News roundup for December 2001

Hey Lady! Ladyfest comes to London

Ladyfest is coming to London in 2002. Ladyfest started in the U.S.; the flyer I received explains more: “Ladyfest is a festival designed by women as a forum to celebrate and showcase the artistic, organizational, and political talents of women in independent culture. Ladyfest London will take place in August 2002, and there’ll be workshops, discussions and performances by bands, spoken word artists, authors, visual artists, filmmakers… and YOU! Ladyfest London is in the planning stages at the moment and needs your help with booking bands, raising funds and arranging events. If you want to perform, show your art, run a workshop or help organise the festival now’s your chance – simply contact us at

[email protected].

To see what Ladyfest is all about, take a look at the website of Ladyfest Scotland which held a festival this year.

Women may get right to know what male colleagues earn

BBC report

Plans were revealed to allow women the right to if they are earning the same as their male colleagues. On average, women earn 18% less than men who do the same job. The pay gap still exists after years of legislation. On average, women earn 18% less than men who do the same job. This move would allow firms paying men and women differently to be exposed. Firms who refuse to reveal the information could be taken to an industrial tribunal

Victim of domestic violence every 20 seconds

Shocking statistics were revealed at the end of November, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Here’s a few. A woman becomes a victim of domestic violence every 20 seconds. Two women die every week.

Last year there were 415,327 rapes, stabbings and beatings at homes in England and Wales, the majority of victims were female. Police receive a complaint about domestic abuse every minute. The British Medical Association estimates that one in four women will suffer physical abuse from a partner during their lives. Truly frightening. Even Cherie Booth, who is a trustee at Refuge, spoke out against domestic violence, saying these statistics were “staggering and awful.”

Charlotte Church – respect!

Charlotte Church, she is one cool girl. She denied she would reinvent herself “with a raunchy new image” when she becomes 16 next year, saying: “I’d have to shed a few pounds – everybody nowadays is stick thin and I don’t believe in that. I’m very happy with myself.” Let’s hope she stays happy.

For the last time, All Men Are Not Bastards!

According to the Advertising Standards Agency, men are complaining more and more about sexist adverts – adverts sexist towards men, that is. The ASA has received an increase in the number of complaints about male stereotypes in ad campaigns – in fact they’ve increased tenfold since 1995. Offending ads have included posters for Club 18-30, and ads for Brita water filters. Strangely, the furore over the “All Men Are Bastards” advert didn’t translate to actual action, other than angry men writing letters to newspapers. Bizarrely, the ASA didn’t get a single complaint.

“Date Rape Drug” to be made illegal

The drug GHB, commonly known as the “date rape drug” which has been used to spike women’s drinks and make them unconscious, will be made illegal. People caught in possession of it could be put in jail for two years – suppliers could be sent to prison for five. The Government seems to be taking GHB seriously.

Personally I don’t like the phrase “date rape.” Rape is rape, surely?

Contraceptive patch gets go-ahead in U.S.

Now this is intriguing. A company in the U.S. has been allowed to begin marketing a contraceptive “patch.” The patch has the same effect as the pill and uses hormones which take effect through the skin. The idea is that women are less likely to forget to use it than the ordinary pill – once stuck onto the abdomen, the patch stays in place for a week, even when bathing or swimming. It is replaced by a new patch each week for three weeks with a break on the fourth. A friend of mine said she’d never trust it. Would you?

Rebranding Men

Following the success of the talk on “Rebranding Feminism” held at the ICA in November, the next, logically enough, will be a similar evening on the theme “Rebranding Men.” Speakers will include: Martin Raymond (editor of Viewpoint and head of lifestyle journalism at the London College of Fashion), writer Will Self, Andrew Holden, and Johnny Vaughan! In the chair is the lovely Ekow Eshun (well I like him!) – former editor of Arena magazine and regular on Newsnight Review. The event is jointly held by Fawcett, the ICA, Poiesis and Sense Worldwide. Tickets cost £8.00 (£7.00 for Fawcett members) from the ICA box office on 020 7930 3647. The ICA is at the Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH.