Women Struggle to Get the Right Fit in Their Racecars
The last woman to appear on a Formula One Grand Prix entry list was Giovanna Amati of Italy, who entered three races for Brabham in 1992 but failed to qualify for any of them.
Susie Wolff became the last woman to take part in a Formula One weekend in 2014, when she ran in Friday practice for Williams at the British Grand Prix. Wolff retired from competitive racing in 2015 and is now team principal of the Venturi Formula E team.
This decade has had several women affiliated with Formula One teamsas test, reserve and development drivers. Simona de Silvestro, the 2010 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, worked with the Sauber F1 team in 2014, but was dropped before driving during a race weekend.
Beginning in 2015, the Lotus F1 team (now Renault) had a multiyear association with Carmen Jordá of Spain.
Tatiana Calderón, 25, a Colombian racing for Jenzer Motorsport in GP3, a feeder series to Formula One, has been Sauber’s development driver since 2017, and spent two days testing the team’s racecar last weekend.
“I did four or five seat fittings with my first team in GP3,” Calderón said. “It’s difficult to find the right angle for your arms to give them the most power, and because GP3 has no power steering, it’s critical. That’s when I learned that two centimeters (0.8 inches) can make a hell of a difference.
“Finding the right position was tough. I’m quite short, so my pedals were too far away. I couldn’t put anything on the back of the neck because it’s in the regulations — you cannot put something to rest your head. Then we were too close; I was hitting my legs when steering.”
The time spent finding her ideal seat position cost Calderón half of her first GP3 season.
“Finding the right spot was really tricky,” she said. “Here is the best strength-wise, but I crush my legs, so I have to move the pedals. If you’re not comfortable, you cannot focus on what the car is doing, or on really breaking those limits and pushing for more.”
When a driver reaches Formula One, they are “couture fitted” to their car. Teams customize seats and steering wheels, ensuring that controls are easy to use at racing speeds.
Today marks 100 years since women gained the right to stand for MP – but Westminster is far from achieving gender equality
Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking about the first time I stood for parliament. It was back in 2001. Labour were onto their second landslide and I was going up against John Prescott. I was only 21, but I knew enough about politics to realise that I didn’t have much of a winning chance that time.
I had never really thought about standing as a candidate before. But all it took was that one campaign, a six-point swing to the Lib Dems and kicking the Conservatives down to second place for me to catch the bug. And I owe much to Polly Martin, then chair of the party’s youth wing, who told me all those years ago that I’d make a good candidate and asked me to stand.
Today marks the centenary anniversary of the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act, which gave women the right to stand for election to parliament. This is a hugely important milestone, deserving of celebration across the country.
It’s a good excuse to leaf through the history books and remind ourselves of the brave women who first dared to enter Westminster and stake their claim to power. And to take stock of the amazing women from all parties currently representing their fellow citizens in the House of Commons, the Scottish parliament, the Welsh assembly, European parliament and our councils up and down the country.
But we must not get carried away with our self-congratulations. Being able to stand for election does not mean equal power in politics. It was only in last year’s general election that the total number of women MPs ever elected to the House of Commons overtook the number of men currently serving as MPs. Outside of parliament, only a third of councillors in England are women, with even fewer in Wales (28 per cent) and Scotland (24 per cent).
One hundred years on, this is simply not good enough. So where are we going wrong? There are five main barriers to women entering politics – I like to think of them as the five Cs: cash, caring, culture, confidence, and the closed club.
Political candidacy is costly. Estimates from a decade ago put the cost of a successful candidacy at £40,000. Of course, this is a barrier for both men and women. But when men take home two-thirds of our national income, having the cash is a significantly bigger problem for women.
Women still take on the lion’s share of caring responsibilities – whether it’s for children or elderly relatives. And parliamentary hours and rules are not geared towards accommodating those with caring responsibilities. I got first-hand experience of that earlier this year, when my constituents were cheated out of a crucial Brexit vote while I was taking care of my two-week-old baby.
Female Indigenous law school dean sues for racial discrimination
A woman who became the first female Indigenous dean of a Canadian law school has launched a lawsuit against the university, alleging it racially discriminated against her and forced her to quit her post earlier this year.
Angelique EagleWoman, who was appointed head of the law school at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay in May 2016, resigned in June.
She alleges in an unproven statement of claim that she was consistently micromanaged and undermined by the university, which she says subjected her to regular oversight and monitoring.
The lawsuit claims EagleWoman encountered resistance from a small segment of the faculty, staff and students who suggested to her that “she was not deserving of the position of dean and was not hired on merit.”
