The official student newspaper of the University of East Anglia | Established 1992 | Issue 385 | 1st March 2022
Women and the climate crisis
Interview: Norfolk's first woman firefighter
Gender bias in the healthcare system
UEA to conduct extenuating circumstances review following “ insensitive requests ”
support they could provide would end up being lacklustre and would probably cause more stress than it was worth.”
Dolly Carter Editor-in-Chief
The university have committed to “conducting a full review of both the process and evidence requirements for extenuating circumstances” following a number of complaints from students. These complaints have centred around lack of support and guidance from Learning and Teaching Services (LTS) staff, severe delays in email responses, and inappropriate requests for evidence surrounding bereavements. One student approached Concrete to share their experiences with applying for extenuating circumstances and an extension request: “I submitted my father’s death certificate for both extensions but have since been told that my request is provisionally accepted until I provide actual evidence that I’m being affected.” They said that despite using student counselling services and attending a separate loss group in Norwich, they feel the university are “forcing [them] into their way of coping”. They also commented upon the lack of care they felt staff had addressed their case with: “they lack empathy and skill in helping students who are suffering… they brush us aside like inconveniences, liars, and problems”. Another student said they were asked to provide death certificates to prove a family loss and the
bereavement of a close friend: “I had to go and ask my dad for the death certificate of his mum because I wasn’t going to approach my friend’s parents at such a difficult time. What other evidence was I supposed to submit? I couldn’t attend their funeral to collect an order of service as it was the middle of the pandemic.” To the staff dealing with these requests, they said: “just understand that people are going through emotional turmoil and this is the last thing we want to be doing.” Similarly, another student commented: “the generalised process of extenuating circumstances doesn’t allow for specific instances to be dealt with in a way that actually helps the individual.” In a blog post written by the Students’ Union Undergraduate Education Officer Ivo Garnham, he said he was “appalled and sickened” by “such insensitive requests”. In a joint statement from Ivo Garnham and Welfare, Community, and Diversity Officer Aaron Campbell, they said: “Requesting a death certificate is insensitive and potentially traumatic, for both the student and the family of the recently deceased.” Concrete requested a statement from the university regarding their bereavement evidence requests. A university spokesperson said: “Losing a family member or person significant to us is a very upsetting experience and we recognise that
the way students respond to a bereavement, and the time and support they need following this, can be hugely varied." "Therefore, we would always wish to treat these cases sensitively and only ask students for evidence when it is reasonably possible to provide it and is readily available to obtain. This may include a supporting statement from a family member or Academic Adviser, an obituary, order of service, death certificate, legal or medical letters, and letters from undertakers as the student feels best able to provide.” Further to this, many students have also noted that the extenuating circumstances and extension
request process is too difficult, timeconsuming, and stress-inducing. A student who receives a Disabled Student's Allowance (DSA) said they had particular trouble in applying for an extension when their laptop was damaged. In the end, they had to submit their entire DSA report in order to apply for the extension. Another undergraduate student commented that they ended up not applying for extenuating circumstances as they were put off by the lack of support their advisor had given them during their grandmother’s illness. They never attempted to go through the system, saying: “I felt like whatever
Another said they were asked to obtain a letter from a doctor with one working day before their deadline. As an international student, they had to phone their doctor from home and pay to have a note written. Despite going to this extra trouble and submitting the note on time, multiple days later they had still not received a response from the Hub. Having been diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder in their early teens, the student said this made their condition much worse: “It caused me serious distress… I feel like we are being accused of lying about mental health issues when asked to provide evidence of such traumatic things.”
1st March 2022
Change in the air Sam Gordon Webb Deputy Editor
Why is it important to celebrate
International Women's Day? Dolly Carter Editor-in-Chief
Last year, I attended the United Nations’ 65th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) as a UN Women UK delegate. CSW is instrumental in promoting women’s rights and last year’s focus was upon women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life. I also attended the United Nations’ observance of International Women’s Day on the theme: ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world’. Participating in discussions on women’s rights discussions and writing about them for my student newspaper has always been of the utmost importance to me. In fact, I’ve dedicated a whole section of my portfolio to women’s rights including three Global Investigates articles, one of which highlighted the UK’s failure to ratify the Istanbul Convention FGM and another investigating the influence of religion over the sexual and reproductive freedoms of Latin America. The final piece explored a statistic which
revealed millions of women are still at risk of FGM. One of my main goals in approaching my tenure as Editor-in-Chief was to ensure we dedicated regular coverage to discussing women’s issues, which is why our issue celebrating International Women’s Day is particularly special to me. In this issue, I had the honour of interviewing Josephine Reynolds, Norfolk’s first woman firefighter. In 1982, Josephine became one of only two woman firefighters in the whole of Britain at age 17. The scenes of her Fire Service career will be familiar to many UEA students, as she trained in Wymondham, was posted to Thetford, and completed her interview with the Chief Officer in Hethersett – the latter being only four miles from our own university campus. Flip to pages 12 and 13 to read about her trailblazing career. I’m also delighted to be chairing Concrete’s first ever ‘Women in Journalism’ panel on Monday 7th March at 6pm via Zoom. We have a wonderful line-up of alumni members who have very kindly agreed to become our panellists:
Courtney Pochin is a Senior Audience Writer for The Mirror and was Features Editor in 2014/15; Geri Scott is an award-winning political correspondent for the Press Association and was Editor-inChief of Concrete in 2014/15; Jessica Frank-Keyes is a senior reporter at LondonWorld and was Deputy Editor in 2016/17; Megan Baynes is another award-winning journalist who is currently working as a news reporter at Sky News and was Editorin-Chief of Concrete in 2016/17. All of these women have progressed from Concrete to national success and it is a pleasure to welcome them back to speak to our current members. The panel is open to all UEA students and you can book your ticket by searching ‘Concrete Women in Journalism Panel’ on the SU website (uea.su). Please, take this issue as an opportunity to see how our wonderful team of writers are celebrating International Women’s Day, how they are rejoicing in their expressions of womanhood, and how they are showing us that women’s issues are everyone’s issues.
"Where are the women?" Freyja Elwood Deputy Editor
Recently in a seminar we were discussing the idea of “overlapping consensus.” The notion that no matter how different we are, two individuals will, somehow, find a similarity to each other. Even if that is as basic as wanting food, shelter and warmth. “Overlapping consensus” essentially destroys two very big notions undertaken often in politics and policy. The first is “Benign neglect” (choosing not to differentiate between two individuals despite the acknowledgement of difference between the two) and the second “The veil of ignorance” (choosing
not to acknowledge any difference between two individuals). So when we choose to make policy, politics and economics with an “overlapping consensus” we acknowledge differences by realising similarities. In the UK, women were granted equal voting rights to men in 1928 after “overlapping consensus.” Women had proved themselves as capable as men through their involvement in the war effort, and therefore the differences on voting rights made no sense and thus ought to be changed.
So where do we still see “benign neglect” and “the veil of ignorance” towards the issues faced and pleas from women in British society and politics today? Perhaps an easier
question, and one posed by feminist scholar Cynthia Enloe, “Where are the women?”
This editorial is not long enough for my answer on such a matter, but hopefully the articles written inside this paper will offer some answers and raise more questions. In regards to Concrete, I am proud to say you don’t have to ask “Where are the women?” As a publication with a female Editor in Chief and where the majority of our section editors are female, they consistently raise the bar and expectations of Concrete. So let’s celebrate Dolly, Maja, Mariam, Emily, Lauren, Una, Fizz, Molly & Aislinn - I take my hat off to you all, thank you for all you do.
Norfolk is our version of Kansas, albeit without the tornadoes. Flat, but full of life. Green, but full of grit. Sometimes hot, occasionally freezing, wet and windy, and from time to time, both at the same moment. Norfolk is arguably Britain’s equivalent of Alaska, for one simple reason: unlike most UK cities, it isn’t a notable stopover, unless making the unlikely trip to the North Sea. Travellers are far less likely to pass through Norfolk on their way to somewhere else. And the result of this has been, as Bernard E. Dorman argues in his fittingly titled book, Norfolk, “Norfolk people have become self-reliant, self-supporting and inclined to treat strangers with caution.” International Women's Day provides comforting relief from Dorman’s limiting stereotype. The celebration of female empowerment, in the context of yet-to-be-solved inequality, provides important awareness of the issues still undermining our contemporary world. This year’s theme takes note of the role played by women in building a sustainable future, securing the future of not only our planet, but also its people. In the county of Norfolk, on the campus of the University of East Anglia, students are becoming the torchbearers of a new kind of future, grounded by the equal treatment of all. Our university is far from “selfreliant, self-supporting and inclined to treat strangers with caution.” In fact, UEA celebrates the contributions of strangers – indeed, relies on them. Norfolk is windy, but the gust can be hugely helpful, blowing away old ideas and replacing them with new ones. It's wonderful.
The University of East Anglia’s Official Student Newspaper since 1992 Tuesday 1st March 2022 Issue 385 Union House University of East Anglia Norwich NR4 7TJ 01603 593466 www.concrete-online.co.uk
Editor-in-Chief Dolly Carter firstname.lastname@example.org
Deputy Editors Sam Gordon Webb & Freyja Elwood
News Una Jones Senior Writer: Rachel Keane Global Aislinn Wright Senior Writer: Hamish Davis Features Maja Anushka Senior Writer: Lily Boag Home of the Wonderful Libby Hargreaves Comment Lauren Bramwell Science Mariam Jallow Senior Writer: George Barsted Travel & Lifestyle Tristan Pollitt Sport Oscar Ress Senior Writer: Metin Yilmaz
Breaking News Emily Kelly UK Correspondent: Addie Cannell International Correspondent: Melody Chan
Online Editors Matthew Stothard, Ray Khawaja & Rianna Jones Copy Editors Sophie Colley, Phoebe Lucas & Julia Reynolds Social Media Manager Badriya Abdullah Lead Photographer Samuel Baxter
Cut-outs: (left) Dolly Carter; (right) Josephine Reynolds
Editorial Enquiries, Complaints & Corrections email@example.com
No part of this newspaper may be reproduced by any means without the permission of the Editor-in-Chief, Dolly Carter. Published by the Union of UEA Students on behalf of Concrete. Concrete is a UUEAS society, but retains editorial independence as regards to any content. Opinions expressed herein are those of individual writers, not of Concrete or its editorial team.
1st March 2022
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Studies suggest women are more affected by the climate crisis Rachel Keane Senior News Writer
Everybody on the planet is beginning to see the impacts of climate change on the world around them. Women, however, are being affected by the climate crisis on a much greater scale than men. ActionAid, an international charity working with women and girls living in poverty, suggests women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change because they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and it is these extreme weather patterns that are responsible for exploiting existing gender inequalities. Across the world, women are also more likely to rely on the land and natural resources for their food and income. Malawian gender and climate change expert, Chimwemwe Nyambosa Ndhlovu, has explained how women and girls in Malawi do most of the farming to feed their families, the collection of water and
wood, as well as the labour in the house but flooding, droughts, and other climate-related issues make their already disproportionately challenging lives even harder. The impact of climate change has also caused a notable rise in tensions within the household, leading to an increase in genderbased violence. In times of disaster, women are more likely to suffer. When climate change has forced women to leave their homes, they are most at risk of rape, trafficking, adolescent pregnancy, and early marriage. As well as this, girls are the first to leave school when families are struggling financially because their education is often valued less than boys’. This has a massive impact on their future economic and career opportunities. As has been discovered during the current Covid-19 pandemic, it is women who have had to take on more unpaid housework and unpaid childcare than men, meaning they have less time and
energy to give to their careers. This creates a vicious cycle in which the more difficult it is for women to work their way up the career ladder or continue their education, the fewer women there are in high positions to be able to enact change. Explaining this predicament in more detail, the Centre for Climate Justice based at Glasgow Caledonian University has found the lack of representation women have in climate talks has meant they are unable to have their say on effective solutions. The impact of climate change on women has historically been ignored, but studies now suggest it is imperative they are centralised, or we risk a steep regression of women’s rights across the world. This International Women’s Day people around the world will be celebrating the women working together to give underrepresented women a voice on the climate, whilst continuing to fight for climate justice.
Scottish gender recognition reforms called for a rethink by EHRC Una Jones News Editor
A major UK human rights body, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has advised the Scottish government to pause its reforms to the gender recognition process suggesting it needs further consideration. Ministers are looking to change the system and make it easier for people to change their legally recognised gender. A bill is expected at Holyrood this year however the EHRC has declared "more detailed consideration is needed". The Scottish government has already held two consultations on these plans with the first in 2018 and the second, spanning 2019-2020. A prominent theme of the second consultation commented on how "the debate has become highly polarised" and underpinned by "a social media culture in which people are being bullied and harassed by those taking a different view".
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon already pledged to bring forward legislation in the first year of her current parliamentary term. She understood that "some have sincerely held concerns" about the plans, but said it would "make the existing process of gender recognition less degrading, intrusive and traumatic".
“make the existing process... less degrading, intrusive, and traumatic” In light of the EHRC’s suggestions to pause reforms, in which discussions about the reforms began four years ago, The Equality Network (a prominent LGBT group) accused the EHRC of being "UK government appointees" who were "failing to stand up for equality for trans people". While the EHRC is funded by the
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Government Equalities Office, however, asserts that it operates independently of the government as a regulator of equality and human rights law. The Scottish government are looking to update the current processes for legally changing one’s gender, which can often be a lengthy and traumatic process. These proposed changes would mean that applicants would no longer need to go before the UK Gender Recognition Panel. Instead applicants would go directly to the Registrar General for Scotland, or produce a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria. They would have to make a solemn statutory declaration that they have been living in their acquired gender for three months and intend to do so permanently. This 3 month period has been cut down from two years to streamline the process as a further three-month "reflection period" is required after this, and would mean the process would take a minimum of six months.
NHS in Norfolk encouraging smear tests Una Jones News Editor
cancers and getting screened can help stop it before it starts.
On 14th February 2022, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), with the support of NHS England and NHS Improvement, launched a national cervical screening campaign.
Those who are eligible for screening are women and people with a cervix aged 25-64. Those registered as females with their GP practice are invited for routine screening every three years if they are aged 25-49 and every five years if they are aged 50-64. Those registered as male will need to request an appointment from their GP or a local sexual health clinic.
The campaign encourages those who are eligible to book their cervical screening which helps prevent cervical cancer by checking for a high-risk virus and cell changes.
Estimations in England suggest cervical screening prevents 70% of cervical cancer deaths and if everyone attended their screening then, 83% of cervical cancer deaths could be prevented.
