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Have India’s women seized their chance to vote for a safer, more equal country? | Mari Marcel Thekaekara

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 18:00
In an election when parties finally woke up to the power of half a billion women, many of us backed anyone but the BJP

For the first time, more women than men are likely to have voted in the Indian elections. That’s more than half a billion women who have had a say on issues that really matter to them. So finally, Indian political parties seem to have woken up to the fact that the female voter matters.

What then, have been her top concerns? According to a recent survey 70% put the safety of women first. Sadly, violence against women is on the rise everywhere in India. Crimes against women are at an unprecedented high while conviction rates are at an all-time low. India has been ranked the world’s most dangerous place for women. While we have traditionally responded to violence in a demure manner, younger, educated Indian women have refused to be stay quiet ever since huge protests erupted across the country following the gang rape of Jyoti Singh in Delhi in 2012.

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Why the senators’ race matters in reporting the Alabama abortion ban | Paul Chadwick

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 08:00

Readers argued it was wrong to highlight that white men voted in the measure. But lack of representation is central to the story

Why, demanded several readers, does this headline refer to race: “These 25 Republicans – all white men – just voted to ban abortion in Alabama.” It was part of the Guardian’s coverage of the southern US state’s new measure. The sole exception to the ban is serious risk to the health of the woman; pregnancies resulting from incest or rape are not excepted. Of the 27 Republican men in Alabama’s 35-seat senate, 25 voted for the law.

Distilled, the readers’ view was that although it was understandable that the headline would emphasise male dominance, it was wrong to highlight race, too. Wrote one: “It detracts and distracts from the real outrage, which is that they’re all male, and they’re all Republican, rather than their skin colour.” Another reader thought that the reference to race implied that the votes were motivated by racism. Another wanted the emphasis to stay on the personal moral beliefs of the legislators, whichever way they voted.

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Trump backs abortion in cases of rape or incest, contradicting Alabama law

Sat, 05/18/2019 - 19:23

President suggests abortion will be election issue, tweeting ‘we must stick together and Win for Life in 2020’

Donald Trump, in a series of late night posts on Twitter, has outlined a less restrictive view of abortion than that just passed by Alabama’s Republican state government.

Alabama now bans abortion except if there is a “serious health risk” to the mother, with no exceptions for rape and incest, but the president says he favours making an exception of cases of rape and incest.

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From Alabama to Armagh, women are on the front line waging the ‘war on abortion’ | Catherine Bennett

Sat, 05/18/2019 - 08:00
Far from being driven just by men, many female voices are heard in the anti-choice lobby

Intensifying campaigns to criminalise all abortion in the US have been summarised, accurately, as a war on women, one that calls on women to, as the presidential contender Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has put it, “fight like hell”.

In terms of knowing the enemy, much of it, in the US, will certainly resemble the Alabama misogynists – the 25 white, male, no longer young Republicans who have just stripped half their state’s population of reproductive rights. Photographs have been generously distributed. But, as the men would probably be the first to admit, they couldn’t have ushered in a generation or more of unwanted children without assistance from at least two women combatants, Terri Collins and the state governor, Kay Ivey.

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Is the idea of ‘real women’ just another way of selling stuff? | Yvonne Roberts

Sat, 05/18/2019 - 06:00
Magazines are making promises – and progress – but they’re still selling impossible dreams

‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, I don’t see anyone like me at all…” is the message on the cover of the current edition of Stylist, the women’s free weekly magazine, much garlanded with awards.

Editor-in-chief Lisa Smosarski is a feminist who smartly uses the magazine to find imaginative ways to proselytise that, while readers may face private and individual challenges, many more of their difficulties are rooted in the public and systemic – low pay, discrimination and, last week, what she calls “the mental health crisis”, triggered by a ubiquitous and fetishised very white, very thin, very doctored vision of female beauty.

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Women shouldn't have to tell abortion stories to remind lawmakers they're human

Sat, 05/18/2019 - 02:00

#YouKnowMe is both powerful and profoundly depressing – women shouldn’t have to justify wanting bodily autonomy

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

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I've seen how lawyers' sexism corrupts justice. This is how to change the industry | Charlotte Proudman

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 21:00

We need tough sanctions for sexual harassment, gender parity in chambers, and to close the pay gap, in a radical overhaul

Surprise, surprise: bullying and sexual harassment is rife in the legal profession. Yet another report, this time from the International Bar Association, shows that 62% of female lawyers have been bullied in the UK, which is higher than the international average, and 38% of women have suffered sexual harassment.

