Yesterday on Ujima – International Women’s Day

Yes, I know, International Women’s Day is actually on March 8th. However, Bristol Women’s Voice has a big event planned at M-Shed over this coming weekend, and I wanted to preview that. Here’s a look at yesterday’s show.

First up I was delighted to welcome Rina Vergano who, together with her colleague, Jane Flood, will be putting on a performance entitled Hags, Harpies and Harridans. Naturally we talked about witches, crones, social attitudes towards older women and so on. I wish I could be there to see Rina and Jane in action, but of course I’ll be in Liverpool talking about Romans.

We had a quick leap both forward and backward in time for the next segment. On IWD itself Bristol Museum will be hosting an event called Intrepid Women Travellers. My friend Jean Burnett, who is an expert on the lives of Victorian women adventurers, will be speaking about Maria Caroline Bolitho, who crossed the Himalayas on horseback. Jean came in to tell me about Bolitho, and to discuss so of the other women whose lives form part of the event. For your entry fee you will also get a private tour of the Adela Breton exhibition (now moved from Bath), which I highly recommend. Sadly I’ll be at a Reclaim the Night march in Bath that evening.

You can listen to the first hour of the show here.

For the second hour I was joined by Sian and Gabby from Bristol Women’s Voice. We discussed many of the other events that will be happening at M-Shed on Saturday. One of those is a workshop on self-confidence hosted by a new friend of mine, Angie Belcher. She’s a stand-up comedian, and she hosted the Women’s Equality Party event I spoke at left Saturday. I can assure you that she has no lack of self-confidence.

Sian also reported on a move by the Bristol Post to switch their Women of the Year awards ceremony from the Marriott City Centre because of the hotel’s hosting of an event with Floyd Mayweather, a former boxer who has been convicted of domestic violence and appears totally unrepentant. BWV has been campaigning against the Mayweather event, and I’m pleased to see them getting support.

This reminds me that someone in Brighton has decided to invite Germaine Greer to speak at an IWD event. Naturally there is a campaign against this too. Fox Fisher has a petition. You can sign it here.

Finally on the show I was delighted to welcome Jen Grove who, together with Jana Funke, has done superb work in organising LGBT History Month events in Exeter. Jen and Jana are part of an all-woman take-over of Phonic FM, one of Exeter’s community radio stations, on IWD. Jen was actually at Ujima so she could record an interview with me in one of our studios for this. I got my own back by dragging her onto my show.

One of the things we talked about was PHSE lessons, which are of course of interest to LGBT historians. Fortuitously yesterday happened to be the very day that the Government announced that they would make PHSE “compulsory”. Quite what this means is open to question. It sounds like religious fundamentalists will still be allowed to remove their children from such lessons, and as yet there is no guarantee that LGBT+ issues will be on the curriculum. However, kids desperately need these lessons, and far too many schools are currently providing nothing at all.

Yesterday evening I was part of an event about gender put on by Medsin, a nationwide group for medical students. I was delighted to find Natalie from T.I.G.E.R. on the programme with me. T.I.G.E.R. does great work in Bristol schools teaching kids about gender and relationships. Hopefully the new regulations will allow schools to make use of organisations such as theirs.

You can listen to the second half hour of the show here.

The playlist for yesterday’s show was as follows:

  • Santana – Black Magic Woman
  • Nina Simone – I Put A Spell on You
  • Bat for Lashes – Travelling Woman
  • Janelle Monae – Sally Ride
  • Aretha Franklin – Respect
  • Amy Winehouse – Our Day Will Come
  • Linda Ronstadt – Different Drum
  • Destiny’s Child – Survivor

Next week my colleague Miranda Congdon will be taking the helm and looking back on the history of Fem FM, a feminist radio station which operated in Bristol in the 1990s. My next show will be on March 15th.

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