Feminist News Round-up 19.02.12
Magda Szubanski ‘Comes Out’ as gay
This week, popular Australian comedienne and entertainer, Magda Szubanski, came out on Network Ten’s The Project. While being open about her sexual orientation to her friends, colleagues, and family, Szubanski was reluctant to publicly identify herself as gay. She commented: ‘There’s a difference between living your life openly and living it absolutely publicly and that thing of 20 million people knowing your business is stressful.’ Her announcement was aimed towards furthering the rights of people of all sexualities, particularly through the legalisation of equal marriage. You can read more here.
Sharman Stone: Alcohol During Pregnancy Dangerous
This week, Liberal MP Sharman Stone has publicly commented that ‘every survey conducted in Australia of women’s knowledge about alcohol consumption during pregnancy shows a shocking majority have not been informed.’ She urges women to take care with alcohol consumption whilst pregnant in order to avoid any potential harm it may cause to unborn foetuses. Read more here.
Obama protects contraception rights
This week US President Barack Obama has announced a plan to protect women’s rights to contraception. His proposed plan is that most health insurance plans must cover birth control for women — all contraceptive drugs and devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration — as well as sterilisation procedures. Church-affiliated universities, hospitals and charities would not have to provide contraceptive coverage to female employees, nor would they have to subsidise its cost. Coverage for birth control would be offered to women directly by their employer’s insurance companies ‘with no role for religious employers who oppose contraception’. This issue has caused a great deal of controversy, which you can read more about here.
Religious Police Detain Valentine’s Lovers
In Saudia Arabia, the religious police have arrested 140 people for celebrating Valentine’s Day. In a six-page statement, the religious police said they were saving women from ‘deceiving men’, who used the day to give the fake impression that they loved a woman while pretending to be a ‘harmless lamb’. In addition, they label Valentine’s Day celebrations as incongruous with the Muslim faith and have banned roses from being sold in stores. You can read more here.
Aboriginal Girls at Greater Suicide Risk After Intervention
After the commencement of the Northern Territory intervention, there is new statistical evidence to show that girls are at greater risk of suicide. In New South Wales, the rate of youth suicide is one in 100,000. In the Northern Territory, it is one in thirty. 40 per cent of these suicides are committed by girls. This figure has risen incredibly in the five years since the start of the Intervention and in 1980, the number of girls committing suicide in Indigenous communities was zero. The primary suicide method of choice has been hanging. This increase in suicide has also coincided with an increase in the number of women hospitalised as a result of violence. You can read more here.
Meryl Streep: Thatcher was a Feminist
Regardless of whether former UK and first woman Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher thinks so, Meryl Streep has publically called her a feminist. Streep recently played the role of Thatcher in the biopic The Iron Lady. Thatcher was pro-choice and was aware of the dangers of global warming a long time before climate change became the issue du jour. Streep says, ‘She would have been kicking and screaming the entire way to the feminist altar, but she was a feminist, whether she likes it or not.’ Whether or not feminists want Thatcher onside is another issue altogether. You can read more of Streep’s comments here.
French Company Poly Implant Prostheses (or PiP) has come under disrepute this week because their manufactured breast implants have been causing problems with women all over Scotland. The implants have been known to rupture, causing tears and great pain and health concerns. The silicone used in the implants was non-medical grade. This is another instance in a very long history of cosmetic companies selling products to women that are harmful. You can read more here.
Hunter Women’s Centre in Dire Need of Funding
There are concerns that the Hunter Women’s Centre, operating in Newcastle, may not be able to offer ongoing support for women in situations of domestic abuse unless it receives $55,000 in funding. Established in 2009, the program involves a caseworker helping women to get off the streets, and linking them with education and employment opportunities. You can read more here.
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