International Women’s Day – Part 1

This blog is not in any way campaigning or fighting for women.
It is simply presenting what is clearly not right in our world today.

International Women’s Day 8 March 2018 campaign theme is Press for Progress.

So here is what the website is saying –

Started by the Suffragettes in the early 1900s, the first International Women’s Day was celebrated in 1911.

With the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away – there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and Press for Progress.

While we know gender parity will not happen overnight, the good news is that across the world women are making positive gains day by day. Plus, there is indeed a very strong and growing global movement of advocacy, activism and support.

So we cannot be complacent. Now, more than ever, there is a strong call-to-action, to press forward and progress gender parity. A strong call to #PressforProgress.

A strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.

International Women’s Day is not country, group or organisation specific. The day belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. So together, let us all be tenacious in accelerating gender parity.

Collectively let’s all Press for Progress. (1)

Dear World

Is exerting continuous physical force the right way to go about anything?

Are we going to get anywhere in the long run if we press for progress?

Is pressing a force that stops another way that may bring about real changes?
Is pressing driving us and pushing us in a direction that may not be the Truth?

Can we really motivate anyone if we have a hidden agenda or a blind spot in us?
In other words, we have something not cleared in our life but somehow think that is ok.

Is equality something that needs to come from inside us first and foremost?
In other words, we need a balance of true male and female qualities within us.

Is this too way off and whacky for the start of a top blog, which is presenting what is going on for women in our world today and asking many questions for us all to consider?

Are these the type of questions we all need to start asking before we can get to true progress?

UK

2018 marks 100 years since women given right to vote.

1918 – Representation of the People Act passed allowing women over age 30 who met a property qualification to vote.

8.5 million women met this criteria and represented 40% of total women population.

1928 – Equal Franchise Act allowed women over age 21 to vote and achieve same voting rights as men. (2)

Saudi Arabia

2015 – women granted right to vote.

2017 – King ordered reform requesting driving licenses to be issued to women.

Last country in the world in which women banned from driving.
Fact frequently used by critics that women of the kingdom were among world’s most repressed.

Strict guardianship laws – husbands or fathers can prevent wives or daughters from leaving the home gave cover to the driving ban, which has long been accepted by many in the intensely conservative kingdom. (3)

Vatican City, Rome

Home of the Roman Catholic church does not allow women the right to vote.
Cardinals are the only people who have voting rights and only voting is for new Pope.
Only men can become cardinals, so women have no say in the election of a new Pope. (3)

Feminism – word of the year in 2017
Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Following a surge in online searches, the US dictionary named “feminism” word of the year.

Interest in the term was driven by –
Women’s marches
TV shows
Films on women’s issues
String of news stories
Sexual Assault and Harassment claims

70% increase in the number of people searching for the word.

Dictionary defines feminism as “the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes(4)

How come this word Feminism is being searched online?
Who is doing the searching and why is there such a rise?
WHY has EQUALITY now become more important than ever before?

GLOBAL

1/3 ALL female deaths due to cardiovascular disease and stroke.
World Health Organization (5)

Heart Health

The discourse was women needed to empower themselves.
Their heart health was a matter of Personal Responsibility.
Years of public education, campaigns from health organisations called on women to take charge of their hearts.

We now know that to make a difference, this Responsibility must be applied much more broadly.
Educating and empowering women is important but it is only part of the solution.
Healthcare systems need to catch up with new evidence that women’s hearts are different.
They must incorporate new women-specific diagnostics and treatment.
New knowledge must be gathered and translated into better and safer heart healthcare for women.
Ms Understood
Heart and Stroke 2018 – Heart Report (6)

Heart Attacks affect women. (7)

Sweden

Fewer women who suffer a heart attack would die if they were given the same treatments as men.

180,368 patients who suffered a heart attack over 10 year period study.

Researchers believe due to the difference in care given.

Women average less likely than men to receive the recommended treatments after fatal type of heart attack called STEMI.

Most serious type of heart attack.

Coronary artery is completely blocked by a blood clot and requires urgent treatment.

Gender differences for women –

16% less likely given aspirin, to help prevent blood clots.

24% less likely prescribed statin medication, to help prevent second heart attack.

34% less likely receive procedures, which clear blocked arteries – bypass surgery and stents.

Despite guidelines suggesting all three treatments should be given to both genders.
Women did not receive the recommended treatments.

Gap in mortality between the sexes decreased in almost all circumstances when women did receive all the recommended treatments.

From very first point of contact with healthcare professionals, women are more likely to be initially misdiagnosed. That then feeds the whole pathway of care.

If you miss the first, earliest opportunity for care – you are much more likely to miss the next point of contact and it all adds us cumulatively and leads to a greater mortality.

Sweden is a leader in healthcare with one of the lowest mortality rates from heart attacks, yet we still see this disparity in treatment and outcomes between men and women.
Professor Chris Gale – University of Leeds (7)

UK

70,000 women hospitalised for heart attacks per year. (7)

Canada

Heart Disease – leading cause of premature death for women. (6)

Women are unnecessarily suffering and dying from heart disease.

New report titled “Ms. Understood” – 1st February 2018. (8)

Women are at greater risk not having their disease diagnosed and treated.
Reasons for disparities varied.

While both men and women likely to complain of chest pain, nature of chest pain can be different.

Women, instead of describing as crushing pain, might describe as heaviness or pressure.
Karin Humphries – Report Author
Scientific Director – British Columbia Centre for Improved Cardiovascular Health (8)

Women more likely have more non-specific symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, sweats and palpitations, cardiologists say.

Heart attacks more deadly for women because their hearts are affected by pregnancy, menopause and hormonal changes.

HELLO

Do we need to just STOP and ask some more questions here?

Is the above telling us that women’s hearts respond differently?

If the hearts of women are affected by pregnancy and menopause, are we going to find out WHY this is?

Is it because our heart is very connected to what is going on in our body and anything that is un-natural will affect it?

Is it because the way a woman lives and the choices she makes, has a huge impact on her heart and it is more prevalent during pregnancy and menopause?

Next – more questions that require us to deeply ponder on.

Are we as women, truly equipped to deal with the hormonal changes that take place, if we have lost our innate connection to the essence of who we truly are?

Are women today aware of the rhythms and cycles to live with, that would foster and nurture their connection to their inner-most truth?

Do we today know enough about how to live with all the internal changes that take place inside a woman’s body?

Is the crushing pain, heaviness and pressure in a woman’s heart coming from the fact that she is not living a life that is honouring of her as a woman?

1/3 young women with premature acute heart attacks have a history of –

That doubles their lifetime risk for heart disease.

Women who have a heart attack, more likely to die or suffer second heart attack, compared to men. (8)

Women less than 60 – rates for heart disease and death going up.
These women if they have a heart attack, more likely than men to have a second heart attack or die within 12 months of that heart attack.

Women tend to have more diffuse disease that involves smaller blood vessels.
Dr. Paula Harvey – Head Women’s College Hospital, Toronto
Chief – The Department of Medicine and Cardiology Division (8)

Risk

South Asian, Chinese and Afro-Caribbean descent – more vulnerable to heart disease.
Poorer outcomes compared with Caucasian Canadians.
Indigenous Canadians living on reserves – lack of cardiac care resources in remote or rural hospitals.

90% women – at least one risk factor and most underestimate their risk. (8)

More women are taking up smoking, not exercising or eating properly.
Higher prevalence of Diabetes that increases risk of heart attack.
Karin Humphries – Report Author
Scientific Director – British Columbia Centre for Improved Cardiovascular Health

20 minutes – a woman dies from heart disease.

5 times as many women die from heart disease as breast cancer.

66% of Heart Disease clinical research focuses on men.

This is largely due to safety concerns involving women in drug development.

Following thalidomide disasters in early 1960’s in which a drug used by pregnant women caused malformed limbs in newborns, it became common practice to assume all women between the onset of menstruation and menopause were “potentially pregnant” regardless of sexual orientation or activity. They were prohibited from participating as research subjects. (6)

25,000 women die each year from Heart Disease. (6)

Women have more adverse reactions to certain heart medications.
These reactions are more severe than men experience.

Women are at greater risk of drug-induced heart rhythm disorders.

Women have twice the risk of bleeding complications from common treatments such as Angioplasty.

78% of women – early heart attack signs missed.

58% women aged 19 to 29 report stress most or every day.

Are women getting stressed because they are not choosing to live in a way that deeply honours who they truly are?

Women are –

Under-researched
Under-diagnosed
Under-treated
Under-supported
Under-aware

Women diagnosed with heart disease tend to have other health conditions that make analysis more difficult to interpret.

Evidence suggests that increasing the number of women scientists involved in heart research will improve our understanding of heart disease in women. (6)

Are the hearts of our women giving up or communicating that something is not right about the way we are choosing to live as a woman?

SCAD – Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

Occurs when unexpected tear develops in artery.

Hello – is it really ‘unexpected’?  

25% all heart attacks in women under age 60 – SCAD is underlying cause.

90% SCAD patients are female – almost all young and healthy otherwise.

Really?
Who defines healthy?
What is our definition of this word and do we ALL as a world unite on this word?

Cause

There are a lot of unknowns around what makes an artery weak.
Many patients have a provoking reason why they have tears.

Physical stress or severe emotional stress, like death in the family or job loss can trigger a SCAD if the arteries are already weak.
Dr. Jacqueline Saw – Leading Expert on SCAD, Canada

70% SCAD patients have underlying FMD – Fibromuscular Dysplasia.

There is a link to this condition – results in overgrowth of cells in arteries, weakening them and more prone to tears.

What causes FMD?
Another mystery researchers are trying to solve.

Other conditions including connective tissue disease, inflammatory disease and multiple pregnancies.

20% SCAD patients experience second episode within 5 years.

“As an athlete you do not think you need rest.
Since my SCAD, I am learning to be gentle with myself and listen to my heart more.”
Woman diagnosed with SCAD

119% increase of Coronary Heart Disease for women who smoked one cigarette per day. (10)

Raynaud’s

Women 9 times more likely to be affected.

20% of all women in childbearing years have Raynaud’s. (11)

Cancer

UK

2015

42.4% – most common cause of Cancer in females aged 15 to 49 is Breast Cancer. (12)

Ovarian Cancer – Statistics

Reasons why there are many deaths from Ovarian Cancer annually –

70% are diagnosed at advanced stage.
Likelihood of survival decreases when Cancer reaches advanced stage.

11.5% – 5 year survival rate when diagnosed at Stage 4.

91% – 5 year survival rate when diagnosed at Stage 1. (13)

20% more likely to develop some form of Cancer – Women who work night shifts. (14)

41% – more likely to have Skin Cancers.

32% – more likely to have Breast Cancer.

Increased risk of Breast Cancer seen in European and North American populations.

58% more likely to develop Cancer, compared to those who worked days.

Nurses working nightshifts had highest increases in Cancer risk of any occupational group.
Study published in the Journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention

Studies also shown the disruption night-shifts cause to sleep patterns and impact seen at genetic level and can throw biological processes into “chaos”. (14)

Our nurses are in the caring profession and yet this is telling us their risk to Cancer working night shifts is higher than any other occupational group.

Can we join the dots and can we start asking WHY is this?

What is the real quality of their caring if they are suffering in some way?

Are we educating our nurses to deeply take care of their body to enable them to carry out shift duties and long hours which include night shift?

Is something missing and can we at least start discussions by saying ‘something is not right’?

How long can we continue to see the rise in women night shift workers developing a dis-ease in their body without finding out the root cause of WHY this happens in the first place?

Are science and humanity ready to dig deep and keep asking questions until we get to the root cause of all our ills that we have created?

Are we ready to look and closely and examine our lifestyle choices and our day to day way of living that may be contributing to WHY we have such escalating rates of illness and disease today in our world?

Gynaecology

UK

220,000 British women diagnosed with cervical abnormalities each year. (15)

Young women avoid smear tests – embarrassed by look and smell of pubic areas.

35% – body shape
34% – appearance of vulva
38% – concerns over smell

15% miss smear test for waxing appointment or gym class.

5 million women – 1 in 4 do not attend cervical screening. (15)

HELLO

Where has all this crazy behaviour come from?

WHY are young women so into their body shape and concerns over smells?
WHY are young women avoiding something that is important to their health?
WHY is waxing and the gym a priority over getting checked out down there?
WHY are we not bothering to attend a cervical screening that could help us?

WHY are we not being educated about cervical abnormalities and what signs to look out for?

WHY are we not demanding answers so research can be focused on the root cause of this?

Current new trend of women putting glitter filled capsules into their vagina.

Gynaecologists warning against this as potentially dangerous side effects. (16)

What is the purpose of putting glitter into our vagina?

Who came up with this idea?
Who are we doing this for?

Are we interested in that sacred part of our body as a woman?

Are we going to listen to our Gynaecologists who specialise in this area?

Do we care what happens knowing our body is not designed to take poison?

There has to be a demand as that is why we now have supply – a capsule.
We cannot blame suppliers as they are in business because we make demands.
Is it time to ask WHY we want something that is potentially and seriously harmfull?

Pregnancy

Preeclampsia

Condition that pregnant women develop.
Marked by High Blood Pressure, not experienced before.
High level of protein in urine.
Swelling in feet, legs and hands.
Appears usually in late pregnancy.

If undiagnosed, can lead to Eclampsia which is a serious condition.
Women who have seizures are considered to have Eclampsia.

Exact causes not known.
Researchers suspect poor nutrition, high body fat and insufficient blood flow to uterus.

Preeclampsia most often in

  • First-time pregnancies
  • Pregnant teenagers
  • Women over 40

Risk factors include –

  • History of High Blood Pressure prior to pregnancy
  • History of Preeclampsia
  • Mother or Sister who had Preeclampsia
  • History of Obesity
  • History of Diabetes
  • History of Kidney Disease
  • History of Lupus
  • History of Rheumatoid Arthritis (17)

So here we have yet another dis-ease in the human body and we do not know exact cause.

Is it because we are looking in the wrong places or not asking the right questions?

Can we go with what researchers suspect and take it from there?
Can we use a bit of common sense and join the dots and see what we can work out?

Is the poor nutrition and high body fat contributing to insufficient blood flow in the uterus?

What is it about pregnancy that changes things and are we ready to ask more questions?

We are being told that those who get this are generally those who are pregnant for the first time or young teenagers and older women.

What sort of lifestyle choices were they living before they got pregnant?

Are our teenagers truly not equipped to deal with pregnancy at such a young age?
Are our teenagers fully developed emotionally, psychologically and physiologically?
Are our older women over 40 past the prime time for pregnancy and this is the problem?
Are our older women living a life that has a lack of nurturing and deeply caring qualities?

Did they prepare their body by taking the utmost care with sleep, exercise and diet?

Did any of these women have poor relationships and this had an effect on their well-being?

Did they have one of the risk factors’ history list above, which already confirmed something was not right in their body?

Could it be possible that during pregnancy the body goes into a state of absolute divinity and any complications that arise are just communicating how we have been living as a woman before and during pregnancy?

Could it be possible all symptoms are showing us in late pregnancy are that how we are living is not working and things need to change?

Could it be that simple?

Next –

Preeclampsia and Stroke

6 times more likely to suffer potentially fatal stroke – Mothers to be suffering with Preeclampsia.

Largest study of its kind, there is heightened risk of stroke during pregnancy and after birth if women have urinary tract infections, chronic high blood pressure or clotting or bleeding disorders.

Left untreated, the condition can cause serious complications for both mother and baby.

1 in 10 women with Preeclampsia-Related Stroke, died in hospital. (18)

Women with Preeclampsia who had chronic Hypertension (high blood pressure) bleeding or clotting disorders, or infections, particularly urinary tract infections, appeared to be at significantly increased risk of stroke.

The role of infection was perhaps the biggest question mark going into the study.

Infections cause inflammation, which is known to play an important role in triggering stroke, especially in young people.

Preeclampsia itself is an inflammatory disorder.
Infections may be what pushed some of these women over the edge.
About 2/3 of Preeclampsia-Related Strokes occur after birth, when mother has gone home.

Many new mothers will brush off symptoms, like headaches, which could be a sign of a stroke.
Dr Eliza Miller – New York Presbyterian and Columbia University Medical Center (18)

APS – Antiphospholipid Syndrome is also a risk factor for Preeclampsia.
Sometimes known as Hughes syndrome, this disorder of the immune system causes an increased risk of blood clots. (19)

Cervical Cerclage

Cervical Cerclage procedure is offered to women globally who are at high risk of miscarriage or premature birth.

Process involves stitch in the cervix to hold it close and delay labour.
Also acts as a barrier to infection.

Study published in Journal, Science Translational Medicine suggests thicker thread associated with three-fold increase in rate of baby death in womb compared to thinner thread. (20)

Thicker thread increased inflammation around the cervix and increased blood flow associated with the cervix opening before labour.

We all know with simple common sense applied that delaying a natural process or tampering with nature is not the Truth even if it suits us.

We all know science and the medical world are super clever and can help us achieve what we want. It is the demand and supply thing.

But what if delaying labour is not what nature intended?

What if we are messing with something that is divine by its very essence?

What if we are putting a tiny stitch into a sacred part of a woman’s body where it does not belong?

What if even a tiny thin thread stitch is still not natural to our internal state as a woman?

News story –

Modern life means more couples leave it to later than ever to start a family.
Many women face problems conceiving.
Official figures show women leaving it later to start a family in England and Wales.

Fertility rate among over 40s trebled since 1990.
Chances to get pregnant remain lower.
Higher rate of miscarriage and pregnancy complications.

It is well known older women produce fewer eggs leading many to pin their hopes of motherhood on difficult and potentially costly IVF treatment.

Scientific breakthrough has raised hopes that women in their 40s will soon find it easier to get pregnant.

New findings could lead to production of a pill that boosts levels of hormone called DHEA.
Researchers discovered evidence that DHEA plays a key role in preparing the womb for a successful pregnancy.

DHEA – Dehydroepiandrosterone is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland.

A fertilised egg will implant only if the conditions are just right and we were excited to see that DHEA might help improve this environment in cells.
Dr. Douglas Gibson – Lead Study Authour
MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh (21)

DHEA is already available in tablet or hormone gel, mostly connected with pregnancy.
Currently sold with claims saying reduces body fat to slow down the ageing process.

