Working with a team of talented women, the multi-award-winning comedian wanted to create something different to add to the mix of women’s magazines that were failing to inspire her. The result was Standard Issue Magazine, an online publication for all women. And men, too, if they fancied it. After their first year, millions of page views and having been shortlisted for a Book/Publishing award by comedy website Chortle, how does the future look? Hannah Dunleavy is the Deputy Editor.
This is a statement from the superstar author of How To Be A Woman about the world and the causes she cares about. It’s a compelling and hilarious rallying call for our times, tackling topics as pressing and diverse as reclaiming the word feminism, gaying up the Olympics, affordable housing, 1980s swearing, boarding schools and the reasons the internet is like a drunken toddler. Chaired by Stephanie Merritt.
The inspiring and provocative writer and scholar talks about Juliet, Beatrice, Ophelia, Cleopatra, Ann Hathaway and the Dark Lady of the Sonnets with festival director Peter Florence.
“Centuries of writing and thinking about rape – as inflicted by men on women – have got us nowhere. There are those who, like Quentin Tarantino, think it is one of the most violent crimes in the world, and others for whom it is simply what happens when a woman endures sex she doesn’t want. Bestial or banal, a proven rape may carry a prison sentence of many years, even life, but very few rapes ever find their way into a court of law. The prosecution of a selected minority of cases seldom results in a conviction. The crucial issue is that of consent, which is thought by some to be easy to establish and by others as impossible. Rape statistics remain intractable. Again and again crime surveys tell us that one woman in five will experience sexual violence. Despite all efforts to root sexual assault out of workplaces and colleges, predatory individuals still inflict lasting damage with apparent impunity. The only result of desperate attempts to apportion blame and enact chastisement has been an erosion of the civil rights of the accused. Sexual assault does not diminish; relations between the sexes do not improve; litigation balloons. There has to be a better way.” Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
Why, when so many women are involved in reading, writing and publishing books, are female writers so consistently under-represented in prizes and reviews? What can be done about the problem? Join Kamila Shamsie, author of six novels including the 2015 Bailey's Prize shortlisted A God in Every Stone and Orange Prize shortlisted Burnt Shadows and Philip Jones, Editor of The Bookseller to discuss the gender bias in literature as well as some radical solutions as to how to fix it. A National Conversation debate chaired by Chris Gribble (Writers’ Centre Norwich).
Follow the pre-event warm-up and discussion on writerscentrenorwich.org.uk/thenationalconversation.aspx and on Twitter using #NatConv.
Tharoor is a renowned politician and author of The Great Indian Novel, Pax Indica and From Midnight to the Millennium. His latest collection of essays, written during Narendra Modi’s premiership, is India Shastra: Reflections on the Nation in Our Time. Faleiro is author of Beautiful Thing and 13 Men – a report on gang rape in West Bengal. Chaired by Oliver Balch.
“They told you you need to be thin and beautiful. They told you to wear longer skirts, avoid going out late at night and move in groups – never accept drinks from a stranger, and wear shoes you can run in more easily than heels. They told you to wear just enough make-up to look presentable but not enough to be a slut; to dress to flatter your apple, pear, hourglass figure, but not to be too tarty. They warned you that if you try to be strong, or take control, you’ll be shrill, bossy, a ballbreaker. Of course it’s fine for the boys, but you should know your place. They told you that’s not for girls – take it as a compliment – don’t rock the boat – that’ll go straight to your hips. They told you beauty is on the inside, but you knew they didn’t really mean it. Well I’m here to tell you something different…” Hilarious, jaunty and bold, the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project exposes the truth about the pressures surrounding body image, the false representations in media, the complexities of sex and relationships, the trials of social media and all the other lies they told us.
The star, screenwriter and producer of the television drama discuss the stories and period of Jennifer Worth’s best-selling books with Virginia Nicholson.
Webb has been a male for his whole life. As such, he has been a boy in a world of fighting, pointless posturing, and the insistence that he stop crying. As an adult man, he has enjoyed better luck, both in his work as the Webb half of Mitchell & Webb as an acclaimed actor and comedian, and as author of this part memoir, part call to arms.
