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70 Women's Image News Articles
from 2018
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12-18-18 Penny Marshall: US TV star and director dies aged 75
Penny Marshall, star of US TV series Laverne & Shirley and director of hit films Big and A League of Their Own, has died at the age of 75, her publicist has said. Big's success made Marshall the first woman to direct a film that made more than $100m (£79m) at the US box office. In 2004, she was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, along with her Laverne & Shirley co-star. She's been described as a pioneer in the film-making industry. Marshall and co-star Cindy Williams starred in the 1970s Happy Days TV spin-off about two single, working women in late 1950s Milwaukee, which was a huge success. After Laverne & Shirley, Marshall went on to become a producer and director whose films included box-office successes such as Big, starring Tom Hanks, and women's baseball comedy A League of Their Own. Her first film was the 1986 Whoopi Goldberg comedy Jumpin' Jack Flash. She also directed Robert De Niro and Robin Williams in Awakenings, which was nominated for three Academy Awards including best picture. "She did commercial movies at a time when women weren't doing studio films. And so, she was a pioneer in the studio-movie world," Melissa Silverstein, founder of the advocacy group Women and Hollywood, told the BBC. "She laid the groundwork for women to make commercial movies with her success. "Her legacy is going to be Laverne & Shirley; it was a groundbreaking sitcom and was just revolutionary. And she transitioned from acting into directing and became a director - a full-time director; the sad thing is she didn't have a longer career because of her success. "I think that's a testament to how hard it was for women to get opportunities…you can count them on one hand. "I just think that all the women who have come after have built their careers and their success on the pioneers of Penny Marshall, Nora Ephron, Penelope Spheeris - those are the women who blaze the trail."

11-27-18 The women launching Kyrgyzstan's first satellite
A first-of-its-kind female-only space programme in Kyrgyzstan is trying to challenge gender norms in a country where traditional stereotypes continue to hold women back. The BBC’s 100 Women has been to see Alina Anisimova and her team, who are determined to launch the country’s first satellite by 2020.

11-25-18 Olivia Hooker: 1921 Tulsa race riot survivor dies aged 103
When Olivia Hooker was six years old, she was forced to hide under a table as a white mob destroyed the neighbourhood around her. Later, she would recount how she struggled to stay silent as the torch-carrying men took an axe to the family piano. Outside, as many as 1,000 homes and businesses - including her father's clothes store - were being reduced to rubble. The 1921 Tulsa race riot, as it would become known, would also leave as many as 300 black people dead. But the horrifying incident in Oklahoma would be far from the only distinguishing moment of Ms Hooker's remarkable life. In her 103 years, she would become the first African-American woman to join the US Coast Guard, go on to gain a PhD and eventually play a key role in getting some justice for the victims of the race riots, more than 70 years after the fact. She would be praised as a "tireless voice for justice and equality" by America's first black president, and called "a national treasure" by the head of the US Coast Guard. Ms Hooker, who died on Wednesday at home in White Plains, New York, thousands of miles and almost 100 years away from the riots in Tulsa, was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, in February 1915. By the time she was six, the family had moved to Tulsa, where her father had "a very nice store" which "didn't carry shoddy things". They lived in Greenwood, an affluent African-American area known as "Black Wall Street". But on 31 May, 1921, it would become the scene of America's worst race riot - sparked by rumours a black man had assaulted a white woman in a lift. The first Ms Hooker knew of it was when she saw men carrying burning torches entering their back garden. It was then, she told US radio network NPR, her mother hid Ms Hooker and her three siblings under a table. The mob destroyed the piano, and her dolls' clothes, but that was not what Ms Hooker was most affected by the day she would later refer to as "the terrible catastrophe in Tulsa". "To me, I guess the most shocking thing was seeing people to whom you had never done anything to irritate, who just took it upon themselves to destroy your property because they didn't want you to have those things, and they were teaching you a lesson," she told NPR. Her family did not stay in Tulsa after the riot. Instead, they moved somewhere the children could grow up safely, with Ms Hooker eventually qualifying as a teacher with a degree from Ohio State University.

11-21-18 One Girl Can
In April, a Los Angeles–based Hong Kong native set out to rollerblade across America to empower women and prove kindness exists. Lugging a 43-pound backpack with no cash, Yanise Ho, 23, relied completely on the benevolence of strangers for food and shelter during her seven months on the road. For Ho, it was a bet on humanity. “I just always believe people are kind,” she says. Last week, Ho completed her 3,850-mile journey from Miami to Portland, Ore. She raised $33,000 for One Girl Can, a nonprofit that funds girls’ education in Kenya and Uganda—and made more than 1,000 friends along the way.

11-21-18 Victoria’s Secret loses its appeal
“The push-up bra may be finally going the way of the corset,” said Tariro Mzezewa. Victoria’s Secret is still the leading U.S. lingerie brand, but it’s out of touch, its market share has plummeted, and its stock price plunged 41 percent this year. The CEO, Jan Singer, stepped down this week from a brand that’s clearly lost relevance. Victoria’s Secret has stuck with strappy stilettos, push-up bras, and thongs when women no longer want to buy souped-up sexiness just to impress men. It’s now competing with a “slew of new bra startups that offer products meant for comfort and ease.” The chief marketing officer of L Brands, Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, made headlines this month when he said the brand’s annual televised fashion show is a “fantasy” and he’d never cast plus-size or trans models. That fantasy isn’t selling anymore—the show has lost almost half its audience in five years. Women are tuning out the “overwhelming pinkness” and “glamazon” images of Victoria’s Secret in favor of brands that offer more sizes and practical use and promote more diverse visions of what it means to be beautiful. Ultimately, regardless of their branding, the company’s bras, as one former Victoria’s Secret shopper said, aren’t really comfortable, and they aren’t well made.

11-16-18 Not all feminists are Democrats
Why are white women “insufficiently woke”? That, said Alexandra DeSanctis, is what many outraged feminists and progressives were asking after the recent midterm elections. To their dismay, the votes of white women were fairly evenly split between Democrats and Republicans in most House and Senate races across the country. Even worse: In Texas, about 60 percent of white women voted for Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, while 75 percent cast ballots for Georgia’s presumed GOP governor-elect, Brian Kemp. Some feminists called women who voted for Republican candidates “gender traitors,” dismissing them as “foot soldiers of the patriarchy” whose votes had been dictated by their husbands. “If this doesn’t sound like feminism, that’s because it isn’t.” Feminism is supposed to be about women’s autonomy—the freedom for us to make our own decisions. Hard as it may be for most progressives to believe, some women are authentically conservative, for a wide range of reasons. But in its embrace of identity politics, “the hard-core left” thinks that “every woman is intrinsically wired to embrace left-wing orthodoxy.” Not so. Our chromosomes do not dictate our votes—nor do our husbands. “Women can be trusted to think for themselves.”

11-12-18 Riverdale star Lili Reinhart's 'powerful' body image speech
Riverdale star Lili Reinhart says she's struggled with her fluctuating weight and faced criticism for talking about body image. "People told me I didn't have the right to talk about being self-conscious about my body, because I was skinny." The actress was speaking at Glamour's 2018 Women of the Year Summit in New York on Sunday. Lili also criticised the entertainment industry for rewarding and praising people for being thin. "It felt unfair to think that I would never have an industry perfect body, just because I wasn't genetically built a certain way." In her speech, the 22-year-old urged young women to "celebrate each other, and ourselves, as we are". "Embracing your natural beauty does not exclude anyone. "There is no fine print. "You can be naturally beautiful with acne or scars, cellulite or curves." Lili said she'd stopped following some people on social media who made her feel bad about her own body and encouraged her fans to "be authentic" when it comes to posting images online. "Remind yourself that this perfect world you see online or in magazines, in movies and on television are presented to you through many different filters. "Do not set impossible goals of meeting those fake standards. It's unrealistic to think that your body or my body will ever look like anyone else's. "That's not the way it's supposed to be. We are all imperfectly beautiful." It's not the first time that Lili's spoken out about body image. Earlier this year, she posted a message on Instagram, saying the "ideal body" is often presented to us as looking one particular way and that she wanted to help change that. "There is not one shape that's more beautiful than another. We should be exposed to all body types in advertising and media."

11-9-18 Mental health in Nigeria: Hauwa Ojeifo's 24/7 helpline for women
'People think you can pray things away' Hauwa Ojeifo set up a mental health helpline for women in Nigeria after suffering from depression herself. People seeking support can go to the She Writes Woman walk-in centre or call its 24/7 helpline. Hauwa has been recognised by the Queen for her achievements.

