Call to action – Why women in England and Wales are having abortions earlier | Britain

WITHIN A WEEK of discovering she was pregnant in late April, Sylvie (not her real name) knew she wanted an abortion. The pandemic had made her the sole breadwinner, and she had a young daughter to look after. She called Marie Stopes, a charity, which arranged a phone consultation with a representative from BPAS, another charity, at her local hospital. Four days later a packet of medicine arrived through the letterbox, and she terminated her pregnancy at home with the support of her partner. Abortion is a “horrible thing,” she says. But “in terms of how it was handled, it couldn’t have gone better”.

Sylvie is one of 23,000 women in England and Wales who had an abortion at home between April and June. That this was possible was due to a temporary change in the rules introduced as the country went into lockdown. In normal times, the first of the two pills required for a medical abortion must be taken at a hospital or clinic. But emergency measures, introduced on March 30th to avoid unnecessary hospital visits, designated women’s homes as another place where the pills could be taken, at least until ten weeks of gestation.

As a result of the change, abortions are now happening earlier. Data published on September 10th show that between January and June this year, there were 109,836 abortions in England and Wales. Some 50% of these, including Sylvie’s, were performed before seven weeks, compared with fewer than 40% during the same period in 2019. The proportion performed before ten weeks rose from 81% to 86%. There was also a small uptick in the overall number.

Abortion is usually a safe procedure, but there is a direct correlation between the risk of complication and weeks of gestation, says Sam Rowlands, a doctor at the British Society of Abortion Care Providers, a representative group. That means easing access to early terminations has increased the safety of abortion care, says Edward Morris of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Both groups have called for the changes to be made permanent. The government has said it will launch a public consultation on the matter.

The picture is gloomier in those parts of Europe where politicians did not do much to ease access to abortion. Recent research by Abigail Aiken of the University of Texas at Austin looked at enquiries to Women on Web, a Canadian charity that provides pills to women in countries where at-home abortions are illegal. She found that during the pandemic they shot up in Italy (by 68%) and Portugal (by 139%). In Britain they fell to negligible levels.

Sylvie says the new way of doing things also reduced the psychological toll of the procedure. In 2011 she had to wait five weeks for an abortion, by which point she was nearing her second trimester. She lives in rural Cornwall, an area she says is “lacking in health care [providers] and forward thinking”. She remembers being passed “from pillar to post” while attempting to get an abortion. The experience was so bad she made a formal complaint. This time, however, she says the process was “respectful”, “compassionate” and, crucially for her, “private”.

Editor’s note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. For more stories and our pandemic tracker, see our hub

This article appeared in the Britain section of the print edition under the headline “Call to action”

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Sculpt the Perfect Body | FitnessRX for Women

Cardio and resistance training are equally important when it comes to sculpting the perfect body. But time is of the essence, and hitting the gym twice per day (once for cardio and once for weight) may not be an option.

So what’s the best way to build muscle and burn fat all in one trip to the gym? IFBB Figure Pro Ava Cowan says, “It’s about incorporating your basic bodybuilding-style moves with plyometrics and then taking it one step further by utilizing what’s called active rests.” An example of an active rest is performing abdominal exercises in between sets to allow your targeted muscle group to rest while still working.

For instance, begin with your set of squats for 8-12 reps, then immediately go into squat jumps for about 20 reps to totally exhaust the muscle group, and then rest with an abdominal exercise. All three functions combined provide an intense heart-pumping workout that’ll keep you huffing and puffing for more. In essence, you’re performing a circuit-style workout— which means your workout is going to be shorter in time and you’re going to burn more calories than your basic workout that does not include active rests and plyometrics. You’re going to kill two birds with one stone.

Go all in and try this high-intensity, grueling workout. Your metabolism will be on fire when you’re through— guaranteed. You can even use these same principles with all other muscle groups on different days of the week. That way you’re hitting all parts of the body while still having the benefits of a high-intensity workout.



Barbell Squats: Place barbell on shoulders with your hands over the top of the bar at a comfortable position. Sit back as though you’re looking for a chair behind you. Keep your back straight, shoulders back and chest out at all times and be sure not to allow your knees to bend forward beyond your toes. Squat down until your thighs are parallel from the floor, then push upward from the heels. Tip: keep your chin up to avoid falling forward. Beginners can begin with no weight, hands crossed at their chest.

