Today marks International Day of the Girl, a time for us to highlight the challenges that girls face across the world and push for empowerment and fundamental human rights for all.
This year, we look at the body image concerns that young girls face on the regular in the UK, with global children’s charity Plan International UK publishing a survey today that revealed shocking statistics.
According to their survey, body image concerns in young girls have started to obstruct education, with one in six girls missing school or work due to worries about their appearance.
The poll, based on 1,000 girls between the ages of 14 and 21, found that a huge majority feel a great deal of pressure to look a certain way. 89% of the girls interview admitted to feeling pressure to fit an ‘ideal’ face and body type, whilst 25% admitted to feeling ‘ashamed or disgusted’ by their body.
According to Plan UK, ‘these overwhelmingly negative feelings over body image are holding girls back from fully participating in society and achieving their potential’.
19% of young women in the survey have avoided public speaking due to their body image concerns, while 9% have not attended a job interview and have avoided participating in lessons, with 27% choosing to not even leave the house.
57% of girls worry about their appearance in school or college every week, and 39% worry about their appearance in school every day. 69% of girls have avoided at least one social, school or work activity in the past 12 months due to body image concerns.
This equates to 2 million (2,030,706) girls aged 14-21. This is unacceptable.
‘I got bullied through all my years at school,’ one girl featured in the survey, 18-year-old Sarah from South Wales explained. ‘I was called fat because of my weight and I wore jumpers and jackets to cover up myself and my body. Eventually, I stopped going in – I didn’t get any GCSEs, and the bullying gave me anxiety and depression. It’s really affected my future – my education stopped simply because I didn’t feel comfortable.’
Plan International UK is calling for society to recognise body image concerns as a gender inequality issue that affects girls’ ability to reach their potential, above and beyond the harmful impact it has on their perception of the way they look.
Today, on International Day of the Girl, the charity is asking members of the public to pledge to do one thing – to encourage girls to reach their potential, without being held back by appearance worries. This might be by complimenting a friend, sister or daughter on who they are and not how they look, doing something themselves that they’ve always avoided due to worries about their appearance or sending a message of solidarity to the girls Plan International UK works with at www.plan-uk.org/pledge.
‘We know that girls and young women experience huge pressure on their body image in every area of life, from the images they see in the media to hurtful comments at school,’ explained Rose Caldwell, CEO of Plan International UK. ‘But these new statistics show this is having a frightening impact on their futures, affecting their ability to take advantage of opportunities and, in some cases, preventing them from their basic rights to access education and earn a living.
‘On International Day of the Girl, we want to send a clear message that society needs a makeover. Body image worries should not simply be a ‘normal’ part of growing up for girls. We need everyone to recognise this, listen to girls, and elevate their voices to create a society where girls have every chance to succeed.’
As part of Plan International UK’s girls’ rights programmes, the charity is working with The Body Shop who will be donating £25,000 to support Girls Out Loud – a safe, closed space on existing social media channels, moderated by Plan International, where girls can share and discuss the issues that matter to them, including body image.
The research was conducted online by Opinium Research amongst a representative sample of 1,004 14-21 year-old girls in the UK from 13 to 22 August 2019.
Whilst I love the fitted silhouette of the traditional silk skirt, this autumn/winter I’ve fallen in love with the flouncy skirt. A bit more 70s, and more twirl-worthy, I’ll be wearing it with a white puff sleeve shirt and cowboy boots. This khaki skirt by Piece of White is the right shade for autumn too.
Pleated skirt are back in a big way. Long deemed too schoolteacher too be trendy, they’re now a must-have for anyone wanting to add a touch of chic to their wardrobe. This checked Mango skirt will look great with clashing checks, whether that’s a cosy knit or a fitted blazer.
My love for all things 80s doesn’t stop at clothes, in fact for the past couple of winters I’ve invested in one of the essentials at the time: knitted separates. Zara especially has an excellent offering of midi skirts with matching jumpers. I’m going all cream with this one, right down to my slouchy boots. Inspiration: Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct.
Now there’s a third product – The Body Cream. And it is just as glorious, and more importantly efficacious, as his previous creations.
If you missed the phenomenal buzz around the creams last year, it was something to behold. The brand, at under a year old, took the market by a storm. The cream was heralded by make-up artists, celebrities and beauty editors across the globe as a game-changing product. What set it apart? The science. Augustinus Bader is a Director and Professor of Applied Stem Cell Biology and Cell Technology who specialises in burns research. He found that much of his findings on the treatment of burns could be transferred to the treatment of skin concerns. And the rest, as they say, is history. People, including myself, were shocked by how good the results were. The brand saw such success earlier this year that it was recently revealed by the Business of Fashion as the most googled name in skincare.
