Women's News from the Web

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Updated: 6 hours 27 min ago

Pregnant women going for scans alone told they cannot film baby

Sun, 01/31/2021 - 05:13

Exclusive: NHS urged to act after survey finds some women wrongly warned taking photos is illegal

Pregnant women attending scans and appointments alone are repeatedly being told they cannot record or take photographs of their unborn child to show their partner, according to a survey.

The poll of more than 3,450 pregnant women by the campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed found that more than half of respondents (52%) attended scans alone and were also told that they could not record or take photographs during the appointment.

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‘Making our home safe again’: meet the women who clear land mines

Sun, 01/31/2021 - 02:00

After decades of war, more and more women are working to remove lethal mines and IEDs from the fields and cities of their homelands. It’s dangerous, but it’s helping to rebuild their lives

As a child, Hana Khider dreamed of Sinjar. Born and brought up in Syria, she remembers her mother telling her stories about the district in northern Iraq where her relatives lived. “I always imagined it in my mind,” she says, smiling over our video call. “It was beautiful and peaceful.” Today, Sinjar is her home. She lives with her husband and three children in a village close to Mount Sinjar, which she describes as “very special to our community”. Khider is Yazidi and they believe the mountain was the final resting place of Noah’s Ark. The rocky peak has long been considered a sacred refuge for persecuted people.

It was the mountain that saved her and more than 40,000 other Yazidis when they fled Islamic State in August 2014. Driven from their villages, they camped on the mountain for months – some for years – after a genocide that, according to the UN, saw 5,000 Yazidis massacred and up to 7,000 women and girls captured and sold as sex slaves to Isis members. “We feared for our lives,” Khider, now 28, says, explaining how Isis fighters surrounded the mountain. Luckily, she escaped to Kurdistan, where she lived in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp until her village was liberated. Her family returned in May 2016. A few months later, she applied to work as a deminer at the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), a charity that finds and clears mines in places of conflict.

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How lockdown has revived a certain type of online lothario | Eva Wiseman

Sat, 01/30/2021 - 22:00

Cultured, well-read, romantic, emotional… In theory the ‘softboi’ makes a perfect boyfiend, it’s in reality that things get a lot more complicated

It was on one of those endless fabulous afternoons of the past, when we were walking down a crowded canal path after lunch, that my friend first introduced me to the concept of a “softboi”. She was single at the time and painfully gorgeous – watching her talk, my skin would prickle as if sunburned. She had amassed a sophisticated understanding of the available dating apps and was able to answer questions about their differences, their clientele, their various ways to hurt you, much like a black cab driver having studied the Knowledge. She could tell you the fastest route to a bad decision both in and out of rush hour.

There was a type of man that she seemed to attract, and it was on this leisurely walk (I picture it now through pandemic lenses, the sky a Technicolor turquoise, the smell of strangers’ cigarette smoke like expensive perfume, a dolphin leaping up the lock) that she tried to describe him. At first glance, he was decent. Interesting. Interested. He was in touch with his feelings. His bio was carefully littered with cultural detritus, an author’s name here, a song lyric there. He’d read all the Jonathans, from Franzen to Livingston Seagull. When he respectfully entered her Instagram DMs with a question about her thoughts on such topics as post-feminist marketing or the gentrification of the internet, he was halfway home. It was in the medium of the private message where the softboi could relax. This was his stage, his canvas: an “I’m typing” ellipsis showed the artist was present.

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Third night of protests in Poland after abortion ban takes effect

Fri, 01/29/2021 - 13:03

Thousands join rallies in Warsaw and other cities after delayed ban finally becomes law

Thousands have protested for a third consecutive night in Warsaw and other parts of Poland after the country’s rightwing government implemented a court ruling imposing a near-total ban on abortion.

Protesters have defied coronavirus restrictions and sub-zero temperatures to rally after the controversial judgment was given legal force on Wednesday.

