With the passing of the Anzac Day long weekend, we here at WOMAN.com.au hope that you dedicated some time to contemplate the sacrifices that were made by the Anzacs in the shaping of our nation. While we will be forever indebted to current and past servicemen who have fought for Australia, let us not forget the great number of women whose lives have also been affected by war through their work, support and sacrifices here and overseas.
1. WWII Women
With such thoughts in our minds at this time of year we felt that it was fitting to begin this week’s news with a story we came across at the BBC. During World War II an estimated 1.5 million women were hired at munitions factories across the UK alone, risking their lives to ensure that the boys on the front line remained armed. After years without recognition of their work a campaign has begun to ensure the workers get a memorial and the gratitude they deserve. Read more about it here.
2. Body image boosters
We hear stories of women struggling with body image all too often, and with so many mixed messages being thrown at us over how we should eat, exercise and look, it’s no surprise more people than ever before are falling victim to eating disorders. While organisations such as the Butterfly Foundation remind us that recovery is possible, inspiration from those who have gotten through is often the best hope for sufferers. Alice Jackson caught our eye this week, after making it as one of the top ten finalists of the Curvey Kate’s Annual Star in a Bra Competition. After years of struggling with anorexia, Jackson is now a plus size model, using her spare time to present talks on body image and anorexia. For more on her story check out this link, and if you’re after something a bit closer to home Katherine Yiannakis is the Perth based fitness guru behind the business Running Hearts, with a similar health background to Jackson. She shares her story, along with health and body image advice here.
3. Tech heads
For those of you who are followers of World Wide Women you may have taken note of last week’s article on the lack of female representation in gaming and technology. The debates over the problem continue this week with prominent feminist Anita Sarkeesian discussing her struggles with gamers on CNN. In the interview, Sarkeesian reveals the negative reaction she faced from the gaming community after announcing her intention to create a video series examining the portrayal of women in video games. Cyber attacks and trolling from men followed, with some threatening violence and attempting to attain her home address. Despite the circumstances, Sarkeesian persisted and her series has begun. Get a better understanding of the flaws in women’s portrayal in gaming by watching Sarkeesian’s series on her blog, Feminist Frequency. While you’re at it, check out this list of the most important women under 30 years old working in tech!
4. Making a positive impact
The past few years we have seen a rise in the amount of young people and students who choose to travel overseas to volunteer with organisations in developing countries. However, Daniela Papi, the founder of the educational development organisation PEPY, points out that while our hearts are in the right place, we often misplace our intentions and end up providing communities with services and problems they do not need. Papi, whose work is currently based in Cambodia, spoke to the BBC this week and shared her experience as a volunteer and how she developed her own organisation in an attempt to counteract the negative impact some volunteers have on communities. The thrust of both the BBC radio interview and the article were to promote the book she is currently pushing to get published, which will help future volunteers understand the impact of their actions and attitudes.
5. Women working for African Education
Information and communications technology and infrastructure are fast growing in Kenya, inviting plenty of opportunity for business development and new ideas. Seeing the growing prospects for new businesses, former World Bank Research Analyst, Manka Angwafo, took a chance and started her own Nairobi based not-for-profit company called Hadithi. Angwafo’s short-term business goal was to obtain open access research for university students and host it on her site for Kenyans to access freely. As the business and its access to academic resources grows, her long-term goals have become apparent, as she aims to help ensure citizens in developing countries such as Kenya have equal rights to education and information. Read more about Angwafo and pick up some of her business tips here.