From Farage and the future of Europe to feminism and family life. A stellar team of Telegraph talent – columnists Bryony Gordon and Mary Riddell, parliamentary sketch-writer Michael Deacon, and Defence Editor Con Coughlin – tackle the great (and not-so-great) issues of the day. Come along to have your say. Chaired by Emma Barnett, the Telegraph’s award-winning women’s editor.
The online Everyday Sexism Project exists to catalogue instances of sexism experienced by women on a day-to-day basis. It shares stories from women around the world. The founder reports on the last year’s work.
A trip through feminism, fashion, the righteous pursuit of a sexy vibe, and what it means to be a woman when you’re on the receiving end of modern media’s hilariously/bizarrely/insanely contradictory/restrictive/reductive/sometimes just straightforward revolting notions of womanhood. This isn’t about what women can’t do, this is a new-age guide to what you can do, what you can think, what you can wear and what you can wax. Gordon is the author of The Wrong Knickers.
McGowan is a film-maker, thought leader and agent of change. Brave is her raw, honest, and poignant memoir/manifesto: a no-holds-barred, pull-no-punches account of the rise of a millennial icon, fearless activist, and unstoppable force for change who is determined to expose the truth about the entertainment industry, dismantle the concept of fame, shine a light on a multibillion-dollar business built on systemic misogyny, and empower people everywhere to wake up and be BRAVE. Laurie Penny is author of Bitch Doctrine and Everything Belongs to the Future.
Gareth Thomas had it all. He was a national hero, a sporting icon. He was a leader of men, captain of Wales and the British Lions. To him, rugby was an expression of cultural identity, a sacred code. It was no mere ball game. It gave him everything, except the freedom to be himself. This is the story of a man with a secret that was slowly killing him. Something he feared might devastate not only his own life but the lives of his wife, family, friends and teammates. His fear that telling the truth about his sexuality would lose him everything he loved almost sent him over the edge. The deceit ended when Gareth became the world’s most prominent athlete to come out as a gay man. His gesture has strengthened strangers, and given him a fresh perspective.
IWA Director Auriol Miller, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, equality activist Shazia Awan and politics professor Laura McAllister discuss with Clare Critchley the challenges, frustrations and joys of being a woman in Welsh public life. This event launches issue 60 of the welsh agenda, magazine of the Institute of Welsh Affairs.
The makers of the fabulous BBC crime drama discuss the characters, setting and plot, and the handling of the rape story in the third series. Exec producer Elaine Collins and script exec Clare Batty are joined by Ann Cleeves, who writes both the Shetland and Vera novels on the which the television dramas are based, and Alison O’Donnell, who plays DS Alison “Tosh” McIntosh. Chaired by the Radio Times TV Editor, Alison Graham.
The Everyday Sexism founder reflects on the true scale of the challenge to our aspirations to equality. From Weinstein to Westminster, from banter to consent, and from the President’s Club to equal pay, she makes a passionate argument for stepping back, opening our eyes and allowing ourselves to address the bigger picture.
She talks to the writer Owen Sheers, author of The Men You'll Meet.
When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown-up, journalist and former Sunday Times dating columnist Dolly Alderton has seen and tried it all. In her memoir she vividly recounts falling in love, wrestling with self-sabotage, finding a job, throwing a socially disastrous Rod Stewart themed house party, getting drunk, getting dumped, realising that Ivan from the corner shop is the only man you’ve ever been able to rely on, and finding that that your mates are always there at the end of every messy night out. Alderton’s captivating memoir is about bad dates, good friends and – above all else – about recognising that you and you alone are enough.
In the summer of 1972, Famagusta in Cyprus is the most desirable resort in the Mediterranean, a city bathed in the glow of good fortune. An ambitious couple open the island’s most spectacular hotel, where Greek and Turkish Cypriots work in harmony. When a Greek coup plunges the island into chaos, Cyprus faces a disastrous conflict. Turkey invades to protect the Turkish Cypriot minority, and Famagusta is shelled. Forty thousand people seize their most precious possessions and flee from the advancing soldiers. In the deserted city just two families, the Georgious and the Özkans, remain. The best-selling author of The Thread, The Return and The Island introduces her new novel.
