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: 5 hours 43 min ago

UK women forced to wear face masks during labour, charity finds

Thu, 05/13/2021 - 19:00

Survey of 936 women in December shows nearly one in five made to cover up, despite official guidance to contrary

Nearly one in five pregnant women in the UK were forced to wear a face covering during labour, according to research by a charity, despite official health guidance saying they should not be asked to do so.

Women described feeling unable to breathe, having panic attacks or even being sick during labour because they were made to wear a face covering.

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Rape is being used as weapon of war in Ethiopia, say witnesses

Thu, 05/13/2021 - 19:00

Ethiopian nun speaks of widespread horror she and colleagues are seeing on a daily basis inside the heavily isolated region of Tigray

Thousands of women and girls are being targeted by the deliberate tactic of using rape as a weapon in the civil war that has erupted in Ethiopia, according to eyewitnesses.

In a rare account from inside the heavily isolated region of Tigray, where communications with the outside world are being deliberately cut off, an Ethiopian nun has spoken of the widespread horror she and her colleagues are seeing on a daily basis since a savage war erupted six months ago.

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Outrage as male voice actor dubs Laverne Cox in Italian-language Promising Young Woman

Tue, 05/11/2021 - 23:09

Cox’s character in the revenge thriller given deep voice of Roberto Pedicini, sparking backlash over European dubbing of trans actors

The Italian-language version of Emerald Fennell’s revenge thriller Promising Young Woman has come under fire for giving trans actor Laverne Cox a male voice. Scheduled to hit theatres across the country on 13 May, the release has been pushed back after a clip of Una Donna Promettente was posted by Universal Pictures Italy on 6 May. In the since-restricted video, Cox’s character, Gail, talks to protagonist Cassie, played by Carey Mulligan, in a distinctively masculine tone. The Orange Is the New Black star was given the deep tones of voice actor Roberto Pedicini. Italian viewers couldn’t believe their ears, immediately taking to social media to voice their outrage.

“I think this dubbing choice was a straight-up act of violence,” Italian trans actor and voice actor Vittoria Schisano tells the Guardian. “It’s insulting. I’d feel bullied if I were [Cox],” she added. Schisano dubbed Cox on Netflix documentary Amend: The Fight for America, and was the Italian voice behind trans character Natalie on the latest season of Big Mouth. Her most recent project is Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, where she voices General Atitaya. Schisano says she doesn’t know any other trans voice actors in Italy and wasn’t even asked to read for Cox’s role in Promising Young Woman.

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Coalition tries to woo women with a federal budget that’s all about making amends

Mon, 05/10/2021 - 23:56

Violence and sexual harassment targeted, with $1.7bn investment in childcare and help for female-dominated industries

After a year in which the Morrison government’s commitment to tackling violence against women and sexual harrassment has been questioned, and it has been accused of targeting Covid assistance to industries dominated by men, Josh Frydenberg’s budget is unashamedly about making amends.

It includes a $1.7bn investment in childcare, more money for preschools, funding to build skills in industries dominated by women and changes to superannuation that will help people working part time – mostly women.

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The people who want to keep masking: ‘It’s like an invisibility cloak’

Mon, 05/10/2021 - 00:00

More than a year into the pandemic, some people prefer to keep wearing their face mask – even outdoors in public

She’s been fully vaccinated for three weeks, but Francesca, a 46-year-old professor, does not plan to abandon the face mask that she’s come to view as a kind of “invisibility cloak” just yet.

“Maybe it’s because I’m a New Yorker or maybe it’s because I always feel like I have to present my best self to the world, but it has been such a relief to feel anonymous,” she said. “It’s like having a force field around me that says ‘don’t see me’.”

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Men who harass women from cars should be prosecuted, MPs say

Sun, 05/09/2021 - 22:32

Cross-party group raises pressure on government to bolster anti-misogyny measures in police and crime bill

Men who harass women from cars should face criminal charges, a cross-party group of MPs has urged, as the government comes under mounting pressure to criminalise sexual harassment.

Labour’s Harriet Harman and Caroline Nokes, the Conservative chair of the women and equalities select committee, have formed a cross-party alliance to push the government to beef up anti-misogyny measures via amendments in the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill.

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Monzo bank to offer employees paid leave after pregnancy loss

Sun, 05/09/2021 - 19:00

Either partner can take up to 10 days’ leave after miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion in UK digital bank’s policy

The online bank Monzo has become one of the first UK companies to offer paid leave for employees who are affected by the loss of a pregnancy.

Part of the bank’s mental health drive, the move follows the departure of its founder and former chief executive, Tom Blomfield, who stepped down in January in the wake of his own struggles with anxiety and stress.