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'It was a misuse of power': how screen sex scenes have been forced to change

Fri, 01/29/2021 - 07:35

As Keira Knightley says she won’t shoot one with a male director, the use of intimacy coordinators means that actors can be more comfortable with what they are asked to do

Once ubiquitous, the screen sex scene is in deep trouble. Keira Knightley, star of Misbehaviour, Official Secrets and Colette, appears to have driven the final nail in the coffin of the traditional sex scene with recent comments that she will no longer participate in “those horrible sex scenes where you’re all greased up and everybody is grunting”, and that she is not prepared to shoot sex scenes with male directors so as not to “portray the male gaze”.

Knightley’s stance reflects an increasing dissatisfaction with the way film-makers have handled such scenes in films and TV shows. Philippa Lowthorpe, who directed Knightley in Misbehaviour, the 2020 film about feminist protesters who disrupted the Miss World competition in 1970, admires the actor for her comments. “I totally understand where Keira is coming from. Intimate scenes make actors vulnerable by their very nature, so can be – and on many occasions have been – open to a misuse of power by directors.”

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Biden move to refund UN population agency is 'ray of hope for millions'

Fri, 01/29/2021 - 00:37

‘Women’s bodies are not political bargaining chips’ says UNFPA director, as US funding restored after Trump era

The decision by US president Joe Biden to refund the UN population fund, UNFPA, offers “a ray of hope for millions of people around the world”, said the agency’s executive director.

Dr Natalia Kanem said the announcement on Thursday would have an “enormous” impact on the agency’s work, particularly as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

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UK sex workers face rising violence and hardship during pandemic

Thu, 01/28/2021 - 22:00

Some women have taken up sex work for the first time because of money worries, while others who had left the trade have returned

Sex workers across the UK are facing increased violence and hardship as a result of lockdowns and coronavirus restrictions, charities and support organisations have warned.

They say sex workers are in more dire and drastic situations than they have ever seen before. Women who had left the sex trade have fallen back into it, others who had regular clients and who had stopped working on the streets have had to return and some have taken up sex work for the first time because they have no money and are desperate.

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No 10 pulls 'sexist' Covid ad showing all chores done by women

Thu, 01/28/2021 - 08:06

Lone man on withdrawn social media image lounges on sofa, while females clean, iron and home-school

The government has been lambasted for apparent sexism after issuing a social media advertisement showing women, but no men, undertaking domestic chores – including home-schooling.

On Thursday, the government attempted to distance itself from the official social media ad which urged people to “Stay Home. Save Lives”.

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'They said I wasn't hot enough': Carey Mulligan hits out again at magazine review

Thu, 01/28/2021 - 00:52

Variety review of black comedy Promising Young Woman prompts actor to speak out on industry’s institutionalised sexism

Carey Mulligan has said she was alarmed after a major publication ran a review of her new film which appeared to question whether she was attractive enough for the role.

Related: Variety's apology to Carey Mulligan shows that the critic's ivory tower is toppling | Peter Bradshaw

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I find it difficult to be assertive. How can I change to become a more confident person? | Leading questions

Wed, 01/27/2021 - 06:30

You can become more confident in much the same way you became less so: by honing your act, writes advice columnist Eleanor Gordon-Smith

I’m 35, well-educated and world travelled. Yet I find it difficult to be assertive and question myself all the time. Whenever someone has a different thought/opinion to me, I end up conceding verbally, even if in my head I know for a fact they’re not right. I don’t come across as sure of myself and that’s affecting my professional life.

Now that I am working from home, my husband says he doesn’t even recognise me on the phone or in video conferences. He says I become submissive and coy. I believe a part of it is that I am female, have been mansplained to and gaslighted many times before, shushed for laughing too loud and was repeatedly told in my childhood/teenage years to be less impulsive. How can I change to become a more confident person?

