Vogue Wants Woman Who Look Real, not Girls

Vogue, a fashion magazine, has decided to only show women older than 16 and women who don’t appear to have an eating disorder. This may sound odd that they would have used young girls with eating disorders in the past, but at least they are paving the way forward for other fashion magazines to follow in respecting models.

In a six-point pact to appear in their respective June issues, the editors pledge to not to knowingly work with models under the age of 16 or with those “who appear to have an eating disorder”.

“We will work with models who, in our view, are healthy and help us to promote a healthy body image,” they said.

The editors will also instruct modelling agencies not to send them underage models, require casting directors to check models’ ID prior to photo shoots and encourage “healthy backstage working conditions”.

Fashion designers, meanwhile, will be encouraged – though not obliged – to “consider the consequences of unrealistically small sample (dress) sizes … which encourages the use of extremely thin models.”

Read more here.

Female Politicians Inspire Young Women

A new study from MIT has concluded that female politicians boosts aspirations, educational achievement of young women. There have been a few international initiatives that look to improve the world by empowering women and now we know that getting more women into politics actually does make the world better!

Based on a survey of roughly 8,000 Indian adolescents and parents, the research paper, appearing this week in Science, notes that having women serve as the leader, or pradhan, of a village council erases the prevailing “gender gap” that tends to work in favor of young men, provided that female politicians remain visible in local government for an extended period of time.

“We think this is due to a role-model effect: Seeing women in charge persuaded parents and teens that women can run things, and increased their ambitions,” says Duflo, who is a co-founder of MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). She adds: “Changing perceptions and giving hope can have an impact on reality.”

Read more here.

Games for Women

Some entrepreneurs in Vancouver have discovered that there are not enough games designed specifically for women and they are looking to change that.

As a game designer myself, I think that this is a great thing to see!

Few mainstream video games are made — or marketed — with women in mind, even though nearly 40 per cent of video game players in the United States and Canada are female. The likely reason? Few women are actually designing the games.

Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch and Kirsten Forbes hope to ride to the rescue. Last July, the two Vancouverites launched Silicon Sisters, the first game development studio in the country owned and run by women. It is unique in its mission to design games for young girls from a female perspective.

Their first game, School 26, launches in early spring on computer and portable Mac devices. It’s a role-playing game in which players act as a high school student who helps peers with personal and school-related problems.

Read the rest of the article.

Thanks Stewy!

World Toilet Day

World Toilet Day is today! For those of you who care about sanitation it’s time to celebrate this campaign to increase awareness of the plight of loos around the world. Access to toilets is a huge issue in poor areas that has cascading effects on all levels of society, particularly women.

It’s great to see this campaign get so much attention and there’s stuff you can do to help out!

WTO which has over 200 partners worldwide, 42 of which are in India is one of the few organisations that focusses only on sanitation and toilets instead of water. “Everyone clubs water and sanitation, and 95% of the funds go towards water projects. But good sanitation is the first step towards clean water,” he says.

Toilets weren’t really top of the pot for Sim, who ran a number of businesses from the age of 25. “When I turned 40, I realised that I had 13,000 more days to live the average Singaporean lives to 80 and wanted to do something useful,” he says. Sim started reading and “realised that the toilet is really neglected”. So he started “the other WTO” in 2001 to disseminate serious facts with a sense of humour. The logo is a toilet seat shaped like a heart. “I thought the best way to break the toilet taboo was to use lots of puns.” But the name, which everyone thinks is “really bad at first” sticks in people’s minds. “That’s because every mother has told her child not to talk about the toilet. It’s not polite’. And here we are talking about the loo quite freely,” says Sim, who is often called Toilet Man.

And it’s not just about getting toilets installed. “You have to keep them clean too. So Sim has started the World Toilet College in Singapore that provides training in toilet maintenance and design. “I’m hoping we can open one in India too to train toilet cleaners like technicians.”

Read more: The big squat’ to take a stand on sanitation

Vaginal Gel Cuts HIV Infections by Half

The International Aids Conference is currently underway in Vienna right now and some exciting news has been announced there. A new vaginal gel containing an AIDs drug is excellent at curtailing HIV infections.

The gel was found to be both safe and acceptable when used once in the 12 hours before sex and once in the 12 hours after sex by women aged 18 to 40 years.

Salim Abdool Karim, one of the two leading co-researchers, told reporters in Vienna that the 889 women involved in the trial, conducted in the coastal city of Durban and a remote rural village, had largely used the gel as directed.

They were also given condoms and advice about sexually transmitted diseases, and tested for HIV once a month.

After 30 months, 98 women became infected with HIV – 38 in the group that got tenofovir in the gel and 60 in the group that got placebos.

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