Category Archives: Bristol

Sexism did not have a break

Dear Reader,

How was your summer? For me it was time where although I enjoyed the break from deadlines and pressures, it was one where events around the world made me wish I could write a thousand letters for this column.

The Olympics were, once again, a hugely successful event for British athletes. Note I use the word athlete there and do not precede it with ‘female.’ The media coverage surrounding the athletes who happened to be women was archaic, often putting their success down to who they were married to or fathered by. There were also comments on how theses women looked and on what they were wearing. And this didn’t just happen to the athletes, but the commentators as well and I found myself frustrated by the reporting and belittling of their achievements by journalists needing to link these successful women to men. When their successes have nothing at all to do with men. Sure their husbands/partners must be wonderfully supportive – I’d like to think – in order for them to win a medal at an Olympic games, but that’s not why they’ve won. The men in their lives weren’t the ones training for hours and days and weeks. They weren’t the ones dedicating their whole lives to achieve their dream. No, that was them, the athletes themselves. This girl really can!

 And then over the summer holidays there were horrific murders of women, where newspapers and reports focused on solely their killers, their husbands, portraying them as ‘troubled,’ ‘under pressure,’ and saying their murderous, violent, horrific acts were ‘out of character.’ The women killed vanished and became invisible. We were told nothing about them. There were no column inches dedicated to them. They were purely defined as mothers, or wives, not women. Women whose lives have been cruelly cut short by men they loved and trusted. It’s abhorrent. Continue reading Sexism did not have a break

To The One That Got Away

Letters section lead by Jen Faulkner

This week’s letter needs no introduction, its writer simply said it’s best enjoyed with a glass of Pinot in hand, and Adele’s ‘Someone like you’ playing in the background…

To The One That Got Away,

You found me in the most unromantic of places: a dating app for gay men predominantly used for late-night hook-ups. Yet, against the odds, there we were instantly building a rapport. Messages bounced back and forth over an entire day before you asked me for my number, to which I happily obliged with a Cheshire cat grin.

The ensuing days were a stream of texted conversation. We learned the fundamental basics about each other. You learned I love the colour green, prefer dogs to cats, coffee to tea, and that my favourite food is pasta with an ample dose of grated parmesan. I learned that you love the colour orange, drink herbal teas and have an unfounded adoration of all kinds of bears, whilst your favourite food is salmon in a coconut and lime marinade. Most importantly, in those infant messages, we shared personal truths about our difficulties with self-esteem, and in trusting others and letting them in. We made promises to always treat each other with respect and care; being upfront and honest so as to never hurt one another.

Our messaging went on for days; it was surely some kind of world record! Then, after a week, I inadvertently called you whilst unlocking my front door. Knowing you hated telephone conversations, I promised I’d only stay on the line for a few minutes. That turned into eight hours. I cooked dinner; you did laundry, while we enjoyed a non-stop conversation telling stories of our lives. There were things I shared that night which haven’t left my head in years; stories not even my best friends know. You told me tales of life in your homeland, about heartbreak and your family’s discomfort of your sexual orientation. In between those truths, I learned so many other things; little, humanising things which made me fall for you even harder; like the way I heard the smile in your voice when you talked about your Mum and the way you got adorably sarcastic when embarrassed. Continue reading To The One That Got Away

Single mother, but not alone

“When I had my daughter 10 years ago, I had no idea what a struggle it could be to raise a child on your own in the UK”. Tove Samzelius’ call to action in support of single parents.

I never planned to become a single mother. Despite what the media wants to make you believe, most people don’t. However, once you are, you want to be treated with the same respect as other mothers. You want your child to have the same opportunities as others and you want your family to be a happy one. Like so many other women that have the experience of being a single parent, I have felt anger about the stigma and stereotyping that continue to haunt single mothers in this country. I am particularly appalled by the difficulties facing parents when trying to juggle work with expensive and un-flexible childcare arrangements. Continue reading Single mother, but not alone

Meet Prima Columnist Caroline Quentin in Bristol this March

Join us in Bristol for what promises to be an evening filled with laughter and brilliant chat with busy wife, mum, actress, writer and Prima columnist Caroline Quentin. Following a welcoming glass of fizz, settle down to a chat with Caroline, hosted by Prima editor Gaby Huddart. Afterwards, you’ll have a chance to mingle with other Prima readers over drinks. And there’s a fab goodie bag for each guest to take home, too!

