March 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

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March has been stressful, let’s hope April is better!



Favourite part?

 

The beginning of March was great! It started off with St. David’s Day as a guest on Remake’s March Community Call, discussing the recent events I’d put on with Remake and FemSoc in January. I was also, amazingly, chosen as Remake’s Ambassador of the Month! This was honestly such a huge honour to me. A few days later we also had a call with the Remake Ambassadors in the UK. It was so much fun talking everyone and all of these events made me so excited and motivated for future campaigns and my own activism in this area. 


 

On the weekend before International Women’s Day, my uni’s FemSoc held our now annual conference, Digital Feminism Summit. There were loads of amazing speakers and workshops, and I had such a great time. It gave me such energy and motivation I can’t fully describe. My personal highlight was interviewing sex educator and author Ruby Rare with my friend Taya. It was an incredible event – I have been a huge fan of Ruby’s for a while and was ridiculously excited for it and afterwards I was so happy. 

 

I never thought I’d say this but I’ve actually gotten back into running. I realized how unfit I was after such a long time in lockdown so I’m now forcing myself to move my body and up my step average. Is being an adult forcing yourself to exercise? Couch to 5k has my back. 

 

My flatmates and I had a cocktail night once we’d hit the official end of term. We got dressed up with full makeup, ordered pizza, had some great drinks, played cards and danced. It was fun to do something other than watching TV and make something a special occasion. Although I’m not sure the hangover was worth it…


 

Apart from that I’ve mostly been doing uni work – prepping for assessments, writing more of my dissertation, reading books for my modules and articles for assessments. There’s nothing much more exciting happening than that.

 

Best read?

 

I’ve done a lot of reading this month, mostly for uni but I did manage to get a bit of reading for fun in too!

 

I finished reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, which I really enjoyed. I then read A Great Love by Alexandra Kollontai for the book club I run as part of my uni’s FemSoc and held an event on it. 

 

I then read Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, again for one of my modules. I absolutely loved this book, it was so good! It truly got me hooked, despite partially guessing the secret earlier on, and I can’t wait to read more by Braddon. 


 

I then finally finished Pamela, by Samuel Richardson, and read a fair bit more of Charlotte by Helen Moffett, which is effectively Pride and Prejudice fan fiction, when I had a few rest days in between my last deadline of term and beginning to work on my dissertation again. 

 

Favourite listen?


I’ve been really loving Venetia La Manna’s new podcast, All the Small Things. It’s been my favourite thing to listen to while I’ve been going for walks by myself or doing a food shop. The conversations are so interesting and the guests are incredible. 


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Favourite watch?


Since Star launched on Disney+, I’ve been rewatching Grey’s Anatomy – I am currently on Series 10, and yes, that is a lot of episodes in a short amount of time, but you know what, I don’t particularly care. 

 

I’ve also watched a few comfort films, like Brave and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, as well as watching other comfort show like Outnumbered. 

 

My flatmate has also really got me into Grayson Perry’s Art Club. I’m obsessed. It’s so wholesome and just lovely. If you need a comfort, uplifting watch, go for this show. 

 

I’ve been catching up on the latest series of Unforgotten. I’ve been obsessed with the previous series of this show but wasn’t quite so convinced with this one until the last episode got a lot better. I’m not sure whether that’s the end of the show or if it’s continuing in a different direction? I’m intrigued. 

 

What did I learn?


I can do a lot more than I think I can. Sometimes you just need to take some time away from Twitter and that’s okay, people don’t need to know your thoughts 24/7. So many things are out of control, even if I want them to go the other ay. It’s okay to be sad. 

 

What’s happening next month?


April is dissertation month. I’m going to be focused on that as well as reading a couple of other books for my course and Book Club. I’m hopefully going to be able to go and visit my family for a short time too which will be great.

 

Favourite blogger/vlogger?


I’ve actually been really enjoying Hannah Witton’s new series of The Hormone Diaries focusing on her experience trying to conceive. It’s very different from my life but I’m finding it fascinating. 

 

Favourite post?


Like last months, I only had one other blog post out, but I am actually really proud of it. Highlighting garment workers’ issues is so important, especially on International Women’s Day. I think it’s a really valuable post and made me reflect on how much I’ve learned through becoming a Remake ambassador and meeting so many other activists. 



Biggest inspiration?


Just reaching the end of my degree and now having a clearer idea of what I’m doing after I graduate. 


Any other favourites?

