"Females fighting to empower women in the battle for equality that rages on"
British Vogue has hailed seven leading figures as ‘The New Suffragettes’, in carrying the torch for feminism in the modern age.
To mark 100 years since women in the UK won the right to vote, the magazine has interviewed “seven influential females fighting to empower women in the battle for equality that rages on”
The seven figures are politicians Stella Creasy and Sophie Walker, artist Gillian Wearing, gal-dem founder Liv Little, trans awareness campaigner and journalist Paris Lees, blogger Dina Torkia and writer Reni Eddo-Lodge.
“There’s definitely a Mean Girls-style Burn Book in politics – patriarchy isn’t gendered – but the way we talk about other women is important,” Labour MP Creasy told Vogue. “Women should be believed, because coming forward about harassment is hard. I see the pressure to close down the debates, to say systems are in place, but if so, they’re not working. I’m the anti-Sheryl Sandberg. For me, it’s not about leaning in, it’s about building an army. Progress can happen. My mistake was thinking that it would be easy… Women are set up to fail. We can never be thin, curvy, clever, kind enough. But I’m impatient to change the world.”
Paris Lees is an award-winning writer, presenter and equality campaigner who became the first openly transgender person to appear on Question Time. She regularly contributes her working class perspective on Newsnight and Channel 4 News. Her memoir, published by Penguin, is due this summer.
“The best piece of advice that anyone ever gave to me in terms of activism was just ‘do what you can, when you can’,” Paris Lees told NME when she appeared at our LifeHacks event last year. “For me, I’m a good writer. That’s what I enjoy, it seems to connect with people and I’ve always loved English. That was my way to have a voice.”
She continued: “There isn’t one piece of advice for how you can affect change, but it just really comes down to you doing what you love and what you’re passionate about.”
Lees added: “Write about the things that nobody else can write about in quite the way you can. I think that’s something that’s really helped me in my career. Some of the articles that I’m most proud of, I just think ‘literally nobody could have written this apart from me’.
“If you do that and people like what you’re writing, then they’ve got to come to you for it. Just be unique and find the thing that makes you special.”
“My one bit of advice would be to not be afraid of failure,” she told NME. “By that, I mean being very willing to throw lots of ideas out there and see what sticks. Be ready for the fact that not everything might get commissioned or pull through, but you have to constantly keep creating ideas and throw things out there to get to where you want to get there. Have lots of plates spinning, I would say.”
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She added: ““It’s about realising that there will be other opportunities. You have to be very proactive in trying to find opportunities because there are so many people who want to operate in what is a relatively small space. Just try to be resilient and don’t take things too much to heart. Have the faith that if it didn’t happen in this time, it wasn’t meant to happen in this time.
“There was a better moment for that thing to come through.”