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Women Lifestyle «TheGuardian»

Thu, 20 Sep 2018 09:37:54 GMT
Women still fighting to get their dues in the medical profession

New exhibition at Royal College of Physicians highlights 500 years of women’s struggle to get their foot in the door of the medical profession

Medicine is not a welcoming world for women, even in 2018. Women hold a tiny proportion of Britain’s professorial medical posts, while the NHS has a 23% gender pay gap. Just last month Tokyo Medical University admitted it had tampered with female students’ exam scores to stop them getting in, fearing they would put their careers on hold to get married and have children.

This pernicious culture of sexism and scaremongering is nothing new. It has been deployed for centuries to bar women from the profession and to trivialise their contributions as doctors.

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Tue, 18 Sep 2018 23:01:01 GMT
UK survey finds sharp decline in happiness of young women and girls

Exams and social media blamed for finding that only 25% of respondents describe themselves as very happy

There has been a sharp decline in happiness among girls and young women in the UK in the last decade, with the majority of them blaming exams and social media for causing stress, a major survey has found.

Just one in four (25%) girls and young women between the ages of seven and 21 described themselves as “very happy” in the latest girls’ attitudes survey for the Girlguiding organisation – down from 41% in 2009.

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Mon, 17 Sep 2018 16:01:17 GMT
The state has no right to stop me learning the sex of my unborn child

A new test that reveals a baby’s sex at 10 weeks has, predictably, led to panic about an increase in terminations – as if we need even more anxiety about pregnancy

When should a woman be able to find out her baby’s sex? And what should she be able to do with this information? In the latest instalment of What to Expect When Society Lays Expectations Upon You, to which Wide Awoke dutifully refers whenever anything pregnancy-related crowns its head, the Labour party is calling for a ban on pregnant women being told the sex of their baby after the early blood tests. Why? Because of a concern that some people may choose termination on the grounds of sex. Which is, quite rightly, illegal. The sex of a foetus is not a reason for termination; I think most human beings can agree on that.

Let’s delve deeper. Noninvasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), now offered by the NHS to screen for genetic conditions including Down’s syndrome, can also determine a foetus’s sex from as early as 10 weeks. Parents cannot use NIPT to find out a baby’s sex unless they go private, and this appears to be happening more. A report last year warned that “permitting NIPT for sex determination in the UK may be encouraging sex selection”. The Labour MP Naz Shah said that a preference for boys in some cultures could force parents “to adopt methods such as NIPT to live up to expectations of family members”.

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Sun, 16 Sep 2018 07:59:19 GMT
I’m glad I started a debate, says athlete who breastfed on ultra-marathon

Sophie Power was stunned to be a social media hit but is pleased maternal guilt is being discussed

It was the image that triggered a global debate about motherhood. A little under halfway through one of the world’s most gruelling races, the 105-mile Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), Sophie Power, 36, was photographed at an aid station near the Italian ski resort of Courmayeur breastfeeding her three-month-old son, Cormac.

Within days, the image had gone viral and was picked up by newspapers from India to Indianapolis.

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Sun, 16 Sep 2018 04:59:15 GMT
Anger about makeup on the tube is the first stop to misogyny

While tutting at a stranger as they apply their foundation is far from the harassment that requires hate crime status, it’s behaviour that swims in the same sea

“This is my dance space,” Johnny said in Dirty Dancing. “This is your dance space,” and with his arms he drew a circle with a diameter of about 1ft. That was the area that Baby owned, which was absolutely hers, for a song at least, and it’s something I often think about when moving about the world. It landed in my head again when I read the result of the BBC’s survey on “anti-social commuters”, which highlighted some passengers’ irritation at seeing women applying their makeup in public. Despite these women staying well within their own circles, strangers are regularly and deeply offended by the sight of a woman getting ready for the day.

It’s always baffled me, the idea that somebody applying powder on the train has the potential to upset – I often have to clench my fists to avoid applauding the marvellous contouring work I see underground at 9am – and I still don’t quite believe it. Instead, I’m inclined to think there’s something darker at play, something that one Telegraph letter-writer hinted at with their exasperated plea for women to do their eyeliner at home in order to “maintain the mystery”. The mystery – spoiler – is that there is no mystery. There is simply concealer, tight underwear and pretending everything’s fine.

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Thu, 13 Sep 2018 07:21:27 GMT
Rise in childbirth terror disorder 'fuelled by social media'

Horror stories may exacerbate tocophobia, leading to more C-section requests and abortions, says academic

A debate has broken out about whether sharing stories about difficult births on social media is prompting a rise in women experiencing a pathological terror of childbirth.

Tocophobia is a mental condition defined as a severe fear or dread of childbirth. It affects around 14% of women, and can be serious enough to lead to requests for caesarean sections. Rates of the disorder have been rising worldwide since 2000, according to research.