The NHS in Norfolk and Waveney are encouraging people to ‘not fear their smear’ and book their appointment.
Maggie Tween, Norfolk and Waveney cancer programme manager, said: "Campaigns such as these are important and highlight the need for those who are eligible to book their routine screening Two women die every day from appointment.” cervical cancer in England. Yet it is one of the most preventable This is the best way to find out if there is a risk involved, and if there are any cervical cell changes found, these can be treated to prevent cervical cancer.
1st March 2022
UEA part of media freedom coalition Una Jones News Editor
A new report evaluating the Media Freedom Coalition (MFC) has called for an increase of funds and support. The MFC is a partnership, established in 2019 by the UK and Canada, of 50 countries working together to advocate for media freedom and the safety of journalists.
Photo: Concrete/Samuel Baxter
Supported by the Foreign Policy Centre, a team of six academics and researchers have co-authored the report, including researchers from the University of East
Anglia and the University of the Philippines-Diliman. The report poses one central question: is the Media Freedom Coalition working? The research team assessed the MFC against its own pledges to promote accountability to those who violate media freedom. It also proposes to work together as a coalition and collaborate with partners such as UNESCO and the Consultative Network. “Our assessment is that the MFC is only partially achieving its objectives,” said co-author Dr Martin Scott, of UEA’s School of International Development.
“It has taken some positive steps towards its ambitious goals including attracting a relatively large membership and establishing collegiate ways of working. “However, partly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the actions of the MFC have not been as rapid, bold or visible as was initially promised.” These findings suggest that MFC requires a ‘re-set’ and ‘re-injection’ of funds and are based on a survey of media freedom campaigners, analyses of news coverage and a look into interviews with relevant stakeholders.
Cost of living crisis: Rising energy price cap causing North Sea profits affordability issues accross UK soar as millions pushed into fuel poverty Rachel Keane
UEA’s Dr David Deller, a senior research associate at the Centre for Competition Policy (CCP), has said energy affordability issues could reach a level last seen in the late 1980s. He said: “a large rise in the energy price cap is likely to have a significant impact on the
The energy price cap is the maximum amount that energy suppliers are able to charge their customers for gas and electricity per year. The price increase is driven by a record rise in global gas prices over the last six months. The UK imports around 50% of its gas from the international market, and it is gas fuelling around a third of the UK’s electricity generation. Dr Deller explained: “The challenge for government and Ofgem is that these increases in bills are being driven by an increase in underlying costs due to the high gas price”. Wholesale gas prices have quadrupled, leading Dr Deller to add: “Ultimately, this increase in costs has to be paid for by someone”. Soaring energy bills is not the sole issue facing households across the UK. Inflation is rising also, causing a resurgent cost of living crisis. Almost nine out of ten respondents to the latest Opinions and Lifestyle
affordability of energy for many households, particularly those on low incomes”. Those on default tariffs paying by direct debit will see an increase of £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 per year, whilst prepayment customers will see an increase
Survey (OPN) said the price of their food shop had increased, and twothirds said their overall cost of living had gone up in the last month. After Ofgem’s announcement, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said the government will “step in” to help
Senior News Writer
Jamie Bryson News Writer
Limited gas and oil supplies across the globe caused by the pandemic have resulted in market prices soaring and an already heavily monopolised industry desperately bustling for control over supply infrastructure. For British households, this may lead to a 54% increase in combined energy bills from April 1st, according to Ofgem (the UK’s energy regulator) - pushing an estimated 30% of households into fuel poverty (up from 11%). In spite of this, Britain's two largest oil companies - North sea oil giants Shell and BP - announced record profits of over £40bn combined last month, with BP’s Chief Executive, Bernard Looney proclaiming, “We are performing and delivering for our shareholders today, while at the same time leaning into the future and transforming the company”, adding: “[the company has] more cash than we know what to do with”.
insulated homes) and only add further debt to households already struggling to make ends meet with inflation at 5.5% - a 30-year-high. They instead proposed a “Windfall” Tax - a one-off government tax bill on large companies seeming to benefit from market conditions beyond their control, whilst seeing increased demand for their product - which would raise an extra £1.2 billion to help struggling households. In response, The Treasury claimed, “A windfall tax could deter £14bn worth of opportunities awaiting investment, which would risk both security of our energy supply, as well as almost 200,000 jobs that rely on the industry".
Conversely, Labour’s new Secretary of State for Climate Change challenged this stating, “The boss of BP described the energy price crisis as a cash machine for his company - and the people supplying the cash are the British people through rocketing energy bills… it is only fair and right for oil and gas producers to contribute to helping the millions of families facing In a bid to address this imbalance, the soaring inflation and a cost of living government proposed providing low- crisis”. income households with a one-off £200 loan, which would have to be paid back Despite numerous challenges from all in £40 instalments over 5 years. opposition parties, as well as a handful of his own backbench MPs, Chancellor However, the Labour Party highlighted Rishi Sunak continues to back the that this could equate to just 29% of the Treasury's policy - itself not due to overall cost increase for the hardest- begin until October, half a financial hit households (those with outdated year after the price cap increase comes supply infrastructure and poorly- into effect.
of £708 from £1,309 to £2,017.
Ofgem has announced a new energy price cap will come into effect in April, meaning customers will have to pay almost £700 more per year to power their homes; a rise of 54%. It is estimated this will affect around 22 million customers across the UK. Jonathan Brearly, Chief Executive of Ofgem, said: “We know this rise will be extremely worrying for many people, especially those who are struggling to make ends meet, and Ofgem will ensure energy companies support their customers in any way they can.”
Photo: Wikimedia Commons Photo: Concrete/Samuel Baxter
households manage “incredibly tough” energy costs. Sunak told MPs millions of households will receive up to £350 to help with the cost of living. Domestic electricity customers will also get £200 off their energy bills from October, as well as 80% of households receiving a £150 Council Tax rebate from April. Boris Johnson has said: “This builds on the changes we’ve made to Universal Credit to put £1,000 more per year into the pockets of hardworking people and the increase to the National Living Wage to advance our vision for a high-wage and financially secure Britain”. However, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves has criticised Mr Sunak’s measures as a “buy-now-pay-later scheme that loads up prices for tomorrow” and former Labour minister Chris Bryant has told the Commons Sunak’s “puny” support “does not even touch” the National insurance hike and record inflation. Goldman Sachs has warned prices in the gas market are likely to remain at twice their usual levels until 2025 which has caused concerns amongst energy company insiders that Sunak’s policy is too reliant on falls in global gas prices.
1st March 2022
concrete-online.co.uk/news/ | @ConcreteUEA
International Women’s Day to be celebrated on 8th March News Writer
Annually marked as the 8th March, International Women’s Day celebrates womens’ achievements and aims to raise awareness about women's equality around the world. One of the themes for this day this year is “gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, attempting to recognise the work and contribution of the women and girls leading the fight to build a more sustainable future.
those participating, a panel discussion performances.
followed by to be contextualised in the current and musical climate crisis as environmental issues consistently impact our environmental, economic and social development The theme recognises those involved globally. in global sustainability initiatives and the influences of those in Women make up the majority of the leadership positions on climate change world’s poorest and most dependent action. on natural resources and as a result, women and girls are being recognised Because of how women are affected by as more vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis, it is vital that they have climate change. a voice in the solutions. According to the United Nations, 80% Equality in the decision making around of those displaced by climate-related sustainability is vital to developing a disasters and changes around the world better future for all. are women and girls.
When asked why women need to be The United Nations Observance of involved in the fight against the climate IWD will be marked by a virtual event on crisis, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez said, Tuesday, 8 March 2022. “The leadership that got us here won’t be the leadership that gets us Gender equality and climate out.” change activists will be among Modern-day gender equality has
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
As with other global issues, the most vulnerable and marginalised in society experience the largest effects of global changes and this year's IWD theme is aiming to raise awareness of this.
Too good to go bags now available at UEA Una Jones News Editor
Too Good to go bags are now available to collect from UEA campus. The shop @ UEA, Sportscafe and Ziggy’s have joined other restaurants and cafes around Norwich
in this sustainable approach to food living on or around campus can waste. help save the environment on their doorstep. With more than 1/3 of food wasted, the too good to go bags address With food waste contributing to 10% the effect that such waste has on of global greenhouse gas emissions, the environment while offering the in perspective if food waste buyer food at a lower and more emissions were set up against affordable price. countries, it would be the third largest emission after China and Offering this on campus means the US. UEA students, and especially those
"every magic bag rescued saves 2.5kg of CO2e
Cressida Dick resigns as Metropolitan Police Commissioner Rachel Keane Senior News Writer
Dame Cressida Dick has resigned from the Metropolitan Police after London Mayor Sadiq Khan made clear he had no confidence in her leadership. Cressida Dick was Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police for almost five years but stepped down on 10 February, after a series of failings which she said left her with “no choice” but to quit. Trust in the Met Police is at an all-time low, due to a culture of misogyny, racism, and homophobia that Cressida Dick has been unable to stamp out during her time as Commissioner. There have also been a number of recent cases which have received extremely widespread public attention, such as the murder of Sarah Everard wherein much of the public feel Dick was unable to deal with effectively. Dick stated:
“The murder of Sarah Everard and many other awful cases recently have, I know, damaged confidence in this fantastic police service”. Campaign group Reclaim These Streets, which is currently bringing a legal challenge against the Met Police over its handling of the Sarah Everard vigil, tweeted “Good riddance” after Dick’s resignation. Mina Smallman, the mother of two women murdered in a park in Wembley has also expressed that the disappearance of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry was treated less urgently than if they had been white. The criticism the Met Police has faced whilst Dame Cressida Dick has been Commissioner has been severe and many felt the police service would not be able to regain confidence in the public whilst she is still steering the ship. The ongoing investigation into the delay to the publication of Sue Gray’s report into the lockdown parties
at Downing Street has also caused suspicion of corruption within the Met Police. The SNP and Lib Dems are claiming the delay in publication is a “stitchup” aimed at ensuring Boris Johnson remains in power. The Met had asked Ms Gray to leave certain details of her investigation out of the report to avoid prejudicing their own inquiries, causing further suspicion into the current relationship between the Met and Downing Street. Dick will continue to hold the position for a short time whilst a replacement is found to ensure the “stability of the Met”. Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Ed Davey, has said the prime minister “must have no role in choosing [her] successor” whilst his participation in rule-breaking parties during lockdown is being investigated.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
It is reported that every magic bag rescued saves 2.5kg of CO2e, enough to charge a phone 442 times. The ‘magic bags’ can be ordered on the app and collected at a pre-set collection window, which allows users to also pick up food on the go, and help towards saving the environment.
1st March 2022
Police break up Canadian protests Aislinn Wright Global Editor
Aislinn Wright Global Editor
Canada’s parliament was closed whilst police began arresting Ottawa protestors who have blockaded the capital city for weeks. Hundreds of heavily armoured police were deployed on 18 February to arrest members of the protestors who have occupied the city with trucks in protest of Canada’s ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. The Freedom Convoy’s Twitter account urged protests to “fight for freedom” as two of the protest organisers were taken into police custody. At least eight people have been arrested. Some protestors willingly surrendered to police with officers stating the raids have remained peaceful. However, some protestors continued to resist, playing loud music and waving the national flag tied to hockey sticks. The truck blockade has lasted three weeks and cut off key trading routes with southern neighbour the US, causing significant economic damage to both countries. Ahead of the crackdown, MPs closed parliament and Senators and government workers were advised
Cuba leads in number of women inventors New data from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has ranked Cuba the highest for patent applications by women inventors whilst the UK falls behind the rest of Europe.
“the UK falls behind the rest of Europe”
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
to avoid parliament. A police advisory message stated: “Should you be already in the precinct, please remain in the building and await further instructions from parliamentary protection officers.” This is the first time since the protests began in the capital that Canada’s parliament was closed. The protest initially began as an opposition to the introduction of a vaccine mandate for truck drivers crossing the US-Canada border. The protest had begun in response to a vaccine requirement for truck drivers crossing the US border. The
protests quickly snowballed into a larger, less organised, protest against numerous COVID-19 restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s leadership who was re-elected in September of last year. Police set up 100 checkpoints around the city’s occupied downtown area to prevent entry into the area. A tweet from Ottawa police warned protesters they “will face severe penalties if [they] do not cease further unlawful activity and remove [their vehicles] and/ or property immediately from all unlawful protest sites.”
highest-ranked European country. Fellow European countries Romania ranked sixth and Spain achieved tenth place overall. The UK performed poorly in comparison to other European nations, ranking at just 55 out of 75 with 14% of applications being women. However, the UK was not the worst in Europe, Germany recorded only 12 percent of applications submitted by women. Other European countries including Italy and Sweden performed below the global average. Bulgaria, Norway, and Malta took the lowest ranks of the European countries.
China ranked above the global average with 24 percent of Cuba and the Philippines ranked applications from women. highest for the number of patents filed by women inventors in 20221. Japan, however, gave one of the 53 percent of applications from Cuba weakest performances with only and 38 percent of applications from 10 percent of applications coming the Philippines were filed by females, from women inventors. Indonesia exceeding the global average of and India also gave similarly weak only 17 percent. Spanish-speaking performances. dominated the top ten, with Costa Ranking above average was China at Rica, Peru, and Chile all claiming a 24 percent of women inventors. top spot. Liechtenstein and Egypt took the Portugal, which ranked third overall lowest overall rankings, with just with 34 percent of applications being four and two percent respectively. from women inventors, was the
Valentine’s Day assurances in Russia’s rearview mirror: a Ukrainian crisis escalates has a definite answer, as the Russian president continues to tell but not kiss.
Hamish Davis Global Senior Writer
Not quite a kiss, but well short of an invasion, Putin had announced last week that ‘some’ troops would be leaving the Ukraine border region having completed drills… far from the bloody Valentine’s Day predictions of Biden and his administration.
“Russia’s military presence at the border only appears to have strengthened.” Yet now, as roses start to wilt and aphrodisiacs wear off, nearing a week later, Russia’s military presence at the border only appears to have strengthened. According to western officials, two-thirds of 110
NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg noted last week that Russia is “prepared to contest the fundamental principles that have underpinned our security for decades, and to do so by using force.” Across the Channel, Boris Johnson stressed a potential for “the biggest war in Europe since 1945, just in terms of sheer scale.”