EagleWoman is asking for $2.67 million in damages.
Lakehead University said it had received the statement of claim but would not comment on ongoing litigation.
Angelique EagleWoman, who was appointed head of the law school at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay in May 2016, resigned in June.She alleges in an unproven statement of claim that she was consistently micromanaged and undermined by the university, which she says subjected her to regular oversight and monitoring.The lawsuit claims EagleWoman encountered resistance from a small segment of the faculty, staff and students who suggested to her that “she was not deserving of the position of dean and was not hired on merit.”EagleWoman is asking for $2.67 million in damages.Lakehead University said it had received the statement of claim but would not comment on ongoing litigation.
Final gender discrimination case at Salk Institute ends in settlement
The prestigious Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, has settled the final of three high-profile gender-discrimination lawsuits filed last year. The latest agreement was announced on 21 November.
Molecular biologist Beverly Emerson filed the suit in July 2017, arguing that discrimination against women at the Salk had limited her wages, laboratory space and research funding. Two other senior female scientists brought similar suits against the institute, and settled their cases out of court in August 2018.
Emerson had worked at the Salk for more than three decades, but in December last year, the institute declined to renew her contract. She is now at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.
“Salk recognizes Dr. Emerson’s more than thirty years of service to the Institute and looks forward to her continued contributions to the scientific community,” says a joint statement from Emerson and the institute, e-mailed to Nature.
The statement does not provide any further information on the settlement. Alreen Haeggquist, Emerson’s lawyer, says that neither she nor Emerson has further comment.
The three gender-discrimination cases were important for the field, says Nancy Hopkins, a molecular biologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, where she led an effort to investigate gender discrimination in the 1990s. She says that the Salk cases are a reminder of how difficult it is to tackle discrimination. Such cases can fester for decades, she says.
“When they finally do erupt, it can cause so much damage to the reputation of the institution,” says Hopkins. “Hopefully, institutions will learn from this that they must deal with these situations.”
The discrimination cases have been part of a period of turmoil for the Salk. This June prominent cancer biologist Inder Verma resigned from the institute amid allegations of sexual harassment.
Women Accuse FBI Training Academy of Discrimination
A dozen women who washed out of the FBI Academy have filed a federal complaint alleging they were judged more harshly than male trainees. The complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission takes particular aim at the tactics training assessments, the New York Times reported. “Female trainees are singled out in group tactical exercises because they are perceived as being weak and prone to failure,” they wrote. “Male trainees are provided multiple avenues for success, in spite of their errors. Male trainees are often permitted to retake tactical exams when female trainees are denied the opportunity to do so.” The FBI declined to comment. While women make up nearly half of the FBI’s employees, they represent only one-fifth of agents.
Danielle Snider was sailing through her training to be an F.B.I. agent last year, passing her fitness, academic and firearms tests. Then came the last phase: training on tactics like entering a house and confronting an armed attacker.
Ms. Snider, an Air Force Academy graduate, stumbled. In one day, instructors at the F.B.I.’s sprawling facility in Quantico, Va., wrote her up four times. With less than two weeks to go before graduation, she was bounced from the course in January.
But in one instance, a man in training with her made a similar mistake and it was overlooked, she said. It was part of a pattern, she and other women who failed out of the academy said, in which instructors — almost all men — scrutinized them more closely because they were women and treated men differently when they erred.
“Everyone is making mistakes,” said Ms. Snider, 30, who found another job with the federal government as an investigator. “I felt it wasn’t the same playing field for women. I think it is fundamentally unfair.”
Ms. Snider is among a dozen women who accused the F.B.I. of gender discrimination at its training academy, detailing their allegations in a complaint last month to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. One of the women also claimed she suffered discrimination because of her race, and another because of a disability.
Ms. Snider, along with nine of the other women, washed out of the academy during the tactics training. Some continue to work for the F.B.I. but not as agents.
“Female trainees are singled out in group tactical exercises because they are perceived as being weak and prone to failure,” they wrote in the complaint. “Male trainees are provided multiple avenues for success, in spite of their errors. Male trainees are often permitted to retake tactical exams when female trainees are denied the opportunity to do so.”
The F.B.I. declined to comment on the complaint. In a statement, the bureau said it was “prioritizing advertising and recruiting aimed at women both nationally and through the 56 field offices.” The F.B.I. also said the percentage of applicants to be agents who were women had increased, from 22 percent in the fiscal year that ended in September 2017 to 26 percent the following year. It hopes to reach 33 percent over the next year.
