News roundup for January 2004

Marriage is good for your health – if you’re a woman

BBC Report

Married men are more likely to suffer mental health problems than those who just live with their partners, researchers have found. The opposite is true for women – but they do best without any relationship at all. The study, by the University of London, found that single women were much less likely to report mental health problems than those who co-habited or got married. However, once in a relationship, women did better once they’d walked down the aisle. Paula Hall of Relate commented: “For women, security is more important. They are the ones who have babies and they have very strong nurturing and protective instincts. That may be one reason why marriage is more important to them. For men, security is less of an issue. Feeling trapped is a bigger problem for them. That may be why they fare better if they cohabit rather than marry.”

Teenage girls ‘hate their bodies’

BBC Report

Worrying findings from Bliss magazine, with their recent survey showing that almost all teenage girls hate their bodies and 1 in 5 suffer from an eating disorder. The findings were published to coincide with the launch of their ‘Love Your Body’ campaign. The survey also revealed that two-thirds of under-13s had been on a diet and than more than a quarter of 14-year-olds had considered plastic surgery or diet pills. Editor Helen Johnson commented on the findings: “Female body image obsession has grown year on year since the 60s and it’s now reached epidemic proportions, filtering down to young girls. Teenage girls look to their mums for guidance only to see them continually worrying about their own body shape and size. Now many girls of 13 and 14 are dieting constantly at an age when their bodies are still developing.”

Deodorant “linked to breast cancer”

BBC Report

And you thought it was just an e-mail hoax – but there is possible concern about the use of deodorants and breast cancer. British researchers have found chemicals used in deodorants in tissue from women with breast cancer. While there is no evidence the chemicals cause cancer, scientists have called for their use to be reviewed. The cosmetics industry insist they are safe. Delyth Morgan of Breakthrough Breast Cancer urged caution: “This extremely small study does not demonstrate a direct causal link between deodorant or antiperspirant use and developing breast cancer. Further research is needed to establish the source of the chemicals found in the breast tumour samples and what, if any, the relationship is to breast cancer.”

Scottish women ordered to reproduce

BBC Report

Two senior academics have called on women in Scotland to have more babies and at a younger age. Professors Heather Joshi and Robert Wright, specialists on the impact of demographic trends on the economy, warn that otherwise Scotland’s standard of living could suffer, due to an ageing population. Scottish National Party MSP Shona Robison expressed concern, calling it ‘unfair and unrealistic’ to ask this, pointing out that women had a right to their own careers.

Iman rapped for wife-beating book

BBC Report

A Muslim cleric who wrote a book advising men how to beat their wives without leaving marks has been given a suspended sentence by a Spanish court. Mohamed Kamal Mustafa’s book, Women in Islam, advised that: “The blows should be concentrated on the hands and feet using a rod that is thin and light so that it does not leave scars or bruises on the body.” Mustafa defended his book, saying he was opposed to violence against women and had simply been interpreting the Koran. The book incensed women’s groups, who filed a lawsuit forcing it to be withdrawn.

Two groups representing Spanish Muslims came forward before the trial to distance themselves from the cleric’s book, saying that the Koran condemned violence against women.

More news stories from this month in brief…

  • Michelle wins Pop Idol
  • Pay gap ‘affects whole families’ – union
  • More women ‘should get top jobs’
  • Midwives are most abused NHS workers
  • First all-female team to race to North Pole appeal for sponsor
  • Women prison suicides at all-time high
  • Moves to cut multiple IVF births
  • Long-term aspirin use may increase risk of pancreatic cancer in women
  • Smoking linked to breast cancer – previous research suggested it had a protective effect
  • More mothers returning to work
  • Warning over ‘mild’ cigaretttes (top preference by women smokers)
  • Blood test could ‘predict miscarriage’
  • Variations in Asian breast cancer risk
  • Women ‘treated like idiots’ when gadget shopping
  • Leicester women’s centre loses all funding
  • Majority of pregnant women wear seatbelts incorectly
  • Dame Brenda Hale becomes first female judge in UK’s highest court
  • Vitamin D supplements cut female MS risk
  • Caesarean births may lead to problems becoming pregnant again
  • Salary secrecy ‘penalises women’ – Equal Opportunities Commission says wome would push for more pay if they knew how much male colleagues earned
  • “Slightest Touch” device gives women longer, better and more intense orgasms