International Women's Day takes place this Saturday, and will be celebrated with events across the world. The theme this year? 'Inspire Change'. Taking that notion on board, this year at HuffPost we have decided to move the conversation on. While it's all too temping to go over the same old arguments - so many of them still far from resolved - it's also time to look to the future and celebrate those paving a way for the next generation.
As a society, we like our news fast and our solutions faster, but this week delivered a reminder that problems that made front-page news years back can make for positive updates a decade or so later (albeit hidden on page 23 of the paper). Teen pregnancies are a case in point. Oft-used as the (im)perfect example of 'Broken Britain', it was announced this week that girls aged between 15 and 19 are today half as likely as their grandmothers to become pregnant.
Whether you are celebrating Valentine's Day or not this year, it's certainly difficult to ignore. Of all the articles that have been written about the event, and we have certainly run our fair share on HuffPost UK, I don't believe there are any as poignant or heart wrenching as our blog from Guantanamo Bay resident Shaker Aamer.
With typhoon Haiyan but a distant memory for most people outside the Philippines, reports emerged this week of a stand-off on one of the islands most seriously affected, which is keeping thousands from being re-housed. There are still 50,000 people in Tacloban whose homes were destroyed or are unsafe to live in. Despite a pledge from the mayor to re-house everyone by December, the necessary funds to make that happen have not been forthcoming from the Philippine government. Why? A decades-old feud between two political families
While the rich and famous debated all that's important for the future of the planet in Davos this week, on UK soil there were some startling reports showing we still have a lot to solve in the present, too. Fifteen years ago, the landmark Macpherson report was set up to look at the Metropolitan Police's investigation into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence back in 1993. To mark the anniversary, a new study was published this week, which showed there have been nearly 100 people killed in race-related attacks in this country since the original report.
With a new(ish) year, comes a new weekend blogs series from HuffPost UK. After a few years of wrapping up the week's news and politics in my Sunday blog, this year I'll be bringing you a plethora of links to the stories that didn't make the front pages. One of the joys of my job is reading, clicking and watching literally hundreds of features and videos each week, which sadly hasn't made me nearly as good at pub quizzes as it should, but does mean I'm great at recommending obscure websites, blogs and all manner of other publications.
It's mid-December, which must means it's... end-of-the-year, round-up time! This week you couldn't turn a page or click a link without stumbling upon best of' lists, reader votes and the like, and I'm afraid at HuffPost we couldn't resist joining in. Rather than select our own favourites, however, we teamed up with Ogilvy PR to crowd-source hundreds of recommendations for the accolade of best content of the year, and then asked a panel of experts to judge the final lists.
In the modern age, we mark the passing away of world-famous figureheads not by our personal connection to their messages, or how our lives were affected by their action, but so often by the 'where I was when I heard' moment. For previous generations, it was the moment when JFK was shot or John Lennon gunned down. For mine, when Princess Diana died, and now the sad passing of Nelson Mandela. Except of course, that's not really the case with Madiba. As Jon Snow most eloquently wrote this week, "The impact of his death will reach far beyond the frontiers of South Africa. There will be tears, but celebration for one of the most remarkable lives of our time."
The Millennials don't have it easy. Generation Y were brought up to believe they could have it all, and yet find their employment prospects gloomy, the housing ladder out of reach, and ahead of them an aging population they will be required to pay for in years to come.That, of course, is all before they have to worry about their love lives. As well-meaning columnists wring their hands in angst at the sexting and snap-chatting, teenagers in the UK will be counting themselves lucky this autumn that public displays of affection are their absolute right, even if their parents don't necessarily approve.
A very elite set of leading women, from the world of UK media gathered at the grand stationers hall in St Pauls this week, to debate the experience of 'WOMEN IN MEDIA'. In association with Huffington Post and the London Evening Standard, leading figures from TV, print and online addressed the role of women in media.
As I type, the death toll in the Philippines stands at a suspected 1,200 people, with an expectation that that number can only grow. Bodies lie in rivers; towns have been razed to the ground thanks to Typhoon Haiyan wreaking havoc across a country that needs no introduction to the devastation a natural disaster can cause. Having family living in Manila myself, I am used to paying more attention than the average Brit each time the country makes headlines, whether that be for earthquakes, kidnappings, civil unrest or charges of corruption. This time round, the whole world has its focus.
As Europe's leaders have learnt to their detriment, cross Angela Merkel at your peril. Perhaps someone should have sent that memo to Barack Obama. The president was left short of excuses this week as yet another embarrassing revelation was handed out by former US intelligence operative Edward Snowden. The Guardian continued their NSA exposes with the news that 35 world leaders, Germany's chancellor included, have unwittingly been chatting away on their phones with America listing in.
The weekly email exchanges I have with the HuffPost mothership in America are usually fairly straightforward; we swap ideas for global reporting features, maybe pass requests on for a new piece of functionality. And then, every now and again, I have to explain an odd British quirk to a befuddled Yank reading an article on the UK version of the site and coming up against a brick wall of comprehension. We may share a common language, but there's still plenty of translating that needs doing.
David Cameron will be planning more holidays if things carry on like this. While the PM has been out of office for the summer, his popularity ratings have taken an unexpected turn for the better, leaving poor Ed Miliband with egg on his face... quite literally this week. With the housing market on the up, and the entire country enjoying the kind of feel-good factor only a summer of sun and a royal baby can muster up, a survey this week by the ICM and the Guardian showed 40% of the electorate have economic confidence in the government, while only 24% have the same trust in Miliband and Ed Balls.
"Behind every successful man, there stands a woman", so the quote stood, and yet we have never quite redefined that for the successful women. Who stands behind them, or perhaps it's more a case of who stood before them. It was this debate we had in mind when we started thinking about a new video series for HuffPost UK's women channel, and so the idea was born for our new Inspirational Women series.
Ten years on, we meet to ask 'was it worth it?' Presumably not for the many hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed in the conflict. The figures may vary (Iraq Body Count put the number at around 120,000 while the Lancet counted upwards of 600,000) but the story is one of devastation nonetheless.
Headline news this week: in relationships where men do more housework, couples tend to have less sex. That was the groundbreaking insight from experts at the University of Washington, and later published in the American Sociological Review. Having spent three years nursing large volumes of Shakespeare (and the odd hangover) around my university, coming out at the end with essentially a degree in reading, it's always interesting to read what spurious statistics come out of the 'serious' part of college campuses.