The push for peace sees Ethiopia’s Cabinet become half female

Angela Priestley for Women’s Agenda reports:

In pursuit of peace and stability in his country, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has managed to do what very few around the world have done: appoint a Cabinet that’s half female.

The reshuffle comes as part of extensive reforms across the country, and sees women appointed to 10 of the 20 Cabinet roles. Abiy said that women are “less corrupt than men” when explaining the overhaul.

“Our women ministers will disprove the old adage that women can’t lead,” he told Parliament. “This is to show respect to the women for all the contribution they have made to the country.”

A number of women have been appointed to leadership positions for the first time in history during the reshuffle, including Aisha Mohammad, who becomes Ethiopia’s first female defence minister.

Abiy has also created a new peace ministry, led by Ethiopia’s first female speaker of Parliament, Muferiat Kamil (pictured above), leading Africa News to ask if she is now the most powerful woman in the country.

Incredibly, just over a week ago there were fears of a coup, after dozens of armed soldiers approached Abiy’s residence demanding pay rises. The soldiers were invited inside, without their weapons, and were able to meet with top officials. Abiy was later photographed doing push-ups with the soldiers.


Help the Feminist Library build its new home, a Community Crowdfunding Project in London, Greater London, England on Crowdfunder

It’s official! The Feminist Library needs to move in Spring 2019!!!

We now need your support more than ever. We have found a potential new space but we urgently need to raise £30,000 to cover the basic costs of our move to a new home, as we need to leave our current premises in Spring 2019.

The Library has had various homes over the years, but has never had both a stable and adequate space for its valuable collection.

In 2016 we weathered the most recent crisis when we were faced with eviction. Thanks to massive community support we had a reprieve.

The Feminist Library is much more than just a library! It has been around for over 4 decades now, saving women’s histories – with over 7,000 books, 1,500 periodical titles and countless archives, pamphlets and ephemera – and providing a space in London for feminists and community groups to meet, organise, learn, create, or just have fun. We are a vitally important community space.

Abortion legalised in Queensland after historic vote

The New Daily reports:

Queensland women have been granted the right to opt for an abortion after the Senate voted to abolish the nineteenth-century laws which made terminations illegal.

The law changes passed state parliament 50 votes to 41 on Wednesday night after a two-day long debate.

Under the changes, abortion will be removed from the criminal code and made a health issue.

Women will be allowed to terminate pregnancies up to 22 weeks’ gestation with the approval of two independent doctors.

The changes also establish safe zones around clinics and medical facilities offering the procedure to stop staff and patients being harassed by anti-abortion activists.

Dennis Hof is dead, but his legacy lives on through those who advocate to legalize prostitution

Meghan Murphy for Feminist Current writes:

Prostitution does not exist for women’s benefit, it exists for men’s benefit. Exploitation is not an accident that happens, it is the point. Everyone knows — especially the pimps and brothel owners — that the women don’t want to be there. While those outside the trade — the middle class liberals and third wavers who rail on about “sex worker rights” — as well as the johns who wish to maintain the ridiculous fantasy that a woman they are paying to fuck really does desire them, may delude themselves into believing otherwise, the truth is obvious. People who desire each other don’t pay the other for sex acts.

Hof, one of America’s leading advocates for the legalization of prostitution, acts as a warning to us all. When asked what lessons he brought with him, via his previous experience working in the gas station and real estate industries, to brothel-ownership, he said, “First of all, believe in the product and then go out and sell it.”

This is what women are in prostitution: products to be bought, sold, and used by men. This is how pimps see them, how brothel-owners see them, and how johns see them. Not only does this view not change under legalization, but it is reinforced.

So-called leftists and feminists who promote the legalization of prostitution are nothing more than capitalists and misogynists in disguise. And while Dennis Hof may be dead, these “progressives” are carrying on his legacy.

The reality for front line workers in the fight against domestic, family and sexual violence

Joanna Holcombe at UNSW Newsroom writes:

Workers in services used by people affected by domestic and family violence and sexual assault are predominantly female (83%). They’re also ageing, with a quarter of staff set to reach retirement age in the next decade.

While almost all of the workers surveyed feel they’re making a difference in people’s lives, less than half of those surveyed feel they’re being paid fairly, and 2 in 5 worry about the future of the job.