Dunlop weaves together the lives of fifteen women selected to work in Britain’s most secret organisation – Bletchley Park. It is their story, told in their voices; Tessa met and talked to 15 veterans, often visiting them several times. Firm friendships were made as their epic journey unfolded on paper.
The scale of female involvement in Britain during the Second World War was unmatched in any other country. From 8 million working women just over 7,000 were hand-picked to work at Bletchley Park and its outstations and soon they outnumbered the men three to one. Dunlop talks to publisher and QI elfmaster John Mitchinson.
Why is the human female the only female animal to have curves, and how do these curves rule our lives by influencing not only sexual selection but also social hierarchy and self-image? The Clinical Veterinary Anatomist at the University of Cambridge applies the science of evolutionary biology and cutting-edge psychology to the female shape. Chaired by Sarah Crompton.
From Chilean revolutionaries and Russian punks to Iranian journalists, one of the most vocal and tenacious campaigners of her generation introduces inspiring stories from all around the world. Women are reinventing what it means to be female in cultures where power, privilege or basic freedoms are all too often equated with being male.
Is equality law working to deliver equality for women? If not, what’s it going to take? Bates is the founder of the Everyday Sexism project. Nimko Ali is a social activist, an FGM survivor and campaigner, co-founder of Daughters of Eve. Journalist and writer Sonia Faleiro is the author of Beautiful Thing: Inside the Secret World of Bombay's Dance Bars and 13 Men.
The frontline photographer discusses her memoir of post-9/11 photo-journalism and shows her pictures. She travels with purpose and bravery, photographing the Afghan people before and after the Taliban reign, the civilian casualties and misunderstood insurgents of the Iraq War, as well as the burned villages and countless dead in Darfur. She exposes a culture of violence against women in the Congo and tells the riveting story of her headline-making kidnapping by pro-Qaddafi forces in the Libyan civil war.
More people are going to university in Britain than ever before, and they’re paying to do so. But are the institutions themselves fit for purpose? How could they be better? Horrocks is the new Vice Chancellor of the Open University, Grayling is Master of the independent New College of the Humanities in London, Churchwell is Professor for the Public Understanding of the Humanities at UEA, Usher is the co-leader of the newest university in Britain, the New Model in Technology and Engineering in Hereford.
The historian tells the story of extraordinary, transformative projects helping refugee stonemasons to begin to rebuild the shattered treasures of Syria. The new, trainee masons, artisans and artists are both women and young men. The lecture is illustrated with film footage from Hughes’ documentaries about the project. Chaired by Peter Florence.
On the surface it seems that Bryony Gordon has the perfect life. One of the UK’s most successful journalists, she is married to a man she loves with a two-year-old daughter she adores. Yet things inside Bryony’s head are never as straightforward as they seem. Is it possible that she’s murdered someone and can’t remember? Why did her hair fall out when she was a teenager? Is she capable of hurting her daughter? Has she mysteriously contracted an STD? Why is she always so fat? For while Bryony does have a life many would envy, she is also engaged in a daily battle with mental illness. Fighting with OCD, bulimia and depression, like millions of others in this country, sometimes she finds it a struggle just to get out of bed.
When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown-up, journalist and former Sunday Times dating columnist Dolly Alderton has seen and tried it all. In her memoir, she vividly recounts falling in love, wrestling with self-sabotage, finding a job, throwing a socially disastrous Rod-Stewart-themed house party, getting drunk, getting dumped, realising that Ivan from the corner shop is the only man you've ever been able to rely on, and finding that that your mates are always there at the end of every messy night out. Alderton’s captivating memoir is about bad dates, good friends and – above all else – about recognising that you and you alone are enough.