The findings accord with the Bar Standards Board (BSB) report in 2016, which found that two in five respondents suffered sexual harassment and discrimination and only one in five reported it.

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'Consensual rape' and 're-implantation': the times lawmakers 'misspoke' on abortion

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 20:00

Politicians saying ludicrous things while arguing for extreme abortion restrictions seems to be common

On Friday Missouri became the latest state to enact extreme abortion restrictions, passing a bill that bans abortion after eight weeks. The ban provides no exceptions for rape or incest which, according to the Republican state representative Barry Hovis, is fine because most rape is “consensual” anyway.

Hovis told the Missouri house that most of the rapes he had encountered in his previous role in law enforcement were “date rapes or consensual rapes”. While Hovis noted that these were “all terrible” he also stressed they were very tricky “he-said-she-said” situations. In any case, the lawmaker said, his real point was that, if someone was sexually assaulted they could simply take the morning after pill. Although, to be clear, he wouldn’t be very happy about that either.

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Women without children: ‘I don’t want to be pitied – I’m really happy'

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 19:00

Some have chosen not to have a baby, others can’t, or have lost them: five women talk frankly about being childfree

I grew up in a single-parent family: my mother raised four girls on her own. I watched her struggle and from an early age I knew I didn’t want to do that. I’ve faced hostility for not having children – I’ve been called a barren freak and even had people tell me that I’ll never understand what love is until I have a child.

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It shouldn’t be left to women to fight alone for abortion rights | Gaby Hinsliff

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 19:00

Pro-choice men should have the guts to campaign against the rolling back of laws that benefit both sexes

No woman can be free who does not control her own body. That’s been the pro-choice mantra down the ages, no less true now than it ever was, and from it flows the equally fierce conviction that men should keep their noses out of reproductive rights. If it isn’t your womb, your life, on the line here, then what right do you have to interfere in a grown adult’s decision? No wonder that powerful image of the 25 male politicians who collectively approved Alabama’s cruel new ban on terminations beyond six weeks, struck such a chord. The sight of old men desperately clawing back their lost power over women’s lives still triggers a deep, visceral fear. Six weeks! That’s barely a missed period, a time when many women won’t even have realised they’re pregnant.

Related: Trump takes war on abortion worldwide as policy cuts off funds

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Missouri lawmakers approve extreme eight-week abortion ban

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 16:35

The legislation, which is expected to be signed by the governor, echoes even tighter restrictions passed by Alabama this week

Missouri lawmakers on Friday approved legislation to ban abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy, becoming the latest state to put severe restrictions on the procedure.

The legislation passed the Republican-led state house of representatives on Friday afternoon after being approved by the senate early on Thursday, and now heads to the desk of Missouri’s Republican governor, Mike Parson. Parson is expected to sign it.

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West Point set to see record number of black women graduate

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 05:15

Class of 2019 will include 34 female African America graduates, the largest in the military academy’s history, and 19 Hispanic women

The US Military Academy at West Point is set to see a record number of black women graduate this spring. The group of 34 female African American graduates is the largest in history according to the prestigious military academy, following last year’s 27.

The class of 2019 will also include 19 Hispanic women, the largest number so far.

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Romance novelists pledge to confront abortion 'taboo' after Alabama ban

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 04:29

State senate’s near-total abortion ban prompts demand for genre to treat issue as ‘a normal part of life, not a moral lesson’

Dip into the fast-moving world of romantic fiction and it quickly becomes clear that very few of the fictional couples enjoying mind-blowing sex have any idea how to use a condom. The number of novels that use an unplanned pregnancy as a major plot point is almost as staggering as the sex they contain.

Take The Greek’s Pregnant Cinderella, in which a hotel maid is “utterly pleasured” by a Greek tycoon but “discovers her midnight mischief had nine-month consequences!” Or Her Forgotten Lover’s Heir, where “brooding Pietro Agosti is stunned when his sizzling fling with vibrant teacher Molly Armstrong results in her pregnancy”. Was it really that much of a surprise?

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In Northern Ireland, our hearts break for Alabama: we know about abortion bans | Elizabeth Nelson

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 03:18
The criminalisation of women held to ransom by political deal-making must be resisted. In our society, abortion is freedom

It feels like a lifetime ago since 25 May 2018. In many ways it was, because that day – when the Republic of Ireland voted to repeal the eighth amendment of its constitution, which outlawed abortion in virtually every circumstance – was a unique step forward for abortion rights in a world where they are rapidly being dismantled.

