Visible Women

Women’s Daily Dispatch: The news you need to know on 26/1/18

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Emily Reynolds
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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, a books award is launched to recognise thrillers without sexual violence; Malala calls out Donald Trump; Sri Lankan women take on bodyshaming; harassment PSAs hit the USA; and male BBC stars take pay cut. 

Prize launched for thrillers that avoid violence against women

Thrillers are full of sexual violence - something a new award hopes to change

If you’re a fan of thrillers, you’re probably used to that sinking feeling when you realise that yet another female character is going to be subjected to sexual violence.

That’s exactly why author Bridget Lawless has launched the Staunch book prize – a prize awarded to the “best thriller in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered”. The winner will be announced on 25 November – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. 

“It’s way past time for something more original,” Lawless said. “As violence against women in fiction reaches a ridiculous high, the Staunch book prize invites thriller writers to keep us on the edge of our seats without resorting to the same old cliches – particularly female characters who are sexually assaulted (however ‘necessary to the plot’), or done away with (however ingeniously).”

She continued: “I’m certainly not alone in getting increasingly fed up and disgusted with fictional depictions of violence happening to women in books, films and television. It echoes, exaggerates, fetishises and normalises what happens to women in the real world. But I know there are writers creating thrilling and complex work without going there.”

Read more at The Guardian

Male BBC stars take pay cut

John Humphrys is one of the stars taking a pay cut at the BBC

Six male BBC stars have agreed to a pay cut following complaints about the gender pay gap at the broadcaster.

Jeremy Vine, John Humphrys, Huw Edwards, Jon Sopel, Nick Robinson and Nicky Campbell have all agreed to cuts to their salary – with John Humphrys’s pay being reduced by £200,000.

The men’s pay cut comes after Carrie Gracie resigned as China editor at BBC News in late December, calling out unequal pay structures. The first BBC equal pay row kicked off in July, when the salaries of the corporation’s top-earning figures were published.

Gracie’s BBC colleagues including Clare Balding, Jane Garvey and Victoria Derbyshire showed their support for her actions with the hashtag #IStandWithCarrie and their own open letter, calling out the BBC’s failure to “value her equally with her male counterparts”.

Read more here.

Sri Lankan women take on bodyshaming advert

A group of Sri Lankan women has taken to social media to decry a sexist body-shaming billboard – which featured a picture of a barrel with the text “this is no shape for a woman”. 

“The ad was nothing very different from the typical objectification and sexist usage of women by the ad industry, which has been selling anything from cars to perfume by sexualising women and their bodies,” activist Marisa de Silva told the BBC.

“But this ad also attempted to body shame by dictating to women the ideal shape they should resemble, almost as though it is the sole basis of their worth.”

The minister in charge of the constituency in which the billboard was put up has now responded to the campaign, saying that he had “asked the commissioned to remove this unapproved offensive hoarding”. 

The billboard has now been taken down, with the council using the space to display a message against sexism. 

Read more at BBC News

Malala decries Donald Trump in Davos speech

Malala has called out Donald Trump for his treatment of women 

Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has advised men like Donald Trump to “think about their daughters and mothers” before they treat women poorly.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland, Yousafzai said that she felt “so disappointed” to see men in high positions “talk about women, do not accept women as equal, and they harass women”.

“I hope that people who are involved in such shameful things think about their own daughters, their own mothers and their own close female relatives,” she said.

“Just imagine for a second … can they let it happen to their daughters, to their sisters, to their mothers? I don’t think that they would accept that.”

Read more at The Independent.

Anti-harassment ads hit the US

A still from one of the new anti-harassment ads about to hit the US

Videos calling out sexual harassment will soon be hitting TVs and streaming services in the US, as well as the posters on New York taxis. 

The videos are the brainchild of director Sigal Avin and Friends star David Schwimmer, and star celebrities including Sex And The City’s Cynthia Nixon. They were inspired by five films written by Avin in Israel. 

“I realized that I really wanted to see what sexual harassment was instead of hearing about it and reading about it all the time,” Avin said. “There was nothing on it, everything was much more violent, or unreal, but there was nothing that showed the gray area of sexual harassment.”

Schwimmer said men “have a lot to learn”, which was not going to happen “without dialogue”. 

“Men commit the vast majority of rapes, sexual assault and sexual harassment, so men have a special responsibility to do something about it and get involved,” he said.

Read more at The Cut

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: iStock / Rex Features / YouTube