Visible Women

Women’s Daily Dispatch: The news you need to know on 23/1/18

Posted by
Emily Reynolds

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, abuse survivors deliver a petition to Number 10; a woman takes 200 Yazidi women who escaped ISIS on a shopping trip; women filmmakers are finally recognised in the Oscars longlist; and a disturbing report outlines why many women will continue to face financial inequality in old age. 

Abuse survivors deliver 168,000 signatures to 10 Downing Street, calling on Theresa May to stop changes to the funding of women’s refuges

Abuse survivors and charities have delivered a petition to the Prime Minister, warning that women will die unless changes in funding for refuges are reversed. 

The proposed changes would prevent women from paying for stays in refuges using their housing benefit – putting some of the most vulnerable women at risk. Charity Women’s Aid has warned that the changes could “force more than a third of refuges into closure”. 

MP Jess Phillips, who used to work in a refuge, said that people “don’t realise” the extent of the problem of domestic violence unless they work in abuse services.

“I met women who have been left under a table and fed scraps from the fridge by their children when their dad isn’t looking, I have seen women who were raped and abused every night of their lives,” she said.

“These are people who are living in terror and fear - without somewhere to go they will continue to live in totally marginalised lives but the risk of death, ill-health and their children not doing as well in school is so high.”

Writer and Everyday Sexism Project activist Laura Bates has also drawn attention to the stories of abuse survivors today in The Guardian.

”According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, local authorities across England have cut their spending on domestic violence refuges by nearly a quarter since 2010,” she writes.

“As the government devolves responsibility for funding to local authorities, women’s refuges providing specialist care, in particular those catering for BAME women and survivors with complex needs, find themselves at risk of closure, competing for funding against cheaper, generic providers such as housing associations.”

Read more at The Guardian

Woman takes 200 Yazidi women who escaped ISIS on a shopping trip to experience colours again

As part of her work with British Sikh charity Khalsa Aid, journalist and activist Savraj Kaur has been visiting Iraq since 2014. Their efforts focus on “ensuring food and water provisions for Yazidi and Assyrian refugees, trauma counselling services and helping displaced Sikhs”.

And as part of her latest trip, Kaur took 200 Yazidi women shopping for clothes. Many of the women had been forced into marriage and separated from their families for many years.

“I watched as dozens of Yazidi girls and young women shuffled into a family-owned clothes market,” writes Kaur. “Their fingers tentatively felt through the rails and stacks of everything, from jeans to traditional dresses. I was struck by their initial reluctance – are they really being taken shopping?”

She observes: “They don’t just get to buy more than one outfit, but also choice and autonomy after years of violent restriction.”

Read more here

Oscars longlist recognises women

Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird

The women of Hollywood are having a moment in the spotlight right now. From the traction of the #TimesUp initiative to Golden Globes wins, women are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

And today, this recognition has come in the form of the recently announced Oscars longlist. With her nomination for Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig has become just the fifth women ever nominated for Best Director; elsewhere, Rachel Morrison became the first woman nominated for cinematography for Mudbound, and actress Mary J Blige was nominated for both best-supporting actress and best original song. 

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According to USA Today, the academy was “anxious to stress what it considers good signs” for gender parity, issuing a fact sheet that “pointed out Lady Bird is the 13th film directed by a woman to be nominated for best picture and the fourth film written and directed solely by women to be nominated for best picture and writing”.

Read more at Variety.

Women still face a decades-long battle for financial equality

Women may have progressed in many areas of society – but will we have a better financial future than older generations? Not according to a new report from the Chartered Insurance Institute, which has found that women are “less likely to accumulate wealth over the course of their lifetime than previous generations”. 

As Claer Barrett explains in the Financial Times, “women live longer than men, so need to save more to fund a comfortable retirement… Yet they save less — typically because women have lower-paid jobs, and are more likely to take a career break or work part-time to care for their families, which further impacts earnings potential.”

Issues like student debt, houses prices and the care crisis are also likely to impact women – and are more likely to hurt our finances than men’s. 

“In the face of past inequalities, our female forebears took to the streets and protested,” Barrett writes. “After reading this report, I despaired at why we are still shouting to be heard. There are many causes of financial inequality. For the sake of all the women in your life, don’t let ignorance be one of them.”

Read more at the Financial Times.

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: Rex Features / Savraj Kaur