Ola Ince: ‘Achieving what you want just means you get to dream bigger’

Ola Ince: ‘Achieving what you want just means you get to dream bigger’


We speak to British Theatre Director, Ola Ince, about what ignited her passion for theatre and the power of storytelling

Ola Ince

Words by Niamh McCollum

Next in our #WomenWhoWin series is British Theatre Director, Ola Ince.

A graduate of the Rose Bruford Theatre College, Ola burst on to the drama scene in 2016, after winning The Genesis Future Director Award and staging a provocative production of Amiri Baraka’s Dutchman in the Young Vic Theatre.

The young director also made waves in 2018 with her production of Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, at the Gate Theatre.

Ola’s most recent adaptation of Danai Gurira’s The Convert was shaken up by an all-star cast, including Gurira’s Black Panther co-star Letitia Wright as the lead, and she is currently directing Tina The Musical alongside Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd.

Far from shying away from controversy, Ola is credited for facing it head on by ensuring that her long line of work has stimulated further conversation about colonialism, cultural identity and gender roles within society.

We spoke to Ola about the moment she discovered her passion for directing, her diverse on-stage repertoire and why taking bold actions can really pay off…

‘I was interested in story telling from a young age’

I realised my enthusiasm for directing when my classmates and I were asked to devise a play in secondary school. I remember being amazed at what we made and wanting to do it all the time, so I joined a youth theatre group. From there I went to Brit School, before doing a directing course at Rose Bruford College. I met so many weird and wonderful people, which was a nice contrast from my ordinary school.

 ‘I needed to be brave, so I applied for the Genesis Future Director Award’

In 2016, I was working on big stages as a Theatre Associate, but I wasn’t putting my neck on the line. I pitched my idea for Dutchman, a provocative play set in 1960s New York. I wanted my production to be a thriller inspired by Alfred Hitchcock, and I had some really nuts ideas for the set. Low and behold, I won! I grew lots of muscles during that process. Later on with The Convert, I was really bold about picking superstars to work with. Achieving what you want just means you get to dream even bigger.

‘It’s amazing to see the kind of conversations sparked by plays’

Twilight Los Angeles, 1992, [a one-woman play about the LA riots] stands out to me in how it presented the complexity of the prejudices between Korean Americans, African Americans, and white Americans. One of my upcoming shows, Is God Is?, is a spaghetti western about female strength and empowerment. Black women have long been known as the mules of society, and this play reverses that. Rather than being seen as victims, they are both villains and heroines, which is exciting and unusual.

 ‘I’m proud to have turned a form of expression into a job that I love’

You are often told as a young artist, ‘It’s really nice that you want to be a director, but you are going to be poor and unhappy forever. While your loved ones are getting mortgages and having kids, you will just be a pauper of an artist.’ This year I have learnt that you can have both. Something that I’ve worked on for a really long time is now paying my bills and allowing me to travel the world. It feels good that I no longer have to suffer for my art, and that it’s actually helping me.

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical officially opened at the Aldwych Theatre on 17th April 2018. Tickets are available at www.tinathemusical.com.

The post Ola Ince: ‘Achieving what you want just means you get to dream bigger’ appeared first on Marie Claire.



Ola Ince: ‘Achieving what you want just means you get to dream bigger’

Ola Ince: ‘Achieving what you want just means you get to dream bigger’


We speak to Ola Ince, British Theatre Director, about her thoughts on the changing landscape of British theatre and the power of storytelling.

Ola Ince

Words by Niamh McCollum

Next in our #WomenWhoWin series is British Theatre Director, Ola Ince.

A graduate of the Rose Bruford Theatre College, Ola burst on to the drama scene in 2016, after winning The Genesis Future Director Award and staging a provocative production of Amiri Baraka’s Dutchman in the Young Vic Theatre.

In 2018, Ola also made waves with her production of Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, at the Gate Theatre.

The young director’s most recent adaptation of Danai Gurira’s The Convert was shaken up by an all-star cast, including Gurira’s Black Panther co-star Letitia Wright as the lead, and she is currently directing Tina The Musical on Broadway & in Holland alongside Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd.

Far from opting to shy away from controversy, Ola is credited for running toward it with full force by ensuring that her plays stimulate further conversation about integral themes such as colonialism, cultural identity and gender roles within society.

We spoke to Ola about the moment she discovered her passion for directing, her diverse repertoire and why taking bold actions can really pay off…

‘I was interested in story telling from a young age’

I realised my enthusiasm for directing when my classmates and I were asked to devise a play in secondary school. I remember being amazed at what we made and wanting to do it all the time, so I joined a youth theatre group. From there I went to Brit School, before doing a directing course at Rose Bruford College. I met so many weird and wonderful people, which was a nice contrast from my ordinary school.

 ‘I needed to be brave, so I applied for the Genesis Future Director Award’

In 2016, I was working on big stages as a Theatre Associate, but I wasn’t putting my neck on the line. I pitched my idea for Dutchman,a provocative play set in 1960s New York. We wanted to create an African Alfred Hitchcock thriller, and I had some really nuts ideas for the set. Low and behold, I won! I grew lots of muscles during that process. Later on with The Convert, I was really bold about picking superstars to work with. Achieving what you want just means you get to dream even bigger.

‘It’s amazing to see the kind of conversations sparked by plays’

Twilight Los Angeles, 1992, [a one-woman play about the LA riots] stands out to me in how it presented the complexity of the prejudices between Korean Americans, African Americans, and white Americans. One of my upcoming shows, Is God Is?, is a spaghetti western about female strength and empowerment. Black women have long been known as the mules of society. This play reverses that. Rather than being seen as victims, they are both villains and heroines, which is exciting and unusual.

 ‘I’m proud to have turned a form of expression into a job that I love’

You are often told as a young artist, ‘It’s really nice that you want to be a director, but you are going to be poor and unhappy forever. While your loved ones are getting mortgages and having kids, you will just be a pauper of an artist.’ I have learnt that you can have both. Something that I’ve worked on for a really long time is now paying my bills and allowing me to travel the world. It feels good that I no longer have to suffer for my art, that my art is actually helping me.

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical officially opened at the Aldwych Theatre on 17th April 2018. Book tickets at www.tinathemusical.com.

The post Ola Ince: ‘Achieving what you want just means you get to dream bigger’ appeared first on Marie Claire.



