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women’s rights

The Duchess of Sussex has created a heartfelt video for International Day of the Girl and it’ll bring a tear to your eye.

The video, which was shared on the SussexRoyal Instagram account, features clips of young women all around the world, as well as footage of the Duchess when she was a young girl.

In the video, Meghan says;

“Today is International Day of the Girl.

“Every girl has potential, she has promise, she has the right to learn, the right to be heard, the right to play and to discover. The right to be exactly who she is.

“It is said that girls with dreams become women with vision.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on

“If you see something that you don’t like or that you’re offended by on television or any other place, write letters and send them to the right people and you can really make a difference, for not just yourself but for lots of other people.

"So to each one of you, keep asking questions, keep pushing forward, keep shining brightly. Know your worth and know that we are behind you, every step of the way.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on

Meghan has been a long time advocate for women’s and girl’s rights, even before she became a member of the royal family.

The Duchess campaigned against a sexist advert at the mere age of 11.

“HRH recently shared a quote during a speech in Cape Town: “Visualize your highest self, and show up as her.

“To all the young girls reading this today on International Day of the Girl, that quote is for you,” Meghan wrote alongside the video.

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There have been calls for upskirting to become a criminal offence in Ireland. The CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre believes Irish legislation needs to be seriously updated.

The call comes after upskirting was made a criminal and sexual offence in both England and Wales.

Upskirting is the practice of taking unauthorized photos under a woman's skirt.

People found guilty of this act could face two years in prison and could also be put on the sex offender’s register.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Noeline Blackwell stated: “As it stands right now, this remains wrong and harmful but really difficult for the police to find a way to prosecute it or to hold anyone to account. A message has to be sent out by society that it's not tolerated, you do that through legislation."

She added that this offence causes major distress and upset for victims, but there are still people who find it funny. “This remains wrong and harmful.”

Gina Martin tirelessly campaigned for the criminalisation of upskirting for over two years. When news broke that it would be made illegal in England and Wales, she said she was exhausted and happy after it was decided the offence became illegal.
 

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When it comes to marriage advice, we're pretty sceptical. It nearly always comes across as patronising, annoying, or just plain sexist. Men don't get the constant stream of wedding and baby pressure that women do.

There's no shortage of dating advice online and in magazines, even in books like He's Just Not That Into You.

It's time to turn to better sources for comfort, and ones from back in time. The Suffragette's seem like a good place to start… They fought for the right to vote and now we want the right NOT to devote.

Seeing as it's Valentine's Day, it would be rude of us not to share this HILARIOUS piece of advice from a "suffragette wife" which went viral, acccording to Stylist.

The advice was first penned in 1911, and it's still hella relevant today. Entitled 'Advice on Marriage to Young Ladies', the gal holds nothing back and takes zero prisoners.

The first tip? "Do not marry at all." She's starting us off with a big one, that's for sure.

Continuing, the woman writes about the types of men to avoid. Think modern day f*ckboys. She refers to them as, “the Beauty Men, Flirts, and the Bounders, Tailor’s Dummies, and the Football Enthusiasts”.

When it comes to decent marriage prospects, choose a "strong, tame man" who is involved in practical professions, such as a "Fire-lighter, Coal-getter, Window Cleaner and Yard Swiller”. We haven't a notion what a yard swiller is, but it sounds chic.

The suffragette also tells us that the standard of men is dastardly low; most are “lazy, selfish, thoughtless, lying, drunken, clumsy, heavy-footed, rough, unmanly brutes, and need taming”.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Best Movie (@bestmovietr) on

How do you tame a man back in 1911, and today? The answer is pretty obvious: food. "Feed the brute," in her words. LOL. 

Her final tip recalls her first; you'd "be wiser not to chance" marriage, because it "isn't worth the risk." The post was shared last year as well and also went viral, so it seems that modern day women can still relate to the tip sheet.

