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#InspireInclusion: Celebrating International Women’s Day

You are probably already aware that it’s International Women’s Day today. This year’s theme is #InspireInclusion and the event focuses on celebrating women’s achievements, raising awareness about discrimination and taking action to drive gender parity. Working as part of a small (but growing) team of fantastic women (and men), these are things that we are passionate about at Tooled Up, and we have created plenty of resources for our community which will help to break down stereotypes, recognise the successes of some remarkable women, and ensure that the needs, interests and aspirations of women and girls are valued and included.

We’re very grateful to collaborate with many women who are working hard to forge positive change in the world.

We’ve been lucky enough to work very closely with Lisa Sugiura, Associate Professor in Cybercrime and Gender in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Portsmouth. Amongst other research interests, Professor Sugiura raises awareness of discrimination against women by investigating online misogynistic groups. She’s produced numerous resources for us on gender-based violence, doxing, ‘revenge porn’ and how to talk to young people about online misogyny – a vital topic at a time when misogynistic influencers are gaining popularity amongst teens.

We have an ongoing fruitful collaboration with Fiona Spargo Mabbs OBE and Asha Fowells, two inspiring women from the DSM Foundation, a drug and alcohol education charity that aims to support young people to make safe choices and reduce harm. In partnership with Fiona and Asha, we’ve produced numerous ‘quick guides’ to help parents understand more about common drugs and alcohol, and empower them to initiate preemptive conversations with teens.

Last year, we interviewed Dr Verity Jones, Associate Professor in UWE Bristol’s School of Education and Childhood, and a real-life role model and expert on climate change and how we could/should be living. Dr Jones has worked with numerous charities including Friends of the Earth, Fashion Revolution and the Centre for Alternative Technology, has developed insights into pedagogies of hope in the face of the climate and ecological emergency and has highlighted the importance of arts-based practices to support sustainable education in the UK and India. Natascha Radclyffe-Thomas, Professor of Marketing and Sustainable Business at the London School of Fashion also spoke to us about eco-anxiety, sustainable fashion and eco-anxiety amongst teens.

We’re extremely proud to have worked with numerous amazing researchers who are extraordinary women.

Over the last year, we’ve highlighted 12 women as our ‘researchers of the month’. All are working to develop useful research on subjects of particular relevance to parents and educators, such as energy drinks, incels, outdoor learning, body image, ADHD and eating disorders. Browse through our podcast interviews and you’ll also find some of the most influential names from around the world in the fields of education, psychology and neuroscience. It’s a challenge to pull out specific examples. But, for starters, we’d recommend that you acquaint yourselves with Professor Adele Diamond, named as one of the “2000 Outstanding Women of the 20th Century”, political psychologist and neuroscientist, Dr Leor Zmigrod, who has won numerous awards and been included in the Forbes 30 Under 30 in Science, internationally renowned child psychiatric epidemiologist Professor Tamsin Ford CBE, Professor Emerita of Family Research and former Director of the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge Susan Golombok FBA, Northern Ireland’s Mental Health Champion Professor Siobhan O’Neill, renowned play expert Professor Helen Dodd, and Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience and multi-award-winning author Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

We seek to highlight the achievements of women in sport and inspire girls to enjoy physical activity. 

Research shows that there is a steady decline in activity levels for both boys and girls as they reach their teens, but the steepest decline is for girls, once they reach the pivotal age of 13 or 14. Dr Michaela James’s research explores why some girls might feel inclined to disengage from sport, noting factors such as feeling pressured and disliking the feeling of pitted against others, not wanting to fail or make a public mistake, and a fear of becoming too ‘muscly’. Listen to our interview with her here.

In the UK, the Women and Equalities Committee has just published a report examining health barriers for women and girls in sport. It highlights numerous reasons, including menstruation, which can be unpredictable, painful and lead to leakage, concerns around PE kit, and other physiology-related barriers and injuries. Breast pain is also a significant issue. There is a sport for everyone though! Tooled Up subscribers can derive sporting inspiration from this resource listing 100 different types of sport, and from this beautifully curated resource that highlights 50 inspirational female athletes, all of whom model enormous resilience, courage and body appreciation

Any interested parent or educator can also inspire young people by sharing some of the content that we have produced with sporting stars. Take a peek at our webinar featuring Laura Merrifield, England Women’s Lacrosse Captain, who reflects on her career highlights and provides advice for young athletes, or listen to our chat with England and Saracens rugby player, Sonia Green, who discusses how to encourage sporting participation, balance academic pressures with sporting aspirations and the best way to deal with inevitable injuries. Why not also tune in to inspiring interviews with Cambridge rower Caoimhe Dempsey and former professional hockey player, Holly Cram?

At Tooled Up, we like to work with experts on key health issues impacting on women and girls. Watch our webinar with Dr Fionnuala Barton for key advice on managing perimenopause and menopause, listen to our discussion with Dr Natalie Brown about menstrual cycle education, and hear from Dr Emma Ross, former Head of Physiology at the English Institute of Sport, founder of The Well HQ, and author of The Female Body Bible, a book which strives to help girls thrive in sport and movement. If you are a Tooled Up subscriber and you’d like to find out more about emotional wellbeing during menopause, we’d also love you to join us for a webinar with Dr Gauri Seth on March 15th. 

We’re always keen to explore the accomplishments of women in science and technology.

We’d nudge any aspirational teen to listen to our conversation with Ella Podmore MBE, senior materials engineer at McLaren Automotive who is passionate about helping other girls to consider working in STEM industries. Look out for our upcoming interview with Dr Sona Kumar, our researcher of the month for April, who is going to talk to us about her fascinating research into how teachers’ scientific questions in preschool settings can differ by the recipient child’s gender.  

Inspiring girls is vital.

Children are regularly exposed to gender stereotyping, which emphasises narrow expectations, drives prejudice and intolerance, and can squash aspiration. Stereotypes might also contribute to the social conditions that allow violence against women to occur. We’re proud to have partnered with gender equality charity Lifting Limits to create some simple and useful resources for parents and school staff that can help us all to avoid falling into the trap of gender stereotyping.  Members of the Tooled Up community can access a list of easily actionable tips to reduce gender stereotypes, key advice on how to talk to children about gender roles in books and an inspiring book list. We also have a fantastic webinar with Kirsty Ruthven, Head of Education at Lifting Limits and invite you to tune in to our tip-filled interview with Professor Christia Spears Brown on reducing race and gender biases. 

What amazing women are you celebrating today? If your school is working hard to #InspireInclusion, we’d love to showcase your initiatives. Get in touch with us at any of our social media channels.