Even after an egg is fertilised, it is only when the womb lining accepts an embryo that a woman becomes pregnant.

Each month, as part of the menstrual cycle, hormones send chemical signals to cells in the lining to create the perfect conditions to support pregnancy – fertilised eggs are extremely sensitive to small changes in the lining.

The exact environment needed for healthy implantation is still unknown but DHEA is now thought to be involved in sending the right signals to the cells.

Note –
Research is in its early stages.

More research needed before this approach could be used to help women who are struggling to conceive. (21)

Hello World

After reading this above, could it be possible that our body has an Intelligence2 that our current form of Intelligence1 cannot work out?

UK

Premature birth – leading cause of neonatal death. (20)

USA

1 in 4 Pregnant Women smokes – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Smoking rate among pregnant women highest in early 20s, followed by age 15 to 19.

Younger and less educated mothers were most likely to continue smoking while pregnant, according to National Center for Health Statistics – part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (22)

Mental Health

66% – hide how they feel – fear of being judged or have baby taken away.

50% – new mothers suffer hallucinations and frightening thoughts.

37% – admit to others how they feel.

Images including thoughts of killing or harming their child.

62% – common thought ‘something dreadful will happen to baby’.

44% – plagued by belief baby might die.

39% – felt child and partner better off without them.

31% – admit having irrational fear someone will steal or harm their baby.

26% – ashamed of being mentally ill.

19% – feared they were ‘going mad’ when they fell ill.

13% – imagined killing or harming their own child.

43% suffering these extreme thoughts.

38% – Never tell anyone how they feel

17% – who fall ill admit they thought of self-harm to cope.

1 in 20 going on to self-harm.

16% considered suicide.

65% of those never told pregnancy and parenthood could affect their mental health.

64% who fall ill never try to get a formal diagnosis so are missed on official figures.

19% who suffered mental illness after birth reported refusing access to help in case their child was taken away.

Official NHS figures show 10 – 15% mothers experience serious mental health issues.

Experts believe there could be a ‘hidden epidemic’ of maternal mental illness.

68% – Experienced Anxiety after birth

48% – Insomnia due to worry

35% – Post Natal Depression

33% – Agoraphobic

29% – Felt mentally low for a year or longer

23% – Panic Attacks

Most common way mothers covered up feelings was to pretend to be “fine” when quizzed.

94% admitted they lied about their feelings.     

Lack of Sleep seen as main trigger.
55% believe this contributed to their condition.

54% – felt emotionally overwhelmed as a new parent.

39% – admitted trying to be ‘perfect parent’.

14% – Blame pressure of living up to others on social media.

80% mothers want society to be more open about maternal mental health issues and extreme thoughts. (23)

Dear World

How serious is this in just one country?
How are women living that gives rise to all these statistics?

Where are all these thoughts coming from?

What on earth is going on and why is this happening?
What was their life like before pregnancy and are their clues there?
What about women all over the world?
What is the real figure worldwide today about this topic?

WHY is the mental state of our new mothers and how can we help?

WHY have we not nailed it when it comes to sleep?
WHY do we suffer with Insomnia in the first place?
WHY is lack of sleep not being addressed as a priority?
WHY are we not educated at a young age about sleep?

WHY are we not asking questions like this?

Are women feeling overwhelmed because they were exhausted before pregnancy and now with a new baby it is just too much emotionally?

Are we blaming social media when we make the choices to subscribe to it in the first place?

Are we putting pressure on ourselves simply by hooking into our social media accounts?

Are we busy in our minds with images and pictures of how we want our perfect parent life?

Are we depressed when real life is nothing like that image in our head that we want?

Are we depressed because we have given up on life a long time ago before being a parent?

WHY are 94% lying about their feelings and what is this telling us about our relationships?

If this many are lying – what is it really saying about how we are choosing to live?

Could it be possible that if we are lying about our feelings then our body is going to feel out of sync as something is clearly not right?

Could it be possible that lying about our feelings is going to lead to all sorts of complications?

Could it be possible that lying about our feelings is going to create false relationships?

Could it be possible that lying about our feelings is going to have an effect on our baby?

Could it be possible that lying about our feelings is going to give us tension in our body?

Could it be possible that lying about our feelings is going to leave us not trusting anyone?

Are we having panic attacks because we are not taking care of our body and therefore not equipped to deal with what life brings?

Are we suffering from anxiety because we live in a constant state of tension in our body because we are not dealing with our buried issues and hurts?

Beauty

UK

Make-up – Cosmetics

38 different products purchased annually for the face.

£18,000 average woman spends during her lifetime. (24)

£2,238 – women aged 45-54 annual spend on beauty products. (25)

USA  

85% women apply 16 skincare and cosmetic products daily.

$300,000 average woman spends in a lifetime on face products. (26)

2017

44% drop in facelifts for women.

Women shunning facial cosmetic surgery in favour of flattering photo filters.

Data for 2017 show procedures for body increased for areas ‘filters cannot reach’.

Theory behind the shift in women’s surgery trends was because “there is such a range of filters for faces that women do not see the need for facial procedures”.
British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS)

Rise in women for breast augmentation and tummy tucks.

“The advent of myriad filters in social media platforms allows for the ubiquitous enhancing and facial feminising of ‘selfies’.
It is possible that fashion may also play a part; for example, the growing trend of active wear such as yoga pants and lycra leggings being worn in everyday life, perhaps demanding a more toned shape.

Both of these factors may potentially be the reasons why women’s focus for cosmetic surgery in 2017 has shifted from their face to their body in order to address the stubborn areas that neither diet, exercise or filters can reach.”
Rajiv Grover – Consultant Plastic Surgeon
Former President – British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (27)

“Using flattering photo filters can lead people to seek permanent surgical changes to their face and body.

The rise of the “selfie” has made people more critical of their self-image and has “undoubtedly” caused a rise in anxiety disorders like Body or Facial Dysmorphia.

When we look in a mirror, our brains ‘adjust’ to the image that we are seeing…

We become hyper-critical with a static photograph of the way we look and whether we are aware of it or not, this puts pressure on ourselves to be selfie perfect.
For some, this is simply a case of using a filter or an image-adjusting app on their smart phones before posting it. For others it instils a crisis of confidence and a real desire to make more substantial alterations to their face or body, often above and beyond any procedures that could be considered to help them feel better about themselves.”
Jo Hemmings – Psychologist, Harley Medical Group (27)

Have we lost the plot when it comes to all this ‘selfie’ business?

Have we lost all sense of reality and got hooked into a false world?

Do we honestly think that plastic surgery where filters can’t do the job is the solution?

Do we change the image in our mind and move the goal post constantly as we are never content with what we see in the mirror?

Would it be true to say that we are using filters to doctor our looks as we simply do not like what we see in the mirror?

Would it be true to say that we want others to see us in a certain way and so we get busy posting and before we know it we are addicted to uploading images daily of how we want to be seen?

Would it be true to say that we are constantly seeking approval, recognition, identification, validation and confirmation from our world and nothing is ever enough?

Would it be true to say that all this selfie and filters and plastic surgery leaves us comparing with others even more so than ever before?

Could it be possible that something is missing inside and we look outside of ourselves to fill up this empty void we feel every single day?

Could it be possible this false image we have created is making us deeply unhappy and discontent as it is not our natural way of living?

Women in Prison

UK

46% attempted suicide at some point compared to 6% of general population. (28)

March 2017

Rise in suicides amount female prisoners was linked to “inadequate” mental health provision and a “lack of urgency” among prison staff in responding to indications of mental illness.

49% – suffering from Anxiety and Depression, compared to 15% of wider population.

25% – symptoms indicative of Psychosis compared with 4% of the general public. (28)

WHY is there such a high rate of women in prison attempting suicide?

WHY have we ignored the fact that the mental state of our women offenders needs to be closely looked at, as this may give us some insight into what is really going on for them?

Could it be possible that our prison staff are simply not adequately educated and trained to deal with the mental health support that women in prison actually need?

Could it be possible that when women in prison are suffering from Anxiety and Depression and there is little or no support, then things will get worse?

Could it be possible that leaving their mental health unaddressed, could lead to Psychosis and these symptoms are serious, as it means our women in prison have lost contact with reality?

Could it be possible that it was the state of their mental health that led to the reason WHY these women ended up in prison?

Could it be possible that there are women in prison who committed a crime in reaction to the domestic violence and abuse that they consistently faced every day in their life?

Could it be possible that these statistics could be out of date and not accurate as many women will not be recorded as they have not expressed what is really going on for them inside prison?

Femicide

Femicide refers to the killing of women and girls because of their gender.

Extensive set of categories of femicide perpetrated directly or indirectly identified by a former specialist rapporteur on Violence Against Women and Professor in the Department of Public Law, University of Cape Town.

Direct Category include killings –

Armed conflict-related
Dowry-related
Ethnic-indigenous identity-related
Gender identity-sexual orientation
Honour-related
Related to sorcery/witchcraft
Result of intimate-partner violence

Indirect Category include deaths –

Deliberate acts or omissions by the State
Drug dealing
Due to poorly conducted or clandestine abortions
From harmfull practices
From simple neglect
Gang related activities
Linked to human trafficking
Maternal mortality
Organised crime
Starvation or ill-treatment (29)

Women – Domestic Violence

UK

1.4 million female victims of domestic violence each year. (30)

Women more likely to be victims of high risk or severe domestic abuse.

95% cases going to MARAC – Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference OR accessing an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate service are women. (31)

4.6 million women have experienced domestic abuse at some point since age 16.

Intimate partner relationships – 13 to 18 year old girls –

25% – report experiencing physical abuse.

33% – report experiencing sexual abuse.

30 women every week attempt suicide as a result of experiencing domestic abuse.
3 women suicide each week. (30)

1 in 3 report first incidence of domestic abuse happened while pregnant. (32)

One woman killed every three days by current or former partner.
Source: Office of National Statistics, 2015 (33)

Australia

Domestic Violence Rates

One woman a week killed by partner or former partner.

20% –  has experienced sexual violence.

25% –  experienced physical or sexual violence.

25% – experienced physical or sexual violence by intimate partner.

25% – experience emotional abuse by current or former partner.

3 times more likely than men to experience violence from intimate partner.

5 times more likely to require medical attention or hospitalisation.

5 times more likely to report fearing for their lives.

300,000 women every year experience violence from someone other than partner.

80% aged 18-24 were harassed on the street in the past year.

18 to 24 age group experience significantly higher rates of physical and sexual violence than women in older age groups.

Growing evidence women with disabilities are more likely to experience violence.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience higher rates and severe forms of violence compared to other women.

15 to 44 age group – Intimate partner violence contributes to more death, disability and illness than any other preventable risk factor.

Domestic or family violence against women is the single largest driver of homelessness for women.

Common factor in child protection notifications results in police call-out every two minutes.

$21.7 billion – combined health, administration and social welfare costs of violence against women per year.

If no further action taken, costs will accumulate to $323.4 billion over a 30 year period from 2014/15 to 2044-45. (34)

China

Domestic violence is a hidden epidemic.
A public health crisis dismissed as private scandal, a crime discounted or covered up.

1 in 4 women beaten. (35)

Experts think figure is higher and note that statistics often exclude other forms of abuse.
Tens of millions are at risk.

Turkey

86% women suffer domestic abuse.

Ministry of Family and Social Policies interviewed women across 10 Turkish provinces to conduct research. Survey launched to examine a law meant to prevent violence against women.

80% men who admitted violence against women, said they never heard of the law.

300 women were killed through violence in 2015 causing increased public outcry. (36)

Russia

14,000 women die at the hand of domestic abusers.

600,000 women face violent domestic abuse each year. (37)

2017

Controversial amendments to Russian Law decriminalised some forms of domestic violence.

Changes mean violence against spouse or children that results in bleeding or bruises but not broken bones is punishable by 15 days in prison or a fine of 30,000 rubles (£380) if they do not happen once a year.

Previously these offences carried a maximum jail sentence of two years. (38)

“Conditions for women who experience domestic abuse had become significantly worse since the amendments were passed and the threat of these fines was further deterring women from seeking help or reporting their abusers to the police.

Women are having to pay the fines of the perpetrator of the abuse, if the man does not pay.

Official statistics will demonstrate a decrease in cases next year, because fewer cases are being filed. The amendments have sent a message to women that it is useless to search for help and to perpetrators that this is all right to do.”
Marina Pisklakova-Parker – Head of Anna Centre an NGO which provides support to victims of abuse. (38)

16 million women a year experience domestic violence.

10% of them go to the police.
domesticviolence.ru

1 death every 40 minutes.
14,000 women killed a year from domestic violence.
Interior Ministry (38)

HELLO WORLD

Let’s all stop and re-read this again.

We are living in the 21st century and this is ALL going on in our world today.

Blog on our website is well worth reading called Do Nothing, Do Something.
https://simplelivingglobal.com/do-nothing-do-something/

Here is the start –

Einstein said, “The world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing”.

Elvis Presley – Ghetto songs said “Are we too blind to see or do we simply turn our heads and look the other way, as the world turns”.

So was there some wisdom here being offered to us and how does this relate to Femicide today?

Can we keep choosing self-medication that supports our comfortable life and pretend this is not going on as it’s in another part of the world?

Can we negate the fact that we know it is going on in our street or we know of someone going through domestic violence but thank god it is not us?

Can we really and truly sit back and do nothing when we are now aware that this is going on in our world today?

Can we afford to sit back for one moment knowing this is going on today and it is on our watch, so to speak?

Can we opt for self-comfort all the way in our own lives because it suits us and ignore this fact that there are others suffering?

Can we go on thinking it is not our business, so it is best to do nothing and just keep our heads down and that way we can ignore the fact that this is happening?

Can we accept any form of abuse in our world because we are used to a bit of abuse in daily life and we just Accept that as normal as most people do?

Can we stop reacting to these acts of violence and respond to the call and that means NOT
Campaigning
Fighting
Blaming
Judging
Doing ra ra stuff
Wearing a certain colour
Creating a website asking people to join our bandwagon

But simply looking at where we have allowed abuse in our life?

ANYTHING THAT IS NOT ABSOLUTE TRUTH IS ABUSE.

In other words, if it is NOT the LOVE we knew and felt as a baby – it is ABUSE.

That means if it disturbs us in any way it is ABUSE.

Can we really ponder on the small stuff that we think is not abuse when in truth we know it is, because our body felt it and our mind made the choice to over-ride the hurt?

Are we ready to start bringing what we are aware of into conversations and discussions at every opportunity in our daily communications and at every dinner table?

Are we ready to truly find out more and then keep talking so that it becomes public knowledge and the whole world becomes aware and not just a few of us?

Are we ready to reflect on this abuse against women, no matter what gender we are because in truth we all inter-connected and we cannot dismiss this immutable fact?

Are we ready to be open to the possibility that each of us as individuals make up this whole world that we have created and therefore we each have a part in this?

In other words, whilst we may not be in this situation, we may have pockets of abuse we simply put up with and accept and call it normal, as others have the same and we call that ‘life’?

Egypt

2013

99.3% women and girls have been sexually harassed. (36)

Papua New Guinea

One of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman.
Majority experience rape or assault in their lifetime and women face systemic discrimination.

Acts have long been criminalised and domestic violence was specifically proscribed under the 2013 Family Protection Act (FPA). Few perpetrators are brought to justice.

3 years since the FPA was passed, it has not been implemented.

Second highest rate of maternal death in the world, in Asia Pacific region. (39)

Ritual Abuse

Ritual abuse is defined as a combination of severe emotional, physical, sexual and spiritual abuse, which uses symbols in ceremonies and or group activities that have some form of religious, supernatural or magical meaning. The abuse is recurrent and the purpose of ritual abuse is to terrorise and silence the victims.

The abusers are usually part of a group, which places value on harming and abusing children and the use of drugs, pornography, animals and harmfull objects are all part of the torture. Features associated with ritual abuse include stones, slabs, altars, crucifixes, knives, swords, chanting and adult abuse.

Ritual abuse is highly organised, involving a group or few groups of people, which is often in a pseudo-religious context, and ‘evil’ plays a big part in the abuse itself and in the ceremonies carried out. These ‘rituals’, ‘ceremonies’ and ‘services’ require a great amount of planning and organising and they generally take place in rural areas.

Ritual abuse is extremely sadistic and the aim is to cause great pain to the victims for the pleasure of the observers and those involved who are directly participating in causing the abuse. It is generally misogynistic (women hating). The extreme can include the murder of babies and children but can also include animals as part of the ceremonies. These are specifically designed to add terror to the victims.  (40)

Cambodia

Trafficking for Marriage

Growing demand for foreign brides in China – created emerging market for traffickers.

Women eager to escape poverty in rural villages.

Entering brokered marriages to Chinese men – hope of lucrative life.

Reality – many deceived about new living conditions.
Those resettled in rural China, work on farms or domestic helpers.
Some experience abuse at hands of their husbands.
Some recruited for factory jobs and forced into marriage.

Cambodian women also forced into marriage to Korean and Taiwanese men.
No research has been conducted on the extent of this emerging trafficking trend.

2015 – Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) routinely responding to needs of victims. (41)

Forced Labour

Middle East, Malaysia and Singapore.
Increasing demand – cheap domestic workers in private homes.
Possibility of earning up to three times salary than at home.
Encouraging Cambodian women to travel abroad often informal.
Employment as maids, nannies and carers.

Cambodia renowned sex tourism destination in 1990s.
Legacy still prevalent today.
Women and girls trafficked within the thriving sex industry. (41)

Nepal

Very old tradition in rural Nepal, religious Hindus believe that menstruating women are unclean and should be banished from family home. They are kept from taking part in normal family activities, social gatherings and from entering houses, kitchens and temples. (42)

Nepal is one of Asia’s poorest countries and many women have died following this tradition, despite activist’ campaigns and government efforts to end the practice called chhaupadi. (43)

In ancient Hindu culture, menstruating women were considered toxic and if they –
Entered a temple, they would pollute it.
Handled family’s food, everyone would become sick.
If they touched a tree, it would never bear fruit.

