Thursday, 26 March 2009

GB women win cycling team sprint

In the Cycling World Championships, Great Britain secured their first gold by winning the women's team sprint title.
Wendy Houvenaghel, Joanna Rowsell and Lizzie Armitstead beat New Zealand by 1.273 seconds in a time of 3 minutes 22.720 sec in the final.

And we shouldn't forget the women's cricket team who won the world chamionship last weekend!

Bike Belles

Sustrans has part of its website devoted to encouraging women to cycle safely and in style!

My personal mixed feelings about some women being too wimpy, and too concerned about appearances may be totally unjustified. (100 times, I will not be negative. Grr.)

It includes sections on:

Why cycle

Looking good

Staying Safe

Cycle basics.

Ada Lovelace Day

March 24th was Ada Lovelace Day - to celebrate women in technology. It is named after Byron's daughter, Ada, the woman who is considered to be the first ever programmer.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Reading habits male and female

According to a survey reported in the Daily Telegraph, women read more, and are more likely to finish books than men.

More details later (I hope)

Women and mental health

Information from this article in the Independent

According to a report from the NHS Information Centre, 56% of the 1.2 million referrals for treatment (inpatient and outpatient) last year were women. The total was up 3.4% from the previous year, and women accounted for 70% of the increase.

There has also been a rise of more than 12% in proportion of women suffereing depression and anxiety since the mid-1990s. Men have shown no increase in mental health problems.

The increase has been blamed on the increasing need to care for elderly parents in their 80s and 90s, and the fact that women still bear the major responsibility for caring. This has to be seen in the context of a policy to keep elderly people at home as much as possible, with the financial pressures of paying for domestic care.

A 2003 report by the charity Women at the Crossroads pointed out that women in mid-life are likely to find themselves in financial difficulties as a result of lower pay, part-time working, and divorce. They were less likely than men to own their own home, and carried a greater share of household duties.

My solution would be to encourage a more equal distribution of tasks between men and women, along with equal pay (of course). And our priorities should be towards money for public services at basic levels, such as home care, and other social services, rather than high salaries for top civil servants. Or of course bankers.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Young women and self-harm in Britain

From the Independent on Sunday, an article linking these statistics to the growing inequalities in wealth. Direct quote:

The number of people harming themselves deliberately has leapt by a third in the past five years, according to new figures seen by The Independent on Sunday. The biggest rise in self-harm and attempted suicide has been among young women between the ages of 16 and 24 as they struggle to cope with the pressures of modern living in Britain.

There were 97,871 hospital admissions for deliberate self-harm in England in 2007-08 – 4,337 of them for children under the age of 14. Meanwhile, one in eight young women admitted to self-harm in 2007 – an 80 per cent increase since 2000.

According to new research published by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the growing gap between rich and poor has led to an increase in mental health problems such as depression and self-harm in countries including the UK and US. People are surrounded by stories about the rich and famous – lifestyles that are unattainable for the majority. These inequalities cause psychological and physical stress which leads to mental and physical health problems, the report concludes.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Dora going 'tween'

A Pink Stinks blog entry about how young girls are manipulated for marketing purposes, in particular objecting to the way Dora is being made to grow up into a 'tween'. Dora is a cartoon character who so far has presented some kind of active role model for little girls.

Comments are interesting too.

There is a petition you can sign here

Geek Moms

An article on the BBC website on how mothers at home with young children are finding online social networking a real lifeline, not a substitute for real friendships, but a way of maintaining them, and a creative outlet.

I think this is also true about many retired people, and indeed those who are unemployed.

Reminder to self - catch the 'feminist' programme before Tuesday morning.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Call yourself a Feminist - programme 2

9 am Tuesday 17th March

Call Yourself a Feminist Radio 4
17 March 2009
Bettany Hughes presents a series of discussions tracing the development of feminism. 2/3: Linda Bellos, Roz Morris, Lynne Segal and Beatrix Campbell discuss feminism in the 1980s.

repeated at 21.30

Women's Health

A survey covering a million women aged 50 and over is providing masses of information about lifestyle and health. From links between alcohol and breast cancer to HRT. Read about in this Guardian article.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Inequality is the root of all evil?

Will Hutton discusses a recent book (The Spirit Level, by Wilkinson and Pickett) in this Guardian article. Social inequality, not sexual, but very interesting for its take on co-operation versus individual greed, and how the UK fits in. (Not very well, and little change in the New Labour years - there's no surprise!)

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Lesbians "corrective rape" in South Africa

Lesbians living in South Africa are being subjected to "corrective rape" and severe violence by men trying to "cure" them of their sexual orientation, human rights groups have said.

Reported in Guardian, Telegraph and others

Friday, 13 March 2009

Men, women, unemployment and housework

An article in Slate magazine asks if men could be doing more round the home if they are unemployed. Memo to self, read it soon.

Had a quick glance, it seems many men are adapting to this with ease, and doing a bigger chunk at home. A few, as ever, sit on their arses and play computer games..

Interesting article, investigating the intricacies of male/female roles.

Ten liberating washing machines

More discussion about the item that has been most liberating for women, in Times online blog. The usual crass comments, and of course some decent ones as well.

Is it the machine? Is it chemicals and preservatives in food? Could it be a more equal sharing of work inside and outside the home? Legal rights? The vote? Contraception?

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Progress in Africa

Johann Hari's article in the Independent is worth reading.