10-29-18 Stacey Abrams: The Deep South woman vying to make history
A battle for the governor's mansion in the US state of Georgia features a woman vying to become the first black American female to run a state. Knots of people clustered outside Hendershots coffeehouse wait for a black SUV to arrive from Atlanta 70 miles away. The crowd untangles into a line of supporters wrapped around the exposed brick building, as evening sets upon the college town of Athens, Georgia, on an October autumn day. A blend of parents, professors and older residents, adorned in campaign buttons and clutching signs, interrupt groups of eager students standing outside the trendy live music venue. "Remember to vote!" they say. It's a scene reserved for national politicians or pop stars breezing through town, but the whirring sounds of chatter and intermittent chants are for Stacey Abrams, a 44-year-old lawyer and former state legislator, who is deadlocked in a contentious race with Georgia's secretary of state, Republican Brian Kemp. The race is emblematic of two narratives reverberating throughout the US in the wake of the election of President Donald Trump. Mr Kemp, a self-described "politically incorrect conservative", echoes the brand of Trump Republicanism that focuses on tax cuts, protecting gun rights and "rounding up criminal illegals" in his truck - as noted in one of his early political ads. The competing narrative is that of Ms Abrams, a progressive female candidate of colour who has appealed to minority voters, a group on which she has focused much of her campaign. In fact, of the nearly 945,000 Georgia residents who have already cast an early vote, about 30% are black, a markedly higher rate than the 2014 mid-term figures. Experts point out that North Carolina and South Carolina have not yet seen a similar increase among black voters, which could underscore just how energised Ms Abrams' base may be. And more Georgians are registered to vote than ever before - 6.9 million out of the state's 10.4 million residents.

10-26-18 The warship designer who shattered racial and gender barriers
In 1971, Navy engineer Raye Montague was handed a seemingly impossible task: to design a warship in one month. It typically took two years to produce a rough draft on paper, but the Vietnam War was raging and President Nixon wanted the Navy to churn out vessels at a faster clip. So Montague started up a computer program that she had designed, and 18 hours and 26 minutes later, the specifications for the frigate were complete. It was a triumph for the African-American engineer, who had battled discrimination her entire career. “I had to run circles around people” in the Navy, she said. “But when they found out I really knew what I was talking about, they came to respect me.” Born in Little Rock, Ark., Montague was told as a child by her mother that because she was black and female, the odds were stacked against her, said The New York Times. But, she said her mom added, “You can be or do anything you want, provided you’re educated.” Determined to be an engineer, Montague studied business in college, then headed to Washington and took a job with the Navy as a clerk-typist. She worked her way up, and when a male colleague wouldn’t teach her how to operate a computer, Montague taught herself. She became the Navy’s “first female program manager of ships,” said the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and its “foremost expert on computer-aided design.” Montague retired in 1990 but kept busy, working for civic organizations and mentoring young people in Little Rock. “Her message,” said her son, David, “was always the same: ‘Don’t let people put obstacles in front of you, but understand you also have to put in the work.’”

10-18-18 Guy-Blache: The untold story of first female film director
Hollywood actress Jodie Foster has narrated a documentary paying tribute to Alice Guy-Blache who is credited with being the world’s first female film director. Blache made her first movie in 1896 and was subsequently involved in the production of some 1,000 films from shorts to features.

10-14-18 Story of unsung gardener revealed after appeal on BBC
The story first came to light in a box of archives held by the Royal Horticultural Society. The mysterious Miss Harrisson had come top in exams on the principles of horticulture - but wasn't allowed to claim her prize of a scholarship at the RHS because she was a woman. Very little else was known about her, but within hours of the story going out on BBC Breakfast in September, viewers were sending emails and exchanging information on social media. Her family have now come forward with information that fills in the missing gaps in her life. The trail led to the Yorkshire town of Settle, where Olive, by then Mrs Edmundson, spent her final years. Her granddaughter Alison Tyas says her grandmother was a groundbreaker, a heroine - and, for her, a granny who you could rely on for everything. "I think my strongest memory really is as an eight, nine-year-old, being taken for walks in the country and being shown the names of all the flowers," she says. "She knew all their names." In Alison's garden, overlooked by the Yorkshire hills, apples hang from neatly cordoned trees, cabbages stand proudly in the vegetable plot and pink sedums nod their heads in the breeze. It's clear that her grandmother's green fingers have passed down the generations. Alison's memories of her grandmother are of a woman who devoted her life to caring for family. But she never forgot her knowledge of plants. "It was always there, she could always make plants grow." She says she always knew about her grandmother's success in the exam. Although Olive was denied her scholarship, she was given a medal, which she cherished all her life. Olive was able to train at a college that accepted women - Swanley Horticultural College - and went on to work as a professional gardener.

9-21-18 The British runner who set a milestone for women
When Diane Leather became the first woman to run a mile in under 5 minutes, her feat was ignored by track and field authorities. The International Amateur Athletics Federation had stopped tracking women’s distances greater than 800 meters following the 1928 Olympics, when six women had collapsed at the finish line. Anything above 200 meters, experts declared, was simply too strenuous for the female body. But female athletes continued to compete in longer distances, and at a 1954 meet in the English city of Birmingham, the 21-year-old Leather finished a mile in a record-breaking 4:59.6. “Oh good,” she said upon hearing her time. “At last.”

9-21-18 Who was the mysterious gardener Miss Harrison?
It's a tale of intrigue set at the turn of the 20th century in the seemingly genteel gardens of Victorian Britain. Keen horticulturalists sit examinations in the principles of gardening - from the names and orders of common plants, to soils, good and bad. They compete across the country for a prestigious scholarship at the Royal Horticultural Society's flagship garden. The news that a "Miss Harrison" is the winner rocks the establishment. Nobody had considered that a woman might get the top mark. "Clearly a very determined young woman, she's entered this exam, she's done well and she's claimed her rightful prize," says Fiona Davison, who looks after the libraries and archives of the RHS. "And, she single-handedly has sent the RHS into a bit of a tail spin." Women of all classes have long gardened as a hobby or to grow fruit and vegetables for the kitchen. But middle-class women in the 19th century were unable to become professional gardeners. While women such as Gertrude Jekyll were famous for creating and designing gardens, the hard labour of gardening was viewed as a man's work. Sir Joseph Hooker, head of the Royal Botanic Gardens, wrote in 1906: "Gardening, taken up as a hobby when all the laborious work can be done by a man is delightful, but as a life's work [for a woman], it is almost an impossible thing." Miss Harrison was prepared to fight for the chance of entering the male-dominated horticultural profession, and bring change in society's attitudes. Her story came to light when staff were sifting through a box of archives from 1898. They found a document marked with the initials of Reverend William Wilks, then leader of the RHS. He had written across the top: "Only males being allowed at Chiswick, it was never contemplated that a female might claim the Scholarship."

9-19-18 The secret life of a female bodyguard
Jacquie Davis, who says she was the first woman to become a bodyguard in the UK, has protected royals and celebrities, rescued hostages and carried out undercover surveillance in her 30 years in the industry. Now her own life has inspired a Netflix thriller starring Noomi Rapace. "When I came into the industry it was a very he-man attitude," says Jacquie. "They just always wanted me to look after the female principal or the children which was ironic - as most of them were fathers and I wasn't even a mother!" Having initially joined the police, Jacquie decided to move into private security in 1980 because it would give her more variety. "I wanted to do close protection, I wanted to do surveillance and wanted to do investigations," she says. Being a bodyguard is particularly high-profile at the moment thanks to Bodyguard, the BBC One drama starring Keeley Hawes as the UK's Home Secretary and Richard Madden as her personal protection officer. Writer Jed Mercurio's script is full of plot twists, guns - and a steamy relationship between the two lead characters."Technically it's been fine - it is a good drama," says Jacquie, but while such relationships do occasionally happen "you'll get sacked immediately, no question". In her career she's travelled the world staying in five- and six-star hotels, but says "after 12 to 16 hours of thinking on your feet, it's not glamorous". In addition to this, there is the toll on a bodyguard's private life. "You might not go home for eight to 10 weeks." Jacquie also specialises in the more dangerous end of the business - surveillance and rescue. Once she found herself begging on the streets of Iraq, disguised in a burka, as part of a mission to rescue oil workers. While the job is about preventing danger to the client by planning ahead to avoid potential risks, sometimes real life can be as dramatic as any film or TV script.

