‘Throat-singing’ may their voices be heard
By Joel Bates
Image credits: Shina Nova on Instagram @shinanova
Videos of Shina Nova and her mother Kayuula have taken the internets attention in recent weeks and they aren’t showing signs of giving it back any time soon! This iconic duo has taken to social media sensation TikTok to promote indigenous culture’s practices. One particular practice showcased is the once all-but-lost art of throat singing. Previously outlawed by Canadian government as part of a cultural erasure mission, such indigenous practices such as ‘throat-singing’, or as in the Inuit language Inuktitut, Katajjaq, Pirkusirtuk, or Nipaquhiit were almost lost entirely. Social media has given them the platform to showcase their heritage and celebrate their cultural journey together. However, this also touches upon a darker stain on western history, the implications of colonial’s efforts to erase native populations and their cultures. Including the shockingly high and largely ignored homicide rate among native women. It was this shocking fact that made me do further research. Though it may be best to start at the beginning – the colonial invasion.
I begrudgingly give attention to the colonial powers for context, for the benefit of you the reader, but I think we all recognise they have had quite enough recognition and attention already! In the 15th century French and British expeditions continued their – so called – colonisation of North America. While modern history classes in Europe and America love to glorify this period under taglines about ‘Discovery of the Americas’, this does conveniently breeze past the small matter of who was there first, and the genocide that followed.
Besides the discovery by Vikings coming from a colony in Greenland a thousand years ago, the European exploration of Northern America (Canada) in 1497 was supposedly amicable for the first 200 years. Besides the widespread sickness and death brought in the form of flu and viruses along with the European invaders. This epidemic claimed innumerable native lives just in the first thirty years. By which time the appropriation had already begun, from the Iroquoian word for ‘village’ – Kanata – French colonials took the word and by the mid-16th century ‘Canada’ was starting to appear on maps.
This appropriation and perveance of native culture continue all the way up to the 150th year celebration of Canada’s good fortune. This good fortune that was built upon genocide. As outlined in an article by Pamela Palmater from March 2017 this celebration comes at a cost, the cost of indigenous cultures and cultural practices being forcibly extinguished from Canada’s culture.
For those unaware Canada was the site for rampant genocidal acts including, placing bounties on the scalps of indigenous men, sanctions on hunting rights, fishing rights and possession of lands were also used to control and eliminate indigenous peoples. Furthermore, sanctions were placed on these groups with the goal of isolating and limiting travel of indigenous people to specific areas, known as reserves or reservations. The barbarity does not stop there, many indigenous women were forced into mass sterilization meanwhile widespread physical and sexual assaults on women and young girls went unchallenged.
Perhaps the most prolific or well-known aspect of this period are the residential schools. These government sponsored religious schools were specifically designed to re-culture these Indigenous children to make them suitable – in the eyes of the government – for Euro-Canadian culture. These sanctions jointly contributed to the diminishment of Indigenous culture over time, with residential schools being held in collective regard as particular cruel by their very nature they include the designed and purposeful separation of children from their families with the goal of reprogramming and brainwashing their cultural identity out of them.
Back in modern times, one may be forgiven for assuming that these issues are a thing of the past. However, just like many horrific parts of human history, these issues are not so far behind us are we would like to believe. The effects of colonial powers on modern day life for native people in Canada are very much still visible in our rear-view mirror.
The effects are still seen today and are not going away. The bias in the language used when discussing native peoples is a key example of this. The word ‘Indigenous’ is testament to that. By its very nature it should be a word that does not need to be used, as by its definition refers to the rightful ancestor of those who once occupied a land that was forcibly taken from them by colonial powers. It is the recognition that we the white European invaders do not belong in a country that we stole. Contrastingly, a darker, more sinister effect of colonial powers is still visible in Canadian authority’s laissez-faire attitudes to native women. Current statistics show that native women are twelve times more likely to go missing or be murdered than their fellow citizens of European/colonial descent.
I am far from the first to write about this issue, yet nothing appears to be done about it. This is very well outlined in an invaluable source for indigenous women’s lived experiences is an article by Brandi Morin which gives insight and depth that I, a white cis-man from England, could never convey. Morin rightly outlines that if three white women per week were going missing, something would be done about it.
This problem is ongoing and is not stopping any time soon, and I believe it is important to celebrate the work of Shina Nova and her mother Kayuula. Their social media presence has shed an important light on issues that have been shrouded in shadow for far too long. Using their following to revive native practices and callout cultural disparities in Canada can teach us all. It is our responsibility to further their message and add our voices to their cause.
As a start I recommend all to follow, support and share these petitions, change for women in Canada and for women in the USA and use social media to draw attention to this issue. Sign petitions and share their stories, make these unseen women seen.
If you’ve been moved by this story of resilience please do check out @shinanova on Instagram and TikTok!
From an eclectic background in the arts and media, Joel holds a BSc in Psychology and is currently undertaking a Masters in Psychology and Neuroscience of Mental Health at King’s College London. Ferment believer that access to education is a privilege that many take for granted, and as such personal projects and writing seek to address disparities as they come to the fore. Currently based in Lincoln, their other creative persuits include artistic outlets, with this medium providing a commercial and personal outlet for Joel. Most of which can be found on Instagram @Noble_artt.
Finding myself through a wig
By Doria Mage
Cover photo by LightField Studios
Sitting at the dressing table, I keep looking at myself in the mirror while my fingers run up and down over my braids, trying to pin them up in sort of a bun. According to the YouTube video, this was supposed to be done in barely 3 minutes, but it’s taken much longer. However, it doesn’t really matter because, while arranging the loosed tufts, I realised that for the first time in a very long time I do like my braided hairstyle and feel it as part of my identity.
If my memory serves me right, my relationship with my hair has been complicated since I was a child. As the daughter of an African woman based in Spain, I grew up in an environment where my mum tried for us to fit in, meaning to conceal my natural hair at all costs. Looking back, I understand now that she did it to try to give me my best chance. After the Transatlantic Slave Trade starting in the 15th century and the following process of acculturation, black women were taught that their afro-textured coils were something to be ashamed of, being regarded as unkempt and unprofessional. This way, many African women and afro descendant generations assimilated the Eurocentric canon as the only way to fit in in a dominant westernculture.In my case, born in Spain, this meant to get my hair braided regularly to look ‘good’.