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Thu, 20 Sep 2018 15:21:43 GMT
Toothbrush subscription firm apologises over 'spit or swallow' advert

Brushbox aimed ‘foul’ marketing campaign at first-year university students across the UK

A toothbrush subscription company has apologised after attracting heavy criticism for a “foul” marketing campaign aimed at first-year students arriving at universities across the UK.

Brushbox admitted that the inclusion of a beer mat with a suggestive image of a woman’s mouth drooling a white substance resembling semen, with the phrase “spit or swallow” on the reverse, was an error of judgment.

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Thu, 20 Sep 2018 05:00:15 GMT
Belfast court to hear landmark challenge over abortion rights

Northern Ireland woman takes on decision to prosecute her for supplying pills to daughter

A woman is challenging a decision to prosecute her for obtaining abortion pills for her pregnant underage daughter in a potential landmark case for abortion rights in Northern Ireland.

She will seek to overturn a decision by the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland to subject her to a criminal trial and the prospect of five years in prison for supplying the pills in 2013 to her then 15-year-old daughter, who terminated the pregnancy.

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Thu, 20 Sep 2018 04:34:47 GMT
Top South Korean theatre director jailed for sexually abusing nine women

Lee Yoon-taek given six years for abuses dating back to 2010 as MeToo gathers pace

A prominent South Korean theatre director has been sentenced to six years in prison for the sexual abuse of nine women, as the country’s nascent MeToo movement gathers pace.

Lee Yoon-taek was jailed on Wednesday for assaults on actresses dating back to 2010, including abusing eight women and sexually assaulting another.

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Thu, 20 Sep 2018 02:07:08 GMT
Men voted out as Jacinda Ardern, baby Neve and female MPs recreate 1905 image

125 years after women first voted in elections, the country’s female MPs gather for a symbolic photograph

Female New Zealand MPs have celebrated suffrage day by recreating a famous photograph from 1905 shot in the country’s parliament featuring no women.

Instead of an all-male lineup, it features 39 of the country’s 46 women MPs.

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Wed, 19 Sep 2018 17:02:07 GMT
Why female superheroes shouldn’t hit old ladies | Zoe Williams

The new female Captain Marvel does just that in a film trailer – Superman would never be allowed to stoop so low. What’s going on?

The trailer for Captain Marvel has landed. I always find it hard to tell someone’s superpower from a trailer – it all moves so fast – but I know she can breathe fire out of her eyes, and I can see quite plainly that she is female, the first of her kind, unless you count Wonder Woman, or Lara Croft, which for reasons relating to comic franchises, we do not. Apart from the eyes, some obligatory superhero amnesia and a bit of kinetic energy, the main thing we see is the Captain punching an old lady. In the fullness of the film, it will doubtless transpire that the old lady was a well-disguised mutant, or carrying a nuclear bomb; in the thrill of the trailer, we take these things on trust. The Captain, being female, must have a sound reason.

You would never see Superman do such a thing, even if the lady did have a nuclear bomb: it would be too visually uncomfortable. Some studio exec would say: “Can’t we make the old lady a hyena?” And everyone would nod and say: “That’s why he’s paid the big bucks.”

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Wed, 19 Sep 2018 16:48:28 GMT
Of course girls feel miserable. They can’t move freely in the world | Suzanne Moore

Yet another survey tells us fewer girls are happy or confident. Let’s be honest – in the end, this is down to male violence

Another day, another headline about the unhappiness of girls. The latest one is from a survey that finds a “sharp decline in the happiness of young women and girls”. The Girlguiding organisation found that only 25% of girls between the ages of seven and 21 are “very happy”. Whereas in 2009, 41% said they were. The older they are, the unhappier they become: 27% of 17- to 21-year-olds said they did not feel happy, whereas as in 2009 only 11% did.

What does this mean? How do we measure happiness? Who is very happy or expects to be? What teenager is bouncing round with sheer joy? Who declares themselves happy all the time?

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Wed, 19 Sep 2018 08:00:12 GMT
Pregnancy weigh-ins were stopped in the 90s – and they’re still a bad idea | Lucy Jones
Yes, talk about healthy diets and weighing if there’s a problem, but calls to make this mandatory are misguided

In the latest “pregnant women are doing it all wrong” news, the weigh-in may return in an effort to stop Britain’s expectant mums piling on too many pounds.

Midwives stopped weighing pregnant women in the 1990s because there wasn’t any clinical evidence to suggest it made a difference to the health of the woman or their baby. In fact, regular weighing was thought to cause stress and anxiety.

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Fri, 14 Sep 2018 13:41:00 GMT
Women in their 40s freeze their eggs for a reason (and it’s not stupidity) | Zeynep Gurtin

In my research into single women’s fertility options, I’ve found this is often a clear-eyed, pragmatic decision

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) says women should freeze their eggs before they are 35. But is this sound advice?