Photo: Wikimedia Commons Russian battalions are within 50km of the Ukrainian border, a figure that has doubled since assurances of partial withdrawal last week. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has noted: “critical units moving toward the border not
away from the border.” The US government estimates up to 190,000 personnel (including Separatist soldiers in Eastern Ukraine) in and around the Ukrainian border. For many western officials and outlets, the question of whether Putin is a lover or a fighter now
Concerns had been mounting over the possibility of ‘false flag’ attacks, in which an action is carried out to blame an enemy and stimulate war. On 21 February, Russia reported the killing of five ‘saboteurs’ crossing the border, a claim the Ukrainian military has rejected. Further notable in a string of disputed
reports are separatist claims of imminent Ukrainian incursions. Concerns of cyber warfare too, are perhaps becoming a reality. Last week the Ukrainian banking sector was hit by a series of attacks. The UK government attributes these incidents to the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU). As the days go by since a valentine’s period of promises, there is a growing sense of Ukraine and the West no longer being confronted but circled and probed amidst the motions of something. During the writing of this article, Putin has now recognised Donetsk and Luhansk as breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine, Russian ‘peacekeeping’ troops have been sent to the region. The strike at last might have happened, the wider picture maybe pre-emptive of this decision. Have we been watching the cups instead of the ball? This print issue of Concrete was published on 1st March. For regular updates in relation to the topic of this article, please visit the Concrete
1st March 2022
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US could loosen opioid prescription rules amid drug crisis reverses opioid overdoses, to prevent the majority of potential fatalities in 2017.
Aislinn Wright Global Editor
America’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is considering relaxing some restrictions on the prescription of opioids for chronic pain conditions. On 10 February, the CDC released a proposal that would change current restrictions on dosage limits for those suffering from acute pain. Restrictions were first put in place in 2016 to combat the rising opioid overdose crisis spreading across America. However, as the restrictions came into place, opioid overdose death rates continued to rise. The restrictions seriously affected those with chronic pain and substance disorders who were cut off from the medications, sometimes without being able to lower dosage or receiving treatment for drug dependency. Subsequently, some turned to opioid-based heroin and fentanyl. The executive director of the National Pain Advocacy Centre, Kate Nicholson, said the restrictions pushed people to find an illicit supply that is so tainted it is “pushing people to a very dangerous thing.”
The crisis originated in the 1990s when drugmakers marketed newly developed opioids as less addictive than other pain medication and pushed for widespread use by hospitals across the country. In the late 2000s, opioid overdose deaths began to rise. New rules were put in place but proved ineffective. Bryce Pardo, associate director of the Rand Corporation’s Drug Policy Research Center said the “taps were turned off too quickly without really trying to increase the access to drug treatment programmes”.
“pushing people to a very dangerous thing”
The opioid crisis has continued to worsen, deaths from fentanyl have doubled in the last two years across the country. Fentanyl deaths have particularly impacted teenagers, with overdose numbers for the age group tripling in the same two years. In a study published by the Lancet on the same day as the CDC’s announcement, it was found that only the southern state of Arizona had enough naloxone, a drug that
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Rare fatal shark attack in Australia Melody Chan
Global Senior Writer
The struggle for control over an Indian Ocean archipelago continued to develop earlier this month. Accompanying a scientific survey to the UKheld territory, a party of officials and evicted Chagossians ceremoniously erected the Mauritian flag.
It is a statement not without problems. Mauritius, a humaninhabited island, is a product of colonialism. A diverse population largely hails from the slavery, and subsequent indentured labourers of French and British settlement.
Nicholson described the guideline changes as a “tremendous improvement for those living with chronic pain.”
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Claims for UK-territory intensify: is the tide turning for an archipelago adrift?
The British Foreign Office has responded that the UK does not recognise Mauritius’s claim to the Chagos archipelago. Of the ceremony, Mauritian ambassador to the UN and participant, Jagdish Koonjul stated: “We are performing the symbolic act of raising the flag as the British have done so many times to establish colonies. We, however, are reclaiming what has always been our own.”
The new guidelines need to balance between ensuring patients with chronic pain have access to medication and not introducing new patients to opioids unnecessarily. Pardo said those with chronic pain do well using opioids but “What we don’t want is a 19-year-old who blew out his knee at football practice getting 90 days’ worth of prescription medication.”
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Koonjul’s statement is further problematised by the fact that at its closest point, Mauritius is 2,120 km away from the Chagos archipelago. Of course, the UK is 9,176 km away from the islands. Britain’s continued ownership over the Chagos Peninsula retains an ugly strand of colonialism. Its consequences for the 1,500 islanders forcibly removed are all too real. Before Mauritius’s independence in 1968, the UK annexed the Chagos archipelago under a British Indian Ocean Territory. By 1971 expulsions began, making way for a US military base. Supplies were
cut, and locals shipped away in poor conditions. Subsequent offers of reimbursement in 1978 (£40m more recently) and UK resettlement in 2002 leave much to be desired for many dislocated Chagossians and their growing support. In 2019, the UN general assembly voted for a UK withdrawal. In 2021, a UN tribunal reached similar conclusions. In a hard place, with a US base still in operation, the UK government has stated demands will be met when the region’s ‘defence’ purposes come to an end.
35-year-old British expatriate and former UK Royal Air Force serviceman, Simon Nellist, was fatally attacked by a shark at Little Bay beach, Sydney on 16 February. At 4:35 pm local time, Nellist was dragged underwater 150 metres away from the bay. Disturbed by the attack, witnesses described a “big splash.” This is the first fatal shark attack for the city since 1963, nearly 60 years after the Middle Harbour shark attack where actress Marcia Hathaway was killed. Around 100 swimmers paid their tribute to Nellist at Bondi Beach on 18 February. Shark experts indicate the shark to be a great white at least “three metres” in length. However, with nets scattered across Sydney’s coastline, human-shark
contact with these guarding barriers is uncommon. On top of that, Sydney’s world-leading sharktagging programme helped relocate sharks to a safer spot and kept them away from swimmers. Despite these efforts, there have been two fatal shark attacks in 2020 and seven the year before according to the Australian Shark Attack File. There has been an increasing number of shark attacks across the world with the US having the most unprovoked shark bites at 47 in 2021.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
1st March 2022
International Women’s Day: period go through periods, and these identities struggle with higher rates of poverty and not being able to afford sanitary items.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
To understand period poverty in the modern world, it is important to be familiar with the evolution of period products. In the ancient world lint, cotton, papyrus, wool or even grass and animal skin were used to soak up period blood, it wasn’t until the latter half of the 19th century that there began to be progress in women’s reproductive health.
Menstruation is a biological cycle in which the lining of a uterus sheds and causes a discharge of blood for anywhere from 2-7 days on average. Periods are different for every menstruator, they can be light, medium, or heavy and can be either very painful or not painful at all. Those who have never experienced menstruation tend to dismiss the symptoms or use phrases like “are you on your period?” or “is it that time of the month again?”, which comes across as extremely insensitive and dismissive to the menstruator. Periods can be a huge burden physically, financially, and mentally, yet there are still some areas of the world that refuse to acknowledge the severe issue of period poverty, especially in underdeveloped countries. Only in the last couple of years has there been a small decrease in period product prices, only coming into effect in very few places. Period poverty is a “lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints”, for those unaware, there was a “tampon tax”, a VAT on sanitary products of five percent in the UK since 2001, that was only abolished at the start of 2021.
“[The tampon tax” was only abolished at the start of 2021”
The menstruation cycle is a completely natural process, yet those who experience it are expected to pay for sanitary care, even though it is not a choice. In fact, around 30 of America’s 50 states charge “tampon tax” as the products are considered non-essential, reinforcing period poverty through the tax system. On average, a single menstruator spends almost seven years on their period throughout their lifetime and those who experience periods spend an average of £13 a month in this country.
“On average, a single menstruator spends almost seven years on their period” Also in the UK, one in ten of those who have a period cannot afford to buy products because of these prices. Worldwide, 1.25 million women and girls don’t have access to a safe or private toilet meaning they have to resort to other measures, especially during their monthly cycle. Moreover, period cramps or other symptoms can be extremely debilitating and can cause young girls to miss school and vital education, and that’s if they’re lucky enough to have it. The reason a lot of people don’t refer to menstruators as purely women and girls is because there are many trans or non-binary amongst other identities who still
“[The 19th century] began progress in women’s reproductive health” In 1839, the contraceptive diaphragm, a rubber cuplike protection against fertilisation, was created by Charles Goodyear and in the 20 years following, there would be many attempts and failures at creating safer solutions for women during menstruation. 1873 saw the word “feminine hygiene” being coined to describe anything related to periods or contraception. By the end of the 1800s, the first sanitary pad by Johnson and Johnson was invented, also known as ‘sanitary napkins’ but unfortunately flopped shortly after. In the Edwardian era, sanitary aprons, belts, and bloomers were introduced for menstruators, as well as a pain relief called Midol being sold. Nowadays, in this climate, the menstrual cup has gained popularity, but it was first produced in the 1930s by Lenna Chalmers barely being bought and used, also in this decade Dr Earle Haas made the first applicator tampon which was then bought and sold (and even hand-sewn for a while) by Tampax’s female founder.
The non-applicator tampon was introduced in the fifties as well as a resurgence of the menstrual cup. The 1960s was a revolutionary period, especially for women fighting in the second wave of feminism, leading to the first contraceptive pill being approved and adhesive mini sanitary pads being made and sold.
Up until the seventies, television had banned adverts that had anything to do with periods, contributing to the stigma around women’s sexual health. In the late seventies and early eighties, a brand called Rely sold tampons which were quickly taken off the market because of the toxic shock syndrome links,which we’ll talk about later on.
1st March 2022
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Sienna Norris investigates poverty period poverty years prior to this, and millions have been donated by the Scottish government in regard to this.
From the 1990s to the present day, there have been many advances in the safety of tampons, and more and more period products are being designed to be environmentally friendly, and the menstrual cup has come back into fashion because of the climate benefits and cost-efficiency. Most menstruators still use regular tampons and pads as it’s all that’s accessible to them, but nowadays there have been a lot of environmentally friendly
developments in the making of such products. The problem of period poverty still persists but there have been small but steady changes on the policy with menstruation in some places, most notably, Scotland became the firstever country back in 2020 to make period products completely free. The bill was campaigned and brought to the table by Monica Lennon, a Labour MSP, who has worked to help end
Countries including Kenya, Canada, Australia, Nigeria, and many other places have reduced the prices of sanitary products.
In 2017, Tesco became the first superstore to decrease the “tampon tax” by five percent in the UK. These are small changes which ultimately will prove to be effective in the long run. However, the safety of menstruators is still dismissed, especially those of the younger generations. The lack of access to safe period products can cause some to use makeshift products of their own with newspaper, toilet roll, items of clothing, plastic bags and many more, which puts people at risk of catching infections from bacteria.
“The safety of menstruators is still dismissed” But also, research has found that around 71% of those aged 14-21 feel embarrassed buying products, let alone openly discussing their periods. Toxic Shock Syndrome, which mostly affects people who use tampons and even contraceptive diaphragms is caused by bacteria that live on the skin, but in some cases the bacteria can release very harmful tissues that can cause tissue damage, or unfortunately in some cases, shut down organs. The syndrome and fatality rates have plummeted since the 1980s, but there is still a great risk of infection, and the reason it’s mostly associated with tampon use is the fact that if tampons are left in for longer than advised, it encourages bacteria growth.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, period poverty has surged, especially during the first lockdown due to
product shortages inflation.
Fortunately, there have been charities and individuals that have raised money or donated many period products to those in need of them, more now than ever. Most charities that aim to help people who menstruate or marginalised individuals in need, provide donations for these people to put towards healthcare etc. but the Bloody Good Period charity provides the product itself via material donations. Other charities that focus on menstruation issues are The Homeless Period, Girlguiding, and ActionAid. There are many ways to go about lessening period poverty, whether individually or collectively, but the more attention to this problem, the better. Scotland’s decision to alleviate the financial burden of sanitary products inspired other places to do the same or something of a similar indication, showing the knock-on effect these kinds of policies can have.
“The more attention to this problem, the better” If you’re reading this article and wondering if, as an individual, you can make
If you have any spare period products you don’t need or don’t mind donating there’s a donation bin in the campus shop, just as well you can donate to charities that tackle period poverty.
“Donate to the donation bin in the campus shop”
There are also many petitions to sign, but even just sharing a post that talks about menstruation in any way on social media lessens the stigma surrounding it and educates others on the topic, drawing attention to the struggles of those who menstruate go through every month. The more recognition this issue gains, the quicker the alarmingly high rates of period poverty will gradually start to minimise, but it’s important to acknowledge that period poverty isn’t just as simple as not being able to use tampons, it is an implication of the far bigger issue of womens’ sexual health that tends to be brushed aside more often than not.
1st March 2022
Battling my own internalised misogyny Louise Collins Features Writer
Growing up, I’ve often battled with internalised misogyny. Society teaches us to think a certain way; a woman in leadership is bossy whereas her male counterpart is ‘a good leader’, a woman discussing someone who’s upset her is bitching, whereas a man is having a conversation, a woman who has a sex is a slut, but a man is just a guy. Growing up, we’re taught to shame women for the same things men are celebrated for. What on earth is that all about? It’s because we live in a patriarchal society, and everything we do is diminished. We’re mocked for what we like, and we’re scorned when we mirror the behaviours we see in men. Simply because we don’t uphold the gross idea that we must be submissive, timid and gentle. I’ve been on both ends. I’ve scorned and I’ve been scorned. Growing up as female, you get used to it. You get sucked into the toxic misogyny of the world. You see a girl in Ugg boots, drinking a Pumpkin Spiced Latte and you’re taught to immediately think of her as a ‘basic bitch’. But yes: I found myself following these rules. In my early secondary years, my closest friends were female, but when I got on better with the guys in my classes, I thought, “well, yeah, because girls are more drama”. Instead, I felt more comfortable talking to the guys in
my class because I had an older brother I was close to, or maybe I was intimidated by the girls in my classes.
“When I got on better wth the guys in my classes, I thought, ‘well, yeah, because girls are drama’” Back when ‘popularity’ was a thing, the girls in my classes were at the top of the hierarchies, where I simply didn’t belong. To me, the guys seemed more approachable. It was never a thing of drama. As I got older, I had an even mix of girl friends and boy friends. I’d spend more time with the guys than the girls because of the way timetables worked and circles formed. The fact that I spoke more with lads in my Sixth Form classes was simply because I shared common interests with them. It’s the way it naturally fell. By that time, I’d been outwardly labelling myself as a feminist for a few years, and I’d come to recognise some of the signs of internalised misogyny. I stopped viewing it as me ‘avoiding drama’ and realised that it was just a natural flow. When I came to university, the best
thing happened. I joined Feminist Book Club just before Covid hit, and I joined a group chat they had. I met so many amazing women, and I realised what I’d missed out on all those years. I joined the committee and met two of my closest friends there. I still see the graduates all the time, and I talk to them almost daily. They’re all so wonderfully different. And guess what? I’ve never felt more supported and loved than I do when I have so many incredible women around me, and not only from the club. Women from my course, my flatmate, friends I made in first year. All women and all so wonderful.
