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8 Women's Inequality News Articles
from 2018 2nd Half
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7-17-18 Why chivalry remains attractive to some women despite being sexist
Women tend to find male chivalry attractive even though they see it as a threat to fairness, according to a new study. Existing inequality may explain why. Women tend to be attracted to male chivalry even though they see it as a threat to their gender equality, according to a new study. Men who pay for dinner and open doors for women are said to display “benevolent sexism”: the attitude that women should be protected and provided for. These chivalrous acts are superficially positive, but may entrench gender inequality by positioning women as weaker and less competent, says Pelin Gul at Iowa State University. Gul and her colleagues explored heterosexual women’s attitudes to benevolent sexism in a series of experiments involving more than 700 women aged 18 to 70 in the UK. In one experiment, the volunteers were told to imagine a potential partner called Mark. Half were given chivalrous descriptions, such as, “In case of a disaster or emergency situation, he thinks that women should be helped before men”. The other half were given gender neutral descriptions, such as, “In case of a disaster or emergency situation, he thinks that a person’s sex should not be a factor determining who is helped first”. The chivalrous version of Mark was rated as more attractive, even though most participants said he was probably more likely to undermine and patronise them.

7-15-18 How an army of suffragettes saved America from starvation
While legions of men toiled in World War I, 15,000 women set out to solve the food crisis. But that wasn't their only goal. In May 1918, 10 teenage girls sat in Amy C. Ransome's three-story brownstone near Meridian Hill Park in Washington, D.C., listening to her describe what their summer's work would be like. Ransome appeared younger than her 45 years; she loved being around young people, which might have kept her looking so fresh. Two of the girls in the room, Susan and Janet, were her daughters, and the others came from similarly upper-middle class families. All the girls technically should have been in school, but they'd been drawn to a cause larger than themselves. One of the them, Dorothy Gilbertson, had seen a little white sign, like those in many store windows across the city, with black block letters reading: "Recruits wanted, for the Women's Land Army of America. Chance to do your bit by working on a farm." The sign whispered to Dorothy, Don't you realize that the men are at war? How can America have farms without farmers? Remember America's promise to the allies of how she is going to feed the war. Dorothy had no experience working on a farm, but neither did Susan or Janet. In fact, none of these girls were farmers. Amy Ransome herself didn't come from a farming family. She had a Master's degree and had worked for the United States Geological Survey. Since marrying in 1899, she'd been a housewife. Now the young women were being asked to become farmhands, to live in an old sawmill, wear overalls, and do anything their purveying farm owner needed, from "corn shucking and silo making, to mending of the state road and assisting at the County Fair," as Ransome later wrote. This was the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Women's Land Army of America. With so many male farmers off to battle or engaged in new, better-paying jobs in the the war industry, the group sought to prove that women could do men's work. But Ransome and her female farmers had a larger goal in mind: winning women the right to vote.

7-14-18 How academics in STEM fields are combating sexual harassment
There's 'no evidence' that current policies at universities are helping the problem. Sexual harassment is rife in science, medicine, and engineering, and there's "no evidence" that all the harassment training and reporting pathways that universities have set up are making any difference. That's the conclusion of a 290-page, two-year-long study of sexual harassment of women in the sciences, published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, a non-profit created by Congress during Abraham Lincoln's presidency to answer science questions for the nation. "We need to move beyond legalistic policies and training focusing only on the most obvious acts of abuse," Lilia Cortina, a psychologist from the University of Michigan who worked on the study, said during a public talk announcing the report's release. "Those acts simply don't happen without a firm foundation of disrespect, derision, and devaluation of women. So what are we doing to take aim at that disrespect?" Cortina was part of a team of 21 experts — comprising college professors, industry scientists, a former Congresswoman, and an administrator at a professional society for geophysicists — who examined existing research and commissioned two new studies to help them evaluate how prevalent sexual harassment is during women's science careers and what to do about it. The results are sobering: At least one in five female science students experience harassment from faculty or staff at their universities, and more than 40 percent of female medical students do, one of the newly commissioned studies found. (Men may also be harassed, especially if they're seen as violating gender norms, but it happens more often to women.) Anti-harassment policies at universities are often designed to cover the school in court — but not to really solve the problem. And women might be held back in their fields as a result: Research suggests that workers who are sexually harassed perform more poorly in their jobs, while college women who are harassed get lower grades and report more health problems.

