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I worry constantly about the safety of my grown-up daughters | Dear Mariella

Sat, 04/17/2021 - 19:00

The dangers women face make your anxiety understandable, says Mariella Frostrup. However, you must – as we all must – keep worries to a minimum in order to live life

The dilemma I have four lovely children, all now adults and left home. I rarely worry about my sons, but I constantly, constantly fret about my daughters, who both live in shared houses in distant cities.

They are very good about keeping in touch, and sympathetic to my anxiety, but it is reaching unmanageable proportions. For example, if I look at WhatsApp, I might see that one daughter was on it, say, 30 minutes ago, but the other hasn’t been on it all day. I will then look to see when they were last active on Facebook. If she hasn’t been active on Facebook either, I will telephone her.

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Every woman who sees this film will secretly cheer its antiheroine | Barbara Ellen

Sat, 04/17/2021 - 06:30
Promising Young Woman explores the meaning of consent and the men who ignore it

Emerald Fennell’s Bafta-winning, Oscar-nominated film Promising Young Woman is being viewed as a female revenge fantasy. But in every way that counts, it’s grimly recognisable. Cassie, played by Carey Mulligan, fakes inebriation in nightclubs to entrap predators.

Self-styled “nice guys” are shocked when she turns out to be sober and intent on avenging her friend, the incapacitated victim of a campus rape cheered by braying frat boys. Cassie’s revenge trip may be a fantasy, but the premise is realistic enough for a documentary. This is the grainy footage that plays on a loop inside the female subconscious. This is the bargaining inner dialogue of many a “party girl”: “How much fun can I have before I’m vulnerable, and before everything – even rape – becomes my fault?”

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Pregnant women in UK given green light to have Covid jab

Fri, 04/16/2021 - 07:01

Bereaved families welcome decision to offer Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, based on age and clinical risk

Hundreds of thousands of pregnant women in the UK have been given the green light to receive a Covid vaccine in a move welcomed by bereaved families and campaigners.

All pregnant women would be offered the Pfizer or Moderna jab based on their age and clinical risk group after real-world data from the US showed about 90,000 pregnant women had been vaccinated without any safety concerns, the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said on Friday.

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Covid jabs offered to pregnant women: your questions answered

Fri, 04/16/2021 - 06:46

Pfizer or Moderna jabs to be given after US data confirms that they are safe and effective

All pregnant women are now eligible to get a Covid vaccine, according to updated guidance by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Previously, the committee had recommended that only pregnant women at high risk of exposure, such as frontline health workers, or those with certain underlying medical conditions be offered a jab.

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English universities to be told to work harder to stop sexual misconduct

Fri, 04/16/2021 - 05:50

Office for Students will publish new guidance requiring robust reporting procedures

Universities in England will be asked to step up their efforts to tackle sexual harassment and violence on campus or face sanctions, amid accusations that they have ignored repeated warnings to tackle rape culture.

The higher education regulator, the Office for Students, will publish new guidance next week asking institutions to take responsibility for protecting their students with “robust” reporting procedures and increased mental health support, as well as bystander and consent training for staff and students.

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‘I felt humiliated’: parents respond to NHS maternity care racial bias inquiry

Mon, 04/12/2021 - 20:15

Black, Asian and ethnic minority women report being denied pain relief or feeling unheard to panel investigating mortality disparity

Feeling manipulated into having medical procedures, dismissed by professionals and labelled with racial stereotypes are among the complaints of parents who responded to a national inquiry into racial injustice in UK maternity care.

A panel established by the charity Birthrights is investigating discrimination ranging from explicit racism to racial bias and microaggressions that amount to poorer care.

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‘Out of Trump playbook’: UK accused of ‘abandoning’ women with cuts to aid

Sun, 04/11/2021 - 19:15

Charity warns of 22,000 additional deaths in poorest countries if Wish reproductive health programme ends

The director of a leading sexual and reproductive health charity has accused the government of “abandoning” women and girls it promised to help, as aid cuts derail a leading Tory programme to reduce maternal deaths and prevent unsafe abortions in poor countries.

The threat to the women’s integrated sexual health (Wish) programme could mean 7.5m additional unintended pregnancies, 2.7m unsafe abortions and 22,000 maternal deaths over the next year, said Dr Alvaro Bermejo, director general of International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

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‘We’ve been inundated’: England’s beauty salons say cash-splashing clients excited to return

Sat, 04/10/2021 - 23:40

Clamour for salon appointments comes as uncertainty remains over new rules on shorter, basic treatments

Like many people in the beauty industry, Dennie Smith’s phone has been ringing off the hook as people clamour for appointments when salons reopen in England on Monday.