Whilst I am totally aware that £130 is a huge amount to ask anyone to pay for a body cream, much like his skincare, there is good reason behind the steep price. Bader has created something called the Trigger Factor Complex (TFC8®) which he includes in all of his products. This active ingredient creates the optimal environment in skin for regeneration. Basically, it kick starts your skin cell renewal process.
There are clinical trials on the way, but an initial small study revealed that 92% people said that their cellulite had been reduced after 28 days of use; 90% said their stretch marks had improved, whilst a whopping 98% said that the texture of their skin has been transformed.
I conducted my own trial – OK there were no scientists there to verify the results, but the mirror never lies does it?!
I have cellulite – there’s no point denying. It’s there. I’m not keen on the way it looks, in fact getting me into a swimsuit take a lot of persuasion. However, I only have myself to blame. Do I exercise? Of course I bloody don’t – I hate being out of breath. Do I eat a cracking diet, staying away from sugars and salt? Nope. In fact that’s pretty much all I look for in a meal or snack. So yeah, I have quite a bit of cellulite.
I used this cream on repeat morning and night for a whole month and I promise you the change to my thighs was incredible. My skin looked healthier – it is a rich, luxurious cream so it’s inevitable that the shea butter and candeia oil will help improve the appearance of skin. But I also noticed that the lumps and bumps at the bag of my legs were less pronounced.
I don’t believe that this cream will completely cure my cellulite – I’m not sure any product can make that claim – but it does feel so different to the other products on the market that promise a lot. Because it has the ‘trigger factor’ technology, it is sending signals to your cells to get moving and prompt renewal.
I’m a huge believer in dry body brushing – it’s the only thing other than this cream that has caused any improvement in my cellulite – so imagine the combo of both?! I meant talk about a dynamic duo…
I’m sold. Mainly, because it means that my super-duper healthy exercise and diet regimen can continue…YAY!
The Louvre was the perfect setting for the final show of the spring/summer 2020 season. As we walked through the courtyard, passed the iconic glass pyramid, the sense of anticipation was firmly in the air. The contrast of the grandiose and distinctly paired back set made us question what it was that we were about to see. Here is everything you need to know about the Louis Vuitton SS20 collection…
Nicholas Ghesquiere’s Louis Vuitton SS20 collection was a triumph.
Belle Epoque and Dandy references ran throughout the show. Prints inspired by stained glass windows in the most brilliant of colours covered everything from coats with exaggerated sleeve detailing to A-line skirts and tops.There were 60’s references too, with stripes and jacquard having a moment.
The full sleeve, that we have seen throughout the season, was back on white dresses which would be the perfect antidote to princess bridal wear.
Sustainability was key
With being more Eco on everyones minds, we would later find out that the wood that formed the set was sourced entirely from suitability managed forest in France. These would then be donated for reuse as part of a partnership with ArtStock, ‘whose mission is to recycle and epicycle elements from artists productions in order to preserve the environment.’
You’ll be adding A LOT of Louis Vuitton SS20 to your accessories wishlist
As always, the accessories are highly covetable. We’ll take the VHS bag, multi coloured circular bag and cloches, thank you very much.
The Soundtrack was incredibly moving
The show opened with a gigantic digital projection of the artist Sophie, whose ‘It’s Okay to Cry’ formed the rather moving soundtrack for what was about to come.
The FROW was the starriest of the entire season
The front row read like that of a red carpet awards ceremony with Hollywood and the UK’s finest in attendance with everyone from Justin Timerblake and Jessica Biel to Cody Fern and Alicia Vikander to Indya Moore all in show stopping Vuitton looks.
It brought a tear to the eye. Whether it was because the clothes were all simply stunning, Sophie’s soundtrack was incredibly moving or this signified the end of a long fashion month, one thing is for certain, we are fully here for and want to live in the Louis Vuitton world.
There is so much more to shaving your legs than you think. You might well have nailed your technique over the years, however keep reading our how to shave your legs guide as you never know we could make things easier for you.
Dr Anita Sturnham, Venus Skincare Ambassador, shared some of her top hair removal tips with us, including how best to shave those hard-to-reach areas, how to avoid red bumpy rashes and which razors to avoid…
1. Use the right razor
It might be tempting to run into the supermarket and buy a pack of those super cheap orange disposable razors, but you pay for what you get. As Dr Sturnham, explains: ‘There are some things in our home beauty routines that really are worth investing in.’ And a good razor is definitely one of them. The key things to look for when buying a razor are: how many blades does it have, does it have a moisture strip, does it have a stationary or rotating head?
