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from 2017
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10-19-17 Jacinda Ardern becomes New Zealand's youngest woman leader
Jacinda Ardern becomes New Zealand's youngest woman leader
New Zealand is set for a centre-left coalition government led by Labour head Jacinda Ardern. Ms Ardern has been opposition leader for the last three months. At 37, she is set to be the country's youngest prime minister since 1856. Her Labour Party came second in September's election, where no party was able to secure a majority. They are now tipped for power after the small New Zealand First party agreed to join them in government. The new coalition will also be supported by the Green Party.

9-20-17 Kids everywhere have damaging gender stereotyping set by age 10
Kids everywhere have damaging gender stereotyping set by age 10
Global study reveals that gender stereotypes become ingrained in "tween" years, leading to life-long health consequences - particularly for girls. Damaging gender stereotypes are ingrained from the age of 10. That is the conclusion of the first study to draw together data from high, middle and low-income countries across different cultures about how “tweenagers” perceive growing up as a boy or girl. Researchers interviewed 450 children aged 10 to 14, plus a parent or guardian, from 15 countries, including Nigeria, China, the US and South Africa. They found that across all cultures, early adolescents were fitted with a “gender straitjacket” that has lifelong consequences linked to an increased risk of health problems. These are particularly perilous for girls. “What we’ve learned is that there’s more commonality than differences in 10-year-olds across the world,” says Robert Blum of Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and leader of the study, which is published this week in a special issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health. “We were very surprised to see such universality of the myth that boys are strong, confident and leaders, while girls are weak and incompetent, who should be quiet and follow.” One main finding showed that boys and girls are encouraged to lead separate lives in early adolescence. Parents in many cultures – particularly in low to middle-income countries – intervene at puberty to quash their child’s relationships with the opposite sex. At this age, the world shrinks for girls, while it expands for boys, says Blum. Girls are more likely to stay close to home, while boys are given free rein to explore and experiment unsupervised. “This is profoundly problematic, but that’s what gets played out everywhere, even in most liberal societies,” says Blum.

9-18-17 Emmys 2017: Reese Witherspoon hails ‘incredible year’ for women on TV
Emmys 2017: Reese Witherspoon hails ‘incredible year’ for women on TV
One of the reasons this year's Emmys stood out was for its celebration of strong female characters and actors. Big Little Lies and The Handmaid's Tale - two dramas led by exceptional actresses - got five Emmys apiece. Reese Witherspoon, who produced and starred in Big Little Lies with Nicole Kidman, said: "It's been an incredible year for women on television." Kidman, who won an acting award for her work on the show, added: "So now, more roles for women, please!" Big Little Lies featured an all-star cast that also included Laura Dern, who was named best supporting actress in a limited series. Shailene Woodley and Zoe Kravitz also appeared in the mini-series, which ran on Sky Atlantic in the UK. Accepting the best limited series award, Witherspoon called on TV executives to "bring women to the front of their own stories and make them the hero of their own stories". She added: "Thank you for that opportunity and for audiences to wrap their arms around us."

9-13-17 Skeleton ignites debate over whether women were Viking warriors
Skeleton ignites debate over whether women were Viking warriors
DNA analysis of bones buried with full battle gear identified as female. A woman from the Viking Age in Sweden, when raids such as this were launched, may have shattered gender barriers by becoming a warrior who was buried with weapons and horses, researchers report. Their controversial conclusion has stimulated debate over the roles of Viking women. Viking warriors have a historical reputation as tough guys, with an emphasis on testosterone. But scientists now say that DNA has unveiled a Viking warrior woman who was previously found in a roughly 1,000-year-old grave in Sweden. Until now, many researchers assumed that “she” was a “he” buried with a set of weapons and related paraphernalia worthy of a high-ranking military officer. If the woman was in fact a warrior, a team led by archaeologist Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson of Uppsala University in Sweden has identified the first female Viking to have participated in what was long considered a male pursuit. But the new report, published online September 8 in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, has drawn criticism from some researchers. All that’s known for sure, they say, is that the skeleton assessed in the new report belonged to a woman who moved to the town where she was interred after spending her youth elsewhere. “Have we found the Mulan of Sweden, or a woman buried with the rank-symbols of a husband who died abroad?” asks archaeologist Søren Sindbæk of Aarhus University in Denmark. There’s no way to know what meanings Vikings attached to weapons placed in the Swedish grave, Sindbæk says. (Webmaster's comment: One skeleton of a woman warrior does not a race of women warriors make.)

9-13-17 It’s a disgrace there are no women on UK’s key science committee
It’s a disgrace there are no women on UK’s key science committee
When the main science committee in the UK parliament turned out to be devoid of women MPs, a backlash was inevitable, says Lara Williams. With the announcement yesterday that the eight members of the new House of Commons Science and Technology Committee so far appointed are all male – and all but one white – a reaction was sure to follow. It duly did, with a string of critical tweets. Not only had it failed to appoint a single woman, and only one person of colour, but between the newly appointed members, only two possess a degree in a science-related subject: Labour MPs Darren Jones and Graham Stringer, in human bioscience and chemistry, respectively. Stringer, by the way, is on the board of the climate sceptic Global Warming Policy Foundation. Committee chair Norman Lamb promptly spoke out about the membership announcement, stating it is “imperative” women are on the committee. There are still three places left to be filled – which means there is a slim space for women to potentially occupy. Those defending the current all-male committee line up might make one of the more common arguments that crops up in debates relating to diversity and representation in science and technology, that men dominate the roles because there are simply fewer women qualified or interested in these professions. They might seize on statistics gleaned as part of the WISE campaign for gender parity in science, technology and engineering in 2014, which found women made up just 14 per cent of undergraduates receiving engineering and technology degrees, and 24 per cent at postgraduate level. (Webmaster's comment: It's much worse in America. Women here are for breeding and praying, not for working in Science.)

9-8-17 King’s victory for feminism
King’s victory for feminism
When tennis legend Billie Jean King won her 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” over Bobby Riggs, she knew it was a major step forward for women’s equality, said Corey Seymour in Vogue. The subject of a new film starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, their match was one of the era’s most ballyhooed sports events. Winner of 39 Grand Slam titles, King was in her prime at 29; a star in the 1940s, the brash, trash-talking Riggs was 55 but predicted an easy win. King, however, felt she had an advantage. Riggs “was one of my heroes,” she says, and while she’d studied his style and career, “he knew very little about me.” Her instinct was correct: King trounced Riggs in straight sets, a cultural landmark that helped put women’s sports on the map. “I also wanted the attention for something else: Title IX,” she says. Passed in 1972, “it’s 37 words that basically say ‘no sex discrimination,’ and it’s one of the most important pieces of legislation ever in the 20th century. It guaranteed equal protection if you received federal funds—high school, colleges, university. It’s also the first time a girl could receive an athletic scholarship—at that time, women couldn’t get a credit card on their own without a male co-signing it. All that is why I beat Bobby Riggs.”

9-6-17 Well done John Lewis, gender-free clothes are radical and valid
Well done John Lewis, gender-free clothes are radical and valid
The strict dividing line between clothes for boys and girls is just another way we shape young minds and society for the worse. Good riddance, says Lara Williams. When retailer John Lewis ditched gendered labels on children’s clothing, a backlash soon followed. John Lewis is the first major UK clothes seller to offer exclusively gender neutral children’s clothes. Labels read “Girls & Boys” or “Boys & Girls” on all items, from newborns up to 14 years. It has also launched a unisex line for children, with no more prescriptive pink for girls and blue for boys – just clothes for everyone. Some embraced the store for its progressive and nuanced take on gender politics. But others were scandalised – calling it an example of liberal pandering or outsized political correctness (gone wrong). It is undoubtedly a radical move – clothes have existed as a means of expressing gender for hundreds of years. But it is also a legitimate move, rooted in research that increasingly shows the hardening of unwelcome and damaging stereotypes as a result of relentless gender-based marketing on the young. We have been here before, especially with toys. “Pink gives girls permission” was the title of a study that found the explicit gendering of toys leads to “different developmental trajectories” for girls and boys. It found that children aged 3 to 5 years were cautious when choosing toys not deemed acceptable for their gender, and argued that visual preferences for gendered toys may stem from verbal labelling (“that’s a boy’s toy”).