Lunges: Hold dumbbells at your sides, palms facing in. Step forward with one foot. Always keep your back straight, chest out and shoulders back. Slowly descend toward floor, allowing your knees to bend. The idea is to make sure that the thigh behind you is perpendicular to the ground while your leading thigh ends in a parallel position. Do not allow your knee to touch the floor. Push back up to starting position through the heels. Repeat with same leg for desired reps or alternate. Beginners can begin with no weight and arms crossed at chest.

Hack Squats: Using the designated Hack Squat machine at your gym, be sure to follow directions listed on equipment. Always push from your heels and do not allow your knees to bend beyond your toes.

Lying Leg Curls: Use the designated Leg Curl machine at your gym. Set curl bar to rest on your ankles. Curl bar toward your rear end without allowing the bar to hit your body. Control the weight at all times and do not allow your lower back to raise off the pad of the machine.

Romanian Deadlifts: Grasp bar with hands wider than shoulder-width. Stand with feet about 4-5 inches apart. Keep your back straight, chest out and shoulders back throughout the entire movement. With knees slightly bent, slowly lower weight toward floor, only bending at the hips. Push your rear end backward as though you’re sticking your butt out. You’ll feel a stretch in your glutes and hamstrings. Return to starting position and repeat.

Leg Extensions: Choose designated Leg Extension machine at your gym. Adjust seat to your height. Place feet behind padded bar. Bar should rest on your ankles just above your shoes. Extend legs toward sky and slowly lower, always controlling the weight. Do not let the weight control you. Do not let plates slam to bottom or rest at bottom of movement. Immediately continue with your next rep.

Standing Calves: Choose designated Standing Calf machine at your gym. Adjust the equipment to your height and choose appropriate weight. Stand with your feet about 3-4 inches apart. Keep your knees straight, but do not lock them. Begin move with full extension of the calf. Stand to full contraction and fully extend heel upward, pushing through the balls of your feet. Slowly return to full extension, heel toward the ground and repeat.

Seated Calves: Choose appropriate equipment and add appropriate weight. Sit with knees underneath apparatus. Keep feet 4-5 inches apart. Slowly perform movement as recommended with Standing Calves.

Squat Jumps: Stand with feet about shoulder-width apart. Cross arms at chest. Bend down into squat position and explode upward into a full jump, pushing from the heels. Land on your toes and immediately return back to your squat position and continue for reps. Beginner— 10-15 reps; Intermediate— 20-25 reps; Advanced— 30+ reps

Bench Jumps: Stand in front of box or low bench. Keep arms crossed at chest or to the side. Feet at shoulder-distance apart. Lower to squat position and jump up onto bench. Return to the ground and continue for reps. Beginner— 10-15 reps; Intermediate— 20-25 reps; Advanced— 30+ reps.

Jump Rope: With appropriate length jump rope, perform consecutive jumps quickly. Do not double bounce if possible. Beginner— 20 rotations; Intermediate— 30 rotations; Advanced— 40+ rotations.

Jumping Jacks: Just like when you were a kid. Be sure to extend arms fully and jump as far apart as you can. Always keep your chest out, shoulders back and back straight. Beginner— 20 jumps; Intermediate— 30 jumps; Advanced— 40+ jumps.

Bike or Other Cardio Machine: Perform cardio for 1-5 minutes with intensity dependent upon your fitness level.

Knee-Ups: Using the Roman Chair, raise your knees to hip level, lower slowly and repeat for reps.

Supported Straight Leg Raises: Using the Roman Chair. Raise your legs to hip level, lower slowly and repeat for reps.

Bench V-Ups: Using bench, grasp bench close to your butt for stability; bring legs and torso together, keeping legs straight. Slowly lower and repeat for reps. Beginners may use bent knee.

Incline Leg-Hip Raises: Lie on decline bench. Grasp bench behind your head for stability. Raise legs to sky and extend fully, pulling your hips off the bench. Slowly lower to starting position and continue for reps.
*For more advanced move, angle legs to side on the eccentric movement (or way down) to target the obliques.