9-17-18 Science Fair is full of cocky girl geniuses — and it's glorious
"I would say a lot of people are jealous of me. I know that sounds arrogant, but it's true." If you didn't know any better, you might expect that line to have come from the script of a high school dramedy à la Mean Girls — not the mouth of a 15-year-old child prodigy, whose dream is to win an international science competition. But in Science Fair, a new documentary about the world's smartest students competing for Best in Fair, it's clear that girls are no longer strangers in laboratories; they're the envy of them. Years of efforts to encourage young women to pursue their interests in science have paid off in well-earned and abundant confidence. The winner of the audience choice awards at both Sundance and SXSW, Science Fair follows nine high school students and one teacher on the journey to the 2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles. Every year, some seven million science fair participants around the world are whittled down to 1,700 ISEF finalists in ninth through 12th grade, who compete for $4 million worth of prizes and scholarships, including the $75,000 that comes with Best in Fair. The students profiled in Science Fair are both male and female, but it's the girls who steal the show. Their ambition is as endearing as it is inspiring: One declares she wants not to cure cancer, but prevent it altogether. Another, from a small town where she says there is nothing to do other than drink and use drugs, wants to study the emotional responses of repeated risky behaviors on adolescent brains. (The film juxtaposes this with a boy who said his initial science fair idea had been to create a camera to take a picture of the inside of a steak while it's cooking, to see if it's done). All the while, they are balancing being scientists with being teenage girls. One is nervous about a dance with other students; another is so afraid of the science fair judges that, the year prior, she fainted when they came to her booth.

9-14-18 Make that kick
Minutes after Kaylee Foster was crowned homecoming queen, the Mississippi high school senior traded her tiara for a football helmet. For the past three years, Foster has been a placekicker for Ocean Springs High’s team. And she proved to be the squad’s MVP during the homecoming game last week, kicking two field goals and the winning extra point that led Ocean Springs to a 13-12 victory. “I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be homecoming queen,” Foster said, “but I was pretty sure I was going to make that kick.”

9-4-18 #Instaperfect: Is inequality fuelling the rise of the sexy selfie?
Just as pictures are said to be worth a thousand words - it appears there is more to the humble selfie than is on the image. The online obsession of our times has been equated with vanity and sometimes with gender oppression. But could it also be a behaviour driven by economics? Asma Elbadawi is a British-Sudanese visual artist who thinks modern capitalism drives women to portray themselves as desirable objects. She recently posted a selfie on Instagram with facial drawings resembling the markings a patient is given before plastic surgery. Over the picture, she quoted a line from her latest poem, Shades, about "a world that creates insecurities then feeds them to its people". Elbadawi, who is also a high-profile advocate for the empowerment of young Muslim girls, said she intended to use the language of billboards advertisements - an irony contrasting with the poem's anti-consumerist message. "I noticed over the years that with the rise of social media and a drop in cosmetic surgery prices, women across the world have been changing their facial features to look more European as well as getting implants to extenuate their curves and chests," she told the BBC. "I was constantly bombarded with images of 'perfect' sexy women and adverts trying to sell me slimming products and cosmetics," she says. "Seeing this made me realise that in many ways capitalism is about creating insecurities through advertising in order to make profit from consumers - as well as making women dress and look a particular way for a male audience." Elbadawi's work raises an interesting question. Decades of feminist achievements have enabled women to denounce anything that objectifies them, from anonymous catcalling to Hollywood's so-called casting-couch culture. Yet the dissemination of social media, if anything, has meant we are more than ever bombarded with sexualised images of women seemingly happy to objectify themselves online. Why?

9-2-18 The Mughal queen who became a feminist icon
Empress Nur Jahan was the most powerful woman in 17th Century India. She played an unprecedented role in running the vast Mughal empire. Historian Ruby Lal explains why the history of her leadership is important to understand today. She was named Mihr un-Nisa at birth and was later named Nur Jahan (light of the world) by her husband, the Mughal emperor, Jahangir. She was born only a few decades after Queen Elizabeth I, yet she ruled a territory far more diverse than that of her British counterpart. The Mughals ruled much of the Indian subcontinent for more than 300 years after they came to power early in the 16th century. It was one of India's biggest and most powerful dynasties. Many of its emperors and royal women, including Nur Jahan, were patrons of art, music and architecture - they built grand cities and majestic forts, mosques and tombs. And as the dynast's only woman ruler, Nur Jahan is omnipresent in the folklore of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Stories about her abound in the homes, and near monuments, in Agra in northern Indian and Lahore in northern Pakistan - two major cities in the Mughal era, especially during her reign. Older men and women, tour guides and history aficionados tell stories of how Nur and Jahangir met and fell in love; of how she saved a village tormented by a man-eating tiger - she shot it dead with a musket from her perch on top of an elephant. Though people have heard stories about her romance and, infrequently, of her bravery, little is known about her dynamic world, political acumen and powerful ambitions. She was a fascinating woman who came to rule an empire against extraordinary odds. She was a poet, an expert hunter and an innovative architect. Her design for her parents' tomb in Agra later inspired the construction of the Taj Mahal.

8-31-18 Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History
You probably know the name of only one of the women featured in Keith O’Brien’s “exhilarating and heartbreaking” new book, said James Endrst in USA Today. But in the early days of air racing—a sport that attracted huge crowds in the 1920s and ’30s—Amelia Earhart was a member of an eclectic vanguard of female pilots. O’Brien, a journalist, gives equal weight to the stories of Louise Thaden, a Kansas mother of two; brash actress Ruth Elder; high school dropout Florence Klingensmith; and New York socialite Ruth Nichols. All were eager to prove their mettle, and O’Brien tells their stories “with grace, sensitivity, and a cinematic eye for detail.” Flying then was so dangerous, “it’s hard to believe that anyone, man or woman, dared to board those early, open-cockpit planes,” said Elizabeth Winkler in The Wall Street Journal. O’Brien’s subjects also understood that any mishap would fuel claims that “petticoat pilots” didn’t belong in the air. Just before one 1929 women-only 2,000-mile race, a telegram arrived warning the participants of sabotage—and sure enough, many found evidence of tampering. Four years later, when a torn wing sent Klingensmith to her death, officials briefly banned women from racing—until a male pilot died in similar circumstances, disproving a columnist’s claim that Klingensmith was menstruating when she crashed and her “weakened condition” contributed to the accident.

8-9-18 Kheris Rogers: The 11 year old girl who beat the skin colour bullies
Eleven-year-old Kheris Rogers was bullied in school for her dark complexion, but has turned herself into a positive role model for others.

8-4-18 Women set new skydiving record in Ukraine
Fifty-seven women have taken part in a synchronised skydive in Ukraine, setting a new world record. It is the highest number of people to get into and then change formation three times during a dive - and it all happened in just 90 seconds. They beat the previous record by one.

8-1-18 Black Panther spin-off author Nnedi Okorafor's African inspiration
US-based science fiction and fantasy writer Nnedi Okorafor is in high demand. She is the award-winning author of 12 books, the brains behind a forthcoming Black Panther spin-off series, and one of her stories is soon to be adapted for television by the creator of Game of Thrones. But her rise to the top was not easy. Okorafor's family was among the first black families to move into a white neighbourhood in Chicago's suburbs during the 1980s, and her school classmates and teachers would go out of their way to make it "clear that to be black was to be less than," the 44-year-old says. It was her frequent trips to Nigeria, where her parents come from, that grounded her. "And in that way, I also experienced an entire country of people who looked like me, where racism didn't exist, where I had family," she says. Those trips developed a love for "my own people's stories, mythologies, cosmologies", which she began incorporating into her works of fiction. Okorafor has used that perspective to become one of the most innovative science fiction and fantasy writers of her generation. She crafts speculative fiction, both for young people and adults, that goes beyond the Eurocentric worldview which dominates the field - just think of Harry Potter, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Okorafor's stories have African settings, African characters, and use African myths and mythology. They explore technology, mysticism, immigration, corruption, genocide and gender inequality. She has brought a panoply of African characters to a genre which is often accused of excluding people of colour - a 2016 report found that out of 2,039 original stories of speculative fiction published in 63 magazines, 38 were written by black authors. A similar pattern can be seen in the film industry. Okorafor says she has personal experience of "whitewashing". An early cover design for her novel Shadow Speaker showed a white girl, she says, despite the book's Nigerian heroine. The publisher changed the cover after she complained.

7-31-18 The woman who pioneered female skateboarding
Cindy Whitehead caused a stir as one of the few girls on the skateboard scene in the 70s. She quickly became a top-ranked pro skateboarder for vertical riding.