 

I’ve been finding particular joy in my houseplants recently. There’s not much joy to be had at the moment, so I’m glad to find it wherever I can. Some of them are doing really well and the ones that have been struggled are pulling back!  




If you liked this post you might like: February 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up

 

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Why Garment Workers Should Be the Focus of This Year’s International Women’s Day

Monday, 8 March 2021

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Content warnings: sexual and gender based violence, food insecurity, murder, sexual harassment




International Women’s Day is a day of celebration – of the achievements of women, of the success of women’s rights campaigners, of the women we love and appreciate around us – but it is also a day to recognise the changes that still need to be made in terms of gender equality and to uplift the voices of the most marginalised women and other marginalised genders globally. 

 

The exploitation has been an issue for decades, and has been a point of activism for many across the world for that amount of time too. And yet the issue is still as prevalent as ever, even after the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2013, which was the worst industrial disaster in the garment industry’s history, killing over 1,100 people and seriously injuring many more. With so much violence and exploitation still existing in the industry after such a high profile and deadly tragedy as Rana Plaza, we have to ask, why has so little change been made? 

 

As 80% of garment workers worldwide are women of colour aged 18-24, the treatment of garment workers is most certainly a feminist issue. 

 

Since the start of the pandemic, this system of exploitation has reached a boiling point, when an estimated $40 billion of garment workers’ wages was withheld by fashion brands after the closure of high streets around the world, despite the fact that many of the cancelled orders had already been partially or wholly completed. Only 2% of garment workers earn a living age, with many already in debt in order to survive and living hand to mouth. This decision by brands had potentially deadly consequences for many garment workers and their dependents, who were (and still are) facing increased food insecurity, increased exposure to violence as they find other means to survive.

 

Since then, over $22 billion has been recovered through efforts such as the #PayUp campaign and the many instances of garment worker union action against factory owners and the brands they supply. 

 

Many brands are still to pay for orders made in March, including Peacocks, Boohoo and ASOS (for outstanding Arcadia payments), Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret and Urban Outfitters. 

 

In addition to large scale incidents of structural violence, such as Rana Plaza or the lack of payment during the pandemic, many garment workers also face serious sexual and gender based violence in the workplace. This includes sexual harassment by often male managers, being forced into sex with managers in order to keep their jobs, and targeted intimidation.  In January 2021, a young garment worker called Jeyasre Kathirvel was raped and murdered after months of sexual harassment by her supervisor in a factory in India supplying H&M. What happened to Jeyasre is not an anomaly. Gender based violence is embedded in this industry, as it relies on the exploitation of the black and brown women to turn a profit and create billionaire (mostly male) CEOs. 

 

This issue is not just one that affects marginalised genders outside of the UK. Slave labour allegations have been held against garment factories in Leicester for over a decade, with many reports being released since 2010, most recently in a report by Labour Behind the Label on the illegal and unethical practices of Boohoo suppliers in Leicester since during the first UK national lockdown. 

 

In fact, it recently came out that there will soon be a potential ban of Boohoo imports into the US due to the slave labour within their supply chains – a major move which will likely have serious implications for Boohoo and other brands if this is not acted upon. Boohoo now take up an estimated 60-80% of all garments produced in Leicester factories, so they are a clear perpetrator of this violence. Not only is it highly likely that women make up the majority of the garment workers in Leicester, the report by Labour Behind the Label also gave evidence that migrant workers make up an estimated 33.6% of garment workers in Leicester. 

 

Garment workers, although often portrayed as passive victims, are standing up for their rights, protesting and striking, and are at the heart of the movement for a fairer fashion industry for both people and planet. As citizens and people who wear the clothes they make, we must stand in solidarity with garment workers – to demand that brands who rely on their labour pay the women who make their clothes the wages they are owed, in addition to sharing the profits they have made over the course of the pandemic, and ensuring their workers are treated with respect. 

 

To hold brands accountable, sign the #PayUp petition to send a message of solidarity into the inboxes of fashion CEOs. 





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February 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up

Monday, 1 March 2021

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February, you may be short but you have felt like an age!



Favourite part?

 

The final semester of my degree in a pandemic isn’t exactly the most riveting to talk about. I’ve spent most of my time at my desk, in my room on my computer or reading one of the texts I’m studying, and then not going out in the evening. Wild stuff. 

 

This month has felt almost like two halves. Earlier on in the month we had the week of snow, which looked amazing and boosted my mood, but I couldn’t go out so much as when I did I slipped over! Typical but I can manage. Later on in the month the warm weather and sunshine has made me excited for spring and summer and has definitely made me more hopeful. 


