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A group of 67 women from Greenland is pursuing compensation from the Danish government for the involuntary birth control program that took place in the 1960s. This program aimed to limit birth rates among the indigenous population and involved fitting at least 4,500 women, including teenagers, with contraceptive coils. While an official inquiry is scheduled to conclude in 2025, these women, some now in their 70s, are seeking compensation immediately, with each woman requesting 300,000 kroner (£34,880; $42,150).

Greenland, which is now a semi-sovereign territory of Denmark, was under Danish colonial rule until 1953. The extent of the involuntary birth control campaign came to light last year through a podcast by Danish broadcaster DR. Records from the national archives revealed that between 1966 and 1970, intrauterine devices (IUDs) were implanted in these women, some as young as 13, without their knowledge or consent.

The Greenlandic government estimates that by the end of 1969, 35% of women in the territory who were potentially able to bear children had been implanted with an IUD.

A commission jointly established by the Danish and Greenlandic governments to investigate this program is not expected to release its findings until May 2025. Psychologist Naja Lyberth, who initiated the compensation claim, emphasized the urgency of taking action now, as the affected women are aging and experiencing health complications related to the IUDs. Some of the devices were inappropriately sized, leading to severe health issues and even infertility.

Lyberth accused the Danish government of the time of wanting to control Greenland’s population size to reduce welfare costs. She asserted that it is evident that the government violated human rights and caused serious harm to these women. The group’s lawyer, Mads Pramming, has submitted a claim to Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s office, anticipating a potential court battle if the government refuses compensation pending the commission’s results.

Last year, Denmark issued an apology and compensation to six Inuit individuals who were separated from their families in the 1950s as part of a strategy to establish a Danish-speaking elite within Greenland.

Greenland, the world’s largest island and northernmost landmass, has a population of approximately 57,000. While it has its own flag, language, and prime minister, it continues to be under Danish control in terms of currency, justice system, and foreign and security affairs.

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An expert panel has selected a female-directed movie as the best ever made.  The British Film Institute’s Sight and Sound survey placed Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, directed by Chantal Akerman, in first place.

It is the first time a female director’s film has made it into the top ten. The poll, which is conducted every ten years, has drawn flak for its lack of diversity.  For 40 years, Citizen Kane by Orson Welles occupied the top slot. Vertigo, a film by Alfred Hitchcock, surpassed it in 2012.

Jeanne Dielman, released in 1975, is the story of a Belgian widow who turns to prostitution to make ends meet, but kills one of her clients. The film runs for almost three and a half hours.

It has been praised as a “masterpiece” and a groundbreaking work of feminist film, despite not  being as well known outside of the field of film criticism as past winners. The 65-year-old Belgian director Chantal Akerman passed away in 2015.

The poll’s contributor, writer and film critic Lillian Crawford, called the movie the “essential text” of female cinema.

“Jeanne Dielman isn’t a film that I would say to someone getting into cinema ‘Oh, this is the first film you absolutely must see’,” she told the BBC.

“I think if you’re going to work through the list, maybe do it in reverse order and sort of build towards it, because it’s quite an ask to invite people to see this.

“But in an academic sense and thinking about cinema and encouraging more people to seek out experimental film, films by women, and in terms of the history of feminist cinema, this is absolutely the sort of essential text.”

In an article for the British Film Institute, Laura Mulvey, a professor of film studies at Birkbeck University, called the vote a “sudden shake-up”.

In 2012, Touki Bouki by Djibril Diop Mambéty and Jeanne Dielman, both directed by black filmmakers, were the only two black films to be included on the list.

The quantity and variety of those consulted have grown over time. The best 10 movies of the year were chosen by 1,639 critics, programmers, curators, archivists, and academics.

Vertigo, the previous winner, came in at number two, followed by Citizen Kane at number three.

Fourth place went to Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story, and fifth place went to Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love.

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In an interview for a radio talk show, Jim Bridenstine, the Administrator of NASA said that the first person on Mars is likely to be a woman. Female astronauts are expected to mark history on space adventures soon! Bridenstine also said that the next American astronaut to set foot on moon will also be a woman.

No clues had been given regarding the name of the women. The exact dates for both these space ventures are also remaining unrevealed. The first all-woman spacewalk will be taking place later this month, revealed Bridenstine.

“These are great days. We have the first all-female spacewalk happening this month at the end of March, which is of course, National Women’s Month … So NASA is committed to making sure that we have a broad and diverse set of talent”. says Bridenstine.

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