Although my child-self liked the aesthetic braid style, my approach to this look wasn’t kind of healthy. In an attempt to keep my braids fresh for longer, my cousin–who did my hair until I turned 16–used to braid it very tight. That way, these ‘beauty sessions’ turned into an 8-hour ordeal where the synthetic hair was attached to the flesh, causing tears to roll down my cheeks during most of the process and being unable to move my neck freely for the following week. After this going on and on, I just got fed up with the situation and decided that, if that was the price of beauty, I was ready to try something else. Besides, nearly 16 years old and about to get into high school, I wanted a fresh start, meaning getting a makeover and having more haircut choices. The latter was something I lacked during all my childhood and early adolescence since braids weren’t really a choice, but the only viable option. This thought, alongside the pain associated with the braiding, only made me feel resentful of a hairstyle I liked but I was no longer able to embrace.
Then, aged 15, I just cut and took my braids out and swore to myself that I would never, ever, get my hair braided again.
Image by: Obi Onyeador
Trying different options
After this decision was made, another more important was to come: if no braids, what then? I knew since the beginning that I didn’t want to have a protective hairstyle and that I felt like wearing my natural hair.
However,freeing up my kinky hair was out of the question since, according to my family, the care routine was too much time-consuming. Especially for a black teenager who had no idea how to tame her hair to make it fit in to western society’s standards.So, relaxing my mane came up as the best alternative. Indeed, so I did, and I recognised that I liked it because suddenly my hair became more versatile, allowing me to experiment with different daily styles such as fringe, no fringe, side part hairdos, etc. The wide range of choices was great. What wasn’t that great were all the chemicals and heat applications I had to subject my coils to in order to keep them in check. In fact, over a year and a half my hair was processed so many times that it got deeply damaged.
Image by: courtyardpix
Getting into wigs
It was then, while trying to keep a balance between a variety of styles and protecting my natural hair, when I was introduced to the world of wigs. As soon as I stepped into the salon, I felt like entering Paradise. There, before me, laid a myriad of hairstyles of different colours and shapes. Finally, I felt free to arrange my hair at will without fearing hair damage or unbearable pain.Nevertheless, joy didn’t last long. Although then I had the physical resources to style my hair as much as I pleased, there was a factor that hadn’t changed: the society’s view on wigs. Unlike coloured contact lenses, false nails or some plastic surgeries, wigs weren’t normalized in Spain back then. That way, although having a large variety at my disposal, I opted for dark curly/straight hairdos that could pass for my natural hair (or a combination of it with extensions) in the eyes of my white inner circle.
Therefore, what was supposed to be my way to freedom became a burden increasingly harder to carry. Especially when it came to situations such as going to the physiotherapist or the swimming pool, taking my clothes off in front of someone else or sleeping over with some friends. The feelings of shame and concern got so ingrained in me that, once I started sharing a flat, I preferred keeping my wig on 24/7 to being seen without it.
Image by: Zach Vessels
After many years of unnecessary stress and plausible lies, the idea of telling the truth crossed my mind. However, the more I analysed the situation, the more I convinced myself of what a stupid mistake that would be. Even when I tried to find some comfort in the American music industry(much more open-minded than the Spanish environment), there was none.Although well-known singers as Beyoncé, Nicki Minajand Rihanna changed their hairstyle very often, they never spoke openly about it, as if there were a valid reason to keep it secret. Then, my 21 year-old-self thought that if they said nothing, it might be because there was nothing to say…
Speaking my truth
It wasn’t until a few years later when, knackered after a very long shift, I reached a turning point. Once at my boyfriend’s, I started feeling an unexpected emotion overcoming my body. At first, I took it for annoyance because of the tiredness, until I realized that it was anger. Anger because of the oppression I was subjecting myself to, so as to please some biased society norms. Anger because of depriving myself of feeling fully free at my own home with the person I loved,and anger for not having said earlier that I had had enough. Then, with shaking hands and as much of a defiant as a worried gaze, I threw my wig away and said to my boyfriend that that night I was to air my natural hair.
Even if some years have passed since then, that instant keeps being the most enlightening moment of my life.The moment where I decided that I didn’t want to commit myself to the idea that society has about what a black woman should look like, but with my own beliefs. Ever since I’ve adopted many different hairstyles, going through straight, curly, wavy and bright wigs; my grown out and shaved natural hair; and the most gorgeous and colourful braids. Indeed, here I am, checking my reflection in the mirror and admiring my three-coloured braids pinned in a bun. While looking forward, I can’t help smiling proudly because I’ve never felt more like myself. Finally, after many years of self-doubt and shame, I gathered the courage to take control of something that people never let up to me. This path hasn’t been easy, nor has it been short, and started with small but meaningful actions as making sure I didn’t get tight braids.
Some may think that I’m exaggerating and that it’s just hair, but it’s not. It’s a matter of choices and rights, a matter of being able to speak up and taking control of different facets of one’s life. It turns out that by taking my wig off before someone else I didn’t only free myself from a piece of hair, but from toxic constraints that prevented me from blossoming; and once you take that weight off your shoulders you never allow yourself to go backwards.
Passionate about Communication and Storytelling, Mage holds a BA in Journalism and a Master’s in Marketing and Corporate Communication. She has run different Marketing projects in Spain, her home country, with the main focus on Branding and Strategic Communication. Currently based in Glasgow, her life is filled by books and otherartistic expressions that provide her inspiration. Thus, she spends all her time delving into different social topics, looking for a way to understand the world she lives in better; a way to shed light on stories that appear to have been overlooked. You can find some of her thoughts on her blog Me, Myself and I.
(poem originally published by Scottish Bame Writers Network)
(picture by @abiponcehardy https://www.instagram.com/abiponcehardy/?hl=en)
After he leaves by Bee Asha Singh
I open the door.
He stands at the doorstep.
He opens his backpack.
He has brought plastic wrapped tomatoes, balsamic dressing and a packet of my favourite crisps, Aldi’s own brand Veggie Straws.
He always gives me nice goodies.
He apologises for the plastic.
I laugh and thank him.
I don’t mind.
He smiles and comes to step inside.
I hesitate and step back.
He squints his face as if to say – Come on, it’s ok –
I giggle and joke for him not to touch anything.
I mean it.
He walks through the hallway and into my room,
I don’t shut the front door.
He’s been to the shops.
He never wears gloves or a mask.
I step back and sit on my bed.
He stands by the dresser looking at the random array of stuff on the side. The heart shaped sunnies, the fake velvet mouse, the used scratch card. – Did you win? –
I shake my head, he shrugs
and tells me he’d had to ask a shop clerk where the balsamic was and when he stepped towards her she stepped back and said – Yes sir, how can I help you? –
He had kept moving towards her, but she kept backing away.
