3-5-21 International Women's Day: Illustrating the Covid-19 pandemic
There's barely any country in the world that hasn't been touched by the coronavirus pandemic and its aftershocks. But with so much information out there, it's sometimes hard to digest all the details and fully take it in. Ahead of International Women's Day on 8 March, we invite you to meet three women who are using their artistic talents, combined with their expertise in the fields of science, health and technology to help the fight against coronavirus. Avesta Rastan, 25, is a visual science communicator currently living in California. At the start of the pandemic, she realised there weren't many infographics revealing how Covid-19 directly affected the human body. So the artist, who is of Iranian and Canadian heritage, and is a member of the Association of Medical Illustrators, saw a unique opportunity to use her skills and her training in pathological illustration (the drawing of disease) to help the wider public. "I saw lots of illustrations and 3D models of the virus itself and its protein but I didn't really see what it did to us," she explained. She started investigating and soon created an infographic that unexpectedly went viral on social media. Even the World Economic Forum shared it. She was approached by people all over the world wanting to see the poster in different languages and offering to translate her explanations. It's now available to download in 18 languages on her website. Rastan says: "I'm not a frontline worker; I'm not in health care, but you help out in whatever way you can and for me that was using my art. She adds science can have a reputation for being difficult to learn and that does deter people but illustrations bridge that gap and could encourage more to enter her field. "Science itself isn't hard - it's a natural process for humans; we're naturally curious and want to understand how things work", she adds.
3-5-21 Nalleli Cobo: How a nine-year-old fought an oil company and won
When a Latino community in Los Angeles began their fight against an oil company they claimed was polluting their neighbourhood, a young woman played a central role. Nalleli Cobo was nine years old when she started suffering from asthma, nosebleeds and headaches. It was the beginning of a battle against an active oil well site located in front of her house in South Los Angeles. Nalleli and her mother soon found out that some of their neighbours were also getting sick. The community, mostly composed of low-income families, protested until the site was temporarily shut down. Cobo didn't stop there. Joined by a group of young activists and organisations, they sued the city to demand more regulations in oil extraction. And they won. A criminal case against the company, Allenco, and its handling of the site, resumes later this month. They declined to comment for this story but have previously stated that they invested capital to comply with regulations. She has been compared to Greta Thunberg, although her name has been recognised locally for over a decade. Cobo paused her activism activities in early 2020 after being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 19. Her doctors don't know what caused her illness. After three surgeries and medical treatment, she has recently been declared cancer-free. This is her story. I grew up in University Park, in South Central Los Angeles, 30ft across the street from an oil well owned by AllenCo from 2009. I lived with my mom, my three siblings, my grandma, my great grandpa, my great grandma all in one apartment. We were eight people, including me. My mom is from Mexico and my dad is from Colombia. He was deported when I was two years old and my mom raised me. It was the year 2010 and I was nine years old. All of the sudden I started having stomach pains, nausea. I got body spasms so severe I couldn't walk, my mom would have to carry me because I would freeze up like a vegetable. I got nosebleeds so severe that I would have to sleep sitting down so I wouldn't choke on my own blood at night.
3-1-21 Golden Globes: 'Tears' as Chloe Zhao becomes first Asian woman to win best director
Asians around the world are reacting with "happy tears" as Chloe Zhao made history at the Golden Globe Awards, becoming the first Asian woman to ever win the prize for best director. Many online praised her for being a "huge inspiration for young Asian girls", adding that it was a "win for women everywhere". The Nomadland director, who was born in China, is only the second woman to win the award. The first was Barbra Streisand in 1984. "I cannot stress this enough, as an Asian woman in the arts, it is so inspiring to see Chloe Zhao make history tonight as the first woman of colour to win for best director," said one Twitter user. This year also marks the first time more than one woman has ever been shortlisted for the title of best director. Regina King and Emerald Fennell were also in the running. Ms Streisand herself congratulated Ms Zhao on the win, saying "it's about time". Her win was also celebrated on Chinese social media site Weibo, where many praised her talent. "This is the first time a Chinese female director has ever won. Congratulations Director Zhao, looking forward to your next award," said one comment. The semi-fictional Nomadland, which also took home the award for best drama, stars Frances McDormand as a woman named Fern who travels around America as a modern-day nomad. The Beijing-born director, who now resides in the US, recently directed upcoming Marvels film The Eternals. And Ms Zhao wasn't the only Asian to win big tonight. Minari, director Lee Isaac Chung's semi-autobiographical story about a Korean-American family also won for best-foreign language film. Footage released by the Golden Globes showed Mr Lee's daughter clutching him tightly when the win was announced, saying: "I prayed, I prayed!" "In a time where Asian-Americans are being attacked because we're still seen as foreign and a disease, Chloe Zhao and Minari winning Golden Globes means so much," said journalist Diep Tran in a tweet. We exist, we are Americans."
