Visible Women

Women’s Daily Dispatch: The news you need to know on 1/3/18

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Susan Devaney
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As part of our Visible Women initiative, Stylist.co.uk brings you the Women’s Daily Dispatch: your 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. 

In today’s WDD: Evan Rachel Wood continues to fight for sexual abuse survivors before Congress, and for the first time, women in Saudia Arabia are permitted to join the armed forces and police services. Plus, London’s revealed as the city with the worst average gender pay gap in the UK, and three women are due to be compensated for being forced to remove their hijabs for mugshots in New York City. 

Evan Rachel Wood details her harrowing history of sexual abuse

Evan Rachel Wood has long been vocal in her participation of the #MeToo movement and Time’s Up initiative. 

Evan Rachel Wood is continuing to fight for other sexual abuse survivors by standing before Congress in America. 

Along with two other sexual abuse survivors, the Westworld actress appeared before Congress to fight for the implementation of the Sexual Assault Survivor’s Bill of Rights Act across the country, in all 50 states.

“I’m here today to use my position as an artist, survivor, mother, and advocate to bring a human voice to the population of 25 million survivors in the U.S. who are currently experiencing inequality under the law and who desperately need basic civil rights,” Wood said.

The Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act was signed into law in 2016. The law states that no one can be denied (or charged) for a forensic examination. Furthermore, if a rape kit is used then the results must be kept for 20 years. However, this law is only applicable on federal level, which is why Wood and others are fighting for it to be instated across every state in America.

Wood went onto to explain the horrific aftermath sexual abuse survivors have to endure, by detailing her own experience. “Seven years after my rapes - plural - I was diagnosed with long term PTSD, which I had been living with all that time without knowledge about my condition. I simply thought I was going crazy.”

You can ready more on the story here

For the first time, women in Saudia Arabia join the armed forces and police services 

Women will still need to seek the permission of a male guardian before serving in the army or police force. 

In Saudia Arabia, for the first time in the country’s history women have been permitted to join the armed forces and the police services. 

The change comes following a relaxation of conservative legislation in the country of late. Under the new regulations, women can apply to serve in both the army and the Saudi police force, but will still require the permission of a male guardian to do so.

At the same time, several new political appointments - including that of Tamadur bint Youssef al-Rama as deputy labour minister, one of few women to hold a senior post in the kingdom – were also revealed. 

Experts believe the reshuffle signifies a changing regime and the possible ascension of 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to whom much of Saudi Arabia’s softening attitude to women has been attributed.

“This development tells us one thing: the new king is coming sooner rather than later,” said Mahjoob Zweiri, professor of Arab politics at Qatar University. 

“It seems that he’s setting the platform for his son to rule - we’ve witnessed serious changes to the economy, attempts to fight corruption and so on.”

Read more on this story at Al Jazeera

London revealed as the city with the worst average gender pay gap in the UK     

Not only is London lagging behind other regional capitals like Manchester, which has a gender pay difference of 12.8%, but the inequality is significantly worse than across the UK as a whole. The capital comes in at a 20% average difference between the salaries of men and women, compared to a national figure of 14%.

In comparison, analysis of data by e-learning company MeLearning has found that women in smaller towns and cities fare better on the salary front than those in large urban settlements. In Rossendale – a Lancashire district with a population of about 67,000 – women actually earn an average of 16.8% more than their male peers. And out of the bigger metropolitan areas, Leicester had the smallest pay gap, with an average of 5.6%. Experts say this could be attributed to the different industries found there.

“There isn’t one consistent reason why the gender pay gap is lower or negative in some of these areas, which are pretty diverse,” says Andrew Bazeley, policy and insight manager at The Fawcett Society

“The shape of the local labour market is probably important such as the proportion of public sector jobs which tend to pay women better, the industries which are key local employers, and the availability of the transport networks and childcare can make full time employment more feasible for women.”

Read more on this story here.

Three women compensated for being forced to remove their hijabs for mugshots in New York City

One woman was made to remove her hijab for 20 minutes in front of officers and prisoners.

New York City has agreed to pay three Muslim women $60,000 (£44,000) each after they were forced to remove their hijabs.

The settlement was reached this week, the lawsuit stems from a teenager (known only as ‘G.E.’) who was forced to remove her hijab for a mugshot.

The teen – who had been arrested for suspected fighting – refused to remove the religious veil until she was taken into a private room where a female officer took her photo. However, she was then moved to the central booking station – so a different camera could be used – where G.E. was made to remove her hijab for 20 minutes in front of officers and prisoners.

The two additional, and very similar, incidents occurred in 2015 – the same year the New York Police Department issued new guidance on how to detain suspects with head coverings.

The lawyer representing the three women, Tahanie Aboushi, told the BBC that “the settlements are a good step in the right direction to address this issue not just for women who wear hijab but also for people of other faiths”.

You can read more on the story at BBC News

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: Unsplash / Rex Features / iStock