In Tuesday’s Dispatch: the statue of Millicent Fawcett is unveiled in Parliament Square; the scale of the problem of gender discrimination in China is revealed; and women explain how they will be hurt by upcoming changes to the state pension age.
Statue of Millicent Fawcett unveiled in Parliament Square
Arguably the biggest news for UK women today was the unveiling of the Millicent Garrett Fawcett statue. The statue is the first of a woman to grace London’s Parliament Square, and stands a stone’s throw from Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.
Created by Turner Prize-winning author Gillian Wearing, the statue shows suffragist Garrett Fawcett holding a placard bearing the phrase “Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere”. These words are taken from a speech she made after the death of suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, who threw herself in front of the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby in 1913.
Schoolchildren, feminist activists and politicians were all invited to the unveiling ceremony. Speeches were delivered by Prime Minister Theresa May, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez, who started the petition to get a statue of a woman in Parliament Square.
Music was provided by choral group the Suffragist Singers and cast members of Sylvia, an upcoming musical about the life of suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst, and poet Theresa Lola performed a poem she had written especially for the occasion.
Report reveals scale of gender discrimination faced by Chinese women
A new study published by Human Rights Watch has revealed the scale of the problem of workplace gender discrimination in China.
An analysis of more than 36,000 job adverts posted over the past five years in China showed that gender bias was a serious issue in both the state and private sectors.
Almost 20% of advertisements recruiting for jobs in the civil service said the roles were “men only”, “men preferred” or “suitable for men”. Only one listing requested applications for women only.
“These job ads reflect traditional and deeply discriminatory views: that women are less physically, intellectually, and psychologically capable than men; that women are their families’ primary sources of child care and thus unable to be fully committed to their jobs or will eventually leave full-time paid employment to have a family; and that accommodating maternity leave is unacceptably inconvenient or costly for the company or agency,” says the report, titled Only Men Need Apply: Gender Discrimination in Job Advertisements in China.
Read more on this at NPR.
Why women are protesting about changes to their state pension
In recent years, women around the country have been stepping up their protests against what they see as unfair changes to their state pension age.
The women, who were born in the Fifties and call themselves “Waspis” (women against state pension inequality), are campaigning against imminent rises in the retirement age for women of their generation.
Plans to raise the state pension age for women born in the Fifties were first introduced in 1995, and consolidated by the Coalition government in 2011. Over the past decade around 2.6million women have had their state pension age pushed back, a move that is believed to have saved the government around £30bn. As it stands, the state pension age for women will increase to 65 this November, and to 66 by October 2020.
However, many women born during this period say they were not provided with enough information about these changes. Speaking to BBC Politics this week, Waspi women in Liverpool said they believed the government was targeting a group of society – women in late middle-age – that not many people pay attention to.
“Had I been notified that my state pension age had altered, I would not have left a full-time permanent job as a head of year [and] head of department in a school,” said Barbara Allen. “They actually sent me the letter about six months after I’d taken early retirement. It’s too late. You can’t undo that action once it’s done.”
Watch the full video here.
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Images: Getty Images