Visible Women

Women’s Daily Dispatch: The news you need to know on 23/3/18

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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 Friday’s WDD: women in Poland rise up for reproductive rights, record numbers of black women run for office in Alabama, and Fearne Cotton is set to take over the Stylist website. 

Polish women are protesting yet another proposed abortion ban  

Pro-choice protesters on the street in Poznan, Poland, on 23 March

In October 2016, more than 150,000 Polish women took to the streets in cities and towns across the country to protest a proposed ban on abortion. The protests, which became known as ‘Black Monday’, represented the biggest political action by women in Poland’s history, and led to the government’s draconian anti-abortion bill being scrapped.

But women were forced to march in Poland again on Friday, after the government pushed forward a revised version of the legislation that caused such an outcry when it was proposed 17 months ago.

The updated version of the bill is marginally less harsh than that which was proposed in 2016. Women who have abortions would no longer face criminal penalties – but abortion would be banned in all cases of foetal abnormality. This would mean that women were forced to carry pregnancies to term, even if they knew the foetus had a fatal genetic disorder.

Like Ireland, another country currently in the grip of a debate about abortion, Poland is an overwhelmingly Catholic nation. Abortion is already banned in almost all circumstances, and supporters of the new bill say it is only designed to protect unborn babies with disabilities.

However, pro-choice advocates describe it as yet another attempt to curtail women’s reproductive rights.

Read more on this story at The New York Times

A record number of black women are running for office in Alabama

Supporters of Alabama Democrat Doug Jones celebrate his election victory in December 2017. Black women were the driving force behind Jones’ win 

The state of Alabama, in the American Deep South, is not known for being a place of racial equality. Back in the mid-20th century, it was the setting of some of the biggest civil rights demonstrations in the US, including the bus boycott started by Rosa Parks – as well as some of the most brutal racist terrorist attacks. Today, Alabama’s state constitution is still heavily influenced by the racism of the slave-owning white men who wrote it, and the region’s universities frequently grapple with racist scandals (not that that’s a problem confined to the States).

But in 2018, there are more black women running for office in Alabama than ever before. According to NBC News, more than 35 African-American women are currently standing as Democratic candidates in various upcoming elections across the deeply Republican state. Some are campaigning to be judges on state and county courts, while others want to secure a seat in the state legislature. All want to make a difference.

“It’s so important that we step up, that we show the nation that we can lead,” said Jameria Moore, an attorney who is campaigning for a judgeship in Jefferson County. “That, here in Alabama, we’re ready to lead our state into the future.”

Crucially, African-American women have been leading the way in liberal politics in the US for years – even if they haven’t held elected office. More than 50% of white women voted for Donald Trump in the US general election in 2016, compared to the 94% of black women who backed Hillary Clinton. At last year’s Senate election in Alabama, a similar pattern prevailed: 98% of African-American women voted for Democrat Doug Jones, in contrast to the 63% of white women who supported alleged child molester and outspoken bigot Roy Moore.

Jameira Moore is at pains to point out that black women’s involvement in politics should not be seen as a ‘new’ thing. “We didn’t just become part of the political process,” she said. “We’ve always played a part in the process even before we had the right to vote.”

Read more on this story here.  

Fearne Cotton to guest-edit Stylist website 

Radio host, writer, TV presenter and podcast host Fearne Cotton is set to take over for 24 hours on Tuesday 27 March, transforming it into a “haven and digital sanctuary” focused on wellness, happiness and good mental health.

“I love the internet and the speed at which I can attain information, but of course like many things in life there can be a darker side to it and also an addictive side,” Cotton says.

“I think it’s really important to create as much positivity online as possible. So I hope to create a real happy haven and digital sanctuary when I edit the Stylist website for the day. I would love for it to be a place where people can visit to regroup, relax and enjoy themselves.”

Kayleigh Dray, Stylist’s digital editor, says: “With [Fearne’s] help, we hope to guide our readers on their journey to prioritising their own happiness in an increasingly busy and (sometimes) frightening world.”

Read more about the takeover 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: Getty Images