The first official report on egg freezing in the UK shows that there has been a staggering increase – 460% – in women freezing their eggs since 2010. It also highlights that despite this big increase, egg-freezing cycles still remain a tiny 1.5% of fertility treatments carried out in the UK.

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Thu, 13 Sep 2018 12:16:41 GMT
Don’t tell women to shut up about childbirth. Sharing stories saves lives | Suzanne Moore
Giving birth is bloody painful. Why deny it? But it’s also the experience of a lifetime, so let’s keep talking about it

Mumsnet may be responsible for a lot of questionable things – penis beaker, anyone? – but will it actually end the human race? Will it stop us reproducing? This seems a tad excessive but apparently by sharing stories about childbirth there, women are scaring other women into “a pathological terror of childbirth”, says an expert. Catriona Jones is a lecturer in midwifery at the University of Hull who studies “tocophopbia”. She suggests social media is partly to blame for this fear-with-no-name (which, of course, now has one).

Let’s break this down, shall we? Women fear childbirth because pushing out another human being through a small opening in your body is to be split asunder. They fear the pain that leads up to it: labour. They fear the pain during the actual pushing-it-out bit, and often have little idea about the pain that comes after. But we “feel the fear and do it anyway” – just as that dumb mantra tells us to.

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Wed, 08 Aug 2018 12:45:12 GMT
Japanese medical university apologises for excluding women – video

A prestigious Tokyo medical school has admitted and apologised for deliberately reducing women's entrance test scores to allow more men to enter the institution. At a news conference on Tuesday, senior officials at Tokyo Medical University bowed and pledged to stop the discrimination

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Wed, 08 Aug 2018 11:24:51 GMT
Why are protesters dressing like The Handmaid's Tale in Argentina? – explainer

Women's rights protesters in Argentina have  been wearing the red cloak and white bonnet made famous in the TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale during demonstrations in Buenos Aires. The costume has also been worn during demonstrations against Donald Trump and Mike Pence in the US and for abortion rights across the world

Argentina holds historic abortion vote as 1m women rally to demand change

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Wed, 11 Jul 2018 13:22:57 GMT
How advert showing women shaving actual body hair broke taboos – video

Ever wonder why women shown shaving on TV adverts are already completely hairless? Breaking with decades of tradition, Billie, a US razor company, depicts women actually removing their body hair. Perhaps a sign of brands responding to calls for more realistic portrayals of femininity, say experts

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Tue, 17 Jul 2018 10:00:04 GMT
Watch out white, liberal ladies – Reductress has got you in its sights

The feminist website is known for its searing satire of women’s media. Now, with a TV show in the works, the site’s founders reveal their new target

A little over a decade ago, the writer Christopher Hitchens wrote a column for Vanity Fair entitled Why Women Aren’t Funny. It caused a bit of a stir. To imagine it being published today, however, is to blanch at the thought of Hitchens being dragged all the way across cyberspace by feminist Twitter.

Among its more salient lines was one in which the writer conceded the existence of female comedians: “Most of them, though … are hefty or dykey or Jewish, or some combo of the three,” he wrote. It was the kind of thing that would have been fodder for the satirical feminist website Reductress, lampooner of media for and about women. In 2015, in fact, the site addressed this “tiresome debate” with the story: If Women Aren’t Funny, Then Why Did I Just Leave a Huge Poop on Ryan’s Desk?

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Mon, 16 Jul 2018 16:59:40 GMT
Men hold the top 14 positions in Theresa May’s cabinet. Proof she’s replicating Thatcher
How depressing, in this centenary year of the suffragette movement, that the prime minister’s inner circle is as male as John Major’s

Theresa May’s emergency cabinet reshuffle promoted more men called Jeremy than it did women in general, MP Nicky Morgan has pointed out, which means that after the prime minister, the top 14 places in the cabinet are now occupied by men. Morgan’s statement should have been stark, yet has been made so often and more amusingly (in 2014, Cameron had more dinners with people called David than he did women) that the only surprise is the curious dominance of the name Jeremy. Yet Morgan’s coda – how depressing is this, in the centenary year of the suffragette movement? – did hit home. Commemoration forces questions about the arc of history and whether it tends, after all, towards justice. If May has effectively replicated the unsisterly dynamic of Thatcher – who never knowingly promoted a woman to cabinet, other than the unelected Lady Janet Young, where a man was available – then what, frankly, was the point of Blair’s babes and Gordon Brown’s window dressing, of David Cameron’s desperate scrambling to look “modern”?