7-14-18 Saudi Arabia woman 'arrested for hugging' singer Majid al-Mohandis
A woman in Saudi Arabia has been arrested after running on stage to hug a male singer during a concert, according to reports. Majid al-Mohandis was performing at a festival in the western city of Taif when the woman darted on to the stage. Videos posted online showed her holding on to Mr Mohandis while security staff tried to pull her off him. Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to mix in public with men who are unrelated to them. Mr Mohandis, whose website says is "the prince of Arab singing", has not commented on the incident. The Iraqi-born singer, who also has Saudi citizenship, continued to perform after the incident. A public prosecutor will now consider harassment charges against the woman, police told Okaz, a leading Saudi newspaper, and Efe news agency. The country has strict morality laws regarding alcohol prohibition, modest clothing and gender segregation. Restrictions that had long been placed on women attending public events in the kingdom have been relaxed in the past year under a series of reforms by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

7-11-18 'I risked everything to dance in Iran'
The arrest in Iran of an Instagram star who posted videos of herself dancing underscores the Islamic republic's strict rules shunning so-called Western behaviour. Here, BBC World Service women's affairs reporter Feranak Amidi describes what happened to her when she danced in Iran. I grew up in Iran in the 1980s, in a period of difficult change for many in the country after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. These were the years when morality police were put on the streets, and when music, lipstick, nail polish and even colourful clothes were banned. It was the time of the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war, food was rationed and blackouts were regular. But even during those dark days, I remember dancing with my friends to music on cassettes bought from illegal music "dealers". These dealers were our only window to the outside world. They provided us with the music of Iranian pop stars who had left the country after the revolution and had gone to Los Angeles. These "dealers" were responsible for introducing us to the songs of Michael Jackson and keeping us up-to-date with trends such as break-dancing and groups like Wham! At school we danced at every chance we got. Every time teachers were not around we sang and danced, even though we were aware of an unwritten rule that dancing was now banned. Dancing itself has not been defined as a crime in Iran's penal code but the law is pretty vague. Based on Iran's constitution, committing an "indecent" act in public is a crime, so dancing in public can be interpreted as an indecent act and punished. Dancing can be performed on stage in Iran, although only by men. Using social media platforms to "spread and encourage indecency" is also a crime in Iran's penal code. In the absence of clubs and bars, parties in Iran have been the one place where people can dance and freely socialise - though such parties are technically breaking the law. These "underground" parties started immediately after the revolution and no force has ever been able to stop them. Many are family parties or weddings, but they are happening more and more in different cities so that young people can get together to drink, listen to music and dance.

7-9-18 Iran women dance in support of arrested Instagram teen
Women in Iran have posted videos of themselves dancing online, in support of a teenager who was arrested. Maedeh Hojabri had gathered thousands of followers on Instagram with videos of herself dancing to Iranian and Western pop music. On Friday, state TV broadcast Ms Hojabri's apparent confession. Social media users shared videos and messages supporting the young dancer, using hashtags such as one that translates as #dancing_isn't_a_crime. The Iranian government has strict rules governing women's clothing and dancing with members of the opposite sex in public is banned, except in front of immediate family members. Ms Hojabri's videos showed her dancing at home without the mandatory headscarf, or hijab. Several other dancers have reportedly also been arrested in recent weeks. Blogger Hossein Ronaghi commented: "If you tell people anywhere in the world that 17 and 18-year-old girls are arrested for their dance, happiness and beauty on charges of spreading indecency, while child rapists and others are free, they will laugh! Because for them, it's unbelievable!"

7-9-18 Tattoo taboo: Spanish woman fights rejection by army
When Estela Martín got a black lotus flower tattooed on the upper part of her right foot at the age of 18, her parents were unhappy about it, but she saw it as a positive symbol. "I've always liked the idea that the lotus represents, which is that you have to fight for what you want," she says. But 12 years later, that same tattoo has left her fighting to save her ambition of a career in the Spanish military. In June, Ms Martín took part in a civil service exam to become a military psychologist. She had left her previous job, in a Madrid hospital, two years earlier in order to study and prepare herself for the highly competitive selection process. But when she was taking part in a swimming test that was part of the exam, an examiner saw the tattoo on her foot and told her she could not continue because it could be visible when worn with a skirt. Ms Martín understood that the rules no longer obliged women to wear skirts and, given that that the tattoo was not visible when she wore trousers, she argued that it was within the regulations. However, she says the examiner insisted that she could be ordered to wear a skirt and refused to change his mind. "I felt terrible, at first I couldn't believe it," she says. "The reasons he was giving me seemed so absurd. I left utterly distraught, I was crying." Ms Martín says there were several men taking the same swimming exam who had body art, including one who had a tattoo on his heel, but none of them were pulled out of the process. Another woman was withdrawn from the examination for having a tattoo that she had partly removed with laser treatment. "There were two things that bothered me," says Ms Martín. "Firstly, there was the personal issue - it was two years of my life all for nothing, so much work and sacrifice. And then, above all, why should men be able to have the same tattoo and it's no problem for them?"

6-29-18 Women drivers
Saudi women began driving legally this week as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s latest reform came into effect. Some women jumped behind the wheel at midnight, saying they had waited decades for the moment. “I am between belief and disbelief—between a feeling of joy and astonishment,” said new driver Mabkhoutah al-Mari. Most Saudi women, though, have yet to obtain licenses, and wait lists for gender-segregated driving classes are long. The most prominent activists who campaigned for the right can’t hit the road: Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef, Eman al-Nafjan, and eight others were detained a month before the ban was lifted, apparently as a warning that women’s rights will be decided by the monarchy, not activists.

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8 Women's Inequality News Articles
from 2018 2nd Half

Women's Inequality News Articles from 2018 1st Half