You are probably already aware that it’s International Women’s Day today. This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity and focuses on a number of missions, aiming to forge a gender equal world. Celebrating women’s achievements, increasing visibility and calling out inequality, are all key strategies. These are things we are passionate about at Tooled Up and, for Tooled Up subscribers, we have plenty in the library to help break down stereotypes and raise awareness of some remarkable women.
We’re very lucky to work with many women who are forging positive change in the world.
Only a couple of weeks ago, we interviewed Dr Verity Jones, a real-life role model and expert on climate change and how we could/should be living. She is an Associate Professor in UWE Bristol’s School of Education and Childhood and her research focuses on pathways to social and environmental justice. Dr Jones has worked with numerous charities including Friends of the Earth, Fashion Revolution and the Centre for Alternative Technology, has developed insights into pedagogies of hope in the face of the climate and ecological emergency and has highlighted the importance of arts-based practices to support sustainable education in the UK and India. If you are a Tooled Up subscriber, you can tune in to our conversation with Dr Jones now. Non-subscribers can read this week’s Wednesday Wisdom, which focuses on her work.
We’ll soon also be chatting to another woman forging change via sustainability; Natascha Radclyffe-Thomas, Professor of Marketing and Sustainable Business at the London School of Fashion. On 27th April, she will help us to understand the psychology of consumption, the purpose and function of fashion and share ideas and tips to help teens enjoy clothes and self-expression in ways that are both sustainable and enjoyable. This event is open for booking for members of the Tooled Up community. If any young people would like to put questions to Professor Radclyffe-Thomas, encourage them to get in touch!
We’re always keen to highlight the achievements of women in science and technology.
We’d nudge any aspirational teen to listen to our conversation with Ella Podmore, senior materials engineer at McLaren Automotive. Passionate about inspiring other girls into STEM industries, Ella also highlights other campaigns and organisations working in this field. In the near future we are also hoping to interview Dr Julie Moote, who has worked extensively on girls’ aspirations in science.
2022 was an incredible year for women in sport and 2023 is already heading in the same direction.
My social media feed has been full of female athletes achieving truly remarkable things. At the start of the year, 14 year old Skateboarder Sky Brown became world champion in park skateboarding. British middle distance runner Keely Hodgkinson has been breaking records left, right and centre. Jazmin Sawyers just jumped a world-leading seven metres to claim indoor European gold in the long jump and, in February, British teenager Mia Brookes became the youngest world champion in snowboarding history at the tender age of 16. We’ve been so in awe of the talent, skill, determination and resilience on display that we’ve brought together 50 fabulous female sporting role models to inspire us all. It features athletes from around the world and many different sports, each with a unique story.
Tooled Up subscribers can also take a peek at our webinar featuring Laura Merrifield, England Women’s Lacrosse Captain, who reflects on her career highlights and provides advice for young athletes or listen to our chat with England and Saracens rugby player, Sonia Green, who discusses how to encourage sporting participation, balance academic pressures with sporting aspirations and the best way to deal with inevitable injuries.
Another mission of International Women’s Day is assisting women to be in a position of power to make informed decisions about their health.
Over the last year, we’ve been working with experts on key health issues impacting on women and girls. Tune in to our webinar with Dr Fionnuala Barton for key advice on managing peri-menopause and menopause and listen to our discussion with Dr Natalie Brown about menstrual cycle education. In the coming weeks, we are really excited to be working with The Well HQ, a brilliant organisation run by some inspiring women, which seeks to challenge to the status quo for women in health, fitness and sport.
Over the past few years, we’re extremely proud to have work with numerous amazing researchers who are extraordinary women.
Browse through our podcast episodes and you’ll find some of the most influential names from around the world in the fields of education, psychology and neuroscience. It’s a challenge to pull out specific examples from the plethora of interviews available. But, for starters, we’d recommend that you acquaint yourselves with Professor Adele Diamond, named as one of the “2000 Outstanding Women of the 20th Century”, political psychologist and neuroscientist, Dr Leor Zmigrod, who has won numerous awards and been included in the Forbes 30 Under 30 in Science, internationally renowned child psychiatric epidemiologist Professor Tamsin Ford CBE, Professor Emerita of Family Research and former Director of the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge Susan Golombok FBA, Northern Ireland’s Mental Health Champion Professor Siobhan O’Neill, renowned play expert Professor Helen Dodd, and Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience and multi-award-winning author Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore.
Inspiring girls is vital.
Children are regularly exposed to gender stereotyping and it’s something that we need to actively avoid and challenge. Perhaps it starts with the dichotomy of colour that now seems to define gender at birth (or even before – at the gender reveal parties that appear all over social media, with their pink and blue cakes, balloons and baby clothes)? Perhaps it begins when we choose to expose our children to toys or books that denote girls as patient, pretty (and quiet) princesses and boys as adventurous, powerful rescuers? When we perpetuate stereotypes, we emphasise narrow expectations and value homogeneity over individuality. Stereotypes drive prejudice, hate and intolerance and can squash aspiration. Stereotypes might also contribute to the social conditions that allow violence against women to occur.
A year or so ago, we partnered with gender equality charity Lifting Limits to create some simple and useful resources for parents and school staff that can help us to avoid falling into the trap of gender stereotyping. On the Tooled Up site, you’ll find a list of easily actionable tips to reduce gender stereotypes and key advice on how to talk to children about gender roles in books. For inspiring tales about women and girls, take a look at our book list. We also have a fantastic webinar with Kirsty Ruthven, Head of Education at Lifting Limits and invite you to tune in to our tip-filled interview with Professor Christia Spears Brown on reducing race and gender biases.
What amazing women are you celebrating today?