Menstruating women – outside at night to bed down with cows and goats in tiny rough, grass roof huts and sheds.

Many raped by intruders or died from exposure to the elements. (43)

2005 – Supreme Court of Nepal ordered end to chhaupadi but it is still practiced in isolated villages today.

19% women aged 15 to 49 practiced chhaupadi.
50% in mid-western and far western regions.
2010 – Nepali Government Survey cited in State Department Human Rights Report (42)

Young girls feel guilty.
They are forced to follow this tradition by their parents and religion.
Anita Gyawali – Official responsible for women’s issues in Dailekh (42)

Ghana

Schoolgirls banned from crossing river while menstruating and on Tuesdays.

Ban given by local river god.
This has outraged activists as girls must cross river to reach school.

Sub-Saharan Africa struggling to keep girls in school during their periods.

1 in 10 does not attend school because they are menstruating.
UN Scientific and Education Organisation

11.5 million women lack hygiene and sanitation management facilities needed.
World Bank Report

We need to ask for some form of accountability from these gods who bar a lot of things from happening and to account for how they have used the tremendous power we have given them.
Shamima Muslim Alhassan – Unicef Menstrual Hygiene Ambassador (44)

Scotland

1 in 5 women in Scotland cannot afford sanitary protection.

Study finds women forced to use rags and clothes due to lack of funds for basic goods.
The Guardian – 5 February 2018 (45)

There is more, so much more but enough here for a Part 1.

Topics to cover for 2022

Women and Depression
Women and Diabetes
Women and Menopause
Women and Gynaecology
Women and Obesity
Women and Botox
Women and Plastic Surgery
Women not in Relationship
Women as Single Parents
Women and Slavery

So here is the list for International Women’s Day 2022 and with the way things are going, there will be more…

It would be true to say after reading this blog that women are not doing great and something is seriously wrong in the way we are all choosing to live.

Is it time we stopped looking for solutions in any form and started asking questions, until we know the root cause of WHY all this happening in our world today?

Is it high time we made topics like this part of our daily conversations so that more people are aware of what is going on?


If you are a woman experiencing abuse you can receive help 24 hours by calling:

AUSTRALIA – 1-800 RESPECT
National Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Counselling Service
Tel: 1800 737 732

CANADA – Assaulted Women’s Helpline
Tel: 1.866.863.0511

PAPAU NEW GUINEA – The Family and Sexual Violence Helpline (not 24 hours)
Tel: 715 080 00

UK – National Domestic Violence Helpline
Tel: 0808 2000 247

Check link for European Helplines
http://ec.europa.eu/justice/saynostopvaw/helpline.html

USA – The National Domestic Violence Hotline
Tel: 1-800-799-7233

UK –  support can also be received from

Forced Marriage Unit
Tel: 020 7008 0151 (Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm)

Modern Slavery Helpline
Tel: 08000 121 700 (24 hours)

In a crisis contact your emergency services


If you are feeling suicidal, contact your GP for support or the Suicide Helplines.

In a crisis contact your emergency services.

UK – Samaritans available 24 hours
Tel: 116 123

Childline – for children and young people
Tel: 0800 1111

USA – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Tel:  1-800-273-8255

Other Countries
Check International Association for Suicide Prevention Resources on Crisis Centers
https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres


References

(1) (n.d). International Women’s Day 2018 Campaign Theme: #Press for Progress. International Women’s Day. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Theme

(2) (n.d). Women Get the Vote. www.parliament.uk. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/electionsvoting/womenvote/overview/thevote/

(3) Zarya, V. (2015, December 11). There is Now Only One Country Left in the World Where Women Can’t Vote. Fortune. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://fortune.com/2015/12/11/one-country-women-vote/

(4) (2017, December 13). ‘Feminism’ is Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s Word of Year. BBC News. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-42337596

(5) (n.d). Women and Health. World Health Organization. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.who.int/gho/women_and_health/en/

(6) (2018). Ms. Understood. Heart & Stroke 2018 Heart Report. Heart & Stroke. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.heartandstroke.ca/-/media/pdf-files/canada/2018-heart-month/hs_2018-heart-report_en.ashx?la=en&hash=3BBC7F1DD1DA3EDC6B2B0E9BB31E855268C051EB

(7) (2018, January 8). Heart Attack Care Dangerously Unequal for Women, Study Finds. BBC News. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42590013

(8) (2018, February 2). Women are Unnecessarily Suffering and Dying from Heart Disease, New Report Says. CBC News. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/heart-disease-women-1.4513036

(9) (n.d). Uncovering the Mystery of SCAD. Heart & Stroke. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.heartandstroke.ca/articles/uncovering-the-mystery-of-scad

(10) Davis, N. (2018, January 25). Smokers Warned of Risk to Heart of One Cigarette a Day. The Guardian. p.12

(11) (n.d). Raynaud’s Association. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
https://www.raynauds.org/

(12) (2017, May 24). Cancer Registration Statistics, England: 2015. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/2015

(13) Bains, I. (2018, January 27). Ovarian Cancer at 12: Brave Schoolgirl Fights Disease Which Normally Strikes Women Over 50. MailOnline. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5318603/Ovarian-cancer-12-Brave-schoolgirl-fights-disease.html

(14) Matthews-King, A. (2018, January 8). Women who Work Night Shifts More Likely to Get Cancer, Finds Study. Independent. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/women-night-shifts-cancer-risk-higher-diet-exercise-study-a8147956.html

(15) Silver, K. (2018, January 22). Embarrassment Makes Women Avoid Smear Tests, Charity Says. BBC News. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42747892

(16) Young, S. (2017, July 4). Doctors Warn Against New Trend of Women Putting Glitter in their Vagina. Independent. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/women-glitter-vaginas-trend-doctors-warn-health-candy-scent-passion-dust-pretty-woman-inc-discharge-a7822461.html

(17) (n.d). Preeclampsia and Eclampsia. WebMD. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/preeclampsia-eclampsia#1

(18) Tanner, C. (2017, May 26). Pregnant Women with Preeclampsia are SIX Times More Likely to Suffer a Stroke – and the Risk is Greater After Birth When They’ve Gone Home. MailOnline. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4544378/Preeclampsia-increases-stroke-risk-SIX-fold.html#ixzz58T4PTrci

(19) (2015, November 9). Antiphospholipd Syndrome (APS). NHS Choices. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/antiphospholipid-syndrome/

(20) Knapton, S. (2016, August 3). Babies Dying Because Surgeons Use ‘Wrong Type of Thread’ for Pregnancy Operation. The Telegraph. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/08/03/babies-dying-because-surgeons-use-wrong-type-of-thread-for-pregn/

(21) (2018, February 22). Could Hormone Pill Help Women Conceive in 40s? Daily Mail. p.13

(22) HealthDay. (2018, February 28). 1 in 14 Pregnant Women Still Smokes, CDC Says. CBS News. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/1-in-14-pregnant-women-still-smokes-cdc-says/

(23) Francis, G. (2018, February 8). Half of New Mothers Suffer from Hallucinations or Frightening Thoughts, Survey Finds. Independent. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/new-mothers-hallucinations-frightening-thoughts-anxiety-parenting-post-natal-depression-psychology-a8200411.html

(24) Lukaitis, N. (2017, October 16). How Much We Spend on Make-Up During Our Lifetime Will Shock You. Marie Claire. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/beauty/make-up/women-spend-makeup-during-lifetime-443008#4URKRJfHMX9EIWH8.99

(25) (2018). Average Annual Expenditure on Beauty Products by Women in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2015, by Age Group (in GBP). Statista. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
https://www.statista.com/statistics/472621/beauty-product-spending-women-by-age-united-kingdom-uk/

(26) Johnson, S. (2017, March 8). How Much is Your Face Worth? American Women Average at $8 per Day. Huffington Post. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-much-is-your-face-worth-american-women-average_us_58befa65e4b06660f479e594

(27) (2018, February 7) Women ‘Shunning Facial Plastic Surgery for Flattering Photo Filters’. BBC News. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42978532

(28) Bulman, M. (2017, May 8). Nearly Half of Female Prisoners Have Attempted Suicide, Figures Reveal. Independent. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/female-prisoners-suicide-death-rate-mental-health-nearly-half-attempt-figures-reveal-prison-reform-a7724171.html

(29) (n.d). What is Femicide? Femicide Watch Platform. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://femicide-watch.org/content/what-femicide

(30) (n.d). How Widespread is Domestic Abuse and What is the Impact? Safe Lives. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.safelives.org.uk/policy-evidence/about-domestic-abuse/how-widespread-domestic-abuse-and-what-impact

(31) (n.d). About Domestic Abuse. Safe Lives. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.safelives.org.uk/policy-evidence/about-domestic-abuse

(32) (n.d). Who Are the Victims of Domestic Abuse? Safe Lives. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.safelives.org.uk/policy-evidence/about-domestic-abuse/who-are-victims-domestic-abuse

(33) (n.d). Against Violence and Abuse (AVA). Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
https://avaproject.org.uk

(34) (n.d). Domestic Violence Statistics. Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast Inc. Retrieved March 2, 2018 from
http://www.domesticviolence.com.au/pages/domestic-violence-statistics.php

(35) Rauhala, E. (2016, May 2). Domestic Abuse is Thriving in China’s Culture of Silence. The Washington Post. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/world/2016/05/02/china-domestic/?utm_term=.c757a59dbe1c

(36) Sheva, A. (2016, April, 1). 86% of Turkish Women Suffer Domestic Abuse. Israel Nation News. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/210182

(37) Broomfield, M. (2017, January 23). Russia to Decriminalise Domestic Violence as Vladimir Putin Bows to Ultra-Conservative Pressure. Independent. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-decriminalise-domestic-violence-vladimir-putin-ultra-conservative-family-laws-a7541371.html

(38) Spring, M. (2017, December 19). Russian Victims of Domestic Abuse Forced to Pay Perpetrator’s Fine. The Guardian. Retrieved March 2, 2018 from
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/19/russian-victims-domestic-violence-abuse-forced-pay-perpetrator-fines

(39) (2016). Papua New Guinea Events of 2016, World Report 2017. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/papua-new-guinea

(40) (2016). Community Mental Health and Psychiatry Level 4. UK Distance Learning & Publishing

(41) (2016). Cambodia. The Global Slavery Index 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/country/cambodia/

(42) Bhandari, R., & Najar, N. (2017, July 9). Shunned During Her Period, Nepali Woman Dies of Snakebite. The New York Times. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/09/world/asia/nepali-woman-snakebite-period-chhaupadi.html

(43) Sharma, B., & Gettleman, J. (2018, January 10). In Rural Nepal, Menstruation Taboo Claims Another Victim. The New York Times. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/10/world/asia/nepal-woman-menstruation.html

(44) (2018, January 11). Menstruating Girls Banned from Crossing Ghana River. BBC News. Retrieved March 3, 2018 from
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-42652314

(45) Brooks, L. (2018, February 5). One in Five Women in Scotland Can’t Afford Sanitary Protection. The Guardian, p.16

 

 

 

Share

Comments 69

  1. Stunning well informed blog Simple Living Global.

    I absolutely agree with what you say here:
    “Women are –

    Under-researched
    Under-diagnosed
    Under-treated
    Under-supported”

    I had endometriosis for 3 decades – excruciating painful and problematic periods – and I went time and time again to doctors to get a diagnosis. The first gynaecological appointment I had the Gynaecologist told me to ‘go and have a baby – as that will fix all your problems’ which at aged 21 was not quite what I had expected and I felt very unsupported. Endometriosis is one of those conditions that is under-diagnosed, under-treated, under-supported, and under-researched.

    Long story short having suffered with endometriosis for 3 decades one day a wise practitioner asked me how I was living, and through a discussion enabled me to realise that after seeking solutions (none of which worked), my health was in my hands and it was all based on how I was living. I was busy busy busy running myself into the ground and right from a young age I didn’t value rest, sleep, I never stopped, and used substances such as tea and chocolate to keep me going.

    It was only when I started to look at my daily life choices and gradually over a few years make changes, that I started to see the endometriosis symptoms disappear – to the extent that by my mid-late 40’s I started to have pain free periods – something I had never experienced prior to that – I had had my whole life from aged 11 – mid – late 40’s with painful periods.

    There is so much about women’s health and wellbeing that seems under researched as in understanding why the world is as it is – and why there are so many issues, conditions, societal and personal ills in relation to women.

    It truly is time we start the conversation as this blog does here.

  2. This makes for stark reading on International Women’s Day 2018.

    When I think of women and about being a woman, I think of the natural grace and beauty. An inner wisdom and knowing. A natural care and nurturing.

    And yet here we have a dossier of truths about women that belies those qualities.

    It has stopped me in my tracks – to consider what on earth is going on that this is the state of play for women today. And this hugeness is ‘only’ part 1.

  3. This is such a powerful piece of writing, it’s the start of a thesis. A forensic expose of what we have allowed being a women to mean, far from the Truth of who women truly are.

    On International Women’s Day, where we are encouraged to campaign, wear a certain colour and bake cakes for example, here we have a thesis going against the grain that invites us to question why things are the way that they are with women today.

    Can we afford to keep accepting things as they are or are we willing to do what is necessary to turn the tides?

    I for one, inspired by this website, have begun to ask much deeper questions about what it means to be a woman today.

    Accepting things as they are and going along with all of the pictures and ideals of who I think I should be as a woman I know is not the truth

  4. This website has supported me to make real changes in my life by helping me understand that I know what I need to do heal myself.

    It was all about connecting to myself. Listening to what my body is constantly communicating to me every second.

    This was a crucial first step.

    Yes, I needed outside support, and that was given to me when I took the first step towards myself.

    I have lived with women for 50 years and what I have seen is their incredible strength and commitment to life.

    Now, because of my own path, I see that what was missing was the commitment to myself.

  5. Reading what is presented here and reflecting on the issues women face, it feels like there is a huge amount of hate.

    Domestic abuse, FGM, forced labour, rape and sexual abuse, femicide, sexual harassment, all the way through to pornography, plastic surgery, self doubt, comparison and obsession about how we look.

    Where does the hate come from?

    Hate towards women and what they represent.

    Hate towards ourselves.

    These issues will take time to address, but right now, it makes me feel motivated to live completely without hate. To find where the dark stuff might be hiding inside me and bring in the light. To take deep care of myself because I deserve that. As does every woman.

  6. It is Mothers’ Day in the UK today.

    Instead of hoping for attention, I have given my family a list of things I would like for the day. The list goes like this:

    Space to do some uninterrupted work
    Have a nap
    Do some exercise
    Do homework together
    Eat a lovely meal prepared by my children
    Watch the new Winston Churchill film together
    Have an early night

    Maybe this is what these days for women can help us with – to ask ourselves what do we actually want and encourage us to get support for that or make it happen.

    1. This is great JS what you are saying here.

      I feel it is high time we ALL start with getting real, by making the first step about being HONEST.

      If we start with being honest in our everyday life and work on this regardless of the outcome, we stand a chance to have more days like you are requesting in your Mothers’ Day with your family.

      Most mothers that I know, compromise and never put themselves and their well-being first. They feel the importance and value of nurturing and nourishing their kids, even if they are living at home in their 40s, but not give the same and equal commitment and dedication to themselves.

      Could this be the start of an ill way of living that then gives rise to dis-eases in the body like breast cancer?

      Maybe one day we will all get to feel and see that how we live in each moment and the daily stuff is super important and it maps out how we end up and nothing is by chance.

      Next –
      I was just thinking this morning about Mothers’ day and how we are going about it with the card and flowers and chocolate business booming.

      From past experience I know the restaurants are fully booked on this Sunday all over the country.

      The card giving for me was a tick box thing in the past.
      Now I can say that the issues have all been cleared with such deep understanding and working through my hurts and other nonsense including judgement.

      I have an amazing relationship with both my parents and to look back at how I was with my mother, it is nothing short of a miracle.

      My mum adores me and that is a fact. I am there for her in Truth and that means I do not engage in her nonsense. I understand where she is coming from and it is ok with me what she chooses, as it is not about wrong or right. However, if it affects me then I am the first to call it out and say it as it is.

      What has been great to observe is the small changes that have come directly from how I live – for example she will wear extra layers and go for a walk and eat certain foods that support her body. ALL that has come from me sharing what I do and her being inspired by that.

      This confirms we don’t have to change our mothers, we just have to clear all the hidden unspoken stuff and get real, so we can get honest and this will get us to Truth.
      https://simplelivingglobal.com/get-real-get-honest-and-get-to-truth/

      1. What you say is huge, Bina.

        In particular, the part about clearing the hidden unspoken stuff and how you support your mum by living in a way that is true and loving for you, and sharing that with her.

        How many of us behave a certain because of the past?
        How many of us stay stuck as adults in the relationship paradigm we were in growing up?
        How many of us take on the patterns of our mothers, without feeling what is true for us and living that?

        How freeing to know there is another way. That we can live and move in a way that is true for us and it does not need to be laced with the past.

        Over the years my relationship with my mum has shifted so we are woman to woman now. She takes great inspiration from how I live and tries ideas out for herself, just as I still learn from her. And the more we share, talk about and appreciate this, the more of it comes.

  7. Women received the right to vote in the USA in the year 1920.

    That statement leaves me speechless.

    How is it that men can just carry on in the world knowingly allowing all the abuse of women to exist in the world?

    Are we really an advanced, civilized, intelligent species, if we allow this to go on?

    Thank you Simple Living Global for presenting the truth.

    It is time to do something different!

  8. What an amazing blog and this really hits the spot for me.

    I know women that spend a large amount of time fighting for equality with men. But yet that same effort is not the same when it comes to their health.

    I can definitely say I was one of them. I did not pay attention to my health whatsoever and ended up with a chronic thyroid condition, chronic exhaustion and endimetrosis. Whilst dealing with that I also wanted to fit into society and be equal with everyone else. And so my defensiveness against the world begun from a young age and carried through most of my adult life.

    Had it not been for author of this blog and the support I have been receiving over the past 8 years; who knows where I would be today and I most definitely APPRECIATE the support given to me. I would most probably still be suffering with chronic exhaustion and a thyroid condition.

