Archive for April 22nd, 2008

As a national breast cancer charity, we often find ourselves approached by the media to add a “real life” angle to a story (Anyone here been abused and wears a size 10?, April 14). More often than not we are asked for young and/or “attractive” case studies.

Breast cancer in an attractive woman in her 30s or 40s may make a more aesthetically pleasing story, but it can give an unrealistic perception of who is typically affected by the disease. Around 80% of the 44,000 new cases each year are actually in post-menopausal women and breast cancer does not discriminate when it comes to beauty.

We need the support of the media to help us convey the reality rather than a skewed perception of this devastating disease.

Jackie Graveney, director of communications and marketing, Breast Cancer Campaign

We set up to help the media get case studies from charities. Most requests are fine but one journalist emailed all the domestic violence charities on the site to ask if they could provide a woman who had fallen in love with her stalker/abuser, while another asked a charity if the cancer patient they were putting forward was pretty.

Charities know they can benefit from the media’s use of case studies but journalists also need to remember that case studies are real people.

Penelope Gibbs, founder,

It is with great regret that I can confirm that newspapers as well as magazines increasingly want case studies who are pleasing to the eye. The press is perpetuating unreality and adding to the distress of countless others who, although they have survived and have a good story to tell, do not look a million dollars.

One editor of a national’s health section always wants women in skirts and kitten heels and men in casual trousers, not jeans, with a shirt, not a T-shirt. Another often wants to know what the case study looks like before commissioning. How do you ask someone who is just out of hospital or taking a new drug with unpleasant side-effects if they are photogenic?

It is a matter of great concern to those of us in the Guild of Health Writers. Most of our members depend upon these editors for their bread and butter, so it is difficult for them not to accede to this request. But their readers would prefer an honest reflection of the story.

Judy Hobson, secretary, Guild of Health Writers

Letters to Guardian Media re a story the previous week Anyone here been abused and wears a size 10?

(Please note this is not included to discourage women from working with Women’s Aid to get media coverage – but just to illustrate how hard it is for women’s issues to get proper and thoughtful coverage in the media. WiL)

We want to hear your story!

Would you like to help us raise awareness of domestic violence by telling your story? We work with range of media looking for women who are willing to share their experiences to help others going through domestic violence. At the moment, we are working with a glossy monthly magazine and are particularly looking for women who are willing to be identified. However, whatever your story, if you can help please get in touch. For info, email us confidentially or call 0117 9157454.

For info, email us confidentially or call 0117 915 7454.

Women’s Aid

National 24 Hour Freephone Helpline : 0808 2000 247

No recourse to public funds requirement: Trapping women in violent situations

Meet up with groups from the women’s sector on 23rd April 2008 between 11.30-12.30 on the Embankment outside Portcullis House to demonstrate opposition to the injustices of the “no recourse to public funds” requirement.

This piece of immigration policy prevents women with “uncertain immigration status”, who are victims of violence, from being able to access the safety of a refuge.

The demonstrators will then go into Portcullis House for a public meeting from 1-3pm

Amnesty International UK is supporting this demonstration, which follows the recent launch of our report “No recourse, no safety”.

If you can attend the demo, please try to get there by 11.00 am.

For background details to this issue see “Abolish No Recourse to Public Funds: End Violence Against Women! Support the Day of Action: 23 April 2008

80 years on from women’s suffrage, it is predicted that it will take:
* 20 years to achieve equality in civil service top management
* 40 years to achieve an equal number of senior women in the judiciary
* Up to 200 years – another 40 elections – to achieve an equal number of women in Parliament
(Equal Opportunities Commission 2006 survey of women’s representation in positions of power)

Women Take Part invites you to be part of changing this……. to contribute your ideas, experiences and knowledge, and hear:
– what women have to say ……
– how organisations are working to change things …..

Introduced by Barbara Follett MP, Deputy Minister for Women & Equality
Date: Tuesday 13th May 2008
Time: 9.30am for 10.00am start with 4.30pm finish
Venue: The Deaf Cultural Centre, Ladywood, Birmingham B16 8SZ (

Fully accessible, parking available on request
Plenty of taxis at the station
Hotel deals can be arranged

R.S.V.P by Monday 28th April
01743 350198 or

WTP has been collecting information about two sides of the story

‘what works’ in terms of approaches, initiatives and learning models that encourage different groups of women to become more involved in community and public life

‘what needs to happen’ so that structures, policies and organisations work in ways that encourage the recruitment and support of more women, particularly currently under-represented women

This event is about sharing initial findings from research and conversations with people who have been working around these issues for years. It is a real opportunity to provide a flavour of some of the fantastic work that is happening around the country.

It is also about sharing your experiences and thoughts through interactive sessions. We will be exploring the key things that need to happen to increase the participation of women, particularly women from underrepresented groups in governance and decision making – in both public and community life.

Last, but not least, it is about sharing your views on how this research can be used to make a real difference and make sure that women are in the places where decisions are made and priorities set.

The day is aimed at those who are committed to increasing numbers of women in community and public life.

You might be:
* involved in delivering learning programmes
* from an organisation that wants to recruit more women into governance
* in a position to commit resources to relevant programmes and initiatives
* already involved in this research

It is an invitation-only event with a limited number of places, so please let us know if you intend to join us or not, so we can re-offer available places or book you in and check any dietary or access requirements, including travel or caring costs which may help you to take part.

Display space is available if you have literature which may be of interest – please contact us for details

Women Take Part, c/o changes, 53 North Street, Shrewsbury SY1 2JL
01743 350198 /

A Women’s Agenda for the Local Elections May 2008

* Have you heard politicians canvassing for votes mention a policy that is important to you as a woman?
* Or do you think politicians are taking women’s vote for granted?
* Or in the 21st century maybe you think local issues are gender neutral?

So with just over a week to go we thought we would try and help make public the concerns and priorities for women with a vote to cast on 1st May 2008.

Maybe your concerns are ‘traditional’ women’s issues, such as more affordable child care, more local well paid part time work, more affordable housing, easy access to appropriate health care, better services for carers, choice of school places, .

Or maybe your concerns are more about your area’s infrastructure, such as cheaper/better public transport, more cycle lanes, more play and sports grounds, no closure of local post offices, safer streets, more dentists surgeries, .

And because we appreciate that funding of women’s services is such a critical issue for many women, we want to ask a separate question about that, but hope you will use the other questions to help us compile a list of the unmet needs of women in your local area.

We realise that not everyone will be having local elections – if you are not sure see the lists at But even if there aren’t local elections in your area, why not get your voice heard now – it may make a difference when it is your turn!

We hope you will find time to take this survey.

We will close the survey at 4pm on Tuesday 29th April and will make every effort to publish the results by Wednesday 30th April

To take the survey go to

Many thanks!
Women in London