He laughs, cause it was a funny interaction.
I laugh too.
My heart pangs.
I don’t know if it’s funny.
We smile at each other and stay in the silence of each other’s eyes.
He leans forward and kisses me.
His lips are silken soft.
I love kissing him.
My stomach tenses and I feel dizzy.
I push his chest softy away.
I joke – social distancing –
I mean it.
A lump rises in my throat and it feels like a cat is running on my chest.
He smiles and steps back doing an – Oh, sorry – motion.
I love his sunny, innocent smile.
His wide, white teeth.
(After he leaves, I rinse my mouth out with warm salt water.
I wash my hands and face with soap and a hot flannel several times until my face is bright red.)
He walks through to the kitchen with the goodies he has brought me.
I smile and walk just a few steps behind him.
It’s not quite two meters. It’s probably only one.
My house is small.
I keep note of all the places and things he touches.
(After he leaves, I dettol wipe, and anti-bac spray every light switch and handle in the house, just in case I didn’t see him touching one.
I spray and wipe down the plastic wrapped tomatoes, balsamic dressing and packet of my favourite crisps.
I throw away the plastic from the tomatoes instead of putting it in my eco brick.
Then I wash the tomatoes in the kitchen sink.)
In the kitchen, he asks about the bike seat he had given me for my old bike.
I say I don’t know how to put it on.
I don’t, cause I haven’t checked yet.
I know I can do it.
He loves to help with this sort of stuff.
I love doing things with him.
He asks for the tool.
I go to the sitting room, lean over the couch and riffle around my tool box.
He follows behind me
and cheekily smacks me on the bum.
I laugh, keep searching the tool box.
I love it when he does that.
My leggins. Not my skin.
(After he leaves, I take off all of my clothes and put them in the wash.)
I don’t have the right tool.
He says he will bring it another day.
He is the best.
We talk about the seeds I wanted to plant with the soil he gave me last week.
I’m not 100% on how to do it because I haven’t done it before.
He asks for the pots and the seeds – They’re on my bedroom window sill.
So he walks through to get them.
He leans across my bed and touches the plate and bowl on the ledge.
(After he leaves, I change all my bed sheets, including the pillow cases and wash the dishes with lots of soap.)
I laugh and tell him to do it in the stairwell.
I don’t want soil in my room.
If he is out of the house it is safer.
I sit on the stoop
He pours the soil into the pot and carefully places the seeds just under it.
He has touched all the seeds.
I can see his vertebrae protruding through his hoodie and moving as he hunches over the pots.
I love watching the way his muscles glide under his olive skin.
He brings the plant pots into the bathroom to water them.
He turns on the sink.
Did he go for a pee?
(After he leaves, I clean the entire bathroom, naked.
I scrub the toilet, sink and bath
I put all the bath matts, towels and face clothes in the wash.
I consider throwing away the plants.)
In the bathroom whilst he is tending to the plants, I tell him I’m feeling anxious.
My stomach is twisting.
I feel faint.
He doesn’t want to.
He knows he has to go.
I want him to leave.
I love spending time with him.
It’s the times we are living in now.
He gives me a cuddle.
I hold him tight.
We are touching.
My hair, my cheek on his chest
I don’t breathe.
He pulls up my t-shirt and touches our stomachs like we like to do.
I love it when he puts his skin on my skin.
After he leaves, I get into the shower and scrub myself with the soap bar.
I sit facing the shower and turn it into a bath, emptying a whole bottle of hand soap into it.
I kneel and keep my face under the water.
I hate water in my eyes.
I get out of the bath for a moment to make myself throw up.
Then I get back in and use my electric toothbrush for approximately eight minutes.
I do not stop until I cut the roof of my mouth.
Bee Asha is a budding new writer. The young poet grew up between the homes of her Punjabi father and Scottish mother. She is one third of The Honey Farm, a Scottish female rap group that promotes female confidence and egalitarian views. Bee is also a solo spoken word poet, whose work often tackles social injustice and gender equality, characterised by an openness to talk about her own personal experiences, using creativity to heal from trauma.
Who are we?
As three women from England, Singapore and the USA, who grew up speaking different versions of the same language, we created our company, Marmoris Company, to explore the musicality of different languages in a project that explored womxnhood.
We adapted what was originally designed to be an installation piece for our final year university submission into an interactive website due to the global pandemic. We are now striving to continue developing what has seemingly become our little ‘baby’ and share what we believe is an impactful, immersive celebration of womxnhood.
Lingua Franca noun. a language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different.
Could womxnhood be a common language?
Lingua Franca, began in an attempt to create a symphony of sounds with the one mode of communication that is most frequently used, yet least thought about – language. We found it curious how words mean so little yet so much at the same time; how are there certain words that can only be defined in a certain language? Do some languages sound inherently melodious while others inherently rough? Do words translated ever really mean the same thing?
Screenshot from the first station of Lingua Franca, which is an audio-visual montage of the womxn’s responses.
What is our mission? What drives us?
Lingua Francais a presentation of womxn as told by themselves through an interactive visually and audibly stimulating experience. The womxn’s stories are presented within three main installations, each of which allow the audience to interact with different aspects of language and its relationship with womxnhood. Lingua Francadelves into the intersectionality of womxnhood, a sense of belonging, as well as concepts of the domestic space. It opens the floor for a variety of themes that are intertwined and inescapable for many womxn in society today. This project involved the participation womxn from a variety of ages, sexualities, socio-economic background, ethnicities, religions and nationalities all speaking their native languages. The womxn revealed their relationship with their sense of selves in relation to societal norms, cultural and religious beliefs, geographical location and concepts of motherhood.
Language, being a key component of this project, enabled the womxn to express themselves and make themselves heard in the way that they choose to be heard. Language is the root of one’s identity, and hence in order to create a celebration of womxnhood, we wanted the womxn to feel comfortable while expressing themselves.
The three of us grew up speaking English in different forms – British English, American English, and Singaporean English – all of which are historically the same language that have developed identities of their own. While the words in our languages look the same, more often than not, they sound different and sometimes even mean different things. Our languages have become who we are as people, they distinguish us across continents, and yet they unite us through common understanding.
COVID-19 drove us to create a platform that celebrated womxnhood, as well as united individuals during a period of worldwide isolation. This was an interesting process for us as artists, as we had to navigate three different time zones in order to complete our project. However, this also inspired us – we used our distance to bring us, and these women, closer together when the world seemed more separated than ever.
