Women's News from the Web

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Female MP awarded Japan’s most sexist comment after casting doubt on sexual assaults

Tue, 03/09/2021 - 20:47

Mio Sugita earns notoriety for accusations that women lie about sexual violence and LGBT community are ‘unproductive’

Of all the candidates for Japan’s most sexist comment of the year, there seemed to be only one possible winner – Yoshiro Mori, the former head of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic organising committee, who was forced to resign last month after complaining that women “talked too much” during meetings.

But even Mori was unable to compete with Mio Sugita, a conservative politician with a history of insulting women and members of the LGBT community.

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Almost all young women in the UK have been sexually harassed, survey finds

Tue, 03/09/2021 - 20:00

Exclusive: YouGov poll reveals extent of abuse and lack of faith in authorities’ ability to deal with it

Virtually all young women in the UK have been subjected to sexual harassment, according to a survey from UN Women UK, which warns that most women have lost faith that the abuse will be dealt with.

Among women aged 18-24, 97% said they had been sexually harassed, while 80% of women of all ages said they had experienced sexual harassment in public spaces.

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The March4Justice women who are raring to rally: 'A time of reckoning for Australia'

Tue, 03/09/2021 - 16:32

A plan for a few friends to gather outside Parliament House has snowballed, with 36 protests planned across the country

When Janine Hendry decided to stage a protest against sexism, misogyny and alleged sexual misconduct in Australia’s parliament, she thought it would be just her and a few friends waving placards outside Parliament House.

But that was a couple of weeks ago. Today her March4Justice movement has 27,000 followers on Facebook and close to 8,000 on Twitter.

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Why feminists still have reason to hope | Letter

Tue, 03/09/2021 - 07:59

Penny Florence responds to an article discussing how the 00s were a toxic time for women

I read Sirin Kale’s generally excellent article with mixed feelings (‘I was worried Lindsay, Paris or Britney would die’: why the 00s were so toxic for women, 6 March). I was truly baffled by the subtitle: “The decade that feminism forgot”. Surely, as she shows, it was the decade that forgot feminism. This was not by chance. Attacking women’s solidarity has a history that engenders caution over any apparent progress.

There have been proto-feminist periods throughout history, but they have always been suppressed or derailed by inimical ideologies. Such recorded histories that survive inevitably only show part of the story, since they were written and preserved by a select group of white, educated men.

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Quarter of women and girls have been abused by a partner, says WHO

Tue, 03/09/2021 - 06:10

Largest such study finds domestic violence experienced by one-in-four teenage girls with worst levels faced by women in their 30s

One in four women and girls around the world have been physically or sexually assaulted by a husband or male partner, according to the largest study yet of the prevalence of violence against women.

The report, conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN partners, found that domestic violence started young, with a quarter of 15- to 19-year-old girls and young women estimated to have been abused at least once in their lives. The highest rates were found to be among 30- to 39-year-olds.

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Afghan TV station 'can't hire women' over security fears after four killed

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 21:15

Government blamed for not ensuring safety as broadcaster’s female staff told to stay home after attacks by Isis

A radio and television broadcaster in eastern Afghanistan that has had four of its female employees murdered since December has said it will not hire any more women until security in the country improves.

The broadcaster, Enikass Radio and Television, has also told all female employees to work from home. Islamic State (Isis) has claimed responsibility for killing all four women, but Enikass also blames the Afghan government for not providing adequate security.

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Mexico protests against attacks on women turn violent, as tension with president escalates

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 20:11

Protester’s angry that López Obrador has supported politician accused of sexual assault are calling for greater protections for women

Women marching on International Women’s Day have clashed with police at barricades surrounding the National Palace in Mexico City, where officers fired pepper spray after the protesters attempted to tear down a metal wall.

The Mexico City government, however, “categorically denied” using any kind of gas against protesters. Sixty-two officers and 19 civilians were injured during the incidents, said Marcela Figueroa, an official of the city’s police agency.

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BioNTech co-founder says gender equality made vaccine possible

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 10:28

Özlem Türeci credits firm’s more than 50% female workforce for speed at which first viable jab created

The co-founder and chief medical officer of BioNTech has credited its speed at producing a viable vaccine to the fact its workforce is more than 50% female. Speaking on International Women’s Day, Özlem Türeci also said the fact women are so under-represented in decision-making roles in medicine was “destroying value” for stakeholders.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the first to be approved in the UK and Türeci said it was the company’s balanced workforce that “made the impossible possible” in creating a jab in just 11 months.

