Visible Women

Women’s Daily Dispatch: The news you need to know on 20/2/18

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Moya Lothian-McLean
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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 Tuesday’s WDD, UK women face the threat of being priced out of STEM careers and the campaign to criminalise the act the of ‘upskirting’ picks up steam. Plus, the ‘Trump Factor’ doubles the number of women running for Congress in 2018, and Marie Curie gets the Amazon film treatment.

How women are being priced out of STEM careers

Currently, only 9% of young women opt to study a STEM subject at university.

Experts have warned that government plans to introduce cheaper tuition fees for arts higher education courses could, ultimately, result in even fewer women pursuing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers. 

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has come under fire following a proposal that degree fees - currently capped at £9000 per year - could be reduced for those choosing to study arts degrees, as their post-graduate earnings are, on average, half that of their STEM counterparts. But the move has prompted criticism that the prospect of increased debt accompanying STEM courses will deter female students in particular, and further increase the gender inequity within the UK STEM workforce, of which only 23% are female.

“If you’re under money pressure and fearful of debt, you’ll obviously go for the cheapest course,” explains physics professor Averil Mcdonald. “Women are much more pragmatic. They are […] focused on the end game and so choices like ‘I don’t want to rack up a huge debt’ do feature quite strongly in the women’s thinking. [The government have to] be very careful to think through the consequences of what they’re suggesting here. I think they’re playing a dangerous game.” 

Read more on the story here.

The conversation around ‘upskirting’ being made a crime continues

An investigation found that only 15% of people involved in “upskirting” offences had been charged since 2015.

Fresh calls to criminalise the practice of “upskirting” (secretly taking a photo under a woman’s skirt) have been made following the publication of police records. A Press Association investigation that forced the release of data relating to upskirting offences collected by police forces across England and Wales, found officers had only followed up on 78 reported instances of the act since 2015. Of those alleged offences, only 11 resulted in formal charges; 85% of cases were dropped due to a lack of evidence, including one involving a 10-year-old girl. 

Campaigners are now demanding the government clarify legislation surrounding upskirting and deem it illegal in England and Wales, as Scotland did in 2010. “This happens regularly to so many women and by putting pressure on the police to prosecute we’re also aiming to raise awareness nationwide that this is a crime,” said victim Gina Martin, one those pushing for upskirting to be outlawed under section 67 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Read more on the story here.

More women than ever are running for US Congress 

The number of women running for a seat in the United States Congress has doubled since 2016, new statistics show. And 78% of them are Democrats who have been “fired up” by a President who has been the target of multiple accusations of misogyny and sexual assault. 

Current figures show over 431 women are currently planning to run for office across the USA, all hoping to fill one of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives that are up for contention. At this stage in 2016, only 212 had expressed an intention to enter the race - with analysts predicting it will be a record-breaking year once filing deadlines have passed in states across the country. And candidate recruiters say even the initial round of interest from women hoping to run for office was unforeseeable. 

“To have over 30,000 women raise their hand, it’s unprecedented,” said Stephanie Schriock president of Emily’s List, a recruitment organisation for female Democrat candidates. By comparison, in 2016 they had just 920. 

Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump has been pinpointed as the biggest factor in this sudden trend. “If you [are] an organiser out there trying to organise what is called the resistance or the women organising the women who are thinking about running, Donald Trump is the gift that keeps on giving in terms of motivation to stay engaged and stay involved and not lose your enthusiasm.”  said Deborah Walsh, director of the Center on American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. 

Read more on the story at NPR here.

It’s official: Amazon are making a Marie Curie biopic 

Rosamund Pike
The Wheel of Time: Rosamund Pike stars in the new Amazon Prime series.

Amazon has revealed they’re forging ahead with a biopic that will tell the tale of two-time Nobel Prize winner, Marie Curie. In partnership with European media giant Studiocanal, Amazon Prime Video will co-finance an adaption of 2010 graphic novel Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout, by Lauren Redniss. 

The film, directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Marjane Satrapi and starring British actress Rosamund Pike, is set to focus on Curie’s turbulent life from her first meeting with her husband and scientific partner Pierre Curie in 1891, to his tragic death in 1906 and her subsequent solo research into radioactivity (which earned her a historic second Nobel Prize). 

“This film is not just a biopic about this exceptional woman,” says Satrapi, of the film which has already begun shooting in Budapest. “It tells the story of radioactivity from its discovery until today, the humanist approach of the Curie couple with their discovery, the cynicism of some about its use and the effect it has had on our world until today.” 

Read more details on the story from Variety.

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 / Twitter