The Body Shop initiative that’s changing the lives of waste pickers in Bangalore

The Body Shop initiative that’s changing the lives of waste pickers in Bangalore


Waste pickers are some of the most deprived communities in India, but a new initiative by The Body Shop is offering them a lifeline. Andrea Thompson went to meet women in Bangalore whose lives are being transformed

waste pickers

It is through clouds of dust, on a dirty rubbish dump that I first see Dolly – her immaculate, brightly coloured sari strangely at odds with her surroundings. The 22-year-old stands under a flapping white plastic awning attempting to shade herself from the intense 35˚c heat, a six-month-old baby girl on her hip. Her aunt and sister-in-law crouch on the ground nearby, busily separating filthy plastic waste from paper, and broken glass with their bare hands, while a small child pads nonchalantly between them, barefoot.

We are in the heart of the fastest growing Indian city of Bangalore. It is unbearably hot, and the air is thick with a grey dust that sticks in the throat. But for Dolly, this is home. As a waste picker, her days are spent with 11 members of her husband’s family, who all live here too, separating waste dumped here from across the city for recycling. ‘I’ve been picking waste since I left school five years ago,’ says Dolly, who moved to India’s busy tech hub of Bangalore last year from her family home in Delhi after getting married. ‘It is hard, sometimes dangerous work. We step on broken glass or get bitten by stray dogs. We get lots of back problems from bending down. But my dream is to make some money so I can have a farm of my own in the countryside. I don’t want my daughter to do this work.’

There are 1.5 million waste pickers like Dolly in India who rely on sorting rubbish and selling on anything recyclable or of monetary value for their livelihoods. As one of the lowliest jobs in society, waste picking is almost exclusively a female role, with the majority of pickers malnourished and living below the poverty line. More than 95 per cent are also Dalits, or the untouchables – the lowest caste in the Hindu system, considered unclean and shunned by Indian society. It’s a precarious job with limited access to education and healthcare, plus a corrupt supply chain. It’s also largely unregulated and subject to volatile pricing. Within the past three years alone, pickers have seen the value of plastic suddenly drop by as much as 60 per cent overnight, leaving many on the point of starvation.

Yet these pickers play a critical role, not just in helping to keep the country’s biggest cities clean, but on a global level by preventing plastic waste from entering our oceans and rivers. That’s no small feat when you consider 80 per cent of the waste in oceans comes from India. In Bangalore alone, pickers collect 1,050 tonnes of recyclable plastic every day.

However, Dolly and her family are, despite first impressions, some of the fortunate ones. They are part of a new initiative launching in May that is set to benefit 2,500 other waste pickers across the city of Bangalore.

The Body Shop, renowned for its ethical trading initiatives, has teamed up with tech business Plastics For Change and Hasiru Dala, a local NGO and social enterprise, to buy 250 tonnes of plastic collected by pickers this year, which will rise to 500 tonnes in 2020. Following a thorough cleaning process, the recycled plastic will be used to package haircare ranges – including its popular Ginger Shampoo, one bottle of which is sold every four seconds – in The Body Shop stores around the world.

‘We are in the midst of a global plastic crisis,’ says Kate Levine, the brand’s global director of communications and activism. ‘But plastic can be a force for good. It’s a commodity they have a lot of in these communities. By buying it like we would do shea butter in Africa, we can set fair conditions and prices, and give access to global markets. The aim is to formalise the process of waste picking and empower these women to be entrepreneurs in their own rights.’

 

‘I’m proud to say I’m an entrepreneur instead of being ashamed of what I do’

 

With the support of Plastics For Change, Hasiru Daala and The Body Shop, Dolly’s family is able to rent the land on which they sort the waste, safe in the knowledge that there is a steady market for recycled plastic, and business opportunities for the future. This gives the family an element of control over their lives. Not to mention a sense of pride in what they do.

‘Here is all the plastic we have sorted and reserved for The Body Shop,’ says Sonia, Dolly’s 14-year-old sister-in-law, as she guides me towards a ring-fenced area full of plastic bottles at the edge of the compound. ‘With this programme we can look to the future, make plans, save some money and provide for the next generation,’ adds her aunt Rekha, 38, gesturing to the youngest member of the family – Saulman, a three-month-old baby who sits peacefully in the arms of his mother Sonya, 28.

The scheme is a fitting addition to The Body Shop’s Community Trade programme, launched by founder Anita Roddick in 1987, under the slogan ‘Trade Not Aid’. Today, 
the initiative benefits 17,000 people in marginalised communities across the world. Key to the scheme is the introduction of ID cards for all pickers, says Nalini Shekar, co-founder of the partner NGO Hasiru Dala, a trade union for waste pickers started in 2010 to offer social protection for workers and their families. It currently has 8,000 members.

waste pickers

‘Once pickers are formalised, rights can be given. They can also open bank accounts and access healthcare services. It means the pickers no longer feel like thieves taking trash from the streets,’ says Shekar. ‘Pickers are drawn from the most vulnerable parts of society – many are victims of domestic violence, or parental alcoholism or death. Our aim is to give the next generation a choice to escape the cycle of waste picking.’

One such woman is Amama, 40, who started working aged seven. ‘My parents were illiterate and my father was an alcoholic,’ she says. ‘My mother couldn’t earn enough waste picking alone to feed us, so I started picking with my siblings to help. As the daughter of a waste picker nobody would give me any other job, 
so this is all I’ve ever known.’ However, Amama’s drive and determination 
to better her life and that of her children’s is typical of the waste pickers we meet. She was trained in managerial skills, thanks to help from Plastics For Change and Hasiru Dala, and now runs her own waste-recycling business. Today, two of her children are at university studying plastic engineering with a view to entering Bangalore’s thriving sustainable tech economy.

‘I’ve worked hard – ten hours a days, seven days a week for many years – and raised three children on picking waste, but the best thing is finding my own voice,’ she says. ‘I’m proud to call myself a feminist and an entrepreneur instead of being ashamed of what I do.’

Amama’s pride is palpable. For the first time, women like Amama have control over their destinies and they feel empowered to keep striving for more. 
‘I don’t ever want to stop working. I love my work. Today I employ nine people, including my own husband,’ she smiles. ‘That’s a wonderful feeling.’

The Body Shop launches Community Trade recycled plastic in stores on 9 May

The post The Body Shop initiative that’s changing the lives of waste pickers in Bangalore appeared first on Marie Claire.