Incline Crunches: Lie on decline bench with feet fixed behind bar at top of the bench. Perform sit-up using control throughout the movement. Beginner— cross hands over chest; Intermediate— rest hands behind head; Advanced— extend arms straight over head with hands folded over one another toward the sky. Continue for reps.
*For more advanced, move on to added weight, holding medicine ball above head.

Bicycles: Lie on back, hands cupped behind head. Bring alternate knee to opposite shoulder. Exhale when they come together. Perform for reps.

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Nutrition For Beautiful Hair | FitnessRX for Women

We all know how important exercise and good nutrition are to our fitness goals, but both are also a critical component of our beauty regimen. Not only does the food we eat help keep our skin gorgeous, it also helps us to grow healthy, stunning hair.

Nutrition For Beautiful Hair - Eat to grow lovely locks“Exercise increases the blood supply to your muscles as well as your hair, which stimulates growth,” says Jim White, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “And, the food we eat for muscle also promote hair health.”

Nutrition For Beautiful Hair - Eat to grow lovely locksSo, as the adage says, beauty truly starts on the inside. So today, I would like to share a few nutrition tips to help you grow healthy, shiny locks that you love:

PROTEIN. This macronutrient has the power to build and restore, both of which are important for healthy hair. Make sure to consume good quality of proteins like lean meats, fish, low fat cheese, eggs, etc.

IRON. Sufficient iron is necessary to grow healthy hair. Many women are iron deficient, so make sure you are consuming foods rich in iron like lean red meat, turkey and whole grains, to mention a few.

ZINC. This mineral can have effects on androgens and hormones, both of which have an important role in hair and skin health. You can find zinc such foods as almonds, walnuts and beef.

OMEGA-3s. Omega-3s have infinite benefits, including bolstering you scalp and hair health. Rich sources of omega-3s include salmon, flaxseed oil and tuna. You can also use an omega-3 supplement to get your daily dose of this key nutrient.

WATER. “Hair is one-quarter water,” says Jim White, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. So, make sure to drink at least 8 cups of filtered water a day to stay hydrated and grow healthy hair.

VITAMIN C. This vitamin helps the body to absorb iron, a critical nutrient for hair health. To increase your vitamin c, simply add more fruits and veggies into your diet. A few great options include tangerines, oranges and strawberries.

VITAMIN E. This vitamin stimulates the circulation in the scalp, which helps with hair growth.

BIOTIN. Biotin helps to prevent hair loss, increase hair growth and strengthen strands. Biotin sources include lentils, some nuts and brown rice.

Also, I want to recommend a few other things to help you grow strong, healthy hair:

Make sure your hormones are balanced. Hormones regulate all of your body functions, including hair growth.
Use a nourishing shampoo. Get a good organic shampoo with aloe vera, jojoba oil and vitamins to nourish your strands.
Keep exercising. Exercise helps blood flow, which is important for hair growth.
Live healthy. Manage stress, sleep 7-9 hours a night and do not smoke

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Fury over plans that could see pregnant women who drink have it recorded on baby’s medical records


Fury was sparked today over controversial plans that may see pregnant women who drink alcohol have all their consumption recorded on their baby’s medical records — even if they only had a single glass of wine.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) warned the move would be a ‘gross infringement’ of data privacy and could risk burning the trust between women and healthcare professionals. 

Midwives currently ask women about what they have drunk since conception but are not obliged to record that information. 

A single glass of wine consumed even before a woman knew she was pregnant will be documented under the controversial proposal from the NHS advisory body NICE. The proposal, which is not set in stone, will not take ask for the mother’s consent to record the information. 

NICE says an accurate recording of the alcohol consumption of mothers-to-be will help identify children at risk of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) — a range of conditions which can cause life-long problems. 

Charities argue that if a woman had small amounts of alcohol before she knew she was pregnant, as is often the case for unplanned pregnancies, the risk of FASD is typically low.

Drinking just one glass of wine while pregnant, even before women know for sure they are expecting, will be recorded on their baby’s medical records under controversial new proposals

Under the new plans, mothers-to-be would be urged to recall how much booze they have had at antenatal appointments.

The results would be formally noted in maternity records before being transferred to those of the newborn child.

An accurate recording of a pregnant woman’s alcohol consumption will help identify children at risk of suffering physical problems as well as issues around learning and behaviour through FASD, NICE says.

Being able to look at drinking habits is particularly key for children who are adopted or placed into care, it added. 

However, the proposed guidelines have proved controversial with charities who have blasted them as ‘unjustified and disproportionate’ and urged NICE to rethink.


When a pregnant woman drinks, the alcohol in her bloodstream passes freely through the placenta into the foetus’ blood. 

Because the foetus does not have a fully developed liver, it cannot filter out the toxins from the alcohol as the mother can.

Instead, the alcohol circulates in the foetus’ blood system which can harm brain cells and damage the nervous system of the developing baby throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy. 

It can result in the loss of the pregnancy, and babies that survive may be left with lifelong problems. 

Foetal alcohol syndrome is a type of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), the name for all the various problems that can affect children if their mother drinks alcohol in pregnancy.  

Symptoms include:

  • a head that’s smaller than average
  • poor growth – they may be smaller than average at birth, grow slowly as they get older, and be shorter than average as an adult
  • distinctive facial features – such as small eyes, a thin upper lip, and a smooth area between the nose and upper lip, though these may become less noticeable with age
  • movement and balance problems
  • learning difficulties – such as problems with thinking, speech, social skills, timekeeping, maths or memory
  • issues with attention, concentration or hyperactivity
  • problems with the liver, kidneys, heart or other organs 
  • hearing and vision problems

These problems are permanent, though early treatment and support can help limit their impact on an affected child’s life.

Sources: NHS and NOFAS-UK

Clare Murphy, from the BPAS said: ‘Most women report drinking very little in pregnancy if any at all, even if they may have drunk before a positive pregnancy test.’ 

She said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘The idea that this data will be transferred without a women’s consent onto her child’s health records I think is an absolutely gross infringement of her data privacy. And our position is very much that women don’t lose their right to medical privacy simply because they are pregnant.’

The charity, which offers advice, counselling and abortion care for some 100,000 women every year, added that there is no evidence for lower levels of alcohol consumption resulting in harm.

Ms Murphy said: ‘There is simply no compelling evidence of harm at low levels of consumption. 

‘I think in a time when we are talking more and more about public health policy following the evidence and also having discussions about data privacy, this set of proposals is an affront on both of those levels.

‘I think we need to think really carefully about the implication on the really important relationship between a woman and her healthcare professional if she feels her confidentiality is going to be jeopardised in this way. 

‘We want women to be able to have frank and confidential conversations with their midwives because that’s the best way to achieve and protect the health of pregnant women and their babies.’

Ms Murphy said women who drink heavily are ‘often well known to healthcare professionals’.  

Experts also suggested the proposals could see a breakdown in trust between midwives and expectant mothers.

And the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists admitted it ‘shares some of the concerns raised’, while legal experts suggested they could be unenforceable by breaching GDPR. 

Matthew Holman, a data privacy lawyer, said: ‘Any attempt to force disclosure against the mother’s wishes is likely to be unlawful except perhaps in the most limited cases where there is a clear and present risk to the unborn child.’

NICE insists feedback from members of the public and external organisations will help shape understanding of what will and won’t work in England. 

Each year there are 40,000 babies born in the US with FASD, a diagnosis used to describe a wide range of physical, mental, behavioral, and learning disabilities.

It’s not clear how many are affected in the UK. But leading support group NOFAS-UK cites research by the University of Bristol which indicated six per cent of a study cohort, equivalent to up to 4million British people, may have FASD.    

But it could be as high as 17 per cent, depending on how the reasearchers analysed the data. The findings were criticised for potentially causing pregnant women to panic and seek an abortion. 

It suggests FASD, often described as a ‘hidden disability’, affects more people than autism and is most often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.  

NOFAS-UK says: ‘If you had small amounts before you knew you were pregnant or while pregnant, in most cases the RISK is low. 

‘Choose to stop drinking now for your baby’s future. If your child has challenges later, ask doctors about FASD.’

The risk of FASD is higher the more you drink, the NHS says, although there’s no proven ‘safe’ level of alcohol in pregnancy. Therefore, not drinking at all is the safest approach. 

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‘Forgotten’ industries for women recognised in Western Sydney Women Awards

Women in male-dominated industries like construction, science, engineering and trade industries were the major winners at this year’s Western Sydney Women Awards, now in its third year.