“I met so many amazing women, and I realised what I’d missed out on all those years” I still occasionally find myself falling into the traps of internalised misogyny, and likely will for a few years. But when that happens, it’s important to take a step back, evaluate why they’re my gut reactions and change my attitude. Internalised misogyny isn’t going to go away immediately, not until society has changed. But understanding why your instinct is to slut shame, or belittle a strong woman, is the first step in changing the world.
Sisters are doin’ it for themselves Dolly Carter Editor-in-Chief
At five years old, my mother, father, brother, and I walked into a supermarket together. We were about to embark on a boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads and as a rare holiday treat, I was allowed to pick out a chocolate bar. Overcome by the desperate indecision only a five-year-old experiences, my mother picked out a bar at random and offered it to me. It was a Yorkie bar. At the time, Yorkie’s strapline was “not for girls” and I could quite clearly see this wording printed on the packaging. Horrified, I took it out of her hand and begged her to put it back.
“She made it her mission to empower me as a woman” Photo: Pixabay
My mother often tells me it was at this point that she made it her mission to empower me as a woman. Some of my favourite empowering songs to listen to before interviews, speeches, or assessments are accompanied by the memory of my mother and I dancing to them around the kitchen table. ‘Dancing Queen’ by Abba regularly featured, complete with dance moves in which we would point to each other and sing: “You can dance, you can ji-ive. Having the time of your life”. She also frequently bursts into a hearty rendition of ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves’ whenever we work a problem out together or offer support to each other. As per many mother-daughter relationships, the relationship I hold with my mother is a special one. One I recognise as shaping my outlook on the world, particularly when it comes to being a Feminist and speaking out on women’s rights. I submitted my dissertation last semester and it was entitled: ‘Modern
Medusas: the politics of representing Hillary Clinton and Theresa May as women leaders’. It was only after I had sent the finished product to my mum that I realised that, although it was satisfying to complete and submit such a project, nothing was as important to me as making her proud. I’ll tell anyone who will listen how much I love my mum. It was my mother who taught me that what I have to say is just as important as what a man has to say. It was my mother who instilled in me a determined persistence to do whatever a man can and more. It was my mother who taught me to be proud of what it is to be a woman.
“My mother taught me to proud of what it is to be a woman”
1st March 2022
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How to apologise, properly Mariam Jallow Features Writer
Let’s say you’ve messed up– you spilled a secret you swore to protect, forgot an anniversary, or broke your mum’s priceless family heirloom. I am, sadly, guilty of all three. In either scenario, you’ve upset one party by breaking an element of trust and you’re now faced with trying to ameliorate the situation with an apology. How do you go about it? Are you on your knees, strings of “I’m sorry” leaving your mouth at an accelerated pace, hoping your overwhelming sincerity (or excessiveness) will be enough to earn their forgiveness? What will you do if it isn’t?
I think it’s incredibly important to recognise that apologies constitute more than expressing regretful words. It involves reflection, empathy, patience, and a commitment to mending or preserving a relationship with the offended.
“Apologies consitute more than just expressing regretful words” The goal of an “I’m sorry” is often done with the intention of absolving one through forgiveness: that is, to
relieve the offender of guilt. While I do believe forgiveness is powerful and a vital part of conflict resolution, a good apology will prioritise the feelings of the victim. In order to do that, you’ll need to take the first step: acknowledgement. How many times have we heard people try to make amends with statements like “I’m sorry if I hurt you” or “I’m sorry, but…”? These types of insincere apologies don’t address the issue or validate the distress caused by it. If your actions have hurt someone, it will be enough to state so with no ‘if, ands or buts’. Taking responsibility for any wrong doing takes courage and accomplishing it without feeling the need to provide an excuse or explanation is a sign of emotional competency.
“Taking responsibility for any wrongdoing is a sign of emotional competency” The next part of the process involves expressing remorse over your actions, and proving you are ready and willing to prevent them from reoccurring. Saying “I promise not to do it again” won’t always be enough to earn back trust. Hopefully, whoever you’re apologising to will give you the space to try and make amends practically. In the event they don’t, it’s essential you respect their decision - that in itself will be a display of genuine consideration. This step lets them know you care about how your
actions have affected your commitment to things.
them and fixing the
I know how overwhelming the pit of dread in your stomach can be once you realise you’ve done something wrong. Owning up to when you’ve made a mistake is daunting but comfortability in admitting wrongdoings is a process supported best by practice.
“Taking responsibility for any wrongdoing is a sign of emotional competency”
Why we should all be cheerleaders Lily Boag Features Senior Writer
In early February I attended the UEA Angels’ Cheer Squad event ‘So You Think You Can Cheer Dance’, a competition in which members of both women and men’s UEA sport teams can voluntarily compete, taking part in the challenge to learn a cheer routine choreographed by cheer coaches which they must perform on stage to raise money for charity. Sitting among the audience of the LCR alongside my friends, we thoroughly enjoyed the event. Cheering for our favourite teams and routines, listening to the judge’s critiques, and watching the team videos of all of the students preparing for the show, we left with high spirits after witnessing some incredible performances. Disheartened that I didn’t possess the same kind of social confidence to be a cheerleader like the courageous students who dressed up for the occasion on stage. I was jealous that I didn’t have my own cheer outfit and pom poms waiting for me at home so that I could practice my own cheer routine in front of a mirror, dancing alone in my bedroom. So instead, I decided to reflect on the reasons why we should all be cheerleaders, taking into consideration the social, physical, emotional, and mental benefits that come with partaking in the sport.
1. Anyone and everyone can be a cheerleader.
After watching the various cheer performances that took place on stage, it was made clear to the audience that anyone can be a cheerleader if they really want to. Though when we think of the typical ‘cheerleader’ a petite young woman with a bow in her hair bouncing around in a shortpleated skirt (and rocking it) may come to mind, cheer doesn’t have to be a gendered sport. It’s time to break the social stigma that surrounds cheer being an athletic pastime only suitable for women. It’s an inclusive environment, anyone from any background or experience is welcome to join a cheer team.
2. Live your American teen movie dreams! Whilst cheerleading isn’t hugely popular in the UK (perhaps due to our pessimistic inclinations), cheer is a huge part of American high school culture, seeping through into many film and television show portrayals of American teen life. Whether you wanted to be Sandy in Grease or the ‘cheerios’ who dominate the hallways in Glee – the list of cheer role-models goes on and on. Because truly, who wouldn’t want to be compared to a young Kirsten Dunst in Bring it On, or join the Wildcats for a chorus of ‘We’re all in this together’ in the middle of the East High gym in High School Musical?
3. Teamwork makes the dream work. Taking part in cheer can be a brilliant way to meet new people and socialise with students outside of your studies. With all of the bonding exercises you’re bound to take part
in with your cheer colleagues, you’re certain to make some friends for life. Why not become a part of UEA’s Sapphire, Gold or Diamond squads and strut your stuff around the UEA campus, or join the competitive Large Pom and Small Pom squads and become a University and Grand National Champion?
4. Move and groove that body. While many may be excited to try the stunts, jumps and tumbles that professional cheerleaders train hard to do, for the less flexible and agile (such as myself ) who might need to work their way up to flips and lifts, it might be better to be stirred on by the idea that you can engage in a full body workout and improve your motor coordination. But practice makes perfect, and sooner or later you could find yourself high kicking to your heart’s content.
5. Put some pep in your step. In all seriousness, as a sport that imbues optimism, the mental health benefits that come from cheerleading are monumental. While mentally, exercising can be a challenging task at first, if you engage in the types of physical activities that excite you and bring you joy, your body will thank you in the long run. It all comes down to one thing: healthy body, healthy mind. So, to wrap things up… Five, six, seven, eight, time to shout, it’s not too late! We’ve got spirit, yes we do, if I can cheer, so can you! Photo: Unsplash
1st March 2022
in conversation with Norfolk’s first woman firefighter Editor-in-Chief Dolly Carter in conversation with Josephine Reynolds In 1982 Josephine Reynolds became Norfolk’s first woman firefighter at age 17. At the time, she was one of only two in the whole of Britain, the other having started her training in London in the same month. Josephine became an early pioneer for women breaking into this male-dominated industry and met with me to discuss her trailblazing past. I enquire as to whether she ever felt underestimated while being checked for her physical capabilities. She shrugs and says, “to be honest, I didn’t even give it a thought”, then going on to describe the physical tests in which she had to climb ladders and carry a 12-stone dummy.
Having attended a grammar school in Wales Josephine decided not to follow her friends to university as she hated being contained in classrooms. After obtaining the qualifications necessary to hold a job, she moved to Norwich to live with her father. Her first glimpse of firefighter life came in the form of an advert in the Eastern Evening News, entitled “Junior Firefighter wanted”.
In her training cohort there were six 17-year-olds, five of which were boys. As there weren’t any gender-specific facilities, Josephine was provided with a curtain behind which to change: “sometimes the boys would be cheeky and open the curtain back to have a peek. I ended up pulling the curtain right back, standing in my bra and pants and saying ‘Now will you eff off’”. She recounts one of the lads telling her that’s when he knew he’d get along with her “no nonsense” attitude in the working environment. On the first day of her training, Josephine was kitted out in a full men’s uniform as they had not yet made a women’s version. She says it didn’t bother her too much as she was the same height and build as the average fireman, but other women have struggled since with the single-gender uniform, particularly finding gloves that fit them.
“oh, you’re just the 17-year-old girl put here for the Chief to look good”
The scenes of her Fire Service career will be familiar to many UEA students, as she trained in Wymondham, was posted to Thetford, and completed her interview with the Chief Officer in Hethersett – the latter being only four miles from our own university campus.
Though the instructors and her colleagues accepted her as a firefighter, Josephine details the odd person around the county who didn’t like change. They would say: “oh, you’re
just the 17-year-old girl put here for the Chief to look good”. Rather than being the people she worked with on a day-today basis, Josephine is firm in believing it was those who didn’t know her who were her biggest critics: “I used to think if you actually knew me and took the time to see, you’d find out in time that I’ll prove myself.”
Photo: Josephine’s 18th birthday card from her housemate
Josephine chuckles as she remembers some of the amusing incidents which constituted her firefighting career. An older lady called her granddaughter to come and meet the “lovely young fireman” who had just put out her chimney fire - being mistaken for a man was a common occurrence.
Photo: ‘Fire Woman’ bookshop display
1st March 2022
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“Firewoman Josephine Reynolds… Fireman Woman or Woman Fireman” In another humorous tale, she tells me that she rescued an escaped monkey from Kilverstone Zoo, only to find out in next week’s paper that the monkey had been renamed ‘Josephine’ after its rescuer! After her time with the Fire Service ended, she went onto a multi-faceted career, including working as a humanitarian journalist and a television presenter. In April 2017, she published an autobiographical account called ‘Fire Woman’. Why Fire Woman? Josephine says the
paperwork issued by the Fire Service caused some confusion: “One month I’d be ‘Firewoman Josephine Reynolds’, the next I’d be ‘Fireman Woman’ or ‘Woman Fireman’. They never knew what to call me!” Thus, the title of her novel ended up being a tongue-in-cheek jibe at their confusion.
expressing her astonishment in saying “this is 40 years after I started as a firefighter!” She encourages anyone considering a career in the Fire Service to go for it: “They included me as a big family. They’re like brothers and family to me.”
Having spotted a gap in the international community for women firefighters outside of UK, America, and Canada, Josephine started up a ‘Female Firefighters of the World’ group. She does, however, make it clear that she believes it’s important to allow men to enter the group as it is critical for them to understand women’s experiences and help in being allies.
Finally, I ask Josephine to share some parting words of wisdom. She says: “just believe in yourself, no matter what anyone else says to you.” Particularly with the rise of social media, she encourages women to mentally delete and block the unfair criticisms as it is merely a reflection on their own problems.
Josephine also drew my attention to the ‘Women in the Fire Service UK’ group which brings together respected women firefighters. They offer the Future Firefighter mentoring courses which she describes as “exactly what you dream of having as a way of getting in the Fire Brigade”. She shares with me a statistic: it is estimated that only 5% of all firefighters are women,
She would also like to remind everyone that no-one is ever perfect: “it doesn’t matter where you go or what you do, just give yourself a big pat on the back for being there in the first place.”
Photo: Filming for Channel 5 News outside Thetford Fire Station
HOME OF THE WONDERFUL
1st March 2022
Celebrating Queer inclusion at UEA Libby Hargreaves
This has created a positive and Having a space that isn’t merely a encouraging environment where the disabled bathroom with an A4 sign blucommunity can come together and tacked on, and is free for everyone to use, This LGBTQ+ History Month has celebrate. destigmitises a lot of anxieties trans, nonhighlighted how effectively UEA works binary, and gender-nonconforming folks to create a positive, actively inclusive There are still vast improvements face on a day-to-day basis. environment for queer people. Similarly, to be made, especially in teaching International Women’s Day is a time to environments where, for example, it It was a delight to see them as a new celebrate all women and non-binary often feels awkward to correct peers and fresher, having moved 170 miles away folks who face a struggle against the teaching staff on pronoun usage. from home, as they symbolise a true patriarchy. effort to celebrate- not just tolerateThe joy I felt at the pronoun box on a queer expression. One example of such is the work of simple form one of my lecturers sent our Welfare, Community and Inclusion to my seminar group at the start of the Officer this year, Aaron Campbell, who semester should not be rare and is just introduced the club night Spectrum- one way staff can help remove some including a quiet hour especially useful barriers to quality education queer for neurodivergent students to have a people face. safe space to meet. As someone who experiences swings As seen in the flurry of posts on the in gender presentation and dysphoria, “Concrete Confessions” Facebook page, the gender-neutral bathrooms in Union including “shout out to the david bowies House are especially useful. i saw at spectrum, yall were killing it!!”. Home of the Wonderful Editor
“A true effort to celebrate - not just tolerate - queer expression”
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Alumni Spotlight: Cindy Williams- Confessions, community and Covid Findlay, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Lead at the Electoral Commission Leo Henry
Home of the Wonderful Writer
Libby Hargreaves Home of the Wonderful Editor
UEA alumni are a valuable network to learn from, and Cindy Williams-Findlay is no exception in her role as Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Lead at the Electoral Commission. I asked her to describe what this looks like day-to-day: “I’m really fortunate to have such a varied role. I usually have up to five meetings per day” including “with external organisations such as the Equality and Human Rights commission for Northern Ireland, who have recently responded to our external consultation on our EDI strategy.” She also describes “regular meetings” with “Directors to catch up on current issues, including plans for our internal EDI group and reports to the Commission Board.” Her recent projects include plans to “mark international women’s week and consider how we measure our progress on gender equality.”
commitment is real, or I can make it real.” Ensuring equality is especially important at The Electoral Commission as it “regulates the UK’s democratic processes to ensure free and fair elections.” They work to ensure “everyone can take part in democracy, including groups who are currently under-represented”, work which “may not be directly visible to the general public” but is nevertheless present “to protect everyone’s democratic rights.”
