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Women’s Health

7 Activists & Celebrities Speak Up for Women’s Right to Control Their Lives

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Britney Spears supporters sit together at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles ahead of a trial of the pop singer’s conservatory on February 11, 2021.

Chris Pizzello / AP

According to Spears’ testimony in LA, many are speaking out for women’s rights to autonomy.

Why world citizens should care

Any system that restricts women’s rights to care for their personal health and financial well-being undermines the struggle for women’s rights everywhere. Women everywhere must have equal rights to exercise their wealth, health and justice. Join us and take action to empower women and girls here.

After living under a conservatory that dictated her life for the past 13 years, pop star Britney Spears gave a harrowing testimony in a Los Angeles court on Wednesday.

In response, gender equality activists and celebrities are using social media, responding to Spears’ statement, which reflects a broader problem that women’s physical autonomy is often controlled by other people – and how this undermines the fight for equality .

Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, along with an attorney and personal care manager, has had her financial affairs under control since 2008 when a mental health episode led a California court to put her under a conservatory. A conservatory is a court-ordered arrangement whereby a person or organization is responsible for the personal care and finances of an individual who, according to a judge, is unable to regulate their own affairs.

According to a transcript of her testimony published by Variety, Spears has since received medical care and has taken several world tours under her father’s tutelage. She insists that her actions have demonstrated her ability to fend for themselves, but the conservatory allows others to be in control of their daily lives, including influencing whether she can have more children and how often she works .

“It is my wish and my dream that all of this come to an end,” she said. “I want my life back.”

Around the world, women’s rights – including their rights to health, sexuality and reproduction – are restricted, undermining the path to ensuring equality between women and girls around the world.

The Latin America region has some of the strictest laws regarding women’s physical autonomy, with women still having very limited access to reproductive health services in countries like Brazil, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador, for example.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down thousands of sexual health facilities around the world, with around 12 million women experiencing disruption in their family planning services by March, according to UNFPA.

Realizing women’s freedom to control their health, their bodies and their reproductive rights is a key element in achieving gender equality worldwide – and Spears’ statement reflects the experiences of women and girls around the world.

“I deserve to have a life,” Spears said at the end of her testimony. “I’ve worked all my life. I deserve to take a two to three year break and just do what I want. “

After the Spears Conservatories hearing on Wednesday, celebrities, supporters and activists for gender equality underscore the need to uphold women’s rights.

Here are seven responses from celebrities and activists who support Britney Spears and make a broader call for women to be free to control their own health, their bodies and their lives.

1. Halsey

Singer Halsey tweeted in support of Spears and acknowledged the courage it takes to stand up for yourself against an abusive system. She also tweeted that no person or organization should be able to control another person’s reproductive health, alluding to Spear’s statement that her conservators control whether she can remove her intrauterine device (IUD) to try to get pregnant to become.

Bless Britney and I sincerely hope that she will be granted freedom from this abusive system. She deserves it more than anything. I admire their courage to speak for themselves today.

– h (@halsey) June 23, 2021

Also, you fuck anyone who believes they have the authority, as an institution or as an individual, to control a person’s reproductive health. #FreeBritney

– h (@halsey) June 23, 2021

2. Rose McGowan

McGowan was an outspoken advocate for women’s rights, including calls for sexual violence in the film industry. In October 2017, McGowan joined dozens of other women who accused film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse in a 2017 New York Times investigation that sparked the #MeToo movement.

Given that women in the media industry had a long history of gender exploitation and harassment, McGowan used Twitter and Instagram to endorse Spears. Calling for an end to conservatories preventing Spears from making decisions about her body, she tweeted, “STOP CONTROLLING WOMEN”.

Britney Spears has every right to be angry. How would you feel if your life was stolen, dissected, mocked? I pray that she can live your life on her terms. STOP CONTROLLING WOMEN. #FreeBritney – The Hollywood Reporter https://t.co/qyV9oNnLQt

– Rose McGowan (@rosemcgowan) June 23, 2021

3. Justin Timberlake

Spears ex-boyfriend and singer Justin Timberlake shared his thoughts on the published transcript of the Spears trial, writing that “we should all support Britney at this point.”