Construction and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) were added to the categories to form a total of 12 awards which were announced in an online ceremony on Tuesday evening.

“These are industries that are often forgotten about as well when it comes to women, so we wanted to shine a light on them,” said Amanda Rose, chief executive of Western Sydney Women.

“We also want to recognise industries that have not been given a voice previously.”

Other categories included community, performing and creative arts, startup, sporting and small business.

Be persistent

Engineer Mai Mai Yeung won the award for STEM Woman of the Year.

Ms Yeung has been an engineer for 35 years and is currently working on the design of the Western Sydney Airport.

She has previously worked in building and transport infrastructure, but her speciality is the design of airfield lighting along the runway.

Aerospace engineering student Yasmin Zaman won the Young Woman of the Year award.(Supplied: Western Sydney Women)

Ms Yeung’s message to others in her field is to have persistence and to find a mentor and sponsor within the company.

“Sometimes women are seen as secondary in men’s eyes, especially in a male-dominated industry,” she said.

“How I tackle it? I say, ‘We do as good as yours, and probably better’.

Impressed with Western Sydney

Queenie Tran, who won the award for Executive Woman of the Year, said she was impressed with the “calibre of women in Western Sydney” who were honoured at the awards.

Ms Tran is the chief operating officer for not-for-profit organisation Summer Housing, which helps develop then subsequently lease accessible housing for people with disabilities.

“It’s not about who you are, it’s about what you present.

“It’s a really inclusive industry from the perspective of wanting to achieve something great.”

ABC Sydney was a media partner of the Western Sydney Women’s Awards.

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Pilates for Amazing Sex – Women Fitness

One of the fundamental principles of Pilates involves learning how to engage and control the muscles of the pelvic floor and internal abdominals (think vagina!!!). Pilates, especially on the Reformer, is an amazing way to get in shape and get a rocking hard body. Celebrities such as Madonna, Charlize Theron, and Jamie Leigh Curtis swear by it.

Pilates teaches women how to fine-tune pressure of the vagina, including the g-spot, against a penis by articulating the pelvis forward and back. This allows a woman to control pressure against her clitoris. A woman with these two skills can give herself and her partner mind-blowing powerful orgasms.

Pilates – Sex Benefits

  1. Strength and flexibility go hand in hand with better sex. Stronger abdominal muscles (as well as all of your other muscles) will actually help to sustain the action of sex. Stronger muscles equals stronger movements for a longer period of time.
  2. Pilates strengthens your pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles in your pelvis that supports your bladder and uterus. Learning how to consciously control and relax these muscles allows you to increase sensation during sex in many ways.
  3. Pilates gives confidence in bed with the possession of a rocking body. Pilates teaches you to love your body and appreciate its unique strength, beauty and power.
  4. Pilates is a mind body system, so there is also a mental component and sex is many times more mental than physical. Mental imagery helps to create the right form and feeling while doing pilates exercises and requires a great deal of focus and concentration. And we all know what a little mental imagery can do to enhance our overall sexual experience.
  5. Increase in libido and more intense orgasms. Pilates focus on  pulling the “navel to the spine” brings increased blood flow to the pelvic area. This continuous rush of fresh blood and oxygen to the sexual organs results in an increase in libido and more intense orgasms.

