Category Archives: Gender

Home truths: when relationships and housework collide – The Story podcast

Leah Green explores the struggles that arise across the globe when deciding who does which chores

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Since the 1960s, the amount of household chores done by women has dropped almost everywhere in the world. But compared to other kinds of social change, it remains slow to progress despite many women feeling they do an unfair proportion of housework compared to their male partners.

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It's just a potato race. But it shows a familiar pattern of gender inequality | Van Badham

A rainy farming town is a place as good as any to recognise the gendered judgments of worth afflicting women everywhere

The town of Robertson in the southern highlands of New South Wales is a place of verdant pastures, morning mists and an unexpected battlefront in the war against the patriarchy.

With its fertile soil and frequent heavy rain, “Robbo” – as the locals call it – is potato country. Yes, this town celebrates its produce in the traditional Australian way; an infamous “Big Potato” monument squats by the roadside. But it’s this year’s “Potato Race” – a popular highlight of the annual Robbo agricultural show – that’s obliged the town into an awkward conversation about its own deference to structural sexism. The competition to run the fastest with a sack of potatoes has traditionally male and female divisions. This year, the prize money for the men was posted at $1,000. For the women, it was $200.

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Why do women talk so much? You asked Google – here’s the answer | Nichi Hodgson

Every day millions of people ask Google life’s most difficult questions. Our writers answer some of the commonest queries

‘A woman’s tongue wags like a lamb’s tail”, so an old English saying goes, and if you deign to type “why do women …” into Google’s search bar, the search engine will finish your sentence accordingly with “talk so much”. We’ve been brought up to believe that women are the talkative ones, the ones whose words, both soothing and scolding, are the social glue of small communities and families alike. We assume women talk more than men. But there’s also the more sinister notion that women must be silenced for risk of what they might say about men, a belief Mary Beard traces back to the classical world in her recent tract Women and Power – and something we’ve seen in full contemporary flourish with the eruption of #MeToo.

Because of the prohibition on women’s speech, which continued right through the middle ages and up through the mass growth in western female literacy, it took until the 20th century for a more positive, parallel notion to take hold: that women might be biologically better with words. Today scientific study has even found the odd bit of evidence that girls may indeed find it easier to acquire language than boys. But does the idea of women’s super- (and superfluous) loquacity actually hold up to scientific scrutiny?

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‘I wanted to channel the anger’: Europe's fearless political playwrights

They’ve stormed the Reichstag, turned terrorism into absurd comedy and asked their audiences for answers. Meet five theatre-makers grappling with crises across the continent.

By Daniel Boffey, Constanze Letsch, Philip Oltermann, Helena Smith and Kit Gillet

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My son is trans and polyamorous – here's what I learned from him | Claire Armitstead

I wasn’t sure I wanted to see a documentary featuring my son and his partner but I wanted to understand the paradigm shift millennials are spearheading

There’s a joke in my family that I joined Facebook to spy on my children, and they befriended me because they knew I wouldn’t bother. I’ve never been one to snoop on my nearest and dearest, and have always avoided writing about them, but two events this week have prompted a temporary change of heart.

In Tuesday’s books podcast, we marked LGBT history month by interviewing Christine Burns, a campaigner for transgender rights, about her history of the UK’s trans community. The next day, my son was in a TV documentary – deep breath – about polyamory.

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Fearless: five years after Delhi gang-rape, has anything changed for women in India? – video

The brutal rape of a 23-year-old student on a bus in Delhi shocked the world. The victim, who became known as Nirbhaya (‘fearless’), succumbed to her injuries two weeks later, but not before giving testimonies against her attackers. Her death provoked outrage and protests across India as people demanded dramatic improvements to women’s rights. But five years on, has anything really changed? We revisit the city to ask women what they think

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Gender equality at work is a matter of respect, not just money | Gaby Hinsliff

Half a century after Dagenham, sexism still shapes salaries. But demanding high earners ‘justify their wage’ is a red herring

Fifty years ago this spring, the sewing machinists at Ford’s Dagenham plant famously downed tools and in doing so changed history. But contrary to popular belief, the strike that nudged Barbara Castle into creating the Equal Pay Act didn’t start over equal pay. It was originally a demand for recognition, for the women who stitched Ford’s car seats to be acknowledged for what they really were. A regrading exercise had classified the men on the factory floor as skilled workers entitled to higher rates, but lumped the women in with janitors as unskilled labour. It was the casual dismissal of what they did that rankled.

Eventually, the women returned to work for 92% of the men’s pay but it took another 16 years, and a second strike, to get what they wanted: recognition that they were just as skilled as the men, that their work should be taken seriously. It was never just about the money.

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That's patriarchy: how female sexual liberation led to male sexual entitlement | Van Badham

It’s understandable that intergenerational battles over feminism come down to the meaning of consent

It was the journalist Julia Baird who wrote on Twitter: “YOUNG FEMINISTS: What do you think older feminists don’t understand or get exactly right, or just might miss about #metoo, if anything? Am curious to hear.”

Baird’s question appears in the context of high-profile disagreements about #MeToo between some young and older feminists. A few weeks ago, French actor Catherine Deneuve and 100 co-signatories of a letter claimed #MeToo was fostering a “new Puritanism” – a position from which she has since somewhat backed away. Since then, a widely-reported interview with Germaine Greer has appeared, in which the Australian feminist accused the #MeToo movement of “whingeing”.

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Diane Abbott on feminism in the 1980s: ‘It was so exciting being in a hall full of black women’

The rise of black feminist politics was of particular importance in a decade that saw inspiring council leaders ensure a voice for radical feminism and real change in the mainstream

In the 1980s there was a belief in sisterhood, and we saw real change. Feminist politics took place in the context of what was happening more generally on the left. We had the 1984-85 miners’ strike, and the Women Against Pit Closures movement, which was really important for women in what are now post-industrial areas. They were the wives and daughters of the miners and organised, raised money and built support for the strike. It was important for focusing people on what women were doing.

I vividly remember going to one of the first black feminist conferences. It was so exciting to be in a hall full of black women who shared my beliefs. Black feminist politics was one of the highlights of the decade for me. I did a lot of work on Scrap Sus – a campaign against stop and search and abuses of policing. The mums got involved because of the experiences of their children and their friends’ children.

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End domestic violence, vanquish trolls and defeat body shame: feminist fights for the next century

One hundred years after suffrage, there is still so much to campaign for. Women including Jo Brand and Archie Panjabi set out the change they would like to see by 2118 – from unisex loos to challenging the dominance of male desire

I’d like to think that in 100 years’ time men will have come round to the idea that their passivity has been contributing to holding back the progress of women, so that women no longer remain objects to be gawped at, patted, stroked, patronised, verbally and physically abused, paid for like commodities, smuggled, threatened, humiliated and all those other negative actions that are rained down on them purely because of their gender. Am I hopeful? No comment.

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Source: gad