The number of blades will cut down the time and pressure needed for each shave. The moisture strips will help the razor glide over skin, as well as conditioning the skin preventing it from drying out. And a rotating head won’t get stuck on those tricky areas, like knees and ankles.
This might seem like a weird one, but we’re pretty sure that at some point in life you’ve been in a rush, whacked out a razor and started to dry shave to save time. Dry shaving is one of the biggest causes of shaving rash and irritation, so just don’t do it. Unsurprisingly, you want to be in the shower or the bath. You want to make sure that your skin is super hydrated and that the hair is completely damp. Dr Sturnham recommends you soak the skin for 2-3 minutes before tackling your stubble with the razor.
3. Invest in a shaving cream
In the past you might have used your shower gel or your conditioner, which is definitely better than nothing. However, shaving creams or gels have been specifically formulated to work in conjunction with the razors and your skin, as they’re super hydrating and lubricating. Other products can also blunt your razors, so don’t leave shaving cream off your next shopping list.
Exfoliating is the step that most people are likely to skip, as they don’t see the relevance it has to hair removal. However, it is in fact one of the most important, as it improves the texture and tone of your skin, lifts away dead skin cells and helps prevent ingrown hairs. Ingrown hairs are caused by clogged hair follicles and, so regular use of the best body scrub will stop them occurring. Try and do it once or twice a week, in between shaves.
5. Change up your blade
How often do you change the blade on your razor? When your remember? When it starts to cut you? A blunt razor causes more damage than it’s worth – you’ll find your skin gets more irritated, it will end up nicking your skin and causing small cuts and you won’t get the smooth shave you want (hello random patches of hair). Dr Sturnham recommends changing your blade after 10 uses. If you can’t remember how many times you’ve used it, be sure to change it at least once a month.
6. Keep skin taut
When shaving your knees or ankles, be sure to straighten your legs to keep the skin stretched. This will help keep your razor in good contact with the skin, making for a smoother shave. There are some razors now with flexible heads, like the Gillette Venus Swirl Flexiball, which more with the contours making for a much nicer shave.
7. Finish with some moisture
The final step after shaving your legs should always be to apply a soothing and hydrating moisturiser. Opt for one that’s rich in natural oils that will lock in the moisture.
Well, fashion month is almost over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t style get plenty of style inspiration. After London Fashion Week and Milan Fashion Week, it’s now over to Paris from some seriously covetable looks.
Where Milan and London featured more daring and colourful looks, the French capital is all about chic and understatement (bien sûr), and the likes of Anna Vitiello, Bettina Looney, Caroline Daur, Jeanne Damas and Olivia Palermo have so far not disappointed us with their outfits.
Paris street style trends
With the arrival of autumn – and lots of rain – it’s been trench coat central, which by no means means boring. Think faux leather, pleats and a neutral palette ranging from beige to white and khaki.
Oversized is the silhouette of the season, with loosely tailored suits, blazers and jumpsuits (include that Frankie Shop one) taking over the Parisian cobbles.
At Dior we saw a feminine take on proceedings. Naturally there were plenty of tulle skirts and cinched in checked blazers, as well as matching bags and coats.
Over at Saint Laurent, thinks got way more minimalistic, this was the home of the tuxedo after all. Therefore, there were plenty of little black dresses, black coats and suits, either dressed up with naked sandals, or down with biker boots, Parisian style.
Paris street style accessories
In terms of accessories, sandal season is officially over, and the boot reigns king. Chunky hiking boots are de rigueur, preferably paired with a floaty dress, and tan or brown knee-high boots are a must also.
Then of course, there is always room for the statement piece, because it is Fashion Week and you do want to get papped. There have been plenty of Comme des Garcons boots, Balenciaga trainers and Bottega Veneta bags, and that’s without counting the chunky jewellery. Paris is always a good one for people watching.
The double cleanse is not to be scoffed at – nothing cleans your skin like it. And it all starts with an oil cleanser. This Nuxe one is slightly different in that it’s a bi-phase, which means its part oil, part micellar water, but don’t be fooled it’s a cracking first step. It breaks down and removes all traces of make-up and dirt from the day. Which leads on to…
The foaming cleanser, which gets rid of the rest. Kate Somerville is one of those brands that after your first try, you’ll be a convert for life. This is her bestselling cleanser, which also nibbles away at dead skin leaving you with a smooth complexion.
How great is it when a worldwide cult beauty product doesn’t require you to remortgage your house?! Pixi Glow is your go-to product when skin is looking dull and lacklustre. A few swipes of this on a cotton pad morning and night and you’ll be glowing in no time.