It's over 100 years old, but still resonates with today's audience. Interesting, does that mean men haven't progressed at all, or we're still stuck in 1911? We can't tell…

Feature image: The Guardian

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French police officials have arrested American rap singer Chris Brown following a rape accusation, AP has reported.

Closer initially reported that a 24-year-old woman alleged Brown raped her after meeting him in a nightclub on 15 January in France.

The same woman is also claiming that one of Brown's acquaintances abused her.

This isn't the first time the 29-year-old has been accused of sexual violence or violent crime.

The singer dated Rihanna back in 2009, and the pair were brought into the spotlight after an argument left the Umbrella singer covered in bruises and facial injuries as a result of Brown's rage.

Brown has spoken of the incident, claiming after he saw the image of her injured face that he, "felt like a f*cking monster".

Pitchfork also reported in 2017 that a woman claimed she was seriously sexually assaulted in the rapper's home, and sued him as a result of her trauma.

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Scarlett Johansson has faced more than her fair share of sexist tirades against her as the highest paid woman in Hollywood.

The Avengers actress has previously experienced unsolicited nudes of her leaking online, and is now speaking out against the onslaught of deepfake pornography featuring her face generated onto the bodies of porn stars.

'Deepfake' (a 'deep learning' and 'fake' portmaneau) is a form of artificial intelligence human image synthesis technique. It can combine and superimpose images and videos to create fake footage of a person which never actually happened.

This means that deepfake has led to an onslaught of pornography featuring famous celebrity fames generated onto porn star's bodies, and it's essentially unregulated according to the Washington Post.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Scarlett Johansson (@seriouslyscarlett) on

 A hacker was sent to prison for 12 years in 2012 following a leak of nude images of Johansson and other A-List celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence. 

When it comes to deepfakes, arrests can be irrepressibly difficult to make. AI-generated videos of the star's face on porn star's bodies have plagued the actress, and she has chosen to speak out;

"I think it’s a useless pursuit, legally, mostly because the internet is a vast wormhole of darkness that eats itself,” she tells the Washington Post.

She implies that the time has come for her to give up her relentless pursuit, due to the impossibility of the technology itself. Tracking down the culprits within and outside of the US is a tedious task.

“The internet is just another place where sex sells and vulnerable people are preyed upon,” she says, in a weary tone.

"Every country has their own legalese regarding the right to your own image, so while you may be able to take down sites in the U.S. that are using your face, the same rules might not apply in Germany," she comments, in exasperation.

"Even if you copyright pictures with your image that belong to you, the same copyright laws don’t apply overseas. I have sadly been down this road many, many times."

"The fact is that trying to protect yourself from the internet and its depravity is basically a lost cause, for the most part." Anyone is vulnerable to exploitative attacks such as these when it comes to the power of the web.

She suggests that the black hole of the internet is so depraved, "it's only a matter of time" before any individual will be targeted.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Scarlett Johansson (@seriouslyscarlett) on

A number of internet giants have taken steps to police fake AI pornography, and porn in general on their sites, such as Reddit and Tumblr.

However, PornHub had claimed to have taken down and "banned" deepfakes ten months ago, yet there are still videos uploaded of Scarlett Johansson today.

Seems fruitless, and disturbing.

We certainly hope steps will be taken to regulate technology such as this in the future, the dangers of deepfakes are countless; between hoaxes, fake terrorism videos, false threats and identity theft/impersonation for pornography, its a dark, deep web out there.

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Emotional tributes and forms of creative protest have been occurring worldwide for the 17-year-old woman involved in this week's Cork rape trial, which saw a female barrister use the young woman's underwear as evidence against her.

According to the barrister, the woman's lace thong proved that she was 'open to meeting someone and being with someone', leading to the organisation of mass rallies in support of the victim.

The 27-year-old man accused of raping her in an alleyway was acquitted of rape following barrister's Elizabeth O'Connell's finishing statements.

