In tonight’s Women’s Daily Dispatch: an ovarian cancer breakthrough, a disturbing US abortion bill, a Saudi Arabian women’s cycle race and government funding for inspirational women’s projects.
Ovarian cancer vaccine improves women’s survival rates
Trials of a new, personalised ovarian cancer vaccine have had positive results, raising hopes that scientists could be moving closure to being able to prevent the disease.
Professor Lana Kandalaft and her team in the oncology department at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, have successfully created vaccines that can be tailored to each individual tumour. This is a significant breakthrough, since one of the reasons scientists have so far struggled to create an effective vaccine against ovarian cancer is that tumours vary between different people.
The scientists found that women who received a personalised vaccine alongside chemotherapy drugs showed the best survival rates. Two years after being vaccinated, 80% of women with recurrent ovarian cancer were still alive, compared with just 50% of women with similar stages of cancer who just received the chemotherapy drugs.
Around 7,300 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the UK every year, making it one of the nation’s most common forms of the illness.
Read more on this story at New Scientist.
Women will have to explain why they need abortion under new US bill
The House of Representatives in Arizona has passed a bill that requires women to fill out a lengthy questionnaire about why they need an abortion before they are allowed to have the procedure.
The bill means that women will have to answer extensive questions about their reasons for seeking an abortion, including whether they are seeking the procedure for economic reasons or because they do not want a child, if the pregnancy could harm their own or the foetus’ health, or if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.
The questionnaire also asks women to provide their race, age, educational background and marital status, as well as information about any other pregnancies or abortions they may have had.
Jodi Ligget, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, told Bustle: “This is about making the abortion experience as shaming and degrading as possible for people, to thereby discourage them from following through with their decision. Nothing more.”
Before it is passed, the bill must be approved by the Arizona state Senate.
The Hill has more on this story here.
Saudi Arabia hosts its first ever women’s cycle race
In Monday’s Dispatch, we highlighted a story about increasing numbers of women taking up cycling in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Now, Jeddah has hosted the first ever women’s cycle competition in Saudi Arabian history, with 47 women competing in a 10-kilometre race.
The race was organised by Be Active, a group that connects women cyclists with local authorities.
Nadima Abu al-Enein, the organiser of the race, said in a statement that her team had been surprised at the number of women who arrived wanting to take part. As a result, some women were not able to race.
“The large participant turnout prompted the organising committee to increase the allowed number of participants from 30 to 47 girls,” she said. “However, the committee was still forced to exclude numerous others who hoped to participate.”
Saudi authorities decreed that women are allowed to ride bicycles in public in 2013, as long as they dress modestly and are accompanied by a male guardian.
For more on this story, visit BBC News.
Inspiring women’s projects win £600,000 in UK government funding
Eight schemes have been awarded a total of £600,000 in funding as part of the government’s suffrage centenary fund, launched to celebrate 100 years of the first women in Britain getting the vote.
The winning projects include a small charity in Birmingham offering political leadership training to Bangladeshi and Pakistani women, National Trust workshops and exhibitions exploring modern women’s issues, and a community cinema’s archive film about the history of women’s political lives.
The charity Young Women’s Trust was awarded £58,350 in funding to deliver training to women aged 16 to 30 to build their confidence, give them practical skills and enable them to share their views.
“A hundred years on from gaining the vote, women remain under-represented in decision-making,” Dr Carole Easton OBE, chief executive at Young Women’s Trust, told stylist.co.uk. “Our work is shaped by young women for young women and we are excited to be able to offer our training opportunities to more people and move closer to achieving equality for women.”
Read more on this story 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: Getty Images / Courtesy of Young Women’s Trust