Cindy studied French and German at UEA, which has given her “invaluable” transferable skills, though she is most thankful to UEA because it’s where she met her best friend: “only because I was in the wrong school induction”. She looks back on her time here fondly, when she lived in the now-demolished Waveney Terrace, despite the challenges of achieving her degree as she can’t read Cindy explains the importance of a standard text: “in today’s digital age balance between work and home life things would have been simpler for me for her: “Outside of meetings I am free in that respect.” to decide my own working patterns. This is particularly helpful for me as I Further improvements to student life am registered blind and sometimes get for traditionally marginalised groups headaches”. As a working mother, she and women include changes to describes switching to “mummy duty” “accommodate pregnancy and caring in order to care for her daughter. This responsibilities”, with increased access flexibility is just one example of EDI in to childcare services. She also observes the workplace, she explains “nowadays how “technology has removed a lot of you will hear most organisations barriers for disabled people like me” and claiming to be committed to EDI but there are “improvements to the physical I prefer to work in places where this environment” for wheelchair users.
The Facebook page ‘Concrete Confessions Between UEA Seshions’ sits at 16,837 followers, at the time of writing. Having been up since 2017, it has rapidly accumulated in popularity and influence as a hub for the online student community.
Photo: Cindy Williams-Findlay
Similarly, prayer rooms create a more equal educational environment whilst there have been “improvements in attitudes, policy and provision towards equality for marginalised groups, reducing occupational segregation” which helps “people feel more included in student life.”
Scrolling down the page, there are a wide variety of topics and formats on display. There are numerous lighthearted posts, usually an attempt at a witty remark or joke or in the vein of (as the page description puts it) “Cute UEbAe caught your eye from across the square?”. Though, as is most fitting for an anonymous opinions site, the ‘virtual suggestion box’ and ‘Agony Aunt’ style posts are among the most common. The former provides a means for direct student feedback and serves to raise the profile of issues that would otherwise remain invisible to many in the community- for example, discussion surrounding
sports membership. The latter is a way for the more experienced members to offer help, support and advice on everything from day-to-day problems to deeper topics, many of which are in part due to the pandemic and many students feeling left isolated. This is effective due to the anonymous format, which allows for more sensitive issues to be discussed without fear of recognition, and the engagement from commentators is very encouraging, with detailed advice and compassion exhibited from many of the responses. As a support and advice network, although it perhaps does not offer the same advantages as formal mental health and student support spaces (albeit these come with plenty of disadvantages of their own) and especially considering the additional difficulties of the pandemic (despite what some may believe, Covid isn’t going away just yet) this community, whilst a little rough around the edges, certainly has plenty of merit.
Cindy’s final message is to students who feel they face barriers to their dream role due to inequality in the industry. “Barriers are there to be broken. As a disabled woman who was the first to go to university in my family, I still often find myself in a minority, but by following your dreams and making it work- despite the barriers- you can trailblaze for others like you.” She advises us to “build a strong support network” and to “please never give up on your dreams.”
1st March 2022
RAGsoc help ‘MAP’ the way for Norfolk’s young women Halla Burdett
support are needed more than ever.
Home of the Wonderful Writer
When first approached to write a piece for International Women’s Day (IWD) I was concerned nobody would care about an unknown young woman’s voice. Upon reflection, I realise this is one of the problems IWD aims to highlight- the alltoo-common feeling that we, as women, have smaller voices. This is one of the many feelings MAP, a Norwich-based charity, is familiar with and aims to change. MAP works with and for young people across Norfolk on issues relating to mental health, gender, sexuality, young parenting and much more. With mental health issues on the rise and an increased awareness of the LGBTQ+ spectrum, their services and
“Their services and support are needed more than ever” The feeling of lacking a powerful voice is particularly noticeable in accounts from the young parents MAP works with, particularly mothers who feel ‘judged’ by some existing ‘untrustworthy’ services. MAP offers support and advice to young parents and provides opportunities to meet others in similar situations to build
friendships and encourage discussions thoughts and feelings and get support.” that offer a chance to alleviate their anxieties. The importance of such services is emphasised by one young mum: “It’s comforting to know other people go through the same things”, MAP has “helped to deal with the future worries of being a mum.” MAP’s approach allows young people to feel empowered and make their voices heard: “through creativity, training and collaborating, young people are equipped to lead the change they want to see in their community and influence decision-makers locally and nationally.” The significance of this work is shown in the counselling sessions offered, one person described them as “someone I can talk to about things I feel proud of. A safe, non-judgmental space” to “process
“A safe, nonjudgmental space to process thoughts and feelings” In order to continue supporting clients, MAP requires funding. As the President of Raising and Giving (RAG) Society, I am pleased to say we have been supporting MAP through a variety of fundraisers. In a discussion with Victoria Bleksley, the Fundraising Officer at MAP, I discovered just how many projects and services
they offer to young people, especially to those commonly discriminated againstincluding women. Currently, RAG has an all-female committee striving to raise both money and awareness of the work our charities are doing with vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. The work both RAG and MAP are doing demonstrates the importance of student fundraising in making a difference to disadvantaged groups, everyday not just this IWD. With thanks to Victoria Bleksley, you can contact MAP at: https://www.map.uk.net/find-us/ RAG’s current fundraiser is a skydive with donations being accepted here: https:// www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/
Sculpture-park Stories Bethany James
Home of the Wonderful Writer
In 2020, my closest Art History coursemates and I often found ourselves strolling outside the SCVA, where all our lectures were held (when the 4 of us all actually made it).
It must have been a Monday morning this time last year when my friend Zoe sprung the question “who actually likes these?”.
We were looking at the Henry Moore piece “Draped Reclining Woman” by our bench. I realised, in our 3 years of being at UEA we had never spoken about this specific sculpture, my brain started It’s odd because I think it’s easy to head to to whir, and I realised I actually really uni in a rush and not really pay attention enjoyed it. to the sculptures. Imagining sitting there without However, on the rare occasion it would the reclining figure seemed like an be a pretty day, we would sit on the impossible concept. I still reminisce on bench with an over-priced coffee and that morning, glad we spoke about how try to get a moment of peace in the silly we found some, yet appreciative of sun before stressing about impending how Moore’s piece completes the SCVA summative again. aesthetic. beneath the body of “Mirage I”, gently hugging its leg in the process. I suddenly Home of the Wonderful Writer feel overwhelmed- the cold bronze against my arms, my face taut with fresh It’s two a.m. at our flat UFC night. After air, the secrecy of being alone in the dark. witnessing a collective chunder in the kitchen sink, I quickly exit. I was sharing an intimate moment with an artwork, a vision made tangible by I’m now at the west end of the Broad. human hands. Ahead are some tall, weathered, black things glinting ominously in the moonlight.
Yes, it’s the nuggets on legs- menacing, long-limbed, and burnt. While “Mirage I and II” were inspired by “flamingos in the south of France”, I’m convinced an overcooked happy meal entered Frink’s creative subconscious. Goujons aside, it’s a beautiful night.
“A vision made tangible by human hands”
The absent wind transforms the lake into Maybe I looked like a weirdo holding an obsidian sheet embossed with stars. onto a metal bird, but I went home I’m compelled to shift my right shoulder fonder of those nuggets than before.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
is Vladimir Tatlin’s “Model of the Monument to the Third International”. It is one of the most iconic and eyeWhenever my mother visits Norwich, catching pieces. which is frequently, she insists we walk around the greenery of campus. Home of the Wonderful Writer
I used to, and maybe still do, think it’s her trying to remember UEA isn’t just a concrete jungle. It is quite sweet she wants to connect with the part of campus where I study, though slightly monotonous when upon each visit I have to pose by a sculpture again. Our favourite to walk by and observe
“one of the most iconic and eyecatching pieces”
My mother once brought our thenpuppy to join us on our walk, so we thought we’d try and get a fun photo together by putting our puppy on a ledge of the sculptor. What happened will remain a mystery to you, as she’s fine now, but we didn’t even get a photo! Since then, we haven’t strolled around that one- especially not with our dog! Instead, we enjoy the less precarious sculptures and try not to remember our previous misadventure.
1st March 2022
International Women’s Day: A day of empty words Lauren Bramwell
kinds of women across the globe. What I don’t love about it, is how people often use this day.
It has been 47 years since the UN recognised 8 March as International Women’s Day, but how much has changed since 1975? While there is no denying how, overall, there have been some huge and significant strides towards gender equality throughout these years, that doesn’t mean we should be stopping there.
Businesses have been able to adapt their strategies to be able to use this day to put on an IWD event and allow women to speak on feminist issues, yet these are the same businesses with no racial discrimination policies in their hiring processes or the same businesses which have unequal healthcare programmes in place.
Just because there is a day celebrating women and the successes made regarding gender equality, does that really mean anything in the wider picture of equality?
I think IWD can now easily be used by those in power to their own advantage and can especially be used to excuse and disguise people and businesses’ biased behaviour at any other time.
Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe the premise around International Women’s Day is beautiful. I love the fact there is a day often so full of joy and a day encouraging the uniting of all different
Not only that but this day has also easily become an excuse to not look forward, an excuse to almost give up on the rest. Yes, there have been
tremendous strides in gender equality, but in a similar way to feminism being a positive thing, it is only positive in one way – the white way. Just like how feminism is incredible, it is only incredible if it is intersectional. So, International Women’s Day is great, but is it actually useful?
“IWD is great, but is it actually useful?” I think it is very easy to let people view International Women’s Day as a day of remembrance, a day where we all look back and see how much
we have achieved. However, this “look how far we have come” narrative is extremely counterproductive when there is still so far to go. I believe the remembrance narrative is planted in ignorance. This rhetoric is full of empty words for many women, especially for women of colour. To only look at how far we have come is to only look at how far white women have come in a world still full of bias for other women. To stop here and to see this as a day of only celebration is to give up. I don’t want to be the girl who bashes on IWD because I genuinely do think it can be such a joyous day and I think it is important in its ways of p r o v i d i n g a safe space for women
to speak up, for example, IWD does an incredible job at speaking up on and pushing for more mainstream coverage of sex work. I just think we cannot allow for those businesses, and a large proportion of men in which according to a recent study by the UN 90 percent of men and women are still biased against women, to use this day as an excuse for the other 364 days of the year to show those biases. One day of the year will not contribute to useful change nor will it advocate for the needed systemic changes to be put in place. This needs to evaluate what done, a day everything still action.
be a day where we still needs to be of rebellion against not done, a day of
The gender pay gap requires urgent action Libby Hargreaves Comment Writer
International Women’s Day is a time for the world to focus on levelling the socalled playing field for women, though it is not a game for those facing unequal pay, the glass ceiling or glass cliff effect. This year’s #BreakTheBias theme is useful in centering this conversation to the perception of the gender pay gap, which many would suggest is improving. Certainly, the legislation regarding reporting pay is helpful to the effort, though the reality for many women remains bleak. As specified on gov.uk, the gender pay gap is the difference between the average (mean or median) earnings of men and women across a workforce. The
Office for National Statistics summarises political empowerment (both of which just as those with disabilities or members the most recent gender pay gap findings, contribute to decisions women make of the BAME community face biases “among full-time employees the gender surrounding their careers). before they even enter the workplace. pay gap in April 2021 was 7.9%.” It is also important to note, at the This shows a consistent downward moment, official statistics do not account trend, which is a positive for working for the challenges non-binary folks face women. However, it is proving to be a in the workplace, financially or otherwise. bumpy road, most certainly impacted by the pandemic as the statistics show: To put it simply, whilst the picture “7.0% in April 2020 and 9.0% in April is improving for women in the UK 2019”. regarding the gender pay gap, this is not reflective worldwide, nor is it the full Interestingly, the World Economic picture on our own shores. Forum’s (WEF) 2021 Global Gender Gap Report predicted it would take over 135 In order to understand the gender The barriers women now face have years to close the global gender gap, an pay gap, it is important to understand evolved from the ‘glass ceiling’ to the ‘glass increase of 36 years. all aforementioned areas of life cliff’, a more subtle way of obstructing affect a woman’s career choices and women from high-paid leadership This is based upon four key areas: opportunities. roles. economic participation and opportunity (for which the gender pay gap is a key Similarly, an intersectional approach Perhaps the most public, though component), education attainment must be adopted. Women from different controversial, illustration of this is (which limits women to certain, often social classes and educational Theresa May’s time as PM. She was put lower paid roles), health and survival and backgrounds face different challenges, in a position of power just as the country
“WEF... predicted it would take over 135 years to close the global gender gap”
faced a huge issue: Brexit. This mimics companies who hire female CEOs when they sniff liquidation, to simultaneously meet a quota and prove men ‘do it better’. Overall, the current gender pay gap situation is not as simple as it may seem. Certainly, the pandemic has influenced data and had a more negative professional impact on women as more worked from home, were furloughed or resigned from their roles entirely due to a societal childcare bias. Saadia Zahidi, the Managing Director of the WEF explained “some of the impact that we’re seeing of COVID-19 on gender equality might leave permanent scars.” I agree that overall, the picture is quite dire and it does require urgent action.
1st March 2022
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Photo: Pixabay Photo: Pixabay
The corrupt legal system for sexual assault victims Sienna Norris Comment Writer
On 15 February, it was announced Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre had reached an out-of-court settlement for the allegations made by Giuffre back in 2019, this comes weeks after the announcement stating the Duke of York would be criminally charged. It’s no secret Prince Andrew had a friendship with Jeffrey Epstein who reportedly trafficked Giuffre to the royal back in 2001 when she was just 17. Virginia has spent a lot of her adult years fighting for justice, not only for her but for other victims of Epstein and sexual assault. Unfortunately, the power of the rich white man has silenced her yet again.