Among the tributes to the young woman is a hauntingly beautiful rendition of a song, penned by a young woman of similar age to the girl involved:

The video, which was shared on Twitter by her brother John Gaughan, has been steadily gaining in views since it was uploaded.

The lyrics echo the sentiments of outraged women all over the country, who are refusing to accept that underwear can play a part in consent and can also be used as evidence in a court of law.

"What are you wearing underneath? Isn't for you to see unless I want that to be, is that clear?"

"No please, can you stop? That should be enough for you to f*cking wise up, is that clear?"

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Peppermint (@i_am_peppermint) on

"Consent is what we're told, at 17-years-old, is what we wear underneath our clothes. Victims become accused of the crime they didn't do, responsibility is abused."

"We shouldn't have to fear for this to happen to us or someone that we love, is that clear?"

"Something has to change with the mindset of today, it's still not clear."

Anger has spread around Ireland as well as in other countries around the world as a result of the latest controversial rape trial.

ROSA and Ruth Coppinger TD have both requested that strikes occur as a form of protest against the handling of sexual violence cases as well as consent and Irish sex education on International Women's Day.

A review of the handling of sexual assault cases in Northern Ireland been released today, stating that members of the public be excluded from such trials following the high profile Belfast case.

The report, written by retired judge John Gillen and states that access to trials involving serious sexual offences should be confined to close family members of the complainant, the defendant as well the media. 

In the Republic of Ireland system, rape trials are already closed to the public. 

It remains to be seen if any positive consequences will occur as a result of the protests, we hope improvements can be made for the sake of sexual assault and rape victims in Ireland.

Feature image: ABC News

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The Bernard Shaw is a well-known site for political activism: murals dedicated to Savita Halappanavar, the Repeal Movement and the homelessness crisis have appeared in recent times alone.

This week saw a spark of anger which turned into a flame following a controversial Cork rape trial in which a female barrister named Elizabeth O'Connell used a 17-year-old woman's underwear as evidence against her.

As a result, #thisisnotconsent protests took place all over the country, with women and men marching with 'I Believe Her' banners in the air.

The Bernard Shaw's latest activist art piece is dedicated to the young woman whose 27-year-old alleged attacker was acquitted of rape following Elizabeth O'Connell's finishing statement.

The barrister urged the jury of eight men and four women to consider the woman's underwear, which happened to be a lace thong, claiming that the woman "was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone".

The Richmond Street South mural shows painted images of various shapes and sizes of underwear, with each branded with the words 'Not Asking For It.' The work was created by Emma Blake, a street artist and graphic designer, also known as Estr.

The mural's appearance is in support of the solidarity rallies which took place this week, urging the government to change the way in which rape trials are conducted.

Women's rights group ROSA wrote that the judicial consideration of the girl's underwear  as evidence was a "disgrace".

ROSA also stated: "These lines of character accusation and victim blaming are unfortunately a common tactic used in cases before the courts relating to sexual violence."

"The judiciary has proven itself time and time again to be utterly damaging to survivors of sexual violence to seek justice."

 Let's hope these crucial protests lead to the necessary changes to Irish law regarding sexual violence.

Feature image: Channel NewsAsia

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A number of female film stars came together to stage a protest against gender discrimination in the industry at the Cannes Film Festival this weekend. 

Cate Blanchett, Kristen Stewart and Selma Hayek were among those who took part in the demonstration on Saturday, which saw a group of actresses and film-makers link arms as they walked the red carpet. 

Speaking to reporters, Cate Blanchette made a powerful speech about the importance of the cause. 

"Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of the industry says otherwise," she declared.

"We are 82 women, representing the number of female directors who have climbed these stairs since the first edition of the Cannes Film Festival in 1946. In the same period, 1,688 male directors have climbed these very same stairs.

She went on the shed light on the fact that just two women have been awarded the highest prize at the prestigious film festival while 71 men have received the honour. 

"The prestigious Palme d'Or has been bestowed upon 71 male directors, too numerous to mention by name, but only two female directors." 