Meet the women putting men’s rights first

Meet the women putting men’s rights first


In the wake of #MeToo, the men’s rights movement is pushing back, supported by women who believe feminism has caused a crisis of masculinity. Marisa Bate reports

men's rights

Every now and then, an advert comes along that is so explosive it feels like a hurricane tearing through the cultural discourse. Opinions ricochet across the political spectrum and, in its wake, the damage is dissected by newspaper columnists, radio pundits and strangers fighting it out on Twitter. Gillette’s recent advert was precisely that.

When ‘We Believe: The Best Men Can Be’ dropped in January, it immediately went viral, clocking up 4 million views in less than 48 hours. Playing on its own strapline, the advert questions whether, after endless sexual misconduct allegations against men, this really is the best men can do. As it comes to a close, scenes of men laughing at women being sexually harassed and a line of dads shrugging ‘boys will be boys’ as they watch their sons brawl on the ground, are replaced with men intervening to stop the catcalling, fights and bullying; becoming role models for a new generation because ‘the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow’.

Aside from the high-profile responses of provocateurs such as Piers Morgan, who swore never to buy Gillette products again, I found myself preoccupied by the responses of women online. Both those who identify as feminists and women whose views are very different to my own. ‘Should we perpetuate a narrative that masculinity is problematic?’ many questioned on Twitter threads and LinkedIn. One of those women was ‘men’s rights activist’ (or MRA) Elizabeth Hobson. ‘That advert was emblematic of the everyday misandry that passes for discourse in our societies,’ she tells me. ‘I thought it was sad that there isn’t more gratitude to men.’ And so began my insight into the world of female MRAs or ‘Honey Badgers’ as they are known. For many, the Gillette advert displayed the anti-men narrative they believe is endemic. ‘If you are going to say there is one set that is more disadvantaged and discriminated against in our society, you have to say it is men and boys,’ she tells me. This is one of many times that Hobson’s words forced my jaw to drop. But that’s the point. It’s not hard to see how she’s become a spokesperson for the movement.

A mother to two sons, 30-year-old Hobson is communications director for a men’s rights registered political party founded by Mike Buchanan called Justice for Men and Boys (J4MB). On its website, features include the fairly ridiculous ‘whiny feminist of the month’, which targets high-profile feminist voices such as Laura Bates, to the wildly irresponsible ‘13 reasons women lie about rape’. (The Crown Prosecution Service estimates that false claims make up around three to four per cent of all rape allegations.)

 

‘If there is one set more discriminated against in society, it has to be men and boys’

 

The movement started in America in the 60s as a reaction to women’s liberation and the rise of the second wave by figures such as Warren Farrell, who is considered the intellectual father of the movement. Today, in the US, Paul Elam, heads up A Voice for Men, the country’s unofficial leading group of the ‘manosphere’ online. Navigating these platforms, it’s hard for me to see anything other than blistering misogyny with a heavy leaning to the alt-right community. But for the female MRAs I speak to, that’s not what it’s about. Instead, they say, it is about ‘equality’.

A few years ago, Hobson started a Facebook page called Ladies 4 Philip Davies – Davies is a Conservative MP for Shipley and political face of the men’s movement in the UK – as a ‘response to the fact that mainstream media harks on that he’s a misogynist. He’s only ever wanted men and women to be equal.’ Yet, Davies’ crusade for so-called equality often comes at the potentially fatal price of blocking legislation for 
female victims of violence. He filibustered a domestic violence bill because of its emphasis on women, sought to block a bill that tried to end the use of the phrase ‘honour killing’, and opposed a bill to make sex education compulsory – all in the name of ‘male equality’. To me, Davies’ political career seems less focused on men and more borderline obsessed with eroding the rights of vulnerable women.

Alongside domestic violence and the criminal justice system, another key issue of the men’s rights movement is what Hobson terms ‘MGM’ (male genital mutilation or circumcision). ‘It’s accepted that FGM is wrong and girls should have bodily autonomy, and yet people seem confused about it when it comes to the circumcision of boys. I think it’s incredibly sad and quite disturbing.’

For MRA Lisa Chamberlain, it was watching her partner become an ‘alienated’ parent to his three children from his former marriage that led her to supporting the movement. ‘From the moment you apply at family court, mothers and fathers are treated differently and men are assumed to be the lesser parent,’ she says. ‘Men are automatically on the back foot. To me, that is not equality.’ It’s worth stating that this isn’t strictly the case. Following divorce, mothers are automatically given parental rights, whereas fathers are only afforded the same rights if they were married to the mother when she gave birth to the child, or is listed on the birth certificate.

However, in 2014, the Children and Family Act was amended to state that there is a presumption (unless the contrary is shown) that the involvement of both parents in a child’s life after separation will further the child’s welfare. Chamberlain’s other key subject is domestic violence. ‘Having been a victim of domestic violence myself, it wasn’t until I started running the Facebook group (Dads Deserve Equality/Equal Rights For Dads) that I realised men could be victims as well. The media’s narrative suggests that it is something that happens to women,’ she says. ‘When you look at the ONS findings, one in three victims are men. We don’t want to take anything away from women, but we want more for men, too.’

 

‘A lot of energy in the men’s rights movement is used to attack feminism’

 

For 49-year-old Rachel Smith* it was the Brett Kavanaugh hearings last September that cemented her support for the movement. Kavanaugh was President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. As his hearings began, Dr Christine Blasey Ford alleged he had sexually assaulted her when they were at college. ‘The #MeToo movement wanted to believe [Dr] Blasey Ford just because she was a woman. I’ve got a son who is 16 and it worried me that he could have a girl accuse him of something that hadn’t happened, but just because she’s a woman, she would be believed,’ says Smith. I mention that Kavanaugh was appointed anyway; Dr Blasey Ford wasn’t believed. ‘But why didn’t she come forward 30 years ago? Where was the evidence?’ she asks.

Like many MRAs, Smith regards the Kavanaugh hearings as an attack on men more widely. ‘Suddenly men are this thing, this cancer, to be cut out and got rid of.’ This, she believes, along with the recent revival of feminism, has led to the emasculation of men. ‘Today, men are so scared to say anything that could be construed as putting a woman down that they daren’t even open a door for a woman,’ she says. ‘They’re scared to be masculine, they’re scared to be chivalrous. They’ve lost their definition of what it is to be a man.’

There are moments in my conversations where I feel like I’ve entered a parallel universe, where as a feminist everything I know to be true is the reverse. Chamberlain says people are more likely to listen to her because she is a woman. She says, ‘Men get shut down on the internet. Nobody listens!’

