Visible Women

Women’s Daily Dispatch: The news you need to know on 9/2/18

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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.      

After yesterday’s politics special, today we’re bringing you an uplifting, internationally-minded edition of the Women’s Daily Dispatch. There’s a story about how the women of Rio Carnival are tackling sexual harassment; a fascinating conversation with a member of the first women’s Jamaican bobsled team to compete at the Winter Olympics; and the news that women in Iran are removing their hijabs as an act of protest. 

How women are hitting back at harassment at Rio Carnival 

A woman at Rio Carnival 

At Rio Carnival in 2017, local police received more than 2,000 calls about violence against women. This year, women’s rights activists are using the annual event as a place to start important conversations about misogynistic attitudes in Brazil.

At recent pre-carnival street parties in Rio, women handed out stickers and carried signs with messages about consent and respect, such as “No is no!” and “Grabbing me won’t get you a kiss!” Others dressed up as the animals that they have been called in the past, such as cows, hens and snakes.

The Guardian has a wonderful series of photos from the feminist block parties; you can see them here

What it’s like competing in Jamaica’s first women’s bobsled team 

Carrie Russell (left) and Jazmine Fenlator (right) of the Jamaica women’s bobsled team  

Thanks to the 1993 film Cool Runnings, most of us know about Jamaica’s men’s bobsled team. But what you might not have known is that it’s taken until 2018 for a Jamaican women’s bobsled team to compete at the Winter Olympics.

Professional bobsledder Jazmine Fenlator and her teammates have just touched down in South Korea to compete in the 2018 Winter Games, and she’s excited at what they might achieve. In a new interview with NPR, Fenlator says that she and her team are “ready to be amazing” in what was once “a very European, white-dominated sport”.

Fenlator’s American mother is white, while her Jamaican father moved to the States in the late Seventies. She competed with Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympics, and says she doesn’t feel like she has to ‘pick a side’.

“My parents never said I had to choose to be Jamaican or choose to be American; I was just Jamerican,” she says. “I have always embraced that, and I think it’s extremely important for young kids to see representation on a big stage, on social media, in sports, of people who look like them.”

Without that kind of representation, Fenlator said, young people might think that certain sports are “only for people that might be like ‘this’. And since they’re not like ‘that’, they [think they] can’t do it.”

Listen to the full interview with Fenlator here

Sophie Walker discusses sexual harassment in Westminster 

Women’s Equality Party leader Sophie Walker 

The leader of the Women’s Equality Party, Sophie Walker, has written an essay for in which she discusses the new proposals for tackling sexual harassment in parliament.

While the suggestions are a good start, Walker says that they don’t go far enough. She particularly singles out the fact that under the new proposals, sexual harassment will not become a ‘trigger’ for the recall process.

This procedure, which was introduced after the expenses scandal, allows MPs to be put up for a by-election if enough of their constituents are unhappy with their behaviour.

“Changing the law to make any form of sexual harassment a recall trigger would have sent a strong message,” Walker writes. “Instead, the implicit suggestion is that sexually harassing women is not as serious as paying for a duck house with public money.”

You can read Walker’s article in full here

Why women in Iran are removing their hijabs in public 

It has been mandatory for women to wear headscarves in public in Iran since the Islamic revolution of 1979. In recent months, however, Iranian women have begun taking their hijabs off in the street as an act of protest.

The movement started on 27 December last year, when 31-year-old Vida Movahed removed her white hijab on Tehran’s Enghelab Street. Videos of her peaceful protest went viral, and since then, other young women have started doing the same.

Some 29 women have been arrested for removing their headscarves since Mohaved’s initial protest, but it seems as though the authorities will be unable to quell the rising unrest.

The Telegraph has an in-depth analysis of the headscarf protests; 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: Quinten de Graaf / iStock / Rex Features