He also tweeted that no one should be able to control a woman’s decisions about her own body, adding that he and his wife, Jessica Biel, send their love and support.

From what we saw today, now we should all support Britney.

Regardless of our past, good and bad, and no matter how long it’s been … what happened to her just isn’t right.

No woman should ever be prevented from making decisions about her own body.

– Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) June 24, 2021

No one should ever be held against their will … or ever have to ask permission to access anything they worked so hard for.

– Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) June 24, 2021

4. Jameela Jamil

The English actress and women’s rights activist Jameela Jamil often uses her platform to speak out about women’s autonomy and health. In addition, Jamil often talks about body positivity and the unhealthy standards that the media imposes on women regarding their health.

On Wednesday, Jamil tweeted that she wished Tahani’s good friend Britney Spears all the luck in the world, referring to her character on TV show The Good Place. Jamil also pointed out how the court-appointed Conservatory has stolen Spears’ freedom for over a decade.

We wish Tahani, Britney Spears, good friend, all the luck in the world today. It’s the most bizarre robbery of freedom that has happened right before our eyes in over a decade, and I hope she finds help organizing her life that she is now comfortable with.

– Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) June 23, 2021

5. Presenter Nancy Mace (SC-R)

US MP Nancy Mace (SC-R) underlined that Britney Spears has a problem that affects thousands of women around the world who are exposed to gender-based violence in relation to their reproductive and sexual health.

Mace tweeted in support of Spears, asking, “How many other women across the country are suffering silently?”

Forcing a woman to basically sterilize herself under the guise of protection is insane. When something like this happens to Britney Spears, how many other women across the country are suffering quietly? https://t.co/A7dRoEylPN

– Rep Nancy Mace (@RepNancyMace) June 24, 2021

6. American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)

The nonprofit tweeted about the intersection of disability rights and reproductive rights, highlighting how conservatories are being used to deny people with disabilities the exercise of their personal freedoms.

In response to Spears saying that its conservators control their reproductive decisions, AAPD listed other ways that disability rights and reproductive rights overlap.

One of the many places where disability rights and reproductive rights overlap.

To name a few more:
– Forced sterilization
– Lack of access to sex education
– Common obstacles to reproductive health care
– Loss of parental rights
– And many more # FreeBritneyhttps: //t.co/1Lm0IVfoE4

– AAPD (@AAPD) June 24, 2021

7. Liz Phair

Singer Liz Phair took to Twitter to highlight how gender inequality has allowed people to control Spears’ personal and financial affairs and wrote that it was the “oldest trick in the patriarchy playbook.”

Oldest trick in the patriarchy game book: declare a woman crazy and take control of her property. Happened for centuries https://t.co/fTAs75UQQ3

– Liz Phair (@PhizLair) June 23, 2021

Anyone who says they appear to be unbalanced please show me the appropriate conservatories for male entertainers / athletes who display erratic behavior. Where have all the mothers been controlling their grown son’s millions for a decade?

– Liz Phair (@PhizLair) June 23, 2021

As Britney Spears continues to fight for her right to make choices about her personal health and wellbeing, women around the world battle for access to equitable resources and equal rights.

The Generation Equality Forum will be held in Paris next week, a once in a lifetime moment to raise awareness of the challenges and injustices facing women around the world and to call for global investment in women and girls. Join us in taking action to promote the health, prosperity and justice of women by calling #ActForEqual among leaders today.

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Women’s Health

In Response to NH Executive Council Vote to Defund Granite State Family Planning Organizations, NH Delegation Urges Biden Admin to Swiftly Award Supplemental Assistance Directly to Impacted Providers

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17.09.2021

(Manchester, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) headed a letter today with U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra urged HHS to make additional grants directly to the New Hampshire family planning providers that were recently withdrawn by the New Hampshire Executive Council and are not receiving Title X program funding.

On Wednesday, the delegation slammed the Executive Board after it voted to terminate several contracts for family planning organizations, effectively cutting off critical services to women’s health care providers across New Hampshire, such as planned parenting.

