Category: GENDER DIVERSITY

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WOMEN WANTING TO HAVE IT ALL? DON’T BOTHER

A wave of sympathy broke over the media sisterhood last week when the writer Allison Pearson confessed in her Daily Mail column that she was suffering from depression and was therefore no longer able to carry on; she said goodbye to her readers. The Guardian was quick to respond with dramatic headlines: “Women on the verge”, “Why do so many women have depression?” and “All too much”. The drift of Pearson’s column and of the long Guardian piece by Kira Cochrane is that women these days are driving themselves into depression by expecting too much of themselves and taking on...

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IS IT IMPOSSIBLE TO END RACISM AND SEXISM?

Brent Staples was that rare bird in 70s America: a young black man who was also a gilt-edged success. At 22, he was already on the flightpath to a PhD from the University of Chicago; later he would become a bigshot on the New York Times. To strangers, however, he was just another “black man – a broad six feet two inches with a beard and billowing hair . . . indistinguishable from the muggers who occasionally seeped into the area from the surrounding ghetto”. On seeing him, white people would cross the street. Couples locked arms. Women ran. Staples...

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WHAT WOMEN WEAR

From the hijab in Kuwait to the niqab in Egypt, the increasingly heated debate about women’s dress has become politicised… It’s not only in secular Europe where societies are trying to grapple with the highly emotive question of Islamic dress. Following the victory of four women in Kuwait’s parliamentary elections, Islamists attempted to prevent two of them from taking their seats in the house for not wearing the hijab. After a legal battle, the country’s constitutional court ruled that the women in question were not obliged to wear the Islamic attire. Egypt has been at the centre of its own...

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ENDING THE CULTURE OF FGM

Like many girls in Sudan, I suffered genital mutilation – but with education, attitudes are beginning to change… When I was “circumcised” I was five or six, but it happens to girls as young as four. It starts as a ceremony – the girl is bought clothes, gold earrings and bangles. She has henna put on her hands and feet: the preliminaries are regarded as a celebration where she is the centre of attention. But later they take her and put her in a gadha, which is shaped like a deep dish. They lay her across it and hold her...

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CALL FOR ANONYMOUS CVS TO STOP JOB INTERVIEW SEXISM AND RACISM DISCRIMINATION

Government’s ethnic minority taskforce due to report in 2010 on research that uncovered widespread discrimination… Race advisers and equality campaigners have called on the government to make “anonymous” CVs and job applications compulsory to overcome discrimination against women and people with African or Asian surnames. Some British companies have already begun stripping out personal details so those deciding who to invite for interview are only told about their qualifications and experience, and not their ethnicity, gender or age. The government’s ethnic minority taskforce is due to report early in 2010 on the findings of research commissioned by the Department for...

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PHILIP DAVIES MP BOMBARDED WATCHDOG IN ‘POLITICAL CORRECTNESS’ CAMPAIGN

A Tory MP has bombarded the government’s equalities watchdog with a series of extraordinary letters about race and sex discrimination, in a one-man campaign against “political correctness”. In the latest of 19 letters sent since April 2008, and likely to dismay equal rights campaigners, Philip Davies asks Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission: “Is it offensive to black up or not, particularly if you are impersonating a black person?” In a postscript to the letter, he asks “why it is so offensive to black up your face, as I have never understood this”. Davies, MP for...

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GOOD NEWS FOR WOMEN

The government’s violence against women strategy is welcome – now it must co-ordinate this approach, including internationally You may not know that 25 November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Where’s the good news? After years of lobbying, the UK government has delivered what we’ve all been asking for – a cross-governmental violence against women strategy. The scale of the problem facing the government should not be underestimated. Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread abuses of human rights both here and abroad. It affects one in three women globally and...

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GENDER PAY GAP STILL AS HIGH AS 50%, UK SURVEY SAYS

• Women worst off in West Somerset with 53% gap • Strong public support for law to expose unfair wages Women are paid less than half as much as men in some parts of the UK, according to statistics published today that reveal huge regional variations in the pay gap between male and female workers. Nationally, women earn an average of 21% an hour less than men for full- and part-time work. The Fawcett Society’s data shows that this figure is 53% in West Somerset, while in Windsor and Maidenhead it is 49% and in South Northamptonshire 43%. The smallest...

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GOVERNMENT AIMS HIGH WITH DIVERSITY TARGETS

Harriet Harman tells public sector employers to stop ‘fishing in same pool’ and increase representation of women, ethnic minorities and disabled people on the payroll… Targets set to obtain more diversity in public appointments are now more ambitious than those for senior public sector managers. Last week the Government Equalities Office and the Cabinet Office announced an action plan to increase the representation of women, ethnic minorities and disabled people on more than 1,200 public bodies, arguing that their presence is necessary, not simply in the services of a fairer society, but to society in general is better served by public...

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KEEPING CITIZENSHIP JUST OUT OF REACH

Female, non-white or disabled? Then you can forget becoming a British citizen – a new bill gives you little chance… If you’re a migrant and you happen also to be either female, not white or disabled, then the government’s message in its new citizenship bill is simply; you need not apply. Due for a second reading in the House of Commons today, the borders, citizenship and immigration bill sets out just who the UK will in future regard as British citizens enjoying full rights of membership, including the right of abode, unrestricted access to the labour market/welfare state and the...