Another week, another barrage of news. Positivity can sometimes feel very hard to come by, and it’s understandable to want to detach from the headlines sometimes. But knowledge is power.

 

That’s why, each week, we’ll be rounding up the news items you need to know about. They’re not always the stories that make the front page. Rather, these are the ones we think women who rise need to be aware of.

 

Cummings and Cain exited Number 10

Dominic Cummings leaves Downing Street on Friday
Image: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

 

Prime minister Boris Johnson’s chief advisor, Dominic Cummings, left Downing Street for the last time on Friday, following mounting internal tensions in Number 10.

 

His resignation followed that of Lee Cain, the director of communications, who had been widely tipped to be named chief of staff just days before his exit.

 

Both men were central to the Leave campaign that led to Brexit, while Cummings became a household name after he broke lockdown rules with a trip to Durham.

 

The reshuffle at the very top of government comes as trade talks between the EU and UK reach “make or break point”.

 

Biden solidified win with victory in Georgia

Joe Biden has pressed ahead with forming his team amid electoral legal challenges
Image: Getty

 

Joe Biden has been predicted to win Georgia, becoming the first Democratic presidential candidate to do so since 1992.

 

If confirmed, the win would give the President-Elect 306 votes in the electoral college – the same number Trump secured in 2016 and described as “a landslide”.

 

Trump, who is now expected to win North Carolina and reach 232 votes, is still refusing to concede, and is using Twitter to continue his claims of widespread electoral fraud.

 

The Republican campaign has raised a number of legal challenges to the result, but has yet to produce evidence of its claims the election was “stolen”.

 

Police apologised to families of Peter Sutcliffe victims

Twelve of Sutcliffe’s 13 victims
Image: PA

 

West Yorkshire police offered a “heartfelt apology” on Friday to the families of victims, and survivors, of Peter Sutcliffe, the serial killer dubbed the Yorkshire Ripper.

 

Sutcliffe died this week aged 74, after reportedly refusing treatment for coronavirus in prison.

 

His violent rampage across Yorkshire and Manchester lasted from 1975 to 1980, as a series of police failings left him free to kill 13 women, and attack many more.

 

This week, the police force’s serving chief constable, John Robins, apologised for failings in the investigation, as well as for the “language, tone and terminology used by senior officers at the time in relation to Peter Sutcliffe’s victims.”

 

Detectives repeatedly disparaged the sex workers killed by Sutcliffe, drawing inexcusable contrasts between them and the “innocent women” he murdered.

 

Robins added: “Such language and attitudes may have reflected wider societal attitudes of the day, but it was as wrong then as it is now.”

 

110 migrants killed in Mediterranean shipwrecks

A rescue operation by Open Arms this week
Image: Sergi Camara/AP

 

At least 110 people died this week as four shipwrecks occurred within just three days in the Mediterranean.

 

The youngest confirmed victim of the tragedies was a six-month-old baby, who died onboard the rescue vessel Open Arms – currently the only rescue boat operating in the central Mediterranean.

 

A number of other ships remain blocked in Italian posts because officials have refused to authorise their departure.

 

Médecins Sans Frontières responded to the week’s events on Twitter, asking “Is the European Union watching? Step the search and rescue capacity up, or let us save lives.”

 

Nurse charged with Chester hospital baby deaths

Lucy Letby is charged with eight counts of murder
Image: Chester Standard/SWNS.com

 

A nurse has appeared in court, charged with eight counts of murder, following a three-year probe into baby deaths at the Countess of Chester hospital in Cheshire.

 

Lucy Letby, 30, also faces ten charges of attempted murder between June 2015 and 2016, after being arrested for a third time in connection with the investigation this week.

 

She appeared at Warrington Magistrates Court by video link on Thursday, and made no plea before being remanded in custody.

 

Neil Fearn, the chief executive of Pryers Solicitors which is representing some of the families, said: “All the families now have hope that they can finally start to learn the truth of what happened in the first days of their children’s lives.”

 

Carrie Gracie brands BBC pay gap report “a whitewash”

Broadcaster Carrie Gracie at an equal pay demo in 2018
Image: PA Media

 

The former BBC journalist Carrie Gracie has branded a report finding no unlawful pay discrimination against the broadcaster’s female employees “a whitewash”.

 

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission had been charged with investigating discrepancies at the organisation after Gracie and her colleague, Samira Ahmed, were revealed to have been paid less than male broadcasters.

 

It found that the BBC didn’t break the law in its setting of salaries, but must “increase transparency and rebuild trust” in the wake of the row.

 

But the BBC Women group said it was “deeply disappointed” by the findings.

 

The report “does not address the systemic issue of unequal pay suggested by the hundreds of pay increases and settlements the BBC has made to women,” it added.

 

Naked Wollstonecraft statue prompts row over public art

Mother of Feminism by artist Maggi Hambling
Image: Paul Childs/Reuters

 

A new statue honouring the ‘mother of feminism’ Mary Wollstonecraft sparked a major backlash after it was unveiled in London this week.

 

The sculpture, created by artist Maggi Hambling, raised an outcry thanks to the decision to present the 18thcentury icon as a naked ‘everywoman’.

 

Housed on the capital’s Newington Green, the installation was created following a decade-long public funding campaign aimed at redressing the gender imbalance of Britain’s historic statues.

 

Supporters says the furore over the statue’s nudity misses the point – it is not a statue of Wollstonecraft, but rather represents her ideas.

 

But feminist author Caroline Criado-Perez branded the creation “insulting”, adding: “I can’t see her feeling happy to be represented by this naked, perfectly formed wet dream of a woman.”

 

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