Pilates in Motion

  • Pilates Knee Stretch: Kneel down on all fours and then round up one knee forward so that you can almost touch it with your forehead. Extend it straight back, arching your back down and lifting that leg up high at the same time as your head and chest lift. Repeat 8 times with each leg, intensify the rounding and arching movements as you progress, strengthening your back muscles, and increasing the range of your pelvic thrust.
  • Pilates Thigh Stretches: Kneel upright with or without 3 lb. dumbbells. Reach your arms out forward. Tighten your seat muscles and hinge your arms backward in a straight line holding your abdomens tight. Reach out to your farthest point and hold the position for 3 counts. Then return upright. Repeat 5- 8 times progressively lowering yourself each time. Your quads and glutes will strengthen and your thighs will stretch allowing you greater flexibility and the ability to sustain the stretch.
  • Pilates Front Splits: Stand tall for this and come into a deep forward lunge with your right foot forward and your left leg straight back. Your arms can be genie-style. Bend the front knee very low and control it to your lowest point and hold for 3 counts. Straighten the leg slowly up and repeat 6 times before switching legs. Increase the stamina of your leg muscles and fully extend your hips for more playful positions later on.
  • Scissors: Lie flat on the floor arms by your sides, then bend your knees into your chest and stretch your legs upwards. With your fingers resting just behind your ears, lift your heads and shoulders off the ground and look up at your legs. Pull your stomach well in, and if the exertion is too great raise your legs higher. Now scissors your legs, crossing them at the ankles, 16 times. Note: Tough one for the abdominal if you’re not ready for this, the small of your back will come off the floor in which case stop. Remember, the lower the legs the harder the exercise.
  • Roll-Ups: This is a series of exercises that build up in difficulty, so start with the first one and only go on to the later ones as your muscles strengthen. Lie on the floor with your legs stretched out and your arms at your sides palms upwards. Pull yours stomach muscles under you at the same time. This will cause your knees to bend slightly and your pelvis to tilt. Repeat 4 times. In the second stage, repeat the pelvic tilt, this time moving your upper body off the floor, arms outstretched and parallel to the floor. Your head should come up last. Do not raise yourself far enough to make your stomach bulge or your shoulder tense. Repeat 4 times. In the third stage you begin as before and continue to raise your upper body until your are sitting straight up arms stretched out in front, head and neck in a long line with your spine. Now drop your head forward onto your chest and roll back down through the spine holding on tight to the stomach muscles. Try to feel your back go down, vertebra by vertebra lengthening out on the floor. Repeat 4 times.


Avoiding sex because of pain only leads to more pain. Women tend to be caught in a vicious cycle. Take up Pilates for better sex.

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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Why do women write under men’s names?

But behind the outrage was a more general weariness at the myths such a project upholds: that historically, women have struggled to get books published, that they could only achieve success by hiding behind a masculine name, and that revealing their ‘real’ names brings them gloriously into the light. 

There are cases where this may be true – at different times, in different countries, and for women of different races, and different class backgrounds, sexism has absolutely contributed to a struggle to be heard. Even the most successful female author of this century, JK Rowling, adopted a gender-neutral name to ensure Harry Potter appealed to boy readers, before taking on the pseudonym Robert Galbraith in order to anonymously write crime fiction. But even that single contemporary example cracks open how thorny this issue is: Rowling’s choices were not just about sexism, but also about a desire for anonymity, and the crafting of a new identity. 

And that is almost always the case – it’s rarely so simple as just the bad sexism keeping a good woman down. Perversely, assuming it is so actually perpetuates vague, muddled notions that, historically, only a few women ever managed to break through, and did so by pretending to be men – think George Eliot, the Brontës. 

Our education system is partly to blame: the traditional canon, created by men, has tended to focus on men since the novel’s inception in the 18th Century. “Actually, you have a load of women writers being incredibly important in the rise of the novel,” points out Dr Sam Hirst, an associate lecturer and host of free online Romancing the Gothic classes. “By reproducing these narratives – that women couldn’t publish unless they had a male pseudonym – you are completely erasing the existence of all of these other women. You’re reinforcing this incredibly patriarchal and misogynist view of the canon.” 

Women published anonymously, pseudonymously and under their own names in the 18th and 19th Centuries; being written ‘by a lady’ actually became a selling point, to the extent that male authors would adopt it. According to research by academic James Raven, almost a third of novels published in 1785, for instance, claimed to be ‘by a lady’. While such anonymity means it’s hard to know exactly how many writers were really men, it’s believed that some deliberately opted for ‘by a lady’ as a sales ploy: female authorship helped indicate that the subject matter would be suitable for feminine readers, and it was women who made up most of the novel-buying market.

‘Perpetuating lazy myths’

The ignoring of women’s success in this era is bound up with issues of genre. In the late 18th and early 19th Centuries, the Gothic novel was wildly popular, and also largely associated with women. Female writers dominated the industry, with Ann Radcliffe achieving a record-breaking advance with The Mysteries of Udolpho, reprinted multiple times. She was one of innumerable ‘scribbling women’ making money this way – see also Mary Robinson, Clara Reeve, Charlotte Dacre, Eliza Parsons, Charlotte Smith, and of course, Mary Shelley. 