7-29-18 The queen of magic
How Adelaide Herrmann became one of the most celebrated magicians in the world. She would become the Queen of Magic — one of the most celebrated magicians in the world. Born in England in 1853, Adele Scarsez pushed the boundaries of Victorian womanhood from an early age, obsessing over aerial acrobatics and dance. After a stint with the Kiralfy family's dance troupe as a teenager, she learned to ride the velocipede, a 19th-century bicycle, and traveled as a trick-rider with Professor Brown's velocipede troupe. Alexander Herrmann arrived in her life with a flourish. The mischievous Frenchman, who had an air of Mephistopheles about him, right down to his goatee and twirled mustache, charmed Adelaide from their first encounter. She was engaged to someone else when a friend invited her to his show at London's Egyptian Hall. When the magician asked the women of the crowd to lend him a ring, Adelaide raised her hand. In 1874, they met again on a ship sailing from Liverpool to New York. After two weeks of flirtation at sea, Adelaide agreed to marry him. At their wedding, presided over by New York City Mayor William H. Wickham, Alexander announced that he had no money to pay for the ceremony. As the crowd reacted, he reached into the mayor's long beard — or his pockets, according to some accounts — and produced a wad of bills. He tossed them into the air and they disappeared. From the beginning of their collaboration, Adelaide starred in many of Alexander's illusions. In the early days, she dressed in men's clothing and went by Mr. Alexander. Mainly she handed props to her husband, but one night, as he accepted a strand of six handkerchiefs that she had gathered from the crowd, he winked and said, "Mr. Alexander is now going to perform this trick." Adelaide ran from the stage in a panic. After a bit of coaxing she came back and performed the trick, blowing on the knots to make them disappear. Her take on the illusion became a fixture in their program.

7-24-18 Yuko Fujii, the judo coach overthrowing gender stereotypes
At Yuko Fujii's first judo practice, over 30 years ago in Japan, a little boy threw her head-first on the mat, and she never wanted to practise the martial art again. Today, she has made history as the first female head coach of Brazilian men's judo. In traditionally macho Brazil and in the male-dominant sports world, a female coach of the country's renowned judo programme was practically unthinkable. In professional sports, it is uncommon for women to coach women's teams, and almost unheard of for women to coach men's teams. So Yuko's appointment was an unexpected and welcome step forward for women, not just in judo but also in sports in general. Women often face discrimination in sports in Brazil. In football, by far the country's most popular sport, for example, women are traditionally discouraged from taking part and renowned players like Marta Vieira da Silva receive relatively little recognition at home. The only woman to ever coach the Brazilian women's national football team was fired after less than a year, prompting protests by players.

7-23-18 The 13-year-old who built a best-selling lemonade brand
The BBC's weekly The Boss series profiles a different business leader from around the world. This week we spoke to Mikaila Ulmer, the 13-year-old chief executive of Me & The Bees Lemonade. Mikaila Ulmer's lemonade is now stocked in more than 500 stores across the US, but unfortunately she has slipped to a "C" in her maths class. Running a successful business is very much a full-time job, but Mikaila - the founder and boss of Me & The Bees Lemonade - also has to make time for her school work. Just 13 years old, one day she will be in class, the next she could be speaking at an entrepreneurship conference. "It is not the easiest, that is for sure," she says. "Sometimes I have to miss classes to do an interview, or travel for a TV show. Or I'll miss a big show or presentation because I have a large project or test at school." Now selling 360,000 bottles of her lemonade a year, with stockists including upmarket supermarket chain Whole Foods Market, Mikaila is one of the youngest business owners in the US. Yet while she only recently became a teenager, she has actually been running her Austin, Texas based business since she was four. With the continuing help of her parents, Mikaila first started selling her lemonade in 2009. That year she set up a table in front of the family home, and began selling lemonade based on a 1940s recipe from her great-grandmother. The recipe contains honey, and around the same time Mikaila got stung by two bees in two weeks. Her mother and father advised her that rather than freaking out at the sight of every bee, she should do some research to better understand them, and the crucial role they play in pollination, and the wider ecosystem. This inspired Mikaila to give some of the money she raised from the sale of the lemonade to organisations that protect honey bees. Soon the business was supplying a local pizza shop, and it has grown since then, with 10% of profits continuing to be donated to bee conservation groups.

7-22-18 Supergirl to feature TV's first transgender superhero
Supergirl is to become the first live-action TV series to feature a transgender superhero. Activist and actor Nicole Maines, who is transgender herself, will play the role of Nia Nal, who becomes known as Dreamer. "It seems only fitting that we have a trans superhero for trans kids to look up to," she said after the announcement at Comic Con in San Diego, California. Nia Nal will be introduced in Supergirl's upcoming fourth season. The character has been described as "a soulful young transgender woman with a fierce drive to protect others". Speaking to Variety, Nicole Maines said: "I want fans to take away an understanding of trans people. We can be anybody, we can be who we want, we can be superheroes - because in many ways we are."

7-17-18 Breastfeeding model causes stir on catwalk
A model breastfeeding her baby on the catwalk has caused a stir among those gathered at a fashion show in Miami. Mara Martin held her five-month-old daughter Aria at Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit show on Sunday. "I can't believe I am waking up to headlines with me and my daughter in them for doing something I do every day," she wrote on her Instagram page. Many social media users praised the model as "inspiring", but some accused her of attention seeking. Ms Martin was one of 16 finalists chosen for this year's show in an open casting. She appeared on the catwalk in a gold bikini, breastfeeding Aria at the same time. The baby had headphones on to protect her from the noise of music and the crowd. "My story of being a mother and feeding her while walking is just that," the model wrote later. On her Instagram page, many users left messages of support. "So inspiring!!!! Love this!!!!" wrote one, while another noted: "Yeasss!!! Thank you for being brave and helping to #normalizebreastfeeding!! This makes me so happy!"

7-7-18 The mayor who wants a 'sexy' police force
The town of Broummana in Lebanon has hired a group of young women as auxiliary police officers for the summer - and dressed them all in shorts. With their male colleagues still wearing trousers, the issue has caused a stir in the press and on social media.

6-30-18 Billie razors: 'First razor ad with hairy women' wins praise online
"Body hair. Everyone has it." Simple words, but they've prompted a debate in the US and beyond this week thanks to a new razor advert that shows women actually shaving their body hair. Surely that's not so revolutionary? Except it is - because normally ads for women's razors show plastic-perfect, airbrushed legs that are already totally smooth. Razor brand Billie says it's the first to feature hairy women for 100 years and the advert has gone viral as a result. On social media, many women applauded its close-ups of hairy female toes, armpits, monobrows and stomachs. "THIS IS DAMN BEAUTIFUL" wrote Instagram user @bigparadethroughtown. "I don't like razors but that ad is dope," agreed @hanguk0. "When brands pretend that all women have hairless bodies, it's a version of body-shaming," Billie co-founder Georgina Gooley told Glamour magazine. "It's saying you should feel ashamed of having body hair." As well as its advert, the brand has launched an online campaign to normalise images of fuzzy, stubbly, natural women. It has donated positive, unflinching pictures to the stock photo site Unsplash, which people can use for free. Amid the tide of support, however, some asked why a razor company would be trying to reduce taboos around body hair. In a piece for US website Slate, writer Rachelle Hampton observed: "It's true that at this point in life, I enjoy the feeling of a smooth leg as much as anybody else. But I wouldn't have started shaving had I not been convinced by the age of 11 that there was something fundamentally wrong with having body hair." Can a company selling razors really say it's not complicit in that? Billie addresses the issue with a line of pop-up text: "If and when you feel like shaving, we're here." And interestingly, not all the women are smooth-shaven when the advert ends. (Webmaster's comment: In Europe many women did not shave their armpit hair but more do now. It's actually considered sexy by many men.)

6-28-18 Amsterdam chooses first woman mayor Halsema
The Dutch city of Amsterdam has chosen former political leader Femke Halsema to be its mayor, the first woman to be given the role in its history. While most big cities in the Netherlands have had women mayors, the capital in common with Rotterdam has never been led by a woman. An ex-leader of the left-wing Groenlinks party, Ms Halsema said she was "happy, proud and humbled" by the nomination. Amsterdam had its first mayor in 1343. The nomination of Ms Halsema, 52, by the left-led city council, has to be ratified by the government and signed by the king but that is seen as a formality. She retired from frontline politics in 2011 and succeeds Eberhard van der Laan, who died last year. Her nomination came several months after a group of 45 prominent Amsterdam women protested in an open letter backing calls for a woman to take up the job. "For a capital city that considers itself emancipated, diverse, tolerant, gender-neutral and progressive, this is becoming embarrassing," they wrote. There had long been talk of choosing a woman, they complained, but when the time came it had been absurdly claimed there was no suitable woman for the job. Femke Halsema's nomination has not been universally welcomed. Critics said she had no suitable administrative experience and 7,400 people have signed a petition against her. Complaining about her green policies, they asked: "Do you want a mayor who stands up for your city, rather than the whole planet?" On Wednesday, MPs representing three-quarters of the Dutch parliament proposed new legislation aimed at cutting emissions of greenhouse gases by 49% by 2030 and 95% by 2050.

6-25-18 Meet the 'forgotten' Victorian astronomer Annie Maunder
As a female scientist in Victorian times, Annie Maunder struggled to gain recognition for her pioneering astronomical work. But 71 years after her death, a new telescope has been named after her.

