Visible Women

From female farmers to Janelle Monáe: the women making waves this week

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Susan Devaney

Dropping every Friday, Women Making Waves is a series highlighting the women who rocked the boat, pushed for change and made history around the world this week.  

Janelle Monáe set to play Dorothy Pitman Hughes in Gloria Steinem biopic 

Julie Taymor’s Gloria Steinem biopic is set to grace the big screen with a plethora of big names – from Julianne Moore to Alicia Vikander – in tow. Now, Janelle Monáe has been announced as the latest actress to be added to the cast line-up.

Based on Steinem’s memoir, A Life on the Road, Monáe will take on the role of Dorothy Pitman Hughes, the activist who co-founded Ms. Magazine with Steinem in 1972. As a duo, Pitman Hughes and Steinem fought to raise awareness of gender, race and class issues throughout the Seventies. As an activist herself, could there be a better actress to take on the role than Monáe?

Details remain scarce – and no release date has been set, yet – but, according to Deadline, “The Glorias will follow Steinem’s journey to become a crusader for equal rights and her groundbreaking work as a journalist and campaigner.”

Female farmers protest out-dated men-only dinner 

Women in farming have called on a men-only awards dinner “to get with the times” and allow them to attend the annual event.

The Dartmouth Fatstock Show in Devon, which sees people across the industry compete for the best cattle, sheep and poultry, has run for more than 100 years.

But, show chairman Phil Bond, said the men-only dinner was “a tradition and how it has always been done”.

At this year’s event on Tuesday 11 December, prizes were distributed to men and women at an afternoon ceremony, then in the evening the men’s awards were presented for a second time at the men-only dinner.

Farmer Chloe Quantick said: “They need to stop being a bit sexist and let us in there.”

The Dartmouth Young Farmers Association currently has more female than male members, and there are four women on the show committee of 17. However, the committee recently held a vote and decided to maintain the exclusion of women in 2018. 

Women’s Tennis Association revises clothing rules for 2019, thanks to Serena Williams 

Earlier this year, tennis champion Serena Williams caused controversy by opting to wear a catsuit on the court during the French Open.

Williams, who gave birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia in September 2017, has dealt with serious complications related to a pulmonary embolism which is why she picked the suit as it claims to help with blood clots.

“I had a lot of problems with my blood clots, and, God, I don’t know how many I have had in the past 12 months. So it is definitely a little functionality to it,” Williams said at the time.

“I have been wearing pants in general a lot when I play, so I can keep the blood circulation going. It’s a fun suit but it’s also functional, so I can be able to play without any problems.”

But, a few months later, Bernard Giudicelli, the president of the French Tennis Association announced a new dress code that would prohibit the option of wearing a catsuit on court.

Now, thanks to the protesting efforts of Williams, the WTA has released a set of new rules for 2019 – including the choice of wearing catsuit.

“Leggings and mid-thigh-length compression shorts may be worn with or without a skirt, shorts, or dress,” the organisation wrote.

Changes have also been made to rankings, price money withdrawals and attire which you can read here

A female flautist sues Boston Symphony Orchestra due to gender pay gap 

A leading female flautist is suing the Boston Symphony Orchestra after discovering she’s being paid around $65,000 (£51,000) less than its male principal oboist.

Elizabeth Rowe, who has been the orchestra’s principal flautist since 2004, is seeking $200,000 (£160,000) in back pay after years of asking for a salary increase.

Rowe is arguing that the pair should be paid the same salary, and that her gender is due to the disparity.

“You look at the number of women that graduate from conservatories and then you look at the number of women in the top leadership positions in orchestras, and it’s not 50-50 still,” the 44-year-old told the Washington Post.

“Women need to see equality, and they need to see fairness in order to believe that that’s possible.”

However, the orchestra has defended its pay structure in its court filing, making the argument that the oboe is harder to play.

Rowe and the orchestra will go through a mediation session this week to try to settle the case out of court. 

Women Making Waves is part of Stylist’s Visible Women campaign to raise awareness of women who’ve made a difference to society. See more Visible Women stories here.  

Images: Getty / Twitter


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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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