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Immunity Booster Yoga For Women

Immunity Booster Yoga For Women

Immunity Booster Yoga For Women : As the worldwide cases of COVID-19 are increasing rapidly in place of slowing down, people are getting more concerned about their health especially women. Women are very much fitness freak and never compromise with their health and fitness. While good hygiene is necessary for everyone, you should try to boost your immunity naturally.

Yoga is an excellent way to boost your immunity for which you don’t have to move out of your house during this lockdown. You may reap it benefits comfortably if you practice these yoga exercises daily.

Let’s explore some of the yoga activities which may help in boosting our immune system:

  1. Sitting And Breathing (Sukhasana And Pranayama)

    Sitting And Breathing (Sukhasana And Pranayama)
    Sitting And Breathing (Sukhasana And Pranayama)

    Sukhasana is a very traditional pose for meditating properly as it allows excellent breathing and movement of “prana” throughout the body. Making yourself relax and breathe deeply may help in reducing the stress, heart rate, and nervous system distress which altogether supports strong immunity.

    How to perform:

    • Choose a comfortable position or seat and sit with your legs either crossed or kneeling.
    • Drift your shoulders over the hips, head over the shoulders, and slowly tuck the chin so that the crown of the head reaches above.
    • Inhale and then exhale slowly and feel rooted in your seat.
    • Try to stay in the position as long as you are feeling good and take at least 10 deep breaths.
  2. Half Lord Of The Fishes (Ardhamatsyendrasana)

    Half Lord Of The Fishes (Ardhamatsyendrasana)
    Half Lord Of The Fishes (Ardhamatsyendrasana)

    Spinal twists can nourish the spine, but they may also help our body’s internal functions including our immune system. The theory behind it says that improper digestion causes toxins to build-up which sends the body out of whack and creates infection or inflammation in the body. Yoga exercises that gently compresses the stomach can also help indigestion.

    How to perform:

    • Sit with your legs straight. Place your right foot outside the left leg so that the sole of your right foot remains on the mat.
    • Keep that extended left foot flexed.
    • After inhaling, place your right palm behind your lower back and bring the left elbow outside the right knee.
    • Inhale to lift your spine, then exhale to twist and start staring over the shoulder.
    • Stay like this till 5 breaths complete in each direction.
  3. Supported Fish Pose (Matsyasana Variation)

    Supported Fish Pose (Matsyasana Variation)
    Supported Fish Pose (Matsyasana Variation)

    It is one of the most effective restorative variations and is also a great yoga pose for boosting our immunity. It is also known as a supportive fish pose. This yoga pose helps in boosting your energy level while you are exhausted. It also targets our lungs which helps in opening up and relieving congestion.

    How to perform:

    • Take a blanket.
    • Roll it up and position it so that it ends in the middle of your back and the top of the roll supports your head.
    • Relax your chest and shoulders and let your arms open wide while palms facing upwards.
    • Legs can be bent with feet as wide as your mat and the knees touching the center.
    • Remain in the position for 1-5 minutes.
  4. Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

    Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
    Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

    Inversions give you a wealth of benefits to your mind and body and include so many yoga poses apart from a handstand. Forward fold is known as a perfect gentle inversion for boosting our immunity.

    Inverted postures, however, brings prana and blood flow to the sinuses, which in turn helps in easing the congestion. Sinuses and our mucus membranes are the body’s first line of defense against any kind of infection. So, keeping them healthy can help in boosting our immune system.

    How to perform:

    • While standing, bring your feet hip-distance apart.
    • Slowly join at the hips and keep bending your knees as you come into a gentle forward-fold.
    • Allow your hands to rest on the floor, or on your ankles, calves, or thighs.
    • Stay in the position for 5-10 breaths or as long as you can.
    • While you come out of this position, roll yourself slowly to prevent any dizziness.
  5. Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani)

    Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani)
    Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani)

    It’s an ultimate stress-busting yoga pose. Legs up the wall are considered as one the most relaxing yoga poses for the whole body. It allows drainage, blood circulation to even out, releases the pressure from the back, and makes you feel grounded. For excellent immunity, our nervous system needs to be fortified and functioning properly and this yoga exercise can make your nervous system completely relaxed.