Whilst £18.50 is quite steep for one sheet mask, you can actually use this one more than once (up to three times) and it’s definitely one of the best sheet masks in our opinion. It’s the perfect pick-me-up before a night out or a nourishing boost on a Sunday evening. It will also suit those who hate how drippy the wet ones are.
If you’ve never heard of Lixir, you are most welcome for this introduction. It’s one of those brands that’s super efficacious, but not bank manager-angering. Lixirskin believe that less is more and don’t want you having to use too many products in your routine. This night serum has a blend of three acids that exfoliate, reduce pigmentation and encourage cell turnover. Not bad for £20.
Ask any beauty editor, ‘which budget skincare brand would you recommend?’ every single one of them will say The Ordinary. It was created for the sole purpose of giving good skin to the masses and proving that you don’t have to fork out half your pay cheque on effective skincare. This serum is excellent at targeting fine lines and wrinkles, but if you’re new to vitamin A, then go for their lower doses of 0.2% or 0.5%.
Another cracker of a skincare brand that won’t break the bank. Their ethos is to cut through the beauty bullshit and deliver products that focus on single ingredients that will vastly improve your skin’s health and appearance. Everyone, no matter the skin type, should have a hyaluronic acid serum in their life as hydration is key to great skin.
Lanolin is a wonder ingredient – it’s a natural wax found on sheep’s wool and is used to soothe dry, cracked and chapped skin, because it is so similar to the lipids found in our own skin. Lanolips, can obviously be used on dry lips, but also on cuticles, small burns, wounds, nipples, pretty much anywhere. This is one of those products that you should keep on you at all times. In fact, keep one in every handbag.
This moisturiser gained cult beauty status after it was spotted backstage at practically every show during the various fashion weeks across the globe. Make-up artists love it because no matter how dry and tired the model’s faces are, this acts as an instant hydration-booster and gives skin the perfect blank canvas. A way that we love using it is to refresh make-up half way through the day or just before you go out after work. Pop a little bit onto the back of your hand and then using a big bushy brush, buff the cream into your skin. It’ll rid the skin of any dry patches, whilst also defusing any foundation build up.
A total classic this one. This micellar water is loved by so many people and with good reason. It doesn’t irritate skin, it removes all make-up (even water-resistant stuff), refreshes the skin and most importantly: comes in way under twenty pounds.
This is one of the best spot treatments out there. If you wake up to find a whopper on your chin, then pop this on straight away under your make-up. It’s clear so won’t be obvious that you’re wearing anything and then as you go about your day it will purify your pores, exfoliate and remove any excess oil.
YourGoodSkin is a brand that was created by derms, scientists and real women. This is the hero product from the range. It promises to give you visibly healthier skin in 28 days. It even has a little window at the back that shows you how much you’ve used, which day you’re on and how much longer you have to go. So if you find that your skin is a little bit off kilter, swap your normal serum in for this for a month and you’ll notice that it improves the texture, tone, radiance, oiliness and moisture of the skin. All of that for only £14 – winner.
As we move into Autumn, your skin will start to feel the cold just as much as the rest of your body. We find that a soothing, hydrating serum is just what’s needed to prevent any flare ups. Avène products are super gentle and won’t cause irritation.
If you want an entry-level retinol, this is it. It contains three types of retinol, but they’re suspended in a soothing cream so it won’t aggravate the skin like some punchy retinol serums can. Plus, look at that price.
The best eye cream is hard to come by, because we ask so much of them. This one is ideal for when you need to perk tired eyes up. The sponge tip is gentle enough for the delicate area and the caffeine and ginseng brighten dark circles and reduce puffiness respectively.
Often you think that to find a good anti-ageing product you need to shell out quite a bit of money, but Olay continues to show us that this is wrong. Their Total Effects range continues to win awards for its ability to keep us looking younger for longer.
Caudalie’s Vinopure range vastly improved our fashion editor’s blemish-prone skin and now she won’t use anything else. Their newest gel cleanser completes the range and really helps to reduce excess oil on the skin and clear out blocked pores.
The cleanser that changed a thousand faces. Liz Earle’s famed face wash can be found in beauty cupboard up and down the country. Why? Because it’s a brilliant cleanser and exfoliator and because at £15.50 is a beauty bargain.
Our beauty editor, Katie Thomas, loves, loves, loves this cleanser. It’s removes all make-up – even the tough to budge mascaras – it’s ridiculously gentle and doesn’t strip the skin, so never leaves it feeling tight. A perfect everyday face wash.