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Keira Knightley: I won't shoot any more sex scenes directed by men

Mon, 01/25/2021 - 02:19

The actor says she feels very uncomfortable trying to portray the male gaze and says she’s ‘too vain’ to shoot intimate scenes

Keira Knightley has expressed her discomfort with shooting intimate scenes, saying that she will no longer do so if the film is directed by a man.

In conversation with director Lulu Wang and writer-producer Diane Solway on the Chanel Connects podcast, Knightley credited the “male gaze” and her own personal vanity with the decision.

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Grief, anger and a curfew as Pakistani activist Karima Baloch buried

Mon, 01/25/2021 - 01:38

Family of women’s rights advocate, found dead in Canadian lake, call for police to reopen investigation

It was the homecoming they never wanted. Five years ago, Karima Baloch fled Pakistan after her work as a prominent human rights activist put her life in danger. On Sunday morning, on the tarmac of Karachi airport, she was returned to her family at last.

But though she lay lifeless in a wooden coffin, her body was confiscated by Pakistani security officials for hours. Then her home town in Balochistan was placed under the control of paramilitary forces, a curfew was imposed on the region and mobile services were suspended, all to prevent thousands turning out for her funeral on Monday. It was clear that, even in death, Pakistan viewed Baloch as a threat to national security.

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Lorde's former manager fired from Warner after admitting harassing staff

Sun, 01/24/2021 - 19:37

New Zealand-based Scott Maclachlan accepts ‘harmful impact of my past behaviour’ and is trying to repair the damage

The former manager of pop sensation Lorde has been fired by Warner Music New Zealand after multiple cases of harassment were revealed as part of a Me Too investigation.

New Zealand’s Stuff website revealed years of harassment against female staff by Scott Maclachlan – who began working with Lorde when she was 13 and managed her through the breakout success of hit Royals.

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US news giants put more women in the White House

Sat, 01/23/2021 - 22:15

Women of colour included in press corps that seeks to rebalance the traditionally male preserve

US media organisations are taking steps to mirror Joe Biden’s gender-balanced cabinet appointments, with at least six major news networks assigning women to lead White House coverage.

Since Biden’s inauguration last week, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, the public television station PBS and the Washington Post have assigned chief reporting duties to women.

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Mother-in-law jokes a thing of the past? Not at Pixar | Hadley Freeman

Fri, 01/22/2021 - 23:00

The studio’s new movie Soul, starring an ‘annoying’ Tina Fey, has just updated them for a new generation

It’s always weird when a good film suddenly lets you down – like meeting someone at a party who you think might become a proper friend, and then they turn around, bend over and fart. Like, really? I expected better of you, man.

For me this happened (almost literally) with Bridesmaids, a terrifically smart comedy about female friendship, aside from the scene in which all the women develop chronic – and public – diarrhoea. And it happened with Booksmart, which zings with subtle truths about dorky teenage girls, aside from the pointless running joke about a female teacher sleeping with a student. Dontcha love movies that celebrate women, but also gratuitously humiliate them?

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Ministers criticised for plans to create 500 new UK prison places for women

Fri, 01/22/2021 - 14:01

Investment in steering women away from crime ‘dwarfed’ by cost of new places, says penal reform charity

Ministers have been criticised for plans to create 500 new prison places for women as part of proposals designed to reduce the numbers in the criminal justice system.

The Ministry of Justice said almost £2m in funding would go to 38 organisations which work on steering women away from crime, such as Shropshire-based Willowdene, and Cheshire Without Abuse.

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Judge's remarks made mother 'fearful' for herself and her child, hearing told

Fri, 01/22/2021 - 00:36

Barrister urges landmark appeal hearing for courts in England and Wales to set aside decision that father should be allowed contact with child

A family court judge has come under fire for “wholly inappropriate” comments made to a young mother during a private hearing on child contact arrangements.

Judge Richard Scarratt made the mother “fearful” and put pressure on her to accept that the child have contact with her father, a barrister representing the mother has claimed.

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