6-15-18 For women, life is a beauty pageant
Miss America may have given up its swimsuit competition, said Bari Weiss, but American women are still “living inside a beauty pageant.” The only reason the pageant—or rather, the “competition,” as it’s now called—did away with young women strutting the stage in bikinis “is that it’s simply too explicit for our euphemistic era.” Today, enlightened men pretend not to judge women on their appearance, and women tell each other we don’t care how we look. But our culture still relentlessly objectifies women. Women seek to be “super fit” with hours of Pilates, yoga, and Soul Cycle, avoid carbs, and live on salads and smoothies. To impress men and other women, “we wear stilts to hike around concrete jungles and lie about how they are anything other than medieval torture devices.” We get body hair waxed off, and spend hundreds on beauty routines and makeup and hair. Say this about Miss America’s now-defunct swimsuit competition, with young women parading around “in stilettos and tiny squares of nylon held up by string”: At least it was honest. The contestants were being “watched and scrutinized and judged,” just as women are in the real world every day.

6-15-18 Being a feminist may subconsciously protect you from stereotypes
Negative stereotypes can detrimentally change your behaviour. But a study suggests that feminists may be protected from the idea that women are worse at maths. Women who identify as feminists seem to be more resistant to the effects of negative stereotypes – even if they don’t consciously notice them. Plenty of research has shown how negative stereotypes can be harmful to individuals. For example, telling girls that boys are typically better than maths seems to make them score worse on maths tests. There’s evidence that other stereotypes similarly affect the success of people who identify as ethnic minorities, too. Efforts to improve diversity in the workplace have been growing, says Jolien van Breen at Exeter University, UK, but that doesn’t mean harmful stereotypes have disappeared – expressions of prejudice may have just become more subtle. This may be more insidious because it is more difficult to confront, so van Breen and her colleagues have investigating how harmful this may be to women. The team recruited female volunteers to participate in a number of experiments, some of whom strongly identified as feminists. The team also asked each participant how much they feel they identify with the typical concept of what it means to be a woman. Each volunteer then underwent a maths test and an anagram test – both of which featured increasingly difficult questions, ending with an unsolvable problem.

6-14-18 London Breed becomes San Francisco's first black female mayor
San Francisco is to have its first-ever female black mayor - at a time when African-Americans are becoming increasingly scarce in the US city. London Breed, a long-time community activist who grew up in public housing, was declared the winner after her rival admitted defeat a week after city voters cast their ballots. Winning with just over 50% of votes, the 43-year-old said she felt humbled. Ms Breed is the only female mayor to serve in the top 15 largest US cities. San Francisco is grappling with rampant homelessness, rubbish-littered streets that have been likened to developing-world slums, and a property-price boom that is driving working families out of the city. She was formerly president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the city government's legislative body. Ms Breed briefly served as acting mayor following the death of Mayor Ed Lee in December, before running for the post. The election was on 5 June, but a result has been delayed because the outcome was so tight that city election officials had to count thousands of provisional ballots. Rival candidate Mark Leno, who would have been the city's first gay mayor, conceded the knife-edge race on Wednesday. Ms Breed is not the first female mayor of San Francisco - that was Dianne Feinstein in 1978; she is now a California senator. She joins a small club of about 19 other black female US mayors.

6-12-18 In her short life, mathematician Emmy Noether changed the face of physics
Noether linked two important concepts in physics: conservation laws and symmetries. On a warm summer evening, a visitor to 1920s Göttingen, Germany, might have heard the hubbub of a party from an apartment on Friedländer Way. A glimpse through the window would reveal a gathering of scholars. The wine would be flowing and the air buzzing with conversations centered on mathematical problems of the day. The eavesdropper might eventually pick up a woman’s laugh cutting through the din: the hostess, Emmy Noether, a creative genius of mathematics. At a time when women were considered intellectually inferior to men, Noether (pronounced NUR-ter) won the admiration of her male colleagues. She resolved a nagging puzzle in Albert Einstein’s newfound theory of gravity, the general theory of relativity. And in the process, she proved a revolutionary mathematical theorem that changed the way physicists study the universe. It’s been a century since the July 23, 1918, unveiling of Noether’s famous theorem. Yet its importance persists today. “That theorem has been a guiding star to 20th and 21st century physics,” says theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek of MIT. Noether was a leading mathematician of her day. In addition to her theorem, now simply called “Noether’s theorem,” she kick-started an entire discipline of mathematics called abstract algebra.

6-8-18 US election 2018: The women lining up to topple Trump
The US consistently ranks in the bottom half of democracies when it comes to female representation in government – can 2018 change that?

6-5-18 Miss America waves bye bye to bikinis
The Miss America beauty pageant is scrapping its swimwear segment and will no longer judge competitors on physical appearance. The evening gown section is also being axed, with contestants asked to wear something that makes them feel good and expresses their personal style instead. Former winner Gretchen Carson broke the news on ABC's Good Morning America. "We will no longer judge our candidates on their outwards, physical appearance. That's huge," she said. "We are no longer a pageant," said Carlson, the first former Miss America to be named chair of the board of trustees of the Miss America organisation. "We are a competition." Instead of the swimming costume segment, there will be interviews with the contenders, who will be asked about their passion, intelligence and understanding of the Miss America role. Carson explained: "We've heard from a lot of young women who say, 'we'd love to be a part of your programme but we don't want to be out there in high heels and a swimsuit'. So guess what, you don't have to do that anymore. "Who doesn't want to be empowered, learn leadership skills and pay for college and be able to show the world who you are as a person, from the inside of your soul?" She added: "That's what we're judging them on now." Miss America's former executive director Sam Haskell, president Josh Randle, and other board members resigned over a scandal last year over vulgar emails disparaging contestants. In the emails, published by the Huffington Post, pageant officials made degrading remarks about past winners' appearance, intellect, and sex lives. Following the revelations, Carlson became part of an all-female leadership team at Miss America.

5-25-18 Barbados elects Mia Mottley as first woman PM
The Caribbean island of Barbados has elected its first woman prime minister since gaining independence from Britain in 1966. Mia Mottley led her Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to a crushing victory over the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). Ms Mottley, a 52-year-old lawyer, is reported to have once told a teacher at her secondary school that she would become the country's first female PM. The BLP won all 30 seats up for grabs in the House of Assembly. The DLP has governed the popular tourist paradise for the past 10 years, most recently under Prime Minister Freundel Stuart. Ms Mottley faced a barrage of personal and political attacks from the DLP during the election campaign, but also picked up an apparent endorsement from Barbadian pop star Rihanna. Speaking shortly after it became apparent that the BLP would form the next government, Ms Mottley said: "I want to thank you the people in particular. This victory is not mine, this victory is not the Labour Party's." Ms Mottley's new administration - like its predecessor, a broadly centre-left government - faces a host of problems in a country once seen as a byword for good governance in the Caribbean.

5-25-18 Monaco Grand Prix: Campaigner wants end to 'sexual objectification' of women in sport
It is wrong to objectify women in sport says boxer and anti-sexism campaigner Stacey Copeland, after world champion Lewis Hamilton welcomed the return of "beautiful" women to the F1 grid. Models for watchmaker Tag Heuer will feature before Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix - though not in 'grid girl' roles. Copeland told BBC Sport: "It doesn't add anything and enough is enough. "It's not about ugly versus beautiful, it's saying the sexual objectification of women in sport is not OK." Formula 1's owner Liberty Media stopped the use of 'grid girls' in January, saying their use was "at odds with modern day societal norms". Traditionally, grid girls would hold driver placards on the grid but the Monaco models - who will include men - will only be there as representatives of Tag Heuer, taking pictures of the drivers to be posted on social media. Both world champion Hamilton and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel supported the decision to have female models on the grid.

5-17-18 Featuring Women
Nearly 60 percent of the nation’s top colleges are featuring women as their spring commencement speakers—up from just 25 percent of the speakers at those schools over the previous 19 years. Speakers bureau officials credit a wave of female empowerment triggered by the #MeToo movement.

5-10-18 Meet the only female broker on New York's stock exchange
The New York Stock Exchange trading floor is one of the most familiar symbols of American business. But in 2018, the arena that prides itself on predicting the future is stuck in the past in one respect - it's almost entirely staffed by men. Enter Lauren Simmons, the only full-time female broker on the New York Stock Exchange floor, as well as the only African-American woman, and at 23, the youngest. She told the BBC's Joe Miller what it's like to work in the male-dominated maelstrom.

5-3-18 Portman shuns award
Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman shocked Israel last week by declining to attend a major award ceremony meant to honor her in Jerusalem, with a representative for the Israeli-born star citing her distress over “recent events” in the country. Many interpreted her decision not to accept the 2018 Genesis Prize—which recognizes Jewish people who have attained excellence in their field—as stemming from the killings of at least 37 Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border. Some Israelis called for a boycott of Portman’s films, and the country’s minister of public security, Gilad Erdan, said the actress had been influenced by a “campaign of media misinformation regarding Gaza.” In a statement, Portman clarified that she was objecting to the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the ceremony, saying she felt compelled to “stand up against violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power.”

