Visible Women

Women’s Daily Dispatch: The news you need to know on 15/1/18

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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. 

In today’s WWD, UK MPs launch an inquiry into sexual harassment laws; councils are given new advice on reducing teen pregnancy levels; Catherine Deneuve apologises for signing controversial letter about the #MeToo movement; and a man hits back after being trolled for taking his wife’s surname. 

MPs consider introducing tougher laws on sexual harassment 

Maria Miller, chair of the Commons select women and equalities committee

A group of MPs, union leaders and women’s groups has launched a formal inquiry into sexual harassment, and is urging the government to strengthen the UK’s laws around the issue.

The inquiry is being led by the Commons select women and equalities committee, and will investigate the strength of current street harassment laws – as well as the impact sexual harassment has on victims and wider society.

Maria Miller, the chair of the women and equalities committee, said that the government would be pushed to explain what it is currently doing to tackle sexual harassment.

“I think it’s clear that the current system is broken,” Miller said. “It’s all well and good to have strong laws when it comes to sexual harassment, but if we have a culture that has accepted it for decades as part of the price of being a woman then we have to change that culture [and] make sure our laws are the best they can be.”

The Guardian has more on this story; read it here

Councils given new guidelines for reducing teen pregnancies 

Teenage pregnancy rates are falling in the UK, but are still among the highest in Europe

Teen pregnancy rates in the UK are currently at the lowest level since records began in the Sixties, with less than 0.9% of the 632,048 babies born in England delivered to teenage mothers in 2015-16. This success has been attributed to more effective and readily available contraceptives, better sex education, increased openness in talking about sex, and the rise of teenagers socialising online.

However, the UK’s rate of teenage pregnancy is still amongst the highest in Europe. To tackle this, local councils in England have now been given new guidelines to help them steer young women away from having children before they are financially, psychologically and emotionally ready.

Alison Hadley, director of the University of Bedfordshire’s Teenage Pregnancy Knowledge Exchange, helped create the guidelines. She says: “You would start with improving the sex and relationships education in schools, in primary schools and secondary schools so that all children in the area get really good knowledge and confidence and know about healthy relationships, consent, and where to ask about contraception when they get into a sexual relationship.”

To read more on this story via BBC News, click here

Catherine Deneuve apologises to sexual assault victims after criticising #MeToo 

Actress Catherine Deneuve

French actress Catherine Deneuve has issued a public apology after she signed an open letter denouncing the #MeToo campaign as having gone too far.

Deneuve, 74, was one of 100 prominent signatories of a letter published last week in French newspaper Le Monde. The letter, which was later translated into English, defended men’s “freedom to pester” women as “indispensable to sexual freedom”.

“Rape is a crime, but insistent or clumsy flirting is not an offence, nor is gallantry macho aggression,” the letter said.

Feminists in France denounced the letter, which quickly spread around the world. Now, Deneuve has written to left-wing newspaper Liberation to apologise for signing the original letter.

“What creates situations that are traumatising and unbearable is always the power, the subordination or some sort of overpowering. The trap occurs when it becomes impossible to say no without risking one’s job, or being subjected to humiliations and degrading sarcasm,” she said.

You can read Deneuve’s full letter, via Variety, here

Man is trolled after taking wife’s surname 

An Australian man has spoken out after being trolled for taking his wife’s name after they got married. Grant Phillips, from Sydney, revealed on Instagram that he was planning on his wife’s surname because she didn’t have any brothers to carry on their family name – and was greeted by torrents of abuse from men from around the world.

“I just feel sad for these people that they need to take the time out of their daily lives to track me down or to leave nasty comments on social media,” said Phillips.

“Every single hate mail I got was from a male but the ironic thing was the men would proudly display pictures of them with their daughters on the same social media pages they used to condemn me.”

Read more about how Phillips stood up to the trolls here

Find out more about the Stylist Visible Women initiative here.

Images: iStock / Rex Features