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Women fell back in race for inclusion in 2020 pop charts

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 08:13

Only 20% of artists in 2020 Billboard’s year-end Hot 100 were women, academic survey reports, while female producers were credited on only 2% of hit songs

The music industry continues to marginalise women, according to the latest instalment of a landmark US survey on representation in pop.

In 2020, women were outnumbered on the US Billboard charts by men at a ratio of 3.9 to 1, according to the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s annual study of the Billboard Hot 100 year-end chart.

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The UK government is standing by as Covid sets back women's equality | Mandu Reid

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 06:32

When the chips were down, we were confronted with the fragility of the gains we’d made over the years

It’s almost impossible to imagine that on this day last year I ledhundreds of women marching shoulder to shoulder through London’s streets. On International Women’s Day feminists come together to find our voice, find our power and find the strength to carry us through the other 364 days of the year that are largely the purview of men. Back then, we didn’t know that a pandemic was about to fundamentally change all of our lives, but we could have grimly predicted how damaging its effects would prove to be for women. When the chips were down, we were confronted with the fragility of women’s equality.

You didn’t have to be an epidemiologist to understand that the impact of the virus, and any efforts to control it, would fall unevenly on people according to their status in the economy and society. And you didn’t need a crystal ball to know that the Conservative government would bypass any opportunity to acknowledge and address those inequalities, even when lives were at stake. Their priority at every stage has been to deliver the kind of support that can most easily be taken away.

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On International Women's Day, let's give feminist groups the funding they need | Zoneziwoh Mbondgulo-Wondieh

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 05:00

In Cameroon, and across the world, grassroot organisations like mine have been on the Covid frontline. Now we need proper support

When Covid-19 first entered Cameroon, where I live and work, I knew that women would be among the worst affected by the ensuing crisis. Across the world during the pandemic, violence against women and girls has soared, and women are also bearing the brunt of the economic fallout.

These same dynamics are at play in Cameroon, but many women here now find themselves in a doubly difficult situation. As the world has gone online, digital gaps in Cameroon have left the majority of women disconnected, unable to access education or connect with one another. A 2015 report revealed that only 36% of women in Cameroon were internet users – and very little has changed since then.

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What I learned from reading books by women from every country in the world | Sophie Baggott

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 04:00

In three years, I’ve been enchanted, surprised and shocked by the stories told by women of all nations – and inspired by the solidarity they show

Three years ago, when I set out to read writing by a woman from every country in the world, I had no idea of the ways in which this journey would surprise me, challenge me and, as life became smaller, sustain me.

What I did know was that I needed to broaden my bookcase far beyond the canon. So in June 2018, I started a blog where I would chart my way, gather tips from readers and review all 199 books, poems and stories. (I was more inclusive than some official lists – bringing in Palestine, Tibet and Kosovo, for instance). It felt surreal in December last year when I closed Le Déserteur by Hélène Kaziende from Niger, the very last country on my list. Taking the form of a letter to Africa, this short story explores the fraught decision to leave a place of origin. I had learned of Kaziende’s work through my research into Nigerien literature, and it took months for me to track down a secondhand copy of the 1992 collection, Kilomètre 30, where her story is printed. The pandemic meant it took another six weeks to land on my doorstep, and an additional afternoon to freshen up my French, before I could read it. It was well worth the wait.

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It's time to recognise the women who've kept the UK going during Covid | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 02:00

This International Women’s Day, let’s give real power to those in our families, hospitals and care homes who are working so hard

That so many women have found feminism is something to celebrate this International Women’s Day. During the late 1990s and early 00s, the era in which I grew up, we were told that the fight for gender equality was over. The battle had apparently been won: women were sexually and economically liberated. But for the past half-decade or so writers of my generation have been looking back on that time and asking, “What the hell?” This has most recently manifested in a reexamination of the story of Britney Spears.

It seems obvious to me, now, that there was nothing at all empowering about the sexualisation of a girl who was barely out of childhood, dressed in a school uniform and pigtails for the titillation of men. But it just goes to show how strong that postfeminist empowerment narrative was, that the documentary Framing Britney Spears continues to peddle it. As the writer Tavi Gevinson has written so astutely, it is “eager to characterise Spears’s early image as an expression of female power rather than the corporation-sanctioned sexualization of a 16-year-old”.