4-26-18 For fun, she climbs Mount Everest
In her day job, Lhakpa Sherpa washes dishes at a Connecticut Whole Foods. For fun, she climbs Mount Everest. The 44-year-old single mom holds the world record for summits of Everest by a woman and plans to return to her native Nepal this month for her ninth trek up the mountain. Sherpa has no time to train between work and raising her two daughters. Still, she’s used to overcoming adversity: Growing up, Nepali girls were discouraged from climbing, but she couldn’t be deterred from her love of the sport. “I climb for all women,” she says.

4-24-18 Zendaya: ‘I'm Hollywood’s acceptable version of a black girl’
Zendaya Coleman has called out Hollywood's beauty standards. The 21-year-old actress says she's the industry's "acceptable version of a black girl". Speaking at the Beautycon Festival she said colourism within the beauty and entertainment industries needs to end. "As a light-skinned black woman it's important that I'm using my privilege, my platform, to show you how much beauty there is in the African-American community," she said. Her comments were made during a discussion about representation with Uber's chief brand officer, Bozoma Saint John. It's not the first time Zendaya has spoken about a lack of diversity on-screen. The former Disney star told Cosmopolitan in 2016 it was important for her to understand her "privilege" as a light-skinned black woman. "Unfortunately, I have a bit of a privilege compared to my darker sisters and brothers," she said. "Can I honestly say that I've had to face the same racism and struggles as a woman with darker skin? No, I cannot." She also addressed the issue of beauty standards in 2015 after Modeliste Magazine altered an image of her. "Had a new shoot come out today and was shocked when I found my 19-year-old hips and torso quite manipulated," she wrote on Instagram. Colourism - discrimination against people who have darker skin, usually by people of the same ethnic group - has been in the news recently after a backlash to old tweets by BBC Radio 1 presenter Maya Jama. The tweets, which have now been deleted, saw Maya mocking dark-skinned women. The 23-year-old was forced to apologise twice after anger that her first apology was directed towards "all women" rather than dark-skinned black women.

4-20-18 Frida Kahlo Barbie doll banned from shop shelves in Mexico
A court has barred sales in Mexico of a controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll, ruling that members of her family own the sole rights to her image. The toy company Mattel launched a range of new Barbie dolls based on "inspiring women" - artist Frida Kahlo among them. But some of Kahlo's relatives said the manufacturer had used the painter's image without permission. Her great-niece, Mara Romeo, told AFP news agency that the doll's complexion was too light. "I would have liked the doll to have traits more like Frida's, not this doll with light-coloured eyes," she said. After the decision was made, Mrs Romeo told AFP she was "thrilled" and thought justice was "finally being done". "It should have been a much more Mexican doll," she said, "with darker skin, a unibrow, not so thin because Frida was not that thin... dressed in more Mexican clothing, with Mexican jewellery." Kahlo, widely regarded as one of the greatest painters of the 20th Century, was famed for her intimate self-portraits reflecting pain and isolation. The court's ruling only applies in Mexico and may be appealed, although lawyers for Mattel have not yet commented. The family told AFP they hope to launch similar action in the US. Frida Kahlo, who lived from 1907 to 1954, was a member of Mexico's Communist Party in her youth and proudly promoted indigenous Mexican culture through her art. She also challenged the gender norms of her time by wearing trousers and having relationships with other women as well as with men. Her work also chronicled her painful relationship with her body, disabled through childhood polio and severe injuries following a bus accident.

4-18-18 100 Women: 'Record number' of Nepalese women climbing Everest this season
A record number of Nepalese women are climbing Mount Everest this spring season, officials have told the BBC. Fifteen Nepalese women are planning to climb from the Nepali side, with just five male Nepali climbers so far. The last time a large number of Nepalese women climbed Everest was in 2008, when all 10 reached the summit. Many of this year's female climbers want to use the opportunity to bring attention to gender and environmental issues. "The female climbers in our team have two different messages - to stop female trafficking, and to remind the world that the Buddha was born in Nepal," Sharmila Lama told the BBC from the Everest base camp. Trafficking has become a serious issue in Nepal. Rural girls are lured by traffickers, who promise them employment in other countries. Instead, they are sold abroad into the sex trade. Some of the areas hit by the 2015 earthquake are particularly rife with trafficking, reports suggest. "We are also trying to amplify that Nepal is the birthplace of Buddha," says Ms Lama. "Time and again, some people seem to misinform the world by saying that he was born in India." She says the team a facing a huge challenge. "It is difficult for us to work in this altitude because we are not from here [the Himalayan region]. "I have a headache now but it has been just few days and I'm sure we will acclimatise soon and be able to start climbing."

4-17-18 Sarah Sellers: The nurse who was runner-up in Boston marathon
A two-time Olympian, Desiree Linden, became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since 1985 on Monday - but it's the runner-up who is making headlines. Sarah Sellers ran the 26.2 mile (42km) course in a time of two hours 44 minutes four seconds, finishing just minutes behind Linden. Monday's race was only the second marathon that the 26-year-old nurse has run. The first, in Utah, she won to qualify for the prestigious Boston event. She was a keen track and field competitor in college, but is an unknown to the professional running world. Previous injuries meant she stopped competing. The nurse only signed up for Monday's event because her younger brother was participating. After paying the $185 (£130) entrance fee, she now leaves the east coast with $75,000 (£52,000) in prize money. Sellers ran the race without sponsors or an agent, and she has a day job. As the marathon got closer, she has typically been waking up at 04:00 to squeeze in training before long anaesthesiology shifts starting at 06:30 at Banner Health Centre in Arizona. "Looking at the field of athletes assembled yesterday, I would have been ecstatic to finish in the top 15," she told the BBC. "People knew I ran - but it took me by complete surprise so it's taken them by surprise too," she said. "The husband and my parents are here - it was really cool for them to be a part of it."

4-14-18 The consequences of compliments
Educators continue to be perplexed by the ongoing gender gap in mathematics. Young women tend to perform less well than men on high-level math tests, which discourages them from pursuing further study in the science or technology fields. This has been explained in part by deep-grained sexist attitudes, including parents' tendency to teach numerical concepts to their sons rather than their daughters. But new research from Israel points to a more immediate trigger that can impede the progress of frustrated females. It finds women did less well on a math test if they had just been exposed to appreciative remarks regarding their looks. "Appearance compliments have immediate detrimental effects on individual women's performances," concludes a research team led by psychologist Rotem Kahalon of Tel Aviv University. While such remarks are "seemingly trivial and possibly well-intentioned," the researchers write, they "subtly reinforce women's traditional role as sex objects," triggering the competence-sapping stereotype effect. In the Psychology of Women Quarterly, Kahalon and her colleagues describe two studies that demonstrate this effect. The first featured 88 female university students, one-third of whom "were asked to recall and write about a situation in which a man complimented them on their looks." Another third wrote about a time "when they had received a compliment about their competence, skills or intelligence" from a man. (Both directives specified that the man in question was not an intimate partner.) The final third did not write an essay. Afterwards, all took a short math test, "similar to the math section of the Graduate Record Examination." They were given 15 minutes to answer 19 multiple-choice questions; the researchers call the exam's difficulty level "relatively high."

4-5-18 Fastest woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
Eight months ago, Kiko Matthews was in the hospital recovering from brain surgery. Now the 36-year-old Briton has become the fastest woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Matthews nearly died from a tumor caused by Cushing’s disease in 2009 and survived a second tumor on her brain last year. Wanting to give back to the London hospital that saved her life, the former teacher set off on a 3,000-nautical-mile fundraising trek from Gran Canaria to Barbados. Matthews completed the voyage in a record 50 days and raised more than $120,000. “Anyone can attempt anything given the right attitude, belief, and support,” says Matthews.

4-5-18 Fastest woman to complete a marathon while pushing a triple stroller.
Not even triplets can slow down Ann Marie Cody. The California mom of three just broke her second Guinness World Record, becoming the fastest woman to complete a marathon while pushing a triple stroller. Cody and her 15-month-olds, who together with the stroller added 120 pounds to the strenuous feat, already hold the half-marathon record. For both races, Cody raised funds for the neonatal unit where her three preemies received care. “It’s fun to break records,” she says, “but more important to help support the hospital that took such good care of us.”

4-1-18 RAF looks to space for the future
The Royal Air Force is celebrating its centenary. Since its creation at the end of World War One, it has continued to push the boundaries of aviation and now it is looking to space for the future. Three women serving with the RAF explain.

