Visible Women

Women’s Daily Dispatch: The news you need to know on 6/3/18

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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: women suggest changing Germany’s male-centric national anthem and Mattel unveils new ‘inspiring’ Barbies. Elsewhere, transgender rights activist Munroe Bergdorf steps down from a Labour advisory board – and a beer company’s satirical marketing campaign spectacularly backfires. 

Women call for changes to ‘sexist’ German national anthem

Deutschlandlied includes references to fathers and brothers, but not mothers or sisters

Feminists in Germany have suggested that the country’s national anthem, which includes multiple references to men, should be rephrased to make it “gender sensitive”.

The lyrics to Deutschlandlied, or Song of Germany, were written in 1841 by the poet August Heinrich Hoffman. The song includes the lines: “Unity and justice and freedom / For the German fatherland! / Towards these let us all strive / Brotherly with heart and hand!”

Kristin Rose-Möhring, the German government’s equal opportunities commissioner, proposed in a leaked letter to staff that the word “fatherland” be swapped for “homeland”. She also suggested that “brotherly” should be replaced with “courageous”.

However, the German chancellor Angela Merkel – a self-proclaimed non-feminist – shut down the idea of updating the anthem.

“The chancellor is very happy with our nice national anthem as it is in its traditional form and doesn’t see any need for change,” said her spokesman.

Read more on this story at Reuters

Inspiring women from the past and present are being made into Barbies

The Nicola Adams Barbie newly unveiled by Mattel 

What do Frida Kahlo, Olympic boxer Nicola Adams and Wonder Woman director Patti Jenkins have in common?

Well, aside from all being deeply badass, they are among 17 women from the past and present day who have been turned into Barbies. Unveiled by Mattel ahead of International Women’s Day, the new ‘Inspiring Women’ range of ‘Shero’ dolls also includes aviator Amelia Earhart, Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim and Katherine Johnson, the mathematician and physicist immortalised in the film Hidden Figures.

“As a brand that inspires the limitless potential in girls, Barbie will be honouring its largest line up of role models timed to International Women’s Day, because we know that you can’t be what you can’t see,” Lisa McKnight, the senior vice president and general manager of Barbie, said in a press release. 

While not available to buy just yet, the Inspiring Women Barbies will hit the shops later this year. Adams, who won gold medals for Team GB at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, said she was “excited and honoured to be Barbie’s first UK Shero and the first ever boxer Barbie.”

“Without my own role models, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she added. “Empowering the next generation of kids is something I’m passionate about and it’s great to work with Barbie to share my story.”

Munroe Bergdorf quits as Labour LGBT adviser 

The model and transgender rights activist Munroe Bergdorf has stepped down from the Labour party’s LGBT advisory board, after receiving fierce criticism from the right-wing press and some politicians.

Bergdorf was appointed to the unpaid role by shadow equalities minister Dawn Butler last week. In a letter explaining her decision to quit, she said that the panel was intended to be “an informal sounding board to make Ms Butler aware of LGBT areas of concern”, but that she felt that her presence risked “[standing] in the way” of the board’s success.

Several Conservative politicians, including the party’s vice-chair Helen Grant, had called on Butler to reconsider her appointment of Bergdorf. In a letter sent to Butler on 27 February, Grant highlighted comments made by the activist, including her description of the suffragettes as “white supremacists” and calling gay Conservatives a “special kind of d***head”. The Times, meanwhile, published social media posts from Bergdorf in 2010 where she called a Twitter user a “hairy barren lesbian” and joked about ‘gay bashing’ an “annoying” character from Glee (she later apologised for these comments).

Bergdorf said that she decided to quit “due to endless attacks on my character by the conservative right wing press and relentless online abuse”. She added: “I refuse to be painted as a villain or used as a pawn in the press’ efforts, especially those at the Daily Mail, to discredit the Labour party and push their transphobic rightist agendas.”

Read more on this story at The Guardian

BrewDog’s ‘Pink IPA’ campaign backfires

BrewDog’s Pink IPA 

The craft beer company BrewDog has been criticised on social media after launching a satirical campaign for “beer for girls”.

The new Pink IPA – a relabelled version of the brand’s popular Punk IPA – was intended to humorously address the gender pay gap and poke fun at gendered marketing. BrewDog described the beer as their “clarion call to close the gender pay gap in the UK and around the world”, and an “overt parody on the failed, tone-deaf campaigns that some brands have attempted in order to attract women”.

Some 20% of the proceeds from Punk IPA and Pink IPA sold over the next month will be donated to women’s charities, and people who identify as female will be able to buy Pink IPA from BrewDog bars for 20% less.

However, not everyone on Twitter appreciated the joke.

“I don’t think satire in marketing works when you use the same stupid tools as the bad marketeers who think ladies/girls (women works fine, thanks) want/need pink,” wrote author and playwright Stella Duffy.

“Oh dear,” posted another Twitter user. “This is like when teenagers discover sarcasm. Marketing pink beer at women in order to call out other people marketing pink beer at women isn’t ‘satirical’. It’s marketing pink beer at women.”

The Independent has more on this story 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: Pexels