All of the festivals female jury members took part in the protest which was described as a "massive milestone towards change." 

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A number of schools in the Chicago area have come under fire after it was revealed that female students are bleeding through their clothes because of the strict bathroom rules the charter schools put in place.

The NPR revealed the school’s controversial rules, where students must be brought to the bathroom by an escort.

However, one student explained to NPR that the escorts are rarely ever available.

The students are not allowed to go to the bathroom alone and face punishment if they are caught walking outside of the classroom.

An anonymous student shared, “Who wants to walk around knowing there’s blood on them? It can still stain the seats. They just need to be more understanding."

Female students who are menstruating explained that they have leaked through their clothes because they can’t go to the bathroom to change their pads or tampons.

It has been reported that some schools have introduced a dress code where female students can cover up blood stains by tying jumpers around their waists, but this step is not good enough.

“If a menstruating student has bled through her clothing, she can inform a teacher who will send an email to staff announcing the name of the girl who has permission to wear her sweater tied around her waist, so she doesn’t receive demerits for violating the dress code,” NPR reported.

People have expressed their horror at the treatment of the female students, who are being stripped of their dignity.

Pads and tampons need to be changed every few hours to avoid leaking and discomfort, as well as odours, and in severe cases toxic shock syndrome.

Female students are at risk of toxic shock syndrome if they don't change their tampons regularly. 

As well as health complications, the girls are being stripped of respect and comfort.

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Ariana Dunne, the CCO here at SHEmazing HQ, has shared her thoughts on the upcoming referendum.

Holding the leaflets in our hands sitting on the steps of Easons on Middle Abbey Street my friend and I cried as our teenage brains failed to comprehend how anyone could murder an innocent baby. The pamphlet we held contained a no holds barred image of a torn and tattered foetus, handed to us by a posse of anti-abortion protestors pitched up with placards outside the GPO.

This was 1996, four years after the failed referendum of 1992 and 6 years before the 2002 attempt. So the reason for this protest was, I can only imagine, to cause controversy, spark debate and shame those who had, or who were considering a termination.

As a 15 year old who’s virginity was still intact I vowed that day that I would never under any circumstances have an abortion. With the distressing images ingrained in my brain I was sure in my conviction that abortion was an abomination and should never be legalised in Ireland.

Fast forward four years and I’m crying again. ‘Don’t worry I’m sure it will be fine’ my friend reassured me as I relayed what had happened the previous evening. A romantic dalliance with a man I barely knew, a split condom, a swift departure and me left to pick up the pieces of all the fears that come with unprotected sex.

Though of course the fear that held precedence was that I may be pregnant with a baby I neither wanted nor was prepared for in any way shape or form. I was in college with a degree forming in my brain while a potential baby formed in my belly and there was simply not enough room inside my body for both to flourish. I had a career planned out, dreams of a life that involved travel and fun and freedom.

Silhouette of Person in Front of Fence

I made an appointment with an emergency doctor, my friend drove me to the clinic, pale faced and shame faced I sat before a stern unkindly doctor feeling judged for my inability to prevent a thin film of rubber from breaking on an appendage that wasn’t even my own.

He prescribed a pill that I had 72 hours to source, pay for and consume in the hopes that I would not face impending motherhood.

My emergency doctor’s appointment had already set me back €80 and I then had a terrifying few days to wait before I could take a viable pregnancy test. My mind raced, recalling from its depths the leaflet I had seen as a teen, but my outrage had shifted.

How dare those people inflict such horrendous imagery on a young innocent. If I was pregnant now there was no doubt I would be on the first boat over to England. Of course I would. I was not fit to be a mother to an innocent baby at this stage in my life, I could barely fathom how I would cobble the fare and the cost of the procedure let alone afford the ongoing cost of an actual living human being.

Thankfully the absence of a single blue line on the pregnancy test I had shamefully bought and secreted away in my handbag from a pharmacy where no one would possibly know me confirmed that on this occasion a pregnancy had not occurred. The relief that swept over me was palpable.