The Charlotte Walker Comment Writer
The resignation of Cressida Dick on 10 February 2022 has ignited polarised reactions from both her critics and supporters. But was her resignation an apt decision to protect her legacy and diminish any further personal resentment, or was it due to a disintegrating relationship with the Mayor of London? There is no doubt Dick held her role firm during some of the most challenging crises and controversies the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has ever witnessed, but the reasons for Dick’s resignation go far deeper and centre on the overall culture of the Met officers.
“The power of the rich white man has silenced her yet again.” Back in 2009, Virginia signed a nonprosecution agreement in which she wouldn’t be allowed to sue anyone with connections to Epstein, and this was supposedly the argument for Prince Andrew’s defense team. He is unsurprisingly set to pay her over £10 million as well as donating to her charity ‘Victims Refuse Silence’. But where is this money coming from? There is a lot of concern as to whether it’s taxpayer’s money or not, but even
if it isn’t, the settlement will most likely not come directly out of Andrew’s pocket. Only recently was the prince stripped of his military and royal duties because of this scandal and has kept a fairly low profile since the accusations and after his laughable 2019 BBC Newsnight interview in which he claimed he had “no recollection” of meeting Virginia Giuffre. After news of the assault and the settlement reached the city of York, many citizens are calling for him to be stripped of his title as the Duke, and rightfully so, he has brought shame upon his family and many others. Unfortunately, this particular scandal follows the framework of most sexual
downfall Born in 1960, Dame Cressida Dick, the daughter of academics, grew up in Oxford with her two older siblings. Holding an extensive education from both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, Dick is widely admired and respected throughout the Greater London public for her frankness and willingness to admit truths when faced with hard realities. Dick joined the police force in 1983 as a constable and moved swiftly through ranks. The then constable became Thames Valley Police superintendent 12 years later and eventually in 2017, after a lengthy 31 years in the service along with an early but short retirement, was appointed back into the force as Commissioner of the MPS. Dick had been handed a city with the lowest level of reported crime and it was through her administration we
assault cases in which a wealthy man of status pays off the victim, the man with the money becomes untouchable through buying their innocence back via settlements. But if one is truly innocent, why wouldn’t they want to prove that? By settling cases, the accused is basically holding up a very large sign that says “guilty”. In most instances, once the victim is paid off, the assaulter is forgiven and the entire thing is brushed under the rug, like Judge Brett Kavanaugh who was accused by Dr. Christine Ford, and somehow he managed to become a part of the US Supreme Court after he angrily denied all the claims made by Ford. 90% of adult rape victims are women, and that’s just based on the victims
saw a dramatic rise of institutionalised corruption. The resignation has brought to light a revision on too many scandals: the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer (2021), the unsolved, dishonest and neglectful investigation into the murder of Daniel Morgan (1987), a perverted inquiry into a VIP paedophile ring (2014-2016) and on two Met police officers who dehumanised two black murder victims by sharing photos of the scene where they lay murdered (2021). These are just surface level fragments of a shattered Commissionership. I believe the reason why her downfall became so intensified was due to the investigation made by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) into the conduct of the officers at Charing
Cross police station which indicated there had been communications with high degrees of racism, misogyny, discrimination, and sexual harassment. Moreover, it has since become apparent the investigation found a permeation of these forms of degradation and harassment through a majority of the Met’s sectors. All the aforesaid scandals have amounted into one exclusive investigation, albeit uncovered in March 2018, I think it portrays a considerable lapse in Cressida Dick’s vision for her methods of redefining the Metropolitan Police and creating a healthier relationship between the police officers and the public. In the same breath, her resignation was in reaction to an ultimatum delivered
that have reported assault, and people still have the audacity to say “why didn’t she come forward sooner?”, well Prince Andrew’s settlement should answer that question. Sexual assault cases like this are a form of validation for the attacker to assert their power over someone helpless. This is a story we know all too well, and it’s hard to be hopeful about any changes after this outcome.
“It’s hard to be hopeful about any changes after this outcome.”
Dick by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Ironically, he offered blame and an imperious reprimand of Dick’s tenure, when perceptively blind to his own inability to hold himself accountable for his responsibilities and failures. This is not to say Dick had not had successes through her years of service, it is just more conceivable to see that Dick has too many times been the protector of the Metropolitan police officers when the confidence of the public did not stand in good stead, if at all. Cressida Dick is not personally responsible for the wrongdoings, and apologetic for all adversities encountered, she merely never pushed for radical change in a culture essentially facilitated by unprofessional individualist behaviours.
1st March 2022
Unrecognised hero in STEM: Dame Jocelyn Bell Rosina Poller Science Writer
Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell is one of the most highly recognised figures in modern astronomy, famed for her discovery of the very first radio pulsars whilst undertaking her PhD at the University of Cambridge. Controversially, it was not her, but her supervisor Antony Hewish who received the Nobel Prize for their discovery. Born in 1943 during the Second World War, she grew up in Lurgan, Northern Ireland. As a child she attended Lurgan College, where only boys were permitted to study ‘technical’ subjects such as the sciences and girls were expected to study subjects such as cooking and sewing. However, after campaigning by several pupils’ parents, including her own, the school finally permitted girls to study science. Her
studies then took her to The Mount School, a religious boarding school in York where she was particularly inspired by her Physics teacher. Jocelyn ventured to the University of Glasgow to undertake her BSc in Physics, before heading to the University of Cambridge for her PhD. Her project was studying newly discovered quasars, which are now understood to be extremely luminous young galaxies, through the construction of the Interplanetary Scintillation Array. Midway through her PhD, whilst checking the detection output by hand she noticed an incredibly regular pulse. This was at first dubbed “Little Green Man 1” because there was some speculation as to whether this could’ve been a signal from aliens. Through further study and the discovery of other similar signals, these regular, pulsating radio signals were identified as coming from rapidly spinning neutron stars
which would later be dubbed ‘pulsars’. Pulsars have served as extremely useful tools for physicists. For example: a pulsar in a binary system was used for the detection of the very first gravitational waves; they can be used as probes of the Interstellar Medium or ISM (everything in between different star systems in galaxies); and millisecond pulsars can be used for tests of Einstein’s theories of general relativity. Bell has been a great contributor to Physics over the years, acting as President of the Royal Astronomical Society, the IOP and achieving multiple prizes for her discoveries. She has also worked to end discrimination within the subject, setting up the Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund, which aims to fund not only women but also underrepresented ethnic minority groups and refugees in their journey to becoming physicists.
Spinal implant helps paralysed man walk again George Barsted Senior Science Writer
A paralysed man, Michel Roccati, has regained the ability to walk thanks to an electrical implant created by a team of Swiss scientists. Roccati was paralysed in a motorcycle accident five years ago and had no feeling at all in his legs. This is the first time someone with a complete cut in their spinal cord has been able to walk. The implant, inserted on the spinal cord and attached to individual nerve fibres, helps to amplify the signals the brain sends to the legs. Before the treatment, Roccati’s spinal cord was too weak to relay these signals but now this is no longer the case thanks to the technology. Roccati is one of nine people who have received the implant and all have made progress in their movements and taken steps towards walking.
“Roccati is one of nine people who have received the implant”
Roccati was praised by doctors for his steely resolve and determination to do as much as he could to get better. Prof Jocelyne Bloch, a neurosurgeon and part of the team of innovators, called him “incredible”. Aside from being able to move his legs, the implant has been shown to have other positive impacts. Hypotension was shown to be reduced as the technology helped increase blood pressure.
“Hypotension was shown to be reduced [by] the technology” This side effect was praised by the patients receiving treatment with one stating “it’s the small things like that, that can make a big difference.” The implant isn’t expected to be used routinely just yet and there is still a long way to go according to Prof Grégoire Courtine, who worked on the project. He hopes the implant will soon be used in conjunction with stem cell developments to support those impacted by spinal cord injury so they will be able to live more actively again.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Climate Change Corner: Pollution deaths outweigh COVID-19 fatalities George Barsted Senior Science Writer
Last month the UN announced its findings on pollution and found its effects are causing more deaths than the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest report from UN special rapporteur, David Boyd, states the planet needs “immediate and ambitious action’’ to defeat the threat from pollution on human and animal life. It states pollution leads to nine million premature deaths a year and warns of contaminated sites being made “sacrifice zones” – areas where pollution is so bad people may need to be relocated in order to protect their health. This largely impacts poor, indigenous people in underdeveloped nations where they are also impacted by the threat of climate change. Closer to home, the effects of pollution can be seen in the tragic case of Ella Kissi-
Debrah. The nine-year old’s passing was the first time a cause of death had been listed as exposure to air pollution by a coroner. Her mother echoes the calls made by the report, stating delays to get air pollution in particular under control “will cost lives.” The report encourages changes to limit the levels to 10 mg per cubic metre as the WHO recommends, and advises most countries to bring this into law. In the UK, this has been accused by some of being “kicked into the long grass” as lawmakers seek to avoid changes. Boyd states he “expects pushback” from the UN council on his propositions but he also warns without rapid actions there could be an even greater human cost. The report also recommended a ban on so-called “forever chemicals”– materials which take a long time to break down in the environment and contribute to pollution. These chemicals, such as polyfluoroalkyl, are often found on non-
stick cookware and have been linked to increased rates of cancer. This is just one example of changes needing to take place, according to the UN. Pesticides, microplastics, and electronic waste were also highlighted as problems that need taking care of, with a lack of safe disposal options meaning communities are further at risk from the dangers of pollutants. The human cost of not taking action is massive. Boyd believes governments have an “ethical and legal” obligation to take action to prevent tragic cases like Ella Kissi-Debrah’s from becoming the norm. The UN has previously had success when it comes to dealing with pollutants. A ban on harmful CFCs was seen as successful as the global deal to limit their usage helped repair the hole in the ozone layer. There is hope this report could be seen as a tipping point in the fight for a cleaner, healthier, and safer environment for everyone.
Photo: Rebecca Patchett Photo: Wikimedia Commons
1st March 2022
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Missed diagnosis: Gender bias in the U.K.’s healthcare system Becky Sainty Science Writer
In the UK, the health risks are currently higher for women than for men. There are plenty of examples, from anecdotal to large studies, of cases where gender should not have affected care but unfortunately does. For instance, it takes longer for women to be diagnosed with brain tumours and many cancers than men. A bystander is less likely to give CPR to a woman than a man. Women are even less likely to be given pain relief for the same level of reported pain and wait longer for treatment. Sexism in healthcare is by no means new– from the medieval notion of women’s wombs causing medical issues by wandering around their bodies, to the Victorian diagnosis of ‘hysteria’ and confining medically healthy women to asylums. Does this mean we should ignore gender in medical treatment? Unfortunately, because there is plenty of evidence gender
does have a real effect on healthcare, it is not so simple. For example, due to being calibrated for men, Alzheimer’s tests carried out on women cause later diagnoses because their verbal memory is on average better to begin with.
“Women are less likely to be noticed and do not receive the same standard of care ” Despite this, we need to be careful in examining biases before we completely blame gender. It was commonly thought women presented with different heart attack symptoms to men, thus explaining why women were twice as likely to die within 30 days of a heart attack. However, more recent studies show women do not present with different symptoms, they’re just less likely to
be noticed and do not receive the same standard of care. Another issue is diseases affecting only one gender. It’s not as surprising as it should be that conditions only affecting women receive less funding and fewer studies than those affecting men. Endometriosis, for example, occurs in a tenth of women and can cause incredible pain and fertility issues but is treatable. Despite this, it takes an average of seven years to be diagnosed. Much of this issue may well arise from the sexism already in our society, and therefore, unfortunately, in healthcare too. However, it also traces back to the clinical research, meaning the appropriate information to treat women is not even available. Often studies on mice and even cells use only males, with justifications including females having ‘hormonal interference’, though the evidence for this is weak. The result is drugs are prescribed to women without being fully tested. Evidence now shows women
often need different dosages, leading to more side effects when prescribed dosages designed for men.
“ ministers officially acknowledged healthcare in the UK is sexist ” What is also important to acknowledge here is many people are discriminated against in our healthcare system by race, age, sexual orientation, and disability, and these can all overlap with gender too. It is additionally worth mentioning sexism works both ways, with a higher life expectancy for women and large concerns around men’s mental health. In
independent inquiries and reports, UK ministers officially acknowledged healthcare in the UK is sexist. A call for evidence was put out earlier in the year, and a ‘Vision for Women’s Health’ was released after more than 100,000 responses detailing how many women felt dismissed and discriminated against. The government are also appointing a Women’s Health Ambassador to focus on addressing these issues, and full details are currently awaited for a new Women’s Health Strategy to be published this spring. It is expected to focus on six key areas: menstrual health, fertility and pregnancy, menopause, healthy ageing, mental health, and the impact of violence against women and girls. It has taken many years of advocating for these problems to be fully acknowledged, but hopefully, these strategies will finally be able to make a difference.
Bizarre beans, Mariam Jallow Science Editor
You may be more familiar with things such as oysters, alcohol and chocolate being marketed as typical Valentine’s Day cuisine, but could you be convinced to purchase a can of beans on the special day? Despite their fame (or notoriety) in stereotypical British cuisine, baked beans are in fact not a national dish. However, this does not prevent them from being both a cultural staple and now a pillar in the bedroom, according to nutritionist
Science: Getting an alternative Sal Harvey from food intolerance specialist YorkTest. Aphrodisiacs are substances that can stimulate or increase sexual desire and can range from synthetic chemicals to certain foods. What these foods have in common is their high zinc content– a mineral and essential nutrient capable of regulating your body’s testosterone level. The resulting higher hormone levels can increase your sexual desire, explaining their aphrodisiac qualities. Although many will be reluctant to associate beans on toast with bedroom antics (and understandably so), for your average student living on a budget, they present a
busy with aphrodisiac
much more affordable alternative to oysters. So next time you’re preparing for a romantic escapade, consider consuming a can of beans to give you an extra boost, gas notwithstanding.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE
Womanhood in the twenty-first century Freyja Elwood Deputy Editor
The lifestyle of women, in very generalised terms, has changed dramatically in past decades as a result of the creation of new technologies. For some women, the creation of the dishwasher, fridge, and hoover have all dramatically reduced the amount of time required in the household undertaking chores.
technologies has changed previous definitions of “womanhood” through the change away from traditional roles. According to the World Bank, in 1982 literacy rates in women over 15 stood at 61%, the same demographics literacy rate now stands at 83%. Again, the World Bank states, that although work still needs to be done to improve completion rates, “Globally, primary, and secondary school enrollment rates are getting closer to equal for girls and boys (90% male, 89% of female).”