Screenshot from the second station of Lingua Franca. It requires the audience’s interaction to engage with the words on the screen.
What did we learn? What did we discover?
The womxn that participated in this project knew nothing about each other, where each of them were from, what languages they spoke or what responses each of them gave, and yet, this complete unawareness of the other, was why the project was so groundbreaking. We found so many similarities in the way these womxn discussed their sense of selves, and whilst it may have been simpler to see how these womxn were more different than alike, they exhibited a strong sense of awareness and pride in what it means to be a womxn.
Hearing the womxn talk about their sense of selves and the pride they hold because of it filled us with an indescribable warmth, as well ignited our own strengths and reminded us of what it truly means to be a womxn. As we listened to these stories, we witnessed how our own identities evolved with theirs.
The pandemic added an extra layer to our project, as we got to see how these womxn rediscovered their sense of selves in isolation. Some of them faced the pressures of being womxn at home, some found liberty in taking time off, and some felt unaffected by the change in pace. Many found solace in knowing that there were other womxn around the world experiencing the same things as them. As the conversation surrounding womxnhood continues, new aspects of our identities are exposed every day.
People Pictured: (From Left to Right)
Claudia Lax-Tanner, Nina Menon, Samantha Smith
Our Final Message
This project, while aiming to be a celebration of womxn and womxnhood, lends itself to a cathartic experience that facilitates participants’ self-actualisation, forcing one to confront their own identity and how it affects their way of life. It has the ability to elicit thought and emotion for the most apparent realities – the womxn in our lives. We wanted Lingua Francato be an inclusive experience that welcomed people of all gender identities to join us in learning about, enjoying and appreciating womxnhood.
Lingua Francahas a very important and empowering message for womxn. It has managed to create such a powerful community of womxn across the globe, and definitely still welcomes more womxn to be a part of this collective.
We invite you to join our community of womxn, and would love for you to be able to experience and contribute towards our shared common language.
Find Out More
If you would like to experience our project,
Visit our website: https://marmoriscompany.wixsite.com/linguafranca
If you would like to find out more about our work,
Follow us on Instagram: @marmoriscompany
If you would like to get in touch,
Email us: email@example.com
We would love to hear from you!
We are Marmoris Company, a collective of three graduate interdisciplinary artists, based in London, Minnesota and Singapore. Our aim is to create platforms to share individual stories.
Our first project together is entitled Lingua Franca – it is a presentation of womxn as told by themselves. Intertwining language through an audio-visual sensory experience, our interactive website is a true celebration of womxnhood. Dividing our website into three different sections, we encourage the audience to interact with the different aspects of language and as the question;
Could womxnhood be a common language?
Contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org find us on Instagram (@marmoriscompany).
Next week, a new edition of the Havana Glasgow Film Festival will take place, as many other festivals and events, it will be completely online. Among the carefully curated content, there is a film that immediately will catch your eye.
The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste García is a Cuban sci-fi movie which originally premiered in 2018. It tells a story of aliens infiltrated among the Cuban people. When the uncovered creatures decide to come back to their planet, they offer to some lucky ones the chance to visit them. The special ingredient in this narrative is its main character, Celeste Garcia. She is a 60 year-old planetarium guide and ex-school teacher whose peaceful life is about to suddenly change. A change that she has been waiting for a long while, coming in an unexpected way when she is chosen to travel and meet the distant world of the aliens. Her aspirations, fears and hopes are the core of the story.
Indeed, from Ellen Ripley to River Tam, a number of young, physically strong characters were created within the science fiction field. This is not the case of Celeste. This woman portrayed is close to her retirement, and it is the way of reflecting over her feelings and her desire to be alive which drive this movie. A woman who looks weaker at the beginning of the tape, growing in some way toward the end of the film. Maybe “she does not have her whole life ahead of her”, as someone recalls. However, she is willing to make every single moment worth her while.
However, the film has no pretension of becoming a feminist allegation at all. The approach adopted to understand Celeste´s situation, as well as a superb performance of Maria Isabel Díaz Lago, produce this special outcome. Hard topics such as domestic abuse and social withdrawal feature, and still, sparks of a dark comedy are present in this movie, which is closer to drama rather than to any other genre. Altogether with the Cuban yearnings to travel, it can be really touching in some instances.
It is worth watching The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste García. All the Latin American cinema lovers have the unique chance to enjoy this and other rarely found films during the Havana Glasgow Film Festival.
When a woman starts her professional career, she knows that she faces not only the challenges that come with her chosen profession, but the stereotypes that follow her when she joins her profession as a woman.
What comes to women’s mind when we hear the expression ‘gender stereotypes’? “rejection” it’s probably the first word to appear on the long list, and it’s a direct result of the way society categorizes women. The social construct of women’s roles has been focusing on our biological roles of mothers and spouses and imply inferiority when it comes to participating in public and professional life.
This article tries to contextualize the ways in which women are discriminated in the workplace and the way that gender stereotypes are based on the assumption that men are more than women in management positions, (cited in Flanagan, 2015).
Gender stereotypes in the workplace represent an invisible barrier that gets in the way of women in relation to men. It puts men on the top in high level positions, and relegates women to medium or low-level positions. When combined with a gender gap in terms of salary, all this together is known as ‘the glass ceiling’.
Defining threats: how gender stereotypes affect the perception of women in the workplace
A stereotype is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a “widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing” (cited in Bordalo, Coffman, Gennaioli and Shleifer, 2016).
When gender stereotypes are based on biological features (Aragón Álvarez, 2011) turn out determinist, they have pejorative connotations for women. In this sense, Donna Bobbit-Zeher (2011) states that gender discrimination is the product of a combination of cultural ideas about gender, structural policies that affect women and men differently, and decisions to apply or enforce those policies on workers by gender.
Within the context of a patriarchal society, we often tend to normalize discrimination as part of the systematic violence that women face every day in public and private spaces. Discrimination re-enforces ideas that limit women and prevent them developing their potential, putting a ‘glass ceiling’ between men and women. The term ’glass ceiling’ was conceived during the 1980s by Ann Morrison. This term implies that there’s a limit, preventing career growth, which is ‘glass’ and so transparent and ‘unseen’ (Shabbir, Ashar Shakeel and Ahsan Zubair, 2016).