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'Scream or shout': campaign group's voicemail service lets mothers rant

Sun, 03/07/2021 - 20:00

Pregnant Then Screwed’s SOS voicemail service gives mothers the chance to ‘rant, rave, scream or shout’ about their pandemic experiences. Their stories are raw, emotional and sometimes painful to hear

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We can stop to take pride on International Women's Day – but only for a moment | Polly Toynbee

Sun, 03/07/2021 - 20:00

The fight for equality has come a long way since I started work in 1968. But the pandemic has shown how far there is to go

On the long climb, stop and catch your breath on International Women’s Day. Look back in anger – but with pride, too. Dear granddaughters, let me recount women’s lives when I started work in 1968. To you, it’s the same ancient history the suffragettes were to me.

With my first paycheck from the Observer, I tried to buy a washing machine on hire purchase, but was refused without a signature from a husband or a father. That felt symbolic, since washing machines were such liberators. The 1975 Sex Discrimination Act gave women the right to goods, credit, loans and services, but they were still often refused, just as the law is ignored now, with women still sacked for pregnancy.

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Half of women in UK fear equality is going back to 1970s – survey

Sun, 03/07/2021 - 20:00

Exclusive: impact of pandemic has fallen unequally on women, leading to calls for strategy to restore balance

Women across the UK have issued a “desperate cry for help”, with more than half believing that women’s equality is in danger of going back to the 1970s at work, at home and in society, according to an exclusive survey.

After a year that has seen women more likely to be furloughed, lose their jobs, carry the burden of home schooling and domestic drudgery, women are increasingly fearful about their futures, with almost half of those surveyed in a Mumsnet poll for International Women’s Day expecting gender equality to go into reverse over the next few years.

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School for female shepherds aims to restore balance in Spain's countryside

Sun, 03/07/2021 - 19:00

As more women leave rural areas for cities, course forms part of drive to revive villages

The rugged pathways crisscross Spain, sprawling across an estimated 1% of its territory. Etched into the land over centuries, the country’s livestock roads have long been the domain of solitary men leading their flocks to lush pastures.

Now a new initiative is looking to change this with the launch of the country’s first shepherding school for women. The aim of the School for Shepherdesses of the 21st Century is twofold: offering women a foothold in a trade long dominated by men, while also throwing a lifeline to the thousands of Spanish towns that are slowly fading from the map.

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UK public urged to find statues of women for gender gap database

Sun, 03/07/2021 - 14:01

Campaigners hope list of sculptures and busts will help redress imbalance in civic monuments

People are being urged to find female statues in their local areas as part of a campaign to record the sculptures and busts of “real-life women” and redress the gender imbalance in civic monuments.

The campaign group Public Sculpture and Statues Association (PSSA) has so far recorded 100 sculptures in the UK as part of its new public database. Its co-chair Joanna Barnes said the list was not comprehensive and new submissions were being made.

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The Guardian view on women and the pandemic: what happened to building back better? | Editorial

Sun, 03/07/2021 - 08:30

Around the world, coronavirus has both highlighted and worsened existing inequalities

One year into the pandemic, women have little cause to celebrate International Women’s Day tomorrow, and less energy to battle for change. Men are more likely to die from Covid-19. But women have suffered the greatest economic and social blows. They have taken the brunt of increased caregiving, have been more likely to lose their jobs and have seen a sharp rise in domestic abuse.

In the UK, women did two-thirds of the extra childcare in the first lockdown, and were more likely to be furloughed. In the US, every one of the 140,000 jobs lost in December belonged to a woman: they saw 156,000 jobs disappear, while men gained 16,000. But white women actually made gains, while black and Latina women – disproportionately in jobs that offer no sick pay and little flexibility – lost out. Race, wealth, disability and migration status have all determined who is hit hardest. Previous experience suggests that the effects of health crises can be long-lasting: in Sierra Leone, over a year after Ebola broke out, 63% of men had returned to work but only 17% of women.

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'This is the moment to get really pissed off': Australian women demand change to heal wounds

Sun, 03/07/2021 - 06:30

After a traumatising week for many, we ask 12 women on International Women’s Day about the fight for gender equality and what still needs to change

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