    As women we are struggling. We override how and what we are feeling and put ourself second, third, fourth to everyone else. I know many women who are overwhelmed with life and struggle everyday. Yet there does not have to be a struggle. I know from experience I started with looking after myself. Taking small steps that improved my health and well being.

    Present day I cannot imagine life without not taking care of myself. Something I would never have thought I could do. But it is possible!

  9. So we just had International Women’s Day. There was a huge amount of coverage about it in the paper and they continue to cover the ongoing activity and women’s demonstrations around the world.

    And yet, the newspaper I flick through on the train in the morning continues to run nonsense articles about women.

    Coverage of ‘fashion fails’, where a celebrity has some kind of wardrobe malfunction. Or a super-star wearing a bikini on a beach with a big new engagement ring – and this is shown on page 3.

    Do we see this contradiction?

    We like and want the progress for women and that coverage sells newspapers. But we also like the celebrity stalking, criticism, voyeurism and other degrading stuff and that seriously sells.

    That only makes it into the papers because we want to read it.

    Is it time to take a look at our own consumption and how it contributes to the bigger picture?

  10. I am assuming that our society, that has pretty much been set up by men, is the main reason women are struggling in our world.

    I feel that men are afraid of allowing women to be their equal.

    Why is that?

    Personally I do not feel afraid of women, Or feel threatened by them.

    They bring a sense of tenderness and grace that our world needs.

    Do some men sense this tenderness and it frightens them because deep down they know this is what they crave for themselves?

    Is this why men have suppressed women because women remind them of the tenderness that we all have, but have chosen not to feel it?

  11. Evening Standard – 16 January 2018

    https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/half-of-women-say-their-mental-health-suffers-as-a-result-of-the-menopause-a3741906.html

    48% of women feel their mental wellbeing suffers as a result of the menopause according to a new study.

    70% say they did not have a strong understanding of the mental and physical effects of the menopause.

    The physical symptoms of hot flushes, night sweats and headaches are generally well known but the new research has pointed to a range of psychological symptoms, including anxiety, depressive symptoms, low mood, memory loss, loss of self-confidence and low self-esteem.

    Findings suggest that women don’t have enough information about the menopause and how it is affecting women’s mental health.

    So WHY are women reluctant to talk about it to doctors and employers?
    70% do not tell their employers if they are experiencing symptoms.

    So who do we blame and what is missing here if we are to be honest?

    How come 70% are not absolute and clear about symptoms of menopause?

    WHY have we got to the point where women are not fully educated or aware of exactly what this cycle of menopause is really all about?

    Are there any real websites or role models who can direct us on this vague topic that every woman goes through in their later stage of life?

    Can we learn from the elders in the community who may have been through what we are experiencing?

    Can we stop and look at our lifestyle choices and ask some serious questions and see if we had anything to do with why we have all these ill symptoms during menopause?

    Is our body communicating something to us –
    For example are hot flushes a correction for all those years where we treated our sacred body as a woman like it was some kind of machine, overriding what we know was the real feeling and ignoring signs during our periods, overworking, putting the kids and others before our own health and wellbeing?

    Are taking pills to suppress symptoms the answer in the long term, when we all know that once we stop taking them it all comes back?

    Without asking questions – how will we re-write the history books for generations in the future to take note?

  12. Talking to a mini cab driver this week, he was sharing his experiences of women passengers.

    He works nights as he finds traffic frustrating. As a result, he often picks women up in his cab after nights out in town. He shared that he has lost count of the number of times he has been propositioned.

    He said he has a big fat belly and does not take care of himself and yet time and again, women ask him to go into their house with them or to have sex in the cab – like anything will do for them.

    He said he would never do this – that he has no interest in it and found it deeply uncomfortable to deal with and that something was clearly wrong for these women.

    He also said that if other cab drivers are having similar experiences to him and are going ahead with it, he felt sure that at least some of the women would regret it later and accuse the driver of assaulting them.

    I am wondering what is going on here. Why is this happening?

    Is alcohol messing with sound judgement?
    Is there a loneliness or a desire for intimacy?
    Is there an emptiness?
    Has sex become a commodity; part of a good night out?

    As women, how are we living if this is becoming our norm?

    It is hugely sobering and has me considering how much more I can connect to what it truly means to be a woman and to live and walk that more and more.

  13. Talking to a young woman at a beauty clinic. She was there for laser hair removal treatment.

    She said she has been having laser treatment for a long time – since she was 17 years old. She said the pain is terrible with the treatment, but she persists. She said she has to keep going back because the hair keeps coming back – something to do with her hormones. It has cost her a fortune.

    This seemed like madness to me.

    Why does she judge herself so harshly against our prevailing standard of how much hair women are supposed to have or not have? So much so that she has suffered painful laser treatment for years. It was a reminder of the huge impact these societal standards have on us and how bought in to them we are.

    And why are her hormones out of whack? This part was an unknown and she was getting no support with that. It made me think of this blog:

    “Are we as women, truly equipped to deal with the hormonal changes that take place, if we have lost our innate connection to the essence of who we truly are?

    Are women today aware of the rhythms and cycles to live with, that would foster and nurture their connection to their inner-most truth?

    Do we today know enough about how to live with all the internal changes that take place inside a woman’s body?”

    For so many of us, isn’t the answer here a resounding ‘no’?

    And if yes, isn’t there a huge opportunity to start to explore this – to tune in to our natural rhythms and cycles, to reconnect with our bodies and our ‘innate connection’ and build from there?

  14. Something interesting at the gym this week.

    It was quiet when I walked in, and I clocked that there were no men there. Just 2 women doing their own thing.

    Registering this had an impact on my body, my movements and my disposition.

    I felt strangely freer, physically larger, and more certain and focused in how I was moving. Totally un-self conscious.

    This all happened in the time it took to cross only 3 metres of floor space.

    So what is going on there?

    As a woman, being around men is obviously having an impact. And one that I have not registered so clearly til now.

    And that impact is affecting my way of being. From the physical reaction I felt, it is obviously affecting how much of myself I claim.

    As a confident person who holds people (and myself) equal, this is a new dimension to look at – to consider how much of this is happening in my day to day and the impact that has.

  15. A conversation a while back about ovulation with a woman who was trying to get pregnant.

    She was describing the complicated hormone tests and calendars she was using to figure out the best time to have sex.

    I was sharing how I know where I am in my cycle and when I am ovulating, from the various messages my body sends.

    She had not considered this and was very open to the possibilities.

    We spoke again recently and she shared how she had come off her ovulation tests and has discovered that she knows exactly when the fertile part of her cycle is, naturally so.

    She said the changes in her body are so obvious now she has tuned in to them and she has even noticed a floral fragrance about her skin when it is ovulation time.

    This was beautiful to hear and confirming of what I know for myself through my own enquiry and observation of my body.

  16. Thank you for this powerful, wide-ranging and detailed blog surveying the reality of life for many women across the world today.

    I have been quite appalled by much of the information contained in this blog. Many of the statistics and details on the topics covered are very alarming.

    I’ve been quite stunned by the information presented and what I have learnt about: the gender difference in treatment for heart attack victims; the bias in medical research on heart disease in favour of men; the high incidence of mental health issues for women in pregnancy, maternity and prison; the high rates of femicide in some countries; the human trafficking and forced labour that is still rampant; the shockingly high rates of domestic abuse and violence; the high incidence of murder within domestic relationships; the demonisation of menstruation; the appallingly high levels of period poverty in parts of the UK; and the seeming inability of women to deeply honour themselves and their bodies (I’m thinking of the high incidence of pregnant women who smoke in the US and some of the cosmetic surgical procedures described in the blog).

    I, perhaps like many, have clearly been living in a bubble because this blog has shown me that I have been blissfully ignorant of how bad the abuse that many women suffer today in our world is.

  17. Many women experience period pain and there are a plethora of products on the market claiming that they can help with this.

    A recent one to appear is a sanitary towel that contains ground up dirt that claims to ease period pains. The pad is hailed to be natural as there are no drugs or medication in it.

    Not surpisingly a gynaecologist has said that the idea that a pad can treat period pain is ridiculous and I have to agree with her.

    Where have we lost our common sense?

    Period pains occur from inside the body and so how can a pad that is outside have any affect?

    Could it be possible that we need to build a connection with our bodies to understand what is happening on the inside to then start to comprehend why we have period pain?

    I ask these questions as personally this is my experience. From age 11, I am almost 40 now, I have experienced period pain. However over the last year the pain has begun to increase in its intensity.

    This has only occurred as I have started listening to my body more, to understand what it is telling me and being willing to be observant to when I experience the pain and when I don’t.

    A key factor has been looking back over the previous month, when I have my period to see how it has been and to be honest it is always quite obvious what has gone on. In months where I have rested more and not got emotional about things I get less pain and in months where I am very busy, anxious or worried about things I get more pain.

    So for me the equation is very clear – it is the way that I am living my life and how I react or respond to things which are the cause of whether I experience period pains or not.

  18. What you say makes sense Shevon. I am in peri menopause. My periods have started to slow down. Some months I do not get a period then it will come along another month.

    What I have realised since being in peri that it is just as important to rest as I still get the symptoms of a period. Just because our periods stop does not mean our cycle stops.

  19. As women do we really and truly consider how we dress and whether it is for us or whether it is for another?

    I remember growing up how I used to wear tight clothes and even though I would feel very uncomfortable, there was something in my head that said because I was now a certain age this was the way that I needed to dress.

    Now looking back it was not so much about the clothes but why I was wearing what I was wearing. I wore those clothes to fit in and fit the stereotypical image of sexy rather than dressing to how I genuinely felt to dress.

    I now question this when I see other teenagers wearing skin tight clothes that are ill fitting and from a discussion with a friend about this today it has prompted me to ask –

    What images are we feeding our young that they feel they need to subscribe to in the way that they dress and as adults are we representing as true role models in the way that we dress and carry ourselves?

    We are fed so many images and ideals of how we should look and be as a woman. Even though I am now 40, there are many that I know that I still have left to shed and I have a sense that this will be an ongoing process. Continuously questioning whether what I am doing is for me or it is for someone else?

    This is not always an easy pattern to break, but I do have real role models around me who as women have broken this and do honour themselves and so I know without doubt that this is possible.

  20. The rise in mental health amongst women has risen so rapidly over the last 5 years.

    I know many, many women who feel under pressure to get married, have children, have the perfect job as well as looking perfect on the outside. What is society reflecting back to us as women? I know, I was one of those statistics a few years ago. I wanted it all. When the reality was I did not need it. All I needed to do was to be the true woman I am.

    As women are we putting all of this ahead of our well being because it makes us look and feel good? I know when I started to drop my ideals and beliefs with some of the things I mentioned the pressure to achieve lifted and I no longer felt like I needed to prove something and be tough.

    Thank you Simple Living Global. This blog hits the spot for me again and again.

  21. The Guardian – 5 April 2018

    Forcibly sterilised women speak out

    25,000 people have been sterilised in Japan between 1948 – 1996 under the Japanese Eugenic Protection Law, which was aimed at stopping the birth of ‘inferior’ children. 70% were female. 16,500 did not consent.

    One woman had her uterine tubes tied in 1963 at age 16 as she was suspected of having a mental disability. She found out what the operation was for when she heard her parents talking many years later. 55 years later she experiences persistent stomach pains and a ‘heavy psychological burden’.

    One woman has started a lawsuit against the Japanese government stating that the Eugenic Protection Law breaches Japan’s post war constitution as it infringes on people’s right to the ‘pursuit of happiness’.

    At the first court hearing on 28th March, government representatives asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed. The government is expected to argue that the procedure was legal at the time.

    There are now more women filing law suits about this.

    The Japanese Eugenic Protection Law was modelled on Nazi Germany’s sterilisation law and was enacted in 1948 as a way to control the population at the time when Japan had a post war food shortage. It remained in force until 1996, when such shortages were no longer present.

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/05/17/national/crime-legal/japan-sued-3-plaintiffs-forced-sterilizations-defunct-eugenics-law/#.WwxepVMvw1h

    I had never heard of this law before and living in a country where this does not exist I can understand the devastation that these women experience. I am fortunate enough to be in a situation where I can choose to have children or decide not to and that decision comes from me based on what I feel in my body is true for me.

    What if every woman was given the right to choose whether they have children or not from what they feel is true for them and not from any ideals, beliefs or impositions from others?

    1. This is such an important piece of news Shevon so thank you for sharing on this blog as it feels relevant.

      I wonder how many of us know about this and WHY news like this is not all over our global media.

      What if our media were committed and dedicated to reporting Truth day in and day out – what would our world be like?

      We all seem to have an insatiable appetite for nonsense news like celebrities and what they get up to but what if we all demanded real news so we get to feel the real mess our world is in?

      Back to this monumental comment about Japanese women – what really struck me was a woman experiencing pain after 55 years. Having had surgery as a teenager for suspected mental illness makes no sense.

      Is is possible until each and every one of us respect and appreciate our human vehicle – our precious body, we are not ever going to do the same for another?

      Does it start with us and what if we just made the effort and placed our focus and priority on doing what it takes to treat our body with the utmost love and care in every way possible – like we do a tiny baby, would that be the game changer?

      I for one know that how I lived before was in utter disregard and neglect and to me that is now called Abuse. Knocking out that ugly stuff has been the real game changer and the bonus is others are inspired.

      I live to the best of my ability as a Woman with no hiding that fact – no matter what.

  22. As stated in this article by Simple Living Global, Saudi Arabia is the last country in the world where women are banned from driving.

    However things are set to change as the ban will be lifted from 24th June 2018.

    BBC News – 5 June 2018
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-44367981

    Monday 4th June 2018 – 10 women have already swapped their foreign driving licences for Saudi Arabian ones.

    2,000 more women are expected to have driving licences when the ban is lifted.

    This is a huge step for Saudi Arabia, where women have previously experienced imprisonment for breaching the driving ban. There have been many years of campaigning to get to this point, along with arrests and I am sure much conflict.

    What if there is more to equal rights between men and women than obtaining equal status in the practical everyday tasks of life?

    As this article by Simple Living Global presents, the state of women’s health is not good.
    What if there is a one unified truth that both men and women can live which would allow each gender to deeply respect and honour themselves and the other, in the deep knowing that from the inside out, we are all equal?

    What if we lived this?

    Would we then naturally make laws that serve ALL and have no gender bias?

  23. Medical News Today – 27 June 2018

    https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322270.php#1

    A new study finds even relatively minor sleep disturbances can increase the risk of high blood pressure in women. This increase was measured even in women who slept for the recommended duration.

    An estimated one third of the population in United States do not get enough sleep. Women seem to be more affected than men.

    Is it the reasons we are given why women have sleep problems, like –
    Carers for children and elderly relatives, shift in hormones monthly telling us everything, or is there more we need to consider and ponder on?

    Could it be possible there may be something we have missed, as even those who slept 7 to 9 hours each night were more likely to have elevated blood pressure?

    In other words, even when the amount of sleep was at recommended levels, sleep disturbances still increased the risk of hypertension.

    As always with every study one reads there is the strap line at the end about the findings merit further research.

    So while we all wait patiently for even more proof that something happens to women that disturbs their sleep and gives rise to hypertension, can we read and re-read this blog and answer every single question and then read and re-read the forensic articles on this website about Sleep and High Blood Pressure and answer every question with honesty?

    https://simplelivingglobal.com/world-sleep-day/
    https://simplelivingglobal.com/world-hypertension-day/

    Could this give us further insight into what it may be that causes women to be disturbed during sleep time?

    Have we thought that how we are living during the daytime, may be contributing to the quality we have during sleep?

    Could it be possible that our choices, our behaviours and our movements are the cause of why we get disturbed at any time day or night?

    Could it be possible that we actually know and do have the answers of how to change things, but somewhere along the line we disempowered ourselves and started to accept what we know is not natural and went along with the rest as that seemed normal?

    If our kids were suffering from hypertension because of disturbed sleep, we as mothers would burn to know and find out WHY WHY WHY and take action by doing what it takes to nail it and make sure it does not exist.

    So how come when it is about our own bodies we seem to take a back seat and front foot to deal with the issue is not even on our radar?

  24. I was talking to a 23 year old who was married and she wanted to share about her country, where it is not easy for a woman to escape domestic violence and it is the ‘norm’.

    She said the men are into gambling, alcohol and drugs. Violence is part of growing up and women have no support if they leave their husbands.
    She repeated that almost every married woman in her native country are victims of domestic violence and it is just accepted.

    Her mother came to the UK and has raised her children to stand up for truth.

    When she married last year, her mother told the boy’s family, if they ever forced her daughter into wearing the hijab or conform in any other strict religious acts, she would ensure the marriage would end as she was not going to allow it.

    What I realised in this conversation with a total stranger was how much is going on in our world and how little we are aware of because of how we live.

    Relying on the media to give us news is not giving us access to everything that is going on. So much is just accepted and goes under the radar, so to speak. If there is something big going on in another part of the world, it may show as a tiny news story where very few of us, if any would take note.

    What if we all remained open and lived our life to the best of our ability with Truth?

    Could it be possible that this quality of living is felt by so called strangers that we meet and they feel ok to open up and share privately something we may not yet be aware of?

    In this case, I feel I have a duty to report the facts, without names so that our world knows SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT. This blog and this website is a great platform to express this type of citizen journalism – on the street, real life reporting.

    Her final parting words were – almost every married woman in her native country are victims of domestic violence and it is just accepted.

  25. BBC News – 7 July 2018

    South Korean Women Protest in Seoul Over Hidden Sex Cameras

    Perpetrators are filming or photographing women with hidden cameras in public places.

    This link has more and a video from South Korean police showing fake footage that they have uploaded to file sharing websites.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-44751327

    Unsuspected users have downloaded the images thousands of times. The police hope that the shock therapy of the message on the footage saying “You might be the one pushing her to suicide…” and the warning that the police are monitoring the site will make a difference.

    People making hidden camera videos can face up to 5 years in jail.
    The number of hidden camera crimes rose from 2010 – 1,1000 to more than 6,500 in 2017.

    Since 2004 South Korea mandated that all smart phones should make loud shutter noises when they take a photo or video to make people aware of their use.

    President Moon Jae-in said the crime had become “part of daily life”.

