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Be Inspired

Words that can change your world

"We can do so much, but we must do it as women. Not as imitations of men..."
Annie Ruth Baëta Jiagge 

Spotlight on... Feminisms
This past International Women’s Day celebration on 8th March coincided with several news stories – like Sarah Everard’s disappearance, the police’s violent response to the vigil organised in her memory, or the rolling back of abortion rights in Poland, to name a few – reminding us that there’s still progress needed to guarantee women’s rights to safety and bodily autonomy.

Although few people would disagree with the definition of feminism – the belief in social, economic and political equality of the sexes – what constitutes “equality” and diversions from it is still debated.

It’s far beyond the scope of our monthly circular to offer a novel take on these debates, but instead here we offer a brief journey into the history of the feminist movement, and the importance of an intersectional feminism inclusive of all women, including women other than White, queer and trans women, and women with disabilities, among others.

A summary of the three (or four) waves:
  • First-wave feminism was primarily concerned with the right to vote, as well as equal contract and property rights (19th and early 20th century)
  • Second-wave feminism focused on equality and discrimination, questioning societal expectations of women’s identity as homemakers (1960s-80s) – the slogan “the Personal is Political” encouraged women to understand how their personal lives reflected sexist power structures
  • Third-wave feminism emerged as a criticism of second-wave feminism’s focus on the lives of upper-middle class white women, contextualising gender discrimination within the context of other dimensions of inequality, such as race and class (from the 1990s)
  • Fourth-wave feminism – not as clearly defined as the first three – is similar to third-wave feminism enhanced with internet tools (for example, some consider #MeToo events as the harbinger of fourth-wave feminism), and added focus on allowing all genders to overcome gender norms (from 2012)
The importance of considering other dimensions of inequality, including disability, sexual orientation, or social class, when examining discrimination faced by women for ensuring all women benefit is clear.

For example, the mother of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry who were killed in a London park last year has accused the police of not taking the case seriously, and said they did not receive the same outcry of public sympathy as Sarah Everard, because they were Black. Eliminating barriers facing women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) should go hand in hand with eliminating those faced by LGBTQ professionals in STEM. Identifying sexist biases in AI can improve and be improved by efforts to reveal and correct all types of biases in AI – such as self-driving cars’ failure to identify dark-skinned pedestrians or CV screening algorithms’ propensity to compound the exclusion of people with disabilities from the workplace.
Image credit: Tyler Feder
So, whatever your feminism, at ICH let's remember to make sure no one is left behind in policies that aim to reduce gender gaps in academia.

We celebrate the inspirational researchers featured here and all the others in ICH!
Poetry Corner
Poem by Rupi Kaur
Food Lovers
Image: Shaheen Peerbhai, image cropped
A belated Happy Passover to those of you who celebrated this weekend! If the extra-long closure next week inspires some cooking projects, here’s Joan Nathan’s Matzo Ball Soup recipe – and a vegan recipe.

With Easter coming along, we’re also inspired by making these Hot Cross buns, this vegan version, or this gluten-free version.  

Ramadan Mubarak to our Muslim colleagues! Ramadan starts on 12th April this year, and in some parts of the world the fast is traditionally broken with three dates. Many Muslims in South Asia eat biryani during Ramadan and/or for Eid to celebrate the end of Ramadan. Here is a chicken biryani recipe and a vegan biryani to try at home.

13th April will mark the Sikh and Hindu spring harvest and new year celebration. Happy Vaisakhi to all those celebrating! For a quicker recipe than those above, this mango lassi is delicious – you can buy frozen mango from larger supermarkets and substitute with vegan yoghurt/milk.

"Did you know?"

Fun & Interesting Facts
Wikimedia Commons 
Did you know that we work only a stones throw away from the former residence of dentistry pioneer Lilian Lindsay?

Born in 1871, she was the first woman to qualify as a dentist in the UK and the first female member and subsequently President of the British Dental Association (BDA).
  • Educated at Camden School for Girls, Lindsay won a scholarship to study at the North London Collegiate School. She defied the advice of the headmistress to train as a teacher and decided to become a dentist.
  • She applied to study at the National Dental Hospital in London, but her application was rejected. She had to take her LDS in Edinburgh as no English dental school would accept a woman and she qualified with honours in 1895.
  • In 1920, she moved with her husband Robert back to London, took a new role as Honorary Librarian at the BDA and put together the country’s first dental library. She devoted herself to the history of dentistry, writing books and over 50 journal articles.
  • She was sub-editor of the British Dental Journal for 20 years (1931-1951), President of the British Society for the Study of Orthodontics (1938) and President of the Odontological Section (1945). She was awarded a CBE in 1946.
  • The BDA library was named the Robert and Lilian Lindsay Library.
Check out her blue plaque at 22/23 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 5EA

Keep Exploring
Read , Watch, Listen

Lesbian Visibility Day is on 26th April this year, and we're featuring lesbian writers, researchers and film-makers among other recommendations this month.

Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist - an excerpt here

“But two wrongs do not make a right. Feminism's failings do not mean we should eschew feminism entirely. People do terrible things all the time, but we don't regularly disown our humanity. We disavow the terrible things. We should disavow the failures of feminism without disavowing its many successes and how far we have come.”

What Is Disabled Motherhood Like? An insightful interview with Rebekah Taussig, author of Sitting Pretty, on life as a mother with cerebral palsy


Plenty of inspiration this month – thanks for all your suggestions!

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists” classic TED talk has racked up more than 4.5m views, and highlights some of the ways in which we continue to treat boys and girls differently.

Jason Katz’s “Violence against women – it’s a men’s issue” is another thought-provoking TED talk, highlighting the role men as well as women can play in preventing unacceptable behaviour.

The trailer for Head to Head – a new documentary following women experiencing hair loss due to Alopecia, Lupus, or chemotherapy – looks great. You can donate to help the film reach us on streaming platforms.

Saving Face is streaming on Amazon Prime, a romantic comedy-drama about a young Chinese-American surgeon and her dancer girlfriend.

The Dorothy Project Interview of Professor Chloe Orkin, Chair of the British HIV Association named on the Top 100 Lesbian influencer lists in the UK and US


To celebrate International Women's day, which took place on 8th March, ICH held a series of events. Below are the links to the recordings.

Topic: International Woman's Week 2021 - Prof. Enitan Carrol & Prof. Heidi Mirza
Access Passcode: =aM2M.ev

Topic: International Woman's Week 2021 - Prof. Ijeoma Uchegbu
Access Passcode: A4!$7B6X

What's On
News & Events

This month's issue was compiled by
Francesca Cavallaro
Terrie Fiawoo & Emeline Rougeaux
from ICH Population, Policy & Practice Research &  Teaching Department
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