I was also surprised that none of the women mentioned the alarming suicide rates among men, which is the biggest killer of males under 
45 in the UK. Instead, a lot of the focus is on the behaviours of women, the ‘oppressor’. 
Dr Ana Jordan, a senior lecturer at University of Lincoln who studies gender politics and feminist theory with a particular focus on the men’s rights movement says, ‘A lot of their energy is used to attack feminism.’ Dr Jordan also suggests the rise of these groups come after social, economic and gender changes force a ‘crisis of masculinity,’ 
a phenomenon that some believe dates back to the French Revolution. In response, some men double down, insisting we ‘let men be men’. In turn, feminists pose a threat. But why would a woman support them? ‘There’s a “patriarchal bargain”, these women are afforded privileges that normally come with being a man, such as access to power and authority,’ says Dr Jordan. ‘What they say might seem extreme, but they are tapping into real currents that run through society and reinforcing them.’

Talking to MRAs, I can only conclude their mission is twofold: to restore men to 
a position of absolute privilege in a time when social change threatens the ‘natural’ order of things, and to undermine and silence the women who speak out against injustices against them. Chamberlain told me she wanted more for both men and women. Yet, 
for other groups, like J4BM, it seems that the ‘advancement of men’ is only successful if it comes at the cost of women.

The fact is that some men today do feel threatened by women’s advancement. Yet to turn those feelings into a thinly veiled campaign to silence and undermine women’s struggle is a pitiful and dangerous response from those men and a deeply troubling one from women – not least when you consider the irony that to be a working mother who can rise to the top of a political party is, in many ways, only possible because of the feminist movement.

*Name has been changed

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Report: the dangers of backpacking Down Under

Report: the dangers of backpacking Down Under


A gap year in Oz is a rite of passage for many women. But, as Kerry Parnell reports, backpackers forced by Australian law to work on remote farms in order to extend their visas are risking their lives

backpacking

It was fated that Mia Ayliffe-Chung would go backpacking – the vivacious 20-year-old had the travel gene in her DNA. Her mother, Rosie, was a travel-guide writer, who conceived Mia in Goa and took her as a baby when she toured Turkey compiling The Rough Guide. ‘She was like me,’ says Rosie, 55. ‘When I set foot in a foreign place, I’d feel a surge of freedom.’ Inspired by her mum, Mia set off on her own round-the-world backpacking trip in 2016, hoping to find adventure. ‘She posted two photos online from Goa, one of each of us on an Enfield motorbike,’ says Rosie. ‘I didn’t even know my photo existed; she must have stolen it from one of her dad’s albums. I realised then she was following in my footsteps.’

After backpacking through Southeast Asia, Mia arrived in Australia. Falling in love with the country, she decided to extend her working holiday visa for a second year. Afterwards, she planned to return to the UK and use her childcare qualification to set up a nursery with her mother, now a teacher, in their Derbyshire village. But Mia never returned home. On 23 August 2016, she was brutally murdered in a hostel in Home Hill, North Queensland, a small town 13 hours north of Brisbane.

Mia had been working on a cane farm in a remote location she would never have chosen to visit were it not for a much criticised Australian law. In order to qualify for a second year in the country, backpackers on a working visa – of which there are about 211,000 – have to complete 88 days of specified work, and results in thousands of young people travelling to remote areas to find employment. By doing so, some – particularly young women – unknowingly put themselves in danger. The man who stabbed Mia to death was fellow farmhand and backpacker Smail Ayad, 29. The Frenchman was sleeping in Mia’s dormitory and is alleged to have developed an obsession with his beautiful roommate. Fellow British traveller Tom Jackson, 30, came to Mia’s aid when Ayad dragged her from her bunk, but was also stabbed and later died in hospital. Ayad will not face trial and has been detained in a mental-health facility while awaiting deportation to France.

When Rosie travelled to Australia to collect her daughter’s body, she was appalled by the conditions that Mia had lived and worked in. She subsequently embarked on a mission to bring reform to the visa scheme and quickly became a central point for young people sharing their horrific experiences. Rosie knew nothing of the 88-day scheme, but assumed that because it was a government requirement, it would be regulated. She found the opposite. Incidents of sexual assault were common, as well as a number of high-profile kidnapping cases.

In March, Gene Charles Bristow, a 54-year-old farmer was found guilty of kidnap and rape of a 26-year-old Belgian backpacker after luring her to his property in Meningie, South Australia on the promise of farm work. Instead, he shackled and assaulted her in a pig shed. In 2017, Perth winery owner Peter Raymond Costa, 57, was found guilty of raping a 24-year-old Japanese backpacker. The same year, 27-year-old German backpacker Jennifer Kohl was crushed to death by a mower on an avocado farm in Queensland, and Belgian backpacker Olivier Max Caramin, 27, died from suspected heatstroke while picking watermelons.

Rosie has set up the charity Tom & Mia’s Legacy, as well as the farm work review site 88daysandcounting.com, saying she will not stop campaigning until she has effected real change. ‘While the 88 days is still creating situations where young women can be locked up and raped by men posing as Australian agriculturalists, I won’t stop in my endeavours to campaign for change,’ she says. She also wants to ensure backpackers are aware of their workers’ rights, as they are often financially exploited by farmers and hostels, too. ‘I heard about agencies that promised work when there was none,’ says Rosie. ‘Also, that farmers had underpaid workers, hostels charged exorbitant fees and confiscated passports. Tom had tried to leave Home Hill days before his murder, but his passport had been withheld.

‘I heard that farmers had underpaid workers and confiscated passports’

The Fair Work Ombudsman Harvest Trail Inquiry, published in November 2018, found that almost a third of backpackers did not receive some or all of their wages, 14 per cent had to pay fees to secure work and over a third were paid less than the minimum wage (AUD$18.93/about
£10 an hour). Many were paid nothing at all, with the promise that their visa requirements would be signed off instead. Former British high commissioner to Australia, Menna Rawlings supports Rosie. ‘We raised concerns with the Australian government about the conditions that young British backpackers can face when working in remote areas, including drawing attention to the aims of Tom & Mia’s Legacy,’ she says.

