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Mere confession won’t cut it – men must do the hard work of repentance and change | Brad Chilcott

Sat, 04/03/2021 - 10:00

We must believe women, learn from the women in our lives and reflect on what is broken to eradicate ancient evils

The last thing we need right now is a bloke showing up to announce themselves as the saviour of the world. It would be fair to say we’ve tried that. For millennia.

The facts speak for themselves. Ninety-five per cent of all violence – against women, children and other men – is perpetrated by men. It will take at least 26 more years to bridge the gender pay gap. Women who are raped lose their careers and are told to be more careful.

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Women’s anger at ‘abuse of power’ during Bristol police raids

Sat, 04/03/2021 - 08:41

Two protesters claimed they were subject to terrifying ordeals at the hands of male officers pretending to be postal workers

The police have been accused of an abuse of power by using anti-terror style tactics against protesters after two young women claimed they endured terrifying ordeals at the hands of male officers pretending to be postal workers.

The women were caught up in a series of undercover raids by Avon and Somerset Police as part of the force’s high-profile investigation into a fortnight of the “kill the bill” protests in Bristol. So far 50 people have been arrested in connection with clashes during protests against the government’s police and crime bill, which will give the police wide-ranging powers over demonstrations.

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Why Silicon Valley's most astute critics are all women | John Naughton

Sat, 04/03/2021 - 05:00

Tailors and dressmakers long ago worked out that men and women are different shapes and sizes. The news has yet to reach Palo Alto

In November 2019, which now seems like an aeon ago, I wrote about an interesting correlation I had stumbled across. It was that the authors of the most insightful critiques of digital technology as deployed by the tech companies were women. I listed 20 of them and added that I made no claims for the statistical representativeness of my sample. It might simply have been the result of confirmation bias – I read more tech commentary than is good for anyone and it could be that the stuff that sticks in my memory happens to resonate with my views.

Sixteen months later, I find that my list of formidable female tech critics has extended. It now includes (in alphabetical order): Janet Abbate, Lilian Edwards, Maria Farrell, Timnit Gebru, Wendy Hall, Mar Hicks, Kashmir Hill, Lina Khan, Pratyusha Kalluri, Rebecca Mackinnon, Margaret Mitchell, Safiya Noble, Kavita Philip, Mitali Thakor, Corinna Schlombs, Dina Srinivasan and Carissa Véliz. If any of these are unknown to you then any good search engine will point you to them and to their work. Again, the usual caveats apply. I’m not claiming statistical representativeness, just that as someone whose various day jobs involve reading a lot of tech critiques, these are the thinkers who stand out.

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The Pinnacle Club: rock-climbing for women – archive, 2 April 1921

Thu, 04/01/2021 - 18:30

2 April 1921 A letter to the Manchester Guardian announces the formation of a new club

A club which was certain to come has come at last. A letter which we print elsewhere tells us that the Pinnacle Club, for women rock-climbers, was formed on March 26. Of course climbing on rock, snow, and ice has long been successfully practised by women. A Manchester woman was a member of one of the earliest parties to climb the Napes Needle; one of the most pleasant Alpine stories is that of the early traverse of the Sesiajoch, on Monte Rosa, by two resolute English spinsters, conducting a terrified “guide,” and rumour says that one of the most famous of Alpine pioneers used to divide peaks into three classes, in an ascending order of difficulty: (I) those which he climbed with other male amateurs, (2) those which he climbed by himself, and (3) those which he climbed with his aunt.

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French woman overturns conviction for accusing man of sexual harassment

Wed, 03/31/2021 - 06:01

Sandra Muller, who founded French version of #MeToo, wins appeal against defamation ruling

A French appeals court has overturned the defamation conviction of the woman behind France’s answer to the #MeToo movement, who was sued by the man she accused of sexual harassment.

Sandra Muller, a French journalist, coined the viral hashtag #BalanceTonPorc (“expose your pig”) to describe the TV executive Éric Brion.

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Swiss army to begin issuing female recruits with women's underwear

Tue, 03/30/2021 - 16:25

Female recruits to stop being given male underwear in a bid to up recruitment

The Swiss armed forces is taking a big step to recruit more women – by no longer making female recruits wear men’s underwear.

At present, all recruits are issued with “loose-fitting men’s underwear, often in larger sizes”, the BBC reported. In a trial set to begin in April, the Swiss army said women would be issued with two sets of female underwear – one for warmer months and one for colder months.

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Grace Tame expresses incredulity at PM's choice of Amanda Stoker as assistant minister for women

Tue, 03/30/2021 - 13:23

Scott Morrison either ignorant of issues or making calculated moves, Australian of the Year says

The Australian of the Year, Grace Tame, has criticised Scott Morrison for elevating Amanda Stoker as the new assistant minister for women, declaring that the Queensland senator had supported a “fake rape crisis tour” that inflicted great suffering on survivors.

Tame said Morrison had exhibited either very poor judgment, or cultural calculation, when he elevated the Liberal National party conservative who had conducted public advocacy “aimed at falsifying all counts of sexual abuse on campuses across the nation”.

