towards male writers in the review pages of newspapers. Furthermore, references to women’s ages were ubiquitous, and female writers told Kean how coverage tended to focus on the domestic rather than the academic. The report also highlights cover design as a factor in gender bias – gender stereotypes on covers “undermine the credibility of fiction by women and their ability to be taken seriously”.

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Police failing to protect rape and abuse victims, says super-complaint

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 21:00

Data from 11 frontline services shows forces failing to use legal powers, says group

Police are “systematically failing” to protect victims of domestic and sexual violence, according to campaigners in the second super-complaint made to a national watchdog.

The Centre for Women’s Justice (CWJ) has accused police forces of failing to use existing powers to deal with domestic abuse, harassment, stalking and rape.

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The teenage dandy's tale: how a female biographer saw Chaucer afresh

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 06:19

The young Canterbury Tales author was paraded by his employer in scandalously tight outfits, says Oxford academic Marion Turner

He may be revered as the father of English literature, but Geoffrey Chaucer’s first appearance in recorded history is as a teenager wearing leggings so tight one churchman blamed the fashion for bringing back the plague.

Scholars have known since at least 1966 that Elizabeth de Burgh, who employed the adolescent Chaucer, bought him a “paltok” for four shillings at Easter 1357, spending a further three shillings for black and red hose, and a pair of shoes. But Chaucer’s first female biographer, the Oxford academic Marion Turner, suggests that no previous biographer had ever considered what a paltok might be. Delving into contemporary chronicles, she found commentators at the time describing paltoks – a kind of tunic – as “extremely short garments ... which failed to conceal their arses or their private parts”.

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My wife believes it is normal to lose interest in sex post-menopause – but I disagree

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 22:00

I’m 50, she is 48 and her sex drive has plummeted. The situation is starting to damage our relationship

I am a man with a female partner – I will be 51 in a few months, and she is 48. Until a little over a year ago we had a very healthy sex life, but she was hit hard by menopausal symptoms, and along with many of the typical problems associated with that situation, her sex drive has plummeted. She started taking Chinese herbal medication about six months ago, and is now feeling much better. However, the medication does not address any hormonal issues, and she has utterly lost interest in sex. I have asked her many times to go to a doctor to discuss this. The problem is that she thinks the current situation is completely normal – that it is natural that people lose appetite for sex when they reach our age. She cannot understand why I still want to have sex, and has even told me that I am the one who should undergo counselling for this.

The situation is starting to damage our relationship, as after being rejected countless times I now feel constrained from even touching her in a sensuous way. What should I do?

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