Visible Women

Women’s Daily Dispatch: The news you need to know on 24/5/18

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Moya Crockett
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As part of our Visible Women initiative, stylist.co.uk 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 Dispatch: the tension builds for Ireland’s abortion referendum, MI6 launches a campaign to recruit more women, MPs speak out in support of changes to the domestic violence bill, and Chelsea Ladies football club undergoes a rebrand. 

Campaigners give final push ahead of Ireland’s abortion referendum 

Activists on both the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ side of Ireland’s abortion debate have had a fierce final day of campaigning before a historic referendum on the issue is held on Friday.

Ballot boxes will be open from 7am tomorrow for people to vote on whether they want to repeal the eighth amendment of the Irish constitution, which makes abortion illegal in almost all circumstances.

The hashtag #HomeToVote was trending on Twitter as people shared photos and stories of their journeys back to Ireland to vote in the referendum. Many posted pictures of themselves wearing ‘Repeal’ T-shirts and jumpers, while others described meeting other Irish men and women on long-haul flights to Dublin.

Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar has come out in support of repealing the amendment. Speaking ahead of the referendum, he said that a ‘Yes’ vote would end Ireland’s “legacy of shame” over its treatment of women.

Read more on this story at the Irish Times

MI6 launches campaign to recruit more women

The MI6 headquarters in Vauxhall, London 

The British secret service is set to air recruitment ads on TV for the first time this evening, in an attempt to attract more women and ethnic minorities.

The advert will be shown in a break during Channel 4 News at around 7:30pm, and will open with a shot of sharks – a classic motif in James Bond films – circling ominously around a tank. However, the camera will then pan to show that the sharks are in an aquarium, and being watched by a woman comforting a child. The campaign’s tagline? “Secretly, we’re just like you.”

MI6 is keen to attract people with good emotional skills and the ability to understand other humans, traits often attributed to women. Currently, women make up less than a quarter of senior staff and 37.8% of non-senior staff at the intelligence agency.

The ratios are even worse for people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. There are no BAME employees among senior MI6 staff, and they account for less than 6% of non-senior staff.

BBC News has more on this story here

MPs support campaign to end domestic abuse and sexual violence

MPs are calling for changes to Theresa May’s domestic abuse bill

More than 100 MPs and members of the House of Lords have thrown their support behind a campaign to tackle sexual violence and domestic abuse.

The politicians – including Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott and Conservative former cabinet ministers Justine Greening and Ian Duncan Smith – are calling for stronger measures in the government’s upcoming domestic abuse bill. In a new poll, three-quarters of MPs said they had dealt with an issue of domestic abuse in their constituency in the last three months.

The campaign is being led by Labour MP Carolyn Harris, the shadow minister for women and equalities. “Domestic abuse destroys people’s lives and children’s futures,” she said. “I welcome the domestic abuse bill but the government can and must go further.”

The bill, which is due to be introduced later this year, will provide a new statutory definition of domestic abuse that includes economic abuse. However, the government has been criticised for slashing funding for domestic violence refuges that allow vulnerable women and children to escape their abusers.

The Guardian has more on this story here

Chelsea Ladies rename themselves as Chelsea FC Women

The new Chelsea FC Women celebrating at a match in April 

Women’s Super League champions Chelsea Ladies has been rebranded as Chelsea Football Club Women, in an effort to reflect “a modern view on language and equality”.

In a statement, the club said that the change was intended to show that the men’s team is no longer regarded as the ‘first’ team and to acknowledge the growing status of women’s football.

“This name change demonstrates the club’s desire to put women’s football at the front and centre of everything we do,” said Chelsea FC Women’s Manager Emma Hayes.

“Chelsea’s commitment to the women’s game is unwavering and this decision is something I fully support.”

In recent years, the Chelsea FC Women’s team has won both the FA Women’s Super League title and the Women’s FA Cup.

Read more on this story at The Telegraph.

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