In tonight’s Dispatch: the winner of the Women’s Footballer of the Year award is announced, and the first person is jailed in the UK for the crime of forced marriage.
Plus: further concerns are raised over the crackdown on women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, and the organisers of the Women’s March on London are planning a protest against Donald Trump’s visit to the UK.
Winner of Women’s Footballer of the Year announced
England defender Lucy Bronze has been named BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2018, after an international competition voted for by thousands of fans.
Bronze, 26, transferred to the French team Olympique Lyonnais from Manchester City last year, and also plays for the Lionesses – England’s national women’s football team.
“It’s really special,” she said, after being presented with the award.
“I’m still a bit surprised – I didn’t know why everyone was clapping at first. I was very grateful to even be nominated. The people who’ve been nominated alongside me are really great players and had really great years.”
Read more on this story at BBC Sport.
UK woman jailed for forcing her daughter to marry
A mother from Birmingham has become the first person in the UK to be sent to prison for forcing someone else to get married.
The woman has been jailed for four and a half years after being found guilty of forcing her daughter to marry against her will.
The daughter, who has not been named, was taken to Pakistan when she was just 13 to enter into a marriage contract with a man 16 years her senior. After he took her virginity, she became pregnant and underwent an abortion once she returned to the UK.
Shortly before her 18th birthday, the teenager was tricked into returning to Pakistan for what she believed was a family holiday. Once there, she was forced to marry the man.
The case is the first time a person has been jailed for forcing someone into marriage since it was made a criminal offence in 2014.
Sky News has more on this story here.
Saudi Arabia cracks down even further on women’s rights activists
In recent weeks, concerns have been repeatedly raised over Saudi Arabia’s treatment of feminist activists.
Now, Reuters reports that three more women have been arrested in a “widening crackdown”, just weeks before the ban on women drivers is scrapped.
International human rights watchdogs reported the detention of seven activists last week, mostly women who had previously campaigned for the right to drive and an end to Saudi Arabia’s male guardianship system.
Amnesty International now says that a total of seven women and two men are being held, along with one “unidentified activist”.
Read more on this story here.
Women’s March on London organising protest against Trump’s UK visit
The organisers of the Women’s March on London are inviting people to join a mass demonstration on 13 July, the first day of Donald Trump’s first presidential visit to the UK.
Called #BringTheNoise, the march will be inspired by the cacerolazo or ‘casserole protests’. Originating in South America, these demonstrations see protestors take to the streets with pots and pans to make as much noise as possible.
“This joyous day of noise and action will be a timely reminder of the collective challenges we face, and the importance of joining together in solidarity to overcome them,” said Akeela Ahmed, a co-organiser of Women’s March London.
Women’s March London is also working with Top Trump Targets, a coalition of organisations working with groups that the president has sought to exclude or marginalise.
Find out how you can join in the protest here.
Stylist’s Visible Women campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of women who’ve made a difference, celebrating their success, and empowering future generations to follow their lead. See more from Visible Women here.
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