These workers are important to Australia’s capacity to end gender-based violence. Recent ABS data tells us that 1 in 6 Australian women has experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner, and 1 in 4 has experienced emotional abuse.

Contract Pregnancies Exposed: Surrogacy Contracts Don’t Protect Surrogate Mothers and Their Children

Jennifer Lahl for Stop Surrogacy Now writes:

The crux of the disagreement is over what should be done in order to minimize the harms to those women who serve as surrogates and to the children who are produced from these contract arrangements. How can we protect all the stakeholders, including the intended parents? Many trust that regulations, laws, and contracts will provide sufficient protection. My position, however, is that regulations, laws, and contracts do not—in fact, they cannot—protect women and children. The only way forward is to pass laws to stop surrogacy now.

Most contracts explicitly control the surrogate’s diet, exercise, living arrangements, travel, and activities. I’ve seen language requiring the surrogate to consume a vegan diet or only eat organic foods. Some intended parents do not permit the surrogate to dye her hair. One contract stipulated that “The Surrogate and her Husband agree that they will neither form, nor attempt to form, a parent-child relationship with any Child the surrogate may bear.” Contracting against maternal-child bonding, as if such a thing is even possible! . . . All of the surrogate’s medical information is available to the intended parents, who are often total strangers. . . . Contracts also regulate when the surrogate can engage in sexual activity and with whom.

Contracts also contain an Abortion/Termination Clause:

“Surrogate specifically agrees to terminate prior to eighteen weeks at the election and discretion of the Intended Parents.”

Fetal reduction is addressed as well:

“The Intended Parents reserve the ultimate and sole legal right to selectively reduce before the completion of twenty (20) weeks of gestation”

As a nurse, I have to confess that when I read this clause on end-of-life decision-making, my blood ran cold:

“If the surrogate is in her second or third trimester of pregnancy and in the event that medical life support equipment is required to preserve and maintain the life of the Surrogate and if requested by the Intended Parents, the Surrogate and her husband agree that the Surrogate’s life will be sustained with life support equipment for a period to achieve viability of the fetus taking into account the best interests and well-being of the fetus

I’m often asked, whether these contracts are legal. If they are written and executed in a surrogacy friendly state, they absolutely are legal. But do surrogacy contracts violate aspects of the common good? How can they not? Take your pick—privacy, doctor/patient confidentiality, bodily integrity, medical decision-making power, and more. Surrogacy contracts are written to protect the Intended Parents, not the surrogate mother nor the child.

People often ask me why a woman would sign a contract that surrenders so much of her personal life—her very bodily integrity—to strangers? The short answer is “money.” Financial motives often compel women to become involved in a marketplace that is, frankly, predatory. Surrogacy is presented to potential surrogates as an opportunity to “give the gift of life,” and the risks are minimized. This is exactly why it is illegal to buy and sell organs. We know that if organ donation were to become a commercial marketplace, the need for money combined with the opportunity to help someone in need would drive people to take serious risks with their health. Money undermines the informed consent process. It will always be the people who need money who are selling; the wealthy will be the consumers/buyers.

Abuse survivor groups urge PM to strip former governor-general of pension

Tim Shepherd for The New Daily reports:

A coalition of sexual abuse survivor groups has urged the prime minister to strip former governor-general Peter Hollingworth of his taxpayer-funded pension and entitlements.

Dr Hollingworth became governor-general in 2001 but was forced to resign in 2003 after a series of scandals over his handling of sexual abuse allegations against priests and teaching staff while he was the Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane in the 1990s.

Documents provided under Freedom of Information show that in 2015–16, Dr Hollingworth spent more than $275,000 on office and travel expenses, on top of his pension for that year of $328,000.

The group would like to see a Code of Conduct attached to the legislation, linking ongoing payments to a character test, and a provision to cease payments to a former governor-general if it’s no longer considered to be in the public interest.

Societal prejudice restricts girls’ access to mobile, global study finds

Today, non-profit Girl Effect and Vodafone Foundation publish findings of the first comprehensive global study into how adolescent girls access and use mobile technology. The research reveals that boys are 1.5 times more likely to own a phone than girls as societal prejudice and other barriers disproportionately restrict girls’ access and usage of mobile.