Today the delegation wrote: “As a result of the actions of the Executive Board, several family planning providers are facing budget constraints that will affect the availability of health care for thousands of granite staters, mostly women, who rely on family planning providers for their vital health. “Including breast cancer screening, cervical cancer screening, birth control and other reproductive health services. Low-income women and rural women will be disproportionately affected by the reckless decision of the Executive Board. We are deeply concerned about the health care gap that will be inevitable without immediate federal support. “

They continued, “With the situation looming in New Hampshire, we ask HHS to review all available means to provide immediate support to affected family planning providers in our state. We appreciate HHS efforts to repeal the harmful Title X-Gag rule and restore federal funding for family planning providers in New Hampshire and across the country. However, the family planning providers in New Hampshire need immediate help. We therefore demand that the providers be provided with additional funds quickly and directly in order to close the funding gap they are confronted with. “

You can read the letter in full here.

Wednesday’s Executive Council vote is particularly egregious as it follows the Trump administration’s years of attacks on women’s reproductive health, particularly President Trump’s implementation of the Title X Gag Rule, which controls the majority of family planning providers in New Hampshire rules out federal grants. In June, Senator Shaheen sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Welfare Xavier Becerra urging him to support family planning providers in New Hampshire who will lose government funds under the New Hampshire Draft Budget. This support is urgently needed to help these vendors fill the funding gap until the Biden administration can complete its repeal of the Trump administration rule.

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Women’s Health

Taliban Seize Women’s Ministry Building for Use by Religious Police

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KABUL, Afghanistan – The Taliban have converted the women’s ministry building into offices for the Religious Morality Police, which once fueled fears of their oppression of women and the brutal enforcement of Sharia law by the militant government two decades ago in Afghanistan.

The renovation of the building in Kabul, the country’s capital, indicated at least a symbolic slap in the face from a ministry that embodied the rise of women in Afghanistan after the Taliban was ousted in 2001.

A video posted by Reuters showed women employed by the ministry protesting in front of the building because the Taliban had denied them entry and told them to go home.

It remains unclear whether the Department of Women was abolished by the Taliban, who regained power after the collapse of the US-backed government last month. But when the Taliban announced their incumbent cabinet members for the new government earlier this month, there was no appointment to oversee women’s affairs.

And in another ominous sign of renewed gender discrimination among the Taliban, the Ministry of Education ordered male teachers back to work and said secondary school classes for boys would resume on Saturday. There was no talk of girls.

The Ministry of Women’s new resident, the Ministry of Inviting, Guiding, and Promoting Virtue and Preventing Vice, appears to be just a slightly renamed name for the notorious Taliban standards of conduct enforcer who made the group a global pariah in the 1990s.

The Ministry’s police officers have been known to beat or flog women who ventured outside their homes without full body covering and male escorts. They banned girls from school after elementary school and banned women from looking for work. Unmarried couples risked death by stoning for adultery.

While the Taliban leaders have recognized that Afghanistan has evolved after two decades of American-led occupation, they have also left women fearful of what the future may bring. No women have been appointed to positions of authority under the new Taliban government, and steps have been taken to separate men and women in public spaces.

Earlier this week, Minister of Higher Education Abdul Baqi Haqqani said women could continue to study in universities and postgraduate courses, but only in gender-segregated classrooms in appropriate Islamic clothing.

The building that formerly housed the Ministry of Women is in a former liberal district of Kabul that is full of cafes and a popular Turkish-run shopping mall with clothing stores, a counterfeit Apple store, and restaurants ranging from fast food chains to high profile Restaurants littered -end steak house.

Now a white Taliban flag is waving over the armored gate of the building complex, adorned with a sign for the ministry, who is its new resident, while Taliban security forces stand guard.

Understanding the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan

Map 1 of 6

Who are the Taliban? The Taliban emerged in 1994 amid the unrest following the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989. They used brutal public punishments, including flogging, amputation and mass executions, to enforce their rules. Here is more about their genesis and track record as rulers.

Who are the Taliban leaders? These are the top leaders of the Taliban, men who for years have been on the run, in hiding, in prison and dodged American drones. Little is known about them or how they plan to govern, including whether they will be as tolerant as they say they are. A spokesman told the Times the group wanted to forget about their past, but there would be some restrictions.