If you’ve ever had a really busy week, followed by an even messier weekend, then come Sunday your skin needs some serious TLC. This charcoal clay face mask will be your skin’s best friend on occasions like this – it draws out any impurities from your pores and restores things back to normal for Monday morning. If only you could apply to your insides as well.
You would have to be living under a rock not to have heard about the climate strike today, with the movement trending on all social media platforms and literally taking over cities across the world in force.
But what are the climate strikes?
Today marks the climate strikes, a worldwide protest, that was started by a group of school children.
The climate strikes saw students boycott school in order to march for action over climate change. But today’s march – the latest in a series spearheaded by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg – is said to be the largest so far, with hundreds of cities across the world (an estimated 150 countries took part) taking to the streets.
Not only this, but the climate strikes far exceeded expectations, with record numbers joining the schoolchildren on the streets.
From Australia and Indonesia to Sweden and Germany, people came out in force all over the world, holding banners and calling out chants against climate change.
‘It’s quite right that students and today’s younger generation should have serious concerns about the climate crisis and its effect on the environment,’ the Dalai Lama tweeted. ‘They are being very realistic about the future. They see we need to listen to scientists. We should encourage them.’
‘We are on school strike for the climate’, Greta Thunberg announced in a video released to her Twitter, before encouraging people to spend their Fridays waiting outside parliament to prompt action.
‘Some people say we should be in school instead’, she continued. ‘But why should we be studying for a future that soon will be no more and when no one is doing anything whatsoever to save that future?’
Whereabouts in the world are people tweeting from about the climate strike?
We’ve searched high and low to find this year’s trailblazers who are working hard to make the world a happier, safer and better place for women in 2019
We sat down with our 10 game-changing females to learn more about what motivates them, and keeps them inspired…
The digital campaigner
Seyi Akiwowo, 28, is the founder and executive director of Glitch, a not-for-profit organisation designed to end online abuse. In 2014, she was elected as the youngest black female councillor in east London, aged 23, serving four years before launching Glitch in 2017. Last year, she presented to the 38th United Nations Human Rights Council on online gender-based violence and was named Amnesty International’s Human Rights Defender.
If something important doesn’t exist, make it. After I experienced online abuse, I faced a number of challenges when accessing justice and support – there was very little guidance, no road-mapping available and no trauma response services to help victims. So, I started the first organisation in the UK fighting online abuse, supporting women and young girls from online harm, and helping them stand up for their rights. This began as an online campaign, which led to several media opportunities on ITV London, BBC News and Channel 5 News, before social-media companies took action. Glitch was established so that no woman has to go through such lengths to be safe online.
Online abuse affects all of us. Over half of adults reported having a harmful experience last year, and it disproportionately affects women and girls. Globally, women are 27 times more likely to be harassed online than men, and this is a whole lot worse for women of colour. Through Glitch, we send a strong statement that gendered online abuse and violence can no longer go unaddressed. We all – businesses, brands, employers, political parties, parents, educators and governments – must play our part as digital citizens to ensure innovation and technology does not exacerbate existing inequalities, and protect our online spaces.
Invest in yourself. As we grow the Glitch team, I’m investing time in becoming the leader I’ll be proud of in ten years. This involves therapy, coaching, podcasts and reading a lot of books, as well as scheduling my day around when I’m most productive. Figure out how you operate best, and go with it.
The Wikipedia warrior
Physicist and activist Dr Jess Wade, 30, is a research associate at Imperial College London and an advocate for women in science and engineering. After rising to prominence for editing the Wikipedia profiles of unknown female scientists and bringing their achievements to the masses, Dr Wade has spent the past two years trying to improve representation of women, people of colour and LGBTQ+ scientists via Wikipedia
Lift others as you climb. I love celebrating the achievements of others, both online and offline. If you see someone doing something outstanding, nominate them for an award, or tell them they’re fantastic. Don’t be afraid of asking for help, either. Find a mentor who will advocate for your brilliance.
Make time for what’s important. Working in research means you’re always on your toes. There’s lots of lab time, meetings and data analysis and because of this, I do my Wiki profile work out of hours. There are so many outstanding people doing wonderful things in science but not getting the recognition they deserve – it is an immense privilege to document their stories.
Never stop reading. A life-changing event for me was reading Angela Saini’s book, Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong – And The New Research That’s Rewriting The Story. It looks at how biased researchers have used bad science to make claims about women’s inferiority. Angela’s book taught me how wrong they were, but also about the women who, throughout history, have called them out. This inspired my Wikipedia editing, and I took it all over the world to give to scientists I met, before starting my campaign.
