Hello Emma! Tell us a little about yourself?
I am a strategic communications consultant who cares most about reducing health inequities, in particular addressing the fact that 2 billion people globally do not have access to medicine. Alongside my work, I am a PhD student focused on the trade in falsified and substandard malaria medicine in West Africa.
Why do you think it’s important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
It is 2021, and yet a man is more likely to earn more than a woman. The world may have changed, but the numbers remain stacked against us. I have pulled together some statistics, they speak for themselves and are the reason I believe it is important to mark International Women’s Day. It is a day that should act as a reminder to every person globally that the fight for equality is not close to being won.
- Legal restrictions have kept 2.7 billion women from accessing the same choice of jobs as men in the last year.
- 1 in 3 women face gender-based violence, still.
- 33,000 girls become child brides every day.
- On average, women around the world spend more than twice as many hours as men doing unpaid work.
- 137 women are killed by a member of their family every day.
- At least 200 million women and girls, aged 15 – 49 years have undergone female genital mutilation in 31 countries where the practice is concentrated.
- 15 million adolescent girls worldwide, aged 15-19 years, have experienced forced sex.
- At the current rate of progress, it will take another 108 years to reach gender parity, according to the World Economic Forum’s most recent Global Gender Gap report.
What was your dream job as a little girl?
I wanted to be an actor. I was particularly interested in joining the Eastenders cast. I didn’t make it unfortunately, but I do now watch Eastenders religiously.
If you could have dinner with 3 women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Betty Friedan – her book The Feminine Mystique is often credited for sparking the second wave of American feminism in the 20 th century. For a long time it was one of my favourite feminist texts. In it she posits that women are as capable as men for any type of work or any career path. She challenged hegemonic sexism in the US. However, I read the book again recently and more critically and realise there is a lot wrong with it – I would like to ask her about some of the pitfalls I believe her theory entails.
Winnie Byanyima is currently the Executive Director of UNAIDS. She was also one of the early champions of the People’s Vaccine against the coronavirus – I would love to hear her thoughts on what needs to happen to ensure we can vaccinate every person globally quickly and effectively and what lessons can be learned from HIV & Aids, particularly regarding the pharmaceutical industry and patents.
My grandmother, she died when I was young, so I sadly don’t really remember her. I would really like to spend some time with her and get to know her as an adult!
What’s one piece of advice you would give to 18 year old you?
Learn how to beat self-doubt early on. I am only beginning to manage and start controlling my self-doubt and anxiety. The time I wasted on negative thoughts could have been far better spent on other things!
What is a change you would like to see for women in the next generation?
I would like to see an end to the insidious and increasing misogyny we are seeing online. Social media has brought with it a new culture, where men have the freedom and right to speak about and portray women in a derogatory and abusive way. Although all genders can experience abuse online, the abuse experienced by women is often sexist or misogynistic in nature. The aim of this, is to demean and silence women and it has to be addressed. I think in some ways social media has actually made things a lot worse for women and I would like to see this change.
I also hope that there is an upheaval in the UK (and other countries!) of current paternity and maternity laws. All mothers and fathers should get equal paid leave. In Finland, both mothers and fathers get nearly seven months’ paid leave, half of which is non-transferable. I think this sends a really important message that all parents are equal in the role of parenthood. Such a policy could have major positive repercussions for both genders in every element of their life.
How does wearing lingerie make you feel?
Naomi once said to me that you shouldn’t wear lingerie for anyone but yourself and I didn’t quite understand what she meant until I started wearing EOB lingerie!
Each EOB lingerie + swim range is inspired by + named after a wonderful real-life woman. We're extending our celebration of International Women's Day 2021 + taking the opportunity to introduce you to some of them.