Visible Women

Women’s Daily Dispatch: All the news you need to know on 18/1/18

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Moya Crockett
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As part of our Visible Women initiative, brings you the Women’s Daily Dispatch: your new daily digest of international news relating to women. It’s the good, bad, inspiring and urgent stories you need to know from around the world, all wrapped up in one bitesize piece. 

This Thursday, the biggest news stories included the call from cancer researchers for all women over 30 to be tested for the “Angelina Jolie gene”, the revelation that women are just plain tougher than men, and more. 

All women over 30 should be tested for cancer gene, say researchers

Scientists in a cancer laboratory 

Women over the age of 30 should all be tested for a faulty gene that increases their risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer, scientists have said.

Researchers at Barts Cancer Institute in London, supported by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, found that testing all women over 30 prevented many more cases of cancer than the current method – where only women with a personal or family history of cancer are tested.

The institute said that up to 17,000 cases of ovarian cancers and 64,000 breast cancers could be avoided in the UK if all women over 30 got tested for the corrupted gene.

The faulty BRCA gene mutation is sometimes referred to as the “Angelina Jolie gene”, after the actress had her breasts, ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to reduce her risk of cancer. Jolie is a carrier of a defective BRCA1 gene, and her mother and grandmother both died from ovarian cancer. Her aunt died from breast cancer.

You can read more about Barts Cancer Institute’s recommendations at Sky News

Lupita Nyong’o announces first children’s book 

Actress Lupita Nyong’o

Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o will soon be able to add ‘children’s author’ to her CV, after it was revealed that she is soon to publish her first book.

Titled Sulwe, the book tells the story of a self-conscious Kenyan girl who learns to love her dark skin. Announcing the news on Instagram, Nyong’o wrote: “Sulwe is a dark skinned girl who goes on a starry-eyed adventure, and awakens with a reimagined sense of beauty.

“She encounters lessons that we learn as children and spend our lives unlearning. This is a story for little ones, but no matter the age I hope it serves as an inspiration for everyone to walk with joy in their own skin.”

Read more about the book – and how people reacted to the news of its publication on social media – here

Scientists confirm that women are tougher than men 

A woman in Liberia, west Africa

It’s long been known that women tend to live longer than men. However, an extensive analysis of historical records stretching back 250 years has now shown that women are also more likely than men to survive in times of famine, disease and extreme hardship.

Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina looked at records from countries as diverse as Liberia, Iceland, Ukraine, Trinidad, Ireland and the US. They discovered that women consistently outlived men in situations where mortality was very high for both genders - such as on slave plantations, during famines, and through devastating measles epidemics.

Virginia Zarulli from the University of Southern Denmark’s Institute of Public Health was the lead researcher on the study. She said that the results of the research can partly be explained by the female hormone oestrogen, which can protect blood vessels and defend women against a range of diseases.

“Testosterone, the most prominent male hormone, increases the risk of several fatal conditions – besides being the cause of reckless behaviours, more typical of men, that increase the risk of accidental and violent deaths,” she said.

The Guardian has more on this story; you can read it here

A rape victim was barred from closing her bank account without consent of abusive ex

A woman was forced to stay financially tied to her abuser

A Scottish woman who was repeatedly raped and beaten by her ex-husband was denied the right to close the bank account they shared, it was reported on Thursday – unless she visited the bank with her abuser.

The unnamed woman’s MP, Lisa Cameron, shared her story at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday. She said that she left her ex-husband after two decades of “emotional, mental, sexual, physical and financial abuse”, only to find that she was unable to close their joint account or remove her name from it without his consent.

Cameron, the SNP MP for East Kilbride, urged Theresa May to ensure that survivors of domestic violence receive more protection under the law.

In response, the prime minister said that a consultation on proposed domestic violence legislation would soon be issued by home secretary Amber Rudd.

“That will be an opportunity for issues such as this to be raised,” May added.

BuzzFeed News first reported this story; you can read it in full here

Throughout 2018, Stylist is raising the profiles of brilliant women past and present – and empowering future generations to follow their lead – with our Visible Women campaign. See more from Visible Women here.  

Images: Rex Features / iStock