But I was the lucky one and I knew that. So many before and after me have had the dilemma firmly placed in their laps. A lap that then bares the weight of guilt or the weight of a bouncing baby depending on the choice that is bravely made by my sisterhood.

Choice.

That’s the crux.

The choices we make.

beautiful, hands, heart

Fast forward 16 years and I’m now a 35 year old single career woman. A title which seemingly casts me as the wicked witch in this abortion referendum, even by the Yes voters. Articles I’ve read compare the innocent 16 year old who finds herself pregnant with the evil 30 something ‘career’ woman who’s lack of supposed vulnerability inhibits her from making a ‘choice’ we can all agree with.

But in all honestly as my 36th year looms my biological clock ticks louder by the minute. The truth is I have never once seen a double blue line on a pregnancy test and I have taken more than a few throughout the years of sexual accidents and mishaps.

My sacrificial journey to the UK never had to happen. For this I am grateful, but now I also lament the fact that the pregnancy I had always feared never actually happened. If I had a mishap now, single and all that I am, I would not make that fateful lonely journey and I would now choose to keep the baby and do my best to raise a happy child on my own.

In fact if in two years I have still have not found someone to share my life with I will have a child on my own with the help of fertility clinics. If the universe is willing of course. And I will no doubt face judgement with regard to that choice too.

Over my life I have had many choices. I chose to be anti abortion, then I was pro and now I just want everyone to be happy with whatever choices they make with regards to bringing a new life into this world or not as the case may be.

For me on May 25th I will vote. A privilege in itself.

And I will choose choice.

Written by Ariana Dunne.

Don't forget to check the register, and use your vote on May 25th. 

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A young Saudi woman has caused a stir online after she posted a video of herself walking around in public in a miniskirt and crop top.

The footage has divided opinions, with some Saudis calling for her arrest while others rush to her defence.

Women in Saudi Arabia are not permitted to show off their bodies in public and must wear long, loose robes.

The video, posted on Snapchat, shows the young woman walking around an empty historic fort in Ushaiager, a village just north of Riyadh, where many of the country's most conservative families live.

After the video was shared online, two conflicting hashtags emerged – one calling for her arrest and another arguing that she should have the freedom to dress as she pleases.

Ibrahim al-Munayif, a Saudi writer with more than 41,000 followers on Twitter, wrote:

“Just like we call on people to respect the laws of countries they travel to, people must also respect the laws of this country.”

Others pointing out the fact that US First Lady, Melania Trump, although modestly dressed, had refused to wear a head cover during President Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia in May.

According to the Associated Press, the Saudi Okaz news website reported that officials in Ushaiager called on the region's police to take actions against the woman.

Another news website reported that the kingdom's morality police had corresponded with other agencies to investigate the video further.

Given that almost half of Saudi Arabia's population in under the age of 25, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has pushed for greater openings for entertainment in part to appease the country's youth, but strict gender segregation rules remain.

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Let’s face it, politics can be confusing at the best of times, but it doesn’t Enda Kenny can’t actually remember what he did or didn’t say.

Questions have been raised over whether or not the Taoiseach raised the issue of women’s rights during a trade mission to Saudi Arabia in 2014 after he made some conflicting comments on the issue.

Speaking in Toronto on Friday he said he had raised the issue of human rights ‘’which obviously includes women's rights", with the Saudi Authorities.

 ‘’Minister for Foreign Affairs Minister Flanagan has raised specifically the issue of women’s rights and that will continue to be Ireland’s position,” he added.

However, the statement conflicted with what Enda said in the Dáil at the time of the mission.

On April 1, 2014, the Taoiseach said “The issue of women’s rights was not specifically discussed,” when quizzed by Micheal Martin.

Enda replied to the confusion by saying that while the issue of human rights was discussed in Saudi Arbaia, it did not include a specific emphasis on women’s rights. 

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