In villages across Africa, old women suspected of witchcraft are hacked to death, while young girls are mutilated to preserve their virginity. But attitudes are changing – and thousands of lives are being saved. Johann Hari reports from Kenya and Tanzania

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Action Aid and IWD

International Women's Day (IWD) connects women around the world and aims to inspire them to achieve their full potential. It is an opportunity to highlight the abuse of women’s rights across the world, while celebrating the central role that women play in creating a fairer and more just world.
ActionAid celebrated International Women's Day on 8 March with comedy, campaigns and film.

Older women rock?

See this article in the Daily Telegraph, in praise of older women and their efficiency and work rate - yes, and wisdom. It's written by Emma Soames, the editor-at-large for Saga magazine. But as a counterbalance, read the comments too - some women, older or otherwise have made as many mistakes as testosterone-driven men. Be careful which examples you choose if you wish to claim that women have innate superiority.

Binge-drinking and role models

Clare Clinton on AOl front page pontificates about the terrible role models presented to young women - Amy Winehouse and others. But isn't her article doing exactly what she claims to deplore - giving this behaviour publicity? I suppose it would be too much in our celeb obsessed age to ask the media to ignore drunken celebs. And now I've clicked on the article twice, so I suppose I'm helping to push it up their 'most read' list.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Call Yourself a feminist? worth a listen?

I caught this on Listen Again. It is here . To those of us who were around in the late sixties and early seventies, it didn't say anything new or startling, but was an interesting trip down memory lane. Will try to summarize later.

(I know - the road to hell...)

It contains some interesting observations about clothes and feminist humourlessness, as well as taking stock of the very real progress made in Europe and the US in particular. Though one of the contributors thought the programme concentrated too much on trivia.

Interesting timeline of women's achievements - feminist or otherwise.

Monday, 9 March 2009


Ulrika Jonnson gives lots of information here about causes of urinary incontinence in women, after childbirth or menopause. There are also simple exercises which can improve the condition.

From the article:
New research by the Wellbeing of Women charity shows that one third of British women over the age of 30 have experience of this condition. However, women often suffer in silence falsely assuming they are alone and too embarrassed to seek help.

The condition is linked not only to childbirth, but also to the menopause, which results in a loss of hormones that play an essential role in keeping the muscles strong and elastic.

Equality in European Union

Another BBC article caught my eye, balm to the soul, after I've been indulging in online arguing the case for equality with a man who claims to have biology, and all logic on his side, and that women should 'pull the strings behind the scenes'

At least this can be a reference site

So, even though we don't seem to be very active, at least we're gathering some useful website addresses for reference.

Call yourself a feminist?

A three week series on Radio 4 - Tuesdays at 9 am.

Call Yourself a Feminist
10 March 2009

1/3: Bettany Hughes presents a series of discussions tracing the development of feminist ideas. With Ann Leslie, Elaine Showalter, Sally Alexander and Sonia Fuentes.

Inspiring Women of Africa

A selection of inspiring women, produced by VSO, reported in the Independent.

Washing machine more liberating than the pill?

According to the Vatican, as it celebrates women's 'liberation' on IWD.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

International Women's Day 2009

Well, this year there are lots of initiatives and articles etc. I've posted up just a few.

Women, economics, leadership etc.

Vital Voices celebrates International Women's Day and Month. A US non-governmental organisation to empower women around the world.

Young women don't do politics?

An article in the Independent on Sunday claims that a whole generation of women is 'lost to politics'.

Pink continues to stink

Some good articles and links on the Pink Stinks blog. Certainly empowering girls!

Empowered or exploited?

In another article on the BBC website, Katherine Whitehorn asks whether women who wear skimpy outifts are exploiting or empowering themselves.

It's an odd article, actually. There is a short discussion of the issue mentioned in the headlines.

The rest of it concerns whether women collude in their own exploitation, and emphasises the fact that women have made huge strides in journalism in the last fifty years - it is no longer exceptional to find women writing serious article on war, politics, economics.

Yet the top jobs are occupied mainly by men, and the underpaid ones at the bottom of the heap are occupied mainly by women. Simplified of course.

Women in Iraq

Two articles from the BBC highlight the plight of many women in Iraq.

The first is about widows.
Accurate figures are hard to obtain, but even before the invasion in 2003, there were hundreds of thousands of widows in Iraq.
Many lost husbands in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. At the height of the violence of recent years, up to 100 women a day were becoming widows.
Almost everywhere you go in Baghdad, you can see them begging at traffic lights and outside mosques - dressed from head to toe in black.
The women are supposed to be given just over $1 (£0.70) a day from the government.
But a survey by the charity Oxfam has discovered that less than a quarter actually get the money.

The second , more general reports the results of a survey of 1700 women, who lack security and basic services.

Reporting on a survey of about 1,700 women in five provinces taken last year, Oxfam described their plight as a "silent emergency".

It suggested more than half the women had suffered from violence.

A quarter did not have daily access to water supplies, and more than three-quarters were not getting pensions.

One in Ten Women suffers Domestic violence each year in UK

I reproduce the comment made below the previous post

Amnesty UK is focusing on violence against women for this year's International Women’s Day. We’re asking people to change their Facebook status, Myspace headline and tweet to raise awareness of the fact that each year, around 1 in 10 women in Britain experience rape or other violence. Details on the Amnesty International website.
I couldn't access this via the link in the comment. Here are a few things we can do.