For years, the F.B.I. has struggled to add more female agents. Women composed only a fifth of the bureau’s 13,500 agents as of October. About 44 percent of the F.B.I.’s 35,000 employees are women.
Egyptian Women and the Fight for the Right to Work
Almost no one works in an Egyptian clothing factory because she wants to. The teen-age girls are saving for their dowries, and they will quit when they have enough money. Some of the older women are divorced and have children to support. The married ones usually need money badly enough that their husbands have reluctantly allowed them to work. Rania didn’t quite fit into any of those groups. She was married but living apart from her husband when, eight years ago, she started working at the Delta Textile Factory in the city of Minya, a hundred and sixty miles south of Cairo. As long as they were separated, her husband, Yasser, wouldn’t find out. Unhappiness creates its own freedom, although Rania didn’t know that yet. She was twenty-two years old, with acne-scarred red cheeks, full lips, and a black wool hijab that wrapped her face in a small circle and made her appear younger than she was.
On Rania’s second day in the factory, a Romanian-American manager named Elena asked, “Who wants to work in quality control?” Rania had little idea what quality control was, but she boldly raised her hand. Elena was the first foreigner she had ever met. She trained Rania to spot every potential problem in a pair of men’s underpants. If a leg was millimetres too short, or the seams around the crotch didn’t lie flat, a client could reject the order and cost the factory thousands of dollars. Rania developed a preternatural ability to keep the line moving while catching mistakes almost as soon as they happened. Two years after she entered the factory, she was promoted to supervisor, but she never forgot what it felt like to be a newcomer.
Rania’s capacity for work was legendary—bi-mit ragel, as the Egyptians say, “worth a hundred men.” Every month, the factory awarded prizes to its most productive workers; the line she supervised placed first more times than she could count, and the dinnerware sets and kettles she won cluttered her cabinet at home, useless in their abundance. She had a way of attracting notice and charging into conversations. Executives or clients visiting the plant always asked who she was. In her red supervisor’s tunic, silver flip-flops, and wide-legged black trousers (she was often the only woman in the factory wearing pants), Rania moved around the production floor as if she were at home, and in a way she was.
In the summer of 2016, the company’s executives called a meeting of the factory employees and announced that they planned to hire their first local production manager, who would oversee a bloc of ten assembly lines. Such positions had always been held by an expatriate man, but everyone in the meeting immediately turned to look at Rania. Before the meeting, in fact, Ian Ross, the company’s C.E.O. in Egypt, had told Rania that she was being considered for the job. He warned her not to make problems with the other supervisors, with whom she sometimes fought.
“I don’t make any problems,” Rania answered coolly, but inside she felt excited and proud. She was determined to show everyone that she could be the first female production manager in Upper Egypt.
Rebel Wilson loses bid to keep most of the defamation payout
Rebel Wilson said she was glad she’d stood up to “a bully” despite losing her bid Friday to keep most of the record payout awarded to her in her defamation case against an Australian magazine.
The actress had sued Woman’s Day magazine last year over a series of articles in 2015 that she said had painted her as someone who’d lied about her real name, age and childhood in order to make it in Hollywood.
The Supreme Court of Victoria state awarded her an Australian-record payout of NZ$4.94 million after a jury concluded she’d missed out on film roles because of the articles. Wilson had sought NZ$7.27 million in damages.
But this June the amount was reduced by 90 per cent after the magazine’s publishers, Bauer Media, appealed. Victoria’s Court of Appeal said Wilson could not prove economic loss, or that she’d missed out on film contracts as a result of the articles. The court ordered the actress to pay back almost NZ$4.36m), and 80 percent of Bauer’s legal costs.
“In our opinion there are insufficient prospects that an appeal will succeed,” Justice Virginia Bell said at the court in the national capital, Canberra.
The magazine publisher welcomed the decision. “Bauer Media is invested in its Australian business now more than ever,” Bauer chief executive Paul Dykzeul said in a statement. “Our audience trust our content and our writers and they love our iconic brands like Woman’s Day and Australian Women’s Weekly.”
Wilson, who sat in the front row of the public gallery during the brief hearing, said outside the court she was glad the process had been brought to an end.
“This has been a long fight and a long journey in the courts, but the great thing about today is that it brings it to a definitive end,” she told reporters.
“The whole reason for bringing this case is that I wanted to stand up to a bully, which is Bauer Media.”
