In tonight’s Women’s Daily Dispatch, we bring you the news that an Iranian woman has been jailed for removing her headscarf in public. Also: a US election hopeful breastfeeds her baby in a campaign ad, Catholic women call on the pope to tackle misogyny, and Oxford Uni apologises for that awkward International Women’s Day photo.
Iranian woman jailed for removing hijab in public
A woman has been sentenced to two years in prison in Iran after she removed her veil in public.
The unnamed woman took off her headscarf to protest Iran’s mandatory hijab laws, and was later arrested. In a statement, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi said that she had been found guilty of “encouraging moral corruption”.
He added that 21 months of the woman’s sentence had been suspended, meaning that she will be eligible for parole after three months. The woman reportedly plans to appeal her conviction.
Jafari-Dolatabadi said that she was “in need of long-term medical treatment and has to be seen by a psychiatrist”. It is not clear whether the woman’s removal of her headscarf has been attributed to mental illness by the Iranian authorities.
Headscarves have been mandatory in Iran since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, but resistance to the law has been growing in recent months. More than 30 Iranian women have been arrested since the end of December for publicly removing their veils in a show of defiance.
Read more on this story at BBC News.
Woman running for political office in the US breastfeeds in campaign ad
Kelda Roys is currently running for the position of governor of Wisconsin. She also has two young children. And in a new campaign advert, she has emphasised that motherhood and politics can coexist comfortably.
In the video ad, titled Our Girls, Roys is seen with her husband and two daughters as she discusses her work to ban BPA, a toxic chemical that has been used in tin cans, baby bottles and “sippy cups” in the US. While she talks about the campaign, Roys’ husband hands her daughter to her and she casually begins to breastfeed.
She does it so casually, in fact, that you hardly notice it happening. This is important, given that far too many people think that it’s not possible to be a properly engaged politician and a hands-on mother at the same time. Indeed, Roys may not have been trying to make a feminist point all: she just needed to breastfeed while talking about a complicated and important subject, and one didn’t stop her doing the other.
A former attorney, Roys has previously served as a state representative for Wisconsin and on the board of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). As part of her campaign to be Wisconsin governor, she is advocating for universal paid family and sick leave, equal pay for women, full access to reproductive care for women, widely expanded healthcare access and a $15 (£10.82) minimum wage.
Read more on this story at CNN.
Catholic women urge Pope Francis to tear down “walls of misogyny”
Catholic women in Rome have called on Pope Francis to tear down the Church’s “walls of misogyny” and give women more decision-making power within the religion.
Speaking at a symposium for Catholic women, former Irish president Mary McAleese said that the Church’s ban on female priests had “locked women out of any significant role in the Church’s leadership, doctrinal development and authority structure”.
The event, titled ‘Why Women Matter’, was held at the Jesuit headquarters in Rome after the organisers were denied permission to hold it within the walls of Vatican City. The Vatican said that the decision to block the event was a result of provocative speakers on the bill.
McAleese, who supports gay marriage as well as a female priesthood, said that many women “experience the Church as a male bastion of patronizing platitudes, to which Pope Francis has added his quota”.
Many of those who oppose female priests in the Catholic Church argue that Jesus only had men as his apostles. However, others say that Jesus was a product of his times, and that the gender make-up of his followers should not dictate who is allowed to be a religious leader today.
Reuters has more on this story here.
Oxford University apologises for awkward International Women’s Day incident
Oxford University has apologised after an image of a female cleaner scrubbing a message off campus steps on International Women’s Day went viral.
Dr Sophie Smith, Professor of Political Theory at University College, Oxford, posted a photo on Twitter of a female cleaner scrubbing the phrase “Happy International Women’s Day” off the steps of a university building, observed by two burly male security guards.
“What an image for #IWD,” wrote Dr Smith in the accompanying caption.
The picture subsequently went viral. “Having a woman scrub off chalk that says ‘Happy International Woman’s Day’ while some blokes stand around in the background isn’t a good look,” said one Twitter user.
In a statement, Oxford University said: “We are deeply sorry for this and for offence caused. International Women’s Day is hugely important to Oxford. This should not have happened.”
Read more on this story here.
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Images: Rex Features