There has been some progress with the Australian government setting up a Migrant Worker Taskforce and introducing the Modern Slavery Act. However, the country recently announced a third year working visa if backpackers work even longer on farms. The Harvest Trail Inquiry concluded in November last year, with inspectors investigating 638 businesses around the nation. They found over half had breached workplace laws. ‘We will continue to monitor employers,’ said Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker. ‘Growers and labour hire operators can expect to face further action if they do not comply with Australia’s workplace laws.’

Emma Reynolds, senior journalist at News.com.au, who has extensively covered the issue, thinks this is just the start. ‘There’s definitely still nowhere near enough being done to ensure backpackers are safe while working on Australian farms,’ she says. Reynolds has interviewed dozens of travellers, many of them young and female, who shared their experiences of sexual harassment and assault, serious injury, emotional abuse and unsafe working and living conditions. Their testimonies have led her to the conclusion that, if the Australian government insists on running a programme in which backpackers are encouraged to complete this work in exchange for visa extensions, then it’s the government’s responsibility to enforce rigorous standards. Reynolds says monitoring is vital, as many of the farms are in extremely remote locations. ‘A few steps have been made, but this is just the beginning,’ she says. ‘There should be strict rules for accreditation and regular spot checks on approved workplaces. It doesn’t reflect well on Australia, which prides itself as a safe and welcoming travel destination.’

Tracey MacCorquodale, an executive assistant from Canada, witnessed first-hand the casual sexual exploitation to which backpacking travellers are susceptible while working in remote areas. At 27, she was older than the other women she worked alongside at a farm in Mildura, Victoria. When she arrived, she was surprised to see everyone was female and wearing bikinis. ‘I was told the farmer didn’t like to wear underwear and I would probably see him exposing his genitals at some point. Sure enough, I soon saw him on a tractor with his legs up,’ she says. ‘I also found out that wearing skimpy clothing was expected if you were working there.’ Tracey’s advice to anyone considering doing farm work or staying on for an extra 88 days is simple: don’t. ‘Do your year, have fun and go home,’ she says. ‘I’d never advise anyone to put themselves in such a risky scenario.’

Business graduate Chelsey*, 31, agrees. Like Tracey, she found herself in Mildura on a grape farm after replying to an advert requesting female workers. ‘The farmer was very friendly,’ she said. ‘On the second day, we went into town and bought cakes for everyone.’ As she had an accountancy qualification, the farmer offered her bookkeeping work and suggested she stay for a beer after hours, then he’d give her a lift back to the hostel. On the way home, he stopped the truck and grabbed her. Alarmed, Chelsey got out and stumbled into a ditch. ‘The next thing I know, he was on top of me,’ she says. ‘I started punching, kicking and screaming. All of a sudden, he snapped out of it, stood up and casually just got back in the truck. He drove me back to the hostel in silence.’ Chelsey reported the incident to the police, but no charges were brought. Six months later, the farmer sexually assaulted a Swedish backpacker and was placed on a community corrections order.

While most visitors backpacking around Australia return home having had the trip of a lifetime, Tracey and Chelsey advise caution, particularly in remote areas. ‘You have to be really careful, especially as a single female traveller,’ says Chelsey. Rosie told Mia the same thing. ‘There’s a word in Turkish which means travel wide awake,’ she says. ‘But, unfortunately, evil came when Mia was sleeping. I don’t have any anger towards Australia,’ she adds, and she still encourages young people to go backpacking. Something that comforts Rosie is that Mia is still travelling, too. Her ashes, split into multiple vials, are being scattered by her friends all over the world in the places she never got to see.

Off backpacking soon? Here’s how to travel safely

Know your rights: Backpackers can learn their work rights at fairwork.gov.au.
Ask around: Tom & Mia’s Legacy advises using social media for backpacking recommendations. Visit 88daysandcounting.com.
Don’t take risks: Just because you’re on holiday, don’t let your guard down. ‘Australia has earned its reputation as a safe place for foreign nationals to visit,’ says Leo Seaton from Tourism Australia. ‘But, as with any overseas travel, we advise travellers to exercise care and caution.’
Need help: Call 000 for Australian emergency services. For urgent consular assistance, visit gov.uk/world/Australia.
Get insured: Buy comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you go backpacking. The policy also needs to cover all of your medical costs, including an air ambulance.

*Name has been changed. Photographs by Caters News Agency, Getty Images, Naomie Jellicoe/Newspix, Rex/Shutterstock

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‘Female cotton farmers in Pakistan will be the voice of empowerment and gender equality’

‘Female cotton farmers in Pakistan will be the voice of empowerment and gender equality’


Trailblazing sustainable farming practices in Pakistan, an increasing number of female cotton farmers are defying social convention to drive positive change, writes Nicola Moyne

Female cotton farmers

Sustainable farming practices are firmly on the agenda in Pakistan thanks to a growing community of female cotton farmers who are leading the charge for tackling climate change – as well as empowering women to take on equal responsibilities in the fields and family businesses.

In rural Pakistan, where approximately 1.5 million smallholder farmers rely on cotton for their living, this means overcoming entrenched attitudes towards stereotypical gender roles and actively pursuing leadership opportunities. For women like Almas Parveen (pictured), the cultural, practical and financial hurdles faced to farm cotton more sustainably are challenging, but not insurmountable thanks to the support and training she has received from the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI).

At just 27, Almas defied convention and decided that she wanted to run her family’s nine-hectare farm in place of her elderly father. It was a bold move, and one that immediately presented problems.

‘She experienced opposition from community members, who did not agree with a young woman working on her own and providing training to male farmers. The farmers too, were wary of Almas and questioned her right to train them,’ explains Afshan Sufyan, senior programme officer, BCI Pakistan. ‘But Almas stood strong. Undeterred, she continued to deliver BCI training and, in time, the farmers’ perceptions changed as her technical knowledge and sound advice resulted in tangible benefits on their farms. Eventually, anger turned into appreciation.’

female cotton farmers

And it’s not just brave farmers like Almas driving positive change in the industry. Working closely with partners, including the Better Cotton Initiative and WWF, Marks & Spencer – already a key investor in BCI’s female cotton training programmes – has announced that it is committed to using 100 per cent sustainably sourced cotton for all its clothing fabrics – not a limited-edition collection or capsule drop – everything, which means less water, pesticides and fertilisers used in cotton production and thousands more female farmers like Almas being supported to adopt better practices.

Carmel McQuaid, M&S Head of Sustainable Business explains: ‘Marks & Spencer has been sourcing more sustainable cotton for over 10 years, as well as supporting and enabling thousands of farmers to be trained in more sustainable methods, which include using less water and fewer chemicals. We care for the people we work with and the planet, as do our customers, which is why 100 per cent the cotton for our clothing fabrics is now sustainably sourced and always will be.’