 

New developments in some newer projects for N.E.S.T (a voluntary group I work in) launched this month! They’ve gone really well and it’s exciting and motivating to see new volunteers get stuck in and be as enthusiastic as myself and the other leads are about these projects and their participants. 

 

There have also been some new developments of future plans! As of this month an internship I was offered earlier on was confirmed, which I’ll be starting in early June. I also have a new house sorted for once my current tenancy is finished – that means that no matter what I end up doing once I graduate (full time job, masters, etc., I’m still undecided), I’ll still be in Newcastle for it! I know it’s not exciting things happening right now, but having things to look forward is certainly what I need right now. 

 

Apart from that, it’s the usual lockdown stuff. I don’t imagine anyone’s life is particularly exciting right now. Life’s mostly uni work, eating, spending time with people I care about, and trying to remember to move my body and go outside. 

 

Best read?

 

I have so many books I would love to read for fun but right now I’m just reading texts for my course – which I am enjoying, don’t get me wrong, I just want to read Orsola de Castro’s new book straight away rathe than having to wait 3 months! 

 

I’ve read Fantomina by Eliza Haywood, which I really enjoyed, and Pamela by Samuel Richardson, which I enjoyed a bit less. For another module, I read Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, which took me ages to read because it was so long (nearly 700 pages woop!). I’m also just over half way through Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, another long book which I’m actually loving!


 

Favourite listen?


In terms of podcasts, I’ve been catching up on episodes of The Guilty Feminist, listening to the new week’s Desert Island Discs and loving the new series of The Yikes Podcast.

 

Music-wise, I’ve been very late and listening to Harry Styles’ latest album. I’ve also been listening to more of 1989, and songs by Sixpence None the Richer. 


Favourite watch?

 

This month I watched Late Night for the first time, which I missed out on when it was first released. I absolutely loved this film and can’t wait to be watching it again. The actors are great and it’s so well written. I loved it!

 

I also rewatched Saving Mr. Banks for the first times in ages, and it’s just as good as ever. I love everything about that film.   

 

I’ve been watching old faves such as Outnumbered and Grey’s Anatomy (here’s to Disney+ Star). These are such good comfort backups and are the shows I need right now. 


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What did I learn?

 

Sometimes you just need a massive cry to feel a bit better. Flowers and bright colours help make things better, and I can actually do better than I think I can. 

 

What’s happening next month?


Mostly essay writing and writing the third chapter of my dissertation. Massively exciting stuff! 

 

Later today, I’ll be a guest on Remake’s March Community Call discussing community engagement, particularly in relation to my recent events with my university’s FemSoc! This is a huge deal to me and I still can’t quite believe I was asked! There are also a few more exciting things happening with Remake this month, so keep your eyes peeled! 


Today is also St. David’s Day, so I’ll be celebrating after the Community Call with some Welshcakes!

 

Later on in the month is my university FemSoc’s Digital Feminist Summit, a weekend full of events and guest speakers. It should be a great weekend and I’ll be leading one interviewing Ruby Rare with my friend Taya! 

 

What’s been on my mind?


Deadlines, restrictions easing (and being both anxious and excited about that), generally keeping afloat. You know, all the fun stuff. 

 

Favourite blogger/vlogger?


This is probably getting boring but again Leena Norms! Let’s be real, spending time reading on a screen isn’t fun after a day of constantly reading on a screen, so I haven’t read any blogs in a long time. I find watching series, films or YouTube videos that I know will be comforting are the kind of things that are useful to me right now. All I have energy for in the evening is vegging. 

 

Favourite post?


With my current workload and having run out of previously scheduled posts, February only saw one blog post (other than this one!). I may have only one answer to this question but I really enjoyed it. I’ve been wanting to share an Old Fast Fashion OOTD post for a while as I think it’s something really important to discuss and share. 


 

Biggest inspiration?


Not very exciting but nearing the final deadlines of my degree and the prospect of seeing my friends and family soon.


Any other favourites?


I’ve been trying some new recipes this month! I have a new love of baked oats, although they take a bit too long to do for a regular breakfast. I also made a carrot and walnut cake that I was really proud of and which turned out pretty well. I’m looking forward to making more of these and sharing them with pals!

 

I’ve also been loving the Shmood Candle I bought last month at the FemSoc Eco Market. I got the ‘Energize’ candle and it’s actually been helpful in getting me focused in the morning! I reckon I’m going to get more of these candles in the future! 





If you liked this post you might like: January 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up

 

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