Visible Women

Women’s Daily Dispatch: The news you need to know on 28/2/18

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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 today’s WDD: Meghan Markle lays out her feminist goals for working with the royal family, and an Irish author with terminal cancer goes to No 1 in the book charts. Plus, a new study says that many abnormal cervical cells can ‘self-heal’ – and a group of music festivals have committed to gender equality. 

Meghan Markle says she wants royal charity work to focus on empowering women and girls

Markle and Prince Harry in Edinburgh earlier this month 

Meghan Markle has discussed what she wants to achieve through her royal charity work for the first time, saying that she wants to “hit the ground running” in empowering women and girls.

At an event in London for the Royal Foundation, the charity set up by Prince William and Prince Harry in 2009, Markle singled out the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements as important campaigns.

“I think right now in the climate we are seeing so many campaigns, I mean #MeToo and Time’s Up, and there is no better time to really continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered, and people really helping to support them – men included,” she said.

Markle is set to become a patron of the Royal Foundation after her wedding to Prince Harry in May, along with the princes and her future sister-in-law Kate Middleton.

On the subject of her work on women’s rights, she said: “You’ll often hear people say: ‘You are helping people find their voices’. I fundamentally disagree with that because women don’t need to find a voice – they have a voice. They need to feel empowered to use it and people need to be encouraged to listen.”

CNN has more on this story here

Irish author with terminal cancer becomes No 1 bestseller

Irish writer Emma Hannigan has stopped treatment for terminal cancer

Wicklow-based author Emma Hannigan was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2006. Now, after a campaign led by fellow writers including Marian Keyes and Patricia Scanlan, her book Letters to My Daughters has reached the top of Ireland’s book charts.

Hannigan’s novel sold 4,065 copies in the last week, according to official book sales monitor Nielsen, making it the bestselling book in the country.

The author began writing novels after being told that she had the breast cancer gene BrCa1 in 2005. She has been diagnosed and treated for cancer 10 times since 2006, and revealed earlier this month that she was stopping treatment for the disease.

“Farewell and thank you, I am taking a bow,” she wrote on her blog. “Until we meet again may all that is good and decent be yours.”

Several Irish women authors, including Keyes, Scanlan and Anna McPartlin, began campaigning to make Hannigan’s book a bestseller after hearing her news.

Hannigan herself has also been asking readers to donate money to Breast Cancer Ireland. So far, she has raised around £61,500.

Read more on this story at The Guardian.

This new initiative means we’ll see more women headlining UK festivals

Wolf Alice frontwoman Ellie Rowsell 

Despite the year being 2018, many music festivals still persist in booking predominantly male bands and artists.

To counteract this problem, over 45 international music festivals and conferences have signed a pledge to implement a 50/50 split of gender on their bills by 2022.

The pledge is the brainchild of PRS Foundation – a UK-based organisation that supports new talent across the country through open grant schemes. Among those who’ve signed the commitment are the BBC Proms, Brighton’s Great Escape and Roundhouse Rising, which supports young creatives and counts rapper Little Simz – whose own festival, Wonderland, has a 75% female programme – among their alumni.

Notably missing are any of the UK’s most popular festivals, including Reading, Leeds, Bestival and Wireless, whose line-up this year features only three women.

Read more on this story here

Some smear test abnormalities ‘self-heal’

An abnormal smear test is usually nothing to worry about

Somewhat paradoxically, it’s very normal to receive an ‘abnormal’ smear test result. After a routine test, around one in 20 women in the UK will discover that there have been some changes in the cells of their cervix. And while this doesn’t mean that you have or will develop cervical cancer, it can still be an anxiety-inducing experience.

However, new research looks set to alleviate some of that anxiety. According to a paper published this week in the British Medical Journal, up to 50% of cervical cell changes will get better on their own, with no need for medical treatment.

The study looked at the records of more than 3,000 women and discovered that half of the “moderate” lesions found during routine cervical exams healed spontaneously within two years.

Just under one-third of lesions persisted, while less than 20% got worse.

Despite the encouraging results of the research, doctors stressed that it is still vital for women aged 25 to 64 to have regular smear tests.

For more on this story, visit BBC News. If you’re over 25 and have never had a smear test, read’s breakdown of what to expect – then book yourself in. 

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: Rex Features / iStock