So while you shop the M&S summer collections guilt-free this season, know that female farmers like Almas are continuing to empower more women in their communities to farm cotton sustainably.

‘Almas will be the voice of Pakistan, the voice of empowerment and gender equality,’ adds Sufyan. Now that sounds like something worth growing.

Visit marksandspencer.com, marksandspencer.com/c/sustainably-sourced-cotton and bettercotton.org for further information.

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On International Day of the Girl it’s time to call out street harassment

On International Day of the Girl it’s time to call out street harassment


#ISayItsNotOk

rape case

Street harassment in the UK is an epidemic, with women and girls as young as eight years old faced with intimidating and unwanted behaviour on a daily basis.

66% of girls in the UK have experienced sexual attention or sexual or physical contact in a public place. 38% of girls experience verbal harassment like catcalling, wolf-whistling and sexual comments at least once a month. And 15% of girls are being touched or grabbed every month.

It’s not a part of growing up and it’s not ok.

To mark International Day of the Girl, our Editor-in-Chief Trish Halpin joined Plan International at the House of Commons for the launch of their new campaign against street harassment of girls and young women in the UK, encouraging us all to drive social change by sharing our own experiences alongside the hashtag #ISayItsNotOk.

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It’s International Day of the Girl so I joined Plan International at the House of Commons for the launch of their new campaign against street harassment of girls and young women in the UK. A shocking 66% aged 14-21 have experienced unwanted sexual harassment in a public place & what’s so awful is that girls like my daughter are growing up to think this is normal and something they just have to put up with. But it’s time to say it’s not OK, to encourage girls to talk about it and report it to a parent or teacher. Tell your friends, daughters nieces to speak up and report it, tell the men you know about the devastating impact this behaviour can have – they might think a wolf whistle, cat call or pat on the butt is harmless but the fear of what it could lead to is frightening. Help drive this social change by sharing your own experiences #isayitsnotok @plan_uk @marieclaireuk

A post shared by Trish Halpin (@marieclairetrish) on Oct 11, 2018 at 4:05am PDT

‘A shocking 66% aged 14-21 have experienced unwanted sexual harassment in a public place & what’s so awful is that girls like my daughter are growing up to think this is normal and something they just have to put up with,’ Trish explained. ‘But it’s time to say it’s not OK, to encourage girls to talk about it and report it to a parent or teacher.’

She continued: ‘Tell your friends, daughters, nieces to speak up and report it, tell the men you know about the devastating impact this behaviour can have – they might think a wolf whistle, cat call or pat on the butt is harmless but the fear of what it could lead to is frightening.’

‘If you normalise and accept street harassment then you’re starting to say it’s ok for the next thing to happen, and it’s an escalating process,’ 28-year-old Lindsay from Edinburgh told Plan International. ‘It’s a basic human right to be able to walk around and just live your life. No one is taking it seriously.’

‘Girls have been told different ways to change ourselves to make other people less likely to harass us,’ 16-year-old Caitlin from Glasgow explained to Plan UK. ‘But boys have never been told what to do to stop them from harassing girls. What if you don’t want to accept that it just happens? Coz it’s been happening to women for like ever pretty much and it’s not right and it shouldn’t be accepted like that.’

Reading over the statistics and accounts provided by Plan, we were saddened here at Marie Claire HQ, especially as it is a sobering reflection of the sad reality that we all normalise on a daily basis.

Here are some of our own accounts of growing up with street harassment, something we don’t want for the generations of girls ahead of us…

‘I am now in my mid twenties, but from my early teens I have always made a conscious effort each morning to dress for my journey home that evening. If I know that I will be walking home past 9pm, I won’t wear a skirt or a dress or anything that could attract unwanted attention or street harassment. While it seems outdated to have to wear trousers to walk home alone, it’s what I have to do to make myself feel safe.’

Jenny Proudfoot, Junior Digital News Editor

‘My pal and I were walking home one night and we noticed that two men had started to follow us. With every corner they tailed us, we talked less then eventually went completely silent when they crossed the road to us and demanded to know where we were going. They then split off so that we were stuck between them, hemming us in as me and my friend said absolutely nothing as we were terrified – they were big guys. After we hit a main road, they disappeared but I always wonder what would have happened if we hadn’t.’

Megan Hills, Digital Lifestyle Writer

‘My sister and I will often call each other if it’s dark and we’re say, walking somewhere on our own or waiting for a taxi – even if it’s only for a minute or two. I wish I could say I don’t feel vulnerable in those situations and just get on with it but sadly I do feel like if I’m bust on the phone and in a rush I’m more likely to be left alone.’

Lucy Abbersteen, Digital Beauty Writer

‘There are three things I always do when I’m walking home after 7pm – I take my headphones out, put a key between my fingers and walk quickly. My sister and I also use the Find Friends app to keep an eye on each other if we know the other will be going home alone.’

Jadie Troy-Pryde,  Social Content Editor

‘I have perfected the facial expression that leads to the smallest amount of harassment. Your eyes have to look straight forward, but totally avoiding eye contact: looking at your feet draws attention and making eye contact is clearly a no-no. I make sure that my expression is blank, but not blank enough to look vulnerable or cause people to suggest that I cheer up a bit. Late at night or in the middle of the day, you know I’m using the 1000-yard anti-harassment stare.’

Victoria Fell, Features Assistant

Join us and Plan International UK and call an end to street harassment by sharing your own account, alongside the hashtag #ISayItsNotOk.

Street harassment is not a part of growing up – and it’s definitely not OK.

The post On International Day of the Girl it’s time to call out street harassment appeared first on Marie Claire.



International Day of the Girl: Our editor meets the sisterhood inspiring change in Ghana

International Day of the Girl: Our editor meets the sisterhood inspiring change in Ghana


Ahead of International Day of the Girl on 11 October, Editor in Chief Trish Halpin travelled to Ghana with her daughter Esme, 14, to meet the girls and women tackling teenage pregnancies and gender inequality. Here, they share their experiences

Ghana

Trish’s diary…

Smartly dressed in her yellow and brown school uniform, 15-year-old Victoria sits with her one-year-old daughter Angela on her lap, outside the small hut where she lives with her parents and siblings in Aboabo, a village near Koforidua in Ghana’s eastern region. Minutes earlier she was playing with her friends in the dusty schoolyard, but now at home she has to take over from her own mother to care for Angela. She looks nervous, ready to hand the baby back to a grown-up at the earliest opportunity – not unlike most teenage girls I know. ‘I don’t like being a mother because I am a child myself,’ she tells me, and as I look at her tiny frame beside my own 14-year-old daughter, it’s heartbreaking to imagine the toll pregnancy and birth must have taken on her.

