ON February 26th, BBC Radio 4 programme Woman’s Hour launched the Woman’s Hour Power List 2014, which this year will identify the top 10 female ‘game changers’ operating in the United Kingdom today. Women resident in the UK who are “changing the rules in culture, society and business” in our country.
The Power List will be drawn up by a panel of 5, from candidates suggested by expert witnesses and Radio 4 listeners. In the programme, Emma Barnett (panel chair) and Rachel Johnson (panel member) were interviewed live as to their criteria for choosing the 10 (we also heard from other panel members via taped interviews).
It became clear that though they expected to be considering high profile whistle-blowers and twitter campaigners, they were not looking for women already household names but those who within their sphere had “game-changed”. Women who were not close to traditional sources of power i.e. with easy access to parliament, but who were influencing lives to make them better.
Age was not to be a limitation, for teenage girls have game-changed on the world stage, such as Malala Yousafzai who has influenced education of girls in the Arab world and in Pakistan.
Last year’s Woman’s Hour Power List had 100 names, an average age over 50, and many well-known. They want this 2014 list to be younger and have unexpected names: a list to make people sit up and think “wow I never knew about her!”
The interviewer suggested a name, which they all agreed was exactly the kind of person for the list, and this name caused my ears to perk up! It was Fahma Mohamed, the teenage female genital mutilation (FGM) campaigner who, supported by the Guardian newspaper, recently ran a petition to lobby the government to address FGM in the UK. Here in the UK, schoolgirls are sent away for "summer cutting".
copyright: Adam Jones PhD
It's always struck me as ironic that a number of Hollywood film stars are happy to be credited with being 1/4 (1/8, 1/16th…) Native American but its not so positive to be more full-blooded Native American, in terms of your social status, health or life opportunities in the US.
And if you substituted gypsy or Roma or “traveller” (a UK term) into those same actors’ ethnic mix, you wouldn’t even get claims for 1/8.
AS part of its fight for human rights, the Anne Frank museum, Amsterdam, which I visited 2 weeks ago, featured the plight of Roma in Hungary who are being pressured by Far Right groups, in their interactive debate for visitors. Daily, visitors are presented with current TV news items, linked to human rights, and asked to vote yes or no to a proposition.
I was in Amsterdam to attend EUPHA 2010. A speaker, Daniela Bobokova, presenting in the Health Inequalities session, dispelled thoroughly another preconceived idea about Roma…that they are drunks. “In Central Europe, it is thought that Roma drink more, smoke more and generally have more risky behaviour”, she said. Her talk focussed on binge drinking, comparing Roma and non-Roma adolescents in Slovak Republic, a country where Roma make up 7% of the population.
In 2004, a couple of years after I started work for CABI, I heard a talk
by Paul Chinnock, then part of the Cochrane Collaboration, (conduct systematic reviews of the effects of healthcare) and now editor of Tropika.net. Essentially this talk outlined
the need for evidence-based interventions for developing countries: amongst other suggestions, it called for a new
method to analyse evidence from small scale studies and for every Cochrane review to identify the most effective
intervention for both resource-poor and resource-rich settings.
Why was such an evidence base being provided
to the developed world by Cochrane but not to developing countries? To
understand the reason for this, you need to know how they work.