Category Archives: Equality

‘Inclusive Barbies are a major step in my life’

“It’s a major step in the toy industry and in my life. It made me feel proud of who I was.”

James Stewart is among those celebrating the new Barbie dolls that are being released today.

Mattel, the company that makes them, has released a range of more diverse dolls.

For the first time, Barbie is seen with a hearing aid, a prosthetic limb and a wheelchair, while a Ken doll has the skin condition vitiligo.

James, who has the skin condition, says it “felt quite surreal” to hold. More

Save Venice: The forgotten female artists being rediscovered

Who decides which artists are remembered and which are forgotten? With only a small fraction of the art in museums by women, efforts are being made, at the Venice Biennale and further afield, to change long-standing narratives.

Inside the Church of San Marziale, beside a canal in central Venice, specialist art handlers are high up on scaffolding above one of the church’s second altars, trying to tease out two canvases that have been nailed to the wall of the church for several hundred years.

The paintings, which are believed to date from the late 1720s or early 1730s, are by a woman artist called Giulia Lama. She may have been the first female artist in Venice to produce major commissions for churches. The daughter of an artist, she never married and was a mathematician and a published poet.

At the time she was dismissed by some of her male contemporaries. So much so that in 1728, an abbot and man of science, Antonio Conti, wrote: “The poor girl is persecuted by painters, but her virtues triumph over her enemies.”

According to some reports, the other artists and critics at the time focused on what they decided were her unremarkable, almost unappealing physical attributes – they asked how a woman of such prosaic appearance could produce such sophisticated paintings. More

Winter Olympics: Beijing 2022 will have lowest-ever gender gap

The Beijing Winter Olympics will be the most gender-equal Games ever, data experts say.

Gracenote says the proportion of events in which women can compete will increase for the 11th successive Games – with 52.75% of events for men and 47.25% for women.

Women will have nearly four times as many events to participate in as they did in 1980.

The Games take place from 4-20 February.

The first Games in Chamonix, France in 1924 had only two events which women could participate – the figure skating mixed pairs competition and the ladies’ singles – but 14 events for men, and had a gender gap of 81.3%.

That gap has now declined to 5.5% for Beijing, with 12 of the 15 sports now gender-equal. Nordic combined is the only remaining sport with no female participation.

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

How Vanuatu is using traditional island cricket to change and save women’s lives

Rachel Andrew is one of the leading cricketers in an island nation famous for its stunning beaches. She has scored more runs for the women’s national team than anyone else and averages an impressive 11.50 with the ball.

Cricket is her passion, as it is for many women in Vanuatu – an archipelago across the Coral Sea from Australia, whose population of 307,000 is roughly the same as Nottingham. Its women’s T20 team ranks 28th in the world, making it probably the country’s most successful sporting side.

Despite that, traditional values have created barriers that have prevented many of Vanuatu’s ‘mamas’ from playing sport – but the Vanuatu Cricket Association (VCA) is trying to change that.

“I heard some people saying ‘mamas, they belong in the kitchen, clean the house, looking after the kids’, but no – it’s wrong,” said Andrew.

“We’ve got to help each other and promote gender equality. Let them know they have the right to enjoy themselves out there in sports or any activities.” More

Unlocked: 35 female sports stars join charity programme to increase diversity in sport

Thirty-five leading sportswomen have joined a charity programme to tackle the lack of diversity across sport.

Footballers Nikita Parris and Caroline Weir and five-time Paralympic champion Hannah Cockcroft are among those who have joined ‘Unlocked’, which has been set up by the Women’s Sport Trust.

The athletes share experiences and work with industry experts to help tackle issues relating to women in sport.

In total, 27 different sports are represented by the group.

“It has been a challenging year for many but as we come out of Covid-19 there is no better time to turbo-charge our effort and continue to unlock the value of women’s sport,” said Tammy Parlour, co-founder of the Women’s Sport Trust.

“We believe the best way to do this is by supporting these elite women and connecting them together.

“Individually they are strong advocates for change but together they are unstoppable.” More

Rachael Blackmore: Jockey reflects on historic Cheltenham win with Honeysuckle

Jockey Rachael Blackmore said she hoped her historic triumph might inspire others after winning the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on Honeysuckle.

She is the first woman to ride the winner of Tuesday’s championship race.

“There is no deal about being a female jockey anymore. If you want to be a jockey you can be a jockey, drive on,” said Irish rider Blackmore, 31.

“To young people, if you want to do something go and do it. For me standing here right now, anything can happen.”

Honeysuckle’s trainer Henry de Bromhead hailed the combination of rider and horse – the unbeaten mare was clocking up her 11th successive victory.

“Rachael is a brilliant rider on any horse and Honeysuckle is just a brilliant horse. The combination is deadly – it’s the perfect storm,” he said. More

Hollie Davidson and Joy Neville to undertake referee and TMO roles at Munster-Benetton game

Scotland’s Hollie Davidson will referee her first top-tier men’s game on Friday as Munster host Benetton, with Joy Neville the television match official.

Davidson, 28, was scheduled to referee European Challenge Cup and Pro14 games in January in February, only for both matches to be postponed.

Neville’s presence will make it the first time a top-tier men’s game has had both a female referee and TMO.

Irishwoman Neville refereed her first Pro14 game in February 2018.

Davidson, who became Scotland’s first female professional referee in 2017, follows in the footsteps of Neville in becoming the second woman to take charge of a Pro14 fixture. More