9-6-17 Christian Dior and Gucci owners drop super-skinny models
Christian Dior and Gucci owners drop super-skinny models
The fashion houses behind brands including Christian Dior and Gucci have said they will stop using underweight models for their catwalk shows. LVMH and Kering, two of the biggest fashion firms in the world, made the move amid criticism the industry encourages eating disorders. Models must be bigger than a French size 32, which corresponds to a UK size six or US size zero, LVMH said. The firms will also not use models under the age of 16 for adult clothes. Kering's billionaire chairman Francois-Henri Pinault said the firms hoped to "inspire the entire industry to follow suit". The two French companies' brands also include Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Marc Jacobs, Thomas Pink, Fendi and Stella McCartney. One of the other brands covered is LVMH's Louis Vuitton, which was criticised by a model in May over her treatment. Danish model Ulrikke Hoyer said she had been asked to starve herself in the run-up to a show. The company denied the claim. Critics argue catwalk models promote an unhealthy and unrealistic body image, whereas fashion industry insiders have said clothes hang better on tall, thin women. Eating disorder charity Beat said: "The suggestion that the fashion industry are the 'cause' of eating disorders oversimplifies the issue. "But we do know the ideals presented within the fashion industry can exacerbate and prolong the illness, and we encourage the promotion of healthy body image and ideals in this area."

9-1-17 Wonder Woman Gal Gadot backs mocked Sri Lankan cosplayers
Wonder Woman Gal Gadot backs mocked Sri Lankan cosplayers
Hollywood actress Gal Gadot has thrown her support behind two young women in Sri Lanka after they were cyber-bullied for cosplaying as Wonder Woman. The two had become the target of a wave of online memes, body-shaming and harassment. Both Gadot, who played the character in the recent blockbuster movie, and its director Patty Jenkins tweeted support and encouragement. The case triggered a fresh debate about online bullying. When Amaya Suriyapperuma and fellow cosplayer Seshani Cooray decided to dress up as Wonder Woman at the Comic Con 2017 event in Colombo, they were not expecting it to send them on a rollercoaster ride of demeaning online memes. After the first day, photographers at the event began sharing their pictures online and photos of the two women were picked up by Facebook groups mocking them for their appearance. It was only the next day the two found out. It was Ms Suriyapperuma's birthday, and friends who had spotted the memes tried to keep them secret, but that was bound to fail. "First I was shocked," Ms Suriyapperuma told the BBC. I didn't really let it get to me although I was genuinely baffled at why these people would spend their valuable time hating someone they don't even know." Her fellow cosplayer agrees. "I was offended and shocked at how the internet reacted," said Ms Cooray. "Most of the memes and comments I received seemed to objectify me." She was drawn to the character of Wonder Woman because she feels it empowers young women like herself to be independent and strong minded.

8-29-17 How science has fed stereotypes about women
How science has fed stereotypes about women
A new book shows how biased research branded women as inferior. Charles Darwin used his theory of evolution to argue that women were intellectually inferior and had not evolved for a work life outside the home. A recent book dispels that and other flawed notions about women. Early in Inferior, science writer Angela Saini recalls a man cornering her after a signing for her book Geek Nation, on science in India. “Where are all the women scientists?” he asked, then answered his own question. “Women just aren’t as good at science as men are. They’ve been shown to be less intelligent.” Saini fought back with a few statistics on girls’ math abilities, but soon decided that nothing she could say would convince him. It’s a situation that may feel familiar to many women. “What I wish I had was a set of scientific arguments in my armory,” she writes. So she decided to learn the truth about what science really does tell us about differences between the sexes. “For everyone who has faced the same situation,” she writes, “the same desperate attempt to not lose control but have at hand some real facts and a history to explain them, here they are.” In Inferior, Saini marshals plenty of facts and statistics contradicting sexist notions about women’s bodies and minds. She cites study after study showing little or no difference in male and female capabilities. But it’s the book’s historical perspective that makes it most compelling. Only by understanding the cultural context of the men whose studies and ideas first pointed to gender imbalances can we see how deeply biases run, Saini argues. Charles Darwin’s influential ideas reflected his times, for instance. In The Descent of Man, he wrote that “man has ultimately become superior to woman” via evolution. To a woman active in her local women’s movement, Darwin wrote, “there seems to me to be a great difficulty from the laws of inheritance ... in [women] becoming the intellectual equals of man.” If that idea sounds absurd now, don’t fool yourself into thinking it has vanished. Saini’s book is full of examples right up to today of scientists who have started from this and other flawed premises, which have led to generations of flawed studies and results that reinforce stereotypes. But the tide has been turning, as more women have entered science and more scientists of both sexes seek to remove bias from their work. Saini does an excellent job of dissecting research on evolution, neuroscience and even the long-standing notion that women’s sexual behavior is driven by their interest in stable, monogamous relationships. By the end, it’s clear that science doesn’t divide men and women; we’ve done that to ourselves. And as scientists become more rigorous, we get closer to seeing ourselves as we really are.

8-29-17 Photos of skinny women affect people’s minds in just 15 minutes
Photos of skinny women affect people’s minds in just 15 minutes
For the first time, researchers have shown in a randomised trial that looking at pictures of skinny models is enough to change a person’s body ideals. For the first time, researchers have shown in a randomised trial that looking at photos of thin women is enough to shape a person’s beauty ideals. It has long been thought that images of slender women in the media influence what people find attractive, and can make a person feel unhappy with their body. But these pictures are now ubiquitous in many places, making testing this idea difficult. To find people who haven’t been exposed to such images, Jean-Luc Jucker at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and his team travelled to rural villages along the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua. At first, these villages had no electricity beyond the odd solar panel used to power a bulb. The Nicaraguan government is in the process of adding villages like these to the electricity grid – which is likely to bring TV with it. “When they get electricity, people generally say they want two things – a fridge and a television,” says Jucker. “They go from having no television to 100 channels.” After this task, which lasted around 15 minutes, Jucker’s team asked the volunteers to again create their ideal women’s body size using the software. Those who had seen images of thin women now created ideals that were thinner than those they had originally generated. In contrast, those who studied images of plus-sized models showed the opposite effect – their ideal body shape increased in size.

8-28-17 Unearthing the legacy of Harvard's female 'computers'
Unearthing the legacy of Harvard's female 'computers'
In a cramped Harvard University sub-basement, a team of women is working to document the rich history of women astronomers. More than 40 years before women gained the right to vote, female "computers" at Harvard College Observatory were making major astronomical discoveries. Between 1885 and 1927, the observatory employed about 80 women who studied glass plate photographs of the stars. They found galaxies and nebulas and created methods to measure distance in space. They were famous - newspapers wrote about them, they published scientific papers under their own names. But they were virtually forgotten during the next century. But a recent discovery of thousands of pages of their calculations by a modern group of women has spurred new interest in their legacy. Surrounded by steel cabinets stuffed with hundreds of thousands of plate glass photographs of the sky, curator Lindsay Smith Zrull shows off the best of Harvard's Plate Stacks collection. Each glass plate is stored in a paper jacket and initialled to show who worked on it. But for decades no-one kept track of the women computer's full names. So Smith Zrull started a spreadsheet about 18 months ago and adds initials when she discovers new ones and then tries to locate the full names in Harvard's historical records.

8-25-17 Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins hits back at James Cameron criticism
Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins hits back at James Cameron criticism
Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins has hit back after James Cameron called the film a "step backwards" for women. The Titanic director has called Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot, an "objectified icon". Patty Jenkins has responded saying "there is no right or wrong kind of powerful woman". She pointed out the film's "massive female audience who made the film a hit... can surely choose and judge their own icons of progress." Wonder Woman has broken box office records and is the highest-ever grossing film directed by a woman. But in an interview with The Guardian James Cameron said "the self-congratulatory back-patting" Hollywood has been doing over Wonder Woman was "misguided". "She's an objectified icon, and it's just male Hollywood doing the same old thing! I'm not saying I didn't like the movie but, to me, it's a step backwards." The Oscar-winning director compared the character of Wonder Woman to Sarah Connor, the lead role in his Terminator films. "Sarah Connor was not a beauty icon. She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit."

8-25-17 Hayek’s feisty feminism
Hayek’s feisty feminism
Salma Hayek has a low opinion of men, said Laura Craik in The Edit. Most of them are lazy, self-satisfied, and entitled, says the Mexican-born actress—whereas women are often far too demanding of themselves. “It’s a horrible sensation: We’re not enough at work; we’re not enough for the guy who’s cheating on us; we’re not enough for our children who always want more of us,” says Hayek. “Women work harder than men, yet they have the sensation they don’t do enough, and therefore they are less daring about asking for a better position or salary. Men do a lot less, their standards are lower, yet they feel entitled to ask for a raise or a promotion.” Even now, in her 50s, Hayek feels huge pressure to be the perfect wife, actress, and career woman—though she rebels against these expectations as much as possible, such as by refusing to diet or dye her graying hair. “If I don’t want to do certain things, I don’t do them. I always find excuses for myself—and they’re all brilliant, by the way. I will sometimes say, ‘I am 50 years old! Why do I have to look good? I already got my guy!’ But then, I don’t want to lose the guy, either.”