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Australian women are done waiting. It’s time for a budget that invests in care | Emma Dawson

Sun, 05/09/2021 - 17:06

Despite months of advocacy from feminist economists and policy analysts, the government still does not grasp the opportunity of investing in women

What a difference seven months can make. After facing the wrath of thousands of “credible women” following last October’s federal budget, which infamously assigned a third of 1% of its spending to women’s economic security, the Morrison government is now at pains to emphasise that the 2021 budget, to be handed down on Tuesday, will deliver for women.

Quite the shift in rhetoric, after its ham-fisted attempts to defend the indefensible last year, with claims that “women drive on roads” by ministers Anne Ruston and Michaelia Cash, and that “nothing in the budget is gendered” from the prime minister’s office (which was kind of the point).

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The Guardian view on online abuse of female journalists: a problem for all | Editorial

Sun, 05/09/2021 - 07:25

The UN’s warning about a tide of misogynistic hate needs urgent attention

A new report by the UN’s cultural agency, Unesco, makes horrifying reading. A global survey of 901 journalists from 125 countries found that female journalists across the world are under unprecedented levels of attack. The intent, says the UN, is to belittle, humiliate, shame, induce fear and ultimately discredit female reporters; and to undercut public trust in critical journalism and facts.

The statistics are shocking. Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed had experienced online hostility of some sort, while a quarter had been threatened with sexual violence and death; the likelihood of attack increased greatly if the women belonged to a minority. Incidents included personal details spilled on to the internet; finances hacked, families harassed and intimidated and employers sent doctored photos. A fifth reported being subsequently attacked or abused offline.

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For too many girls, teenage years are a time of unwanted attention from older men | Moira Donegan

Sun, 05/09/2021 - 00:27

A viral TikTok video captured an everyday reality reflected in the allegations against Matt Gaetz and Blake Bailey

At first the girl is animated and fast-talking, gesturing with her hands as she speaks to the camera. She’s wearing a tie-dye shirt that hangs cavernously around her thin frame; her long blond hair is stick straight. She speaks with the unrestrained enthusiasm of a kid. Later, I learn that she is 18. When the man approaches her, just out of frame, at first she thinks he just wants to take one of the empty chairs that is at her table and drag it away somewhere else; she’s in the courtyard of the motel where she’s staying with her mom, and she’s sitting at one of the outdoor tables alone. But he doesn’t want to take the chair, he wants to sit down in it. The man never enters the frame, but we can tell he is older, and he must be much bigger than she is: the girl, still seated, cranes her face to look up at him. The calm confidence behind her large glasses snuffs out; her shoulders tense up, rising toward her ears. He’s trying to sleep with her. Off camera, the man can be heard commenting on the girl’s visible discomfort. “I see your hesitancy,” he says. On the screen, the caption the girl eventually added to the video reveals that she has given him a fake name. Eventually, she reveals to him that she is taping. “I’m just doing a live and talking to some people,” she says, and glances towards her phone. That’s when he finally leaves her alone: not when he notices that she’s uncomfortable, but when he realizes that he is being watched.

The video (in two parts), posted to TikTok by the teenage user @maassassin_, immediately goes viral. Women, young and old, saw in the exchange a microcosm of their own experiences of being young girls, and of being approached, harassed, groomed or merely leered at by older men in ways that scared them at the time, and which they only later learned to put into context. The video blasted into the public consciousness on the heels of two high-profile cases of sexual misconduct by adult men towards teenage girls: first that of the Florida congressman Matt Gaetz, who allegedly paid a 17-year-old for sex, and second that of Blake Bailey, the Philip Roth biographer who is accused of paying untoward attention towards his middle school students, and of sexually assaulting some of those students, as well as another woman, after they became adults. Gaetz and Bailey both deny wrongdoing.

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The world needs babies. So we’d better rethink what we expect from mothers | Sonia Sodha

Sat, 05/08/2021 - 23:00
The decision to have a child is a tough one for many women. No wonder the population is falling

It didn’t take long for confident predictions of a Covid baby boom to emerge last spring. Locked up together, with only Netflix for company, what else are couples going to do? (Nudge, wink.) “Haven’t they heard of contraception?” one friend asked drily, as the country waited anxiously to hear about furlough while being warned the NHS was in mortal peril.

Related: It is time to reassess our obsession with women’s fertility and the number 35 | Arwa Mahdawi

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‘Women at risk’ as police in England and Wales miss Clare’s Law deadlines

Sat, 05/08/2021 - 21:45

Quarter of requests for background checks on partners suspected of being abusive are not answered on time

Police took over a month to disclose information about the criminal histories of suspected abusers in almost a quarter of applications for background checks approved last year, Observer analysis has found.

Clare’s Law, introduced in 2014, gives people the “right to ask” their force about any previous domestic violence or offences that mean their partners could pose a risk to them.

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UK government ‘failed to consider gender’ in its response to Covid pandemic

Sat, 05/08/2021 - 03:42

Sage overlooked the heavy toll suffered by women when developing policies to combat coronavirus, says study

The government has “consistently failed” to consider gender in its response to Covid-19 despite men and women being affected in distinct ways by the pandemic, claim researchers from the London School of Economics.