Global children’s charity Plan UK introduces Because I am a Girl, the world’s biggest campaign for girls’ rights. With education, skills and the right support, girls in the developing world can make choices over their future and be a force for creating lasting change. Joanne Harris, author of the Rune fantasy series and the bestselling Chocolat trilogy, shares her personal stories as an inspiration for other women and girls worldwide to be able to fulfil their aspirations. She is joined by Plan UK’s Director of Programmes, Nazma Kabir, and Cristina Fuentes, International Director of Hay Festivals, who will talk about our work with Plan in Colombia. Chaired by Claire Cohen, Deputy Women's Editor for Telegraph Wonder Women.
When Adam Smith wrote that all our actions stem from self-interest and the world turns because of financial gain he brought to life ‘economic man’. But every night Adam Smith’s mother served him his dinner, not out of self-interest but out of love. Today, our economics focuses on self-interest and excludes all other motivations. It disregards the unpaid work of mothering, caring, cleaning and cooking. It insists that if women are paid less, then that’s because their labour is worth less. How could it be otherwise? Marçal tackles the biggest myth of our time and invites us to kick out economic man once and for all.
Imagine a world where your phone is too big for your hand, where your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body, where in a car accident you are 47% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued. If any of this sounds familiar, chances are that you’re a woman. The award-winning campaigner and writer shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. It exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives.
It is 100 years since women won the right to vote in the UK – albeit partial. Yet women are still embroiled in daily battles to get parity with their male colleagues and partners. Will it take another 100 years for women’s suffrage finally to mean women’s liberation? Or will 2018 be the year that marks a true step change in gender equality?
To mark the centenary of women in Britain first getting the vote, the women’s rights campaigner and great-granddaughter of suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst charts how women’s lives have changed over the past century and offers a powerful and positive argument for the way forward.
The Industrial Revolution brings to mind famous male inventors and industrialists. Spanning the globe and drawing on thousands of years of history, Bateman weaves rigorous analysis with autobiographical insights to tell a bold, ambitious story about how the status and freedom of women – particularly freedom over their bodies – is central to our prosperity and economic wellbeing. Genuine female empowerment requires us not only to recognise the liberating potential of the market and the importance of smart government policies, but also to challenge the double standard of many modern feminists when they celebrate the brain while denigrating the body. Chaired by Jane Garvey of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.
A funny, frank conversation about embracing both feminism and our imperfections with the host of the hit comedy podcast The Guilty Feminist (22 million downloads). From confidence to the secret power of rom-coms, from effective activism to what poker can tell us about gender, Nat and Yassmin explore what it means to be a 21st century woman, and encourages us to make the world better for all women. guiltyfeminist.com
Initiator of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage Mabel van Oranje reflects on lessons learned from two decades of fighting for human rights and development, what it means to make the impossible possible and how to create coalitions for lasting social change. Mabel has co-founded numerous peace foundations and is a member of the Dutch royal family.
Nicholson tells the story of women in the 1950s: a time before the Pill, when divorce spelled scandal and two-piece swimsuits caused mass alarm. She is the author of Among the Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900–1939, Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men after the First World War and Millions Like Us: Women’s Lives During the Second World War. Chaired by Rosie Goldsmith.
The author of The Bletchley Girls interviewed six centenarians for this wonderful collection of tales: The Final Word From the Women Who’ve Lived the Past Hundred Years of British History. Through the prism of their own experiences and memories, she tells the human story of how women gradually began to build independent lives for themselves in the modern world of post-Great War Britain, by re-telling what their actual day-to-day reality was like, through the decades.
Most stories we hear about the army relate to the service of men. But one hundred years on from the formation of women’s units, front-line combat roles are made available to female soldiers. Join the National Army Museum with project partners artist Carol Adlam and writer Helen Cross, as they discuss the forgotten voices of women in the army, and how a new graphic anthology, made with female soldiers, will bring their stories to life.
The WI is fondly thought of in terms of ‘jam and Jerusalem’, but its roots are intertwined with the women’s suffrage movement and the many campaigns that have sought to articulate the needs of women since the First World War. The Professor of Cultural History will explore the political and social initiatives that helped define the radical organisation.