8-25-17 A Brave Woman
A Brave Woman
Malala Yousafzai is headed to Oxford University. The Pakistani-born schoolgirl activist is known for her brave stance against the Taliban, who shot Yousafzai when she was 15 for campaigning for women’s right to an education. She survived, and her persistent, fearless activism won her the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014—­making her the youngest recipient of the award. Yousafzai, 20, who now lives in the U.K., will study philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford’s Lady Margaret Hall, after receiving the necessary three “A” grades in her final exams. “So excited to go to Oxford!!” she tweeted, sharing a photo of her acceptance letter.

8-15-17 Deadpool 2 stuntwoman Joi SJ Harris mourned
Deadpool 2 stuntwoman Joi SJ Harris mourned
The stuntwoman who died in a motorcycle accident while filming Deadpool 2 has been identified as Joi SJ Harris. Ms Harris, who was reportedly the first licensed female African American road racer in the US, was killed on Monday morning in Vancouver, Canada. Eyewitnesses said she had lost control of the bike, jumped a kerb and crashed into a building. Deadpool 2 star Ryan Reynolds said he was "heartbroken, shocked and devastated" at her death. Production on the film has been temporarily halted. Local media say Ms Harris had successfully practised the stunt several times before the fatal accident. Ms Harris has previously been described as a pioneer encouraging more women and African Americans to enter professional road racing. Black Girls Ride Magazine said in 2015 that she was "leading the pack in more ways than one".

8-9-17 Iran's Rouhani appoints female vice-presidents after criticism
Iran's Rouhani appoints female vice-presidents after criticism
Iran President Hassan Rouhani has appointed three women as vice-presidents and one as a civil rights assistant following criticism of his all-male cabinet. Iran's 12 vice-presidents run organisations linked to the presidency. There has been only one female cabinet member since Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979. The cabinet, which must be approved by parliament, also lacks Sunni members. Sunnis are 10% of Shia-majority Iran. Masumeh Ebtekar has been named vice-president for family and women's affairs, Laya Joneydi is vice-president for legal affairs and Shahindokht Mowlaverdi is the president's assistant for civil rights. Ms Mowlaverdi had said the all-male cabinet showed that Iran was "treading water". Both she and Ms Ebtekar were vice-presidents in Mr Rouhani's previous government. Reformists believe the lack of diversity in the new cabinet is a sign that Mr Rouhani is bowing to pressure from Iran's religious establishment. (Webmaster's comment: Slowly but surely a step in the right direction.)

8-6-17 Husband's tribute to his 'curvy' wife sparks backlash
Husband's tribute to his 'curvy' wife sparks backlash
A husband's Instagram post about loving his wife's "curvy" size has sparked a backlash online about body image and feminism. American entrepreneur Robbie Tripp, who describes himself as "husband to a curvy goddess", posted a photograph of him and his wife, explaining in a popular post that becoming a feminist taught him that "curvy" women could be sexy. "I love this woman and her curvy body. As a teenager, I was often teased by my friends for my attraction to girls on the thicker side," he wrote. "As I became a man and started to educate myself on issues such as feminism and how the media marginalizes women by portraying a very narrow and very specific standard of beauty (thin, tall, lean), I realised how many men have bought into that lie." "For me, there is nothing sexier than this woman here: thick thighs, big booty, cute little side roll etc." The post quickly attracted criticism online for suggesting that men be applauded if they prefer body types that do not fit the "tall and thin" look portrayed as conventionally attractive by popular culture.

8-4-17 The Jewish athlete who was barred by the Nazis
The Jewish athlete who was barred by the Nazis
Margaret Bergmann should have gone down in history as Ger­many’s greatest high jumper. At Olym­pic trials in June 1936, she made a leap of 5 feet 3 inches—­beating her rivals and tying a Ger­man record. Any other athlete would have been rewarded with a spot on the national team, which would compete in that summer’s Ber­lin Games. But Bergmann was Jewish and considered unworthy by the Nazi regime. Soon after her win, she was barred from the Games and her jump was scrubbed from the record books. “I wanted to show the world what a Jew could do,” she said. “But I knew very well the Nazis would never let me compete.”

8-3-17 Australia debate over overweight models in Sports Illustrated show
Australia debate over overweight models in Sports Illustrated show
A debate has emerged in Australia about whether overweight models who appear on the catwalk are glorifying obesity. The debate follows the appearance of plus-size models in a Sports Illustrated swimsuit catwalk show. An opinion article in Sydney's Daily Telegraph criticised the use of larger models as "irresponsible", while a health expert said they promoted a "dangerous" message about health. However, other experts say the catwalk should represent all body shapes. The debate was ignited after columnist Soraiya Fuda wrote: "If the fashion industry decides to stop using models who appear to have starved themselves to skin and bones - as they should - they shouldn't then choose to promote an equally unhealthy body shape." However, speaking on local television, Sports Illustrated editor MJ Day said: "We have made a very positive statement that beauty is not 'one size fits all'."

7-31-17 Mongolian teenage girl grapples for a future in sumo
Mongolian teenage girl grapples for a future in sumo
Mongolian wrestlers have dominated the Japanese sumo scene for years and Bum-Erdene Tuvshinjargal is keen to follow in their footsteps. As a girl, that means challenging centuries of tradition, but that's another fight she's ready to take on. She spoke to journalist Erin Craig at her home in Ulan Bator. On one side of the ring squats a formidable, heavyset wrestler, the traditional mawashi wound around his waist. On the other is Bum-Erdene Tuvshinjargal, her loincloth wrapped over black spandex. The competitors wait, stare, then cannon toward each other. They hit in the centre, straining in a slow dance of raw power. Then Tuvshinjargal explodes forward, muscling her opponent out of the ring. She gives a rare, brief smile as she walks off the mat. "You can't be scared," says the 17 year old sumo world champion. "If you're scared you won't win."

7-28-17 Time to bust the myth that Ada Lovelace was an overhyped aristo
Time to bust the myth that Ada Lovelace was an overhyped aristo
Forget the detractors and the hyperbole, Ada Lovelace warrants her status in the history of science on the facts alone, says Ursula Martin. More than two centuries after her birth, controversy still surrounds the work of Ada Lovelace. Although hailed as a computing pioneer, and an icon for those promoting women in science, detractors persist in painting her as an intellectual lightweight with an overhyped reputation, and some suggest she didn’t even write the paper for which she is famous. Invited to work on a display celebrating Lovelace, I had a chance to sort fact from fiction. Organised by the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, it has now transferred to Silicon Valley’s Computer History Museum, the world’s largest collection of computing artefacts. There is no shortage of claims about Lord Byron’s daughter: Enchantress of Numbers, Bride of Science, first programmer, inventor of the computer, mathematical genius, and a visionary whose unique “poetical science” enabled her to foresee CDs, quantum theory, artificial intelligence, Silicon Valley and even the flying car (or at least the steam-powered flying horse). But we are also told that she was “mad as a hatter… with the most amazing delusions about her own talents” and “the most overrated figure in the history of computing“, while her only published work was ghostwritten by inventor Charles Babbage with an eye to the marketing potential of an aristocratic advocate. Who is right? Amid all the brouhaha, I was surprised to find very little scholarly analysis of Lovelace’s mathematical writings, or of her 1843 publication for which she is justifiably famous. It translated and expanded on an 1842 paper in French explaining Babbage’s designs for a mechanical computer. With colleagues, I have now published the first account by historians of mathematics of the extensive archives of the Lovelace-Byron family, held in the Bodleian. (Webmaster's comment: Many men will do anything to deny the achievements of women!)

7-23-17 K-golf: South Korea's female golfing phenomenon
K-golf: South Korea's female golfing phenomenon
Newly-crowned golfing champion Park Sung-hyun has become the latest name in a stellar series of female winners from South Korea. This week, Park, 23, won the US Women's Open by two shots to claim her first LPGA title. Eight other Korean women also made it to the tour's top 10. "It's almost like I'm floating on a cloud in the sky," said Park, whose nickname Dak Gong translates to "shut up and attack". South Korean women have dominated the fiercely-competitive game, claiming victory at the US Women's Open seven times in the past decade. So what makes them so successful?