The details:

  • Date: 10 March, 2015
  • Where: Arnolfini 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA
  • Cost: £25
  • Time: 6:30-8:30pm
  • Ticket includes: Drinks reception, talk, Q&A session, drinks afterwards, and a goodie bag

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR TICKETS NOW!

When Valentine’s Day becomes Fifty Shades of Abuse ….

Part of the Sophie Merlo series 'Lifting the Veil on Domestic Abuse'
Part of the Sophie Merlo series ‘Lifting the Veil on Domestic Violence’

It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow …. bring on the flowers, chocolates, bubbly and romantic dates with your partner ….. ! Getting cosy, schmoozy and lovey-dovey with your partner … on the ultimate, most romantic day of the year? Of course! 14th February spells romance with a capital R!

But hold on …….. that’s not strictly the case for the many female victims of domestic violence in the UK for whom Valentine’s Day 2015 spells trouble. These women are deeply worried that Valentine’s Day will bring them a lot more than just roses and chocolates. It’s well known that incidences of domestic abuse rise considerably at this, supposedly romantic, time of the year. Continue reading When Valentine’s Day becomes Fifty Shades of Abuse ….

Celebrity fundraising football match raises thousands of pounds to support the plight of young Oskar ….

Oskar seen here with the extraordinary Ross Simmons!
Oskar seen here with the extraordinary Ross Simmons!

A CELEBRITY football match sponsored by mum and businesswoman has raised thousands of pounds to help fund for surgery so a boy with severe cerebral palsy may walk. Della Hudson, of Hudson Accountants – pictured in this story’s feature pic – sponsored the football kits when ex Bristol City, Rovers and celebrities joined forces to play in aid of six-year-old Oskar Pycroft.

The football legends, mixed with TV chefs and sporting names, took on a team of donators to raise £2,500 towards the cost of a private operation. The celebrity team beat the Rosco Rangers, the donators, with a 6 – 2 score. Mum-of-two Della, 46, said: “We had a great day and were lucky with the weather. “It was lovely to see so many people turn out to support Oskar. His story has really moved me and as a mum, I know I would do whatever I could to help my child.”

The move came after lifelong City supporter Ross Simmons was inspired by Oskar to organise the match.And Ross, 31, who has already personally raised around £2,000 for the cause, said the funds will help a worthy cause.The DJ said: “I’m really grateful to everybody who came to play in the match or support it. I also really appreciate sponsors, such as local firm Hudson Accountants, getting so involved.“Oskar’s such a brave boy and his story has touched so many people. There’s still a long way to go, but the money raised will go towards helping Oskar get the surgery he needs.” Continue reading Celebrity fundraising football match raises thousands of pounds to support the plight of young Oskar ….

Where are the women? Founding Bristol Women’s Literature Festival

Words by Sian Norris,

Regular Blogger for Bristol Woman

 

 

Four years ago, in 2011, the Bristol Feminist Network and Bristol Fawcett Society collaborated on an event that demanded ‘Where are the Women’. The event was the culmination of research undertaken throughout the previous five years on the representation of women in the media. http://www.rowitm.org/findings.html

Our research had revealed that women’s representation fell into two camps. Either we were highly sexualised, young and smiling with red lips, white teeth and big hair on the covers of magazines, celebrated for our ability to conform to a male-defined idea of beauty. Or we were…not there.

This invisibility of women was noticeable across the media, and backed up by 2010 research conducted by UK Feminista. Music festival line-ups, male dominated. Film directors and writers – male dominated. Plays in theatres written by men, art exhibitions celebrating men, cultural events dominated by men, news pages dominated by men with the exception of a topless woman smiling on page 3. And, of course, literature festival line-ups, literature review magazines and literary prizes – all dominated by men. Women were rarely to be seen. When we did appear, it would be on a panel about women or feminism. Panels with grand titles such as ‘The future of the world’ were a strictly women-free zone.

Continue reading Where are the women? Founding Bristol Women’s Literature Festival

Support Bristol mum Della in her fundraising bid to help six year old Oskar walk ….

A mum and businesswoman, Della Hudson, is sponsoring a celebrity football match to help raise funds for surgery so a young boy she knows – Oskar – who has severe cerebral palsy may walk.