In terms of their professional careers, women are programmed to work harder than men and assume more roles including ‘traditional roles’ This puts them at a disadvantage and implies that our male counterparts are more ambitious, more competent and skilled, (cited in Shabbir, Ashar Shakeel and Ahsan Zubair, 2016).
The theory of biological determinism relates to gender theory. It argues that there are features which can be attributed to men and women biologically. It also creates a social construction around this to determine behaviors and gender roles that men and women have in society, and the social construction deems other perceptions of gender roles unacceptable. This is one of the main factors that contributes to maintaining the gender gap, (Ortega, Torres and Salguero, 2001).
Reasons behind the lack of women at top level positions in the workplace
According to a 2017 BBC News report ‘A glass ceiling – or a broken ladder?’, women hold one in four senior leadership roles worldwide. In Mexico, through data provided by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), we found that only 10% of administrative council’s positions are occupied by women. The wage gap is also a relevant obstacle, with women’s salaries are 16.7% less than men (Forbes, 2017).
Beyond the reticence of enterprises to hire women for top level positions, we find the social construction of gender roles assumes women are responsible for domestic roles, a responsibility that in many cases they are forced to accept. In Mexico, domestic roles assumed by women involve about four hours more work than men per day, based on OECD information (Forbes, 2017).
The gender pay gap: the most important barrier to tear down in order to achieve ‘equal pay for equal work’.
In terms of salary, there’s a persistent gender pay gap between men and women carrying out the same kind of work, this is due to the lack of gender equality in the workplace (cited in Bobbitt-Zeher, 2011).
Based on historical data from the USA during the 1950s, the pay gap hovered around 60 cents per dollar and it was caused by several factors. These factors included lower education rates of women (not attending college for example), women not being in the workforce in big numbers, and because it was perfectly legal to pay women less therefore, discrimination was legal (VOX, 2018).
According to Pew Research Center analysis “the gender gap in pay has narrowed since 1980, but it has remained relatively stable over the past 15 years or so. In 2017, women earned 82% of what men earned.” (Forbes, 2018). Instead of progressive achievements in terms of closing the wage gap, this gap persists as well as occupational segregation by gender (Gibelman, 2003). We need to take measures to address the change that we want to see in the future.
Making changes and taking on leadership
How much are we as women responsible for perpetuating these behaviors? We need to make things different to achieve different results. We need to move forward and close the gender gap. We need to empower ourselves and make difficult decisions that will remove stereotypes and change the way we are perceived in society.
We must stop being afraid of assume high levels of responsibility, like top level positions as CEOs or any kind of management positions we aspire to. At the end of the day, if we as women assume our responsibilities and assume the leadership in our professional careers in the workplace, we’ll be able to tear down the gender stereotypes and determinist ideologies. Furthermore, we can redesign the way we’re perceived in a society that needs substantive changes to achieve gender equality and parity between men and women.
Aragón Álvarez, A. 2011. Men are warriors and women peacemakers? The gender stereotyping in the international security field. Prisma Social. Available at: https://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/articulo?codigo=3806212[Accessed 18 December 2019].
BBC News. 2017. A glass ceiling – or a broken ladder? BBC News. Available at https://www.youtube.com/: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk1K1dHgXi4[Accessed 18 November 2019].
Bordalo, P., Coffman, K., Gennaioli, N., & Shleifer, A. 2016. Stereotypes. The Quarterly Journal of Economics131, no. 4, 1753-1794
Bobbitt-Zeher, D. 2011. Gender discrimination at work: Connecting Gender Stereotypes, Institutional Policies, and Gender Composition of Workplace. Gender and Society, 25(6) December, 764-786.
Flanagan, J. 2015. Gender and the Workplace: The Impact of Stereotype Threat on Self-Assessment of Management Skills of Female Business Students. Advancing Women in Leadership, Vol. 35. September, 166-171.
Mackenzie, D. 2017. Mujeres mexicanas ocupan menos puestos directivos que hombres: OCDE /Mexican women hold fewer managerial positions than men: OECD. Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com.mx/: https://www.forbes.com.mx/las-mujeres-mexicanas-ocupan-menos-puestos-directivos-que-los-hombres-ocde/[Accessed 17 November 2019].
Allen, T. 2018. Six Hard Trust for Women Regarding the Glass Ceiling. Forbes. Available at https://www.forbes.com/sites/terinaallen/2018/08/25/six-6-hard-truths-for-women-regarding-that-glass-ceiling/#2f72fc66427f. [Accessed 15th November 2019].
Gibelman, M. 2003. So, how far have we come? Pestilent and persistent Gender Gap in Pay. Social Work, 48(1) January, 22-32.
Shabbir, H., Ashar Shakeel, M., & Ahsan Zubair, R. 2016. Gender Stereotype, Glass Ceiling, and Women’s career advancement: an empirical study in service sector of Pakistan . City University Research Journal, 236-246.
VOX (Producer). (2018). Explained: Why women are paid less?[TV Series]. Season 1 episode 3. Netflix.
Irelyd is a mexican internationalist researcher who has been working in projects of sustainability and food security for UN Agencies as FAO and UNDP.
She’s a passionate for gender issues and international affairs. She discovered her vocation for gender issues when she was working for UNDP where gender issues have always been a priority when it comes to implement projects with a high social impact in order to promote gender equality between the target population as well as increase the way that women participate inside society.
She has a BA degree in International Relations from Autonomous University of Puebla and she just finished her Master in International Affairs in Anáhuac University in Mexico city specialized in International Security. Currently she is developing her Master thesis about the participation of women in political and statebuildingprocesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Post-Dayton era basing her research lines on women empowerment, deconstructing gender stereotypes, Agenda 2030 United Nations as well as closing the gender gap in post-conflict scenarios. She will love to replicate their knowledges through initiatives ad hoc in Mexico and contributing to create a more inclusive society with gender approach closing the gender the gap salary according to the principles of “equal pay for equal work”.
You can follow Irelyd on Twitter and Instagram as @ir3lyd
Since the Coronavirus crisis pushed the UK into uncharted waters in late January, 2020 has shaped up to be a year of unprecedented challenge, fear, and uncertainty. As the virus dominated the headlines and the country was told to “stay home and save lives”, a sinister “shadow pandemic” continued to wreak havoc behind closed doors. With the country on lockdown, Coronavirus was exploited by opportunistic abusers who saw restrictions on gatherings and the closure of businesses as a prime opportunity to isolate and exploit their victims.