7-21-17 Mars mission: Could US girl, 13, be first on red planet?
Mars mission: Could US girl, 13, be first on red planet?
Alyssa Carson has big dreams. At the age of 13 she is determined to be the first person to land on Mars. But this is more than wishful thinking - Nasa thinks she stands a chance and she is already in training. Alyssa is studying science and several languages and became the first person to attend all three of Nasa's world space camps. Her call sign at the US space agency is "Blueberry". The teenager from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, says failure is not an option. And her father says he has the next 20 years of work planned out.

7-21-17 Skirt-wearer arrested
Skirt-wearer arrested
Saudi religious police arrested a young woman this week after a six-second video was posted on social media showing her walking in a desert village while wearing a short skirt and crop top. Saudi law requires women to wear a black robe, called an abaya, that covers the entire body, and most women there also wear face veils. The video went viral and prompted thousands of comments on Twitter, many calling for the woman’s arrest but others defending her. Several people said if it had been Ivanka Trump in that outfit, nobody would have criticized her. Police said the woman, identified only as Khulood, told them she visited the site with her male guardian and that the video was posted without her knowledge. After an international outcry over her arrest, Khulood was released without charge.

7-14-17 The female front line
The female front line
Young Kurdish women battling so-called Islamic State in 360° video. Hundreds of Iranian Kurds, many of them young women, have volunteered to defeat the so-called Islamic State - and to fight for a Kurdish homeland. 17-year-old Aso Saqzi ran away from home in Iran to join the cause. Here, in this 360 video, see Aso and her comrades on the front line - in the remote hills of northern Iraq.

7-15-17 Maryam Mirzakhani, first woman to win maths' Fields Medal, dies
Maryam Mirzakhani, first woman to win maths' Fields Medal, dies
Prof Mirzakhani is seen as an inspiration for young female mathematicians. Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to receive the prestigious Fields Medal for mathematics, has died in the US. The 40-year-old had breast cancer, which had spread to her bones. Nicknamed the "Nobel Prize for Mathematics", the Fields Medal is only awarded every four years to between two and four mathematicians under 40. It was given to Prof Mirzakhani, an Iranian, in 2014, for her work on complex geometry and dynamical systems. "A light was turned off today. It breaks my heart... gone far too soon," her friend, Nasa scientist Firouz Naderi, posted on Instagram. Born in 1977, Prof Mirzakhani was brought up in post-revolutionary Iran and won two gold medals in the International Mathematical Olympiad as a teenager. She earned a PhD at Harvard University in 2004, and later a professorship at Stanford. Her receipt of the Fields Medal three years ago ended a long wait for women in the mathematics community for the prize, first established in 1936.

7-14-17 Modernity
Modernity
Modernity, after female reporters with bare shoulders and open-toed shoes were barred from entering the House of Representatives lobby because of a dress code ban on “inappropriate” attire.

7-14-17 The feminist who brought ‘Ms.’ to the masses
The feminist who brought ‘Ms.’ to the masses
When Sheila Michaels first saw the honorific “Ms.” on a Marxist mailing to her New York City roommate in the early 1960s, she thought it was a typo. In fact, she learned, the term had been floated as a marriage-neutral alternative at least since the turn of the 20th century, but had never caught on. An ardent feminist, Michaels resolved to rescue Ms. from obscurity. For years, she waged a one-woman campaign to popularize the title. “There was no feminist movement in 1961, and so no one to listen,” Michaels recalled. “I couldn’t just go ahead and call myself Ms. without spending every hour of every day explaining myself, and being laughed at to boot. I had to learn to be brave.”

7-10-17 Meet the 'mother of Wi-Fi'
Meet the 'mother of Wi-Fi'
Known as "the most beautiful woman in the world," Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr starred in dozens of films over a career that spanned decades. But there was more to Lamarr than met the eye. An avid inventor, she worked on everything from a tablet that, when dropped into water, fizzed into instant cola, to frequency hopping — a World War II-era secure communications technology that's used today in wireless internet, GPS, and cellphones. More and more, Lamarr, who died in Florida in 2000, is posthumously becoming regarded as the "mother of Wi-Fi." During her years as a film star, little was known of Lamarr's offscreen career. But in a narrative twist, Hollywood is finally taking notice: A new documentary, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, premiered at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, and a TV miniseries is in the works. "All of a sudden, there's this appetite in Hollywood [for] making stories that seemed impossible to crack, because clearly there's a hunger for it there," says actress Diane Kruger, who narrated Bombshell and is working on the new television series. She credits the film industry's increased enthusiasm in part to the success of Hidden Figures, last year's hit about other brilliant women in science. "But then for Hedy in particular, what's been difficult is that her story is so big, and it spans five decades. You want to tell all of it because, yes, she was an inventor, but she was also a brilliant woman and a great actress. And so you need the time to tell her story, and … it's kind of a hard nut to crack." Kruger first heard about Lamarr's moonlight career from Richard Rhodes, who pieced her story together in his 2011 biography, Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr.

7-7-17 The model who wears a hijab
The model who wears a hijab
Halima Aden is both a model and an observant Muslim, said Molly Young in Allure. While the Gigi Hadids of the world strut their stuff showing maximum skin, Kenya-born Aden, 19, drapes herself modestly and wears a hijab. “It’s how I interpret my religion,” she says, “but there are women who are Muslim who choose not to wear the hijab.” For her, it’s also a way of pushing back against sexist norms of beauty. “Society puts so much pressure on girls to look a certain way. A hijab protects me against ‘You’re too skinny,’ ‘You’re too thick,’ ‘Look at her hips,’ ‘Look at her thigh gap.’ I don’t have to worry about that.” As a child, Aden moved with her family from a Kenyan refugee camp to St. Cloud, Minn., where her head covering made her a target for bullies. After high school, Aden entered the Miss Minnesota USA pageant because it offered college scholarships, and she got an exemption from the swimsuit competition. Signed to a modeling contract, she made her New York Fashion Week debut in February for Kanye West’s Yeezy line. Aden has become used to people staring at her on the runway and off but doesn’t take it personally. “If you think people are against you, things will start appearing that way. I don’t think anyone is out to get me.”

7-5-17 France's Simone Veil honoured with Pantheon burial
France's Simone Veil honoured with Pantheon burial
French politician, women's rights champion and Holocaust survivor Simone Veil will be buried in Paris's Pantheon mausoleum. She will become the fifth woman laid to rest in the crypt, alongside 76 men. President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to her invincible spirit at her funeral at Les Invalides in Paris. Ms Veil died last week, aged 89. The body of her husband, politician Antoine Veil, who died in 2013, will be moved to join hers in the mausoleum. Writers Emile Zola, Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas, and scientist Marie Curie, are among others buried in the grand neoclassical building. Internment is reliant on a parliamentary act for "national heroes". President Macron said the honour showed "the immense gratitude of the French people to one of its most loved children". "You have given our lives the light you had in you and which nothing or nobody was able to extinguish," Mr Macron told mourners.

6-30-17 The model who wears a hijab
The model who wears a hijab
Halima Aden is both a model and an observant Muslim, said Molly Young in Allure. While the Gigi Hadids of the world strut their stuff showing maximum skin, Kenya-born Aden, 19, drapes herself modestly and wears a hijab. “It’s how I interpret my religion,” she says, “but there are women who are Muslim who choose not to wear the hijab.” For her, it’s also a way of pushing back against sexist norms of beauty. “Society puts so much pressure on girls to look a certain way. A hijab protects me against ‘You’re too skinny,’ ‘You’re too thick,’ ‘Look at her hips,’ ‘Look at her thigh gap.’ I don’t have to worry about that.” As a child, Aden moved with her family from a Kenyan refugee camp to St. Cloud, Minn., where her head covering made her a target for bullies. After high school, Aden entered the Miss Minnesota USA pageant because it offered college scholarships, and she got an exemption from the swimsuit competition. Signed to a modeling contract, she made her New York Fashion Week debut in February for Kanye West’s Yeezy line. Aden has become used to people staring at her on the runway and off but doesn’t take it personally. “If you think people are against you, things will start appearing that way. I don’t think anyone is out to get me.”