While the legislation brought in after the Irish referendum is imperfect, the overall success of the repeal movement against so many obstacles gave campaigners across the world an incredible sense of hope. But one year on, global abortion rights are under increasing threat, and that moment in May 2018 feels like an exception, instead of a promise of what was to come.

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The clubs aiming to break the mould for self-employed women

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 01:52

Co-working spaces, immensely popular across the US, are now opening their doors in London

When 32-year-old Kylie Griffiths wants to unwind, she heads to the sea. The Londoner loves the city she grew up in, but she feels it can quickly become claustrophobic. She turned to surfing in her late 20s to get away from it all, and soon other women were reaching out to join her on her trips to the beach. “It was the only time I felt like I wasn’t in my phone and was fully in the moment,” Griffith said. “You’re something so small in something so great.”

Griffiths would go on to found London Girls Surf Club, which encourages landlocked city women to escape the concrete and submerge themselves in the sea. It is one of many clubs for women to have flourished in London and across the UK in recent years.

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Brexit party candidate's book favoured benefit cuts for single mothers

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 19:00

James Bartholomew also criticised culture of majority-black US cities in 1993 article

A candidate for Nigel Farage’s Brexit party in the European elections described majority-black inner cities as being dominated by “a culture of physical violence, selfishness and predatory sex”, it has emerged.

James Bartholomew, a journalist and author who is standing in the south-east region, called black neighbourhoods of US inner cities “a Lord of the Flies culture” where “uncontrolled male adolescent values” are the norm.

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Missouri set to pass eight-week abortion ban following senate vote

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 07:47

Bill needs another vote of approval in Republican-led House before it can go to the governor, who voiced support for an earlier version

Missouri’s Republican-led Senate has passed a wide-ranging bill to ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy, acting only hours after Alabama’s governor signed a near-total abortion ban into law.

The Missouri bill needs another vote of approval in the Republican-led House before it can go to Mike Parson, the Republican governor who voiced support for an earlier version Wednesday.

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Alabama’s abortion ban is about keeping poor women down | Emma Brockes

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 04:49
For the 25 white, male state senators voting for it, this is not about the foetus but about maintaining the social order

A lot of good points were made about the inconsistencies and hypocrisies of Alabama’s 25 white male lawmakers who passed the anti-abortion bill in the state senate this week. It was pointed out that Republicans in favour of banning abortion are by and large against banning guns because, by their own logic, “banning things doesn’t work”.

It was observed that the “life” of a six-week-old bunch of cells is precious to these men, but the life of a child born to a mother of no means, in a state that voted to repeal Obamacare – that notional kid, not so much. And while the point was made that no one who has watched a woman struggle through labour could, in good conscience, criminalise her disinclination to do so, these arguments seemed to me bizarre, premised on the notion that the men in Alabama were acting in good faith; that they had the health of anyone but themselves in mind.

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‘I want to tilt the lens’ – Sinéad Burke's fight to make fashion more diverse

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 22:59

She has accosted Anna Wintour, been hired by Vogue and has a custom Burberry wardrobe made especially for her small stature. Meet the woman who insists design should be for everyone

One of the rumours that swirls around the disabled activist, advocate, educator, Vogue contributing editor and lifelong fashion-obsessive Sinéad Burke is that she has a complete Burberry wardrobe. Not a collection tailor-made for her, but clothes personally selected off the rack by Burke and then customised for her 3ft 5in (1.04 metre) frame. It turns out that the truth is even better than the gossip. “I’m very fortunate to have a wardrobe full of beautiful, well-made clothes,” she says. “Not just from Burberry, but Gucci, Prada, Ferragamo, Christopher Kane … As a teenager I’m not sure I could even have visualised it.”

As the eldest of five children, she grew up “envious of my sisters, who were average height. They had access to what I saw as the entirety of the fashion industry, even though they had far less interest than I did.” And now? “They look at my wardrobe and are like: ‘Would that fit me?’” She laughs.

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'We're in the fight of our lives': Alabama abortion law spurs lawsuits and protests

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 12:25

Women’s health advocates and Democratic leaders vow to fight the measure and the conservative-led effort to challenge abortion rights nationwide

The fight to prevent Alabama from implementing a near-total ban on abortion is set to rage for months after the state senate made it a crime to perform the procedure at any stage of pregnancy on Tuesday night.

The abortion legislation, the strictest of its kind in the country, is one of several recent abortion restrictions enacted at the state level designed as a direct challenge to Roe v Wade, the supreme court ruling that legalized abortion across the US four and a half decades ago.

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