[T]he research – a qualitative and quantitative study across 25 countries – found that girls’ access and use is dramatically restricted by negative social norms that prevent them from having the same freedoms as boys. More than two-thirds (67%) of boys surveyed reported owning a phone (compared to 44% of girls) and 28% borrowed – compared to more than half (52%) for girls.

In countries like India and Bangladesh, girls seen using phones often face negative judgement from community members, meaning parents are more likely to ban access to a device. Girls who break rules around phones are also more likely to be punished by scolding, beatings, being kept out of school or even early marriage.

Dawn Wilson is counting women murdered by men in the United States, and the results are grim

Meghan Murphy for Feminist Current reports:

In 2017, Dawn Wilcox founded Women Count USA, a national database and femicide census of all women and girls murdered by men in the United States. The numbers are shocking. When I spoke to Dawn in July, she’d counted 805 women killed by men since January 2018. As of today, the number has reached 1037.

Transgender prisoner who sexually assaulted inmates jailed for life

Nazia Parveen for The Guardian writes:

A “predatory and controlling” rapist has been jailed for life after she(sic) attacked vulnerable women in female prisons.

Karen White, 52, who was described as being a danger to women and children, admitted sexually assaulting women in a female prison and raping another two women outside jail.

The 52-year-old, who is currently transitioning, was sentenced yesterday for two counts of rape, two sexual assaults and one offence of wounding.

White has previous convictions for indecent assault, indecent exposure and gross indecency involving children, animal cruelty and dishonesty.

The Ministry of Justice has apologised for moving her(sic) to the women’s prison, saying that her(sic) previous offending history had not been taken into account.

Prosecutor Chris Dunn described White as an “alleged transgender female” who has used her(sic) “transgender persona to put herself in contact with vulnerable persons” whom she(sic) could then abuse.

How Indigenous women have become targets in a domestic violence system intended to protect them

Heather Douglas and Robin Fitzgerald for The Conversation write:

In our study, we examined Queensland court data on protection order applications and breaches for the year 2013-14. We found a dramatic over-representation of ATSI people – especially women – in the protection order system.

Women are typically much less likely to be respondents in domestic violence cases and charged with breaches of a protection order. However, of the women imprisoned for breaches in our study, 69% of them were ATSI women.

When these women fight back, they may not fit with stereotypical expectations of how a victim should behave: for example, vulnerable, blameless and weak. This might result in police applying for a protection order against them or charging them with breaching an order.

Of urgent concern to us is the plight of ATSI women being incarcerated in ever-increasing numbers in a system originally introduced to protect women from violence.

Women’s surfing riding wave towards gender equity

Holly Thorpe and Belinda Wheaton for The Conversation write:

The World Surfing League recently became the first US-based global sporting league to offer equal pay to male and female competitors.

In a Facebook post, the league announced that women surfers will receive equal pay at all events from 2019. In the world of surfing – a sport and culture long dominated by men — this is a monumental development.

Surfing will be making its Olympic debut in the Tokyo 2020 summer games, and this also has an important effect. Much of the public commentary on the inclusion of surfing, alongside skateboarding and sport climbing, has focused on these sports’ appeal to younger audiences. But promoting women’s participation and involvement in sport is also central to the IOC’s modernisation agenda. Key aspirations include achieving 50% female participation.

Care Is An Economic Issue: Addressing Gender Inequalities in Care Work

International Women’s Rights Action Watch (IWRAW) Asia Pacific writes:

Ipek Ilkkaracan is Professor of Economics at Istanbul Technical University, a founding member of Women for Women’s Human Rights (WWHR) – New Ways and a member of IWRAW Asia Pacific’s advisory committee. She coined the term ‘purple economy’ to convey the need for an economic model which recognises care work. Without it, the sustainability of human societies will be threatened.

The current free market system is such that those who provide unpaid care work (mostly women) are penalised in market terms, and those who do not (mostly men) are rewarded.
The purple economy entails four pillars aimed at recognition, reduction and redistribution of unpaid care work. When care work is left to private markets/solutions, the only women who have the option of pursuing a career are from the higher-income households that can afford market substitutes for care. This is not
simply an issue of gender, but of class, too.The international migration of domestic workers is the epitome of multi-layered inequalities when the care economy is left to private markets/solutions.

IBA: 43% of lawyers bullied and 25% sexually harassed

Grace Ormsby for Lawyers Weekly writes:

Preliminary results from the International Bar Association’s research into bullying and sexual harassment in the legal profession have indicated a global phenomenon of bullying and harassment among lawyers.

Over 5,000 lawyers from 120 jurisdictions have responded to the survey so far, showing that approximately one in two females and one in three males have been bullied (43 percent of respondents).

43 percent of victims said they had experienced bullying in the last year.

Of the same respondents, 25 percent of lawyers say they have been sexually harassed, with figures highlighting this has affected approximately one in three female lawyers and one in 15 males.

Sydney Law School’s challis chair of international law, Professor Ben Saul, said he is not surprised by the IBA’s preliminary findings.

He said “in many countries, the culture of the legal profession tends to bring out the worst in some people – adversarialism, competitiveness, ambition, “alpha” type personalities, long working hours and over tiredness, financial pressures and business risks, lack of work/life balance, and sub-optimal inter-personal skills.”

‘I miss him so much’: why did a devoted wife kill the man she loved?

Anna Moore for The Guardian writes:

Sentencing Sally to life imprisonment, Judge Christopher Critchlow told her that she had been “eaten up with jealousy” at Richard’s “friendships” with other women. “You are somebody who killed the only man you loved,” he said, “and you will have to live with knowing what you did.”

Now, the case is making headlines again – and events have been cast in a different light. In March this year, Sally Challen won leave to appeal against her conviction, on the grounds that she’d suffered “coercive and controlling behaviour” from her husband – something that did not become a criminal offence until four years after her trial, under the 2015 Serious Crime Act. A date for the appeal is expected later this autumn.

Sally Challen’s case is a new challenge, the first of its kind. She was not subject to sustained, persistent physical violence. There are no broken bones or hospital visits for Wistrich to draw on. Instead, she has numerous witness statements taken in 2010, but not used in court; emails from Richard to Sally; and months of prison visits and video calls with Sally herself. With this, Wistrich hopes to show that, for 30 years, Richard’s behaviour pushed his wife to the brink. “Here is a woman who absolutely adored her husband – a very old-fashioned housewife who had never committed an act of violence or criminal offence,” Wistrich says.

“From the outside, it’s such a bizarre thing to happen. It’s only when you look at their whole marriage and understand coercive control that the picture starts making sense.”

Is it enough to explain a murderous hammer attack? The Challens’ two sons, David, now 30, and James, 34, believe so. Neighbours, friends and family – as well as Richard’s family and his oldest friend – are all behind the appeal. “That’s pretty unprecedented,” Wistrich says. “Usually in these cases – and I’ve done a lot – you’ve got the family gunning for the woman, saying: ‘She’s killed him, she deserves to rot in jail.’ This time, no one has come out in support of Richard.”

They were taken from their mom to rebond with their dad. It didn’t go well.

Cara Tabachnick for The Washington Post writes:

These workshops have sprung up in the past decade mostly to address parental alienation, a disputed disorder coined in 1985 by psychiatrist Richard Gardner that refers to a situation where a child chooses not to have a relationship with one parent because of the influence of the other parent. Opponents charge that the reunification programs, and accusations of parental alienation itself, are shams — a way for lawyers, psychologists and social workers to profit from parents in bitter custody battles, and for the more financially secure parent to gain a custodial advantage. Proponents say that parental alienation involves truly harmful psychological behaviors that should be recognized by the therapeutic community and tort law, and that reunification programs are sometimes the only way to put families back together.

A Canadian research paper found that judges mandated family reunification programs in 27 percent of all family court cases where there was an allegation of alienation. While there is no similar research available in the United States, Ontario-based social worker Shely Polak, who spent five years researching U.S. and Canadian reunification programs for her dissertation, thinks the prevalence in the United States is significantly higher.

Just as research has not definitively proved the validity of parental alienation, it has not shown that family reunification programs work. Often the workshops are billed as educational or psycho-educational, which allows them to circumvent medical regulations and oversight (they are not covered by health insurance).

Why is forced marriage still getting a pass from the UK government?

The way forced marriage plays out and is treated, culturally and legally, makes inequality between the sexes glaringly obvious. Power differences between men and women (girls, really, in this case) are not taken into account. Immigration officials turn a blind eye while abuse happens right under their noses. Caseworkers grant rapists the legal right to continue to access and abuse girls by issuing them UK Spouse Visas, while women’s rights to safety, security, and autonomy are ignored. Women and girls’ voices are silenced and the law fails to protect them.

Often what happens is that British teenagers and children are duped into a holiday by their family members, then, once abroad, they are forced to marry men they’ve never met. Taken far from home, away from the intervention of friends or concerned school teachers, victims have no choice but to comply.

[O]ut of the 175 reports made by reluctant sponsors last year, only 88 were investigated further. This means that a potential 87 victims fell through the cracks of the system, and almost half of the investigated cases were granted a visa regardless. Ultimately, 129 reluctant sponsors attempted to, but were not able to, block their husband’s visas. This number could climb to 139 should the remaining 10 cases still pending due to an an appeal result in a visa.

Home Office hypocrisy has no end: while immigration officials are quick to refuse visas for genuine, consenting couples, they continue to approve visas for men who purchase wives overseas.

The last chance a forced marriage victim has to block her oppressor from tormenting her for life is to file a statement. However, after indicting her exploiters in this statement and outlining the trauma she has experienced at the hands of her oppressors, the authorities then disclose the statement to her spouse and family. This is problematic the victim’s own family are the ones responsible, exposing her to honour-based violence and further danger.

While foreign spouse visa applicants can have their applications blocked by their British wives, Home Affairs believed that husbands “deserve” to know how and why their visa has been rejected.

Since both marriage parties must be over the age of 18 to legitimately apply for a spouse visa, arranging for the intended husband to rape the girl, in order to get her pregnant, is common in the case of minors. Families ensure the girl gives birth to her rapist’s child in the UK, and the low bar of requirements for a family visa means the husband can then enter the UK on the grounds that he has a child who is a British citizen. In other words, impregnating a British girl guarantees a UK visa since the victim has no opportunity to block it.

These women and girls are exploited first by their families, then by their “husbands,” then abandoned by the government and legal system.

Vaginal mesh: Government apology for ‘agony’ falls short

Alana Mitchelson of The New Daily writes:

Australian women will continue to be exposed to severe chronic pain from mesh implants that remain on the market despite the government admitting they cause “horrific” pain.

Health Minister Greg Hunt issued a national apology on Wednesday to women who are suffering debilitating pain from mesh implants as he released the government’s response to the inquiry report, promising “sweeping action”.

Mr Hunt said a national register will be introduced to maintain records of implant devices used in urogynaecological procedures and any adverse events.

But the “sweeping action” Mr Hunt has promised remains unclear to those affected.

Minister Hunt’s office did not respond to The New Daily‘s repeated requests for comment on why only one type of mesh has been banned and whether financial support would be provided to those affected.

While the Therapeutic Goods Administration announced in November that certain mesh products would be banned, it is understood these products were only used in a minority of cases.

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson only withdrew its pelvic mesh device from the Australian market shortly after becoming the centre of a class action lawsuit.
[category: Aust, reproductive rights]

‘Third of girls’ harassed in school uniform

BBC News reports:

The figures come from a report by children’s charity Plan International UK, which said many girls feel street harassment is “all part of growing up”.

It found:

  • 66% of girls in the UK said they had experienced unwanted sexual attention or sexual or physical contact in a public place
  • 35% of girls reported receiving unwanted sexual contact such as being touched, groped or grabbed
  • Girls as young as eight years old described witnessing or experiencing harassment
  • More than one in three girls received unwanted sexual attention such as being groped, stared at, catcalled and wolf-whistled while wearing school uniform
  • One-quarter of girls said they had been filmed or photographed by a stranger without permission

Transgender man upset by blood agency’s screening policy which considers him female

Travis McEwan for CBC News reports:

A transgender man is calling for Canadian Blood Services to change its screening policy when dealing with trans donors.

Jack Biamonte donated blood five times over the past year. Two weeks ago he had an embarrassing experience after he revealed his recent hysterectomy surgery to staff.

Staff, unaware Biamonte was a female-to-male transgender individual, asked him if he had genital-reconstruction surgery. When he said no, staff told him he would have to answer questions based on his sex assigned at birth.

Donors who have not had genital-reconstruction surgery are screened by their gender assigned at birth.

