Visible Women

Women’s Daily Dispatch: The news you need to know on 12/2/18

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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 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 this evening’s WDD, we’re covering Judy Blume’s thoughts on #MeToo and Kate Middleton’s #TimesUp dilemma. Plus, Uber may be paying women less for being better drivers – and a lack of women in the energy sector could be harming the planet. 

This is what Judy Blume thinks about #MeToo and feminism 

Judy Blume pictured in June 2015 

With a literary career that spans almost 50 years, legendary YA author Judy Blume has provided generations of young women with their first introduction to the topics of sex, puberty, relationships, periods and mental health. Her 1970 novel Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret was subjected to multiple campaigns to ban it in the US for its frank depiction of a teenage girl’s sexual awakening, while 1981’s Tiger Eyes tackles themes of depression and grief.

In a new interview, Blume - now 80 - said that many young people she meets today are surprised to learn how long ago some of her books were published. “They don’t know that I wrote them generations ago. They think I wrote them yesterday for them, for the most part,” she told NPR.

The author said she considers herself an active feminist, but can see differences in how older and younger women approach the #MeToo movement.

“That doesn’t mean that women of my generation can’t support the #MeToo movement,” she said. “Where we may differ is, ‘Is it OK to enjoy the art of someone who we now know may have been abusive to women?’ To me, the answer is yes, I can. And I don’t want museums to take away art because we now know that that artist from a different era may have been abusive to women.”

You can listen to the full interview here

Kate Middleton probably won’t wear black to support #TimesUp at the BAFTAs 

Kate Middleton is not supposed to make political statements with her clothing

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are generally the centre of attention at the events they attend, thanks to – you know – being members of the Royal Family. But at this year’s BAFTAs, all eyes will be on Kate Middleton for a very different reason.

It has emerged that Middleton may not be allowed to wear black to the British film awards ceremony this Sunday, due to palace restrictions on royals making potentially divisive political statements. As most attendees at the BAFTAs are expected to wear black in a show of support for the #TimesUp movement against sexual harassment and assault, the Duchess will stand out even more than usual if she arrives in a different colour.

Many would argue that opposing sexual misconduct shouldn’t be considered a political statement at all (because let’s face it, it should hardly be seen as a radical viewpoint). But it remains to be seen whether Middleton will be given permission to wear black to the BAFTAs. If she doesn’t, she’ll likely be subjected to intense public criticism – but if she does, others might slate her for affiliating herself with a feminist movement.

We’ve got more on this story right here

Uber may be paying women less – for being better drivers

Women Uber drivers in the US generally earn less than their male counterparts

A new report has found that male Uber drivers out-earn women drivers by around 7% on average, despite the ride-hailing app’s attempts to eliminate the gender pay gap.

The Uber app’s algorithm does not require drivers to identify their gender, something that the company hoped would enable it to side-step pay inequality. However, research into the earnings of almost 1.9 million drivers has now shown that this isn’t the case.

The paper was co-authored by academics from Stanford University and the University of Chicago in the US. One reason they suggest for the Uber pay gap is that women tend to drive more slowly (and thus more safely) than men, meaning that they pick up fewer rides over the course of one shift.

Bloomberg has a fascinating breakdown of the research here.  

A lack of women in the energy sector is holding back the fight against climate change 

Professor Catherine Mitchell says the dominance of “older white men” in the energy industry is slowing down the transition to greener, cleaner energy 

The energy industry needs to become more gender diverse if it genuinely wants to tackle climate change, an expert has warned.

Catherine Mitchell is a professor of energy policy at the University of Exeter who has worked in the sector for more than three decades and advises the government, regulators and businesses on energy issues.

Speaking to The Guardian, she said that energy is not as open to new ideas as it should be, thanks in part to a lack of women and people of colour in senior positions. This lack of innovation meant the sector was less able to transition to a low-carbon energy system, she observed.

“I absolutely do think that the fact that the industry is so dominated by men and particularly older white men it is slowing down the energy transition,” Mitchell said. While women are not necessarily more ‘green’ than men, she noted that the least green areas of energy – fossil fuel power generation and energy networks – are also the most male-dominated.

Read more of the interview with Professor Mitchell 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