I was given a shell-clasped plastic case in pearly pink. Inside were two sanitary towels so small they could have been used as rugs in a dollâs house, and a leaflet about other sorts of period products. I had started my period at least a year before receiving these treasures. The trinket box was wasted on me, and the conversations about my periods came way too late.
I genuinely donât remember any other sex education at primary school. By the time they started talking to us about it at secondary school, I think in the third year (year 9), most of the girls in my class had had their first sexual encounters. These were mostly at the Bill Clinton level: not full intercourse, but all the other stuff. The teachers were clearly counting on us not having had intercourse (although some of us had) because our sex education was about Aids (it was the early 90s) and babies. It was essentially a lesson in contraception. I would wager that almost every girl in my class carried a condom in her purse long before she came to this lesson. In fact, we used to keep them as charms to show how grown up we were, accidentally on purpose spilling them out of our bags and pretending to be embarrassed.Continue reading... [ + ]
A 20-year-old woman has been imprisoned for 20 years for attempting to abort a baby conceived in a rape. It proves again that it is a deeply dangerous thing to be a woman in 2018
It is already a cliche to compare the treatment of women in whatever part of the world they happen to be under attack to the monstrosities imagined in The Handmaidâs Tale. (And when references to an unremittingly bleak feminist dystopia became banal, you are really in trouble.)
Then, a case like that of 20-year-old Imelda Cortez surfaces and its extremity, horror and breathtaking injustice blows everything else out of the water. What we are left with is the incontrovertible fact that, for many, it is a deeply dangerous thing to be a woman in 2018. This is what can, does and will continue to happen when the right to an abortion is removed entirely.Continue reading... [ + ]
Many women dislike wearing bras, but is it inappropriate to go without? A lawyer explains womenâs rights
A woman on Netmums recently waded into a question many bra-wearing women have pondered: why am I wearing this?
In a post titled âCan I get in trouble for not wearing a bra at work?â, a contributor wrote that she finds bras uncomfortable. âI am not doing this for attention,â she wrote. âItâs 2018 â I shouldnât have to wear something because it will make people feel less uncomfortable, stop men looking or just because itâs the norm.âContinue reading... [ + ]
With regard to the suggestion of who should appear on the new ÂŁ50 note (Editorial, 6 November), may I suggest Mary Somerville (1780-1872), a self-taught mathematician and polymath, an early campaigner for womenâs rights and the vote. Her book On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences became one of the bestselling science books of the 19th century. The word scientist was first used in a review of her book.
There is also Caroline Herschel (1750-1848), who was with her better known brother William when he discovered the planet Uranus in 1781. She became the worldâs first professional astronomer, with her salary being provided by King George III. Following the production of a catalogue of astronomical nebulae, she became the first woman to be awarded the Royal Astronomical Societyâs gold medal in 1828. She was also an accomplished comet hunter.
Chairman of The Society for the History of Astronomy
Social media users are aghast at a man who interrupted his girlfriendâs debut marathon run to ask her to marry him
Sections of the internet have been aghast at the latest example of a public proposal at an inopportune sporting moment â in this case, Jersey firefighter Dennis Galvin, who interrupted his girlfriendâs first attempt to run a marathon by leaping over the barriers and asking her to marry him just as she hit the 16-mile mark.
While Kaitlyn Curran said yes, and seemed delighted at the turn of the events, a lot of observers questioned whether Galvin had really picked the right moment for a romantic gesture. The proposal was captured on video by Galvinâs cousin Kathleen Figueroa, and has been widely shared on social media â to much derision.Continue reading... [ + ]
My big voice was frowned upon when I was a girl in the 70s. Now, celebrities from BeyoncĂ© to Michelle Obama are helping to tear up the idea of what a woman should sound like
No one wants to sit next to a loud woman. I know this because someone recently moved the placement card on a dinner table to get away from me. That label â âloud womanâ â has never been a compliment, even though some of us may wear it as a badge of honour. Picture a loud woman and she is in Technicolor, with the sound turned up past 11, looking like she is stuck in the 80s: big hair, massive gob, voice like a foghorn, part witch, part harridan, part pub landlady. You definitely donât want to sit next to her when she has a drink inside her.
So, what are we supposed to do with the idea of loud women in our postfeminist age? Where have they all gone? Theresa May seems to maintain her fragile power by being the opposite of loud. Angela Merkel built a 30-year career on being as unnoticeable as possible. The response to Germaine Greer in recent years can be summed up as: âShut up.â Is it no longer acceptable to be a woman and a noisy, loquacious pain in the arse? After all, the women we now think of as loud usually communicate through performance as larger-than-life versions of themselves: BeyoncĂ©, Rihanna, Lady Gaga.Continue reading... [ + ]
Daniel Andrews says if party re-elected he will introduce an âAustralian firstâ move
Victorian girls will receive free tampons and pads at state schools, if the Labor party is re-elected to government in the state election in nine days, the premier, Daniel Andrews, announced the policy on Thursday.
âItâs an Australian first. Itâs the right thing to do,â Andrews said on Twitter.Continue reading... [ + ]
Exclusive: research reveals lack of proper medical care for pregnant women and babies in some prisons
Women are giving birth in prison cells without access to proper medical care, according to a startling report shared with the Guardian.
Concerns for the welfare of pregnant women and their babies are raised by a detailed report into experiences in three prisons that highlights cases of women giving births in cells without a midwife present, including one where the baby was premature and born feet-first.Continue reading... [ + ]
German chancellor makes speech in Berlin on 100th anniversary of female suffrage
The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has said that her role as the most powerful woman in Germany should not let society off the hook for the small proportion of women in politics.
As Germany marked the 100th anniversary of womenâs suffrage, Merkel said in a speech in Berlin that there was a lot still to do to achieve gender equality, notably in the worlds of politics, business, science and culture.Continue reading... [ + ]
Residents of deprived Newham describe domestic abuse and hunger to Philip Alston
âą UN rapporteur starts UK austerity tour
âą âIâm scared to eat sometimesâ
âą âItâs unfairâ: UN envoy meets children in Scotland
Women in London have told the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty they are bearing the brunt of government welfare cuts, and described how austerity has left infants homeless and exacerbated problems including overcrowded housing and domestic violence.
More than a dozen women addressed Philip Alston at a highly charged meeting in Newham, east London, and urged him to tackle British ministers over the disproportionate effects on women of eight years of spending cuts.Continue reading... [ + ]
Sunday is the day that, by rights, no one could really complain if women in the UK simply downed tools and put their feet up for the rest of the year. Equal Pay Day, which fell on Saturday, reflects the disparity between the wage deals enjoyed by men and women.
The gender pay gap may be at its lowest ever, but men still get paid 8.6% more on average than their female counterparts. Given that we are now 91.4% of the way through the year, why should women lift a finger again until 1 January? Itâs fitting that Equal Pay Day should fall shortly before the final report of the governmentâs Hampton-Alexander review is released on Tuesday.Continue reading... [ + ]
Some 53% of white women voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election â the real story of white women voters is both more grim and more complex than the figure reveals
For the past two years, the American left has been haunted by a number: 53. It is the percentage of white women who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. In the sectors of the left where the figure and its implications have become a perennial theme, the number is treated both as disappointing and darkly unsurprising, a reflection of the conventional wisdom that white women would rather choose the racism espoused by the Republican party than join in the moral coalition represented by men of color and other women. On the left, this number can elicit exasperation, rage, and even suspicions about the moral legitimacy of the feminist project. It casts doubts on the political convictions of liberal white women, colors leftist perception of female-coded liberal political projects like the Womenâs March, and has prompted long-overdue calls for increased political leadership by women of color.
The real story of white women voters is both more grim and more complex than the 53% figure reveals. The truth is that the 53% of white women who voted for Trump in the last presidential election was actually an improvement on even worse numbers from previous cycles. White women supported Mitt Romney at 56% in 2012, and supported George W Bush by 55% in 2004. Even these robust showings by Republican white women were down from their previous highs: Ronald Reagan won a staggering 62% of white women in 1984. All of these totals were lower than those for white men, who continue to support Republicans at alarming rates, but they were solid majorities nonetheless.Continue reading... [ + ]
Older women face considerable prejudices at work, and now they are being forced to retire later. Old-held assumptions must be challenged
Emile Ratelband wants to be younger. He wouldnât be the first 69-year-old man to say so but what makes Ratelband unusual, to put it mildly, is that he has just launched a lawsuit in the Netherlands demanding to be legally recognised as only 49. If a trans woman can identify as female and change her official documents accordingly, he argues, why canât he change his registered date of birth and thus get more dates on Tinder? After all, his doctor says heâs very fit for his age, and if he could only claim to be under 50 then surely âwith this face I will be in a luxurious positionâ with women.
This makes significantly more sense as a PR stunt, obviously, than as any sort of argument. Age is not a mutable fact or a social construct, and âage dysphoriaâ is â unlike its gender variant â not even remotely a thing. Youâre born when youâre born and if other people make madly unfair assumptions based on something as arbitrary as a date then itâs the assumptions that need changing, not birth records. And unless heâs arguing that only as a born-again fortysomething could he finally get women in their 60s to look twice at him, then Ratelband himself seems guilty of some pretty dodgy assumptions about age. Older women, so often spurned on dating apps by vain old goats who stubbornly refuse to âsettleâ for someone their own age, may not shed too many tears over this one.Continue reading... [ + ]
Football is our national sport and yet some schools continue to offer it solely to boys
Imagine a school that divided its subjects by gender. A school that didnât allow girls to study chemistry or algebra, and the only way to access those subjects was to pursue private tuition outside of school hours at their own expense. There would, rightly, be outrage.
When it comes to PE lessons, however, it remains perfectly acceptable for a school to offer different sports to boys and girls. The rationale? Archaic and gendered ideas about physical activity: football and rugby are best suited to boys; netball and dance are best for girls. At the same time that we have public health and sports governing bodies working to promote football and rugby to women and girls, we are turning a blind eye to a blatantly sexist and outdated practice in education that tells girls those very same sports are not for them.Continue reading... [ + ]
How violence is punished or rewarded is part of the challenge of playing, and always has been
Ten minutes into the gameâs snow-whipped, western world of weary cowboys, disintegrating crime gangs and staggering audiovisual design, Red Dead Redemption 2 had me in its thrall.
Rockstarâs latest blockbuster game is so captivating, and its powers of visual, narrative and interactive stimulation so habit-forming, that criticism of the potential the game allows for violence against women â an allowance being taken advantage of with glee by some users â has registered with sharpness proportional to its own extraordinary detail.Continue reading... [ + ]