The theatre trailblazer
Lynette Linton, 29, is artistic director at London’s Bush Theatre. Earlier this year, she co-directed Richard II at the Globe Theatre with Adjoa Andoh. It was the first ever UK staging of a Shakespeare play to feature a company of women of colour
Being in a theatre for the first time was uncomfortable. I was 15 and didn’t feel I ‘belonged’. It was a long time before I began to see stories like mine on stage. Now we’re in a place where people running venues are listening. One of my aims is to braid our community further into theatre so they influence the work on stage, and vice versa.
Collaboration is key. Remember you’re not in this alone. Work hard to find mentors and other women to look up to, building a supportive network around yourself. I make sure the way I work is collaborative – at the Bush we make decisions including programming together. I value everyone’s opinion on that team because that’s how you make art.
The path isn’t always obvious, but stick with it. While working in the food hall of John Lewis, I joined the National Youth Theatre, which led me to meet the director Rikki Beadle-Blair. He gave me the confidence to write Step, which was later produced at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. The production led to directing jobs at the Gate Theatre and Donmar Warehouse, including a production of Lynn Nottage’s Sweat. Working with Lynn Nottage [the only woman to win the Pulitzer Prize twice] highlighted how important it is to pass the baton on to the next generation.
Be mindful of language. I’ve banned the word ‘risk’ in the theatre because all art is ‘risky’, particularly if you’re a woman of colour. It’s important to look past the boxes you are put into by society. ‘Risk’ is regarded as negative but some of the most incredible shows I’ve seen are the ones we might call ‘risky’.
The firefighting champion
Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, 36, is one of the most senior female firefighters in the UK, and her research into firefighters’ safety has landed her ten international science awards. Her book, The Heat Of The Moment: Life And Death Decision-Making From A Firefighter, is out now
Being brave doesn’t mean not being afraid. It means doing something despite being afraid. When I was 15, I was homeless after my father died and family communications broke down. I sold the Big Issue and slept rough, then at 18, I joined the fire service. Now I’m a Big Issue ambassador, helping to give people on the fringes of society a voice. Because I’d spent so long trying to hide the fact I’d been homeless, the thought of speaking about it publicly made me nervous, but your circumstances don’t define you. I’ve been overwhelmed by the response from other women in similar situations, saying they now have hope.
The worst experiences shape you in incredible ways. A few years into my career, I responded to an incident in which my husband – also a firefighter – was nearly killed. It was the most difficult experience because I was torn between the role of a loved one and the role of a responder. He was fine, but our colleague was badly burned. In order to cope, I studied ways of reducing human error to make firefighters safer, studying all the way to PhD while working. Our research – exploring how brains work under pressure – changed national policy and was adopted by all UK emergency services.
My goal is to challenge stereotypes. This industry is just five per cent women, and I want the role of a firefighter to appeal to more of us. This isn’t because I believe in arbitrary quotas, but because being a firefighter is hard and we need the very best. Being different freed me from the constraints of a stereotype, allowing me to not only push the boundaries but also to create my own and make a real impact.
The media powerhouse
Emma Barnett, 34, is a BBC broadcaster, journalist and author. Presenting the morning programme on BBC Radio 5 Live and Late Night Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4. This year, she joined the Newsnight team as part of an all-female line-up, and her first book, Period., is out this month. Her agenda-setting interviews, grilling the likes of former prime minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, have won her legions of fans and accolades.
Take the lead part in your life. Plenty of people treat themselves like an ‘extra’, instead of playing the lead. Plotting your path and the next step is crucial because no one else is going to do it for you. It’s something I’ve consciously done throughout my career. I haven’t necessarily known exactly what’s next but, especially in an industry like mine, you often have to be entrepreneurial about your next move. When I worked at The Telegraph, there had never been a women’s editor, so I pitched the idea to the deputy editor. If you can’t see a way out of your role, you have to create the one you want. Go for it, and worry about the details later. Just ensure you’re always taking an active part in what’s next for you.
Share the wealth. There’s more than enough to go round. I love helping people figure out their careers and introducing them to others who may be of use, both personally and professionally. A lot of careers advice tends to be quite selfish, but don’t forget you’re part of a community. I think a healthy approach is to always be thinking of ways you can broaden somebody else’s horizons. Giving something back not only feels good but it also often comes back to you later down the line.
Keep asking questions. And listen to the answers. When going for a job interview, for instance, the more questions you ask, the better you can assess whether a role is right for you. Sometimes, in the rush to move up or on, we make bad decisions, so it pays to be as prepared as possible by really doing your research.
The financial game changer
Former management consultant Alice Tapper, 27, is the founder and author of Go Fund Yourself, an online platform and community designed to make personal finance more relevant and relatable. Working as a consultant for financial institutions and start-ups, Tapper’s accessible money guides, digital masterclasses and weekly news bulletins focus on making complex topics digestible and entertaining. Her book, Go Fund Yourself, was released in July.
