Visible Women

Women’s Daily Dispatch: The news you need to know on 30/1/2018

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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, we bring you the latest on the BBC gender pay gap row; female jockeys are proven to be just as good as their male counterparts; a review is launched into the harm caused by vaginal mesh surgery; and a new report reveals the tragedy of India’s “missing women”. 

BBC Women have “no confidence” in review that found “no gender bias in on-air pay decisions”

Carrie Gracie
Carrie Gracie

Female journalists and producers at the BBC have rejected the findings of a review into the company’s pay structures, saying they were “excluded” from having any input into the process.

The BBC enlisted the services of firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to conduct a formal review into the gender pay gap at the broadcaster. The results of the review, released on Tuesday, showed that male presenters were paid on average 6.8% more than their female counterparts. The average gender pay gap across the corporation was 9.3%, and 12.6% in lower-profile roles.

However, the BBC has insisted that there is no “evidence of gender bias in pay decision-making”.

BBC Women, a group representing women working as producers and journalists at the company, said they had “no confidence” in the review.

“The on-air review should not be confused with an equal pay audit of all the BBC’s presenters, on-air editors and correspondents,” said the group in a statement, adding that the BBC had “chosen who to compare with whom, and what factors justify any gaps in pay”.

The review was “focused on news and news-related areas, therefore excluding some high earners,” the statement from BBC Women continued. “There’s been no transparency on which individuals were included or why.”

Read more on this story at The Independent.

Female jockeys just as good as men

Ireland jockey Katie Walsh (left) at Ascot in September 2017

Women racehorse riders are just as talented as their male counterparts, new research has shown.

An in-depth study carried out by researchers at the University of Liverpool looked at 128,488 races and over 1.2 million individual rides over a 14-year period. It was found that once the quality of horses was accounted for, there was no difference in the performance of male and female jockeys.

Women make up more than half of horse racing stable staff, but less than a quarter of professional and amateur jockeys, researchers found.

“This study strongly indicates that female jockeys are every bit as good as their male counterparts,” said Vanessa Cashmore, the author of the study.

“I hope it helps to provide more opportunities for female jockeys, and also encourages more women to further their careers as race riders.”

Read the full story at

Review will investigate scale of harm caused by vaginal mesh surgery 

Vaginal mesh surgery was carried out on more than 92,000 women in England between 2006 and 2016

The government has launched a major investigation into the scale of complications caused by vaginal mesh implants in the UK. The audit will provide a definitive answer to the question of how many women have been affected by the surgery.

Mesh implants have been frequently used to treat urinary incontinence and support prolapsed organs after childbirth, with more than 92,000 women in England undergoing the surgery between 2006 and 2016. However, in recent years many women have reported being left in chronic pain by the procedure, to the extent that they are unable to have sex or even walk.

According to official figures, the complication rate for vaginal mesh surgery is between 1-3%. However, recent research suggests it could be anything between 10-15%. Dr Sohier Elniel, a specialist in mesh removal, told Sky News this week that she suspects the real rate “is much closer to 20-25%”.

She said: “I’m absolutely over the moon about [the review] because this is the one thing we were looking for - this was not about us pursuing anybody or pursuing any agency, it was about us getting to the truth and knowing what the problem was and how much of a problem it was.”

After the results of the audit are released, the government and the medical profession should “make plans on how to rectify the situation and how to start helping women,” Dr Elniel added. “Not just on a one-on-one scale but on a global scale.”

Read more on this story at Sky News

63 million women ‘missing’ across India, according to government study

Girls at ‘National Girl Child Day’ celebrations in India, January 2018

A new study by the Indian government shows that there are nearly 63 million fewer women in the country than there should be.

These “missing” women are a result of sex-selective abortion, neglect, disease or inadequate nutrition, according to the annual economic survey. A further two million women disappear every year.

The report, which was released on Monday, said that an estimated 21 million girls are “unwanted” in India due to a cultural preference for sons. Studies show that Indian girls generally receive less education and medical care than boys, and often have poorer nutrition.

“The challenge of gender is long-standing, probably going back millennia,” wrote Arvind Subramanian, the report’s author and the chief economic adviser to the Indian government.

Subramanian said that India must “confront the societal preference for boys” if it wants to achieve a more gender-balanced population.

A ‘National Girl Child Day’ is celebrated in India every January, to try and reduce the stigma of having daughters, spread awareness of gender issues, and curb female foeticide. 

The Times of India has more on this story; you can read it here

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: Loren Joseph / Rex Features / iStock