Visible Women

Women’s Daily Dispatch: The news you need to know on 9/1/18

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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. 

1) #WoYeShi: China’s women speak out about sexual harassment 

A woman uses her phone in Beijing. Women are pushing back against sexual harassment in China by sharing their experiences using the hashtag #WoYeShi

It’s not easy being a feminist in China. In 2015, a group of female activists (known as the ‘Feminist Five’) were arrested and held in a detention centre in Beijing after handing out stickers to raise awareness of sexual harassment. State surveillance of NGOs and feminist activists is reportedly on the rise, and one of China’s biggest state-run newspapers sparked anger in October by claiming that sexual harassment (as seen in the Harvey Weinstein scandal) was purely a Western problem.

However, inspired by the #MeToo movement that began in the US and quickly spread to Europe and some parts of Asia, women in China are now calling for an end to sexual harassment by sharing their experiences using the hashtag #我也是 (#WoYeShi, or #MeToo). The Guardian has more on the story; you can read it here.

For a broader analysis of sexual harassment in China, there is a fascinating article by Chinese feminist activist Lü Pin here (via Amnesty International). 

2) Backlash after Theresa May appoints MP Maria Caulfield to role representing women 

Conservative MP Maria Caulfield

Women’s rights groups and some MPs have spoken out after Theresa May’s reshuffle resulted in Maria Caulfield being made the Conservative Party’s vice-chair for women. Caulfield, the MP for Lewes, previously opposed a bill that would decriminalise abortion, saying that it would lead to “abortion on demand”.

The bill, known as the Ten Minute Rule Bill, would have prevented women who end their pregnancies without permission from being prosecuted. Labour MP Diana Johnson, who introduced the bill, accused Caulfield of “arguing for women to still be covered by Victorian laws”. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service said it was “shocked” the Conservatives had promoted an MP “who supports the criminalisation of women who end their own pregnancies”.

Read more about the appointment and the backlash here (via BBC News). 

3) Equality watchdog to look into claims of gender pay gap at the BBC 

BBC Broadcasting House in central London

The UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is to write to the BBC after the broadcaster’s China editor, Carrie Gracie, resigned over alleged pay inequality.

Gracie, who had been with the BBC for over 30 years, quit on Sunday in protest at what she described as the corporation’s “secretive and illegal” gender pay gap.

Now, the EHRC has said that it will write to the BBC requesting all relevant information about the Gracie case, to inform its decision as to whether to pursue further action. Read the full story here (via The Independent). 

4) Democrats in the US can’t decide whether they’d like Oprah to run for president 

Oprah Winfrey onstage at the 2018 Golden Globes

After Oprah Winfrey’s barnstorming speech at the Golden Globes on Sunday, speculation reached fever pitch as to whether the TV presenter, actress, businesswoman and philanthropist would consider running for US president in 2020. (Hey, if Donald Trump could do it, why not her?) The hashtag #Oprah2020 began trending on Twitter, and Winfrey’s husband Stedman Graham told the Los Angeles Times that the decision was “up to the people. She would absolutely do it”.

The liberal Winfrey would almost certainly run as a Democrat (she endorsed both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for president), and the proposition has sparked both excitement and consternation amongst left-wing politicians in the US. 

The New York Times has broken down Democrats’ response to ‘President Winfrey’; you can read it here

Images: Unsplash / iStock / Rex Features