Covid-19, the general election and Brexit all delayed the UK’s Domestic Abuse (DA) Bill from being pushed through parliament. The landmark Bill was branded a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” by former Prime Minister Theresa May to give survivors the support and justice they deserve, presenting the end of the traumatic practice that has seen victims cross-examined by their victims in court, new criminal sanctions being ushered in and a new Domestic Violence Commissioner. Perhaps most importantly of all is the recognition of financial abuse, coercive control and non-physical behaviour which will now be included in the UK’s statutory definition of domestic abuse. Ultimately, this means that more victims than ever before will be recognised under the legal definition, providing greater support and resources to those in need.
While the Bill brings hope and opportunity for many victims, thousands are still falling through the cracks and without being formally recognised in law, these victims remain at the mercy of their abusers. So called ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) is described as “a crime or incident which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community” and these crimes can include female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, coercive control, attempted murder and murder. Although HBA is characterised by many tactics recognised in the Domestic Abuse Bill, HBA is a unique and standalone form of abuse which is not yet recognised, and it is thought to impact Black, Asian and minority ethnic women more than any other group.
The scale of the HBA crisis is becoming glaringly apparent, particularly to charity helplines such as Refuge who saw a 700% increase in calls in just one day. The Honour-Based Violence Awareness Network (HBVN) estimates that there are around 12 honour-based murders on UK soil each yearhowever, it’s feared that the true scale of abuse may be far greater than initially thought. Natasha Rattu, director of the British charity Karma Nirvana, told ITV news: “What we know about honour-based abuse is just the tip of the iceberg. We’re finding communities affected by this issue that perhaps weren’t coming forward 10 years ago that we need to be able to identify better”.
However, the DA Bill falls short in this respect as the Bill is only capable of recognisingimmediate family members and spouses to be perpetrators of domestic abuse, whereas victims of HBA can be subjected to harassment, violence, threats and abuse from a multitude of abusers who can extend from beyond their household or immediate family bubble.
The omission of HBA from the Bill is made all the more stark by the fact the practice remains one of the most complex forms of abuse to prosecute, in part because the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) can only prosecute perpetrators in line with the specific offence committed, such as grievous bodily harm, rather than a holistic prosecution that includes recognising the perpetrator’s coercive control and hold over their victim.
Jaswant Narwal, CPS lead for HBA, has spoken of the struggles the CPS faces in prosecuting perpetrators stating: “there are serious issues with underreporting, they often involve vulnerable victims, and happen within familial settings and tight-knight communities”. In 2018-2019, the CPS only prosecuted four people for offences relating to forced marriages, with three resulting in prosecution. Low referral and prosecution rates can be attributed to several factors ranging from a reluctance to report incidents, a lack of awareness that forced marriage is illegal and reluctance from the police to question and prosecute family members.
Yet the testimonies of HBA survivors aren’t the only ones to have gone unheard in the making of the DA Bill. Migrant women have also been overlooked as, despite being at an increased risk of domestic abuse, the DA Bill will not safeguard victims from immigration enforcement or deportation if they report their abuser, nor will it provide legitimate financial means for migrant women to escape abuse. Having ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ as a condition of their immigration status has meant migrant abuse victims have been turned away from refuges and provided no safety net to protect them from destitution. Only women with Partner Visas are offered a marginal escape route, leaving the vast majority with permits such as a Work Visa or Student Visa to flee or face abuse entirely alone. Many discussions to amend the DA Bill to cater to the unique experiences of migrant women were had, but all amendments were dropped just as hastily as they were debated.
Further movements to ratify the Istanbul Convention that the UK signed in 2012 have ground to a halt which is another key legislation that would safeguard all women from abuse, irrespective of immigration status, and would provide a cross-collaborative approach to all countries that have signed to extradite and prosecute perpetrators of domestic abuse.
What this suggests is that the Home Office is turning a blind eye to survivors in a futile bid to reduce immigration numbers in the country – being negligent at best, and racist at worst.
It is clear that domestic abuse and, by extension, violence against women and girls (VAWG) will not end forever in this generation as we had hoped, and the fight will fall onto a generation of daughters yet to come as the infamous quote by Audre Lorde goes: “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”
Until then, the DA Bill is one small step up the mountain and women’s struggles will wage on.
Trans voices: Laura Bugalho
Interview by Maria João Medeiros
Laura Bugalho was born in Santiago de Compostela (Galiza, Spain). She studied Law and Education with a major in Social Intervention. When she was 11 years old she engaged in extracurricular activities, related to culture and politics. She was the first trans person to change their name legally on her birth certificate in Galiza. She worked as a school teacher for 26 years and helped migrant people in her free time (helping with their integration in the region).
In this interview, Maria João Medeiros speaks with Laura about transitioning and her work in the fight for trans rights.
How was it for you to be one of the first trans people in Galiza?
When I started to take the first steps towards my transition, there was not much information around, and the internet still did not have a lot of details as it has nowadays. I decided to stay in my hometown (Santiago de Compostela) and to make a statement by staying. It has really complicated, and most times, I suffered verbal and physical abuse on the streets of Santiago. To simplify: I loved Santiago de Compostela until it loved me back. So, I can after all say that my process was successful.
Are you involved in any movements in at the moment?
I am collaborating with Associação Galega de Mães e Pais de Nenas e Nenos Trans Arelas (Galician Organisation for Mothers and Parents of transgender children), and I also work for workers’ rights. I am also part of the Rede Feminista Galega (Galician Feminist Network) and Rede Internacional Trans (International Transgender Network.
In your opinion, is the prejudice and discrimination towards transgender people increasing or decreasing?
The prejudice and discrimination have decreased since 1996, but there are still some issues that we need to speak out about. The FemineTrans helps because is the proof that energy creates forces and it is a network that meets and joins the fights held before having feminism as the foundations for strength.
Picture credit: Praza Publica
How do you think we can change the world’s idea of trans people, and how can we create more acceptance?
For me, the best solution would be to act locally and integrate the community in the process. To be present politically so we could be in the place we deserve. Our proud presence means achieving goals for a social and political transformation and for that to be reflected in society. I also think we should act regarding education. We should always be part of the political process, so that our voices can be heard.
How is it to work with migrants and trans migrants? What kind of problems and obstacles do you usually face?
Working with migrants and trans migrants is knocking of the legislative norms every day. Those norms deal with their own freedoms and rights legally. It is a challenge to give voice to our migrant sisters who see their rights violated in different situations. We have cases of sexual workers and trans women and that takes an extra effort regarding the country’s legislation and society’s prejudice.
Picture credit: Praza Publica
What was the hardest point of your career?
