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.
Johnson under pressure to sack ‘bullying’ Priti Patel
Boris Johnson is under increased pressure this weekend over his refusal to sack Priti Patel, following an investigation that found she bullied civil servants.
A cabinet office enquiry into the home secretary’s behaviour concluded her approach “amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying.”
The prime minister refuted the findings, expressing his confidence in Patel – leading his ethics advisor, Sir Alex Allan, to quit on Friday.
A number of veteran politicians have since weighed into the row, with former home secretary Ken Clarke insisting those found to have broken the ministerial code must be held accountable.
Trump legal strategy dashed in Georgia and Michigan
Donald Trump’s bid to overturn the result of the US election was dealt a double blow this week in two critical states.
On Friday, lawmakers in Michigan confirmed they would not seek to undo Joe Biden’s projected win in the state.
And just hours before, Georgia certified Biden’s narrow victory following a ballot recount.
It comes as Trump continues to make baseless claims of widespread fraud, insisting he won the election, without providing evidence of wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, a 90-minute press conference led by Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, descended into farce on Thursday, after the former New York mayor was left wiping hair dye from his sweating face.
Period poverty soaring in lockdown Britain
The number of women and girls facing menstrual poverty in the UK has soared in 2020, according to a charity supplying emergency sanitary wares.
Bloody Good Period, which has been supplying menstrual products to food banks, support groups, homeless shelters and refuges, says demand has risen six-fold since March.
Overall, the organisation says it has supplied 53,000 products to women unable to afford them since the start of the pandemic.
Almost 700 packs of product were also sent to frontline NHS workers in March and April, amid shortages on supermarket shelves and increased working hours.
“There’s really no let-up in sight to this increased level of demand,” revealed the organisation’s founder, Gabby Edlin. “In fact, we are planning for demand to continue to increase.”
Corbyn threatens legal action against Labour
Jeremy Corbyn this week threatened to take legal action against the Labour party, after leader Keir Starmer refused to allow him to return as an MP.
The former leader was readmitted to the party on Tuesday, following a short suspension caused by his reaction to a report into antisemitism under his leadership.
But Mr Starmer refused to return the whip, saying his predecessor’s remarks had “undermined trust” in the party.
Mr Corbyn now plans to challenge the decision in court, while some of his allies have suggested they may launch a leadership challenge.
African governments failing girls, report claims
A new report into gender equality across Africa has accused a host of governments of condemning girls to a lifetime of discrimination.
The advocacy group, African Child Poverty Forum (ACPF), ranked 52 countries on the continent on their work towards equality.
It found girls are still routinely denied access to education or adequate healthcare, made to marry too young, and are often subjected to sexual, physical and emotional abuse.
While Mauritius was ranked the best African country in which to be born female, Chad and Sudan ranked lowest, thanks to very low levels of school enrolment and high rates of child marriage and malnutrition.
“Despite slow progress in some areas, girls across the continent continue to wake up to the daily reality of injustice,” the report claimed. “An entire generation of girls and young women is being failed.”
Plans to cut overseas aid budget branded “a mistake”
Government plans to cut Britain’s foreign aid budget were this week branded a mistake by almost 200 charities.
The chancellor Rishi Sunak is widely expected to scale the UK’s commitment from 0.7 per cent of national income to just 0.5 – a real spending cut of around £4 billion.
But NGOs including Save The Children, Greenpeace and Unicef have called for an urgent rethink, citing the impact of coronavirus on countries already struggling with hardship.
Yesterday, former prime ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron backed the charities, saying cutting aid in 2020 would be “a moral and strategic mistake”.
Marie Stopes charity changes name in wake of Black Lives Matter movement
The family planning charity Marie Stopes International is to change its name, in an attempt to break ties with its namesake campaigner.
The organisation will be rebranded MSI Reproductive Choices, in light of Stopes’ opposition to interracial marriage and support for the eugenics movement.
Simon Cooke, MSI’s chief executive, said the charity’s name had been under discussion for some time, but that the Black Lives Matter movement had cemented the need for change.
It comes as the organisation launches a new strategy to reach at least 120 million women and girls with global voluntary healthcare services over the next decade.