    It is a great step that the South Korean police have chosen to take action as a way to say that this is unacceptable.

    But we have to ask – Why has this become “a part of daily life”?

    Why has South Korea ‘struggled to contain a rise in this crime in recent years’?

    What is actually going on for the perpetrators that is causing them to do this?

    Is there more for us to question here about why this is happening or do we just carry on looking at the perpetrators, imprisoning them and leaving it at that?

  26. The Week – Issue 1182
    30th June 2018

    ‘Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving was finally lifted last weekend, nine month after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the reform. As it came into force at midnight on Saturday, women celebrated in Riyadh by taking the wheel in cars bought for occasion.

    But while some saw it as the dawn of a new era, others said the ban was only being lifted to improve the country’s image in the West, and that nothing was really changing in the kingdom. In the run-up to the ban being lifted, at least eight women’s right activists were arrested in Saudi.’

    Whilst I have reported on this new story before from BBC News – see above comment dated 6th June 2018, what I found interesting here is the fact that people are saying ‘…the ban was only lifted to improve the country’s image in the West and that nothing was really changing…’

    Interesting how things can change on the surface and look like we are progressing but underneath are we checking whether there is real evolution or are we happy with the image that we see?

    I feel this can be applied to every aspect of life including our individual lives.

    As a woman I am now choosing to look at my life on a deeper level every day. On the surface things are great and they truly are, but I am not willing to stop there as I have made the choice to look under all of the nooks and crannies to be sure that I am evolving and not just settling for my life being great.

    One way that I have started to do this recently is how I spend my lunch hour and this week I have started a program to change things so that I am giving my body the rest it requires. Yes I could have kept things the way that they were, but would this have just meant that I kept looking like I was moving forward, without developing the deeply loving and caring quality that I know that I can bring to myself and others?

    My question to myself has been – do you want to continue ticking boxes and and not questioning things as how you are living appears great or is there more you can bring in the self-care department, which will mean that you are a more productive employee?

  27. Newsweek – 27th June 2018
    https://www.newsweek.com/getting-enough-sleep-can-raise-your-blood-pressure-998214

    New research has found that even ‘mild’ sleep problems can raise blood pressure in women, this includes women that slept for 7 – 8 hours a night (Journal of the American Heart Association).

    Here are a few more statistics –

    50 – 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder and at least 30% have issues with insomnia, at least some of the time (American Sleep Association).

    We already know that studies have shown that ‘sleep deprivation and milder sleep problems may have a disproportionate effect on cardiovascular health in women’
    Brook Aggarwal, Behavioural Scientist

    Women are more likely than men to have difficulty falling and staying asleep and to experience more daytime sleepiness.

    The article concludes by saying that it may be wise to treat sleep as preventative care for heart health.

    What if there are no ‘mild’ sleep problems and that any sleep problem is serious and is letting us know that something about the way that we are living as women is not right?

    I cannot say why there are differences between men and women but what I can say is that about 7 years ago, I went through a period in my life where I was not eating much. I ‘thought’ I was just being careful with my diet, but in truth I was wasting away.

    One of the things I struggled with was walking up stairs and I would always feel a great strain on my heart. The other symptom was hearing my heart beat very loudly at night. With hindsight, what I understand now that I have a healthier relationship with food was that my heart was struggling to cope as my body was not being properly nourished. For me my blood pressure was extremely low, not high.

    Also at the time I was not sleeping well and suffered from a lot of anxiety including waking during the night to go to the toilet. What I do know is that when I committed to a program of early nights 7 days per week and resting when I felt tired plus cooking nourishing meals for myself and not restricting my food intake, everything changed.

    My first prescription for anyone with any sleep problems is this article on Sleep by Simple Living Global.
    https://simplelivingglobal.com/world-sleep-day/

    What if until we get our sleep more in order, we will continue to suffer with ill health, which could be easily avoided if we took more care with the way that we live?

  28. The Week – 21 October 2017
    p.21

    Blood Pressure and Dementia

    Women are 50% more likely to develop dementia than men – a disparity which has long puzzled scientists.

    A US study has suggested a possible explanation: it could be because women are affected more severely by cardiovascular problems.

    Researchers at the University of California analysed 5,646 adults over several decades, and found that women who had hypertension (high blood pressure) were 73% more likely to develop dementia than women with healthy blood pressure; yet among men, there was no such link.

    Previous research has shown that women with high blood pressure are more likely than men to develop heart disease – and the researchers suspect that it may be similarly harmful to their brains.

    So why are women more prone to cardiovascular problems?

    What is it about the way that we are living as women that is affecting our hearts?

    Is it possible that we are closing our hearts for some reason and this gives rise to the high blood pressure?

    I have heard of vascular dementia and so there is clearly a link between the brain and the heart.

    What if somewhere along the way we are closing down our hearts as women and are giving up on life which then leads to dementia?

    Not only is this blog on Women by Simple Living Global first class in asking questions that also relate to this issue, but it is also well worth checking out

    Heart https://simplelivingglobal.com/world-heart-day-part-1/

    Hypertension https://simplelivingglobal.com/world-hypertension-day/

  29. Web MD – 24 July 2018

    The FDA approves a new drug for Endometriosis Pain

    https://www.webmd.com/women/endometriosis/news/20180724/fda-approves-new-drug-for-endometriosis-pain

    The first drug developed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain from endometriosis.

    This drug is seen to be a significant advancement for women as data from 2 studies of nearly 1,700 women show that the most common 3 types of pain were reduced – menstrual pelvic pain, non menstrual pelvic pain and pain with sex.

    Women with endometriosis can undergo multiple medical treatments and surgical procedures seeking pain relief and this drug being approved by the FDA is now another option for treatment based on a woman’s specific type and severity of endometriosis pain.

    This blog by Simple Living Global presents many questions that we do need to consider, if we are to ever get to the root of WHY and HOW we suffer with any form of pain.

    We are seemingly so advanced in so many areas when it comes to science and medicine but is there something missing, or do we have a blind spot where researchers are not able to go, simply because we are not asking the questions or because we are just not aware that thinking outside the box might just give us some more clues?

    What we do know is SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT if we have got pain, regardless of the extent.

    A question we could ask right now is WHY does any woman experience pain with sex?

    Is sex a broad term or is it something we each as individuals have a subjective opinion about?

    What if a woman having sex is not the answer as what she actually wants is making love and that is no where on the radar?

    What if the majority of us have no clue what making love is really about and we think of it as the same as sex?

    What if sex offers a tension for the woman and some of us are naturally not able to numb ourselves and so we harden at the very thought of it or shut down our feelings in order to continue with the act of sex?

    What if we need alcohol to alter our natural state and this is the only time we are comfortable or ok about having sex?

    Are these the types of questions we need to be discussing and being really honest about?

    Have we in society made sex a topic that does not let us be honest so we can discuss openly?

    Is having a drug to allow us to not feel pain in the pelvic area the answer to having sex?

    Is the pain our body is communicating telling us that something serious is going on during sex that we do not like or are not comfortable with in some way?

    Next – if we have pain in the pelvic area that is not during menstruation – is that an indication that it may be something to do with how we are choosing to live?

    Are we as women way too busy to stop and press the pause button to question things?

    Are we living so fast and full on that we just need the drug to get rid of the pain, because business as usual is our normal mode of operating and that means ignoring the body and all the noises it makes to tell us something – like in this case, pelvic pain?

    Have we considered the important question – At what cost?

    In other words, at what cost is it to our body when we choose to take the drug to numb the pain?

    Is it the answer and have we thought what happens next?

    All drugs have side effects and that is a fact.

    So have we considered the side effects or are we just interested in pain management and how we can have sex without pain?

  30. CNN – 9 August 2018
    https://edition.cnn.com/2018/08/09/health/women-pregnancy-opioid-addiction-cdc/index.html

    In USA, the rate amongst women delivering babies with opioid use disorder has more than quadrupled over the 15 year period ending in 2014 (Morbidity and Mortality Report, Center for Disease Control and Prevention).

    “More and more women are presenting with opioid use disorder at labour”
    Dr. Wand Barfield, Director of Center of Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Reproductive Health

    333% increase in women giving birth seen.

    23 states and Washington DC consider substance in pregnancy to be child abuse and 3 states consider it to be grounds for admitting a woman involuntarily to a psychiatric hospital and so this is taken very seriously.

    Times have changed.

    In the 1960s more than 80% of patients entering treatment programs for opioid use were urban men who used heroin.

    By 2010 the majority were often middle class white women living in less urban or rural areas.

    “The opioid epidemic has touched everyone…When something is so broad and affects all populations we also see it reflected in the pregnant population”
    Dr. Elizabeth E. Krans, an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh

    More screening of pregnant women is being called for in the early stages of pregnancy.

    But what about the women?

    Is anyone really talking to them to establish what is going on for them and what they are feeling as to why they are taking this pain numbing drug?

    What pain are they trying to silence with this drug?

    What true support are they receiving?

    Is it just that there has been a general increase in opioid use amongst the general population or is this telling us something about what is truly going for women during pregnancy which is actually a very sacred time?

  31. https://abcnews.go.com/Health/young-women-adhd-medicine-700-percent-years-cdc/story?id=52449641

    Just read this news story online about a 12 year study by CDC of young women with ADHD

    700% increase in age 25 – 29
    560% increase in age 30 – 34

    We could start by saying SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT

    What happens at these ages that gives rise to such staggering figures?

    Do we need to consider every single thing that this blog is presenting before we ask and wait for more and more research?

    What really got me to write this comment was the fact that one of the prescribed medications are Amphetamines and stimulants were also mentioned.

    First we need to read all the facts in simple language about Amphetamines – see link
    https://simplelivingglobal.com/the-raw-truth-about-amphetamines/

    Once we know for ourself what this drug is and what it does, we can ask –

    WHY would this be the prescribed drug of choice for ADHD.
    ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER

    If we join the dots here and keep it super basic and simple – how can a drug deal with our attention deficit?

    The blog on this website called FOCUS is worth reading
    https://simplelivingglobal.com/focus/

    My take is that we have to be doing something that is affecting our mind to the point where we are no longer able to settle.

    ADHD up until recently has been about children and now they are saying adults.

    What are we doing and how are we living everyday?

    What modern lifestyle choices are in place now that has given rise to this?

    Are these the type of questions we need to be asking, if we are to see real change?

    Whilst these figures are off the scale, have we considered how many have not made it to the research studies and gone under the radar?

    Could the actual figures be even higher?

    Are we as women too busy busy trying to be something we are not?
    Are we trying too hard to get out in the world and make our mark?
    Are we craving the recognition and attention we never got as a child?
    Are we big into social media to the point where we are addicted?
    https://simplelivingglobal.com/social-media-day/
    Are we accepting abuse of any kind because it seems to be the norm?

    It would be true to say that I certainly had, a long time ago, a mild form of ADHD and so did most of the people I chose to hang out with.
    So what has changed?

    Getting the quality sleep sorted to the point where I know what my body needs and nothing is greater or more important than that.

    This has led to many other lifestyle choices and where my priorities are and what I choose to focus on.

    Having a connection to what I know is true purpose stops any form of hyper-activity and for the record, my GP tells me I have perfect blood pressure.

    My attention span is what I would call amazing, considering the amount of online research I do every single day, with adverts flashing on both sides of the screen and ads on every corner doing what it can to get my attention.

    Reacting to it will not do me any good, so I have learned to observe with a steady body and that comes with making lifestyle choices that have all been presented on this website.

    I know as a 56 year old woman today, I have a duty to share and bring awareness to others in our world, because I now live an incredible life without the stimulations that this world is offering.

  32. Over these last few days I have had many thoughts about role models and what they represent, particularly those on the front cover of magazines.

    Is it possible that a role model is not just about what someone looks like and the views that they hold?

    What if a true role model reflects to others a certain way of living, that is full of vitality, true health and respect for one’s body?

    We are living in an age where visual stimulation is high and we seem to want to match our personal lives with what we see in those around us, especially celebrities and those in the public eye.

    However, do we have a responsibility about what we put out there and what we are in truth promoting?

    When I think of teenage girls for example, who are easily influenced, if they do not have strong role models in their personal lives and when I consider that just in the last week, the UK media have been reporting that 1 in 4 teenage girls in Britain self-harms, perhaps we do need to be much more responsible with who and what we are promoting.

    What if when we have someone on the front cover of a magazine, we are promoting a whole lifestyle – seen or unseen and it goes beyond whether the person is fat or thin?

    Have we truly stopped to consider the consequences of what we are selling, or are we so caught up with the money making machine that we have no real interest?

    I have women in my life who live in a way that is deeply respectfull of their bodies and everyone else; where they will not accept abuse in anyway shape or form.

    These women not only emanate beauty, but also wisdom, strength, vitality, true health and power. They are so strong in knowing who they are, that they have nothing to prove to anyone.

    There is no fighting – they just know who they are and they stand with and live that every day.

    This for me are the type of women I want to see on the front cover of our magazine.

    True women reflecting all that we can be.

  33. Thank you for this absolutely amazing blog.

    I really appreciate the work the author is doing here to present the truth about women’s lives, women’s bodies and the treatment of women.

    I would like to draw attention to just one phrase in this blog which, to me, is a total revelation.

    I remember talking years ago to a woman I used to know about life in general and her life in particular.

    During this conversation, she said that the happiest times in her life were the times when she was pregnant with her three children.

    I asked her why those times were so special, and she replied that it was because of the warmth and love she felt in her body when she was carrying her children.

    Now, for me, the author explains what it is about being pregnant that felt so very special to this old friend of mine, when she writes:

    “Could it be possible that during pregnancy the body goes into a state of absolute divinity…”

  34. Today is International Menopause Day and it is to raise awareness of midlife women’s health.

    The 2018 awareness campaign concentrates on sexual wellbeing after menopause.

    The International Menopause Society is working to increase awareness of FSD – female sexual dysfunction. The white paper aims to review the process of care for female sexual well-being following menopause, from approaching the discussion of FSD to identifying clinical signs and symptoms and ultimately determining the best available biopsychosocial therapies.

    The 16th World Congress on Menopause was held in June this year in Vancouver, Canada about Midlife Health in the 21st century.

    So what exactly does that mean to the average woman about to go into mid-life?

    How many women have real education about this subject and know what sort of things to expect during this time in their life?

    Are we equipped to deal with what is coming and are we on the front foot?

    Are we asking enough questions and having real life conversations, so we get talking with those who have experienced – in other words lived through what could possibly help us?

    Would this be a more valuable option for women instead of a google search or an app to monitor hot flushes?

    Are there any real role models around, who are post menopause that can reflect a way of living that is working?

    What are we aware of when it comes to sexual wellbeing after menopause?

    Do we all know the facts about what menopause is, how it affects us and what is our part in all of this?

    What we do know is that it is not a topic of conversation that we hear about.

    There has been no news reporting on International Menopause Day in the media that we can all say “let’s wake up and pay attention”.
    WHY is this?

    Whilst it is great to have these world awareness days, is it time to dig deeper and be very honest and pose the question – how are women living in daily life?

  35. Metro News – 23 October 2018

    A news story today about the average woman needs a 28 hour day to get things done.

    The new study of 2,000 women found –

    50% choose to exercise, work or spend time with family and friends rather than go to bed early

    60% wish they had extra time in the day to maintain career, social and home life

    25% put their late nights down to climbing the career ladder, leaving work after 7pm

    20% wake up before 6am

    25% go to bed after midnight

    20% work more than ever before

    33% are conscious of what colleagues think of them after a late night
    as a result they will apply more make-up or spend more time brushing their teeth or fixing their hair to disguise their tired appearance.

    So what is this study saying to us about women today?

    We value work and want to go somewhere with our career at whatever cost it may be to our human body.

    We do not value sleep as we choose other things like family above an early night.

    We choose to have late nights then seek a solution like extra make-up hoping this will cover up how we feel, which is tired from lack of sleep.

    The truth is we cannot have a 28 hour day and so is there another way?

    Next – why are women choosing to spend time with others when clearly sleep is needed?

    Where is this pressure to be and do something coming from and how can we make steps to change this way of being?

    This blog highlights what is going on in the world for women and it also presents a lot of questions for us to consider and deeply ponder, if we are to see any real change.

    The author of this website is in her mid 50s and works every day but values the balance of work and rest with adequate sleep adhering to what her body requires.

    The sleep blog was written from lived experience and confirms that it is possible to carry out work consistently and be productive, if there is a deep regard for the human frame.
    https://simplelivingglobal.com/world-sleep-day/

    Ignoring it or overriding it simply does not work and the body will show us signs of it breaking down in some form or another, be it accident, illness or dis-ease.

    Working long hours is possible, but only if there is a quality of sleep and that means paying attention to the rhythms and cycles within our body at all times.

    What would be true to say right now is that the majority of women are far far away from this and there are more questions to be raised, if we are to ever see change in the right direction.

  36. Today in many parts of the world, women are allowed to take part in many more things that we were not allowed to previously. In the name of equality this continues to change, like the recent decision by the Ministry of Defence in the UK to allow all frontline roles to now be open to women.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/25/all-roles-in-uk-military-to-be-open-to-women-williamson-announces

    Whilst on the surface we have more equality, do we actually have harmonious relations between men and women or does that divide still exists, even though we can now work in the same roles as men.

    Are these examples of true evolution or is something missing from the equation?

    Is there another way for men and women to be with each other, which involves holding the other as an equal, regardless of their gender, ethnic origin, race, religion, or anything else which we normally focus on – Without judgement or any expectations or beliefs about who and what the other person should be?

    With the continual rise of domestic abuse and other forms of violence against women, would we be wise to re-define this word equality and what it actually means?

    If we had truly evolved, would we continue to see this worldwide rise in abuse?

  37. Metro News – 10 December 2018 page 23

    Younger women feel bad about themselves 4 times a day according to a research study.

    Seeing their reflection | unable to fit into their jeans | Ignored text messages | being left out friends plans | seeing others ‘perfect life’ on social media

    The research shows the fragile confidence of millennial women

    60% admitting low self esteem
    20% being told they look tired sends their ego crashing

    What is this saying about young women and more to the point women in general?
    Where are women heading if this is going on in daily life?

    If we take another angle here and present –

    Is all the above telling us that women are seeking something on the outside?
    In other words, women are looking for something outside of themselves to be validated, recognised, accepted and approved of in some way, shape or form.

    Can anything on the outside – this world we have created – hold us steady inside us?
    In other words, does this world hold the answers to what we need or is there something inside us that holds the key?

    Let us explore the latter.
    What if our body has an intelligence and knows how to keep us steady from the inside and then we emanate this to the outer world?

    What if we simply need to Plug in and Connect – read the blog on this website
    https://simplelivingglobal.com/plug-in-and-connect/
    Then make the choice to build a foundation – read the blog on this website
    https://simplelivingglobal.com/building-your-foundation/
    Then get real and honest about our life – read the blog on this website
    https://simplelivingglobal.com/get-real-get-honest-and-get-to-truth/
    Then make a commitment to life in all areas – read the blog on this website
    https://simplelivingglobal.com/commitment-to-life-part-1/

    What if after reading this blog about women and how we are truly living in this world, it gives us an insight that SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT?

    What if the missing ingredient is simple and real role models are now needed to step forward and lead the way for future generations?

    What if fitting into a jean size and perfect life on social media only exists in our wayward minds, but if we made the choice to deeply connect to our inner most essence, then bingo we can knock out the nonsense thoughts that feed our minds with endless images of how we need to be and look?

    WHAT IF we could all look and see the true reflection of who we are without all this outer stuff that we as humans have created?

    In other words, what if we could just see light particles and not the images we receive that are filtered and altered to not feel the majestic beings that we really are?

  38. Daily Mail – 22 December 2018

    Young women are taking a dangerous ‘date rape’ drug as a zero-calorie alternative to binge drinking on nights out, an inquest has heard.

    A toxicologist warned that Gamma-hydroxybutyrate or GHB has become a recreational drug of choice as it doesn’t contain sugar or induce a hangover, while having euphoric effects. It is also very cheap.

    In 2018 Global Drug Survey out of 1,000 GHB users –
    1 in 4 women admitted they had overdosed in the last 12 months

    A young teacher recently died after taking an accidental overdose of the drug.
    Her parents were unaware that she used any illicit drugs.

    GHB was first synthesised for use as an anaesthetic in 1960’s.

    So this tells us that it was a drug that was created to make us numb so as not to feel pain.

    Why is it that women are choosing to take this or any drug to not feel pain?

    What could this pain be that we are trying to numb?

    Is it possible that it could be an internal pain that stems from feeling hurt and not truly living as a woman?

    Is it possible that many of us live by ideals and beliefs of who we think we should be rather than living in the free expression of who we are as women?

    If this is the case, why are we not seeking to get to the root cause of this, rather than searching for cover-ups that will have damaging effects?

    Is it possible that there is true support available to us all, so that we can deal with the root of any life difficulties that we have, so that we do not have to turn to drugs and deal with more fatalities?

  39. The Week – Issue 1208
    29th December 2018

    The number of girls in England and Wales referred by the NHS to gender identity specialists rose from 97 – 2009/10 to 2,519 in 2017/18
    The Times

    Are we questioning why more girls are attending gender identity specialists and why the numbers have risen so sharply?

    Is this providing important information for us about what is going on for our girls and the difficulties that they are having with their bodies and who they are?

    Why are they are not feeling comfortable in their own skin?

    Have we questioned why this would be?

    Is it possible that they have not been loved and adored and met for who they truly are?

    Is it possible that they have no-one around them role modelling what it means to be a true woman, who is at ease with who she is, no matter the circumstances?

    What will happen to these girls as they grow into women, if they are questioning who they are and their gender identity at such a young age?

    Is this telling us that something is not right?

    Is there more for us to look at beyond the numbers regarding what is really going on for our girls today and are we ready to see it and ask questions or do we continue to turn a blind eye?

  40. Daily Mail – 29 January 2019
    p.32

    Half of mothers who breastfeed struggle to do so, a survey has found.

    50% said breastfeeding was one of the hardest parts of being a mother.

    The poll by BBC Women’s Hour surveyed –

    More than 1,000 women aged 18 – 40 who had a baby in the last 10 years.

    Those who struggled said they felt like a failure.

    1 in 7 of those surveyed said difficulties with breastfeeding had a negative effect on their mental health.

    Why are women sharing this?

    Have we stopped to consider the following –

    Are we putting too much pressure on ourselves as women?

    Do we have an idealistic view of breastfeeding and motherhood?

    Are we trying to be perfect?

    Are we filled with ideals and beliefs about how and who we should be as women and mothers and so if we fall short of that ideal picture this is why we feel a failure?

    What if it is not about being picture perfect and getting it right, but it is about making choices that truly honour and respect our bodies?

    What if choosing to breastfeed is something a woman decides based on where she is at in her life and what feels true in her body?

    What if one is no less a woman or a mother whether we choose to breastfeed or not?

    For the first 6 months of a child’s life, breast milk is recommended exclusively.

    Is there a way to live that enables us to stay true to ourselves, regardless of what any book, professional or any person says?

  41. I recently read about a woman who had her cervical smear televised.

    I was shocked to read this as having recently gone for one, I would not say it is something I would ever want to be televised as it is such a private matter.

    In fact having a cervical smear test done is awful and is very traumatic.

    An instrument is placed inside a woman’s vagina and it is very cold, sharp and painfull.

    You are told to relax and it is impossible.

    I have had all sorts of medical advice from a GP saying drink alcohol beforehand to relax – I don’t drink alcohol.

    To nurses asking if I am a virgin or not sexually active.

    When I have said that it is painfull I have been told that this is not correct and that it is just uncomfortable, even though I am saying from my body it is painful.

    The whole experience I find quite degrading and it begs me to question – why we have not developed a more humane and caring way to carry out this test?

    Is it because as women we are putting up with it and are not asking for more?

    Are we just accepting that ‘Oh well, we have been told to go and so we have to?’

    What if we actually looked for the root cause of cervical cancer to determine what causes it by looking at our lifestyle choices?

    Could this be another way to approach women’s health?

  42. Talking to a woman in the community who is struggling with her business.
    Every time I see her, she opens up and tells me more about her life.

    She divorced because she no longer wanted to live with a man who was gambling and was an ‘alcoholic’.

    Aware her sons were affected by this she was not educated and just done her best.

    A decade later she knew one of her sons was smoking pot to the point she used her life savings and borrowed more to get him to rehab. Did it work?

    Well she says that as a mother she sniffs around and checks his pockets etc., and is totally convinced he is onto other drugs now.

    For her this is devastating and she takes anti-depressants amongst other pills and tells me she only sleeps for an hour then wakes up and struggles to fall asleep again.

    She was saying how she wants to take her own life some days as things feel so bad.

    I could see the exhaustion in her and the sheer overwhelm of how life has grabbed her.
    ADD to this an elderly mother who she cares for and a younger son who in her words “does zero – nothing and never will”.

    What is it about women who think putting up with whatever life throws at us is ok?

    I put a question to her – if it was a member of staff who behaved as her son does – which is not show up for work or not get up all day, would she continue allowing this in her business – the answer is a clear No and we talked about her ‘divorcing’ her 2 boys, who are in their 30s, so hardly young.

    My straight talk to her was let’s sit down and let me give you my take – she listened.

    How about you start working on yourself, taking deep care of you and your needs and see if that brings any change?

    She said she went on You Tube and got loads of meditation and none are working.

    I suggested the Universal Medicine Gentle Breath Meditation that I have used for over and decade and have taught worldwide to different audiences from CEOs to prisoners and it really works – I am living proof.

    A small start like learning to breathe correctly could make a huge difference in anyones life and above all allowing someone the space to talk.

    I had absolutely no need to go into her shop but something was pulling me to visit her and of course the timing was bang on – it was quiet and I was able to ask how was she feeling.

    Sometimes it takes another, not involved but caring and loving. Someone who truly takes care and loves themselves first, to see what others may need in any given moment.

    Imagine if our world just went out of their way and gave the time as I have done in this case to another man, woman or child who may just need it to support them to turn their lives around.

    It is the small stuff that works and it does not have to be big to make a difference.

  43. I was sitting close by to a couple in a cafe and whilst listening I heard a lot.

    In my usual style I was ‘reading’ what was going on. For me that is having a sense of what I was feeling and not pretending or negating those feelings.

    It was not like that was my only focus and being a nosey neighbour but its just how I operate – I read the situation, have a sense and nominate to myself what I saw and heard and felt. No big deal.

    At the time I was working which involved reading.
    The both kept looking at me and so we got into a conversation about many things.

    What I observed throughout is something I used to do a long time ago.
    As a woman – put up with anything even if it did not feel right.

    This woman was clearly not in agreement with how her ‘new man’ sitting opposite wanted to live his life. In fact, I did not hear anything that confirmed otherwise.

    When I was being told what he wanted and his anger and resentment for having to work in this country and get up for work on time, which he hated I could hear loud alarm bells.

    This woman was wanting the fairytale with the good looking man and willing to ignore other things. She literally had it written all over, the happy family with kids and a house.
    Totally understandable and is that not what most of us want as women?

    Back to me questioning this man and saying WHY in your conversation have you mentioned this woman as a friend and not something in your future, yet it is clear you want to be with her. He could not answer direct as his lack of commitment and his lazy life in the sunshine is what he craved the most.

    He said that he could ‘get away with it’ by sleeping in and showing up for the job when he felt like it but here it’s different.

    I told him he does not like RESPONSIBILITY because that is what this is about.
    His partner agreed and he nodded with a body that looked uncomfortable like I had touched a deep nerve.

    As a woman, I am no longer afraid of what men think about me or say about me.
    I just say it as it is and that includes a stranger, my husband, ex husband, dad, brother, friends, work colleagues etc.

    This does not come from arrogance, wanting to be right, have the last say or any other mind games or nonsense. It comes from a deep connection to who I truly am and a deep self regard of myself as a woman in a woman’s body.

    It has taken me 14 years with the support of Universal Medicine and a woman called Natalie Benhayon to get to this point, which feels real and absolutely true.

    My purpose is to hold everyone as equal, in the same way that I see all aspects of myself.

    This deep sense of self worth holds me steady and so it does not allow the space for anyone and that includes men, to change my internal state of being.
    In other words, feeling solid inside me is complete and therefore enough, so I am not seeking anything from anyone on the outside to complete me and that includes men.

    Having an amazing beautifull husband is a bonus because I am full and complete already. Hope that makes sense.

  44. Independent News – 20 February 2019

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/period-poverty-women-miss-school-work-office-money-sexism-a8786146.html

    27% of women have been forced to miss school or work because they cannot afford period products according to a new poll on Period Poverty.

    51% of respondents had suffered from the problem or knew someone who had.

    Two thirds had been forced to use makeshift menstrual protection at some point.

    Sanitary products are classed as a “luxury, non-essential item” in the UK and subject to a 5% tax.

    The average cost on sanitary products in a lifetime is £4,800.

    84% thought sanitary products should be freely available in schools and colleges.

    66% believed they should be available free of charge for all females.

    There is more…

    Another poll found half of British girls have witnessed their peers being bullied and shamed about their period. The study found nearly half of girls in Britain said boys tease or joke about periods.

    This is a serious matter and more of us need to be aware of what is going on.

    Firstly, if girls are being teased or joked by boys – how is their relationship with their periods going to be and how will it end up?

    Has anyone considered this?

    Next – How on earth are we calling any sanitary product a luxury non-essential item in the classification of goods in one country?

    Do we simply need to stop at this point and get to the root of how and WHY this has happened before we can unite and discuss anything further?

    Fighting, campaigning and trying to hold our policymakers and those who make these rules and regulations accountable has so far not worked, so is there another way?

    This is related to a natural cycle of a woman and what we could all do with saying is –
    SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT and start talking about it and not leave it to one group of people doing what they can to take it to parliament.

    We may not have the power as individuals, so we think, to make real changes but what if it does count and it does make a difference but we just are not aware of it as it’s not our way of thinking?

    What if all those who are aware, simply express – be it in the form of writing like this comment or bringing awareness through social media and dinner table conversations at home and in our communities?

    Could this get the circulation going for this much needed topic?

    Doing nothing, changes nothing – that is a fact and we all know it.

    What if talking and sharing with those we know and bringing awareness is the start for real change?

    This website is dedicated and committed to bringing awareness to humanity about humanity.

    It is for the people and it is about people.

  45. Yesterday as I was leaving a cafe I stood by a man who was looking at his mobile phone. He was quite engrossed scrolling and flicking through pictures.

    Then he started to zoom into the photos and they were of women wearing bikinis on boats with much of their breasts exposed.

    Now we could start having a go at this man or all men by judging them and saying that this is disgusting, but have we ever considered our responsibility as women?

    Have we questioned why as women we do this and what leads us to expose our bodies in this way?

    Is it possible that a woman’s relationship with her body can be sacred? A relationship where we take deep care of ourselves and live in a way where we honour and respect what we feel is true and not harming and we say no to anything that is not?

    Is it possible that a woman who lives in this way is empowered to be comfortable in her own skin without the need to draw on male attention for the way that she looks?

    Is it possible that there is a whole another purpose to a woman’s body and what she brings, that goes way beyond the looks that we have reduced the human form to?

  46. The Guardian – 26 January 2019
    p.19

    An African practice of “ironing” a girl’s chest with a hot stone to delay breast formation is spreading in the UK, with women’s campaigner’s hospital workers and church ministers describing dozens of recent cases, a Guardian investigation has found.

    Margaret Nyuuydzewira, head of the diaspora group the Came Women and Girls Development Organisation, estimated that at least 1,000 women and girls in the UK have experienced this, however there has been no systematic study or formal data collection exercise.

    Another community activist said “It’s usually done in the UK, not abroad like female genital mutilation. She describes how this practice is carried out by mothers, aunties or grandmothers, using a hot stone to massage across the breast repeatedly in order to “break the tissue” and slow its growth.

    Sometimes they do it once a week, or once every 2 weeks depending on how it comes back.

    The perpetrators, usually mothers consider it a traditional measure that protects girls from unwanted male attention, sexual harassment and rape.

    Medical experts and victims regard this practice as a form of child abuse that could lead to physical and psychological scars, infections, inability to breastfeed, deformities and breast cancer.

    The United Nations describes it as 1 of 5 globally under reported crimes relating to gender based violence.

    Reading this have we stopped to question what is going on?

    How many more atrocities are we carrying out in the name of culture?

    How many more of these types of practices are going on?

    WHY have we allowed this to happen where young girls are being abused?

    What could allow any of us to think that this is acceptable?

    Is there anything that we can do to stop this?

    Are we doing something even more harmful than damaging the tissue in carrying out this act?

    Is it possible that this act of mutilation erodes a young woman and girls’ connection to her innate ability to nurture herself?

    By nurturing herself, does this mean she is now aware of how to truly support and nurture others?

    Is it possible that we would all grow, if we allowed women and girls to live their natural nurturing way?

    Is it possible that we all lose out when women and girls are not supported to develop their nurturing qualities?

    Is it possible that this is why these practices really exist and that it has nothing to do with warding off male attention?

    Is it possible that we are not valuing our girls simply for who they are?

  47. Independent – 8 March 2019

    International Women’s Day

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/international-womens-day-2019-abortion-ban-rape-victim-blaming-a8812786.html

    A snapshot of some of the issues affecting women today –

    Spy cameras –

    Increasing numbers of women are being secretly filmed on spy cameras as covert recording technology become cheaper and more readily available, experts have warned.

    Cameras are being installed in rental and students’ properties or public spaces including toilet and swimming pool cubicles, changing rooms and tanning salons in order to capture explicit photographs of women without their consent. The material is then uploaded to porn websites.

    Kevin Roberts who runs a company that detects spy cameras and bugs has said that his cases range from spy cameras placed in homes by partners or exes to instances of people using the cameras to spy on strangers.

    “It has grown exponentially in the last 5 – 7 years” he said “Our caseload is going up, which comes from these things being readily easy to buy. They used to have to go to spy shops but now it’s all online…Tech can lead people down some dark roads…”

    Menstruation –

    Women living in Nepal are routinely banished to an outside hut or animal sheds, or stopped from taking part in family activities, having contact with men and are given less food to eat when they are on their period, due to an ancient practice that remains prevalent, despite a ban.

    Dozens of women and girls have died in Nepal in recent years as a result of the tradition.

    Sex work –

    Austerity measures and welfare cuts are leading a number of public sector workers into sex work. A leading campaigning group which supports the decriminalisation of prostitution has said that more women in public sector roles are doing sex work to top up their income due to employers making no allowances for the fact they have children.

    Public sector roles include nurses, midwives and teachers.

    Sexual Assault –

    Majority of men (55%) in the UK believe that a woman is more likely to be sexually harassed or assaulted if she wears revealing clothes.

    Abortions and Domestic Abuse

    Northern Ireland has a ban on abortion in almost all cases – even rape or incest.

    Porn –

    India

    Rise in men watching porn causing a dramatic increase in under age girls being raped.

    We are in the 21st century, what we called an advanced age but when reading the above – can we truly say that we have advanced?

    It is not only in Nepal for example where women are treated differently when they are menstruating. A friend shared recently how growing up in London, England she was not allowed to go to a place of worship, whilst she was on her period.

    One common theme as I read this news article is that it is about women’s bodies.

    Spy cameras are being used to focus on the female form and thus circulate material on the internet for voyeuristic purposes.

    Sexual assaults are a direct physical assault on a woman’s body.

    Is it possible that domestic abuse – whether physical, emotional, mental, financial or sexual all take a toll on a woman’s physical and mental well-being and thus her body is ill affected?

    Is it possible that by not treating women as equals whilst they are on their period and giving them less food and poor sleeping conditions, this is a total disregard for a woman’s body?

    Is it possible that with sex working there is a lack of value for a woman’s body as it is seen as a mere commodity for money and to fulfil desires, by both parties?

    Is it possible that a ban on abortions denies a woman the opportunity to make a decision that she knows is best for her and her body?

    Is there something about a woman’s body that is being negated and if women were honoured and respected in full, this could make a huge difference to human life and the abuse that is prevalent?

    Is it possible that this responsibility starts with women first and relates to how much we take care of our bodies and listen to what they are communicating?