Why bother at all if May’s cabinet in 2018 can look indistinguishable from John Major’s, a ridiculous herd of suits broken up by two splashes of colour, Virginia Bottomley and Gillian Shephard, grinning like two polyester fig leaves. His original cabinet was entirely male, and nobody even noticed until they saw the photos. Will anything ever change, if the political culture at its highest echelons reverts so easily to its patriarchal norm?

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Mon, 09 Apr 2018 05:00:50 GMT
Terrified of public speaking? Start with what you really want to say

Most of us are afraid of oratory – and women’s voices are judged particularly harshly. Could I conquer my fears with the help of a voice coach?

“I want you to stick two fingers between your teeth vertically, then say a line from a nursery rhyme.”

Biting my hand while trying to talk is less comfortable than lying on my back huffing out breaths to a count of 10, which is what I have been doing for the past half an hour, but I do as I am told. I can’t remember a single nursery rhyme. “The moon is made of green cheese,” I mumble. “Louder,” instructs Kate Lee, a former actor whose voice is vibrant yet relaxed. I try again. And again. It is hard to talk when you are gagged. “Now take out your fingers and repeat the phrase. Listen to the difference.”

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Fri, 30 Mar 2018 15:28:45 GMT
What’s in a name, women ask | Letters
Readers reflect on Joanna Moorhead’s article ‘Don’t dare call me Mrs’

I share Joanna Moorhead’s joy at John Bercow’s calling out of Boris Johnson for his sexist remarks to Emily Thornberry (Don’t dare call me Mrs. I kept my name for a reason, 29 March) as I have long been struck by one other example of this same “everyday sexism”. Can anybody explain why, in this day and age, women are still asked on almost every form they fill in whether they are married or not? This is the only information that is gathered by asking women to opt for one of the “Mrs”, “Miss” or “Ms” options. In which scenario is this at all relevant? The absurdity of the outmoded requirement to ask for one’s title in this way affects both sexes and is obviously completely superfluous as offering “Priestess” or any other randomly chosen “title” has no effect with online forms other than to allow their completion. It is time that all such outdated thinking is challenged, so well done to John Bercow for not letting this pass.
Angela Barker
Weybridge, Surrey

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Fri, 01 Jul 2016 07:06:01 GMT
A day in the life of an executive coach

‘My job is helping people become aware of their strengths and the mindsets that sabotage them.’


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Thu, 30 Jun 2016 06:00:04 GMT
Obama on feminism and other lessons from the first United State of Women summit

There are more people fighting for gender equality than ever before. We need to harness this power while there’s still time

“Wow, that’s a lot of women.” Those were the first words my taxi driver uttered since we left my Washington DC hotel and embarked on our journey to the White House-convened United State of Women (USOW) summit. As I opened the car door, I couldn’t help but blurt out “and now I am one of them”.

Normally, I am not comfortable in a mass of people. Yet, there I was, one of many and all I could think was: I found my people. The people around me, mostly women and a few good men, were invited to the summit because of their work in elevating the state of women around the globe.

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Wed, 29 Jun 2016 11:47:52 GMT
Women's talk: why language matters to female entrepreneurs

When Sue Stockdale set out to find women business-owners with fast-growth companies she found the language we use to offer opportunities to women is key

“Wanted – successful women entrepreneurs running fast-growing companies”. You would think that an advert like this would have hordes of women making contact wouldn’t you? Well, that’s not the case.

A few years ago I was involved in an initiative whose target market was women entrepreneurs running fast-growth companies. My role was to find these businesses to see how they could be supported in raising capital, and gaining access to mentors to help them during their growth journey. However, the problem was that we could not find many women who identified with this description. The traditional advertising routes were not working, so I set out to check if the lack of interest meant that they actually didn’t exist.

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Mon, 27 Jun 2016 06:57:09 GMT
Three simple steps to better employee engagement

With nearly a quarter of UK employees feeling as though they are ‘coasting’ at work, how do managers create a workplace where staff actually want to work?

A recent study from Aon Hewitt revealed that among 250 international organizations, those that reported the highest levels of employee engagement demonstrated a 58% higher return for shareholders. With results like this, employee engagement seems to be the key to a successful company.

However, a similar report by the Hay Group revealed that low employee engagement is costing the UK


Thu, 16 Jun 2016 06:24:29 GMT
'If diversity means giving white men more work writing about black women, we've failed'

Black women need to be in control of their own stories says screenwriter Misan Sagay – and that means hiring more black talent across all aspects of film and tv

Screenwriter Misan Sagay doesn’t identify with the “sassy black women” portrayed in films and on television.

“I have never met a black woman who behaves like that. I wouldn’t know how to be sassy,” says the Anglo-Nigerian, a former A&E doctor. “The way black women are portrayed in film has never been in the hands of black women – until really very recently – and so there are certain stereotypes people are comfortable with.”

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