Going on the Today Programme

IMG_3403As someone who is dedicated to feminist economics I understand that this is (wrongly) considered by most to be quite a niche subject and will rarely warrant discussion on national radio programmes. So you can imagine my delight when I was asked to appear on BBC Radio 4’s the Today Programme to discuss this very issue.

It was all thanks to Yvette Cooper who in her leadership speech in Manchester had said we must organise the family in a feminist manner, so Today thought they would get some of us on to discuss it. You can listen here until it expires – I’m endeavouring to permalink. I’m on in the last 10 minutes of the programme.

 

 

Feminism and YouTube – a summer in the city

IMG_3381So yesterday I went to the Creator’s Day at Summer in the City the YouTubeconference. It was a brilliant and bizarre experience which started by me finding this three page spread on feminism in the middle of the official programme (I’m not quite sure why they’ve said ‘a-feminism’ in the title…I think it might be a massive typo).

Contrary to my expectations the turnout was 80% women. Young, alternative women many of whom probably like watching hair demonstrations by Zoella but many others watching rights-based empowering channels like Laci Green or Hannah Witton or both. Despite the trolls, I actually think YouTube might be prime space for developing and discussing feminism. I also met loads of people from LGBQT communities and had some summer in the citygreat conversations with transgender women and men about feminism. My prime concern was that it was a 99% white speaker line up talking to a mostly white audience.

However, I was delighted to see Bpas – British Pregnancy Advisory Service represented there and met some cool people from Shelter and Young Women’s Trust. The Creator Day was very useful for someone just starting out, but it looked like the I made the right call not going for the rest of the weekend which seems it will mainly consist of lining up to meet YouTube stars I have never heard of…

Gender and identity at Archbishop’s Holgate School, York

It is always great to have a whole day to work with students, so I was really excited to go up robin-thicke-blurred-lines_13to York and to the Archbishop’s Holgate School. We started with a whole year assembly on gender and gender identity. We talked about sexuality and gender stereotypes using Disney as a prime example. For too long Disney films have produced one dimensional women who rely on men to save them and men whose job it is to go around beating baddies, it was great to be able answer questions about what the difference is between transexuals and transvestites (thanks to Eddie Izzard for support!)

I had had the next two sessions with a group of female students who were really engaged. We lookesnoop-dogg-snoop-dogg-who-is-snoop-dogg-feat-snoop-dogg-snoop-doggy-dogg-songs-by-snoop-dogg-snoop-dogg-music-new-snoop-doggd at relationship progression – from holding hands to having a baby and everything in between. The students got to choose their own relationship progression and discuss it with friends.  We looked at consent and role-played saying no and then the students thought up some great ways to say no pressure from other people. Finally we looked at women in the media – looking at the male gaze and then using that to think about when people post pictures of themselves online.

With the lads we looked at sexual name calling – what do words like ‘slut’ and ‘bitch’ really mean? Why do we use them? We examined the issue of sexual bullying and harassment in the workplace and the consequences it has to your career.  We talked about consent like with the female students and then finally examined porn and the impact it might have on how we feel about our bodies and our sex lives.

It was great to have good long sessions with these young people as it can take a long time to get them to open up around sensitive issues. Thanks for having me Holgate!

Feminist economics at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

I was delighted to be asked to come and discuss feminist economics at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in York. I did two sessions – the first was a general talk about the ways in which gender interacts with the economy, you can see that session captured in the video below. The second was a session for the policy staff who asked a lot of tough questions! We looked more specifically at some of the measures the Women’s Budget Group advocate for in order to create a more equal society.

Great to be up in York with you all!

Porn! At King Alfred School, London

I was excpornited to go to King Alfred school and discuss pornography and sexting. I held an assembly on the issue, which was a bit tricky, but the students were very receptive and we ended up having a good chat.

We examined what porn is, why we might watch it and how we can compare sex in pornography to sex in real life. I tried to make it as unjudgemental as possible –  I don’t think you can engage young people in issues like this by telling them something is wrong.  We did examine some stories of ex adult movie actors who talked about their struggles and we also talked about orgasms in pornography and how real they were.

The issue of sexting is more black and white – there are many laws that prohibit the sending of sexual images to other people. Releasing pictures of yourself naked can be a minefield and very few young people (or adults!) are prepared for the consequences if these pictures make there way on to the internet which they very often do.

All in all, a fascinating morning!