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One in 10 young Australian women believe work culture in federal politics is safe

Tue, 03/30/2021 - 12:02

Poll released as Victorian law requires public sector to tackle pay gap and sexual harassment

As federal parliament continues to grapple with the fallout from the sexual harassment of staff, three-quarters of Australian women aged 18 to 21 say they do not believe that women in politics are treated equally to men (73%), rising to almost eight in 10 among women aged between 22 and 25 (78%).

A poll of 507 women, conducted by YouGov for the charity for girls’ equality Plan International Australia, found that the perception of inequality applied across the political spectrum. Eighty-nine per cent of Green voters, 77% of Labor voters and 71% of Coalition voters do not believe that women involved in politics today are treated equally to men.

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The disappearance of department stores will rob us of a certain kind of magic | Kitty Drake

Mon, 03/29/2021 - 00:26

As John Lewis and other big names cut retail space, we’re not just losing shops – but spaces to dream in

There is an advert I like from the glory days of the department store: “I was lonely,” a woman says, “so I went to Selfridges … one of the biggest and brightest places I could think of.” Selfridge’s cut 450 jobs in 2020; Harrods axed 700. Debenhams went into administration in April 2019 and House of Fraser has been taken over by Mike Ashley. More than 17,500 shops disappeared from British high streets last year, but the closure of 16 John Lewis stores feels particularly significant. When lockdown lifts, half of the flagship John Lewis store on London’s Oxford Street may be converted into office space.

The high street has been in decline since the growth of out-of-town shopping centres in the 80s but despite this, John Lewis had maintained a reputation for solidity. Founded in 1864, the company is the UK’s largest employee-owned business; each worker has part-ownership of the company and a share of its annual profits. Yet Covid-19 restrictions have had a devastating effect on high-street businesses, particularly those in city centres. This is the first year in the company’s history that it has reported an annual loss, and the first time since 1953 that John Lewis won’t pay staff a bonus.

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Britain thinks it has won the gender equality war. That's a bad sign | Nesrine Malik

Sun, 03/28/2021 - 03:55

There have been key victories but a survey shows complacency setting in just as women face a post-pandemic crisis

Progress can often be its own worst enemy. After a month in which the nation’s attention was diverted towards the inadequate understanding of the dangers women face from sexual predators, a new survey by King’s College London on perceptions of inequality reveals that the UK is exceptional among similar nations in its attitudes towards gender inequality.

In short, the British seem to have relegated gender inequality to the consigned-to-the-past category, with only 23% of those surveyed considering it a top concern. In this the British are an anomaly, diverging clearly from other European countries and sitting closer to nations such as China, where respondents posted similarly low levels of concern about female inequality. In fact, among the 28 countries surveyed, Britain and Hungary were the lowest-ranking western countries.

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Victims in 84% of online grooming cases are girls

Sun, 03/28/2021 - 01:40

Campaigners want the new digital safety bill to tighten regulation of tech giants and focus on protecting young females

Greater online protection for girls is urgently needed, say experts, after new analysis revealed that 84% of grooming offences recorded under a law that makes it illegal to send sexual messages to children involved female victims.

It is the first time that the gender of victims in police records has been made public since sexual communication with children became an offence four years ago.

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Sexual abuse rife in UK's state and private schools, say police

Sat, 03/27/2021 - 23:50

More than 100 state and private schools have been named on a website set up to expose misogyny

Sexual abuse by pupils is widespread across state and private education, according to a leading police officer, who has revealed that more than 100 schools have been named on a website set up to expose misogyny, harassment and assault.

Following a week in which several high-profile fee-paying schools have been accused of failing to deal with complaints about a “rape culture”, Det Supt Mel Laremore said it was a “national issue”.

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So, Priti Patel, your asylum plans will help women? Let me introduce you to Gloria | Natasha Walter

Sat, 03/27/2021 - 22:05
The home secretary says she wants to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable women. Her proposals will achieve just the opposite

When Priti Patel stood up in parliament last week to unveil her plans to overhaul the asylum system, she told us she was making all this effort not for votes, not to keep out foreigners, not to appease nationalists… but for women. With a plaintive tone, she observed that those we see in small boats out on the Channel are so often men and asked: “Where are the vulnerable women and children that this system should exist to protect?”

If the home secretary really wants to find them, I can introduce her to some of these women. Indeed, I could take her this week to meet a woman I know very well – I’ll call her Gloria. Gloria comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the government persecutes dissidents with impunity. Gloria was involved in opposition politics. One night, soldiers came to her home, gang-raped her and took her to prison. After some time, a prison guard gave her to a stranger who said that he would help her.

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This is an extraordinary opportunity to talk to boys about consent and respect | Helen Pike

Sat, 03/27/2021 - 11:15

Collective anger about Sarah Everard’s death has opened a space for us to confront abuse of girls by their male classmates

One of the things I’m really interested in, as a headteacher, is how cultures are created – and how culture can be changed. We have been talking to our boys about sexism, sexual harassment and consent for years. We’ve tried to raise their awareness about everyday sexism and things that can seem quite small on their own – but which cumulatively add up to a culture.