    Is the principal responsibility for a woman to build a relationship with herself and her body first and foremost?

  48. Daily Mail – 2 March 2019
    page 29

    A new study has found that women who work night shifts may risk going through the menopause at a younger age.

    80,000 nurses were tracked who worked at least 3 nights a month as well as other shifts.

    Dr David Stock from the University of Dalhousie in Canada said disruption to circadian rhythms and stress could be factors.
    Early menopause causes greater risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.

    The first question we need to be asking is are we designed to do night shifts?
    In other words, are we able to continue working in a way that is opposite to what our natural circadian internal clock is telling us.

    Does the body go into stress in the knowing it is not equipped to deal with night work?

    How do we prepare our body to support us to carry out a job that requires night shift?

    I know from anecdotal evidence of others that it is possible but it requires a greater responsibility in the way we are living and the choices we are making every single day.
    This means the days off have to have priority and focus on deep rest and extra sleep.
    This time off needs to be wisely planned and preparation for the week ahead has to be followed with detail if there is to be any true support with a night shift.

    Our food choices need to be looked at and of course our social life and what else we are choosing to spend time on has to be considered as our body is calling for this on some level, if we are going to get through night shift with ease.

    Also a foundation needs to be developed that can support us in daily life no matter what comes our way and this is expanded on in the foundation blog on this website.
    https://simplelivingglobal.com/building-your-foundation/

    As a woman, pushing and over-riding our innate first feeling on anything is a no because doing this will ensure things get buried and we will create a tension in the body.

    So how many of us could say we are prepared to adhere to the above and follow it through to the best of our ability?

    How many of us know of nurses that are exhausted and struggling because of working night shifts?

    Where do we get to in life before we say we cannot continue this way of living?

    Where are we in terms of living in a way that honours our menstrual cycle and what it offers?

    How many of us just grin and bear it because we need to earn the money to keep going in life?

    How many of us opt for night shift as there is less work and more money but we never consider what that may end up doing to our body?

    How many women have ever considered that night shift could cause a greater risk of heart disease and osteoporosis?

    Do we as women ever ask the question – Was it worth it?

    On that note, I had early menopause not from working night shift but from a very ill way of living.
    In other words, I made choices that consistently trashed my body to the point I had to have a full hysterectomy.

    Was it worth it – Absolutely No.
    The pain on all levels and the loss of knowing I could never be a mother because of my choices took some time to get over and truly heal.

    Today I regard my body as precious and do my best everyday to take care and listen to it – not perfect and I am forever learning but I know beyond doubt if I was living the way I do today, there would never have been a hysterectomy on the radar. Fact.

  49. Talking to a woman in my community, she shared about her sister who is very wealthy as her husband has 10 businesses.

    She said they have a huge house, lots of expensive cars and 4 holidays a year.
    In other words, they have everything but her sister always tells her she feels very lonely.

    She then expressed that when they go on holiday, it is like being with some body physically but no connection inside. The husband is in his work world and has no relationship whatsoever with his wife. She has the lifestyle and can buy whatever she wants, but for her something is missing as she feels so lonely.

    This is interesting as I have heard this type of story so many times.

    What is it about us women that some of us are willing to put up with things that are clearly making us miserable and adding to the agony we feel in life?

    WHY do we accept these types of relationships that are nothing more than an arrangement between 2 adults that on the surface might look great but are totally void of any true connection or intimacy?

    The big question is –
    What type of role model are we if we are living a lie in our own marriage?

    Being lonely in a marriage is not what we signed up to so why do we simply put up with it and at what cost?

    At the end of our life, would we look back with regret or could we say we did our best and made sure we found another way that ensured we were never lonely again?

  50. Citizen Journalism – 21 May 2019

    Observing what goes on and how we as women behave around others.

    I had the opportunity to be sitting close to a group of women out to lunch.
    It reminded me of how I was decades ago and how uncomfortable it was for me to not be real and true to how I was feeling. It was like I was there to impress, get noticed and say what I think they wanted to hear. I call that fake and phoney and it always left me empty and feeling like something was missing.

    The thing is I thought there was no way I could be real and be myself as I would have no mates. The other thing was I heard them talking and slagging off someone and how the others joined in and justified what one woman was saying. It was like circulating whatever had happened and looking for validation from friends so it somehow confirms us in our behaviour. Well this is what I used to do but not anymore.

    This type of meeting up and ‘acting’ feels wrong to me now and I see so many women pretending to be who they are not and having that feeling of not being settled inside their own body.

    It takes time, if you ask me to find settlement as a woman and to deal with all the ugly stuff that comes up.

    For me not doing social media, unless I feel real purpose, has helped for sure.
    Not trying to impress or get recognition in any shape or form also helps.
    Above all saying it as it is and never holding back if I feel to say something is the ticket.

    This means I have no problem ever telling my close friends if they are out of line or have done something that was not what I feel decent and respectful. That extends to all others, be it in my community, my family, workplace or anywhere – I am not afraid to be real, speak my truth and not just agree or nod my head for the sake of having an easy time.

    As women, we have deviated from the essence of who we truly are and so we need the outside world to confirm and acknowledge us all the time.

    What if there is another way to live and be as women in the world?

    Surely it would be worth exploring and a great start would be reading this blog and the questions it presents to all of us out there in the world.

  51. This is a highly fascinating expose of how women are treated, how women are living and how women are treating themselves.

    Just looking at one aspect of this blog, the abuse that women suffer at the hands of others, if you weren’t sure what you were reading here, it is quite plausible to think you were reading some sort of fictional horror novel.

    It is quite shocking and sad that we are capable of treating another human being in this way and begs the question you have asked in this blog – what sort of intelligence can treat others this way?

    Without women there would be no human race.

    Women are our sisters, our mothers, our grandmothers, our wives, our friends – what gives us the right to abuse them in this way?

  52. Daily Mail – 6 July 2019
    Page 4

    Pupils’ lessons on menopause

    The UK government has added the topic of menopause to the sex education curriculum for the first time. The subject will be taught next year at secondary schools.

    Campaigners say that the menopause can cause relationship issues because many do not understand it properly. Symptoms include hot flushes and mood swings.

    It is hoped the lessons will help pupils support their mothers, sisters and partners later in life.

    So how are we going to educate the youth of today about the menopause?

    Who is going to write the lessons and is it going to be facts and stats only?

    Are we going to ask women who have found a way in dealing with the menopause and can share insight and wisdom about this much neglected subject in society?

    Are we going to be open and transparent in our conversations and discussions so this topic is not just in the classroom but taken beyond that space into our communities?

    Before we get to the menopause are we going to consider questions about how women are living during their menstruation cycle each month that may contribute to symptoms shown in the menopause?

    Talking from lived experience and a case well worth noting – I was living in a way that ignored my monthly periods for literally 35 years. It got to the point where I developed endometriosis and fibroids and eventually a tumour. After having a hysterectomy which was the removal of the uterus and cervix, I started the early menopause.

    At the time the hot flushes were awefull and I would react so much and change all my clothes and things just got worse. If anyone told me that they would still be going on a decade later, I would have wanted to shoot them as I never thought that was possible.

    I spoke to my mother at the time and she said HRT worked because it pushed it all down like it went away but soon as she came off it 20 years later, she experienced the hot flushes. They continued into her 70’s.

    My hot flushes are still around today but thankfully with the understanding and real support I received from a women called Natalie Benhayon, who is an expert in women’s health, I am no longer reacting and above all I have a deeper connection with my body as a woman. This has helped me enormously and I have not taken any HRT and doubt I ever will.

    What if how I lived my trashy life – full details are on this menopause blog – now requires a correction, so to speak.
    https://medicineandsergebenhayon.com/2015/01/20/hysterectomy-a-wake-up-call/

    In other words, my body is adjusting and correcting slowly and gently everyday all the stuff I lived that was harming me in the women’s department down there. It makes sense to me and it has helped me to not react but accept that how we choose to live does have consequences.

    If I was presenting on this topic of menopause at schools, the most important thing I would focus on is how our choices will affect our periods and this eventually will be what our body will show us in the menopause cycle later on in life.

    I have a lot to say about the menopause and what can make it a suffering. The above blog link has hundreds of comments where I expand on the subject and is well worth reading for anyone who is genuinely interested in learning more from someone who has walked the road.

  53. Talking in the community today, it was interesting to listen to women talk about their role and their duty.

    Growing up in an Indian family I understand where they are coming from.
    Greek Turkish Cypriot all have similar stuff going on and it is relatable.

    2 sisters – both deeply unhappy for different reasons.
    One has heaps of wealth and the other works very hard and is a single parent.

    Both have this sense of duty – one to the husband and his family.
    She spends all her days cooking and cleaning and entertaining his extended family.
    This is expected and is her duty.

    The other is looking after her mother from another country, who does not want to really be in a foreign land with a daughter working as she ends up spending her days alone.

    So what is the purpose of these old traditions and outdated ways of living in the name of duty?

    I found it very difficult as a teenage bride to be told what I can and cannot do and that included when I could use the bath, which was once a week. This was 40 years ago, but nevertheless it made no sense then and the same applies now.

    Duty back then was to dress in a sari when you get in from work.
    Use the back door entrance to come into the house.
    Never allowed to sit on same sofa as any male including your husband.
    Eat in the kitchen and not with others.
    Up at 5am on weekends and do chores
    Let the men in the house sleep in late and stay out late

    None of this made any sense to me and I was always questioning things and this of course disturbed everyone as my duty, my role and my job was to shut up and not be seen or heard.

    Things may look like they have changed 4 decades on but for many women this continues to be the norm. One dare not question or challenge any of the ideals and beliefs that form part of what a woman can and cannot do.

    I wonder if any of this repressed stuff, where a woman subscribes to the culture and is living a life that is not their natural expression, has an effect on their bodies and in particular their menstrual cycle.

    I observed this pattern in so many Indian women, including myself and my take is that when we are not deeply and truly honouring living as a woman, then the women department is going to show the dis-harmony and it may be in the wide range of symptoms that women today suffer from.

    Back to the story – my conversation ended with me saying that we need to live our truth and anything else, any compromise is not going to get us in the good books of God or a fast track to heaven.

    Women are struggling today and it’s pretty obvious that we have deviated from our natural and innate essence.

    I was one of those statistics but thankfully now I can feel the changes within me and I just know I am not living a life defined by any culture or beliefs in the name of duty.

  54. Independent – 7 August 2019

    https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/superdrug-period-delay-pill-high-street-norethisterone-utovlam-a9044896.html

    Women can now buy the “period delay pill” at a famous high street drug store in the UK.

    The pill is a prescription only medicine that was previously only available at pharmacists via online doctors’ services and had to be ordered in.

    Now it can be purchased on a walk-in basis at any branch following a consultation with the on-site pharmacist.

    The measure was introduced to give women more control and choice over their bodies.

    Dear World

    Is a synthetic version of a sex hormone, which naturally occurs in the human body going to be the answer in anyway?

    We make a pill that mimics something that is natural and we want it to perform and do something un-natural – in this case delay our period by three days.

    It may feel like control or a new lifestyle choice for many women but have we considered at what cost and is it worth it?

    We may not be aware that many contraceptive methods will induce amenorrhoea, which is a state of no periods, so taking this pill on top may not be necessary.

    When it comes to our body, how many of us are fully informed or give ourselves the time and space to feel what would best suit us?

    Are our choices made from what is expected of us or what we know other women are doing or do we have the clarity, understanding and connection with our own body before we make any choice that alters our natural state?

    How many of us would have considered this? –

    Drugs including caffeine and alcohol alter our natural state.
    Taking a pill to stop a natural cycle that we call a period alters our natural state.
    There is simply no getting away from that fact.

    What we need to be asking is – Why there is a demand from us as women to not want a period and instead choose the delay button, albeit a few days?

    If our body was given the voice to communicate – would it agree to being told it cannot work in a sequence and order that is natural and rhythmic?

    Is it time we started this type of questioning, instead of wanting a quick fix solution to our issues and dilemmas.

    We have to note that suppliers will only come up with the next thing, if we, the consumer are making the demand.

    The question is WHY are we asking for a delay to our natural monthly menstruation cycle?

  55. Talking to a young woman in the community.

    It was one of those appointments where I was not really supposed to be there.

    Me in my usual style asking questions and feeling open myself and transparent.
    In other words, I was not asking from a nosey wanting to know but genuinely asking how this woman was feeling and clocking her response and at the same time not being guarded in anyway within myself, so she was able to ask me anything. I am certain people feel that openness in someone when they are coming from a place of quality that they live everyday.

    We tend to have a public face and we do not tend to be honest, let alone share our innermost feelings with what some might call a total stranger.

    In truth, I do not feel anyone is really a stranger as I am certain we are all interconnected by the very fact we are one species regardless of gender, age, nationality and all that stuff.

    She apologised and said she does not normally breakdown and cry and I know this was because I was able to connect with her and relate to her in a most genuine and caring way.

    I don’t ever think what will I say or bring out the sympathy card as I am way too real and straight forward for that kind of talk. I just say it as it is and one question I presented was what advice would you give your best friend, if this was an exact situation they were currently in. Bingo she got her answer and was repeating it to herself and my take was you already know so now you need to get on with it as it is a choice.

    Continue the endless pain and suffering or make movements to end what is clearly not working and take steps to move on without getting anxious about the outcome, which has yet to happen.

    So many of us in daily life have these so called chance meetings which could be seen as an opportunity to express the truth. Holding back or keeping my mouth shut when I hold all this wisdom inside me is not an option.

    As women we all hold innate wisdom, learning to share and express what we feel could be a game changer for another, as it clearly was for me today.

  56. Last month I met a lady in the toilets at a leisure centre and we got talking.
    She liked my straight in your face talking as she said that is how she operates.

    When I got to meet her kids a few weeks later, I realised how quick we as a world are to judge another.

    Looking at her and the job she does, it would make us think she is the same as many who are from her native country but how wrong can we be.

    Here was someone doing what society would call a menial job and yet her children were in a top private school, super well spoken and nothing like what you would imagine if you hung out with her.

    The point of this comment was her manager arrived and I expressed the truth about her and I could feel it was enriching. She started crying and could not explain to us why this sudden emotion in front of her boss and kids.

    When I later shared this with my husband he asked could it be possible she was met and connected to by another for the first time in a way she had not been before.

    She was deeply touched and moved by our brief connections over the past month and when I introduced her to my husband she was saying how she had never met anyone like me and it restored her faith in women and humanity.

    As women in this world, we can start judging and going into comparison or jealousy OR we can simply meet another and hold them in the quality and regard they deserve – nothing more and nothing less. We all know about treating others like we want to be treated, but we have to live that day in and day out and my take is it starts with us.

    On that note, I know I have made an effort and a commitment to dedicate time each day to look after myself. This is not just about deep self care but also to not allow another to speak to me in a way that is dis-respectfull and at the same time I will call anyone out if they are out of line or talking ill about another. In other words, I will not endorse nonsense ugly behaviour and that is how I operate, with no perfection.

    As an elder in my community, I don’t shut up if I can see something needs correction.
    I am not bothered what or who they are – when it comes to truth, I just say it as it is.

  57. BBC News – 27th January 2020

    Calls for ‘Virginity Repair’ Surgery to be Banned
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51189319

    Campaigners are urging the government to outlaw ‘virginity surgery. They say Muslim women are being shamed into the procedure.

    Many Muslim women risk being outcast, or in extreme cases killed, if their spouses or families discover they have had sex before marriage.

    And some are opting for a medical procedure in which doctors restore a layer of membrane at the entrance to the vagina.

    But there are concerns a ban would increase the dangers to Muslim women by driving the procedure underground.

    Guidelines from the General Medical Council (GMC) state a patients consent to undergo a procedure should come into question if it is suspected of being “given under pressure or duress exerted by another person”.

    The founder of Middle Eastern Women and Society Organisation told BBC News of a Moroccan student in hiding in London after being told her father had hired someone to murder her. This woman had come to the UK in 2014 to study and had met a man and they moved in together.

    But when the father found out about the relationship, he had demanded she return to Morocco, where he had taken her to a clinic for a “virginity test” and discovered her hymen was no longer intact.

    There are currently at least 22 private clinics across the UK offering hymen-repair surgery.

    They charge up to £3,000 for the surgery, which takes about an hour.

    Women’s rights campaigners say that such clinics are profiting from Muslims afraid of what could happen to them if they are not “pure” for their wedding night.

    And many of these clinics detail the procedure on their websites with one centre telling women who visit its site “some marriages are even annulled” when a husband discovers his wife’s hymen has been broken.

    The Health Secretary said he would be investigating ways to end this “dreadful practice”, but the Department of Health declined to comment on how a potential ban would be enforced.

    A professor of Women’s Health at Barts and the London School of Medicine who has witnessed the procedure first hand said a ban “isn’t an appropriate response”. And as long as “good quality information” was made available to patients, the decision should be left up to individual women. He added: “I believe doctors’ motives are genuinely for protection against abuse.”

    However the chair of the British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology, worries about women and girls being coerced into a procedure with “zero medical benefit”.

    She said: “ The duties of a doctor are made clear in standards set out by the GMC. We as healthcare professions are bound by an oath to do no ham to patients and any reputable service engaging in these procedures is open to audit and scrutiny.”

    The medical director and director of education and standards at the GMC said that it’s vital that doctors consider the “vulnerabilities and psychological needs of their patients” first. He said: “If a patient is under undue pressure from others to take a particular course, their consent may not be voluntary. If a doctor judges that a child or young person does not want a cosmetic intervention, it should not be performed.”

    The founder of Middle Eastern Women and Society Organisation said: “These women on some level don’t see themselves as anything more than an object to be desired, rather a human being. For Muslim women, the drive is feelings of shame and the fear of punishment. For others, it is down to a lack of satisfaction with their own bodies, being fuelled by what society is telling them is normal.”

    Banning this procedure may well drive it underground, simply because we are not looking at the real reason why some women are opting for this.

    Is it possible that we need to start to address men’s attitude towards women in this day and age?

    We are now in the 21st century, but many cultures choose to live in the traditions of the past.

