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21 Women's Image News Articles
from 2018
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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.

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21 Women's Image News Articles from 2018

2017 Women's Image News Articles