There is a collective sense of anger about Sarah Everard’s death, so there is an extraordinary opportunity right now to talk to boys about consent and respectful behaviour between men and women. But it’s terrible that it’s been born out of a national tragedy, followed by some very upsetting and disturbing testimonies from anonymous young women.

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My sons ask if a man has ever hurt me. Not really, I lie | Hadley Freeman

Fri, 03/26/2021 - 23:00

Living in fear of harassment is a universal female experience. This is my own story, in 10 parts

A recent YouGov survey found that 86% of women aged 18-24 in the UK have been sexually harassed. This statistic shocked me: did the other 14% not understand the question? To live in fear of harassment or assault is such a universal female experience that many of us don’t even think about it, having learned to accept it from an absurdly early age. It doesn’t break you but it shapes you, like a rock face getting battered by strong waves. This is my own story, in 10 parts.

Aged seven: my friends and I are in the park when a bush next to us trembles. A man climbs out holding his penis towards us, as if he’s offering a special on the menu. This is the first time I’ve seen a penis, and it is disgusting and terrifying, an impression it takes decades to shake.

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'Ugliest crime': Outcry in Sudan over lack of justice for killing of teenage girl

Thu, 03/25/2021 - 21:15

Death of Samah el-Hadi, allegedly shot by her father, has led to outpouring of women sharing own stories of domestic violence

Thousands of people have signed a petition urging the Sudanese government to take action against a man released without charge by police after his 13-year-old daughter was shot dead.

Samah el-Hadi was shot three times and run over by a car, reports said. Neighbours have taken to social media to blame her father, who was briefly questioned by the authorities but released after telling them Samah had taken her own life. No postmortem was carried out on the girl’s body.

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Sign of the times: Rome welcomes its first female traffic cop to work atop podium

Thu, 03/25/2021 - 20:41

Cristina Corbucci is the first female traffic controller to stand on the retractable podium in Rome’s famous Piazza Venezia

Romans greeted with joy the return of the traditional white-gloved traffic cop, who rises from a podium in Piazza Venezia to elegantly direct the vehicles coming from three directions around them. Now they’ve welcomed a break from the past after Cristina Corbucci, the first female traffic controller to stand on the platform, made her debut this week.

“I think it’s fantastic, and it’s about time,” said Giuliana Cazzarolli as she watched the officers switch shifts on Thursday. “I hope she’s well paid.”

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Strauss-Kahn accuser Tristane Banon helps shape new French rape law

Thu, 03/25/2021 - 19:00

Ten years after the former IMF chief’s fall from political grace, Banon celebrates new legislation on ages of consent

Almost exactly 10 years ago Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the man set to be the next leader of France, was arrested in New York and accused of raping a hotel chambermaid.

It was a fall from grace many had anticipated but few believed would actually topple the veteran politician and Socialist president in waiting.

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Reproduction without pregnancy: would it really emancipate women? | Jenny Kleeman

Thu, 03/25/2021 - 01:00

It may sound far-fetched, but a breakthrough in Israel has brought us a step closer to creating artificial wombs for humans

A team of Israeli scientists announced the mother of all inventions last week. Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science revealed in the journal Nature that they had successfully gestated hundreds of mice inside an artificial womb. They placed newly fertilised eggs inside glass vials rotating in a ventilated incubator, and grew the embryos for 11 days – the mid-point of a mouse pregnancy – outside their mothers’ bodies. The embryos developed normally; their hearts, visible through the glass vials, pounded steadily at 170 beats per minute.

The mice were no bigger than sunflower seeds, but what they represent is enormous: the breakthrough brings us one step closer to reproduction without pregnancy. The division of labour in gestation is the most intractable imbalance between the sexes. Men only have to contribute a single cell to make a baby, whereas women carry their children for nine months and give birth, sometimes risking their bodies and often risking their careers, in a world of work built largely by men. An artificial womb would mean complete reproductive parity between the sexes: all anyone needs to do is throw in their gametes and the rest is taken care of. But this equality could come at great cost to women. This is radically disruptive technology, and with every new development we are sleepwalking into a world of tough ethical choices.

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Women are more susceptible to long Covid, but will we listen to them?

Thu, 03/25/2021 - 00:00

We have a unique window to analyze how the virus overlaps with chronic illnesses – but medicine has a habit of dismissing women who suffer from them

Helene Fox was recovering from surgery to remove endometriosis when she caught Covid-19. It had been six weeks since her laparoscopy and although she had been walking every day, following her surgeon’s instructions, she had only been on short 30 minute walks around her neighbourhood. Then a sunny March day presented itself and Helene took advantage of it. “It was the first time I’d done a long walk through the park and along the canal in East London, and I was really excited because I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’ve got the energy for this. This is the beginning of my recovery.’”

The day after her glorious long walk, still feeling better, Helene went to the pub with friends. Ten of those friends, including Helene, ended up with Covid-19.

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