News roundup for October 2001

London Women in Black response

Women in Black

London members of the group ‘Women in Black’ have presented a petition to Downing Street stressing the need for justice not violence in response to the New York tragedy. They say: “We believe that violence must not be answered with violence. The understandable urge to vengeance must be resisted. NATO military actions are more likely to cost the lives of innocent people than to achieve justice. Terror is no antidote to terror.”

Good news for us, bad news for sperm

BBC News report

Fascinating and promising contraception news this month. Research published in the journal Nature detailed the discovery of a new type of protein which controls the movement of a sperm’s tail. If the protein is removed, the sperm can’t fertilise the egg. This could lead to a male contraceptive with less side effects as it wouldn’t need to use hormones. It might even be effective if women take it, too. Yippee!

Still fun looking for it though

Cosmopolitan readers must have been in shock when research was published in September claiming that the G-spot doesn’t exist! American psychology professor Dr Terence Hines said it’s all in the mind. So, are you a believer?

Magazines attempt to bridge gender divide

We seem to be going through a bit of a phase at the minute. First Ampersand, a ‘lifestyle’ mag aimed at both men and women. Now two more “unisex” fashion magazines have been released: Spruce, from the creator of the oh so fashionable Wallpaper, and more recently, the bizarrely named Another Magazine. Newsagents all over the country must be losing sleep over which section to shelve them in: women’s interests or men’s lifestyle? But Spruce is way ahead. It comes in two versions with different cover images: a man, or a woman. Aha, clever.

Abortion fought in Scotland

An American evangelist announced plans to convert a derelict Scottish mansion into what some critics have termed a ‘baby-ranch’. The aim is to fight abortions by persuading young pregnant girls to stay there instead of having an abortion. The Catholic Church in Scotland welcomed the project, claiming that it would be a kind of ‘drop-in’ centre for women and denied claims that it had connections with the far-right.

Awwwwwww! Bless.

Here’s one to warm the cockles of your heart. A study of 3,000 men by FHM Bionic claims that 9 out of 10 men think love and affection are more important than sex. More than half wanted more romance in their lives and 7 out of 10 think the best sex is in a long-term relationship. You may think its a load of cobblers, but when you think that these are FHM readers, well! Maybe there’s hope for us all! (Can I collapse with laughter now at the name FHM Bionic?)

Parties can use women only shortlists

In early October it was confirmed that political parties will be able to use positive discrimination to increase the numbers of women MPs. The legislation will be brought in later this year. Meanwhile, the issue was discussed at the Liberal Democrat conference, and although the leadership supported positive action, it was turned down in a vote. The party are going to use other measures instead.

Model talks back

The fashion model Iman released a book – I Am Iman – in which she criticised the fashion industry for it’s reliance on blonde, blue-eyed women and it’s lack of use of black models. The release of the book revived the debate about the fashion industry’s focus on caucasion women.

Women drivers are better, admits ASA

BBC News report

We were back in sex war territory earlier this month when the Advertising Standards Agency ruled that a driving insurance ad was right to say women are better drivers than men! Complaints were submitted to the ASA about Diamond Car Insurance which offer cheaper car insurance for women because they make less insurance claims than men – therefore, it is argued, they’re better drivers. The ASA agreed that this was true after being presented with insurance statistics and supporting evidence from competitors websites.

Event in London: “Rebranding Feminism”

Fawcett Society website

The Fawcett Society is holding a meeting on Friday 30th November to discuss the issue of “rebranding feminism.” The meeting is open to non-members as well and will take place at the ICA, The Mall, SW1 at 7pm. The Fawcett Society says: “We are taking forward the question of how we can tackle the negative image of feminism among many women… We will be asking: How can we re-brand feminism to make it more attractive to a new generation? Does feminism deserve its media stereotype? Does feminism need to change or just change the way it communicates itself? Do we need a brand – or can we just have customised versions of feminism, to suit different situation? Is feminism now so mainstream it’s often invisible? And if young women are no longer marching, what form does their activism take?”

Tickets cost £7.00 for Fawcett members and £8.00 for non-members. Contact the ICA box office for more info on 020 7930 3647.