The never-before-told story of radical suffragette Kitty Marion. The historian Fern Riddell finds a hidden diary and uses Kitty's own words to tell the story of her sensational life and explosive actions. Chaired by Rosie Goldsmith.
Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers. What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. Their murderer was never identified, but the name created for him by the press has become far more famous than any of these five women. Now, in her devastating narrative of five lives, historian Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, and gives these women back their stories. Chaired by the historical thriller writer SJ Parris.
The Indian author of the award-winning Folded Earth discusses her work and her new novel Sleeping on Jupiter, a masterpiece. In awarding the novel the DSC South Asian Literature Prize, Mark Tully said “The setting is described faithfully and evocatively. Among the issues raised are the power of memory and myth, religious hypocrisy, sexuality, abuse and other forms of violence. The novel contains powerful portraits of both major and minor characters. We believe this book will be a source of inspiration to other writers.”
An all-star book group of Hay writers gather to recommend books for our #Vote100Books campaign: We want a new library of 100 great books by women that have inspired readers over the past century. Which books would you want to add to this library? Books have liberated and empowered people, books have enabled readers to imagine the world to be braver, more equal and more dynamic. Democracy is vulnerable to cynicism. Books offer empathy and hope. Chaired by Lynn Enright, head of news and content at The Pool.
Find out more about the #vote100books campaign and submit your nominations here
Holding her first grandchild in her arms in 2003, Mary Robinson was struck by the uncertainty of the world he had been born into. Before his fiftieth birthday, he would share the planet with more than nine billion people – people battling for food, water and shelter in an increasingly volatile climate. As the UN’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, Robinson’s mission led all over the world, from Malawi to Mongolia, and to a heartening revelation: that an irrepressible driving force in the battle for climate justice could be found at the grassroots level, mainly among women, many of them mothers and grandmothers like herself. Robinson met with ordinary people whose resilience and ingenuity had already unlocked extraordinary change. Robinson is the former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and is now a member of The Elders. This year she was awarded the prestigious Kew International Medal for her work on climate justice.
Can men respond to feminism? In the era of Trump, Weinstein, #metoo and #timesup, feminist anger has reached a crescendo, and it is not for the first time. Delap looks at past efforts by women to get men to listen, and attempts by men to reshape masculinity in 20th century Britain. Dr Delap is a lecturer in Modern British History.
An all-star panel gather to talk about birth rights, inequality, working motherhood, (lack of) diversity in (social) media, body image and post-natal depression, physical extremity and joy. Brathwaite is the co-founder of Make Motherhood Diverse, Schiller is director of Birthrights, the human rights in childbirth charity, Telford is creator of the parenting site Mother of all Lists, Thorn is a Scummy Mummy and Burton-Hill is a broadcaster and writer.
Does having more women involved in climate change-related research make a difference to discussions? What kind of adaptations will be required as global warming increases and how do we bring a broad range of the public on board, particularly regarding the more complex issues surrounding climate change? A panel discussion with Morgan Seag, Co-chair of the international council of the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists, anthropologist Ragnhild Freng Dale from the Scott Polar Institute, Chandrika Nath, Executive Director of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, and Professor Melody Clark from the British Antarctic Survey. CHaired by Rosie Boycott.
Doshi launches her third collection of poems Girls Are Coming out of the Woods. “Doshi combines artistic elegance with a visceral power to create a breathtaking panorama of danger, memory, beauty and the strange geographies of happiness. This is essential, immediate, urgent work and Doshi is that rare thing, an unashamed visionary.” – PBS. Sheers reprises his landmark Reformations poem, The Men You’ll Meet, addressed to his daughters.
A life of Matilda – empress, skilled military leader and one of the greatest figures of the English Middle Ages. Matilda was a daughter, wife and mother. But she was also empress, heir to the English crown and the first woman ever to hold the position; and she was an extremely able military general. Hanley’s new biography explores Matilda’s achievements as military and political leader, and sets her 12th-century life and career in full context. Chaired by Sameer Rahim of Prospect.