6-30-17 Simone Veil: French politician and Holocaust survivor dies
Simone Veil: French politician and Holocaust survivor dies
The French politician, women's rights champion and Holocaust survivor Simone Veil has died at the age of 89. Best known in France for her instrumental role in legalising abortion in the 1970s, she went on to serve as the first president of an elected European Parliament. Ms Veil, a liberal, later re-entered French politics, returning to the cabinet in the 1990s. President Emmanuel Macron described her as "inspiring" and the best of France. She became one of the 40 "immortals" of the Académie Française in 2010 - a great honour in France. Ms Veil was France's minister of health from 1974-79, in which role she made access to contraception easier and fought a long battle to legalise abortion. The law which did so, passed in 1975, is known as "la loi Veil". Simon Veil became an MEP in the 1979 European elections, and she was elected as president of the parliament. She later went on to become the leader of the liberal grouping within the parliament, and stood down as an MEP in 1993. She again became a French minister, before being appointed to the constitutional council of France. Born in Nice in 1927 as Simone Jacob, her whole family was arrested by the Germans in 1944. Her father and brother were transported to eastern Europe and were never heard from again. The teenaged Simone was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau and then Bergen-Belsen with her mother and oldest sister. Her mother died shortly before liberation. Her other sister, Denise, had joined the French Resistance and was imprisoned at Ravensbrück concentration camp. (Webmaster's comment: Heroic Women Every One!)

6-28-17 Mary Somerville: Queen of 19th-century science
Mary Somerville: Queen of 19th-century science
Mary Somerville had vast knowledge and a social network to die for. That helped her write one of the most amazing and popular science books of the 19th century. VESUVIUS’S crater was spewing gases and snorting magma as the lady gingerly traversed it, handkerchief pressed to her nose. In places the lava had formed a crust hard enough to step on. As she peered through the cracks, glowing molten rock was visible beneath. It was December 1817 and Mary Somerville, the first great populariser of science, was following her passion. Not content with merely interpreting scientific research, Somerville was eager to see natural phenomena for herself and so gather source material for her greatest work, On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences. Published in 1834, it was a revelation. It was a compendium that brought the latest knowledge of every branch of physical science together in one place. What’s more, it was aimed at a mass audience – a pioneering piece of popular science writing that foreshadowed the magazines and bestselling books of today. Today Somerville’s name lives on in an Oxford college, but her wider legacy is largely forgotten. Later this year, though, she is due to be introduced to a fresh generation, as the new face of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s £10 banknote – the first non-royal woman to be honoured in this way.

6-27-17 Pregnant Serena Williams poses naked on the cover of Vanity Fair
Pregnant Serena Williams poses naked on the cover of Vanity Fair
Pregnant Serena Williams has posed naked on the cover of August's Vanity Fair magazine. The tennis star found out she was expecting her first child with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian just before the Australian Open in January. She told the magazine that she hadn't suspected anything until she was sick at the side of the court while practising. But her friend suspected she might be pregnant and suggested taking a test. (Webmaster's comment: A courageous woman, attacking racism, supporting women's rights, and being a star athlete all at the same time. The white male supremacists must be going crazy!)

6-25-17 Wonder Woman continues to smash box office records
Wonder Woman continues to smash box office records
Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman film is on track to break box office records by becoming the top grossing live-action film from a female director. The film has generated more than $620m worldwide since its launch 21 days ago, media reports say, and is on course to outperform the $665.7m made by Kung Fu Panda 2 - also directed by a woman. Some analysts predict Wonder Woman will also overtake Frozen, made in 2013 by male and female directors. It generated $1.28bn in ticket sales. Ms Jenkins' Wonder Woman is due to generate $319m (£250m; €285m) in the US in 24 days, Forbes' Scott Mendelson reports, which is only a little less than the $325m and $330m US totals of Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

6-23-17 US woman, 66, is oldest to swim English Channel
US woman, 66, is oldest to swim English Channel
A 66-year-old American becomes the oldest woman to swim the English Channel.

6-14-17 Roxane Gay: Mamamia website 'humiliates' feminist author
Roxane Gay: Mamamia website 'humiliates' feminist author
It was meant to be an interview to promote a book. But Mia Freedman's podcast chat with feminist author Roxane Gay has been overshadowed by the words used to trail it online. Ms Freedman wrote about wondering whether Ms Gay would "fit in to the office lift" and searching for a chair "sturdy enough to hold her weight". Ms Gay called the words "cruel and humiliating". Ms Freedman apologised, saying she was "beyond mortified". Ms Gay's book Hunger recounts her life as a "woman of size", as she puts it - she is 6ft 3in tall and, at her heaviest, weighed 578 lbs. Subtitled A Memoir of (My) Body, it tells how the author began overeating after suffering serious sexual violence as a child, and how her size makes the world more difficult to navigate - from deciding whether to book one or two airplane seats to dealing with the reactions of other people. "Fat bodies tend to be public property", she writes, saying strangers are quick to offer her advice on losing weight. "People are quick to offer statistics and information about the dangers of obesity, as if you are not only fat but incredibly stupid, unaware, and delusional about your body and a world that is vigorously inhospitable to that body."

6-13-17 The Indian video challenging 'shy bride' stereotypes
The Indian video challenging 'shy bride' stereotypes
"Why should grooms have all the fun?" That's what Amisha Bhardwaj says when asked about her wedding video, which has gone viral, receiving more than six million views on YouTube. In the video, Ms Bhardwaj is dancing in shorts and her bridal blouse, perfectly lip syncing to Sia's popular song "Cheap Thrills". "I am still surprised that the video went viral because it simply shows a bride having fun on her wedding day. That's not unusual," she says. But many people have commented about the choice of her clothes, and the song. "I think my video broke the stereotype of the shy Indian bride, who is not supposed to dance, and definitely not wear the kind of clothes I am wearing in the video," she says. "The script for the Indian bride has been the same for ages - she is supposed to be shy, not laugh and smile sporadically, and cry while leaving her parents' house. But now the modern Indian bride is writing her own script."

6-9-17 Mississippi 12-year-old delivers her own baby brother
Mississippi 12-year-old delivers her own baby brother
A 12-year-old girl in Mississippi had a rare bonding experience with her new baby brother - delivering him herself. Jacee Dellapena was upset during her mother's labour because, she said, she was too short to see her brother born. So the doctor suggested she suit up and take part - delivering her baby brother under the doctor's supervision, and even cutting the umbilical cord. She later told US media: "I was nervous I was going to mess up... but it was the best moment of my life." "I started crying because I thought I wasn't going to get to see him be born, because I was too short," Jacee told WBTV. "He let me actually push down and pull the baby out... I was like, wow, like I've played fake doctor before, but this is, like, the real thing, this is is the real deal," she said.

6-8-17 The 81-year-old woman inspiring a nation to recycle
The 81-year-old woman inspiring a nation to recycle
An 81-year-old who set up an all-woman rubbish collection team in her village in Lebanon now has a stream of visitors asking how she did it. For nine months in 2015 and 2016 rubbish piled up on the streets of the capital, Beirut, and even now a lack of landfill sites means some of the city's waste is being thrown in the sea. Zeinab Mokalled has shown that when government fails, do-it-yourself local initiatives can work. "There used to be dirt everywhere and the kids were filthy," Zeinab Mokalled tells me. She is remembering the 1980s and 90s, when Israel occupied part of the south of the country for 15 years, and waste collection came to a halt in her village, Arabsalim. As the years went by, it piled up, and Mokalled went to the regional governor to ask for help. "Why do you care? We are not Paris," he told her. "I knew that day that I had to take it upon myself," she says. Mokalled called on the women of the village to help, not the men - partly because she wanted to empower them, and partly because she thought they would do a better job.

6-1-17 Chloe Moretz 'appalled and angry' over body-shaming Snow White animated film advert
Chloe Moretz 'appalled and angry' over body-shaming Snow White animated film advert
US actress Chloe Moretz says she's "appalled and angry" over the marketing for her new animated Snow White film, Red Shoes & the 7 Dwarfs. In a series of tweets, the 20-year-old talks about a poster she'd seen in Cannes which shows a tall woman next to a shorter, heavier version of herself. The words underneath read: "What if Snow White was no longer beautiful and the 7 dwarfs not so short?" Chloe Moretz said she hadn't seen the marketing and has apologised to fans. Plus-size model Tess Holliday tweeted a photo of the billboard poster and tagged the actress in her post, saying it was basically body-shaming.

Chloe Moretz 'appalled and angry' over body-shaming Snow White animated film advert

5-31-17 Does Wonder Woman live up to the hype?
Does Wonder Woman live up to the hype?
Gal Gadot takes the leading role in the Patty Jenkins' film - Jenkins is the first woman to direct a superhero film with a female protagonist. The much anticipated live action superhero movie, Wonder Woman, is out in the UK on Thursday. The film stars Gal Gadot in the title role and Chris Pine alongside as US spy Steve Trevor. So what do the critics make of it?