Her Vintage 62 unisex hair salon in south Croydon had just two 45-minute slots left for the rest of April, and May is nearly all booked up too. “We have been inundated, my phone is literally going 24/7,” said Smith, who has spent the last few days completely redecorating the salon in time for the big reopening. “I’ve spoken to hundreds of people and they’re all excited to come back.”

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Me and my ‘she shed’: women on the joys of their garden retreats

Sat, 04/10/2021 - 23:00

Move over man caves! Now women are discovering what a life-saver their own private sheds can be

At the entrance to Angela Benjamin’s shed is a copper sign that reads: “She Cave”, and a deep purple clematis weaves its way through the letters. The shed is a simple wooden structure at the end of her garden in Ealing, west London that backs on to a cemetery – “so I don’t disturb anyone when I’m working!”

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

Fri, 04/09/2021 - 18:00

A study extending women’s reproductive years offers a chance to look again at how the age of 35 has been treated as a fertility cliff

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In a difficult year, my female friends have made everything a little better | Emma Withers

Fri, 04/09/2021 - 10:00

The talking and sharing of the things we love feels like something unmissable. It makes me sit up a little straighter

I have a lot of female friends. It was not always like this, but somewhere between having very few female friends in my early 20s and my now late 30s, I started to furiously seek out the company of other women. That I came late to it is only indicative of my own insecurities; women it seemed to me were reflective surfaces mirroring my own failings – all their talents and glories diminishing my own, but now that I more or less like myself I am able to embrace all the excellent women I know. Sometimes I catch myself in the amazement that I should have the good luck to be surrounded by so many excellent women.

Related: My old diaries are a capsule of myself, and I am protective over that girl | Emma Withers

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Stomachs in? Return of low-rise jeans leads to social media flare-up

Thu, 04/08/2021 - 02:47

UK online searches up 73% since last year but some users are railing against the ‘bad taste’ trend

One of the most polarising fashions from the 2000s is making a return: the low-rise, stomach revealing jeans. Models Hailey Bieber and Bella Hadid have been seen in the style and, according to Digitalloft.co.uk, online searches have increased by 73% in the past 12 months.

The trend has been lighting up social media but not for the right reasons. Like the divisive skinny jeans, the return of the 20-year-old staple made famous by Paris Hilton, Destiny’s Child and Britney Spears has given Twitter commentators cause for concern.

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Hidden human rights crises threaten post-Covid global security – Amnesty

Wed, 04/07/2021 - 19:00

‘Crises will multiply’ if escalating repression by governments under pretext of pandemic ignored, says secretary general

Neglected human rights crises around the world have the potential to undermine already precarious global security as governments continue to use Covid as a cover to push authoritarian agendas, Amnesty International has warned.

The organisation said ignoring escalating hotspots for human rights violations and allowing states to perpetrate abuses with impunity could jeopardise efforts to rebuild after the pandemic.

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Drama about Flint water crisis takes major theatre award

Wed, 04/07/2021 - 10:00

US activist and dramatist Erika Dickerson-Despenza wins Susan Smith Blackburn prize with the play cullud wattah

A “bold and urgent” play about the Flint water crisis, seen through the eyes of an all-female Michigan family, has won this year’s Susan Smith Blackburn prize for female, transgender and non-binary playwrights. The award went to Erika Dickerson-Despenza for cullud wattah, part of a tetralogy about water which the playwright hopes will “raise consciousness and radicalise” audiences.

“I’m a black woman who has grown up in a family of primarily black women,” said Dickerson-Despenza. “I wanted to write about women living under siege – environmental racism, classism and gender dynamics, and what this does to women and girls in the black midwest. Because I’m a grassroots organiser and activist, I think of all my work as a vehicle. My goal is to radicalise people … I will explore an issue in a creative way to raise collective consciousness.”

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Poland accused of abandoning domestic violence victims

Wed, 04/07/2021 - 03:25

Government criticised over bill that will in effect withdraw country from key international convention

Women’s rights activists and opposition MPs have accused the Polish government of abandoning victims of domestic violence as a bill that would in effect take the country out of a key international convention on violence against women moved through parliament.

A vote last week on its first reading prompted demonstrations around Warsaw, including at the parliament, constitutional court and education ministry. Activists fear that victims of domestic violence will be left with no support or protection.