For some women, the installation of a hand pump for water access closer to their homes has reduced the amount of time required to go and collect water.
With more education and skills, comes more opportunities and this will, in turn, affect perceptions of “womanhood” as we begin to see women as more educated equals.
In all cases, the creation of new
In the public sphere, we are now
seeing more women as leaders and changemakers. This will explicitly confront those who hold the view that women are inferior to men and thus will push immediate change on the idea of the capabilities of women. For example, for the first time the European Central Bank, European Parliament, and European Commission are all simultaneously headed by women. In the near future, we may even see the election of Kamala Harris to the office of President of the United States. Despite changes in the lifestyles and expectations of women, there is still much to be said for the continuation of the traditional celebration of coming
and languages that form our identities.
Celebrated when a girl turns 15 and becomes a “woman”, The Quinceanera is still widely celebrated in Latin American culture. In Judaism there is a similar celebration for a girl at age 12 or 13, called a “Bat Mitzvah,” where they become a woman. In Japan such celebrations, called “Seijin Shiki,” occur for girls becoming women at age 20 and marks the newfound liberties of being able to drink, smoke, and drive.
This year, the International Women’s day theme is #breakthebias.
It must be noted that “womanhood” is a vast, contested, and individual term and in short, no article would ever be able to cover the term in its full.
On their website, their mission statement is: “A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.” Challenging our negative implicit biases against women and internalized misogyny is incredibly important due to their insidious and often undiscovered nature. When we begin to do this we can once again widen our perceptions of “womanhood.”
But perhaps that is where the beauty in it lies. The idea of what “womanhood” consists of maintains cultures, religions,
Women travellers throughout history Tristan Pollitt
Travel & Lifestyle Editor
Let me address the mammoth in the room: it is perhaps unusual, one may say improper, for one such as I to write on the topic of women’s history. Men have frequently been much responsible for the current predicament we find ourselves in – and I include history as an aside in this regard. From the fields of science, the desks of literature, to the home and politics, men have often dominated those spheres which constitute the vast majority of our lives, whether we ignore them or not. Just as our university departments are being decolonized by well-intentioned, if vexing, groups of students, the concerted effort has been made to achieve a similar outcome with regards to women.
almost anyone born into good fortune. Now, it should be stated that to draw attention to these qualities doesn’t and shouldn’t deter us from their contribution to the history of travel, but it does bear recognizing that even when we seek to ‘decolonize’ our understanding of disciplines, which must, in turn, involve a deconstructing of patriarchal institutions, that one must be careful not to fall into the allure of idolatry – the worship of something wholly aspirational without thought. There are two such women worthy of particular mention for their contribution. The first is a woman named Mary Kingsley (1862-1900) who, at the age of 30, travelled to Africa
and explored the Ogooué river, later pioneering a route to the summit of Mount Cameroon. She was the first European to do so. After she had completed her travels around West Africa she eventually returned to London where she wrote two books, both of which became bestsellers, and which went on to shape and challenge British imperialist attitudes towards Africa into the twentieth century. Another lesser-known figure is Fanny Bullock Workman (1859-1925), who became the first woman who was a professional mountaineer and set a number of altitude records most notably in the Himalayas.
As a result of her travels, Workman was invited to give talks at a number of prestigious institutions including the Sorbonne in Paris and the Royal Geographic Society in London, becoming the first woman to do so in the case of the latter. Both of these women have undoubtedly carved out their own place within the history of travel and yet have been subject to a fate arguably worse than that of intentional erasure. They have been simply shifted like sand as we as a society continue to place less and less emphasis on the importance of travel to our everyday lives and its larger interest to the world
around us. In the natural hierarchy of importance, this means that not only are these women, as well as many others, contributions forgotten but also seen to be less than significant to the larger society, especially when compared to the fields of science, for example. A reconsideration of not only our attitude towards the role of women but the fields to which they belong is of the utmost importance if we are to fully recognize the importance of women in history. Moreover, it is work that should expand beyond IWD and into the future.
The aims of these various liberation groups naturally intersect and overlap with one another, sometimes to their detriment, but in the case of women and the history of travel, the issue is rather a unique one. Unlike some of the other fields mentioned above, the history of travel, especially in the pre-modern era, is very difficult to trace and document. When we enter the 20th century and beyond, the question of who climbed which mountain or charted this part of the continent falls into the murky swamp of Eurocentrism and imperialism, leading to the issue of how we document and include indigenous people within the global history to which travel belongs. The place of white women in particular within the paradigm should be selfevident, but the same can apply to
Image: Wikimedia Commons
1st March 2022
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How International Women's Day is celebrated around the world Katy Fajkus Travel & Lifestyle Writer
As nations come together to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March to recognize the achievements of women and strive for better gender equality, the question of how the specifics of this day is celebrated varies from country to country. The UK’s celebration focuses primarily on raising awareness of the social and political issues affecting women, depending on a specific theme each year. Some UK brands get involved and create and sell specialized IWD products to raise money for charities aiding problems that affect women. Last year, John Lewis donated £5 for every “AND/ OR” branded item sold between 1st-8th March. Other countries, however, decide to celebrate the day more widely. The US, for example, dedicates the whole of March as Women’s month, and every year on IWD, a Presidential Proclamation (an official statement of recognition) is issued by the President to honour and recognize the achievements of American women.
Some countries treat the day as an opportunity to give gifts to women to celebrate them, with Italy selling bright yellow mimosa blossom flowers, viewed as a symbol of feminine strength. Similarly, in China, International Women’s Day has been a national holiday since 1949 with many companies offering women employees a half-day as a celebration to mark the occasion. More recently, Berlin voted to recognize IWD as a public holiday in 2019, and workers in the German capital now enjoy the day off. The difference in the years in which this has happened shows how IWD has grown internationally and is becoming more widely recognized. Conversely, IWD is also treated as an opportunity to protest and demand more rights for women. In Spain for example, 2018 saw more than five million women take part in a 24-hour work strike against the gender pay gap, domestic violence, and discrimination at work. This demonstrates how the day can be used not just as a celebration, but as a chance to raise awareness and encourage active change not just
nationally, but globally. Protests and marches like this happen every year and even last year, thousands of women around the world defied various COVID restrictions to gather in aid of women’s rights, demonstrating the urgency and importance of doing so. Even in countries such as China, which have recognized IWD as a national holiday for 73 years, it is clear that there is still extensive progress yet to be made, hence the volume of protests each year. In Istanbul last year, women protested near China’s consulate calling for the closure of the mass-incarceration camps in the Xinjiang region following allegations of systemic rape and forced sterilization (which China firmly denies). This demonstrates the political nature of many of the issues affecting women and how IWD protests try every year to enact change. IWD is both a celebration and a time for reflection. Although gender politics have come a long way, this day is about recognizing not just the change which has happened, but also the work that is yet to be done. Image: Wikimedia Commons
Student entrepreneurs: a tasty prospect Sam Gordon-Webb Deputy Editor
Students love brownies, but that’s only half the battle. Brookies – grounded in the notion of cookie-brownie hybrids – was founded by UEA student, Zoe Shakes, and her partner, Daniel Shakes, heralding the start of a business with “its own challenges, and benefits”. According to Zoe, “it’s challenging, some weeks, to balance deadlines from my own coursework. I’ve found that Brookies has given me an outlet for procrastination.” Unlike scrolling the strange and complicated world of social media, baking feels like a healthier sibling. “If I’m going to put off doing my work, I might as well spend my time doing something fun and productive.” It also benefits from an equal level of commitment, with both Zoe and Daniel bringing their unique skill sets to the fore. “Dan has played a crucial role in the branding, web design, and business side of everything. Having run his own business for years and being a professional designer, he was able to bring our vision to life.”
Zoe’s creative skills have been put to good use. “Brookies is built on creativity, in our approach to marketing and the ways we finesse our recipes. We make lots of mistakes, but that’s all part of the process.” Student entrepreneurship has seen a steady incline ever since the onset of Covid-19 pandemic, with the development of online accelerator programs and pitching events specifically tailored for students. Earlier this month, Imperial College London was named the best university for prospective entrepreneurs, whilst the city of London was named the best city in the world to be a young entrepreneur. At a time of great uncertainty, solving the big problems and filling spaces in the marketplace is an attractive prospect. Zoe is grateful for the opportunities provided by the local community here in Norwich. “UEA has been so helpful for our business, mostly because of all the awesome students who make up most of our customer base. We wanted to create something affordable for normal students and young people like us, people who, she jokes, “[are] broke but looking for some quality cake.”
The entrepreneurial spirit exists in many, but not everyone taps into it. “We would definitely encourage students to pursue their business ideas. We started with a small investment and built from there. I think the key is to always do something that makes you happy and to build off your passions.”
a good chance to spend some quality time.” Brownies aside, universities need an entrepreneurial kick, especially
Success is built on adaptation, and the owners of the brownie delivery service acknowledge the need to adapt to grow. “Another innovation we’ve been trying out lately is vegan baking. This is something I’m incredibly excited about. We’ve found ways of adapting both midnight slices and Brookies to be fully vegan, and we’re now releasing one new vegan bake every week. That started as our attempt to make a Christmas gift for a good friend, but when we realised how good our vegan creation was, we had to build on it and add vegan items to our menu long-term.” Brookies seem to be riding a wave of success, built on the fundamental belief in the importance of doing what you love. “We really enjoy what we do. We even baked Brookies the week of our wedding! It’s one of our favourite bonding activities and driving around Norwich together on deliveries gives us
Photo: Zoe Shakes/Brookies
in the age of distraction and disenfranchisement. As Zoe and Daniel have demonstrated, ambition gets you far.
1st March 2022
Sports, addiction, and mental health Sam Crawford
This article is very personal for me to write, and I hope that it helps others who are struggling to talk about their issues in an environment where you should be supported by your teammates and coaches. However, I am also completely aware that when feeling your absolute worst, exercise or whatever sport you are playing can expose low levels of With all the hockey I have played, it confidence, a lack of motivation, and has always been clear that when I am problems that are being masked or kept struggling with anxiety or a low mood, I below the surface. can most likely feel better after running around and focusing entirely on the Indeed, for me, as many of the UEA match or training session that I am Hockey club are aware, I used to be Sport has always been a massive part of my life. I’m sure other students, in the majority of UEA sports clubs, feel the same. We all know that sport is such a massive vice for many people to clear their minds, keep fit, and generally improve their overall well-being.
highly aggressive when playing, finding issues in whatever drill or session I played in. Which resulted in beating myself up about making a mistake and speaking poorly to others as a way of coping with the issues I was struggling with myself. I first felt the presence of obsessivecompulsive disorder when I was 17, and its impact on my motivation for hockey was noticeable. In reflection, the way I played within myself, and lacked the conviction and confidence on the pitch was very much reflecting the problems that I was battling off the pitch. Obsessing over the fact I could potentially be gay plagued my mind, and even with attempts to focus upon the sport I loved, I could not find any relief. These worries did not come from a place of disdain toward the LGBTQ+ community, but a severe obsession over the possibility that I was not acting how a 17-year-old boy ‘should’ act. I had become so inside my own head that I had lost the ability to be present within conversations and battled with this irrational fear for most of my upper 6th year at school. The focus I had upon myself moved away from doing something that I loved, and I lost myself within an agenda which was driven by instant gratification and substance abuse. Hockey at university had
Photo: Sam Crawford
Photo: Sam Crawford become the only place where I with mental illness, substance abuse saw how I felt when I was on the and addiction attempt to seek help pitch. and engage in activities that help to clear their mind constructively. I Only recently have I reflected upon am also sure that these productive, the way that sport, in general, has active environments will encourage guided me towards gradually looking you to share your struggles in after my mental health properly. As a positive, healthy way. I started to succeed on a more competitive level, the gratification and University life can, of course, be intoxication I had relied on to numb my challenging, and I cannot stress own pain became less critical. enough how important it is to reach out when you are struggling, Sports’s power on our lives and our but there is always a way problems cannot be underestimated. out of more challenging times and towards a more positive I hope that others who have struggled future.
The issue of body image in Ballet and UEA Ballet’s campaign to fight it it is nowadays. Dancers were able to hide behind the character they played. Body image was not likely to have been at the forefront of their minds and they Body image is, unfortunately, a prevalent could dance without limitation of their theme when it comes to ballet. In ballet, performance skills. many people, both in the professional and the amateur world think that what In the next century, the dancer Marie you look like matters, which is simply not Camargo shortened her skirts to mid-calf the case. length, invented heelless dance shoes, and wore close-fitting skirts to facilitate The difficulty is that often ballet attracts and exhibit her mastery of intricate dance perfectionists who thrive on rigour, steps. dedication, and discipline as much as creativity, expression, and joy. Factors Towards the end of the 18th century the that trickle down from the professional reforms of Jean-Georges Noverre, who world to the grassroots level. some 25 years later in 1810 produced a change in the dance world, eliminated the use of any masks worn by dancers, which completely changed the way ballet dancers were seen on stage.
Juliette Rebold-Stead Sports writer
“The difficulty is that often ballet attracts perfectionists.”
Ballet costumes are designed to allow dancers freedom of movement to express their talent and enhance the visual effect of their performance, for example, a ballerina’s tutu gives the impression of lightness and gratefulness. In the 17th century dancers wore heavy costumes consisting of long skirts with wigs and jewels meaning that their body was not highlighted as much as
annual Instagram challenge and post photos to their club’s stories to spread the message. Our committee members will be posting pictures in leotards around campus and Norwich,
with the intention of demonstrating that all bodies are ‘ballet bodies.’ We are also reaching out to Ballet schools, dance clubs, and sports teams across the country to spread the love and raise as much
money as possible. Aiming to get international universities involved! If you want to get involved, follow @UEABallet on Instagram.
“Love your leo’ is to promote body positivity and inclusivity in dance.”