My career was born out of frustration. First, was the obvious problem that no one receives a financial education. We’re taught about Pythagoras and tectonic plates, but not how to budget, what interest rates are or why investing is a good idea. Instead, financial literacy tends to be inherited from parents. Over half of 22- to 29-year-olds have no savings. Personal finance is in need of an urgent facelift, which is how Go Fund Yourself came about.
I’m driven by a desire to combat shame around money. When I was researching my book, I spoke to many people about it, and their relationship with it. But my eyes were really opened when several close friends told me about their own crippling debt – I had no idea. I do what I do to empower and equip others, particularly young people, with the tools and inspiration to feel good about their money, and make better financial choices.
Great things are not achieved from your comfort zone. Generally speaking, the younger you are the less you have to lose, so put yourself out there. Taking calculated risks – like when I left my safe, corporate job to run Go Fund Yourself – can really pay off, but you have to be brave enough to try.
Perspective is key. Like many people, I’m prone to catastrophising, and I do it often. But I can’t name an occasion where things turned out even half as bad I thought they might have. Competition is a great example. I thought about the idea for Go Fund Yourself for over a year before I did anything about it. Other people were doing cool stuff and I felt like there was no room. But, the reality is, nobody can or should have an entire field to themselves; competition is good.
The humanitarian hero
Dr Sonia Adesara, 29, is a junior doctor and campaigner who believes everybody should have access to healthcare. As part of the Doctors For Choice UK team, she campaigns for the decriminalisation of abortion. The #AskHerToStand director is also passionate about encouraging women from diverse backgrounds to enter politics, as well as ending NHS charging for migrants and reducing racism in hospitals.
Tragedy shaped my career. My aunt died in hospital when she was 23 and, to this day, we don’t know why. After investigating, my mother was told her sister’s notes had ‘got lost’. This made me want to provide the best possible care to every patient. Sometimes, being a troublemaker is a good thing. Don’t be afraid to speak out. I use Twitter as a way of getting views out and raising awareness. I also do the tweets for Doctors For Choice UK, trying to counter misinformation and share facts around abortion. I remember learning at school that, prior to the NHS, people used to die of preventable illnesses because they couldn’t afford healthcare. I think I knew then that it was something I wanted to be part of.
Find your inspiration. My grandma shaped my career and life. Born in a village in India, her parents died when she was eight, and she was married off to a much older and abusive man. As a teenager, she left him and arrived in Uganda illiterate and with a baby, determined to make a better life. When I find myself questioning myself or what people think of me, I think of her. She didn’t make those sacrifices for me to take my privileges for granted.
Be curious. A couple of years ago, I volunteered for an outreach clinic in London and saw the impact a hostile environment, NHS charging and immigration policies have on people living on our streets. A young woman who’d been trafficked told me she was too scared to get help in case she was detained or deported. The experience made me adamant that our immigration policies were wrong and inhumane, and led me to campaign with other doctors to end them.
The groundbreaking scriptwriter
Laurie Nunn, 33, is the screenwriter and creator of Netflix’s smash hit Sex Education, starring Gillian Anderson and Asa Butterfield. The show won universal praise for its accurate portrayal of sex and friendships, and was estimated to have been watched by 40 million viewers. Prior to this, Nunn’s play, King Brown, won a judge’s award at the 2017 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. She has also had projects developed with major companies including Kudos, Channel 4 and Revolution Film.
I owe everything to my mentors. From university tutors to my agent and producers who commissioned early work from me. It was actually my secondary school media teacher, Miss Wolf, who encouraged me to apply for film school. I’d told her it ‘wasn’t worth it because not many women get in’. Her telling me, ‘You’ll never know if you don’t try’ really kick-started my career. The inspiration for Sex Education came from people and experiences in my own life – students I went to school with as a teenager, relationships with family and teachers, as well as formative friendships.
TV can change your life. When I was in my early twenties, I discovered a love of TV through box sets. By that time, I knew I wanted to focus on screenwriting and realised that telly was the medium where writers are most central. I was hugely inspired by female television writers like Shonda Rhimes, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Issa Rae, Jill Soloway and Sharon Horgan. When creating Sex Education, I decided to focus on issues such as consent, body positivity and female pleasure/desire, in a funny and accessible way that hopefully encourages people to have a more open dialogue about things we usually find uncomfortable and awkward to talk about. The show provides a great opportunity to have a frank conversation about sex with a teen audience.