The walls surrounding the site are still adorned with murals and signs depicting the work of the Ministry of Women, but some have had women’s faces vandalized, a type of vandalism that has occurred elsewhere in Afghanistan since the Taliban regained power is to be observed.

A sign that reads “Supporting women who are victims of violence is our human duty” shows a woman with a black eye. Another is from the United States Agency for International Development, which has been a major resource for Afghanistan, and read, “Keep your city green and clean.”

Even critics of the American military’s long stay in Afghanistan have recognized the progress made by Afghan women over the past two decades. Under the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, women’s health, literacy rates and employment all rose. Assistance and shelter were given to abused women. Women entered the legislature and other positions of power.

A revealing barometer of growth was shown in the changing composition of the workforce. A World Bank study found that women made up 22 percent of the workforce in 2019, compared to 15 percent in 2009. A survey conducted two years ago by the Asia Foundation also showed growing public support for women in the workplace, with 76 percent of Afghans support women’s right to work outside the home.

The news of the Taliban’s conversion of the Ministry of Women came when the United Nations Security Council reassigned the organization’s six-month mission to Afghanistan. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which was established in the aftermath of the US invasion in 2002, is the primary tool for monitoring Taliban’s behavior following the chaotic US military withdrawal last month.

Stéphane Dujarric, the UN spokesman in New York, said he knew nothing about the development of the Ministry of Women and could not comment on it. Nevertheless, there have been “worrying developments in recent times, but we are continuing our dialogue and our advocacy for women’s rights, for girls’ rights, especially in the field of work and education”.

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Women’s Health

Addressing the pandemic’s toll on women’s health in the workplace

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Released: September 18, 2021


Alex Perry, CEO at Bupa UK Insurance

September 16, 2021

The global pandemic was a world changing event and it is inevitable that it has had, and will continue to have, an impact on almost every segment of society. While it continues to affect lives and livelihoods around the world, we can already see the resulting consequences affect gender equality. McKinsey estimates that women’s jobs are 1.8 times more vulnerable to this crisis than men’s jobs; The burden of unpaid childcare during school closings and the care of relatives during the lockdown was disproportionately borne by women with the closure of schools, and unfortunately the rate of domestic violence is also increasing.[1]

The pandemic is adding to another area of ​​gender inequality – health. It has shed a harsh light on some of the persistent health inequalities, and research by Bupa in the 2021 Census of Workplace Wellbeing found that a significantly larger proportion of women than men think the pandemic is negatively affecting them Life has an impact on health and wellbeing – two-thirds of women (66%) versus 57% of men.

While it is inevitable that the scale of a global pandemic will affect almost everyone, its impact on women and their working lives is undeniable – our census showed that a third (32%) of women felt that their mental health was affecting their work , and many are struggling with the transition to working from home. A quarter (26%) have seen blurred lines between work and personal life with the World Health Organization (WHO)[2] This suggests that many women find themselves in an impossible situation of multiple caring responsibilities, with some returning to traditional household roles as well as their professional workload. While every woman’s situation is different, it is clear that COVID-19 continues to exacerbate existing inequalities for many. In addition, the long-term effects of the pandemic will have social and economic repercussions for women for many years to come.

[3]How can organizations react effectively and create conditions for optimal equality for women? In recent years, companies have recognized the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This is stronger today than ever as companies with more diversity are more likely to outperform less heterogeneous ones in terms of profitability. The pandemic is therefore providing a unique opportunity for companies to rethink how they can support women at all stages of life so they can realize their career potential, with no better starting point than women’s health. Employers have a responsibility to support their employees and create an inclusive culture where everyone can thrive and do their best mentally and physically.

There are still some taboos and information gaps surrounding women’s health. One of the few benefits of the pandemic is that we are prioritizing our health more than ever. Let’s take this golden opportunity to rethink how we can better support the health and wellbeing of women, starting in the workplace.

References

Effects of COVID-19 on Women and Gender Equality | McKinsey

https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/health-determinants/gender/news/news/2021/3/inspiring-change-womens-leadership-in-health-care-is-vital- during-the-covid-19-pandemic-and-beyond

https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/diversity-wins-how-inclusion-matters#

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