Tag: equality; international; womens day

naming and reframing

We have great stuff. Picture taken by Jacqui Aim. No rights reserved by me.

It’s been a very busy week.

On Friday, for international women’s day I welcomed ISG colleagues and Friends of the Library to celebrate the naming of the Brenda Moon Board Room in Argyle House. It was a naming, but also a re-instatement. There was previously a Brenda Moon Room in the Main Library, but it got lost, and although Brenda still has an info board on display there, I felt it was important that she should also get her room back.  She is, after all, the only woman ever yet to hold the title of ‘University Librarian’ at Edinburgh, and having a room of one’s own is important.

Our ISG celebrations for IWD are growing and and thriving. A fabulous team of colleagues were involved this year. We edited wikipedia,  created new art inspired by old collections and made badges for everyone to wear.

At the weekend I worked on our workplace equality and diversity programme, writing a case study for Equate Scotland.

On Monday I went with colleagues  to see Helen Pankhurst speak.  A woman with a famous name. We had invited her as part of our ‘Vote100′ project in ISG, but on Monday the visit was hosted by Students’ RAG week.  When I was a student we called it ‘on the rag’ week, but seems like not so much anymore. At University of Edinburgh it used to be called ‘Settlement Week’.

On Tuesday I joined fellow members of the Centenary Commission on Adult Education in Manchester.  Melissa Benn and I had another occasion to chuckle and refer to each other as ‘the other Melissa’.

The meeting touched on the future of adult learning in the digital age.

Me: “we should be discussing the emerging business models of the huge global learning platforms”

Them:  “when I search google I can find lots of interesting things”.

Me:  “the internet giants try to disrupt every sector they set their sights on and they are very interested in training and lifelong learning”

Them: “its just like reading newspapers and going to the library”.

Me: ”  “.

 

 

dangerous statues

Statue of Isabella Elder
Isabella Elder safely on a plinth. She’s in Glasgow. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Statue_of_Isabella_Elder.JPG
Edinburgh is a city with more named public statues to dogs than women. The dogs are called Bobby and Bum. The one woman is called Victoria.

Statues of women in public places do seem to draw attention. Particularly if they are at street level. After the awful spectacle of the Fearless Girl being frotted by a Wall Street Wanker I wondered if statues of grown women at street level would suffer the same fate. I visited Dublin and learned that yes, they do. Lucky girl Molly Malone is routinely groped.*

This week the Fearless Girl is back in the news. It’s all about context. The Charging Bull’ sculptor says ‘Fearless Girl’  violates his moral rights.  It’s a derivative work, he says. Without his bull the power of her stance would not be  as significant. Her presence changes his meaning. She makes a difference.

All very interesting in the week that Edinburgh University begins to discuss signing up to the UN ‘HeForShe’ campaign.

HeForShe is the UN Women’s solidarity movement for gender equality, with the aim of “bring[ing] together one half of humanity in support of the other half of humanity, for the benefit of all”.

 

* Molly is in a song. Fearless is in our minds. Bum and Bobby lived long lives.

International Women’s Day

IWD20171Recently I met a man who warned me I had spoken for long enough. “If I went on for that long it would be called mansplaining” he mansplained without a hint of irony.

I’d like to say I persisted, in reality I was just pissed off.

I mused on this today, on International Women’s Day.

Today we celebrate and amplify women’s voices. The hashtags are #BeBoldForChange and #ShePersisted. The latter being, of course, in reference to when U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to silence his colleague Elizabeth Warren.

This morning I welcomed another set of lovely Wikipedia novices and returners to an editathon. This time the theme was ‘Bragging Writes‘. I explained why we edit. Why it is important that we edit. How Wikipedia works behind the scenes. How difficult it can be to navigate the behaviours and norms in that community and why it is important to be bold in pushing for change. And to defend the changes you make. And why, even in the face of Wikimedia’s edit-policy labyrinth and hair-trigger deletions, it is important that we persist.   I suggested that editing wikipedia is a political act and this is the day to do it.IWD2017

After lunch we had another meeting of the Playfair Steps working group. Numbers were small but we persisted. We listened as Morna from Girl Geek Scotland explained how we could be bold for change in our workplace.

This evening saw the fabulous Dangerous Women Project celebrate a year of writing dangerously.  Members of my lovely book group were out in force so we celebrated a year of reading dangerously too.

Tonight I am reading tweets and blogposts from the newly established network and giving thanks for the many, dangerous, busy, generous, talented, brave, notable, persistent women I know.

Thank you all.

 

Update:

The outcomes of the International Women’s Day Wikipedia event are detailed here . Including new pages for:
Writer, artist and founder of Maggie’s Centres, Maggie Keswick Jencks. Helen Alexander Archdale – suffragist, journalist and contemporary of Chrystal Macmillan. Mary Susan McIntosh: sociologist, political activist and campaigner for lesbian and gay rights.
And many more.