While more men have died from the virus, women have suffered more due to the impact of policies introduced to prevent disease transmission.

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Beware the deadly new disease spreading across America: ‘Foxitis’ | Arwa Mahdawi

Sat, 05/08/2021 - 03:00

According to a lawyer for an alleged Capitol rioter, his client was brainwashed by Fox News into participating in the 6 January attack

For decades a debilitating disease has been spreading across America. Risk factors include being over 65, Republican and white. Symptoms include unhinged muttering, delusional thinking and an irresistible urge to storm the Capitol. The disease is called “Foxitis” and a lawyer called Joseph Hurley, who is representing alleged US Capitol rioter Anthony Antonio, wants us to believe his client is suffering from it.

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The day of ‘female rage’ has dawned – and Kate Winslet is its fed-up face | Emma Brockes

Fri, 05/07/2021 - 01:04

The I’m-done-with-it energy of Mare of Easttown has resonated because it reflects exactly how so many of us feel

There’s a scene in Mare of Easttown, the new crime drama on HBO/Sky Atlantic starring Kate Winslet, that with minimal fuss captures a mood rarely seen on TV. Winslet plays a detective in smalltown Pennsylvania, where – when she’s sitting on her sofa one night eating an enormous sandwich – a neighbour throws a gallon of milk through her window. She stops eating, briefly, to survey the wreckage, before returning with exquisite deliberation to the sandwich. Through Winslet’s character, Mare, Easttown nails that rarely excavated, beautifully enacted vibe of the fed-up middle-aged woman.

It is hard to overstate how much excitement this and similar scenes have caused among women in the US since the show started airing, two weeks ago. It’s not merely that Mare reflects back at us the bombed-out, personal-grooming-gone-to-seed reality of life at the tail end of the pandemic. Nor is it a case of the overused trope of a movie star eschewing makeup as a shorthand for integrity. (I loved the movie Nomadland, recently bombarded with Oscars, but Frances McDormand has in recent years perhaps over-ploughed this furrow to the extent that it can have the opposite effect, making the act of appearing “ordinary” seem a little stagey and performative.)

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I’m still picking up the pieces after being sexually harassed by a fellow actor | Anonymous

Thu, 05/06/2021 - 01:00

Actors and crew need better protection from abuse and bullying on set. Too many powerful people get away with it

It started with comments on my first day of shooting, from one of the actors I was co-starring with: suggesting we have a drink, saying he was attracted to me, hugging me out of the blue and finally commenting on my physique while shooting a scene.

It felt uncomfortable; I laughed it off. I was still getting into my stride on the production, which I had joined a little late, and I wanted to get on with this actor. We had several scenes that we were shooting together.

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Global shortfall of nearly 1m midwives due to failure to value role, study finds

Wed, 05/05/2021 - 20:15

Investing in midwifery could prevent two-thirds of maternal and newborn deaths, but investment and training are urgently needed

The world is facing a shortage of 900,000 midwives, with more than half the shortfall in Africa, where nearly two-thirds of maternal deaths occur, according to a new survey.

Insufficient resources and a failure to recognise the importance of the role mean there has been little progress since the last study in 2014, according to the State of the World’s Midwifery report, which looked at 194 countries.

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Women face significant jobs risk during Covid pandemic, UK analysis finds

Mon, 05/03/2021 - 19:00

Exclusive: women are experiencing far higher levels of redundancy than in previous recessions

Working women are facing a significant risk in the labour market, with far greater numbers being made redundant as a result of the pandemic than during the 2007 financial crisis, according to analysis seen by the Guardian.

Women are experiencing much higher levels of redundancies during the Covid pandemic than in previous recessions, according to the Trades Union Congress. Female redundancies in the UK hit 178,000 between September and November 2020, according to its analysis – 76% higher than the peak reached during the height of the financial crisis when female redundancy levels hit 100,000.

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Marriage certificates in England and Wales to include mothers’ names for first time

Mon, 05/03/2021 - 13:01

Home Office says reform is biggest change to marriage registration system since 1837

Marriage certificates in England and Wales will now include the names of both parents of each half of the couple, instead of only their fathers, after legal changes to the process came into force.

The change is part of the introduction from Tuesday of a new digital system to modernise, simplify and speed up the process by which marriages are registered, helping to tackle a backlog.

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Concern as just a third of candidates in English local elections are women

Mon, 05/03/2021 - 13:01

Fawcett Society says more needs to be done to encourage women into politics

More needs to be done to encourage women into politics, the UK’s leading charity for gender equality has said, as data reveals that just one-third of candidates in this week’s English council elections are women.

Research by the Fawcett Society charity and the Democracy Club also found that less than one in four police and crime commissioner candidates in England and Wales are women, and one in four mayoral candidates.

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