In today’s Dispatch, we’re looking at the news that new and expectant mothers across England will soon have better access to mental healthcare.
Plus: a prominent male advocate for #MeToo is accused of violently abusing women; good news for equal pay in New Zealand; and a short film about women’s rights in Saudi Arabia is criticised.
NHS England to offer improved mental health services for new and expectant mothers
New mothers and pregnant women experiencing mental health issues will soon find it easier to access specialist support in every part of England, the NHS has said.
More than £20million will be spent on rolling out perinatal mental health services across England over the next year. Perinatal refers to the period leading up to and immediately following childbirth – a time when one in five women will experience a mental health problem.
As recently as 2014, NHS England said that only 3% of the country had good access to perinatal mental healthcare.
This most recent funding commitment builds on a pledge made in 2016 that NHS England would spend £40m on nurses, psychologists and psychiatrists to support mothers and families experiencing mental health difficulties.
Claire Murdoch, national mental health director for NHS England, said that mental health problems “can happen to anyone at any time and it disrupts life not just for mums but the whole family, which is why we are absolutely committed to driving forward improvements in care and ensuring this important area of mental health continues to get the attention it deserves”.
Read more on this story at BBC News.
Attorney who went after Weinstein and Trump resigns amid abuse claims
A powerful lawyer who established himself as a vocal opponent to President Donald Trump and an advocate for the #MeToo movement has been accused of violent abuse by four women.
Until today, Eric Schneiderman was the Attorney General of New York – making him the chief legal officer for New York state and the head of the state government’s law department. He announced that he would be resigning from his post on Monday evening, after the women spoke to The New Yorker about their experiences of being romantically involved with him.
Two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, said that Schneiderman repeatedly hit them during their relationships with him in recent years, and threatened to kill them if they left him.
A third woman who had also been in a relationship with Schneiderman told her story to Manning Barish and Selvaratnam, but said she was too afraid to speak on the record. A fourth woman accused Schneiderman of slapping her across the face when she rejected his romantic advances.
Schneiderman had previously gone after Harvey Weinstein in the wake of allegations of sexual assault and harassment made against the disgraced film producer. In February, he announced that his office was filing a civil-rights suit against Weinstein; just last week, his office launched an investigation into the past handling of criminal complaints against Weinstein in New York.
Schneiderman, who had been running for re-election before his resignation, has contested the women’s accounts.
Read more on this story at The New Yorker.
Female and male footballers will receive equal pay in New Zealand
In New Zealand, however, the national women’s football team will soon be paid exactly the same as the men’s. The country’s biggest football organisation, New Zealand Football, has reached a deal with the New Zealand Professional Footballers’ Association (NZPFA), which will mean that men and women are paid equally when representing New Zealand at international games.
Members of the national women’s team, nicknamed the Football Ferns, will also receive equal prize money, equal rights for image use and have the same travel benefits as the men’s team, known as the All Whites.
“The Football Ferns, who are ranked inside the top 20 in the world, are the flagship of women’s football in New Zealand. They are role models for the 30,000 female players throughout our country,” said New Zealand Football chief executive Andy Martin in a statement.
Read more on this story at Mashable.
Film hailing Saudi progress on women’s rights branded ‘dreadful propaganda’
A short film intended to raise awareness of progress on women’s rights in Saudi Arabia has been criticised as a “dreadful piece of propaganda” that promotes a patronising, paternalistic view of women.
The film, created by Saudi philanthropic organisation Alwaleed Philanthropies, was supposed to celebrate recent reforms to women’s rights in the country. However, it has been condemned as tone-deaf by rights groups, largely as a result of its tagline: “Next to every great woman, a man believing in her”.
The clip shows a man encouraging a woman to drive a car, and a woman in traditional Abaya being persuaded to jump off a cliff wearing a wingsuit.
Dr Madawi al-Rasheed, a visiting professor at the London School of Economics’ Middle East Centre, said that the film “focuses on women protected by a man. But there are a high percentage – millions – of women in Saudi Arabia who are unmarried, widows and those who choose not to marry.”
Suad Abu-Dayyeh, the Middle East and North African consultant for Equality Now, said: “This film is not accurate, it is not fair and it is not just. Of course, we should recognise the role of men in supporting women’s rights. But it should not be the core of the film.”
The Guardian has more on this story here.
Stylist’s Visible Women campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of women who’ve made a difference, celebrating their success, and empowering future generations to follow their lead. See more from Visible Women here.
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