UEA Ballet is aware of the problem with body image within the sport. As a result, for the third year in a row, we are launching our “Love your Leo” (Leotard) campaign, last year we raised more than £400. It will be running throughout the month of March and raising money for Beat (a leading UK eating disorder charity) and Eating matters. The idea behind ‘Love Your Leo’ is to promote body positivity and inclusivity in dance and all sports, inviting sports teams, who also wear tight-fitting kits, to participate in our
Photo: Juliette Rebold-Stead
1st March 2022
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Comment: the censorship of Peng Shuai, China’s most talked-about athlete Metin Yilmaz Senior Sports writer
On 2nd November 2021, one of China’s most prominent tennis players, Peng Shuai, published a post on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform, which alleged that China’s former vice-premier, Zhang Gaoli, had sexually assaulted her three years prior.
from the public-eye for several weeks, resulting in the worldwide #WhereisPengShuai campaign, which prompted other tennis stars including Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic to call for her whereabouts. And despite Shuai speaking with the International Olympics Committee (IOC) in video calls on two occasions, in which she reportedly said she was safe and well, suspicions remained that she was and still is being suppressed and pressured by the Chinese state into saying what they want.
She described herself as being “very scared” during the incident, further saying, “I originally did not consent and cried the whole time.” One line read, The interviews given by Peng Shuai since “Why did you seek me out, take me to the original post also haven’t helped to your home, and force me to have sex quell these suspicions. with you?” In a video interview which took place Within half an hour the post had been in December with Lianhe Zaobao, removed, and Weibo proceeded to a Singaporean Chinese-language unequivocally censor and silence all newspaper, Shuai claimed, “I have never traces of the story. Searching the name said or written that anyone sexually Zhang Gaoli led to no results relating to assaulted me. This point must be the story, and likewise, results for Peng emphasised very clearly.” Shuai were limited to older, unrelated events. Users were prevented from And just weeks ago, when Peng Shuai commenting on the tennis star’s posts, spoke with French sports publication, thus removing any possibility for online L’Equipe, she claimed it was her who public discourse, and posts by other promptly deleted the post simply users at that time referring to Peng Shuai because she “wanted to”, whilst were also promptly removed. again emphasising that the sexual assault never took place. “I would Peng Shuai subsequently disappeared like to know: why such concern?...
Photo: Wikimedia Commons I never said anyone sexually 1600-word post detailing her experience assaulted me”, said the tennis star. of sexual assault, only to remove the post within the hour just because she “wanted However, from reading the original post, to”. She has also never elaborated on just it’s clear that this is definitely what was how her original post supposedly “gave said. And it’d be naive to believe that rise to a huge misunderstanding from the Peng Shuai wrote a well thought-out outside world”.
For the Chinese state to so blatantly censor one of their most prominent personalities is yet another reminder of the threats to wider democracy and freedom of expression that such Orwellian, authoritarian states pose.
Comment: on thin ice Danny Hayes Sports writer
Beijing was meant to be Kamila Valieva’s Olympics. The fifteen-year-old skater had first broken onto the international skating scene in 2019, winning the Grand Prix Final and Junior World Championships on her first attempt and was heralded by many within the sport as the next great skater. This form was continued into the 2020-21 year, where she eclipsed many of her older and more established competitors (such as the current Olympic champion Anna Shcherbakova) in national competitions. The start of the Olympic season saw a stunning debut at the Senior level, where she swiftly set new records for the short & long programmes and for the combined score overall. For many fans and followers, an Olympic victory seemed merely a formality after such an impressive season. Unfortunately, this plan was swiftly derailed when news of a failed drugs test broke after the Russian Olympic Committee’s gold medal in the figure skating team event. Rather than being introduced to mainstream media as the young breakout star destined for another gold in the individual event, Valieva was suddenly thrown into a media firestorm with her place in Beijing being hotly debated.
The Russian skater led the short programme before having a disastrous free skate and dropping off the podium entirely. What was meant to be the conclusion of her meteoric rise became a crushing defeat and the image of Valieva breaking down after receiving her scores will be one skating fans will be unable to forget. However, while it would be easy to place Valieva at the centre of this controversy, I feel that the greater blame lies at the feet of her coaching team and the wider issues they have introduced into the sport. For context, Valieva’s coach Eteri Tutberidze has coached the breakout stars from the two previous Olympics. Yulia Lipnitskaya’s routine to Schindler’s List in Sochi was the most powerful moment of those games. Likewise, Pyeongchang saw the culmination of the season-long feud between eventual victor Alina Zagitova and double world champion Evgenia Medvedeva, both coached by Tutberidze. Except for Medvedeva all these athletes had been teenagers in their first senior season whose spectacular rises to the top of the sport have been followed by quickly waning careers and retirement before they turned 20. Instead of creating champions with longevity, Tutberidze focuses on immediate short-term results.
While seven of the men’s top ten finishers have competed at a previous Olympics, this is only true for two female competitors. Of these two only bronze medallist Kaori Sakamoto has finished in the top ten twice. What is painfully clear to the long-term fan is how expandable these athletes have become, and that the sport is geared towards huge temporary marks rather than long-term success. Many will see Valieva as an unfortunate blip in an otherwise successful Olympics. Long-term fans consider it a culmination of the decade-long concerns for their stars. Since their Olympic appearances, Lipnitskaya changed coaches but retired at 17, claiming the anorexia that ended her career started under Tutberidze. Zagitova became world champion in 2019 but floundered as an adult and has not been seen in competition since finishing last at the 2020 Grand Prix Final. Of the three mentioned, only Medvedeva competed as an adult but was forced to retire earlier this year citing long-term back issues. They were so severe she had abnormal bone growth, caused by the excessive training of a pre-pubescent body. Rather than being a celebration of power and skill, these Olympics have highlighted the darker side of competitive skating and it remains to be seen where the sport can go now.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
1st March 2022
Sport investigation: allegations of unsatisfactory performance from Sport Executives and UEA Sport Oscar Ress & Freyja Elwood Sport Editor & Deputy Editor
has been even close to the committee of a club they’ve left behind will know.” This was reiterated by more posts, “there’s also a national tournament and since we’re not a bucs, we have to pay for that too: hotels and transport and tournament fees” and another stating “we have asked for extra funding for things BUCS clubs have included in their budgets and been denied - things which are important to all sport if you wish to partake safely.”
Concrete has launched an investigation into the Sport Executives and price of sport at UEA following a series of Concrete Confessions posts. Various issues were raised by the Concrete Confessions, however the majority being the conduct of the executives, the price On the Sports Executives, the confessions of SAMs, and the inequality in UEA Sport spoke just as critically. In terms of the treatment from club to club. representation that Executives are designed to provide, various posts said The confessions, which are all this is not being fulfilled: “Sports execs anonymous and have no connection are being talked about because we don’t to the newspaper, highlighted the feel represented. Fix it.” This was followed following about UEA Sport. Posts have by an allegation that Executives “have highlighted clubs struggling to survive their clubs own interests at hand”. due to depreciating kit conditions. A post about UEA Kayak reported UEA The manner of the Sport Executives sport leaving the club with “boats with was also questioned: “get off your high holes and not enough paddles.” Another horses, and focus on your clubs, the clubs post supported this, saying: “we are that have elected you” and “Execs aren’t struggling to replace expensive (and key) seen as friendly, open & caring”. This equipment which was damaged, to the continued: “It seems some Execs have point of safety concerns, by UEA Sport’s joined this year merely for CV-bolstering, incompetence.” rather than be an advocate & champions for their clubs…the terminology & The expense that leaves many at UEA role, Exec, has gone to a few of their finding sport inaccessible is highlighted heads.” Attempts by Sports Executives to as well: “I paid over £80 to join a sports respond to posts was not well received: club that I thought would be fun and “do the sports execs not realise that their that the first massive expense would passive aggressive/know-it-all responses cover it but it doesn’t, so what a waste to people criticising uea sport/SAM make of money and total disappointment” and people feel less comfortable talking to this is followed in another post about them?” SAMs: “there is little to no flexibility with it and there should be alternate payment Following the posts, Concrete reached plans and understanding.” UEA Sport out to both UEASport and the Sports membership pricing was described as Executives for a statement. Responding “flawed” and “unfair” with another post to claims of poor accessibility to stating “we should be directing the anger sport due to high costs, namely the to the real culprit in UEA Sport.” compulsory cost of £55 for uea+sport membership formerly known as SAMs, There were also accusations that UEA a UEA spokesperson told Concrete: Sport favours clubs who compete in “As a university, we pride ourselves on British University & Colleges Sport (BUCS) being able to provide an inclusive and or competitively: “they couldn’t pretend participation-based sports programme worse that they care at all about sports to all of our students. Our Active Campus that don’t involve competition. They may initiatives provide a vast range of very say all clubs are treated equally, affordable sports and activities, and but anyone who in addition we believe that we
Photo: Concrete/Samuel Baxter
provide sports club sessions at a cost that represents excellent value for money for all the benefits that being part of a sports club can bring…At the request of sports club members, we are currently working closely with uea(su) to provide further financial transparency, the results of which will be available shortly.” In regards to complaints raised in the Concrete Confessions posts of non-BUCS sports having smaller budgets due to financial bias towards competition-based sports, they responded: “We have 57 sports clubs at UEA, and we’re proud to have such a wonderful array of different teams and communities. No two clubs are the same and their funding can vary depending on a huge number of factors, including the number of members, travel costs and equipment, for example. We take all of this into account every year, while still prioritising fair allocation of funding between clubs – and a club’s involvement with BUCS does not have any impact on its funding.” UEA Sport did not address allegations of non-BUCS clubs experiencing dismissive attitudes from UEA Sport staff. The Sports Executives released a joint statement to Concrete, reiterating that: “Execs are elected into their positions and are students volunteering their time to represent their clubs or specific areas. They provide a voice through the SU to represent the student body when an issue is brought to them.” Following on from this, they denied the allegations made of Executives voting against grants put forward by the clubs they themselves belong to, saying: “Execs deliberate on grants extensively in our exec meetings. We take into consideration [their] budget, the amount they’ve applied for, and other factors to give an informed vote. Ultimately, grants are approved by the presidents, we only make recommendations after a lot of discussion in an open forum.” Again, they denied allegations put forward of bias toward certain sports in their jurisdictions: “Execs also have the professionalism to ensure that their representation is fair and objective. It is also compromising their own club, relationships and reputation if they looked to clearly elevate their own interests above those of others or show bias to others in the same way. There is no tangible benefit for their clubs or clubs of interest to be elevated in the exec forum as a result.” After investigation, Concrete found that of the ten Execs, nine hold at least one committee position in a UEA sports club. Following this, two Execs hold multiple positions in their sport and one has three positions over two sports. These committee roles range from President to Secretary to Wellbeing and Fundraising Officer of their
respective clubs. As certain members of a committee are in a position of power which could benefit their clubs, many are pointing to a breakdown in the system. The Executives deny that this affects their ability to complete their roles. A public statement was also released by Lizzie Payne, Activities and Opportunities Officer, on the matter. She assured students that she was working on a “Cost of Sport Analysis” with UEA Sport, which would resolve “financial transparency around the cost of Club Sport for members and students alike”. She continued to say this was “an area that has needed improvement for some time.” She addressed criticism aimed at the Sports Execs stating it was the student’s “right to hold the Execs to account and provide challenge”, however, “posts that single out and publicly target any one of the Exec team for open criticism is unfair, uncalled for and unkind.”
Sport Executives that have left certain club Presidents feeling that they are not doing a satisfactory job. A Watersport President who requested not to be named, stated: “the sports execs I think do a good job but they definitely think they’re the bees knees when it comes to UEA sport.” An indoor sport President who also requested not to be named, stated: “In terms of the exec, I’ve hardly interacted with them, to be honest…it seems like they just relay info from UEA sport rather than helping us out.”
Along with these allegations of inattentiveness and lack of proactivity, the Sport Executives were accused of failing to understand the smaller club and their specific needs which stand them out amongst other sports. A sport which once again requested to be kept anonymous when Concrete approached them said: “Sometimes I’ll go directly to UEA sport staff over the execs as they’re not specialised in Concrete’s inquiries revealed UEA Sports your area.” clubs Presidents held mixed opinions about the job that the Sports Execs Investigations have revealed the presence were doing. Presidents of mainstream of a worrying culture in UEA Sport. sports clubs, in general, found they had Allegations being madeCommons surrounding Photo:are Wikimedia had little to no contact with their execs unsavoury conduct and an insufficient but equally found no issue with their structure for complaints to be made, conduct. The President of Men’s Rugby heard, and acted upon. Investigations told Concrete: “I’ve never had an issue. have now Photo: revealedWikimedia a worrying Commons culture We’ve been dealing with Tom Poole or Mr. in UEA Sport, culminating in unsavoury Colney Lane as the post refers to him, he’s conduct being present through UEA been absolutely fine” and he continued, Sport and an insufficient structure for “although I’ve had a really good complaints to be made, heard, and experience, I’ve never asked for grants acted upon. Concrete confessions has or anything like that. I am a president of seemingly become a safer place for a bigger club, and I might not be seeing people to vent their concerns. There are things as smaller clubs are.” The same examples of allegations of this nature sentiments were echoed in a comment made in confessions about various clubs. made by the President of Women’s Rugby: UEA Taekwondo received an allegation “I haven’t really raised any issues with that in 2019 at one of their sessions, our exec so can’t really say much,” before “one of the male black belt coaches adding, “obviously would be nice to have whispered “ooo, kinky” which the post better pitches and storage at the pavilion deemed, “a bit inappropriate, [and] but I haven’t chatted to our exec about it.” made me feel super uncomfortable.” The Athletics President said: “when issues The culture of the Triathlon society arise, we are offered very reasonable was also targeted in a post: “If you explanations as to why we can’t access are not a medic/health sciences certain aspects of funding. Saying that student who already has experience we are a BUCS-competing club so maybe with Triathlon, they will not include that’s why we get treated better than you.” The post also alleges, “they just others.” The President of Ultimate Frisbee left me in the dark to find my own way responded to Concrete’s request for home alone.” comment: “There’s nothing in it, never had any problems with Tom, don’t even Concrete’s findings about the conduct of know what we’d have to complain about the Sport Executives, UEA Sport staff, and as a sport we’re very low maintenance,” the cost of sport at UEA have revealed he maintained, “he’s good at his job, he’s significant issues within their system. With not part of some conspiracy by ueasport many students preferring anonymous against the students, he’s just doing his confessions to voice their concerns, there job.” also appears to be a problem with the SU and UEASport complaints procedure. As a result of Concrete’s inquiries, we UEASport have since asked committee have discovered a general feeling that members to fill out a “cost of sport” form Sport Executives are not being utilised in order to gauge a better idea for the by many clubs. This is due to the fact that cost of sport at the University. clubs fail to see the benefit in contacting their Executive, as they do not have an Perhaps this signals a change in the tide, issue which needs resolving. Further however it is clear that student sport investigation by Concrete uncovered community believes there remains much instances of attitude issues among the to be done.