  • Sheri Linden - The Hollywood Reporter
  • Andrew Barker - Variety
  • Steve Rose - The Guardian
  • Robbie Collin - The Telegraph
  • Kelly Lawler - USA Today
  • Emma Simmonds - Radio Times

5-22-17 Indian woman 'sets new Everest dual ascent record'
Indian woman 'sets new Everest dual ascent record'
An Indian has climbed Mount Everest twice in under a week in what may be a new woman's record for the fastest double ascent. Anshu Jamsenpa, a 37-year-old mother-of-two, reached the summit on 16 and 21 May, tourism official Gyanendra Shrestha confirmed to BBC Nepali. The current Guinness record for a woman's double ascent is seven days. News of Ms Jamsenpa's climbs came as at least three climbers were killed on the mountain over the weekend. An Australian died on the Tibetan side, while a Slovak and an American died on the Nepalese side. Rescuers have failed to locate a fourth climber, from India, who disappeared shortly after reaching the summit. Hundreds of mountaineers are hoping to scale the world's highest peak before the monsoon sweeps in next month.

5-19-17 Model Ulrikke Hoyer says she was dropped from a show in Japan for being 'too big'
Model Ulrikke Hoyer says she was dropped from a show in Japan for being 'too big'
A 20-year-old Danish model claims she was dropped from a Louis Vuitton show because she was "too big" - despite only being size 4-6. Ulrikke Hoyer says she was told by casting agents to "drink only water for the next 24 hours" before a fitting. But she says the fitting never happened because she was dropped by the agent. In an Instagram post Hoyer says she was told she had "a very bloated stomach", a "bloated face" and was urged to "starve" herself. "I am glad I'm 20 years old... and not a 15 year old girl, who are new to this and unsure about herself, because I have no doubt that I would then have ended up very sick and scarred," Hoyer wrote on Instagram.

5-19-17 The pioneering journalist who covered Vietnam
The pioneering journalist who covered Vietnam
In 1967, Anne Morrissy Merick was working as an ABC News field producer in Vietnam when Gen. William Westmoreland, the U.S. commander, issued an edict effectively barring female journalists from covering front-line combat. Morrissy Merick—who braved snipers, shelling, and monsoons during the war—was furious. “It was a knockout blow to our careers,” she wrote in a 2002 memoir. “We had to fight!” Together with another female journalist, the 5-foot-2-inch reporter set up a meeting with Phil Goulding, a senior Defense Department official. Goulding initially refused to overturn the order, but eventually relented after a few convivial drinks in Morrissy Merick’s hotel room. “And if you are wondering if I slept with him,” she wrote, “the answer is no!”

5-15-17 US Marines defend woman-led recruitment advert
US Marines defend woman-led recruitment advert
The US Marine Corps has defended its latest recruitment advert - the first led by a woman - after critics said it panders to political correctness. The commercial, titled "Battle Up" follows the evolution of a female Marine. She is seen as a schoolgirl standing up to bullies, on a rugby pitch, under fire in combat, and as a veteran helping the homeless. The service said it celebrates the Marines' "fighting spirit". In the advert, the protagonist tackles an obstacle course through icy water as the narrator intones: "No one knows where it comes from. Why some have it, and some don't. It's the fighting spirit, and it needs to be fed. "It consumes fear, self-doubt and weakness. It stands ready to protect those in danger and to fight - whatever shape the battle takes." The Corps hopes the advert will attract women, especially athletes, and send the message that the Marines isn't only open to "a few good men". Capt. Erin Demchko, who plays the logistics officer in the ad, served in Afghanistan. She is currently a deputy commander at Camp Courtney in Okinawa, Japan. The advert has been viewed almost 690,000 times on Facebook since it was posted by the official US Marine Corps account on 12 May.

5-13-17 Paris Jackson explains nude Instagram posts
Paris Jackson explains nude Instagram posts
Paris Jackson has a message for her 1.4 million followers on Instagram - nudity is natural and "part of what makes us human". The model and only daughter of the late pop superstar Michael Jackson had earlier been criticised for posting a photo of herself lying in the sun topless alongside her dog - using a pair of strategically placed beetle emojis to cover her nipples. That post appears to have later been deleted. But Paris, 19, later posted another picture of herself - this time topless and smoking, in black and white - alongside a long message hitting out at critics. Nudism "started as a movement for 'going back to nature'," she wrote, "and was even called a philosophy". It helps her connect to the earth and is a "beautiful thing" that does not have to be seen as sexual, she said. "Feminism is being able to express yourself in your own way, whether it's being conservative and wearing lots of clothes or showing yourself." "The human body is a beautiful thing and no matter what 'flaws' you have, whether it be scars, or extra weight, stretch marks, freckles, whatever, it is beautiful and you should express yourself however you feel comfortable. "If this makes some of you upset I completely understand and I encourage you to maybe no longer follow me, but I cannot apologize for this in any way. it is who I am and I refuse to shy away and keep my beliefs a secret."

5-6-17 France bans extremely thin models
France bans extremely thin models
A law in France banning the use of unhealthily thin fashion models has come into effect. Models will need to provide a doctor's certificate attesting to their overall physical health, with special regard to their body mass index (BMI) - a measure of weight in relation to height. The health ministry says the aim is to fight eating disorders and inaccessible ideals of beauty. Digitally altered photos will also have to be labelled from 1 October. Images where a model's appearance has been manipulated will need to be marked photographie retouchée (English: retouched photograph). A previous version of the bill had suggested a minimum BMI for models, prompting protests from modelling agencies in France. But the final version, backed by MPs 2015, allows doctors to decide whether a model is too thin by taking into account their weight, age, and body shape. (Webmaster's comment: As sick as they may be it is still their choice!)

5-4-17 Photo of Czech girl Scout standing up to skinhead goes viral
Photo of Czech girl Scout standing up to skinhead goes viral
A 16-year-old girl Scout pictured standing up to a far-right skinhead has told the BBC she was not afraid of neo-Nazis and wanted more young people to stand up to fascism. Lucie Myslikova, a film and animation student from the Czech city of Brno, was captured in her uniform confronting a shaven-headed demonstrator. The rally was held on May Day by the neo-Nazi Workers Party of Social Justice. The photo has since gone viral. "I wasn't afraid," Lucie told the BBC by telephone from her school. "I went to the counter-demonstration as someone who was determined to change things. To me it makes sense to try and change the world around me," she went on. "I think young people should get involved in such things. They should be aware of what's going on. "You ask me if standing up to skinheads should be left to older people - well us, younger people, are going to be living here a lot longer than the older generation." Lucie explained the argument with the unnamed man had been over refugees and migrants. She said she had told him that countries had a duty to help those fleeing war and conflict, and that in such cases borders did not exist. He told her she would be raped by the very people she was trying to save. "The main thing that's struck me is that some people are now calling me an 'extremist', that being anti-fascist is somehow 'extremist'," she told the BBC. "That seems to be me the height of absurdity." (Webmaster's comment: She Roars!)

4-26-17 India clears Lipstick Under My Burkha for restricted release
India clears Lipstick Under My Burkha for restricted release
An appeals board of India's film censor authority has cleared an award-winning Hindi language film for limited release. Lipstick Under My Burkha was earlier refused certification because it was too "lady oriented" and contained sexual scenes and abusive language. The film examines the lives of four women from small town India. The appeals board has given the film an adult certification and asked the directors to make some cuts. The film, starring Konkona Sen Sharma and Ratna Pathak Shah, had its world premiere in Tokyo a few months ago and has since then won several awards at global film festivals. The appeals board said the film would be granted adult certification with "voluntary and some additional cuts and deletions". It also asked the filmmaker to mute a few Hindi words - including one referring to prostitutes - from a couple of scenes, a report said. The Central Board of Film Certification had earlier complained that the film "has abusive words, audio pornography [meaning phone sex], and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society [implying it could hurt Muslim religious sentiments]". The film's director Alankrita Shrivastava had described the ban as an assault on women's rights, and challenged it in the appeals court. She told the BBC's World Tonight programme that the censors were "bothered" by the film's female point of view.