3-20-18 Kids are starting to picture scientists as women
But gender stereotypes begin to take hold in preteen years. Ask a classroom of children to draw a scientist, and you’ll see plenty of Crayola-colored lab coats, goggles and bubbling beakers. That image hasn’t changed much since the 1960s. But the person wearing the lab coat is shifting. A new analysis finds that more female scientists have appeared in kids’ drawings in recent decades — going from nearly nonexistent in the 1960s to about a third in 2016. “A lot has changed since the 1960s,” says David Miller, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at Northwestern University who reports the findings with colleagues March 20 in Child Development. The first of many “draw-a-scientist” studies asked nearly 5,000 children to draw a scientist between 1966 and 1977. “Of those 5,000 drawings,” Miller says, “only 28 … depicted a female scientist.” That’s just 0.6 percent. Today, “more women are becoming scientists, and there’s some evidence that female scientists are being represented more in the media,” he says. For instance, in a content analysis of the magazine Highlights for Children, 13 percent of people pictured in science feature stories of the 1960s were women or girls, compared with 44 percent in the 2000s.

3-20-18 But gender stereotypes begin to take hold in preteen years.
But gender stereotypes begin to take hold in preteen years. Ask a classroom of children to draw a scientist, and you’ll see plenty of Crayola-colored lab coats, goggles and bubbling beakers. That image hasn’t changed much since the 1960s. But the person wearing the lab coat is shifting. A new analysis finds that more female scientists have appeared in kids’ drawings in recent decades — going from nearly nonexistent in the 1960s to about a third in 2016. “A lot has changed since the 1960s,” says David Miller, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at Northwestern University who reports the findings with colleagues March 20 in Child Development. The first of many “draw-a-scientist” studies asked nearly 5,000 children to draw a scientist between 1966 and 1977. “Of those 5,000 drawings,” Miller says, “only 28 … depicted a female scientist.” That’s just 0.6 percent. Today, “more women are becoming scientists, and there’s some evidence that female scientists are being represented more in the media,” he says. For instance, in a content analysis of the magazine Highlights for Children, 13 percent of people pictured in science feature stories of the 1960s were women or girls, compared with 44 percent in the 2000s.

3-20-18 Children drawing more women in science
Children in the US are drawing more women scientists than in previous decades, according to a new study. The "Draw A Scientist" test has been administered by sociologists in various studies since the 1960s. Researchers at Northwestern University, US, analysed five decades of the test. When asked to draw a scientist, less than one per cent of children in the 1960s and 1970s drew a woman. This rose to 28% between the 1980s and present day. However, children are still far more likely to draw a traditionally male figure when asked to depict a scientist. "The effect ... increased over age as children became more connected to their world and became more aware of the male dominance of science," Prof Alice Eagly, a co-author on the study, told BBC News. "The fact that children are still drawing more male than female scientists reflects their environment," said David Miller, the study's lead author. "Given the underrepresentation of women we observe in several science fields, we shouldn't except equal numbers. Encouragingly though, we can see that children's stereotypes change over time." Despite women's representation in science improving significantly since the 1960s, girls draw on average 58% of scientists as men, with boys drawing 96%. Yet, the study highlights, by 2013 women were 49% of biological scientists, 35% of chemists, and 11% of physicists and astronomers in the United States.

3-19-18 The all-girl Muslim metal band smashing through Indonesia
They're uprooting gender and religious stereotypes along the way. Thrashing guitar riffs, throbbing bass licks, and banging drum cymbals resound as the lead singer howls into the mic. The crowd forms a mosh pit, screaming fans go wild, and the band members, visibly energized, smile and bang their heads as they tear through another performance. Though this may seem like a typical rock concert, Voice of Baceprot is anything but prosaic. Smashing their way through Indonesia's music scene, this teenage, all-girl, hijab-wearing heavy metal trio is uprooting gender and religious stereotypes. Hailing from Garut, a conservative village in West Java, VoB's three members — singer and guitarist Firdda Kurnia, 17, bassist Nidi Rahmawati, 16, and drummer Euis Siti Aisyah, 17 — had never even heard of metal music nor played any instruments before 2014, the year they formed the band. Their parents are rural farmers; during the day, the girls studied at an Islamic school. That year, while perusing their music teacher's laptop, they serendipitously stumbled upon a trove of metal music. There was an instant connection. "We fell in love when we first heard metal music," Kurnia said in an interview. "For us, metal is media to show our critical voices. Metal music matches with the determination in our souls." Fixated on mastering this newfound passion, the girls began practicing every day after school for hours with guidance from their music teacher. Soon they were performing locally, playing complex riffs and rhythms on par with people with years of experience.

3-18-18 Breaking the mould in a male-dominated workplace
Women make up less than a quarter of the UK workforce in industries involving science, technology, engineering and medicine. BBC News spoke to three people with bright ideas for breaking stereotypes.

  1. The industry leader: As a young girl Avideh Nazeri wanted to be an air hostess to fulfil her dream of seeing the world. However, an inspirational teacher encouraged her to use her love of science to study for a career in medicine.
  2. The professor of engineering: One university that is making inroads into encouraging more women to study engineering is the University of Southern California (USC) in the US.
  3. The engineering apprentice: Helen Brindley is starting out on an engineering career as a second-year apprentice at Siemens, which has set a target for 20% female apprentices by 2020. (Currently, only 8% of engineering apprentices in the UK are female.)

3-11-18 Finland's Down's model Maija Mattila makes strides on catwalk
When a mixed-race girl with Down's syndrome sat down to watch Finland's Next Top Model, it might have seemed a distant world. But for Maija Mattila, it started the dream that changed her life. Maija watched in awe as the tall, dark, aspiring model walked in front of judges of the reality TV show and posed for the camera. This was Polina Hiekkala, and she was doing everything Maija wanted to do. Maija's hazel brown eyes light up when she talks about modelling. The young Finnish-Nigerian woman explains how she has watched countless hours of catwalk videos on YouTube since being inspired by Hiekkala in 2012. "I started practising my walk at home, in front of the mirror," she says. Maija, who was born with Down's syndrome and is now 20, leans gently against her mother and laughs shyly when recalling her early steps towards a modelling career. Her mother, Anna-Erika Mattila, admits it was difficult to support her daughter's dream in the beginning. "I wanted her to have more realistic ambitions," she says. At school, Maija was bullied because of the colour of her skin. Maija's father is from Nigeria. Her mum is Finnish. "And then there's Down's syndrome on top of that," says her mother. Despite significant hurdles, Maija has pursued her dream. All the way, she has had support from friends and family. For her 18th birthday, a family friend gave Maija a gift voucher for a professional photo shoot. It became another life-changing moment. The shoot was held at the Finnish Broadcasting Company, where the team behind a youth-focused news programme caught wind of it. They liked her story, so they filmed her photo shoot and put together a package for their online show. It went viral.

3-9-18 The Forbidden: A modern opera breaking cultural taboos
A new opera created by Toronto-based artists who around the world challenges cultural rules and crosses musical boundaries. "Forbidden" is a modern opera mixed with Persian music and hip-hop.

3-1-18 Go Girl Go!
At latest count, 431 women are running for or are likely to run for the House of Representatives in this year’s midterm elections—339 Democrats and 92 Republicans. At this point in 2016, there were fewer than half that number: 212. Likewise, 50 women are running for or are likely to run for the Senate, compared with 25 at this point in 2016.

2-26-18 Ng On-yee: Snooker's new world number one
At first glance, with her youthful features and thick glasses, Ng On-yee could be mistaken for a schoolgirl, rather than a world number one sportswoman. But Ng has just become the first Asian woman to top the World Ladies Billiards and Snooker (WLBS) rankings. The 27-year-old replaced long-time number one Reanne Evans of England last week as she reached the quarter-finals of the British Open in Stourbridge. Three other female snooker players from Hong Kong are also among the world's top 15. "Snooker has always been a male sport in Hong Kong," Ng On-yee said of one of the territory's most successful sports. "I think I have proved that women can play snooker very well, too - even with big glasses," she said with a big smile. Snooker has become a well-known sport in the city of seven million, especially after the success of Marco Fu Ka-chun, who currently ranks number nine in the world. In recent years, Hong Kong has shown itself to be a nurturing ground for ground-breaking female athletes. Two years ago, fellow Hong Konger Chan Yuen-ting became the world's first female coach leading a men's professional football team to a top-tier league title.