3-1-21 Why this teen set up a prize-winning fake cosmetics shop
Disturbed by reports of rising domestic violence under coronavirus lockdown, a Polish high school student decided to launch a fake online shop to offer a lifeline to victims trapped in their homes. Her idea won a European Union prize that came with €10,000 (£8,700; $12,120). "Firstly, I heard about the increase in domestic violence cases during the pandemic. Then I heard about a French initiative, where people go to the pharmacy and ask for a special mask that lets the pharmacist know they are a victim of domestic violence," Krystyna Paszko explained. "I thought it was a brilliant idea, so I came up with the idea of selling cosmetics." In April, Krystyna, who was 17 at the time, decided to launch the fake online shop "Camomiles and Pansies" to sell those cosmetics. The idea is that the victim can hide requests for help from their abuser at home by appearing to be shopping online. When a victim writes asking to buy a cream, a psychologist responds instead of a salesperson and asks how long the "skin problems" have been going on for, or how the affected skin reacts to alcohol. If someone places an order and leaves an address, it is actually code asking for authorities to visit their home. After Krystyna openly wrote about her plan on her own Facebook page, she was inundated with questions. "I thought it would only be for my friends, and friends of friends. I thought I would help maybe one person or two, but the shares on Facebook were big and it became really popular," she said. With so much interest, Krystyna contacted the Women's Rights Centre, a Polish NGO, asking for assistance. In response it provided psychologists and lawyers to work with the website. Since its launch, more than 350 people have contacted the website. Most of the victims are young, under 40, and about 10% are male. "More younger women prefer to write on Facebook than to call on the phone, it's more natural for younger women to use Facebook chat. Most of the men writing to us are teenagers," she said.
2-22-21 Jasmine Harrison on being youngest solo female to row Atlantic Ocean
Jasmine Harrison has described the moment she became the youngest woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. The 21-year-old swimming teacher, from Thirsk in North Yorkshire, arrived in Antigua on Saturday after a 70-day journey.
2-22-21 Divya Kakran: 'I became famous for wrestling boys'
Divya Kakran was sent to the wrestling pit in her neighbourhood as a punishment for skipping school. But to her parents' surprise, she took to the sport and drew attention for her strength and quick reflexes. Soon, she was beating boys - a feat that made her quite famous at local bouts in India. She says her decision to pursue wrestling didn't go down well with her conservative relatives or community. But her family always supported her - she says she wants to make them proud by making a name for herself in international wrestling.
2-13-21 Nasa's pioneering black women
In recent years, black women's contributions to the space race have started to come to light. Many were recruited as "computers", meaning that they carried out complex mathematical calculations by hand, before machines were invented that could do the job. Christine Darden started her career in the computer pool, helping the engineers work out the trajectories needed to bring the Apollo Capsule back to Earth. Witness History: The stories of our times told by the people who were there.
2-6-21 Solar energy empowers young women in Yemen
Ten women in Yemen's Abs district have built and now run a solar microgrid. The project was set up in 2019 with the help of the UN Development Programme. The women now run the station as their own business, providing affordable, renewable energy to a community living near a war zone. As a result of the project’s success, there are plans to build 100 microgrids around the country, employing more local women. Station manager Iman Ghaleb Hadi Al-Hamali explains how the work has given the group confidence and hope.
1-26-21 Janet Yellen to be first female US treasury secretary
Janet Yellen has been confirmed as the first ever female US treasury secretary in a Senate vote. Ms Yellen, who headed the US central bank from 2014 to 2018, earlier won bipartisan support from members of the Senate Finance Committee. She will be responsible for guiding the Biden administration's economic response to the pandemic. The US is struggling to rebound economically from the hit caused by the coronavirus pandemic. At her confirmation hearing on 19 January, Ms Yellen urged Congress to approve trillions more in pandemic relief and economic stimulus, saying that lawmakers should "act big" without worrying about national debt. In response, Republican senators warned the former Federal Reserve head this was not the time for "a laundry list" of liberal reforms. Ms Yellen disagreed, highlighting the fact that many families whose incomes have fallen were not reached by jobless programmes. She argued that plans to raise taxes must be seen in the context of financing bigger investments necessary to make the US economy competitive. "The focus now is not on tax increases. It is on programmes to help us get through the pandemic," she stressed. Janet Yellen was previously chair of the US Federal Reserve. She was known for focusing more attention on the impact of the central bank's policies on workers and the costs of America's rising inequality. Before then-President Barack Obama named her to lead the Fed in 2014, she had served as one of its board members for a decade, including four years as vice-chair. Donald Trump bucked Washington tradition when he opted not to appoint Ms Yellen to a second four-year term at the Fed. However, her climb to the top of the economics profession had made her a feminist icon in the economics world. When she left the Fed in 2018, many paid tribute to her leadership by imitating her signature look of a blazer with a popped collar. Ms Yellen is seen as someone able to satisfy both progressive and centrist members of Mr Biden's Democratic party. Her nomination to lead the Fed in 2014 won support from some Republicans.