4-25-17 Down's syndrome dancer Mikayla Holmgren enters Miss USA pageant
Down's syndrome dancer Mikayla Holmgren enters Miss USA pageant
Being crowned Miss USA is a dream Mikayla Holmgren shares with thousands of young women around America. And so, like many before her, she has entered her state competition - taking the first step towards that final, glittering ceremony. The only difference between Mikayla and the other women that she has Down's syndrome. Not that she is letting that worry her. "Beauty is from the inside out. I'm happy and joyful, it's like beauty inside out. It's almost gorgeous," she told local television channel Fox9 after revealing her bid to win the Miss Minnesota USA tiara. It is thought Mikayla, a university student from Marine on St Croix, is the first young woman with Down's syndrome to enter Miss USA, which sees girls from every state across the country compete for a chance to reach the final pageant, shown live on national television.

4-24-17 Astronaut Peggy Whitson breaks new space record
Astronaut Peggy Whitson breaks new space record
Peggy Whitson has broken the record for most days in space by a US astronaut. Dr Whitson already holds records for the most spacewalks carried out by a woman astronaut and is the first woman to command the International Space Station (ISS) twice. Now she's beaten the record previously set by Jeff Williams, who had a total of 534 days in space. At 57, she is also the oldest woman to have gone to space. Earlier this month, Nasa astronaut Shane Kimbrough turned command of the ISS over to Dr Whitson. "She will set another record at this moment," he said at the time. "She now becomes the first two-time female commander of the International Space Station. Dr Whitson already holds the record for longest time spent in space by a woman. Born in Iowa, she has an advanced degree in biochemistry and worked for Nasa in several prominent medical science and research positions, before being selected as an astronaut candidate in 1996. She first went into space in 2002 and became the first woman to command the ISS in 2007.

4-21-17 Barbie out of fashion as Mattel slumps
Barbie out of fashion as Mattel slumps
Barbie sales fell 13% in the first quarter, adding to a much worse-than-expected slump for Mattel, the world's largest toy company. It was the second consecutive quarter of falling sales for the doll, which has been a key part of the firm's product range for almost six decades. Mattel said sales dropped by 15.4% to $735m (£574m) for the three months to 31 March. That was the biggest slide since 2009 and short of the $801m forecast. Barbie sales had increased for the first nine months of 2016, aided by new marketing efforts and the launch of dolls in a range of skin tones and body shapes. The move was an attempt to counter criticism that dolls like Barbie set an unrealistic body image for girls. Mattel said last year the new body shapes offered girls "choices that are more reflective of the world they see today".

4-20-17 Russia's Aeroflot airline accused of 'sex discrimination'
Russia's Aeroflot airline accused of 'sex discrimination'
Russia's flagship carrier Aeroflot is fighting a legal battle with several of its female flight attendants who say it favours slim and attractive cabin crew. A Moscow court on Tuesday rejected a sex discrimination claim by stewardess Irina Ierusalimskaya. She plans to appeal, and is backed by a top Russian human rights and trade union official, Boris Kravchenko. The company argues that every extra kilogram of weight forces Aeroflot to spend more on fuel. Its application form for would-be flight attendants requires details of height, weight and clothing size. Staff have to meet a minimum height requirement because they need to store hand luggage in the overhead lockers, Aeroflot says.

4-6-17 The women of World War I
The women of World War I
While most Americans wanted to stay out of World War I, some women were eager for the opportunity to prove themselves. On April 6, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson broke his pledge of neutrality, and America reluctantly entered World War I. While the vast majority of Americans may have preferred the Wilson's original isolationist stance, some women felt differently. For them, the war was an opportunity to prove themselves and participate as citizens. Women suffragettes signed up to aid their country when war broke out in 1917. By the early 1900s, married women were still largely relegated to the home. What money they made was through piecemeal work — stitching, shoe repair, cooking, childcare — done from within their confines. While single women had begun to join the workforce by the outbreak of the war, their industrial contributions, too, were limited to "women's work": textiles, domestic services, and clerical tasks. But the war changed that. As millions of men were called to arms, women, no matter their status, filed out of their homes and into the male-dominated fields of industry, agriculture, and even the military. Women were playing a vital role not just in the war, but also in the country's economy. They worked in factories, making ammunition and building weapons, airplanes, cars, and ships. They joined the American Red Cross and civilian volunteer organizations, like the National League of Women's Services, which provided stateside military services from transportation to aid. They did manual labor, worked on farms, served in local government, and joined police forces whose ranks were depleted. Upper-class women, too, joined the effort raising awareness and funds, sending care packages, or leading conservation efforts among American households.

3-31-17 MacLaine’s constant defiance
MacLaine’s constant defiance
Shirley MacLaine has always rebelled against other people’s expectations, said Lindsey Bahr in the Associated Press. When the movie star was a child, she asked her mother what a woman was supposed to do with her life. “She said, ‘You’re supposed to have nice hair and nice clothes and look pretty,’” says MacLaine. Instead, MacLaine forged her own path—using her wit and gamine beauty to conquer the movie industry at a time when blond bombshells were all the rage. “Look, I wasn’t tall, thin, blond, ethereal, and all that stuff that was essential for men to jump on.” But she was intelligent enough to hold her own with powerful men. Alfred Hitchcock “wasn’t interested in me, but he was interested in me as a food partner. He insisted I have every meal with him. I think I gained 20 pounds.” MacLaine taught Audrey Hepburn how to swear, and played a long line of feisty, eccentric women in movies like The Apartment and Terms of Endearment. “I love playing bitches. I love the whole idea of being so impossible that it’s funny.” Now 82, MacLaine hates it when people ask her to reflect on her long career. Why would she when she’s not done yet? “I think I’m going to live a long time.”

3-31-17 Meet the Hunter Troop: Norway's tough-as-nails female soldiers
Meet the Hunter Troop: Norway's tough-as-nails female soldiers
She's marched for miles carrying gear that weighs as much as she does, killed animals for food during survival training and practised jumping out of planes to get behind enemy lines. But Jannike, a pony-tailed 19-year-old from northern Norway, will only concede that she's "pretty tough". She is part of the Hunter Troop, the world's first all-female special forces training programme. "I wanted to do something bigger, the toughest the army could offer me," Jannike says. "I wanted to [see] how far I could push myself." After six months, despite some "really low moments", she is determined to get through the course. Next up on the training schedule is close-combat fighting and offensive driving. The Jegertroppen, as it is known in Norwegian, was set up in 2014. Military commanders here say that the war in Afghanistan proved an "operational need" existed for highly-trained female soldiers who could gather intelligence and interact with women and children during deployments in conservative societies.

3-30-17 Pee Wee Pumps: High heels for babies spark outrage
Pee Wee Pumps: High heels for babies spark outrage
A US footwear company has sparked outrage among consumers and campaign groups over a range of high heeled shoes for babies. Pee Wee Pumps, which makes soft shoes for infants, describes its products as "cool" and "diva defining". But pictures of the fashion range posted online have led to criticism on social media sites. The shoes, which have collapsible heels and pointed toes, are available for infants up to six months old. In the latest post on the company's Facebook page, an infant in heels sits astride a miniature motorbike with the caption: "This little #Diva, defining cool posing in her #PeeWeePumps." The image was criticised by a number the site's users, who suggested it was "wrong" and "disgusting" to portray young children in such a way. "This is not ok," wrote Melissa Balinski. Another commenter, Jen, said that "promoting products for babies this way is just sick". (Webmaster's comment: When are so many American males going to stop sexualizing women, children and now babies! Is there nothing else in their sex soaked brains?)

3-29-17 Emma Thompson felt 'too fat' to live in LA
Emma Thompson felt 'too fat' to live in LA
British actress Emma Thompson has said she never moved to Los Angeles because she felt she was deemed "too fat" when she visited. "It is a strange place and I couldn't live there," she told Swedish chat show Skavlan. The Oscar winner also condemned the pressure on actresses to be thin. "The anorexia - there are so many kids, girls and boys now, and actresses who are very, very thin, who are into their 30s, [and] simply don't eat," she said. The star also revealed she threatened to quit working on 2008 film Brideshead Revisited in reaction to a co-star who had been told to shed the pounds. She said: "The producers said to her, 'Will you lose some weight?'. She was absolutely exquisite. "I said to them, 'If you speak to her about this again, on any level, I will leave this picture. You are never to do that'. "It's evil, what's happening, what's going on out there, and it's getting worse."

