There’s no getting around it – despite commencing with International Women’s Day, this has been a horrific week for women. But while avoiding the news might feel like a necessary safeguard from anxiety, knowledge is power.
That’s why, each week, we round up the stories you need to know about. They’re not always the events that make the front page. Rather, these are the headlines we think women who rise need to be aware of.
MET Police clash with mourners at Sarah Everard vigil
The Met Police is under fire this morning, after its officers moved in with force to break up a peaceful vigil in memory of murdered Sarah Everard.
Scenes of women being pinned to the ground and handcuffed as they paid their respects on Clapham Common prompted a furious reaction, with politicians from across the spectrum demanding answers about the police response.
The vigil had been officially cancelled after its organisers lost a High Court challenge to allow it to proceed, with police insisting any gathering would be a breach of COVID regulations.
But hundreds of mourners, including the Duchess of Cambridge, visited throughout the day to lay flowers and pay their respects, before officers moved in at dusk.
The unrest came just hours after the police officer charged with 33-year-old Sarah Everard’s kidnap and murder appeared in court for the first time.
Wayne Couzens, 48, spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address, and was then remanded in custody to appear again at the Old Bailey on March 16.
Sex attacker who snatched woman on street walks free to keep job
A dad-of-one who sexually assaulted a young woman as she walked home at night in Greater Manchester has walked free from court, after complaining he would lose his job if he went to jail.
Javed Miah, 23, grabbed his victim, dragged her to the ground and molested her, before fleeing when she managed to use the SOS function on her phone to summon police.
The court heard the woman had been left unable to leave her house, work or walk anywhere alone and had been left deeply traumatised by the attack.
But while Miah admitted the “opportunistic” sexual assault, he was given a suspended sentenced spared custody after insisting he was his family’s sole earner.
Almost all young women sexually harassed in UK, says UN
Virtually every young woman in the UK has been subjected to some form of sexual harassment, according to a new study from UN Women UK.
In total, 97 per cent of women aged 18 to 24 said they had experienced harassment, while 80 per cent of women of all ages said they’d been targeted in a public place.
The survey of more than 1,000 women also found most had lost faith that abuse would be dealt with, with 96 per cent of complainants saying they took no action following incidents.
UN Women UK warned that meant offences where women had been groped, followed and coerced into sexual activity had gone unreported.
The organisation’s executive director, Clare Barnett, has described the picture as a “human rights crisis”, warning “it needs addressing now.”
At least 20 killed in Egyptian garment factory fire
At least 20 people died and 24 were injured in a fire in a garment factory in Egypt on Thursday.
The cause of the blaze at the clothing factory 35 kilometres north of Cairo is not yet known, according to a government statement.
However, it is the latest in a series of fires in the country’s industrial factories, where safety standards and fire regulations are often poorly enforced.
Last month, a fire tore through an unlicensed shoe factory in the country’s second city, Giza.
Teens placed in foster care over obesity concerns
Two teenagers have been removed from their parents’ home in Sussex, after social workers raised concerns about their levels of obesity.
A family court judge ruled this week that the youngsters be moved into long-term foster care, amid continuing concerns for their health.
The family had previously been provided with Fitbits, gym and Weight Watchers memberships in a bid to encourage them to lose weight.
But judge Gillian Ellis said little progress had been made, suggesting the children’s parents had not understood the seriousness of social workers’ concerns.
She described the case as “very sad and unusual”.
Meghan complains to Ofcom over Piers Morgan comments
The Duchess of Sussex has made a direct complaint to Ofcom about presenter Piers Morgan, following his TV outburst over her interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The broadcaster told viewers of ITV’s Good Morning Britain he “didn’t believe” Meghan when she said the racism and abuse she faced in the UK had left her suicidal. He later walked off set when challenged by a co-host.
While Ofcom said it was investigating more than 41,000 complaints about the comments, Meghan’s is believed to relate specifically to the impact on those suffering from mental ill health.
ITV, which has a partnership with the mental health charity MIND, said Morgan would leave the show with immediate effect following the incident on Tuesday.
Brits face calls for modernisation following Sam Smith exclusion
The singer Sam Smith has been excluded from gendered categories at this year’s Brit Awards.
The star, who revealed last year that they identify as non-binary, has been told they are no longer able to compete for either the best male or best female artist gong.
Smith, who has previously won three Brits, said: “I look forward to a time where awards shows can be reflective of the society we live in.”
The Academy in charge of the Brits has already changed its criteria this year in order to allow non-British citizens based in the UK to be shortlisted.
But in a statement, it admitted it still had work to do, adding: “We are committed to working together with the industry to evolve the show to be as inclusive and relevant as possible.”