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Women reach 40 and hit their stride … only to be cruelly shoved aside at work | Rachel Shabi

Tue, 04/06/2021 - 21:00

It’s no coincidence that women are sidelined once they become confident enough to stop conforming to sexist standards

Perhaps you have heard about the mysterious case of the disappearing older woman, who almost overnight seems to vanish from the workplace, the media landscape and society’s line of vision. As others have chronicled, women over 40 face a sucker punch of ageism wrapped in sexism: as our youth recedes, our currency crashes.

This hits hard at work, where we already know that multiple barriers stymie careers for those women who decide to have children. The unequal burden of unpaid labour only adds an extra blockade. Throw in some everyday workplace sexism: role-stereotyping, devaluing, appearance-judging and harassment dressed up as banter. Put it all together and it turns out that these endless obstacles do in fact obstruct, leaving fewer older women in senior jobs, or even in work at all. But the absolute kicker to this trajectory is that the sidelining takes place precisely at the time when many women find their confidence and hit their stride.

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Lena Dunham announces plus-size fashion range: ‘There’s so much judgment’

Mon, 04/05/2021 - 08:04

Girls creator aims to fight idea that bigger women are ‘stupid’ and remove ‘huge barrier to entry’ into the fashion world

Announcing her own plus-size fashion range on Monday, the writer and actor Lena Dunham said her aim was to stop the perception that plus-size women are “stupid”.

The five-piece collaboration with 11 Honoré follows the Girls creator’s catwalk debut last year, for 16Arlington at London Fashion Week.

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People with eating disorders in England denied help as 'BMI not low enough'

Mon, 04/05/2021 - 01:14

Experts warn of surge in condition in pandemic, and say patients being put in ‘life-threatening position’ to lose more weight

Growing numbers of women and men in England with eating disorders are being denied support because they are not considered to be thin enough to warrant it, a leading psychiatrist and other experts have warned in a briefing shared with ministers.

Against the backdrop of a fourfold rise in people admitted to hospital with eating disorders during the Covid pandemic, doctors said body mass index (BMI) was too often used as a blunt measure to decide whether someone should get treatment.

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My rock’n’roll friendship with Lindy Morrison

Sun, 04/04/2021 - 01:00

She was in the Go-Betweens, Tracey Thorn was in the Marine Girls, their 30-year friendship enhanced both their lives

On 31 March 1983, she burst into my dressing room, asking at the top of her voice, “Has anyone here got a lipstick I can borrow?” I looked up to see a tall woman in a Lurex dress, with a mass of blonde hair. Our two bands, Marine Girls and the Go-Betweens, were on the same bill at the Lyceum in London. I was 20, and she was 31. I was a tentative singer, she was a loud, outspoken drummer. I was from suburbia, she was from Brisbane, Australia. And I was still a student, while she had already been a social worker, then joined a feminist punk band called Xero. She’d hitchhiked across Europe with a girlfriend, she’d seen every art film, read every avant-garde book. She’d slept at Shakespeare and Co in Paris, she’d swum with Roger Moore, she could recite Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics. But I didn’t know any of this. I just knew that she looked like self-belief in a minidress, and that she had arrived in my life. “Who was that?” I asked when she had gone. “That,” came the reply, “was Lindy Morrison.”

It took a couple of years for us to become friends. We were opposites in many ways, and at different stages of life, but there were similarities: we both lived with the boyfriend we were in a band with; we had strong opinions about everything – feminism, love and art; we liked Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, Patti Smith, Simone de Beauvoir, and we had no time for a lot of the men who surrounded us in the music business. I’d watch her on stage, fierce and sweating behind the drum kit, long hair flying in her face, all energy, all concentration, and I was proud to be her friend.

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Lockdown ‘glow-up’? We’ve done enough already | Eva Wiseman

Sat, 04/03/2021 - 21:00

Our bodies do so much for us, when we will we appreciate and celebrate them, rather than focus on flaws

A time-lapse video of my body over lockdown would have seen the kinds of bloom and decay of a felled forest or demolished building. Not that I’m comparing it to any structure of architectural interest – let me be clear, my body is very much not “the Shard”, more “the second chicken shop you come to if you turn right out of the Shard and start walking towards Whitechapel”.

I began lockdown pregnant and thoughtful, easing myself gently into cushioned chairs, my moisturised face turned to the sun. Over the following months my body softened and ruined; my makeup-less skin confused by light, mottled, then wattled; my hair choosing its own adventure every morning. Sedentary and unsatisfied, I have aged eight years in the past three months alone. I look in the mirror and see a bag for life.

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