3-27-17 United Airlines caught up in leggings row
United Airlines caught up in leggings row
United Airlines has been heavily criticised on social media after two girls were reportedly barred from flying for wearing leggings. The incident happened on a flight from Denver to Minneapolis on Sunday morning, activist Shannon Watts said. United said the girls were travelling on a special pass, for employees and their guests, which has a dress code. It has since clarified that all regular, paying customers are welcome to wear leggings. The girls were "United pass travellers", which are tickets for company employees or eligible dependents, it explained in a Twitter exchange on the issue. "United pass travellers" are eligible for free or heavily discounted air travel. The dress code for pass-holders states they should not wear "form-fitting lycra/spandex tops, pants and dresses", among various other stipulations, including no exposed midriffs, no mini skirts and no flip-flops.

3-24-17 All-male White House health bill photo sparks anger
All-male White House health bill photo sparks anger
There is a familiarity about this photo, and it could have been taken in many boardrooms around the world - men gathered around a table making plans and cutting deals. But the lack of women here, among a group of conservative Republicans discussing their healthcare bill with the vice-president, struck a particular nerve. That's because one of the points under discussion was whether the new bill should mandate that health insurance plans provide "essential benefits" including maternity services. In January, the White House came in for some flak when President Trump signed an abortion bill surrounded by men. So the reaction was swift when Vice-President Mike Pence tweeted the photo, with the words: "Appreciated joining @POTUS for meeting with the Freedom Caucus again today This is it. #PassTheBill" Democratic Senator Patty Murray was one of the first to respond, making an ironic observation.

3-23-17 'Polite conversation' course for young women sparks backlash
'Polite conversation' course for young women sparks backlash
A Canadian school course that teaches girls about hairstyles, dinner party etiquette and "polite conversation" has sparked a backlash. The optional course at Eleanor Hall School in Clyde, Alberta, is to help young girls "navigate adolescence" with "self-esteem intact". It has met broad criticism, with one critic calling it a "sort of neo-1950s etiquette class". School officials say they will review the course. The school is offering the "women studies" course to girls for the first time this year, based on a similar "Girl Power" course offered at nearby school. Twenty-five students from grades six to nine are enrolled in the course, which includes lessons in the basics of web design, the role of women in history, and cultural aspects of beauty around the world. It also has "hands on" activities that include how to figure out your face and body shape in order to "determine how your style can be enhanced using tips and tricks". (Webmaster's comment: Making sure a women is always polite and nice, even while being abused!)

3-9-17 US school's prom dress guidelines lambasted for body-shaming
US school's prom dress guidelines lambasted for body-shaming
A Catholic high school's restrictive guide to prom dresses has drawn body-shaming accusations and a call for an alternative student-run prom. A girl's (extensive) guide to prom. A Catholic high school in Illinois, USA, has been criticised for its lengthy prom dress code handbook - a whopping 21 slides. The guidelines, which deem some dresses to be acceptable on certain body types but not others has prompted a call for a student-run prom. While the gentlemen's dress code is covered in just two slides, there are 15 slides in the guide for the ladies. The policy provides illustrations on acceptable and non-acceptable dresses including on two-pieces, necklines, back, cut-outs and mesh. Boylan Catholic High School's prom is due to be held in May. A Twitter account calling for an alternative student run prom said: "We all know these rules are stiff, this will be a reserved venue costing $25 a person." Students from other schools are also challenging their prom dress codes. A student in California tweeted: "I really really wanna go to Edisons prom but the dress code is beyond STUPID." Another added that she would be annoyed if her school were to enforce a dress code. (Webmaster's comment: Nuts! Let all women wear what they want!)

3-4-17 Air India claims first journey around the world with all-women crew
Air India claims first journey around the world with all-women crew
An Indian airline says it has made the first passenger journey around the world operated by an all-women crew. The Air India flight departed from New Delhi to San Francisco on Monday and returned to the Indian capital on Friday. The Boeing 777 flew over the Pacific Ocean on its trip to the US, while its return flight was over the Atlantic, encircling the globe, the company said. Air India says it has applied for an entry on the Guinness World Record. Check-in and ground handling staff, the engineers who certified the aircraft and the air traffic controllers who authorised the departure and arrival of the plane were also all women, the company said.

2-23-17 'There's not just one way of being beautiful'
'There's not just one way of being beautiful'
Since she was five, Lindsay Sanders noticed the subtle ways being black made her stand out. White classmates would touch her hair uninvited and say her braids looked like fuzzy caterpillars. Now 13 years old, Lindsay is facing colourism, also known as shade-ism - the discrimination based on the darkness of skin tone. Some of her friends have been driven to tears after getting picked on for their complexion. "It's there, is real and it affects people." Lindsay says. As an aspiring community leader, she wants people to rethink this preference and prejudice against women of colour.

2-22-17 Kabul's Kung Fu women
Kabul's Kung Fu women
A small group of Afghan women are breaking barriers with an ancient form of martial arts. Sima Azimi, a 20-year-old from Jaghori in central Afghanistan, is trained in Shaolin Wushu Kung Fu, one of the oldest forms of Chinese martial arts, dating back to the 5th century. The modern version was developed for sport, rather than defense, and competitors are judged on their elegant handling of the various physical movements, like stretching, bending, flipping, and some knife and sword work. Azimi learned the sport in Iran, where she lived for three years, eventually winning a gold and a bronze medal in Kung Fu competitions there. In 2016, she returned to Afghanistan and started her own club for women in Kabul called the Shaolin Wushu club. But it was a tough sell. "Some of my students' families had problems accepting their girls studying Wushu," Azimi told Reuters. "But I went to their homes and talked to their parents." Azimi now has a class of about 10 university and high school students who pay what they can afford. And what they lack in resources — they often practice outside if a dingy gym isn't available — Azimi makes up for in big goals. "My ambition is to see my students take part in international matches and win medals for their country," she said.

2-7-17 Kyra Poh: The 14-year-old girl who's the 'fastest flyer'
Kyra Poh: The 14-year-old girl who's the 'fastest flyer'
Fourteen-year-old indoor skydiver Kyra Poh was crowned the "world's fastest flyer" in one of the sport's biggest competitions, the Wind Games. She tells the BBC's Tessa Wong what it takes to soar to the top. Riding winds as fast as 230km/h (143mph), Kyra flips and whirls around the arena, a small blur of white spandex in a giant vertical wind tunnel. In the air the Singaporean teenager makes it all look effortless - a combination of dancing and floating - but in reality it is hard work. "You use all your muscles for this sport. Even those muscles you never knew existed, they will start to ache. Even your wrists will hurt," she tells the BBC from Spain. About 200 indoor skydivers competed at the Wind Games held in Catalonia in Spain at the weekend- Kyra was not only among the few females who took part, but also one of the youngest.

2-6-17 Is the Eagle Huntress really a documentary?
Is the Eagle Huntress really a documentary?
The Eagle Huntress, a documentary about a Kazakh nomad girl in Mongolia learning to hunt with a golden eagle, divides opinion. It is up for a Bafta award on Monday night but missed out on an Oscar nomination, possibly because to some viewers it feels staged. Director Otto Bell, however, denies all accusations that the film was scripted, acted or re-enacted. The story of the Eagle Huntress is simple and heartwarming. Aisholpan Nurgaiv, the rosy-cheeked 13-year-old heroine, is trained by her father to hunt on horseback with a golden eagle - traditionally a male pursuit - and shocks everyone by winning the prestigious eagle-hunters' competition held annually in the town of Ulgii, in north-western Mongolia. It has a stirring musical soundtrack, ends with an anthem "You can do anything" sung by pop superstar Sia, and is narrated by another teenage role model, Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley.

2-3-17 I'll dress like a woman when you act like a president, police officer tells Trump
I'll dress like a woman when you act like a president, police officer tells Trump
It seems President Trump has high standards when it comes to the way his staff are dressed. Looking the part is as important as acting the part when you are in the president's circle, apparently. But his reported requirement that his female staff "should dress like women" has provoked an inevitable backlash on social media. According to a former Trump campaign worker, quoted in a news report by Axios, the president wants the men who work for him to wear ties and the women to dress "appropriately". Dresses are apparently preferred, but if a female staffer wears jeans, they must "look neat and orderly", the publication reported. The internet responded in a powerful way, with many using the hashtag #DressLikeAWoman. Elizabeth Rooney, a police officer in Boston and army veteran, posted a photo of her in uniform. She told the BBC: "I'll start dressing like a woman when he starts acting like a president. I felt his remarks that women should "dress like a woman" are misogynistic and unpresidential. "Each morning when I wake up, I dress myself in pride, honour, duty and freedom."

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71 Women's Image News Articles from 2017

2016 Women's Image News Articles