Without a doubt, it was being arrested and the way I was treated in prison. The eight years I spend without a trial and to know how they were treating me.
Was there any story from the people you help, that affected you especially?
Yes, basically reporting different mafias and human trafficking organisations, and seeing how now one who’s part of it gets normally arrested.
Do you have any messages for transgender people who need help and do not know what to do in these kinds of situations?
You should look for local help, legal information and you should fight, even for a new world if that is what we need.
Gender Equality is about having a voice and choice in society!
By: Padmini Venkataraman
My journey from Singapore to India, leads me questioning the huge differences in the way woman are treated in different parts of the world. I was born in India, but was raised in Singapore most of my life. While I did a 1.5 years career stint in India, I recollect the feeling of being a woman in a Senior role, managing a team of 6 – Single, Childless at late 30s, and how that was viewed in India.
While nobody said anything openly, I could see reactions of people who wonder “Why could she not find someone, she looks nice, she is intelligent, she is perfectly fine”. I bump into another woman in India, who was 10 years younger in her late 20s. This woman was almost getting into depression. As I sat with her in Starbucks one day, she started opening up about how she was under social pressure to find a husband and settle down in her late 20s.
Every vacation with her cousins, was about attending a marriage and them finding her a potential boy, while most of her cousins close to her age, were already married, the stress was big on her. Then she made this comment, that every man in India likes these Skinny girls –but we women, we love to eat! Sigh I felt the same way, why do woman in India get portrayed as “BEAUTY OBJECTS” for men to pick out of a matrimonial site.
While I reflected on my own parents arranged marriage, they met barely 3 hours and my mother was astonishingly a beauty –fair-skinned– my sister and I – were more dusky – while my mother was the typical, original “Bollywood Actress Clone” in full form, the fair skinned beautiful Female.
Those days in India, the men were really educated, earned well, always got the most beautiful women. Nevertheless the Men of those days also had better moral values, they respected family – it’s the family who decided who they should marry and It all fell into place fine.
Today’s generation both in the East and West– we go through a lot more confusion, for one women are independent, more educated, successful. I always wondered is that good or bad, to be an educated, successful, modern woman of today’s times. My grandma I remember used to tell me every time I faced stress in the office, “Oh you don’t have to work so hard, or become a CEO. Women are like a flower, delicate, just find a man and settle down”. While I reflected on those words, I realized as a modern woman I was torn between two worlds. The world which said family comes first, it’s alright to marry a rich man and stay at home (you know what I agree too actually!). What’s wrong with taking life easy if your husband makes a pot of wealth. I would not struggle in a tough corporate world if I had a rich husband, why should I. Then the second world which says woman should be successful, independent, monetarily self-sufficient. (which I also agree with, it gives me the choice to make my own decisions!). While I thought about these two worlds, which one do I really belong to, was ringing in my head.
I constantly get judged as an ambitious, career oriented, running behind my passion type of woman. This is a stigma/bias that is created by people who observe me externally, who know nothing of my real self. While, it’s true that I am ambitious, a dreamer, go getter, well-educated, talented.
However to say I only want career that’s why I am single in late 30s is an unfair statement of judgement by many who do not know me.
I constantly get asked, “So why did you not get married, don’t you want kids. Late 30s is late enough. Oh my today’s generation thinks marriage is not that important right, because women like you can make your own money, then why marry” I stare blankly not knowing how to answer such a question. Because, there is some truth in it too. While a lot of my mother’s friends who are home-makers look at me and wonder, why is she not settling down, isn’t the biological clock ticking. However is it fair to just marry any guy from some site, basis his picture, profile and couple of phone calls – without any chemistry that lasts a life-time. While the older generation would argue how long does chemistry last, we all end up changing diapers, just marry a responsible guy. I have reflected on those statements, being caught between the East & West, I am a perfect blend of both worlds. I finally came to the conclusion, that Chemistry does count, so does marrying a responsible man, however we still need to be attracted to each other to make the marriage last a life-time.
I was wondering, do women face pressure to settle down only in India, then I came across the popular SKII advertisement in China, realizing there is no difference between China and India. Even Taiwan and others too – there are articles that talk about women being 3rd gender, because they do their PHD’s and choose to marry much later and are condemned for that. While Singapore and Hongkong tend to be open societies, more Americanized, rest of Asia is not different from India in how they view women as “beauty objects” or believe that women primarily stand for motherhood. While I really love babies, I cannot marry the wrong guy just to have babies, I would not be happy I know that, that is the change in mind-set of my generation. The popular SKII advertisement that talks about the marriage market – how woman are match-made in a bazaar fashion where their profiles are all around in the open market place for the father’s and mothers’ of potential boys to choose the best women for their son. While fathers even comment, that a woman is like property – to be good property you cannot be over-valued, over-educated, that may make the man insecure in Asia. Even Asian movies depict the same of how women should support the men not the other way around.
While I look at America, everyone is making noise about Gender Pay Gap and Diversity at C-level, American men never said their women had to “support” them at home, it’s really equal that they will mutually support each other at work and home after marriage. That has triggered a new set of Asian women marrying American men, as they find them more open to equality in marriage. I hear of divorced friends leaving Asian men for American men. Then I hear Asian men complaining how even Singaporean women have white fever, meaning an attraction to white men over Chinese Singaporean men. True enough, I know Chinese women, who only want to marry western men.
All this makes me wonder as a woman where I stand in the world. I have worked and lived in USA, Singapore, Philippines, India, Indonesia, seen and travelled the entire world. When I was working in India for just a year and half –I used to employ a maid to clean my house on weekends, from a startup called “mydidi.com” means “My Sister”. I still remember the time when 2 maids came home to clean my entire house and told me they worked very hard to make a living because their husbands had a bad drinking habit and they did not like to work. I was shocked, I asked them:
“Then why do you still live with him, if he is not responsible” and she said
“But Madam, he is a good man, he does not womanize or have any other bad habits, he only drinks and does not work, I have children with him, in my society we cannot walk out, it’s a stigma”.
I understood exactly what she meant at that point. It’s tough to be a woman (even Single woman with kids, without a husband) in a country like India – where there are rape cases happening every minute. Many women in the lower strata, marry for protection not for love, when a woman has a family – it’s a signal to rest of man-kind that she is protected, he cannot toy around with her. Keeps the wrong men away. Imagine in a slum in India – how safe would you be as a Single woman – even if let’s say that’s your choice to stay single. Would you have a choice to be Single women in a Slum, likely not, even if you are economically independent, women needed to be protected in many cities in India, and a husband, or marriage gave women security in society.