    How to perform:

    • Sit about 3 inches away from a wall.
    • Lie on your back and swing the legs up on the wall, so that the back of your thighs rest against the wall.
    • Allow the entire spine to rest heavily on the floor and relax your arms on your stomach.
    • Stay in the position for 1-10 minutes.


Yoga can be one of the greatest tools to support a strong immune system and keeping the whole body’s systems working properly to prevent from getting sick. So, try to practice these five yoga asanas every day to boost your immune system.

Author :

Anki Mourya came onto the path of yoga after studying Media Communications in England. She completed 1000+ hours of yoga apprenticeship and a 2-year university course in yoga and Ayurveda in Uttarakhand. Anki now loves to share her subjects at various yoga teacher training in India and Europe.






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Imposter Syndrome: Impact on Black Women

The term “imposter syndrome” was coined by psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes in 1978 to describe an “internal experience of intellectual phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” Imposter syndrome creates feeling of doubt, unworthiness, and fraudulence

Impostor syndrome causes those experiencing the syndrome to doubt their achievements, intellect, and fear that others will expose them as fraudulent. This condition can affect anyone, regardless of their job, age, economic, or social status. However, imposter syndrome is more prevalent in woman, particularly African American women. African American women tend to experience imposter syndrome more than others because of both the verbal and nonverbal messages conveyed to them that alone they aren’t enough, they don’t belong, and will never be as successful as their male counterparts or women of other races.

Imposter syndrome is the voice inside of your head that suggests you are not worthy and the negative things that you tell yourself about your value, competence, and skillset. There is a perception that someone will “expose” you as “fake or “fraudulent” in spite of your achievements, competence, experience, or intellect. As negative feelings turn inward, towards oneself it starts to create negative internal dialogue which can contribute to mental health care and physical health decline.

Notably, an estimated 70% of Americans struggle with the intrusive thoughts brought on by imposter syndrome. Although, Imposter syndrome is not a recognized disorder in the DSM 5, it has been recognized by many experienced mental health professionals as a cause for concern. According to many mental health experts imposter syndrome can lead to diminished self-esteem, increased self-doubt, anxiety, and depression.

African American women are particularly vulnerable to negative thoughts and feelings created by imposter syndrome. African American women, like myself often are told both directly as well as indirectly from society that we do not measure up, not as competent, or do not belong. When milestones are made or accomplishments are achieved, we often view them as a “stroke of luck”, “good timing”, or “the result of someone else assisting or helping us out”

Imposter syndrome is caused by hypersensitivity to comparison and evaluation, and to those with low self-esteem or perfectionist tendencies. Additionally, when people feel different from the images of success they are surrounded by, which is often the case for African American women, they can internalize the belief that they do not belong or they are not worthy of success. Interestingly, when attention is called to one’s success the feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy can be unleashed. This could occur when receiving an award, passing an exam, or being promoted. Failure after a string of successes can also cause someone to critique and question their overall aptitude.

Potential Signs of Imposter Syndrome Include:

  • Stringent and inflexible goal setting
  • Avoidance of requesting promotion or raise when warranted
  • Avoidance of volunteering because it may create distraction that could compromise the quality of other tasks.
  • Attribute success to outside factors
  • Self-sabotage, e.g., not applying for a higher position because you won’t get it anyway
  • Intense fear of failure
  • Overtly confident but covertly low self-confidence
  • Do not feel satisfied when finishing a task until they feel that they know “everything” about the subject
  • Avoid applying for jobs because that call for an “expert” to fill the position
  • Typically turn down help so that they can prove their worth as an individual

Overcoming imposter syndrome involves changing one’s mindset about their abilities. Imposters feel like they do not belong, so acknowledging their contributions, expertise, milestones, and accomplishments are key. If you feel like an imposter, it is important to remind yourself that you earned your degree, position, status, etc. Remain focused on measuring your personal achievements rather than comparing yourself to others. The cycle of making comparisons, accomplishments, experiencing a failure, and perceiving them as what defines you can be hard to break. Understanding that no one is perfect, we will all experience successes as well as failures is important. Imposter syndrome can stifle the potential for growth and meaning, by preventing you from pursuing new opportunities for growth at work, in relationships, or personal hobbies. Acknowledging and confronting imposter syndrome can help you continue to not only grow but thrive. Changing your perceptions of “failure” can change the meaning as a necessary process toward success.

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