That means trans men born female are screened as women and questioned about pregnancies, as donors who have had a pregnancy are more likely to have antibodies in their blood that may cause a rare but potentially fatal complication in a recipient.

“I feel like if it’s better explained people will be more accepting of it,” Biamonte said.

But he disagrees that the policy is based on science.

[ed: sounds like they will need to ask all donors about
pregnancies now regardless of how they present.]

Doctor fired from gender identity clinic says he feels ‘vindicated’ after CAMH apology, settlement

Molly Hayes in The Globe and Mail writes:

A controversial Toronto psychologist said he feels “vindicated” and “liberated” after receiving an apology from the country’s largest mental-health centre for erroneously representing his behaviour and work in a public review three years ago.

Kenneth Zucker headed up CAMH’s Family Gender Identity Clinic for more than 30 years before he was ousted in December, 2015. Sparked by criticisms that the clinic had been practising conversion therapy on young people who identify as transgender, CAMH had launched an external review earlier that year.

Although the report also looked specifically at Dr. Zucker’s interactions with patients – including a reference to him insulting a patient – he was not consulted. He was fired the same day it came out. The clinic for children and youth was ultimately shut down as well.

But while his removal was celebrated by many activists in the transgender community, many of his colleagues were outraged – and more than 500 clinicians and researchers signed a petition in his defence.

In Dr. Zucker’s view, it sparked a fear that the field of gender dysphoria – where he says there remains many urgent and unanswered clinical and theoretical questions – has been “poisoned by politics.”

“I think that conflation with politics has made it very difficult for many people in the field to say what they really think,” he said. “And I think that’s really sad, that in a field where there are so many important issues to discuss and work on, that really bright people feel intimidated.”

He disputes the idea that he was practising conversion therapy by not immediately pushing for transition for a child expressing gender dysphoria.

Violence against women in Australia: Six women killed in a week

Sophie Aubrey from Mamamia writes:

These six deaths are part of our shameful epidemic of gendered violence, and yet we are seeing no national outrage, no pledges to act from our leaders, no fiercely-worded statements.

According to data collated by Destroy The Joint, 52 women have died violent deaths in Australia so far in 2018. That’s more than one every week.

And last week’s numbers are a particularly large stain on an already pitiful record, accounting for about 11 per cent of the year’s deaths.

This is without a doubt a national emergency. And yet we aren’t hearing a peep from our country’s leaders.

We need to demand action from our state and federal governments to curb the violence, from pouring much-needed funds to front-line services through to supporting respectful relationships programs in schools so our children have better hope of avoiding jail or an early grave.

Saudi Women Who Fought for the Right to Drive Are Disappearing and Going Into Exile

Sarah Aziza for the Intercept writes:

Beginning on May 15, 2018, just weeks before the end of the ban on female drivers, the government began a series of arrests targeting prominent activists. . . Simultaneously, photographs of the women began to circulate on local media and online, accompanied by state accusations of treason and collusion with foreign governments.

[T]he Saudi state’s efforts to suppress dissent appear to extend far beyond the nation’s borders. . . (Since 2015, three Saudi princes who had criticized the royal family also disappeared while abroad, and are believed to have been forcibly returned to the kingdom).

Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch reported a rapid increase in arbitrary detentions, with over 2,000 new cases between 2014 to 2018.

[S]aid one activist, now living abroad. “It’s very disheartening.” She continued, “The cost has become too high for most of us — there’s a sense that anything could happen if the government decides to target you. We see human rights groups pointing the finger at Saudi after each arrest, but nothing happens. Saudi Arabia is even on the Human Rights Council!” — a reference to the kingdom’s seat on the U.N. body. “With no outside pressure, why would the government change?”

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Nobel Peace Prize for anti-rape activists Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege

BBC News reports:

The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize has gone to campaigners against rape in warfare, Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege.

Ms Murad is an Iraqi Yazidi who was tortured and raped by Islamic State militants and later became the face of a campaign to free the Yazidi people.

Dr Mukwege is a Congolese gynaecologist who, along with his colleagues, has treated tens of thousands of victims.

Earlier this week the Nobel prize for physics was awarded to Donna Strickland, only the third woman winner of the award and the first in 55 years. The Canadian was honoured along with Arthur Ashkin, from the US, and Gerard Mourou, from France.

Britain’s top LGBT+ rights group under fire over ‘transphobia’

Hugo Greenhalgh for Reuters reports:

Britain’s leading LGBT+ rights group was attacked on Thursday for stifling debate as opinion split over whether the rights of trans women were compatible with those of other women.

The debate has raged in recent months and was rekindled when a group of high-powered campaigners wrote to the Times newspaper to lambast Stonewall’s dismissal of opposing views to its stance that “trans women are women”.

At the heart of the matter is whether trans rights are compatible with those of other(sic) women.

A petition was set up this week asking Stonewall “to reconsider its transgender policies and approach”.

Ruth Hunt, the group’s chief executive, said the petition had asked for an acknowledgement that there was a conflict between trans rights and “sex-based women’s rights”.

“We do not and will not acknowledge this,” Hunt said in a statement. “Doing so would imply that we do not believe that trans people deserve the same rights as others. Our motto is ‘acceptance without exception’.”

Britain is currently reviewing its 2004 Gender Recognition Act (GRA), which governs services offered to trans people. The consultation period ends on October 19.

The Gaslighting of American Women

Jessica Valenti for Medium writes:

What we are witnessing right now through the response to Kavanaugh — and the slow-roll comeback of various men held to account by #MeToo — is a large-scale dismissal of women’s reality. It’s a national gaslighting by politicians and pundits saying Yes, I’m sure something happened to Dr. Blasey Ford, but the poor thing must be mistaken. It’s a mass trauma perpetrated by leaders who would tell women in their most painful of moments that it’s men who are the real victims.

The truth, though, is not that most men abuse women — it’s that the small number who do are able to get away with it multiple times. For example, according to a 2002 study, six percent of men attempt or commit rape, but more than half of them will attack more than once, averaging about six rapes each.

Why is this minority of bad men able to get away with abusing women over and over? Because “good” men make it easier for them.

Knee-jerk sympathy for men accused of wrongdoing — something feminist philosopher Kate Manne dubs “himpathy” — isn’t new.

As feminist writer Thomas Millar put it nearly a decade ago, “It takes one rapist to commit a rape, but it takes a village to create an environment where it happens over and over.”

Mandeville man ‘zipped his genitals into his fly’ after exposing himself to female jogger

Connie Buchanan for ABC News 3 reports:

A 43-year old man from Mandeville, Louisiana with a history of exposing himself to female joggers has suffered an horrific injury after he ‘zipped up his genitals into his fly’ yesterday morning.

“He jumped out in front of me and unzipped his jeans before exposing his penis to me,” said the woman, who declined to be named. “I was disgusted but rather than run away, which I think he expected me to do, I charged him.”

The man was apparently not prepared to be chased by the jogger, so he quickly zipped up his fly – but in doing so he failed to realise his genitals were still exposed.

The man was taken to a nearby hospital where he received surgery on his mutilated genitals. Doctors had to remove most of one testicle and part of his penis. It’s understood that the man’s name is not being released by law enforcement until he is formally charged with crimes of indecent exposure and sexual misconduct.

Hundreds of arrests made as anti-Kavanaugh protestors pack Capitol Hill

Sophie Tatum of CNN Politics reports:

Nearly 300 protesters were arrested at a US Senate building on Thursday afternoon as crowds of activists descended on Capitol Hill while lawmakers reviewed the FBI’s report on the allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The Women’s March, a liberal organization that originated as a grassroots movement in opposition of President Donald Trump, was one of multiple groups tweeting from the protest at the Capitol building.

Comedian Amy Schumer was seen being arrested, and model Emily Ratajkowski tweeted that she had also been arrested.
“Today I was arrested protesting the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, a man who has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault,” Ratajkowski wrote. “Men who hurt women can no longer be placed in positions of power.”

‘Tampon tax’ scrapped in Australia after 18-year controversy

BBC News reports:

Australia will remove a controversial tax on female sanitary products following years of campaigning by women’s groups.

Currently, tampons and sanitary pads are sold with a 10% goods and services tax (GST) because they are categorised as non-essential items.

Women have argued it is an unfair classification, noting items such as condoms and sunscreen are exempt.

Federal and state governments agreed on Wednesday to remove the levy.