Clarity is kindness. Be brave and tell people you work with when you’re unhappy about something. When you find other creative people who you love working with, don’t take them for granted, no matter where they are in their career. Having an affinity with a collaborator is more important than working with someone more ‘successful’ who doesn’t really understand what kind of work you want to create.
The pioneering playwright
Cash Carraway, 38, is an award-winning playwright and author of Skint Estate, her memoir of being a working-class woman below the poverty line in modern Britain. Her play, Refuge Woman – about state violence and poverty porn – was nominated for Best Innovation at the British Journalism Awards in 2018.
Inspiration can strike anywhere. I was working in a Soho strip joint in London shortly before my mum threw me out. After finishing late one night, I walked down Shaftesbury Avenue and saw the words ‘Shopping’ and ‘Fucking’ lit up in neon on the Gielgud Theatre. A few days later, my friend and I bunked off school and went to a matinee, which changed my life. It was a play written in a vulgar language that I understood. It inspired me to know you could write in the same way you spoke, and be so honestly obscene in the retelling of your own story that it becomes a crude art form.
Never underestimate the power of believing in someone. When I was 17, I wrote a play called Knife Fight In A Phone Box, which I put on at school. One girl said it was embarrassing to reveal parts of my private life, and I was so embarrassed I never went back to school. Weeks later, my drama teacher wrote me a letter to say how much he enjoyed my play, and that no matter what I did with my life, I should carry on writing. His encouragement meant everything and it helped me realise it’s crucial to find a way to tell your stories, whatever your age or circumstances.
Ruffle feathers. When something doesn’t feel right, speak up. In the past, I’ve found myself going along with things that make me feel uncomfortable so that I don’t cause offence. I’m aware this comes from a place of privilege. I know from personal experience that it’s almost impossible to speak out if you’re working zero hours for minimum wage, because your bosses constantly make it clear just how disposable they think you are.
Reflect, reflect again, then take action. This is new to me because I’m an emotionally led person. It’s important to speak out when something isn’t right, but it’s only effective if you handle it in the right way. I have some rules I try to stick to: don’t send the angry email as soon as you’ve written it, go for a run or call a friend before you send it instead. Chances are, it needs toning down. And if you’ve been abrupt, always apologise and own your mistakes.
The sustainability innovator
Tara Button, 37, is the founder of BuyMeOnce, the sustainability website designed to help the world ‘throw away its throwaway culture’. Set up in 2016, the site went viral after launching, with everyone from Ashton Kutcher to Caitlin Moran singing its praises, and now sells 2,000 different sustainable products. Button’s debut book, A Life Less Throwaway, was released last year.
A light-bulb moment can happen anytime. The idea for BuyMeOnce came from a Le Creuset pot – strange, but true. I was working in advertising and had been given it for my 30th birthday. I then realised most of the things I had bought up to that point were short-term rubbish. From then on, I wanted to buy the Le Creuset of everything. I looked for a website that sold the longest lasting products, but it didn’t exist. Over time, I found out about the environmental benefits of long-term buying and knew this was a solution to climate change. I built a website and, months later with only 100 products, it went viral and changed everything.
Chase connections. Humans live to connect, but we’re bombarded with messages from consumer culture about glorifying the individual, which makes us self-obsessed, anxious and lonely. The quickest cure for this is to imagine how others are feeling – it’s helped me immeasurably.
Guard your mind. When it comes to saying no to things we don’t need, we have to do that consciously. We receive millions of messages every day in advertising alone. My role now is to give people information, so that they can help make the best future possible, for themselves and the planet.
Draw a line. One of the most freeing things to know is that at any stage, you can draw a line in the sand and decide that life will be better or different from now on. Absolving yourself from past disappointments and moving forward with new vigour is transformative.
Blink and you’ll miss it. Just like that, New York and London Fashion Week are over, and with them a preview of the spring/summer collections from our favourite designers like Victoria Beckham, Rejina Pyo and Erdem.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get another dose of sartorial inspiration, because things have only just kicked off at Milan Fashion Week.
Celebrities such as Nicole Kidman and Ellie Goulding have descended on the Italian fashion capital, to see the new season styles from Prada, Alberta Ferretti, Armani and more.
Editors and influencers from around the world have definitely brought their A-game, and so far from what we’ve spotted, it’s been paired back but chic. Think multi-pocketed jumpsuits, short suits and pleated skirts in 50 shades of beige, cream and brown.
But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some flamboyant styles either – this is Italy after all. We’ve seen plenty of hot pink (the shade of the season for sure, also spotted in New York and London), bold prints and logos aplenty.
Scroll down for our favourite street style looks from Milan Fashion Week.