Women’s Institute magazine features first trans woman cover star

The Women’s Institute is featuring a trans woman member on the cover of its magazine for the first time.

Petra Wenham, a member of Cake and Revolution WI in Suffolk, appears on the July/August issue of WI Life, the organisation’s membership magazine.

She said she felt “accepted and honoured” to be on a platform to raise awareness of transgender issues.

Cake and Revolution said Ms Wenham “deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated”. More

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month

24 July is the Samaritans annual awareness campaign ‘Talk to Us’ also known as the ‘Big Listen’ and with that in mind we have chosen Fearne Cotton as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Fearne Cotton is an author and TV and radio presenter.

She is an ambassador for MIND the Mental Health Charity and lends her support to their major campaigns such as RED January and Time to Talk Day, hosted their Mind Media Awards in 2017 and has visited a local Mind to learn about Mind’s work within the community.

She first publicly opened up about her experience of depression in 2017 before writing HAPPY, a book about finding joy in the everyday and letting go of perfection. Since then, she has released her follow up book CALM and has started her podcast HAPPY PLACE, in which she interviews various individuals about their life experiences, including Mind’s President, Stephen Fry.

Fearne has also launched her Happy Place Festival, previously welcoming Mind to host a pop-up stand at the live event and supporting Mind through the virtual event in 2020.

To find out more about Fearne see here


To find out more about the ‘Talk to Us’ campaign see here


Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – June 2021

Diabetes Awareness Week runs from 14 – 20 June and with this in mind we have chosen Nina Wadia as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the week.

Nina is an actor well-known for her roles in EastEnders, Still Open All Hours and Goodness Gracious Me.  She is also an Ambassador for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and has supported them since her son, Aidan, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2017 at the age of 10.

In 2019 Nina published a book on her family’s experiences of diabetes and the research undertaken to better understand the condition, with the idea of supporting children with type 1 diabetes, Bionic T1D.

The book empowers children who are facing the challenges of managing type 1 and helps them get to grips with type 1 technology such as insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors.

As well as supporting the type 1 community, Nina has given invaluable support to JDRF. She generously donated her winnings from Celebrity Catchphrase and Celebrity Tipping Point to JDRF, and in 2019 presented a BBC fundraising appeal on their behalf. She has also given her time by hosting an online event to celebrate the ground-breaking launch of the artificial pancreas.

In January 2021 she was award the OBE for her services to entertainment and charity.

To find out more about Diabetes Awareness Week see here https://www.diabetes.org.uk/get_involved/diabetes-week

To find out more about Nina see here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nina_Wadia

First woman appointed Scotland’s Astronomer Royal

An astrophysicist from Edinburgh University is the first woman to be named Astronomer Royal for Scotland.

Prof Catherine Heymans was recommended to the Queen for the role by an international panel, convened by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Prof Heymans said she wanted to use the almost 200-year-old title to encourage people to develop passion for science.

She also wants to promote Scotland internationally as a world-leading centre for science, she said. More

Join our BAME Staff Network’s UNITE Week: 24-28 May 2021

From 24 to 28 May 2021, the BAME Staff Network is organising and taking part in a series of events to mark the anniversary of the killing of George Floyd on 25 May 2020. This hurtful and traumatising event has been a catalyst for many to acknowledge the presence of structural racism in our communities and universities. And the BAME Staff Network continues to voice our concerns about racial discrimination and disparity within our institution. However, the racial reckoning is far from being accomplished.

The BAME Staff Network is playing an active role in driving cultural change for inclusion of BAME staff across all spheres of the university.

Join the events and let us make an impact together.

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – May 2021

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 18 – 23 May and with this in mind we have chosen Duke McKenzie as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Duke McKenzie is a former boxer and three weight world champion and an ambassador for the mental health charity MIND.

In 1995, Duke’s brother, best friend and mentor Dudley McKenzie tragically took his own life. Dudley’s suicide left Duke passionate about mental health, particularly within the sporting world, leading him to actively support Mind for the past nine years.

Duke helped launch Mind’s partnership with Heads Together, giving a taster boxercise class to Prince Harry and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Olympic Park.

He coached boxercise at Mind in Croydon and has recently helped shape Mind’s Mental Health Awareness for Sport and Physical Activity training, which he also helped launch in 2019.

As an ambassador for Mind, Duke helps to champion the benefits that physical exercise can have in managing a mental health problem.

In 2011 Duke was awarded the MBE for his services to boxing.

To find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week see here https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

To find out more about Duke McKenzie see here https://www.dukemckenziembe.co.uk/

Oscars 2021: A watershed moment for disability?

The Oscars are upon us once again – but change surrounds this year’s ceremony that goes far beyond the red carpet adjustments enforced by the pandemic.

As the most diverse Oscars ever in terms of nominees, the increased representation also extends to the films themselves – with disability explored in new depth.

Best picture contender Sound of Metal, about a drummer facing hearing loss, saw best actor nominee Riz Ahmed learn sign language for the role. His co-star Paul Raci, who is up for best supporting actor, is a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) and many of the other actors are deaf in real life.

Elsewhere best documentary nominee Crip Camp explores how a 70s hippie camp for disabled youths affected the US disability rights movement; while nominated short Feeling Through has been praised for being the first modern-day film to star a deafblind actor, Robert Tarango. More

London Grammar: ‘Men aren’t told what to wear, so why was I?’

“Men that I didn’t know would watch a performance and then come up to me afterwards and say they didn’t like what I was wearing – maybe I’m wrong, but I can’t imagine that happening to, say, Chris Martin.”

London Grammar’s frontwoman Hannah Reid has dozens of stories about times sexism has made it harder for her to do her job.

And, she says, if Coldplay’s frontman doesn’t have to deal with it, then why should she?

“Maybe Chris will see this and say stuff like that happens to him all the time, but I doubt it”, she smiles.

The band have just released their third album, California Soil, and Hannah’s experiences of a “sexist” music industry crop up more than a few times in its lyrics. More

Afro wigs: Norfolk hair donor proud of ‘historic breakthrough’

A girl who was originally told her afro hair was unsuitable for children’s wigs said she was “really proud” her locks were now being used.

Carly Gorton, 11, from Norfolk, had urged the Little Princess Trust charity to rethink after it said afro hair was too delicate for wig-making.

It said wigs were now possible after research and a trial, and described them as a “historic breakthrough”.

“It’s really beautiful,” said Carly, of one of the new creations.

The charity provides wigs made from real hair for children who have lost their own due to cancer treatment or for other reasons.

Carly wanted to donate some of her hair but was originally told last year that it was not suitable.

After pressing the charity to look again at the issue, prototypes were developed and approved for use. More

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