2-14-18 'Guns and survivalists, but no school until I was 17'
There can't be many people with a doctorate from the University of Cambridge who never got a single school-age qualification. But Tara Westover's story is more like something from another era, than a tale of modern America. Tara grew up in rural Idaho, in a family of survivalists who saw schools as part of a government brainwashing exercise to be avoided at all costs. Her obsessively independent father stockpiled guns and supplies, ready for the end of civilisation and to guard against any attempt by the state to intervene in their lives. Even when they were hurt in serious car accidents, the family avoided hospitals, seeing doctors as agents of a malign state. This was also a deeply controlling way of life, with the family's fundamentalist interpretation of Mormonism setting rules on what Tara could wear, her hobbies and her contacts with the outside world. It was a tough, violent, self-reliant life, like a paranoid Little House on the Prairie. Tara remembers her father, fearful of raids by federal agents, buying weapons powerful enough to bring down a helicopter. It meant that she had a childhood of riding horses in the mountain and working in a scrapyard, but not any school. She says that claims for home schooling were really a cover for "no schooling". At the time it didn't seem strange that they didn't go to school like other local children, she says. "I thought they were wrong and we were right. I thought they were spiritually and morally inferior because they went, I really did," Tara says, speaking in Cambridge where she now lives. "I thought they were being brainwashed and I wasn't." (Webmaster's comment: The survivalists creed is keep them ignorant, barefoot and pregnant as soon as possible and starting early is OK too.)

2-14-18 Ex-gymnast and Nassar survivor poses naked with the word 'survivor'
Ex-USA gymnast Alexandra Raisman has posed naked with the words "women do not have to be modest to be respected" written on her. Other words she chose to put on her body were "fierce", "trust yourself" and "survivor". Aly was one of more than 100 victims who were sexually abused by USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. She said it was important to talk about what she went through as hard times were "equally important in shaping us". Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison last month following evidence from nearly 160 of his victims. Aly, who testified at his sentencing, posted the photo on Twitter and Instagram along with a message to fans. "Women do not have to be modest to be respected-- Live for you! Everyone should feel comfortable expressing themselves however makes them happy. Women can be intelligent, fierce, sexy, powerful, strong, advocate for change while wearing what makes them feel best. The time where women are taught to be ashamed of their bodies is OVER. The female body is beautiful and we should all be proud of who we are, inside and out." (Webmaster's comment: You Go Woman!)

2-10-18 How role models can change students' lives
Seeing female role models in the classroom can help female students achieve. Representation matters. But just how important is it? Recent research suggests that representation is significant enough to influence what classes, and potentially what major, a female college student will pursue. A recent study co-authored by Catherine Porter of Heriot-Watt University and Danila Serra of Southern Methodist University found that female university students were more likely to enroll in an upper-level division microeconomics class if they had first encountered successful women role models in the economics field. To test the impact that female role models would have on students, Porter and Serra randomly selected four lower-level SMU economics classes to receive a 15-minute visit by two "charismatic" and successful women in the economics field. In all, 339 students — 38 percent of whom were women — were in this "treatment" class; six other classes, a total of 346 other students, were in the control class. Porter and Serra found that women in the classes who had been visited by career women were 12 percent more likely to take the next-level economics class, and were 6.7 percent more likely to report intention to major in economics. The effect of strong female role models was even stronger among high-performing female students who had a grade point average of 3.7 or higher. For them, researchers saw a 26 percentage point increase in enrollment in the next-level economics class. Having career women speak in front of the class had no effect on male students. This suggests a lot of things: Perhaps it may mean that male students already enjoy enough role models in economics, or that male students don't see women as role models.

1-30-18 Migrants' heroine faces jail for people smuggling
A Spanish woman has been credited with saving the lives of thousands of migrants crossing the Strait of Gibraltar to get to Europe. So why is she now facing a lengthy prison sentence? When Helena Maleno gets the call, she does not think twice. As soon as she has been told that a boat has set forth into the treacherous waters of the Strait of Gibraltar, she alerts the emergency services. Based in Tangier for the past 16 years, Ms Maleno, who heads a non-governmental organisation called Walking Borders, monitors the movement of migrants and helps to call rescuers if they get into danger as they cross from Morocco to Spain. Her actions have made her a heroine to thousands of African immigrants trying travel to Europe. "I am not exaggerating when I say that she is probably the person who has saved most lives in the Strait - at least 10,000," says Captain Miguel Zea, chief of the Maritime Rescue centre in the Spanish coastal city of Almería. "She is providential for our work." But Ms Maleno's activity on what she refers to as Europe's "southern border" has also earned her enemies. She now faces prosecution in Morocco for human smuggling, accused of working with criminal gangs to facilitate the illegal movement of people. Speaking to the BBC ahead of a court appearance in Tangier on Wednesday, she denied this and insisted she had not committed any crime. "We cannot create a precedent whereby those who protect people have police investigations mounted against them. "We cannot open the door to the idea that people who call to save people from drowning at sea should be imprisoned. The crime would be to not make that phone call." (Webmaster's comment: All of us who work to help all kinds of victims face this hatred. Those that hate us support the people that deliberately harm others for profit.)

1-29-18 Maye Musk: 'I am just getting started' as a model, aged 69
Youth is not everything - at least not 69-year-old model Maye Musk. But, as Alina Isachenka reports, is her success more than just a trend? The recent "Spring 2018" shows in New York, Paris, Milan and London saw a record number of models in their 50s and 60s on the catwalk - 27, according to the industry's forum, Fashion Spot. Does this mean that the fashion industry is finally breaking with beauty stereotypes and becoming more age-diverse? "I've never worked as much over the past 50 years as I did in 2017," says 69-year-old model Maye Musk, mother of billionaire entrepreneur and Tesla founder Elon Musk. Canadian-born Musk started modelling in South Africa at the age of 15, but it's only in recent years that her career has picked up. Musk signed a contract with IMG Models, who also represent supermodels including Gisele Bündchen and Gigi Hadid. She also appeared on the covers of New York Magazine, Elle Canada and VOGUE Korea. And she starred as the oldest brand ambassador for American cosmetic company CoverGirl. A fashionable grandmother of 10, Musk believes that allowing her hair to naturally whiten has helped her career. But being a successful model comes with certain challenges. "I have to plan all my meals and snacks every day, or the wheels come off and I gain weight," says Musk, a nutritionist with two masters degrees. "It then takes two weeks of being really strict to lose it. I'm a UK size 8, so not skinny."

1-19-18 The nurse who broke the military’s brass ceiling
When Anna Mae Hays was named the U.S. military’s first female general in 1970, the former front-line nurse wasn’t initially treated with the respect that her rank deserved. At her promotion ceremony, Army Chief of Staff Gen. William Westmoreland gave the then-chief of the Army Nurse Corps her new silver star insignia—along with what Time magazine described as a “brassy kiss” on her lips. Westmoreland joked it was “a new protocol for congratulating lady generals.” But such patronizing behavior couldn’t detract from her groundbreaking achievement. The day after the ceremony, Westmoreland’s wife told Hays it was a shame she hadn’t remarried after her husband’s death in 1962. “I just want some man,” she said, “to know what it’s like to be married to a general.”

1-18-18 Why science needs more diversity
America's science community can breathe a sigh of relief: The provisions to tax graduate student tuition and eliminate the student loan interest deduction have been removed from the final version of the GOP tax bill. These provisions would have made it more expensive to attend graduate school, and would have discouraged students from low- and even middle-income families from considering a career in science. Losing these students would ultimately harm all of us because, as Science editor-in-chief Jeremy Berg wrote, it "would likely decrease [United States] economic viability and competitiveness as talent is lost from the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) enterprise." Yet even without an assist from the tax bill, America is losing too much talent from its science and technology enterprise because we fail to bring in enough students from minority backgrounds. Walk into any university science lab today, and it may seem like a diverse place — our graduate programs attract students from all over the world, and the U.S. has gained greatly from the talent of immigrant scientists. But in these labs, you'll rarely see students and faculty from American minority populations. This suggests that we're neglecting a large fraction of the talent pool among U.S. citizens, and thereby undermining our country's economic future. In 2011, a U.S. National Academy of Sciences report described America's minority populations as "a vastly underused resource and a lost opportunity for meeting our nation's technology needs." The report presented several critical reasons for concern.

1-15-18 Sora Aoi: Japan's porn star who taught a Chinese generation about sex
When Japanese actress and former porn star Sora Aoi announced her marriage online, it set off a frenzy on Chinese social media. That's because she has played a surprisingly significant role in the lives of a generation of young Chinese internet users. On New Year's day, Ms Aoi posted a picture of her engagement ring on social media and announced the happy news to her fans around the world. Within 48 hours, the post got more than 170,000 comments and 830,000 likes on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter. "We grew up with your movies and will support you as always," said one fan. Another Weibo user said: "You will always be my goddess… I wish you happiness." Ms Aoi started her career in pornography in the early 2000s. It is estimated that she had starred in more than 90 adult films, with new work being published every month between 2003 and 2005. Pornography is illegal in China, but that didn't stop Chinese men going crazy for her. "To many Chinese men who couldn't get proper sexual education in their adolescence, Sora Aoi became our teacher," 27-year-old "Liu Qiang" (not his real name) told the BBC.

70 Women's Image News Articles from 2018

2017 Women's Image News Articles