 

 

Talking about feminist economics on the Weekly Economics Podcast

I had an excellent time last week joining the Weekly Economics Podcast as their first ever guest. This week I was talking about the Women’s Budget Group response to the Budget 2015 and what ‘social infrastructure’ really means. I’ll be sure to link to the podcast once it’s published.podcast @ NEF 20150410

Resist! Against a precarious future

I was really delighted to be part of this book. I’ve written an essay on how care work makes the world go round and it’s part of this collection. We’re crowd funding for the £2k publishing costs to get it out as a free e-book and although we have some of the costs covered by the publisher we still need a bit of money. Here is the blurb, please consider giving some money there are some awesome perks!:resist

Resist! is the third book in the Radical Future series: publications written and edited by young* activists, journalists and artists calling for radical alternatives to the status quo. We’re interested in social justice, liberation and collectivity, and the ways young people are organising to create change. If you think mainstream politics is a dismal failure and you still have hope we can do better, this book is for you.

The first book in the series, Radical Future: Politics for the next generation, was written before the 2010 election (remember back when things were bad, but we had no idea how much worse they were going to get?). The follow up, Regeneration, was published in 2012, and received over 50,000 downloads.

Resist! includes chapters about youth activist movements, re-envisioning work, feminist economics, direct action against the housing crisis, alternative media and organising after the London riots, from contributors like feminist campaigner Polly Trenow, activist Wail Qasim and openDemocracy journalist Adam Ramsay. It is edited by journalist and openDemocracy editor Ray Filar.

We’re really excited about this next book and can’t wait to get it published.

But to get there, we need your help.

Like the first two books in the series, we want to make Resist! as accessible as possible by also offering it as a free ebook (as well as a paperback version). But ironically, publishing a free ebook is expensive. The publisher, Lawrence & Wishart, is covering most of the costs, but we need help with the final £2000. And we need it sharpish to get it out before the general election. So that’s why we’re asking you to donate. Your money will go towards typesetting, copy editing, proofing, and promotion.

We’ve put together some amazing rewards. As well as beautiful merchandise designed by our talented cover artist Yoav Segal, we’re harnessing the talents, pub-debating skills and canal boats of our contributors. We’re offering prints that you can put on your wall, and tote bags with our cover art on. You’ll also find a great selection of workshops, excursions and experimental fun, all there to encourage you to part with your cash.

If we get more money than our target, we’ll divide it up to pay everyone who has given their time for free. Anything over that we’ll put towards the next book in theRadical Future series. You can read the first two books in the series right now. For free!

The full list of contributing authors to Resist! Against a Precarious Future are:

Sarah AllanCraig BerryMatthew CheesemanRhiannon ColvinSean FarmeloRay FilarRobbie GillettDeborah GraysonNoel HatchIzzy KoksalBen Little, Wail QasimAdam RamsayNiki Seth-SmithMike ShawPolly TrenowMatt Adam Williams.

*in some cases, at heart

 

Media coverage in the Colchester Gazette

It was lovely to be featured in the Colchester Gazette a few weeks ago. I was interviewed by Vanessa Moon who was

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interested to know about how I got into this line of work and some of things I was most concerned about. Media interviews can be tricky especially on print as you are never quite sure how you will come across but I think she did really well.

In particular I wanted to make it clear that young girls should be allowed to wear pink and dress up as princesses, but there should be lots of other options too… but currently there aren’t.

I would have liked something about feminist economics in the headline as I don’t campaign on page three or wolf whistling and I’m not sure my face needed to be quite so massive, but you can’t win them all!

Adventures at Unison Women’s Conference

Last month I was delighted to be invited to present at Unison Women’s Conference in

unwc15Southport on behalf of the Women’s Budget Group. Last year I also presented at the Local Government Conference and there was a lot of enthusiasm for my analysis of local government spending and the impact on gender equality. I also gave a similar talk to the Essex Feminist Collective who were the ones who recommended me to speak at Unison.

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It was a fascinating morning as the caucus passed motions. Much to my delight

one of these motions was a call to continue to work closely with the Women’s Budget Group on the ongoing impacts of austerity on women, which was an

excellent start to the day.

In the afternoon I was presenting in the main conference hall which was slightly terrifying. We first looked at some of the problems with economic theory which is predicated on the household male-breadwinner model and does not have any means for understanding how resources are split within the household. Secondly there is a total failure by mainstream economics to take into account the impact of unpaid care work. We then moved to local government and looked at equality impact assessments. These can be quite dry but they are a good tool to show how the basics of gender budget analysis works.

It was a fantastic day and I am looking forward to working with Unison more closely this year.

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