Visible Women

Women’s Daily Dispatch: The news you need to know on 22/2/18

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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 tonight’s WDD, we’re poring over a photo essay about indigenous women fighting climate change in Bolivia and a fascinating interview with the creator of the flat shoe emoji. Plus, new sentencing guidelines will change how domestic abusers are treated in UK courts, and Boko Haram has kidnapped more girls in Nigeria. 

How Bolivia’s indigenous women are coping with climate change 

Women in La Paz, Bolivia 

Bolivia has already been exposed to some of the worsening effects of climate change. In March 2017, the Latin American country experienced its worst drought in 25 years, something that has been attributed in part to global warming.

Indigenous communities that rely mostly on farming to make a living are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather patterns. Women often have little societal power in these towns and villages, making them even more vulnerable to the effects of a failed harvest.

But in the central Bolivian town of Tiraque, NGOs and the government have been working hard to empower women to take on a greater role in their communities and make the most of their crops.

Al Jazeera has a beautiful photo essay about the women of Tiraque; you can see it here.  

New sentencing guidelines will crack down on domestic abusers 

Domestic Abuse Bill returns to parliament.
Domestic Abuse Bill returns to parliament.

Perpetrators of all kinds of domestic abuse, including physical, emotional, psychological and online abuse, will be more likely to go to prison under new sentencing guidelines published on Thursday.

The updated advice from the Sentencing Council of England and Wales states that convicted domestic abusers should be given “a custodial sentence in the majority of cases” if they have been seriously physically violent and/or caused severe “emotional/psychological harm”.

Previously, the guidelines had only recommended jail time for abusers who caused serious physical harm to their victim. The fresh advice is expected to have a significant effect on how domestic violence cases are treated in court.

“These new sentencing guidelines are a huge step forward for women escaping domestic violence,” said Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge. “I am glad that the courts will be encouraged to recognise that everybody has the right to feel safe in their own home.”

To find out more about the new sentencing guidelines and other ways in which domestic abuse is being tackled in the UK, read our in-depth coverage here

The woman behind the new flat shoe emoji speaks out 

Earlier this month, it was announced that 157 new emoji are to be introduced to smartphone keyboards, including faces with afro and red hair, female superheroes, a mango, a lobster and a pirate flag. But for Florie Hutchinson, a museum and gallery publicist from Palo Alto, California, there’s only one emoji that really matters: the flat woman’s shoe.

Hutchinson tells The Washington Post that she was inspired to contact the Unicode Consortium, the organisation that approves new emojis, after realising that all the women’s shoe emojis had high heels. It asked her to write a proposal as to why a ballet flat symbol should be added to the emoji alphabet – and months later, it was approved.

The mother of three daughters aged six and under, Hutchinson said that she is no longer prepared to let gender stereotyping slip by. “It’s so easy to just notice things and just move on with your life, especially as a working mum,” she observed. “[But] I’m so desperate to raise girls who advocate for themselves and effect change and don’t wait around for someone else to come fix it. So it was a very achievable and tiny battle.”

So what’s next on her list? “There isn’t a one-piece swimsuit, which I’m going to try to fix,” she said.

Read the full interview with Hutchinson here

Dozens of girls feared missing after new Boko Haram attack 

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari

Members of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram have once again abducted a group of girls from a school in Nigeria, it has been reported.

Heavily armed insurgents attacked the village of Dapchi earlier this week as they entered on camouflaged trucks, according to witnesses. But accounts of the girls’ current whereabouts vary greatly.

Several parents and a government official said that the Nigerian military had rescued 76 schoolgirls and the dead bodies of two, leaving 13 unaccounted for. But the local government released a statement saying 50 girls remained accounted for.

Dapchi is about 170 miles north-west of Chibok, where more than 270 girls were abducted in 2014. The Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, has assures the public that suitable action is being taken.

For more on this story, click 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: Pixabay / Rex Features


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Moya Crockett

Moya is Contributing Women’s Editor at and Deputy Editor of Stylist Loves, Stylist's daily email newsletter.