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Before this week, I knew little about GlobalGirl Media (GGM). I came across GGM on Instagram and saw the post about the international summer academy. As a young journalist, I decided to sign up with the aim of developing my writing and research skills. However, after this week, I have realised that I am going to gain much more.


When I met the group of girls for the first time on Zoom, the geographical diversity was clear. From Afghanistan to South Africa to the UK, the academy truly is international. As we spoke about the issues that women face in each of our countries, my feminist awareness expanded. Although I know that there are gender-based problems across the world, it is easy to be absorbed only by personal problems that you face in your own country. It was inspiring and uplifting to unite with other young women from across the globe and hear their own stories.


In this past week, we have covered several topics, including research and blogging. I particularly enjoyed listening to Bridgit Pickering, who discussed filmmaking. Prior to this week, I had a bit of interest in making documentaries. I have no experience in filmmaking so I have never really considered pursuing a career in it. However, as I listened to Bridgit Bickering talk about filmmaking, I realised that perhaps it was something that I wanted to pursue. We have spoken much about filmmaking and we have watched various trailers, such as ‘For Sama’ by Waad al-Kateab and ‘Motherland’ by Ramona Diaz. It became evident to me that the power of visual journalism can change the world.


I have learnt much from this first week and I look forward to developing further skills. I am also grateful to have met and connected with inspirational young women from all over the world, who are just as passionate as I am for fighting social injustice.

AUTHOR: guest blogger, Isabella

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The latest GGM UK podcast welcomes 3 incredible guests, who are trailblazers for women of colour in academia; Dr Neema Begum, Dr Rima Saini, and Siobhan O’Neill.

In light of the murder of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement re-gained the momentum and the support it needed to become a global movement. In the UK, as the protests in solidarity reached the furthest corner, Britain was also forced to reckon with its violent, racist past. We saw the pulling down of Edward Colston’s statue, the vandalism of Churchill’s, and the peaceful yet impactful testaments of Black British people.

These notable, radical moments delved deeper into an issue which is ingrained into our everyday lives: Our education on Black British history. Or the lack thereof. The ‘Decolonising the Curriculum’ campaign was originally student-led, but has become increasingly recognised by students, academics and political figures alike. Until now, some of us may not have questioned the single perspective we have been taught in for our entire lives. But as Colston’s statue toppled into Bristol’s river Avon, many asked why him? Many other slave traders continued to be displayed in public glorification of the British Empire.

The lack of education around these notable figures, and their immoral role in the creation of our country, has radicalised many. Most of us have not delved deep into the role of Britain in the slave trade, and their colonial history, but only scratched the surface. Increasing demand to ‘decolonise’ the curriculum speaks to the need for further education which is inclusive to and representative of a black and minority ethnic population.

Our speakers are highly educated women of colour, who have encountered various perspectives of racism in education throughout their entire lives. They speak of their personal experiences as well as their motivations to take this into their stride. By continuing the conversation and making academic impactful, they are paving the way for a more inclusive education system.

Introducing our speakers

Siobhan O’Neill is a PhD Researcher in the Department of Politics at The University of Manchester. Her current research project explores the dynamics of race, racism and Whiteness in Politics disciplines and curricula in British Higher Education. Specifically, the project explores how racially minoritised students experience and navigate the whiteness of Politics disciplines. Siobhan’s wider research interests include racial politics, race and racism, knowledge production, (de)coloniality, mixed-race identity.

Dr Neema Begum is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Manchester Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE). Her research is on the voting behaviour, political attitudes and representation of British Black and Asian people. Neema has also co-written with Dr Rima Saini about the experiences of women of colour in higher education.

Dr Rima Saini is a Lecturer in Sociology at Middlesex University London. Her research focuses on the socio-political identities and lived experiences of the British South Asian middle classes. She is a co-lead on decolonisation in the School of Law at Middlesex University London and has published critical commentary in Political Studies Review, LSE's Impact Blog and Political Quarterly on the topic of decolonisation in higher education.



Podcast

We bring all speakers together for a stimulating conversation about race, education and being a woman. Listen to our discussion here.



AUTHOR: Dila Yalman


Dila is an Intern at GGM UK. She is an aspiring journalist and currently studies Economics at the University of Edinburgh.


Dila writes and edits for her university's Economics Magazine, as well as for a start-up fashion magazine. She also regularly writes pieces ranging from academic critiques to political reports for her blog. Most of her writing reflects what she has personally encountered and tells the story of real people.


Dila is seeking to assert her journalistic voice while providing a voice for those who do not have one and this is what she aims to gain from her experience at GGM UK.

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It is estimated that one in five girls will miss school due to extreme menstruation symptoms, such as period pain and excessive bleeding. Research carried out in Cardiff showed that “almost a third of students currently feel that their period impacts negatively on their school attendance.”


There is a high probability that some of those students have a gynaecological condition needing medical intervention. However, the lack of education surrounding menstrual well-being in Welsh schools means that girls and young women miss vital information about what’s normal and what’s not.


On the 25th June 2020, a patient-led organisation called “Fair Treatment for the Women of Wales” reported that the Welsh Senedd had closed the petition to make menstrual well-being compulsory on the new Welsh school curriculum. It will now be up to each school, meaning the levels of education students will receive will vary. This news frustrated many people in Wales, and understandably so.


From September 2020, the topic will become mandatory in schools in England, meaning that many students in Wales will fall behind with this knowledge. Additionally, the diagnostic delay for endometriosis in Wales is 8.5 years which is already a year longer than in England. With the addition of this critical well-being becoming mandatory in England, we can expect to see the delays fall there – whilst in Wales, it is likely that the opposite will occur.


Endometriosis is a debilitating gynaecological condition affecting one in ten women and girls. It is largely unheard of, meaning that many young girls suffer for years before getting a diagnosis. Without menstrual well-being education, these one in ten girls are being deprived of essential education which could see them get answers to their suffering.


I spoke to Anna Cooper, a woman living with endometriosis in Wales, about how she feels regarding the lack of menstrual education. Cooper was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis 2 weeks before her 18th birthday, despite her symptoms first becoming debilitating when she was just 14.


I asked Cooper if she’d received any menstrual well-being education at school and she replied saying: “Most definitely not. We were only taught basic sex education.”

Cooper explained how her “teachers often would make sly remarks as if (her symptoms) were an excuse to miss sports lessons” and how “if only (she) was taken seriously and teachers recognised the signs”.


“It is vital that it becomes compulsory in all school curriculums. Wales already falls behind in being able to provide care for women with endometriosis,” said Cooper. “We need to normalise talk surrounding menstrual health and ensure young girls have the confidence to talk about any concerns they have. To not suffer in silence for years and not to be told that painful periods are normal”.


Menstrual well-being should be compulsory in all schools, no matter which country you live in. Let’s make sure that we use our voices to educate the next generation of young girls. No one should have to suffer alone. We have a duty to protect our women and young girls.


AUTHOR: Holly Hostettler-Davies

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