Each year, 7.3 million girls worldwide become pregnant (20,000 of those are in UK), and Victoria is one of the more fortunate ones. With the support of her family and the charity Plan International, she stayed in school during her pregnancy (even sitting an exam the day before giving birth) and returned after having her daughter. Often, the stigma means girls are forced to stay at home, with teachers refusing to allow them into class; or they are made to marry and have more babies, and the cycle continues.

One woman we meet who is determined to break that cycle is Sefia, 34, mother to Kelvin, 17, and Rhoda, 14. As a child, she dreamed of being a nurse, encouraged by her mother who told her stories of the female doctors, nurses and teachers who worked in her hometown, before she moved to a village as a teenage girl to be married. ‘I don’t want Rhoda to go through what I did,’ says Sefia.

‘Seeing my little sister, who is more empowered to approach gender issues, makes me feel hopeful’

‘I wanted to do something with my life, but I had to drop out of school to work and feed my children. When they are grown up, I will go back to school and become more successful.’ And I believe she will: articulate, smart and determined, Sefia beams with pride as Rhoda shows us her exercise books, filled with pages of neat handwriting in perfect English.

Fifty miles away in Ghana’s capital, Accra, we meet Lillipearl, 25, a journalist at the Business & Financial Times. Over a lunch of fried fish and jollof rice, Lillipearl explains how Plan International’s Girls in Media programme at her rural school sparked her passion for journalism and gender advocacy. ‘We were taught how gender is different to sex, and looked at how roles are gendered in society. It’s going to take 270 years to close the economic gap in Ghana [the UK is predicted to take 100 years], but even seeing my little sister, who is more empowered to approach gender issues, makes me feel hopeful.’

‘Teach a girl, change the world’ is one of my favourite sayings, and supporting girls like Victoria, Rhoda and Lillipearl surely has to be one of the best investments any of us can make for the future of this planet.

Ghana

Above: Editor in chief Trish, second from right, and her daughter Esme, second from left, talk to students on the Girls in Media Programme at Manya Krobo Senior High School. Top: Esme with Victoria, who gave birth to daughter Angela at 14 – the same age Esme is now

Esme’s diary…

When my mum asked me to go with her to Ghana on an assignment to meet girls my age and see what life is like for them, I was excited but had no idea what to expect. I’ve been to Africa on a safari holiday, but knew that this would be completely different. We flew into the capital Accra and the next morning, drove out to the town of Koforidua, our base for the trip.

The first village we visited was Kwamoso in the district of Akuapem, where we turned off the main road on to a bumpy dirt track and I saw the tiny school building, not even the size of my school gym. The headteacher introduced me to a girl my age called Rhoda and we chatted about school and how much she loves reading – she gets top marks for everything, not like me! Rhoda wanted to show me where she lives with her grandmother – her mum has to work away from home to be able to afford to send money for food and keep her and her brother in education, which I think must be so sad for her. Her grandmother’s home was along another dirt track just minutes from the school. They have no electricity or running water, and Rhoda is not allowed out after 6pm so she can focus on her studies. Her mum doesn’t want her to become pregnant like so many other girls.

‘Back in London, I realise how lucky I am to have so much education ahead of me’

The next day, I feel glad for Rhoda when we meet Victoria, who became pregnant a year ago at my age. Her baby Angela is really sweet, but I can’t imagine wanting to have a baby until I’m at least 30, if at all. It must have been so scary for her to give birth and now her whole life has changed, but at least she still goes to school.

I remember first having sex education in junior school, but in Ghana they don’t teach it even to teenagers. When we visit a senior school, my mum asks the headmistress about it and she says that instead they promote abstinence – she gets the class to sing a song about it, which is entertaining but I doubt it’s very helpful.

Back in London, I realise how lucky I am to still have so much education ahead of me. Rhoda and I have been emailing each other and we’d like to meet again one day – hopefully when she becomes the nurse or doctor that she dreams about being.

Find out more about the Because I Am A Girl Campaign or sponsor a girl at plan-uk.org

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Hannah Shergold: ‘Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn, but everything happens for a reason’


Continuing our Women Who Win series is Hannah Shergold, an award-winning artist and former Lynx helicopter commander in the British Army

Hannah Shergold
Copyright Andy Barnham

Some people struggle to find the one thing in which they excel – Hannah Shergold is in no danger of that.

Following a degree in pre-clinical Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge University, she became an internationally-exhibited bronze sculptor. Three years later, after what she calls a ‘whirlwind of an experience’, Shergold decided that she needed a new challenge, and joined the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.

During her tours as a Lynx helicopter commander, Hannah combined her passions, now working with the WWF as well as recently being selected as the only Wild Card artist for the 2019 Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year competition.

Our Women Who Win interview series celebrates strong and inspirational female trailblazers, shaping the future for us all, and Hannah Shergold and her refusal to let anyone or anything stand in her way is that in a nutshell.

We sat down with Hannah to talk about tours of duty, her Sandhurst experience and the words that she lives by.

What inspired you to join the army?

‘My father has been in the army, and his best memories and friends and stories are from that time. I liked the idea that you form such strong relationships with people when you’re going through the same experience. My cousin’s boyfriend at the time was at Sandhurst then, and he’d tell me heaps of stories: the things that most people would say, “Oh my god that sounds horrendous!”, I thought, “That’s awesome!”’

How tough was Sandhurst?

‘There were hundreds of moments at Sandhurst when I thought, “What am I doing?” I remember being on guard in the middle of a night in the woods and it was pouring with rain. I was sat in a puddle, starving hungry and couldn’t fall asleep, otherwise we would get punished. I thought, “One day, I’m going to find it really funny how miserable I am at this moment, but definitely not right now.”’

What was it like living and training in such a heavily male environment?

‘The army is full of the most awesome people, and the majority of them are really, genuinely good, but as in any organisation, you come across some people that really don’t think that women should be in the army. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t encounter any prejudice – I didn’t really notice it at first and found it much easier to brush off earlier in my career. I suppose in hindsight I was in survival mode, and also I was so busy I didn’t have time to sit back and think about it.’

Why did you choose to be a helicopter pilot?

‘The short answer is because helicopters looked really cool. My piloting course, which was 18 months long, was the toughest thing I’ve ever done: if things start going badly, you can go from being absolutely fine to being chucked off the course in less than a week. I’m very self-deprecating and would be quite honest about it, and sometimes I found with the guys they would always say that their flights were fine, so I got into my head that I was the only one that was struggling. But I only failed one flight in the entire time I was training: my last one!’

How did you get your start in the art world?

‘My secondary school had the most fantastic art department, with a wonderful old building that looked like a proper old-fashioned artist’s studio. We got to use oil paint and do sculpture: a friend of a friend tried to buy some A-level pieces that I’d made from clay. In 2006, after I’d finished university, I booked myself a stand at Bleinheim Horse Trials to sell statues cast out of bronze – when I booked it I didn’t actually have any pieces to show… I went to Dubai to sell my pieces for three summers, but the credit crunch hit in the autumn of 2008 and luxury products are the first thing to go.’

Copyright Andy Barnham

How did you balance art and the army?

‘I was in Kenya for six months on medical duties, which means a lot of sitting around, waiting for something to go wrong. Some people read, some people played on the Playstation, and I drew. I did pen and ink sketches of life out there; I just found it so beautiful out there.’

What’s your mantra?

‘Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. I’m a massive believer in things happening for a reason. If things are genuinely disappointing or go wrong, my fall back is, “Well that happened because something else amazing is going to occur as a result of not getting it.” Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start something new!’

How should women ask for more?

‘Have proof that you deserve something. You shouldn’t necessarily be expected to cite that proof, but if someone has the audacity to question why you deserve something, you can back it up quickly with the reasons.’

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How much time do Marie Claire team members spend on their phones? 😬

How much time do Marie Claire team members spend on their phones? 😬


‘At the rate I’m going, I’ll spend 7 years of my life on it’

How much time do you spend on your phone in a single day? If the results of our in-house challenge are anything to go by, it’s probably a lot longer than you think.

A week ago five Marie Claire team members downloaded the screen time app Moment for a week to measure exactly how long they spend scrolling every day. For most of them, the results were a big wake-up call.

Lucia Debieux, fashion editor

Daily average screen time: 4 hours 55 minutes

Waking life: 36% per day

Pick-ups: 46 per day

Day of the highest use: Tuesday

Most-used app: Instagram

Lucia says: ‘I feel mortified that I’m spending 36% of my day on my phone! It’s a long running conversation in my family that I have a problem with my phone and these stats really bring it home. I did expect it to be bad, but in my head I was thinking the results would show 2-3 hours per day, when in reality it’s 4-5.

I’m relieved that it shows I barely use my phone on the weekend when I’m with my daughter as I worry that I’m not present enough when I’m with her.

I’ve got into a bad habit of using my phone while walking along so I’m going to start leaving it in my bag zipped in a pocket while listening to a podcast, rather than constantly having it in my hand.’

Lucy Pavia, entertainment editor

Daily average screen time: 3 hours 14 minutes

Waking life: 22% per day

Pick-ups: 54 per day

Day of the highest use: Thursday

Most-used app: Instagram, Twitter

Lucy says: ‘My husband shared a fantasy of his with me recently. No, not one of those. It’s this: we’re on our way somewhere in the car and I’m using the quiet time to scroll through my emails, Instagram or Twitter feed. In one smooth motion, he plucks the phone out of my hand, rolls down the window and flings it onto the kerb.

I know I look at my phone too much, and I know it annoys my husband, who would happily leave his upstairs for most of the day. The results of this test don’t surprise me, but they’ve helped reinforce the new rules I’m imposing to cut down. We’re buying an alarm clock so we can instigate a no-phones in the bedroom rule. We’re banning multi-screen time, so when we’re watching something on TV together the phone stays in the kitchen, and I’m buying a stash of physical books to read (rather than downloads) to stop me scrolling through social media on the train.

But I do have to be realistic: staying on top of things through my phone is a big part of my job as an entertainment journalist, so a total detox isn’t practical, but I’m hoping these steps will help to chip away at my average screen time. There are days when I feel like Gollum, obsessively tapping and swiping. And we all know what happened to him.’

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Aperol eyes 🤪 #davoudandhannah

A post shared by LUCY PAVIA (@lucypavia) on Sep 1, 2018 at 2:07am PDT

Victoria Fell, features assistant

Daily average screen time: 1 hour 56 minutes

Waking life: 12% per day

Pick-ups: 68 per day

Day of the highest use: Sunday

Most-used app: Safari

‘I’m a bit shocked at myself to be honest – I thought the maximum time I’d be looking at my phone would be an hour, considering I use my laptop at home and spend most of my time at work in front of the computer.

The fact I used my phone the most on Sunday was a bit sad, as it was my weekend and I hope I didn’t miss out on anything through using it.

Moving forward, considering I use my phone to read a lot of news sites and Twitter, I’m going to try and start picking up actual newspapers and books to keep myself entertained and cut down on screen time.’

Penny Goldstone, digital fashion editor

Daily average screen time: 3 hours 14 minutes

Waking life: 22% per day

Pick-ups: 71 per day

Day of the highest use: Monday

Most-used app: Instagram

‘I knew I spent a lot of time on my phone (I have a long train commute and I use my phone a lot for work) but the results still came as a shock. Some days I spend four hours on my phone, which is insane!

I use my phone the most on a Monday, which I think is mainly because I catch up on everything on my 45-minute train commute in the morning. I need to make an effort to put it down and read books more.

It’s so easy to fall down the Instagram rabbit hole in the evening too, so I’m going to install a post 9pm digital ban. My app tells me that if I don’t cut back, I will spend 7.2 years of my life on my phone – I really don’t want that.’

Lori Lefterova, picture editor

Daily average screen time: 2 hours 49 minutes

Waking life: 17% per day

Pick-ups: 71 per day

Day of the highest use: Monday

Most-used app: Safari

Lori says: ‘I’m really surprised how much Safari I use, I expected social media to be my most-used app, and I definitely thought I use my phone more than I do.

I’ve just found out that the new iOS update will have similar feature to Moment, called screen time. It will show in a graphic how much you’ve used the different apps on your device. I’m looking forward to seeing the results over a longer period of time.’

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