Visible Women

Women's Daily Dispatch: The news you need to know on 31/1/18

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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 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: pit girls are out at Formula One, Lorde thanks supporters of female musicians, and male MPs are criticised for their “boorish and stupid” treatment of their female counterparts.

We also meet an all-woman Brazilian drum group with a feminist mission, and a report shows that flexible working doesn’t explain the gender pay gap. 

Formula One to axe ‘pit girls’

Pit girls have long been a fixture of Formula One – but they’re set to be axed. 

If you’ve ever watched a Formula One race, you’re likely to be familiar with ‘pit’ or ‘grid girls’ – models, wearing sponsored clothing, who perform promotional tasks like holding umbrellas or driver name-boards, or “lining the corridor through which the drivers walk on their way to the podium”.

But from the start of the 2018 World Championship season, they won’t be used, which championship managing director Sean Bratches says is “more in tune with our vision for this great sport”. 

“While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 grands prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms,” Bratches said. “We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”

And Stuart Pringle, managing director of the Silverstone race track, said that he “wholeheartedly supports the decision”, calling it “an outdated practice that no longer has a place in sport.”

The news comes shortly after the Professional Darts Corporation said ‘walk-on girls’ would be axed from their events – which the Women’s Sports Trust praised.  

“We applaud the Professional Darts Corporation moving with the times and deciding to no longer use walk-on-girls,” the trust wrote on Twitter. “Motor racing, boxing and cycling… your move.”

And today, the Women’s Sports Trust thanked Formula One for their decision: “Another sport making a clear choice about what they want to stand for.”

Read more at BBC Sport. 

Lorde thanks supporters in full-page ad

Lorde has taken out a full-page ad thanking her supporters

Singer Lorde has taken out a full-page advert in the New Zealand Herald, thanking fans for “believing in female musicians”. 

Fans had been angry that the singer had been overlooked at the Grammy Awards, where she was the only album of the year nominee not asked to perform solo. She was also the only female nominee for the award. 

“I just wanted to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for loving and embracing Melodrama the way you did,” Lorde wrote in a hand-written note. “My nomination belongs to you.

“Thank you, also, for believing in female musicians. You set a beautiful precedent!”

Lorde also made headlines at the Grammys for wearing a feminist essay pinned to her gown. 

The poem, by feminist artist Jenny Holzer, contained powerful lines like “the old and corrupt must be laid to waste before the just can triumph”. 

Read more at The Guardian. 

New research shows women aren’t paid less because of ‘flexible’ jobs

Women aren’t being paid less because they work in “more flexible” jobs, new research has found

Some research has suggested that women are paid less because they forgo higher pay in favour of flexible working – with some even suggesting that women ‘choose’ lower-paying jobs to fit in with their lives. 

But new research, published in the European Journal of Industrial Relations, has found that this isn’t the case at all. The research looked at whether the gender of workers – and the gender make-up of the workplace – had an impact on how flexible their work arrangements were.

According to lead author Heejung Chun, “there were no significant difference between men and women in their access to flexitime across Europe”: if anything, Chun says, men are getting better access to flexible working.

“What’s more, workers in female-majority workplaces had the worst level of access to flexitime compared to their counterparts in male-majority workplaces or workplaces where men and women were equally represented,” Chun observed.

This means “workers in female-dominated workplaces are paid less, and they are worse off in having access to family-friendly policies that enable them to maintain their careers while meeting demands at home” – also explaining why women work part-time when raising their children. 

“It isn’t an unfettered life choice, but precisely because other options that can help them balance work with family life are not available to them. They have no other option but to reduce their hours,” Chun said. 

“And in many countries, including the US, part-time work is usually accompanied by, you guessed it, lower pay.”

Read more at Slate.

Meet the all-female Brazilian drum group challenging gender norms

Bahia is a Brazilian city famous for its drumming – and, primarily, for drumming groups made up entirely of men.

But a new group, Banda Didá, is composed entirely of black women.

“Until Didá, no one here played like us,” said one of the band’s leaders, Viviam Caroline de Jesus Queirós.”We’ve brought visibility to a group – black women – that have been historically marginalised here,” Ms. Queirós said. “We’ve feminised percussion here.”

The group have an overtly feminist outlook.

“It is our responsibility to share with the world the power that is within us as black women,” one member said. “They used to say drumming wasn’t for women because the instrument was heavy. 

“But we’re warrior women, and yes, we can play. And the proof of that is there in the street: we play just as well as the men.”

Read more at The New York Times.

MPs criticised for “boorish and stupid” treatment of Emily Thornberry

Labour MP Emily Thornberry

Theresa May’s deputy, David Lidington, has been criticised for telling Labour MP Emily Thornberry to “grow up”.

Speaker of the House John Bercow didn’t approve, referring to the “boorish and stupid” response male MPs have to women speaking in the House.

“I’m sure it will not have escaped public notice, and it is rather a sad irony, that when a woman is addressing the House, quite a lot of noisy, boorish and in one case rather stupid individuals are trying to shout the right honourable lady down,” he said.

“Cut it out.”

Lidington was responding to Thornberry’s assertion that the Tories refusal to lower the voting age made them “cavemen”. 

“Quite honestly she ought to grow up and try and treat this subject with a greater degree of seriousness,” David Lidington said.

“I am the only Emily elected since 1918 and he is one of 155 Davids,” Thornberry responded – a reference to the Suffragettes’ centenary year.

Read more at The Mirror

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 / Instagram / Rex Features