Wilson said she was proud of herself for “seeing it out right to the bitter end,” and that she was glad the initial jury had “restored my reputation”.
“Today was just about a small point of special damages and for me it was never about the money, it was about standing up to a bully and I’ve done that.”
How homosexuality became a crime in the Middle East
IN THE 13th and 14th centuries two celebrated male poets wrote about men in affectionate, even amorous, terms. They were Rumi and Hafiz, and both lived in what is now Iran. Their musings were neither new nor unusual. Centuries earlier Abu Nuwas, a bawdy poet from Baghdad, wrote lewd verses about same-sex desire. Such relative openness towards homosexual love used to be widespread in the Middle East. Khaled El-Rouayheb, an academic at Harvard University, explains that though sodomy was deemed a major sin by Muslim courts of law, other homosexual acts such as passionate kissing, fondling or lesbian sex were not. Homoerotic poetry was widely considered part of a “refined sensibility”, he says.
Argentine women fight against inequality in soccer
In a country where the soccer conversation is overwhelmingly dominated by talk of Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona, female players in Argentina struggle to be heard.
That’s changing rapidly, however, and it’s partly because of a picture that was widely shared on social media.
The photo, taken in April before a Women’s Copa America match in Chile, showed the Argentine players with their hands cupped behind their right ears, a sign of protest highlighting that no one was listening to them. It took social media to spread the message because the traditional media, including Argentina’s top TV channels and newspapers, didn’t even cover the continental championship.
“We live in a soccer-mad country but with a lot of machismo,” Argentina forward Belen Potassa said at the national team’s training grounds on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. “Soccer is Messi, (Gonzalo) Higuain, (Diego) Maradona and no one else.”
While those players are adored and even idolized, the women’s team has been sidelined – just like in other countries around the world.
The Argentine soccer federation often is late in paying travel expenses while the players have routinely faced the prejudices of a chauvinistic society that sees soccer as a men’s only game. Still, the long-disadvantaged team of women may be on the verge of a game changer by defying long-established gender inequalities and proving themselves on and off the field.
By finishing third at the Copa America, the team in the light blue-and-white striped shirts earned a place in the playoffs for this year’s Women’s World Cup in France. Argentina will play Panama on Thursday for a spot in the 24-team tournament. For the first time in the country’s women’s soccer history, the game will be played at a sold out stadium in Buenos Aires.
Another major achievement came in practice.
The women’s team was recently allowed to train at the same complex where Messi and the rest of the men’s team prepare for games, grounds that until recently were reserved for men only.
“Women fight since they’re born because we don’t have the same rights as men. But in sports the sacrifice is twice as tough. They don’t pay you, the clothes are not the same, the sponsors are not the same,” said Potassa, who recently signed a contract with a well-known sports brand that supplies her with boots and clothing.
The women’s team’s progress has even received the support of Messi and several Argentine professional clubs that have promoted the playoff game against Panama on social media under the motto: “It’s time to root for them.”
The Suffragists Got Women The Right To Vote Almost 100 Years Ago
Women have historically either been forgotten or written out of history, but let’s not forget that it was the suffragists who got us the right to vote nearly 100 years ago. It’s so important we exercise that right and make our voices heard today on Election Day.
2018 is being called “The Year of the Woman,” thanks to a record number of women running for the Senate, House of Representatives, governorships and other offices across the country. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go: Women make up only 20% of Congress, 25% of state legislators, 12% of governors and 22% of mayors, according to Ignite. We need to flip the equation and push for equal representation.
In honor of the women who came before, I asked women’s rights scholar and editor of the upcoming intersectional anthology The Women’s Suffrage Movement, Sally Roesch Wagner, to highlight some monumental moments and untold stories from history that paved the way for women to hit the polls.
Women voted before the United States was formed. The suffragists saw what equality looked like and what was possible by looking to their Native American counterparts. “The women of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) confederacy have had political voice since the founding of their confederacy 1,000 years ago,” says Roesch Wagner. “Suffragists like Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the lesser-known-but-equally-important Matilda Joslyn Gage knew these women, and Stanton and Gage wrote about the position of these women as far superior to their own.”
Native women’s rights also affected the law. Fighting for the right to vote was one of a myriad of basic rights being fought for during this time. “Mississippi passed the first Married Women’s Property Act in 1839, based on Chickasaw Nation law,” says Roesch Wagner. “A Chickasaw woman, Betsy Love, brought a lawsuit to keep her own property after marriage and the court respected the Chickasaw law and she kept her property.”