Women's rights and Feminism

Five times the risk in pregnancy

Healthcare in pregnancy, or lack of it, is one of the starkest examples of racial health inequalities in the United Kingdom and in the United States. Work in the UK by University of Oxford researchers has found that between 2014 and 2016 the rate of death in pregnancy was 8 in 100,000 white people, compared with 15 in 100,000 Asian people and 40 in 100,000 black people. It’s a similar picture in the US, where African-American, Native American, and Alaska native pregnancies are three times more likely to result in death, according to a May 2019 report by the Centers for Disease Control. The...

NRPF hits women harder in pandemic

Women’s charities have raised the alarm that victims of domestic violence are being refused places at refuges because they do not speak sufficient English. Those turned away include a mother with a 14-month-old baby who was fleeing violence after being held as a slave by her ex-husband. Karma Nirvana, which supports those at risk from forced marriage and “honour”-based violence, said squeezed services in the lockdown period made it even harder for migrant women to access refuge places. Of 20 women Karma Nirvana could not find a refuge for during lockdown, it said five were turned down by six...

Resonances from the 70s

Mrs America is a mini-series charting the battles in the 1970s between the rising feminist movement in the United States and its enemies over the Equal Rights Amendment (an amendment to the Constitution which still hasn’t been ratified by enough states to become law). It shows us well-known figures from the American women’s movement at that time, like Gloria Steinem (played by Rose Byrne) and Betty Friedan (Tracey Ullman), but focuses also on the woman who set out to defeat them, Phyllis Schlafly (Cate Blanchett). Steinem herself, and others, have criticised the series for overstating this...

Some see 45%, others 3%

As workers were furloughed and schools closed, confining families to the home, housework and childcare increased. Articles and blog posts told of pressure on women to take on more and more. Research coming out of USA, Canada, Germany, Turkey and the Netherlands has found men doing more domestic work during the pandemic than they did before it. But they haven’t closed the gap with women, “Across the board, whether it’s dishwashing, laundry, childcare, reading to kids, physical care, we’re seeing a universal movement toward more egalitarian sharing,” says Dan Carlson, a sociologist at the...

Solidarity with women, LGBTIQ people, minorities in Poland!

Andrzej Duda of the radical right Law and Justice party has been re-elected as Poland’s president. Activists in London and beyond are showing solidarity with people persecuted and attacked by the Polish hard-right regime; for human rights, freedom, and dignity; and with those resisting and fighting back. See more information about a protest here: Saturday 15, 1pm, Polish Embassy in London.

Poland: "Expect a fightback"

Andrzej Duda of the radical right Law and Justice party has been re-elected as Poland’s president, defeating the liberal conservative opposition’s candidate Rafał Trzaskowski 51%-49% in the second round. Ana Oppenheim spoke to Sacha Ismail about the election and struggles in Poland. Ana is a Polish-born socialist who lives in the UK. She is a member of the Labour Party and the Polish left party Razem, an activist in the Labour Campaign for Free Movement and has just been elected to Momentum’s national coordinating group. Poland was due to have its presidential election in May, but with the...

57% of women support trans self-ID

Arguments against strengthening the rights of transgender people, on both right and left, are often posed through a false counterposition with women’s rights. Those making them frequently accuse trans rights advocates of ignoring “women’s views”, “women’s concerns” and so on. New polling by YouGov, commissioned by PinkNews, undermines these arguments even further. (See here for the full results.) Men in the UK agree that “a person should... be able to self-identify as a gender different to the one they were born in” 43% to 33% (the rest say they don’t know). Women agree 57-21. As you’d expect...

Abuse of Uyghur women

China is carrying out forced sterilisations of women of ethnic minority populations in the western Xinjiang region, according to research published on 29 June. More than one million Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are imprisoned in re-education camps. Uyghur women and other ethnic minorities are being threatened with internment in the camps for refusing to abort pregnancies that exceed birth quotas. Women have been involuntarily fitted with intrauterine contraceptives or coerced into receiving sterilisation surgeries, even were they had fewer than the permitted two children...

Say her name

The murder of George Floyd has sparked a global movement against racism and police brutality. The discussion of racist violence and police repression have again shone a spotlight on how dangerous it is to be a black man in America. But by viewing the criminal justice system as the frontline of structural racism and men as the primary participants, we risk ignoring the violence which is a day to day reality for black women. Black women’s interaction with the state, through law enforcement, is marked by violence. Black women are murdered by the police. They are assaulted and injured by the...

Tim Roache and the cabal system

On Tuesday 28 April, Tim Roache, general secretary of the big GMB union, which organises in many different sectors, stepped down, just months after his re-election. He cited ill-health. On Wednesday, following the circulation of an anonymous letter to press outlets, GMB issued a statement: “GMB received an anonymous letter, last Wednesday, in which a number of allegations have been made about Tim’s conduct whilst he held the office of general secretary.” The news of the allegations against Roach has reignited discussion of conduct in the labour movement, echoing previous incidents including...

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