So should we all have a choice, as a woman to live the life we want?
I thanked god that day that I had a choice to be whatever I wanted to be. While I have had my ups and downs in life, however I have still had a foundation where I never fell below a certain level. While I reflected what gave me that choice to live my life the way I thought was right. While I am not saying everyone should be a Single woman in her late 30s, ideally if I met the right man I would have settled down & I still would if I met someone right today, but I just did not meet the right man yet, I do not want to settle for the wrong person who I will not be happy with, while I am still the compromising type however I cannot compromise my entire life to be with someone I do not connect with. I was lucky, that I was not forced to settle down with anyone wrong, just because of social pressure or because I needed protection. I did not have to settle. While some would say you were lucky to have parents who never forced you into an arranged marriage, that is true. I equate my dad to MALALA’s father, he always gave us choice to live our life the way we thought was right. That was one, second important factor that gives woman choice is Education. While everyone pushes for woman empowerment via entrepreneurship. Sorry I beg to differ, woman running business, with no literacy would not change her poverty circumstance, or maybe at times it may. However remember if you are not educated or literate, from doing up a business agreement to everything – you are dependent on someone else. Even if people cheat you with a wrong agreement or wrong knowledge– you may not know what are the right questions to ask, who are the right people to approach – that is where education plays a big role.
Education is the future of women’s empowerment.
An educated woman – knows what questions to ask, how to solve a problem, even if she doesn’t have great money – she would still be respected for her education and knowledge. Even if she was a stay at home mother, her education still allows her to bring up better children as she will understand what challenges her children face in society and be able to guide them as they grow up. Besides this, Education brings opportunities, it allows a woman to find her voice in the society to put out her thoughts. Lastly education also allows for economic independence and to have a choice in marriage decisions, save a million woman out of forced child marriages, abusive spouses, sexual harassment.
Send every little girl to school today over sending them to work at a tender age – while in a poor community it feels like the girl child, would be more supportive if she went to work from young to economically support the family – don’t forget your killing her dreams to get beyond a ceiling if you just let her start working over going to school at a younger age. I read about the touching story of how Oprah Winfrey said her mom, grand-mom everyone was a maid, they thought a black woman from a small town in Misissippi would only end up a maid but she became Oprah Winfrey.
To me gender equality starts with first ensuring every girl is educated as much as a boy from a young, tender age, that’s where the foundation lies, with education – her dreams can grow – it’s the seed funding to grow a much larger dream for any girl child. Let us support the fight towards getting every girl in school today, spreading this awareness in society, starts with you and you can play a part in this too.
Padmini has 15 years experience in the Banking Field, having lived and worked in various parts of the world: Philippines, Indonesia. She has a Bachelors in Business Administration from NUS, Singapore and Masters in Business Administration Institute of Management, Manila. A Startup Mentor, advocate and Speaker at Woman forums, she brings a diverse perspective to social issues including the equation on defining the lack of Gender Equality across the world.
By: Samahara Hernández
Picture by Chez Negrete @cheznegrete “Malabar”
The continuous compulsion of assuming cyber-political movements into so-called “online trending”, diminishes social uprisings and rests power to socio-political movements themselves. During the past weeks, women around the virtual world have been posting selfies filtered in black & white; this, in an attempt to show support and admiration to women. The message chain transmitted in social media platforms depicts the following lines: “…among women there are several criticisms, instead, we should care of each other. We are beautiful the way we are. Post a photo in black and white alone, mention my name and write “challenge accepted”, then identify a certain number of women to do so in private… Let’s love each other”. As a matter of fact, this “challenge” has had different manifestations since 2016 (Lorenz, 2020), promoting women support and empowerment by posting black and white selfies in social media; however, this “#challenge” has no concrete objective or project behind targeting a specific feminist matter.
Hence, the concept itself has been replicated into different cyber-movements, with concrete objectives and an advocacy project behind. The latest, “a mark of protest against femicides in Turkey” (Singh, 2020). The murder of Pinar Gütelkin, a 27-year-old Kurdish woman from southeast Turkey, triggered this movement in the past days. This situation of a woman being murdered by her boyfriend depicts a scenario of a violent system that does not legally protect women. Every year, the problem worsens up in the entire world, only by 2019 in Turkey, 474 women were murdered mostly by their partners or relatives (McKernan, 2020); in Mexico for instance, from 2015 to 2019 at least 3,080 women were murdered (Tenz, 2019); in Spain, around 50 women were murdered by 2019 (Jones, 2019); and currently, the COVID-19 pandemic, aggravated gender-based violence in all of its forms (IACHR, 2020)around the world. Unquestionably, the very core of the #challengeaccepted trend has nothing to do to the roots of the hashtag but with the movements acquiring the optics to make it a cyber-movement.
There shouldn’t be a power struggle to whom gets the baton on where or when this hashtag emerged; indisputably, this is a #challengenotaccepted if it’s perceived on whom is right or wrong on the origins of it. Given the situation in which life has turned out to be merely electronic, there is a huge danger of relying on one-sided stories and denying movements around the world, regardless their imagery or the “online trending” pursued.
We have seen how #BlackLivesMatter have continued to advocate towards a more inclusive and antiracial society, why can’t #ChallengeAccepted can also be part of a movement in solidarity with femicides around the world?
In a digitalized word, there is no greater power than the one language provides through social media platforms; instead of oppressing movements by trying to guess its roots, one shall empathize and unite through the discourse.
Hence, one could create different dynamics on advocacy itself, creating channels of respectful communication, to advocate against injustices, to take-action from our privilege, to support associations working towards gender equality justice… and the list goes one for us to #AcceptTheChallenge to take-action from home and make a discursive statement.
About the author:
Sam is an International Relations professional, passionate believer od innovative development projects, Feminist and Art lover. She has outstanding experience in women and gender studies, social projects, research and global development. Currently studying a Master on Innovation for Development at the Institute of Technology and Higher Education Monterrey México. She had previously studied Development Studies at L’école Supérieure de Commerce et Développement in Lyon France. Samahara has worked for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for the Women’s Rights Rapporteurship in DC; collaborated for the Mexican government in the Women’s Institute of Querétaro and for Save the Children in the Dominican Republic in a project on Human Trafficking. She currently works for the World Bank Group Caribbean. You can find more of gender information @genderpost, IG account managed by Sam or through her Twitter @samaharaha.
Author of the picture: