Feeling like you want to retreat to a bunker and never watch the news again? You’re far from alone.
But knowledge is power. That’s why, every Sunday, we round up the seven news stories we think women who rise need to know about. They’re not always the events that make the front pages, but they are the ones that show us where the work lies in creating a kinder, more equal world. We hope you find them empowering, useful and informative.
So, this was the week that…
Amy Coney Barrett was nominated for the US Supreme Court
President Trump last night named Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee for the US Supreme Court, just eight days on from the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
If confirmed, Barrett, a pro-life and anti-gay marriage constitutionalist, would be Trump’s third appointment to the court, tipping the balance of the bench six-three towards conservatism.
The move has sparked anger from Democrats, who wanted the winner of the presidential election to appoint RBG’s successor.
But Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell insists members will vote on her appointment before the country goes to the polls, leaving just 38 days for any confirmation to be pushed through.
Anti-abortion activists began a 40-day protest outside English clinics
Anti-abortion protesters descended on a dozen English clinics this week, launching 40 days of demonstrations which could risk the health of thousands of women.
The action has been organised by 40 Days for Life, an American-based pressure group known for harassing women who want to terminate a pregnancy.
Now, women’s health organisations, including the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, have warned their willingness to breach social distancing rules could risk lives.
BPAS spokeswoman Rachael Clarke warned: “Anti-abortion groups stand outside clinics not to change the law but to pressure and harass individual women who are trying to access the healthcare they’re guaranteed under the law.
“These women deserve to access this care without being followed, lied to, and frightened by groups of people who place their own beliefs above compassion and care for women in the most difficult of circumstances.”
Racial discrimination of black woman barrister placed under investigation
The head of the courts service in England and Wales has launched an investigation into racial profiling, after a black female barrister was mistaken for a defendant three times in one day.
Alexandra Wilson, who works out of chambers near London’s Old Bailey, tweeted that she’d been repeatedly stopped and spoken to as a defendant, first by a security guard, then by a member of the public and lastly by a solicitor.
Wilson, who has since called for compulsory anti-racism training across the UK legal system, said she was “absolutely exhausted” by the repeated assumptions she faces in the course of her work.
Kevin Sadler, the acting chief executive of HM Courts and Tribunals Service, has since apologised and promised to investigate, branding her experience “totally unacceptable.”
NHS breast reconstruction surgeries halted by coronavirus
The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on breast cancer survivors was laid bare this week, as new figures showed more than 1,500 women have had their reconstructive surgeries postponed.
The charity Breast Cancer Now has warned the women face “many months, possibly years” of delays, as hospitals remain unable to operate on them due to their focus on coronavirus.
Breast reconstructions for women who have undergone mastectomies as part of their cancer treatment were halted in March.
But while some hospitals began operating again in July, many did not – and officials warn even where operations are going ahead, numbers are far lower than pre-pandemic norms.
Many hospitals had already held long waiting lists for reconstructive surgery before the crisis, and experts warn is could be 2021 or later before services return to normal.
Fury erupted over lack of charges for police who shot Breonna Taylor
Fresh protests erupted across the US this week as just one police officer was indicted following the death of Breonna Taylor – on charges not directly related to her shooting.
Of the three officers involved, just one, Brett Hankison, is to face prosecution – on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing his gun into neighbouring properties during a raid on her home.
Ms Taylor was shot and killed in March, after officers entered her apartment with a so-called “no-knock warrant”, typically used in drugs cases. They were looking for a suspect who did not live in her property and no drugs were on site.
This week, Kentucky’s attorney general Daniel Cameron insisted the legalities of the case prevented prosecution, stating: “The decision before my office as the special prosecutor in this case was not to decide if the loss of Ms Taylor’s life was a tragedy. The answer to that is unequivocally yes.”
Report warned coronavirus reporting is ‘marginalising women’s voices’
New research suggests women’s voices are being worryingly marginalised in global reporting of the coronavirus crisis.
A report commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, examining press coverage of the crisis in the UK, USA, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and India, said women are being “locked out” of decision making in five out of the six countries.
In the UK, it warned, the majority of Boris Johnson’s coronavirus briefings have been led by 100 per cent male teams, while globally, men’s voices outnumbered women’s three to one.
Luba Kassova, the report’s author, warned this was “partly to do with the ‘war framing’ of the crisis – the idea that this is an emergency and that men are better equipped to deal with it. Women are being pushed out.”
Billionaire’s goal to give away his entire fortune reached after 38 years
A billionaire businessman who declared it his life’s ambition to give away his entire fortune finally achieved his goal this week.
Chuck Feeney, an Irish American businessman who made more than £6 billion from a global duty-free shopping empire, transferred almost all of his wealth to a foundation he secretly created in 1982, with the goal of “striving for zero, to give it all away”.
This week, after 38 years of awarding endowments to charities and universities across the world, Feeney’s foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, finally ran out of money.
The 89-year-old, who continues to live in a small rented apartment in San Francisco, declared himself very satisfied with “completing this on my watch,” adding: “To those wondering about giving while living: try it, you’ll like it.”