Visible Women

Women’s Daily Dispatch: The news you need to know on 15/2/18

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Emily Reynolds
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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 WDD, women are urged to ditch ‘sexy’ dress-codes at Berlin Film Festival; big City firms are encouraged to promote more women; young girls are banned from saying ‘no’ to boys; and a transgender woman breastfeeds a baby for the first time in history.  

Women urged to ditch ‘sexy’ clothes at film festival

A German actor has urged female actors attending the Berlin film festival to “ditch high heels and tight dresses” in favour of trainers and comfortable clothes.

Anna Brüggemann is using the hashtag #NobodysDoll to highlight the issue, which she says is part of the “patriarchal gaze”. 

“The red carpet is like a throwback to the Fifties,” she told the Guardian. “Women are expected to squeeze into tight-fitting, low-cut dresses and totter on impossible heels in order to serve the gaze of those who’ll judge whether they are marketable or not. It’s time we had different images to look up to, of headstrong, unconventional women.”

Brüggemann said the #MeToo movement inspired her campaign. “It’s about asking when does a woman become that object that men feel they have the right to take for themselves, to decide everything from how she looks, to how low-cut her outfit is,” she said. 

“When #MeToo happened, and all these beautiful Hollywood actresses said ‘it’s time for more equal rights and we should all be feminists’, I thought, well, equality begins when we women really stop thinking about our bodies as something we have to improve.”

She also pointed out the frequent outfit changes women are expected to undergo during a film festival or premier. 

“An actress friend of mine recently said she was fed up changing into at least four different outfits for the opening parties. She pointed out it was in that time the men were doing all the important business deals.”

Read more at The Guardian

Big City firms under pressure to promote women

Conservative MP Nicky Morgan has put pressure on some of the world’s biggest financial institutions – saying that they must “join the initiative to promote more senior women in finance or explain their refusal to sign up.”

Morgan has written to 33 companies, including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and BNP Paribas – to ask why they haven’t signed up to the Women in Finance Charter that was launched by the government in 2016. 

The charter calls for hard targets in promoting women, and asks that they publish what steps are being taken to achieve these targets. 

“The progress of the Women in Finance Charter is to be welcomed,” Morgan said. “The aim, however, must be to see all firms in the financial sector sign up to the charter and make a concerted effort to improve their gender diversity, particularly in senior roles.

“Huge multinationals, including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and UBS are yet to sign up to the charter, and if they don’t intend to do so, the Treasury committee wants them to explain why.”

Read more at the Financial Times

Young girls banned from saying ‘no’ to boys at dance

When Natalie Richards’ daughter came home after school and told her she wasn’t allowed to say no when boys asked her to dance, she didn’t believe her.

But, after asking her daughter’s teacher, Richards discovered that she was telling the truth.

Kanesville Elementary School in West Haven, Utah, believe that rejection can hurt boys’ feelings and discourages “inclusivity” – and so girls have to say yes, even when they don’t want to. 

“We want to promote kindness, and so we want you to say yes when someone ask you to dance,” said the school’s community relations specialist, Lane Findlay, in defence of the rules.

But Richards believes this “sends a bad message to girls that they have to say yes,” and “sends a bad message to boys that girls can’t say no. 

“Psychologically my daughter keeps coming to me and saying I can`t say ‘no’ to a boy,” she added. “That’s the message kids are getting.”

Read more at Stylist

Transgender woman first in history to breastfeed

A transgender woman has been the first to breastfeed a baby, according to researchers in the US. 

She had been on hormone replacement therapy for six years when doctors put her on a three month treatment to help her produce milk – and she ended up producing 8oz a day, which doctors describe as a “modest but functional amount”.

The treatment involved breast pumping and taking hormones produced by biological mothers and a male hormone blocker. 

Dr Channa Jayasena, a senior lecturer at Imperial College, called the research “exciting”. 

“What we really need to do is pool together these cases and share our knowledge, to find the best recipe for breastfeeding in these patients without exposing them to any health risks.”

Read more at the BBC

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: iStock, Rex Features