    Whether we see sex before marriage as right or wrong, it is a choice that should be able to be made between two consenting people without fear of reprisal.

    However admirable the intentions of doctors’ are, in considering the “vulnerabilities and psychological needs of patients” and following guidelines, the main issue here for the women concerned, is the stigma and fear of what their families will do to them if they choose to have sex before marriage.

    Most women choose to have sex so, is it possible that they then won’t decide to have this procedure willingly?

    Is it possible that many women that opt to have this procedure are doing so under duress?

    Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is one of the most horrific procedures a young girl or woman can go through.
    https://simplelivingglobal.com/international-day-of-zero-tolerance-for-female-genital-mutilation-6-february/

    Although there is no cutting of the woman’s genitals, is it possible that there is no difference in this procedure to FGM?

    Is it possible that the feelings of manipulation, coercion and bullying are the same?

    Why do we never hear about the men in these cultures being shamed, bullied or threatened with death if they indulge in sex before marriage?

    Historically, women have endured many forms of abuse simply for being a woman.

    Isn’t it time for us “Men” to start to be “True Men” and see women as the equals that they are?

  58. Daily Mail – 15 February 2020

    Research Study from Anglia Ruskin University
    Breast Size Satisfaction Survey

    18,541 women in 40 countries
    48% wanted larger breasts
    23% want smaller breasts

    So here we have a snapshot we could say of a global statistic.

    If we simply join the dots we could say women are not satisfied with what their natural bodies have given them.

    Are any of us actually surprised when we know how big the plastic surgery industry actually is?

    We have International Women’s Day coming on 8th March – would it be a wise discussion for all women to have about this topic and if we are totally satisfied with our breasts then how about other areas of our body?

    Do we feel the same?

    Do we know of any woman on the planet who has no body image issue?

    Dr. Max Pemberton – an NHS Psychiatrist says that in his Eating Disorders clinic, many of his patients have issues with their breast size and in the majority of cases, their feelings are the result of low self-esteem and other emotional issues.

    He said that he is shocked how often their attitudes date back to unkind remarks when they were children or teenagers and how frequently it was from parents or other family members.

    Are we surprised or is this something all of us know – things happen in our own homes and it starts way back when we are children?

    Dr. Max goes on to say that a throwaway comment to a youngster can create all kinds of problems in the years to come.

    Most of us would agree, but can we take it another step further…?

    Could it be possible that in the name of teasing and joking there is a harmful intent and as adults we feel the hurt and have our ways of coping or shutting down or whatever it is we go to?

    What about jealousy and how does that play out growing up and then as young adults?

    What about women who are constantly in comparison in their workplace, but know this started at school where they always wanted to look outside of themselves?

    As women it seems we have a lot of stuff going on under the surface that creates a tension and this means we feel un-settled in our own body.

    We all know that no amount of surgery or solutions to fix us is the answer.

    Some of us may have self fury when we see another woman making choices that we did not make. Others may slate and talk badly about another simply because they are jealous and its so entrenched they cannot get out of that state.

    How do we nail it when it comes to women having genuine, loving, decent and respect-full relationships with other women – friends, family, colleagues and those in our community?

    Has anyone noticed how much we as women now rely on social media for meeting our needs but not once have we bothered to ask WHY we have needs in the first place, what is missing and HOW did it get to this point?

  59. The Guardian – 28 March 2020

    Female flight attendants working for an airline in Japan will no longer be required to wear high heels or skirts, in a rare victory campaign against workplace dress codes for women.

    This airline is the first major company to relax its regulations in response to complaints from women that having to wear high heels was uncomfortable and often left them in considerable pain.

    6,000 female crew members will be able to choose suitable footwear and swap skirts for trousers.

    In Japan, there are also hotels, department stores, banks and a lot of other companies with this requirement for women. Most businesses force women to wear high heels.

    60% of women had been told to wear high heels or had witnessed female colleagues being forced to wear them according to a survey.

    The movement has since expanded to demand the right to wear glasses at work after a TV report about companies that forced women to wear contact lenses sparked outrage.

    How many of us are aware that this is actually going on for women in the 21st century?

    Do we take note or are we not interested as it’s not happening to us or anyone we know in our country?

    WHY has it taken until now for change to happen and HOW did it continue for so long?

    The newspaper article shows a photo of around 100 women in flight attire with perfect make up and hair and not one woman has glasses on. We could say that they all have perfect vision or we could question if this was part of the rules of contact lenses only.

    As women we like to fight and campaign for our rights and equality and inclusion etc.,
    Are we going about it the right way or is there another way?

    Back to the news story – this is one company and not the whole country agreeing to making this change for female employees. This is worth taking note, as we do not have a country where women are able to dress for comfort and not the outer look that our male employers are seeking.

  60. Reuters.com – 27th April 2020

    Another Pandemic: in Latin America, Domestic Abuse Rises Amid Lockdown
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-latam-domesticviol/another-pandemic-in-latin-america-domestic-abuse-rises-amid-lockdown-idUSKCN2291JS

    Lockdowns around Latin America are helping slow the spread of Covid-19, but are having a darker and less intended consequence: a spike in calls to helplines suggests a rise in domestic abuse, in a region where almost 20 million women and girls suffer sexual and physical violence each year.

    In some countries, there has been a rise in formal reports of abuse, while in others; there has been a drop in formal complaints. Prosecutors and UN Women said the latter was likely not due to a decline in violence, but because women were less able to seek help or report abuse through normal channels.

    The founder of the Victims Against Violence program in Argentina said: “The jump in violence has not surprised us, it is the unleashing of a violence that was already there in people. Under normal social circumstances, that had been limited to some degree.”

    Argentina’s emergency 137 line for abuse victims, supported by the justice department, has seen a 67% rise in calls for help in April versus a year earlier, after a nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 2020.

    UN Women reported that there was evidence of rising violence against women in Mexico, Brazil and Colombia and a doubling in the number of femicides in Argentina during the quarantine.

    Pre-pandemic, the Argentine government estimates that a woman was killed every 23 hours.

    Rising concern over domestic abuse has been global, with fears victims are being silenced in Italy, calls for help from women rising in Spain and systems to prevent child abuse in the United States hampered by the lockdown.

    The regional director of UN Women told Reuters: “In a situation of confinement, what is happening is that women are locked up with their own abusers in situations where they have very limited outlets. Last year we had 3,800 femicides in the region, how many are we going to have this year?”

    In Chile, the women’s minister said calls to domestic abuse helplines had increased 70% in the first weekend of quarantine. The mayor of Santiago’s wealthy Providencia district, told Reuters that calls for help to a local office providing legal, psychological and social help had leapt 500% under the lockdown.

    In Brazil’s Sao Paulo state, there was a 45% jump last month in cases of violence against women where police were dispatched, compared to a year earlier.

    In Colombia, daily domestic violence calls to a national women’s hotline were up nearly 130% during the first 18 days of the country’s quarantine according to government figures.

    Is it possible that this global lockdown has shone a spotlight on the despicable behaviours of our human race?

    Whether it be man, woman or child, what gives us the right to treat another human being in this manner?

    Is it possible that domestic abuse is one of our (men or women’s) worst attributes?

    Of course, there have been instances where the woman has abused the man but generally, cases of domestic abuse are perpetrated by men towards women and simply because men are generally stronger than women.

    But why is there domestic abuse?

    Why does a man think they have the right to physically, verbally or psychologically abuse their partners just because they are not getting their way?

    There can be no acceptable reason for a man to hit a woman.

    In truth, is it possible that there should be no acceptable reason for anyone to hit anyone?

    We are very good at passing the blame onto someone or something else from alcohol, drugs, being stressed out, a bad day at work, our sports team didn’t do well, my partner pissed me off, etc. etc.

    We are all responsible for our actions.

    When we do abuse someone else, whether it’s physical, verbal or psychological, is it possible that we are choosing to not take responsibility for what we are feeling and instead of dealing with those feelings, we lash out?

  61. Talking to a local woman I know from the launderette, she is getting more ill and when she sees me she just wants me to listen and I certainly do.

    Today was different – she was distressed and explained that because her english is not good, she found a doctor back in her country who charged her a lot of money to diagnose her symptoms and told her she had corona stress. This is because she worries about her individual family members back home, her son here with her, the current pandemic and a lot more including her money, as she earns less than the minimum wage.

    Her real diagnosis is that she is anaemic and heavily bleeding for many weeks now and tells me this is ‘normal’ for her. Alarm bells ringing for me and a de ja vu as they say.

    This is me as I have been there and I know what she is saying. I had anaemia but never even bothered to join the dots and realise that heavy non stop bleeding was draining me and of course having anaemia was going to be a symptom.

    I wonder how many more women in our world are suffering and are not able to make new changes, as they do not have the awareness or they are not even stopping to consider why on earth this is happening.

    I know a lot of women with period problems and I certainly suffered for almost 3 decades with my push push, keep going lifestyle choices added, to the point I got a tumour and had to have surgery. It took another few years for it to sink in that an organ had been removed because the way I was choosing to live was not my natural state as a woman. I know this now, but I wish I had the wisdom of someone like me back in the old days to tell me so. Chances are I may not have listened as a part of me liked the neglectful reckless life I was living – trashing my body.

    Today I do my best to look after and deeply care for my body and that means treating myself with the utmost respect without trying to be something I am not.

    Gone are the days that I want to impress others or seek their approval or adulation or any other nonsense like that. In are the days where I make effort to stay open and loving to all those who cross my path daily and not live life with the I, me, myself syndrome.

    Back to this lovely lady in the launderette. I connected her with my friend who speaks the same language and they had a chat on my phone. It was great to see her smile and relieved, like she has found a new friend (who I know very well) will be supporting her, because she lives like I do. That means we have the time and space to help another and it really is no big deal.

    Our world would benefit if we for a moment started to take care of ourselves and our body and then the vitality levels we have can be put to good use – to help others.

    Isn’t that a plan worth waking up for?

  62. I was with a woman who found it extremely painfull to answer her mobile phone whilst she was in a meeting with me.

    It just kept ringing and it was like she knew it had to be answered. I told her to go ahead, as it did not bother me. Things like this are minor so I never get upset or react to these types of situations.

    Her timing was wrong and she should not have booked to see me and this guy immediately after, who was early and impatient. Her mistake and her learning.

    My job was to give her some space and not put any pressure or demands as I have an understanding that underneath all of this is a wise woman but on the surface she struggles to even say “Can I just take this call?”.

    How is it that we have so-called over confident women in this world and then we have many like this woman who really could not speak up?
    It was like she was gagged and the pain in her face and her body contracting told me this was not something simple and easy for her.

    Of course saying anything to anyone without any fear or holding back is my norm. This situation yesterday made me realise that there are women out there unable to speak up and just say “You will have to wait, I am with another customer and you are early for your appointment”.

    As women we ra ra and champion and campaign about our rights and this and that but what about these unspoken voices that seem to go un-noticed?
    Our world is full of them and it is something that needs to be in our awareness.

    This situation could have turned out very differently had I demanded my time from her or got nasty or bullying but thank-fully I do not have those traits. Instead I told her to go and come back another time when it suited her and she was not under pressure. The relief on her face said it all and when we did meet later we had a very beautifull conversation and she shared so much about what is going on in her life.

    Sometimes as women all we need is another to listen and not give us opinions or their take, but just be with them while they pour out what is under the surface that is affecting them.

    I was able to do that without any comparison or jealousy – both of which are generally present in so many women when they talk to each other.

    We may not like to admit it but as women we have a long way to go to eradicate both comparison and jealousy with every woman we meet or know.

  63. Independent – 3 June 2020

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/lockdown-sexual-harassment-online-women-zoombombing-a9547371.html

    Women are being subjected to new forms of online sexual harassment while working from home during lockdown, according to a new study.

    Relentlessly harassment via video call on a popular conferencing platform bombarding women with stalking or threats. This includes intruding or hacking into a video call and has involved images of child sex abuse and racist or homophobic imagery being shared.

    Working from home means perpetrators can evade scrutiny due to no longer being around fellow colleagues in the office.

    WHY are women too scared to take further action when questioned about whether they had requested help, after suffering sexual harassment or other misconduct online?

    WHY do we need to gather anonymous testimonies?

    Is this a sign telling us that it is not safe to disclose our personal details to report a crime?

    If we are to get real and honest, any form of abuse needs to be reported and the fact that women are not able to do this openly and freely is speaking volumes.

    A study by the Trades Union Congress previously found two-thirds of young women had experienced harassment at the office.

    Another study out last month found young women who say sexual harassment, including men exposing themselves, has become worse during the lockdown.

    Plan International UK who polled more than 1,000 young women aged 14 -21 found that 1 in 5 have suffered harassment on the streets since the government implemented stringent social distancing measures.

    Are we as women accepting this as our new normal and if so, WHY?

    Is there a bigger picture here that we need to consider and ponder?

    WHY have we got sexual harassment in the first place and with all the resources and intelligence that we have in this world – how come it is still going on?

    Could it be possible that lockdown has got many people behaving differently because of the time they have on their hands, stuck inside and no one policing them?

    Could it be possible that if we are out of our regular routine then chances are we will fill up that void with distractions and seek even more wayward entertainment, as we have others in the same situation, so now we have masses with a licence to simply do – what we want and when we want?

    How on earth can the authorities or our systems deal with this right now when so many other issues seem to be getting all the press coverage?

    Is this something the perpetrators know, because whatever their behaviour there is a very good chance nothing will be done and they continue to get away with it?

    As a world, it would be honest and true to say that we are way off kilter when it comes to common decency and respect. Without having those values close to our heart and living them daily, we are breeding generations online who think they can behave in this abusive manner, as they are above the law and hiding under the cloak of anonymity.

  64. Once upon a time, like most women I had that comparison stuff going on and what I now realise is that it short changed me to have meaning-full, real relationships with other women.

    Well the good news is that is long gone and it would be true to say I have some amazing relationships that over time have been built and what comes to me is the trust element. How so many of us only go so far or to a point in the open-ness transparency department.

    We could say we do with our best friend but can we equally say we are not in anyway jealous or in comparison with them at any level? If we reckon we are then how are we when they have spectacular news to share, great job and partner and look like they are on the way to living a life we are no where near living?

    Anyway, the reason for this comment is I met a refugee from the middle east around 4 years ago who I felt to connect with. It was quite easy for me to feel she trusted no one and she did let me know that her whole family and relatives died in an earthquake few decades ago.

    Recently she has told me that she loves me and trusts me and how rare that is for her and most of us would understand why.

    Yesterday, we had the time and space to talk and she was ready and told me about her cancer and her take on why she felt she got it and to me it was making sense.

    Then she opened up how her husband was killed and the devastation that she still lives with today haunts her to the point she cannot sleep and uses medication.

    There is much more but not needed as the point has been made.

    I know beyond doubt that my job was never to ask her or dig for information but just be me and stay open with the big heart I know I have – nothing more and nothing less. Over a long time she observed me and could see how steady I am in life and how I live and relate to others in the community. I am certain this is why she eventually opened up and could share stuff that she had not told anyone.

    Losing your husband in such a barbaric way and all your living relatives is something most of us will never experience in our lifetime.

    I may be a stranger according to the world, as we are not blood related and english is not her first language and yet there seems to be a whole different level of communication that holds a quality – a vibration so to speak that has allowed another to openly express.

    Her life will never be the same because all this pain she is holding on to has had some release and all I did was be open, not judge, not go into sympathy but simply observe and listen to the tragic story that many would be shocked to hear.

    I know that this relationship is possible because I have let go of any judgements and I am not comparing myself as better or whatever than her.

    As women we have a huge level of responsibility to step up our game and deal with our own issues so that one day we can be the steady rock in relationships regardless of who they are or where they come from.

    Hope this is making sense.

  65. Metro News – 11 August 2020

    Women have stopped using cosmetics during the pandemic and this has led to Beauty sales dropping rapidly. Hundreds of products have been axed as women work from home and only shopped for essentials.

    Foundation and lipstick were items listed as unavailable in the top 5 UK supermarkets.

    This tells us we have gone for the cheap supermarket cosmetics and they are sold out from March to July – the height of the pandemic with lockdown in place.

    Is this trend going to continue and what next?

    Are women dropping their standards as a virtual reality way of operating is now their new job?

    Has the cosmetic market seen a downward turn that may continue as months of restrictions and a new reality takes over?

    Are women enjoying breathing without a face full of make up or are they waiting for the day when they can have their perfect mask back on uploaded on social media, so the world gets to see how perfect they look?

    Are women going to continue to buy less make up and go back to basics, which means buying essentials and not making cosmetics their number one priority as it was pre lockdown?

  66. Talking to a taxi driver, he was sharing about his sister in Mexico ‘struggling’ with 2 young children and cannot leave the marriage as she has no income. Her husband will not divorce her so she has to “sacrifice” her life for her children.

    That word “sacrifice” felt quite disturbing so I made the choice to ask some questions as I do in my normal style, as something was not adding up.

    What transpired was the husband has been married 3 times before and this man’s sister always had an agenda – to find a man, get married and have children. Her priority in her twenties was making sure she had children. Time was getting on so at 27 she went this this guy and bingo got her dream – 2 children.

    Well I did not hold back and just said what I felt and he agreed.

    He said that she blindly went ahead because of her need to want children and she thinks it’s ok to live with a man who has other women because she has got what she wants – 2 kids. However, there is no income if she left him and he refuses to leave as he knows it will cost him money in maintenance payments so he is staying put. We could say this is like a game with no winners.

    I wonder how many women out there are thinking along the same lines and have similar agendas for what they want in life?

    My questions as an elder would be some wise words – Let’s start by being real and getting honest.

    At what cost is it to go ahead and bring children into this world because of a hidden need/agenda?

    Was it worth it?

    What about the kids – what happens to their health and well-being growing up, sensing something is not right with Mum and Dad from day dot?

    Do we honestly think our children are not sensitive?

    What if they can feel the loveless and irresponsible way we are choosing to raise them in the name of parenting and family?

    What about their mental health – how do they end up and do they follow in the same patterns of behaviour only to see this happening all over again for the future generation?

    As a world of women – we very much need the reflection of real true women who are role models.

    How else are we ever going to turn the tides and start living a life that is truth before any need?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *