2-7-19 Don’t believe women in science face huge inequality? Here’s the proof
Scientists read and react to peer reviewed research, making the pages of leading scientific journals like The Lancet a good venue to fight for gender equity, says Jessica Wade. What’s the best way to tackle the equality and inclusivity problems in science? In a special publication of The Lancet, researchers are doing it with data. It couldn’t be more timely: from the gender pay gap to #MeToo, women are making their voices heard. The special issue is intersectional – it doesn’t only focus on gender, but considers its interplay with other protected characteristics. As a woman in physics, I am all too familiar with the challenges of working in a male-dominated profession. Seeing many of those obstacles set out formally in print really hammers home how much work still needs to be done. In The Lancet special issue we learn that, as a woman scientist, there are subtle biases at work in your medical education (78 per cent of the faces in medical textbooks are male), your success in securing academic funding (12.7 per cent success rate for men applying to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 8.8 per cent for women applicants to the same body), and even your chances of being invited to peer-review the work of other scientists (74 per cent of the peer-reviewers for The Lancet are men). One of the new papers – co-authored by Esther Choo at the Oregon Health and Science University –should be a wake-up call to academic departments trying to reform their workplace culture. It outlines succinctly the obstacles responsible for inequity: “a punitive environment for whistle-blowers; minimal consequences for perpetrators of harassment or discrimination; and absence of standardised approaches”.
2-6-19 State of the Union: Democratic women cheer at Trump speech
President Trump and Democratic women share an unexpected moment of unity during his State of the Union speech. The female Democrats were dressed in white to highlight equal rights, 100 years after Congress agreed to give US women the right to vote.
2-1-19 Women in film: 'We're living in the dark ages when it comes to representation'
The movies that made the most money in 2018 - such as Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Incredibles 2 - were all directed by men. That's the norm when it comes to Hollywood's biggest films, according to US campaign group, Time's Up. They've shared figures which reveal only 4% of the biggest earning films from the past decade have been directed by women. And now they're calling on Hollywood studios and stars to change that. Time's Up has launched the #4percentchallenge, and stars Tessa Thompson, Brie Larson and Bryce Dallas Howard are among the names to lend their support. Time's Up's campaign to draw attention to this inequality has been welcomed by rising female film talent here in the UK. "Four percent is a pretty depressing figure, but things like this challenge are absolutely necessary," British director Georgia Parris told Radio 1 Newsbeat. She premiered her first full-length film, Mari, at the BFI Film Festival. "It's that age-old problem that women are hired on experience and men are hired on potential. "So if we're not being given the opportunities to gain that experience then how is the problem ever going to change?" But she says the success of 2017's Wonder Woman is an early sign that things are starting to change. "I think there's a sense that women tend to direct sensitive, female-based issue films but these are the ones that tend to cost less money," she adds. "But you look at something like Wonder Woman and that's done hugely well."We're starting to see those snippets of women being trusted with bigger budgets."
1-28-19 UAE mocked over gender balance awards tweet featuring only men
The UAE has been mocked over a tweet announcing the winners of awards for gender balance that featured only men. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai's ruler, was shown congratulating the recipients of Best Personality Supporting Gender Balance, Best Federal Authority Supporting Gender Balance, and Best Gender Balance Initiative. The sheikh insisted women were "central to shaping the future of the country". But many Twitter users questioned their apparent absence from the ceremony. A later tweet by the Government of Dubai Media Office included a photograph showing five women standing beside Sheikh Mohammed and the male recipients, but it did not identify them. A statement by the official Dubai Media Office meanwhile cited Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, president of the UAE Gender Balance Council, as saying it had achieved a goal set in 2015 to reduce the gender gap across all sectors of government. In April, the UAE cabinet approved legislation to ensure equal pay for women. But last month the country was ranked 121st out of 149 countries overall in the World Economic Forum's 2018 Global Gender Gap Report and 134th in terms of economic participation and opportunity.
1-25-19 High school valedictorians
About 70 percent of high school valedictorians in recent years have been girls.
1-21-19 Sexism row over German charity event
A row over sexism has broken out in the German port city of Bremen, after a prestigious charity event refused to invite the co-mayor because she is a woman. The Eiswette (Ice Bet) club hosts a black-tie dinner each January, among the many more colourful events that make up the popular festival, to raise money for the country's maritime search and rescue service, the local Weser Kurier newspaper reports. Germany's great and good, along with their foreign guests, turn up in their hundreds to bet on when the ice on the River Weser will break - but only if they are men. The gala dinner has been an exclusively male preserve for 190 years. But this year it faced a dilemma on Saturday when the city's main mayor, Senate President Carsten Sieling, bowed out in order to attend the funeral of Pawel Adamowicz, the murdered mayor of Gdansk in Poland. The Social Democrat mayor nominated his female co-mayor, Finance Senator Karoline Linnert, from the governing coalition's Greens junior partner, to attend in his place. But the Eiswette refused to break with tradition, and allocated the place to the mayor of neighbouring Bremerhaven, who happens to be a man. Ms Linnert did not hide her disgust. "The gentlemen of the Eiswette set great store by etiquette. But protocol suddenly doesn't matter any more when - how awful! - the official substitute for the male mayor of Bremen turns out to be the female mayor of Bremen," the Green politician posted on Facebook. She was particularly offended that, in the year when Germany is celebrating 100 years of women having the vote, "the Eiswette still thinks it right to exclude women under cover of tradition," but wished the men a pleasant evening anyway.
1-18-19 Women deserve equal rights
It’s time for Saudi Arabia to abolish the “wrong and discriminatory” practice of male guardianship, said Faisal Abbas. The system, which requires women to get a male relative’s permission to work, travel abroad, or even leave the house, didn’t become codified until the Islamic revival of the 1980s, and today many Saudi men—even conservatives like me—find it “outdated.” Our society is now undergoing “massive and rapid changes,” in line with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030” plan for the future. Not only are women now allowed to drive, they have also “been granted the right to work in almost all sectors.” In most public places, segregation of the sexes is ending. For the first time in 35 years, cinemas are opening. Even our dress code has become “far more relaxed.” Women can choose for themselves whether to wear the face-covering niqab, the hair-covering hijab, “or neither.” Critics may cavil that the Saudi feminist activists who advocated for the lifting of the driving ban were jailed last year. But if the security forces acted improperly, “I am fully confident that they will face justice.” The signs are clear. “Whatever is left of the male guardianship system will be abolished—by default—sooner rather than later.”
1-6-19 How Serena Williams inspired new rules in tennis
Serena Williams, previously ranked No. 1 by the Women's Tennis Association, has won a different type of victory: The WTA recently announced changes to the rules about tennis players' dress and rank — partly in response to what Williams went through when she returned to the tennis court after her maternity leave. The debate began when French Tennis Federation judge Bernard Giudicelli called out Williams after the French Open — a tournament she's won three times — for wearing a black bodysuit, otherwise known as the "catsuit." Guidicelli was quoted in Tennis Magazine as saying the outfit "will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game and the place." That statement didn't go down so well. Some fellow players and fans called the comments sexist and racist. Williams' catsuit had been inspired by the "Black Panther." She told The Guardian it made her feel like a "warrior princess," like in the movie. It turns out the black bodysuit Williams wore to work that day also had a practical purpose: Williams suffered blood clots after giving birth in 2017, and the leggings helped with circulation. Stephanie Myles, a sportscaster and editor for Tennis.Life, said that "with the compressive elements to the outfit, she could probably even get away with wearing it [to] Wimbledon, where they are far more strict, if she could prove that she needs it for medical reasons." Now, other players won't have to make that argument. The Women's Tennis Association put out a statement last month saying that wearing leggings and compression shorts without shorts or a skirt over them is totally acceptable. It turns out there was never a rule against it. And Myles says forget the fashion statement — it just makes sense. "Not everywhere they play is warm and sunny," she explained. "And so, they sometimes play late at night where it gets cold." Players get cold. Leggings keep the muscles warm. Doubles champion Pam Shriver also thinks the rule change makes sense. Shriver played from 1978 to 1997. She never wore a catsuit on the court but she did get reprimanded one time for a clothing violation. "I couldn't be bothered leaving the court," she said. "I didn't need to go to the toilet. I had [a] jog bra on, and I just changed my shirt." She didn't know changing her shirt on the court was against the rules. "I mean, eventually you realize there's rules and guidelines in sports that are just outdated. So, that was one," she said. That rule was changed the next day. (Webmaster's comment: Fighting against the male brute bullshit rules is a moral imperative!)
1-4-19 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Lawmaker mocks college dance critics
In the eyes of some social media critics the United States' youngest-ever congresswoman can do no right. To a lengthy list of past misdemeanours, including her clothes and not being rich, can now be added the grievous crime of dancing while in college. A day before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was officially sworn-in, near decade-old footage of the congresswoman dancing as a student at Boston University re-emerged on Twitter, apparently in an effort to embarrass her. On Friday Ms Ocasio-Cortez posted a new video of her dancing outside her new office in the halls of Congress to the tune of War by Edwin Starr. "I hear the GOP thinks women dancing are scandalous. Wait till they find out Congresswomen dance too!" she wrote, referring to the Republican Party. The original post has been viewed more than 8 million times. Here is America's favourite commie know-it-all acting like the clueless nitwit she is," one right-wing Twitter account, @AnonymousQ1776, wrote as they shared the clip. The account, which appears to reference the bizarre QAnon conspiracy theory, has since been removed. "After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is forced out of office after one term she can go dance on a stage that has a pole," said another. But the criticism prompted a much larger wave of support for the congresswoman online. "[Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] is officially done," comedian Patton Oswalt joked. "She'll never recover from the world seeing her dancing adorably and having fun with her friends." "I want Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to give me dance lessons," Star Trek actor George Takei tweeted, while actor Russell Crowe declared her "fantastic". The video of Ms Ocasio-Cortez was compiled from a longer video featuring Boston University students. The video was posted to YouTube in 2010, when Ms Ocasio-Cortez was an undergraduate.The video was part of a meme circulating at the time.v Participants, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other students at Boston University, emulated the dance from 1980s movie The Breakfast Club in a mash-up featuring the song Lisztomania, by French indie band Phoenix. (Webmaster's comment: Women can never do right according to the white male brutes!)
1-3-19 Sabarimala: India's Kerala paralysed amid protests over temple entry
Schools across the state are closed and public transport too has been suspended. One person was killed in clashes on Wednesday. The Sabarimala temple was historically closed to women of "menstruating age" - defined as between 10 and 50. The Supreme Court revoked the ban in September, which prompted outrage. On Wednesday, Bindu Ammini, 40, and Kanaka Durga, 39, entered the shrine around dawn and became the first women to do so. Schools across the state are closed and public transport too has been suspended. One person was killed in clashes on Wednesday. The Sabarimala temple was historically closed to women of "menstruating age" - defined as between 10 and 50. The Supreme Court revoked the ban in September, which prompted outrage. On Wednesday, Bindu Ammini, 40, and Kanaka Durga, 39, entered the shrine around dawn and became the first women to do so. Thursday saw a second day of protests across the state. Right-wing groups, supported by India's ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), demanded a state-wide shutdown. They wanted schools, colleges and businesses to remain closed as a sign of protest. The state government, which supports the Supreme Court ruling, stepped up security and deployed police across the state for protection. But fearing violence, schools and shops were closed. And buses did not run as protesters blocked highways and other roads. In total, more than 700 people were arrested on Wednesday and Thursday. Sixty police officers were injured, more than 80 public buses were damaged and at least a dozen police vehicles were attacked. (Webmaster's comment: Can it be true that religion is behind most violence? Seems to be.)
1-2-19 Sabarimala: Indian women make history by entering temple
Two Indian women have made history by entering a prominent Hindu shrine in the southern state of Kerala, following months of protests against their entry. The Sabarimala temple was historically closed to women of "menstruating age" - defined as between 10 and 50. The Supreme Court overturned that ban but protesters then attacked women and stopped them from going in. The women's entry to the shrine sparked fresh protests and police used tear gas at several locations in Kerala. Bindu Ammini, 40, and Kanaka Durga, 39, devotees of the temple deity, Lord Ayyappa, entered around dawn. "We arrived early in the morning and we had a darshan [saw the idol] for a few minutes," Ms Ammini told the BBC. Kerala's Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, whose government supports the Supreme Court ruling, told reporters that the women's entry into the temple was a historic moment. On 1 January, his left-wing coalition government organised a "women's wall" - in which women from across Kerala formed a 620km (385-mile) human chain to protest against the ban. Temple officials say the women have "defiled" the temple. It was closed for an hour in order to perform "purification rituals" but has now reopened. Demonstrations across the state have since erupted and police have fired tear gas to disperse crowds. Violent clashes have been reported outside the state parliament, according to local media. The ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also called for a two-day protest after news of the women entering the shrine broke.