Della, 46, will sponsor the football kits (see the natty pink footie kits in the pic above showing Della and the team) when ex Bristol City, Rovers and celebrities join forces to play in aid of six-year-old Oskar Pycroft (featured below).

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The football legends, mixed with TV chefs and sporting names, will take on a team of donators in a bid to raise £50,000 needed for a private operation. Mum-of-two Della, who runs Hudson Accountants, said: Oskar’s story really moved me and I wanted to do something to help.

“This surgery could help Oskar walk and improve his quality of life. As a mum, I know I would do whatever I could to help my child.”

The move comes after lifelong City supporter Ross Simmons (below with Della) was inspired by Oskar to organise the match. And Ross, 31, who has already personally raised £1,500 for the cause, has been delighted with the response.

Della and Ross

The DJ from Emersons Greens said:

“It’s great to see a local firm like Hudson Accountants getting involved in such a fantastic event. It will help raise much-needed funds and awareness to run the event.”

A surgery called Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) is Oskar’s only chance to walk. It would also reduce the pain and spasticity in his legs. It is available on the NHS in Bristol, but consultants have said Oskar doesn’t meet their strict criteria – and going private costs £50,000.

The local celebrities are expected to include TV weatherman Alex Beresford, This Morning chef Dean Edwards, Somerset cricketer Peter Trego, boxer Danny Butler, Bristol rugby player Sean Marsden, Cockneys vs Zombies actor Ashley Thomas and X Factor boyband Overload.

Bristol City fan Della, who has played for ladies’ football teams, added: “I love football but I think it sometimes has a bad name. I think this match will show how it can bring people together in aid of a good cause. “It also promises to be a special day for Oskar and he will be the centre of attention.”

To date, over £30,000 has been raised for Oskar, who also has gastric reflux, asthma, occasional fits and also shows signs of autism.

Della, whose firm sponsored a charity match with Scott Murray’s All-Stars at Manor Farm last summer, hopes to auction the kits after the match and raise more funds for the cause.

And Ross is also taking part in a Zero to Hero boxing match, which involves an intense ten-week programme that culminates in a boxing bout in front of more than 1,000 spectators. It is set to take place at Bath University this summer.

The match will take place at Bristol Manor Farm’s Ground on Sunday, February 8. The kick off will be at 3pm and tickets are £3 on the gate.

For more information, call Ross on 079444 045 49 or email ross_simmons@hotmail.com

To make a donation, visit https://www.justgiving.com/ross-simmons/
All photography by Flynn Guard

Let’s talk about public health

Meet Becky Pollard, the new Director of Public Health Bristol Becky Pollard3

Becky Pollard has been appointed as Bristol City Council’ s new Director of Public Health and will be starting in her new role on 16 February. Bristol Woman talks to Becky about health inequality and public heath interventions for women.

Becky, in your view, what are the biggest health inequalities Bristol is struggling with? Why do you think that is?

I believe these are the persistent inequalities of life expectancy due to underlying determinants of health. There is a gap in life expectancy between men and women living in Bristol compared to the rest of England. Men in Bristol can expect to live until 78.3 years compared to 82.1 years for rest in England. For women, life expectancy is 83 years in Bristol compared to nearly 86 years for rest in England. Continue reading Let’s talk about public health

Inspiring Women

Amanda Kerin talks about changing the mindset when runnign a business

Amanda-Kerin-200x300Creativity comes out of pain – for me at least. I’ve figured this out now I’m 37.

I’ve had two life changing experiences up until now. I was 24 when the police knocked on my halls of residents door and told me my mum had died. Life has not been the same since. At 36, I hit burnout and I wasn’t able to physically move one morning as my body was a dead weight. I wouldn’t wish either of these experiences on my worst enemy, but without question, it has shaped who I am today, and created the work I produce for my business.

I have more strength and courage to take risks than ever before, and that’s because I know first hand, that life can be taken away from you in a heartbeat, and that is painful. So we really do have to live it purposefully.

The working culture in 21st century isn’t healthy for us humans, yet we’re the ones that have created it. We are constantly on high alert with various channels competing for our time. Employers want their pound of flesh, and we do what it takes, as there are plenty of younger, harder working, talented, and cheaper resources on your heels wanting that job. Continue reading Inspiring Women