The United Nations Security Council’s agenda on Women Peace and Security seeks the inclusion of women’s experiences into decision and policy-making about conflict and its aftermath, encompassing women’s participation, preventing and protecting against sexual violence and post-conflict relief and recovery. Chinkin will consider the challenge presented in making a top down Security Council agenda meaningful to women on the ground. Professor Christine Chinkin, CMG, FBA, is the Director of the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security and a leading human rights and international law expert. Chaired by Stephanie Boland of Prospect magazine.
Nicholls left England to raise her five children in Botswana. Living on a shoestring in a lion conservation camp, she home-schools her family while they also learn at first-hand about the individual lives of wild lions. The setting is exotic but it is also precarious. When Nicholls is subjected to a brutal attack by three men, it threatens to destroy her and her family: post-traumatic stress turns a good mother into a woman who is fragmented and out of control. This powerfully written, raw and often warmly funny memoir is an inspiring account of family love, and a powerful beacon of hope for life after trauma.
A hundred years ago, a girl was born in the northern Ethiopian city of Gondar. Before she was ten years old, Yetemegnu was married to a man two decades her senior, an ambitious poet-priest. Over the next century her world changed beyond recognition. She witnessed fascist invasion and occupation, Allied bombardment and exile from her city, the ascent and fall of Emperor Haile Selassie, revolution and civil war. She endured all these things alongside parenthood, widowhood and the death of children. The Wife’s Tale is an intimate memoir, both of a life and of a country. Edemariam retells her grandmother’s stories in a masterpiece that is being compared to Jung Chang’s Wild Swans.
The intrepid team of researchers who brought you Custard, Culverts and Cake: Academics on Life in The Archers return with a hard-hitting exposé on the lives of the women of Ambridge. The Archers Academics are joined by actor and academic Charlotte Martin (a.k.a. Susan Carter) to examine the power of gossip in Ambridge, portrayals of love, marriage, and motherhood, female education and career expectations, women’s mental health and the hard-won right of women to play cricket.
The author of What I Loved introduces her new novel. Fresh from Minnesota and hungry for all New York has to offer, twenty-three-year-old S.H. embarks on a year that proves both exhilarating and frightening – from bruising encounters with men to the increasingly ominous monologues of the woman next door. Forty years on, those pivotal months come back to vibrant life when S.H. discovers the notebook in which she recorded her adventures alongside drafts of a novel. Measuring what she remembers against what she wrote, she regards her younger self with curiosity and often amusement. Anger too, for how much has really changed in a world where the female presidential candidate is called an abomination?
Fiction provides children with an important space to learn how to make sense of the world. It is also a crucial source for role models. Fictional worlds are not so unlike the real world – especially when it comes to gender inequalities. Based on their work with large collections of texts, Professor Mahlberg and Dr Cermakova from the University of Birmingham's Centre for Corpus Research will explore fiction from Dickens to modern children's books, to demonstrate how repeated language patterns reflect a gendered view of society.
The Irish Referendum on abortion will take place on 25 May 2018. Since 1983 an estimated 170,000 Irish women have travelled to the UK to terminate their pregnancies, incurring high costs, logistical difficulties and emotional strain. Another 2,000 women a year end pregnancies by taking the abortion pill, illegally obtained online. Whatever the result of the referendum, the impact on Ireland’s society will be huge. Professor de Londras’ research concerns constitutionalism, human rights and transnationalism. Máiréad Enright researches in feminist legal studies and religion.
The allegedly male world of the spy was more than merely infiltrated by women. This compelling and groundbreaking contribution to the history of espionage details a series of case studies in which women – from playwright to postmistress, from lady-in-waiting to laundry woman – acted as spies, sourcing and passing on confidential information. They acted out of political and religious conviction or to obtain money or power. Akkerman reveals the special roles of Royalist and Parliamentarian ‘she-intelligencers’ and their hidden world.