Humanism Now

19. Celebrating International Women's Day! Conversation on Feminism and Humanism

March 12, 2024 Humanise Live Season 1 Episode 19
19. Celebrating International Women's Day! Conversation on Feminism and Humanism
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Humanism Now
19. Celebrating International Women's Day! Conversation on Feminism and Humanism
Mar 12, 2024 Season 1 Episode 19
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Welcome to Humanism Now's International Women's Day Special hosted by Audrey Simmons (Association of Black Humanists & CLH) and featuring Lola Tinubu (Assoc. Black Humanists & CLH), Katia Urquiza (Central London Humanists) & Nicole Shasha (Leicester Humanists and Young Humanists)  who discuss;

  • The importance of IWD today
  • Does being humanist imply being a feminist?
  • Highlighting influential women's voices
  • Talking more about women's health

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Welcome to Humanism Now's International Women's Day Special hosted by Audrey Simmons (Association of Black Humanists & CLH) and featuring Lola Tinubu (Assoc. Black Humanists & CLH), Katia Urquiza (Central London Humanists) & Nicole Shasha (Leicester Humanists and Young Humanists)  who discuss;

  • The importance of IWD today
  • Does being humanist imply being a feminist?
  • Highlighting influential women's voices
  • Talking more about women's health

Episode references:

Upcoming events:

Support the Show.

Support us on Patreon

Click here to submit questions, nominate guest & topics or sponsor the show.

Follow Humanism Now @HumanismNowPod
X (Twitter)
YouTube
Instagram
TikTok

Follow Central London Humanists @LondonHumanists
Centrallondonhumanists.org.uk
Meetup
Facebook
X (Twitter)
YouTube

CLH are an official partner group of Humanists UK and an associate member of Humanists International

Audrey S:

Hello and welcome to Humanist. Now, the podcast from Central London Humanist. I'm your host, audrey Simmons, and I'm from the Association of Black Humanists and from Central London Humanist. Our regular host, james, is away this week and I am delighted to be chairing the special episode for International Women's Day. On this week's show we will be discussing a few questions which I'm going to put to our panel, who I'll introduce you to a little bit later on.

Audrey S:

So those questions that we'll be discussing today are what should International Women's Day aim to achieve? And should being a humanist imply that you are a feminist? And in the second half of this show, what are we looking at is just to highlight some of the cases of women that are really fighting for their rights around the world and some of the issues that are faced by women, not just in the UK but around the world, because I think this is what we think about when we're thinking about International Women's Day. So let me introduce you to our panel. We have Lola from Association of Black Humanists and we have Katia, who is from Central London Humanist, and we have Nicole, who is from Young Humanist and Leicester Humanist. So welcome to you, ladies. It's good to have you on the show today and sharing our thoughts and our feelings and what's happening on this International Women's Day.

Audrey S:

I'm going to ask you a very simple question, and I hope you haven't been struggling too much with this one, but just tell us, if you could join any fictional family, who would that be? I'm going to start with you, katia, and just to kind of think about who would you join.

Katia U:

What family? I did have to think about this a little bit because I think I read quite a bit of fiction, but there aren't that many families in the fiction that I've read, so a fictional family was a bit of a challenge. But I did find a very, very good family that I would love to join fictional and it's the Leblanc family. From All the Light we Cannot See, anthony Dure. It's a recent book. I think it's going to be a classic.

Katia U:

I think we will be reading this book a hundred years from now. It's a great book, and the family is the child, marie-laure, who is blind, that we're one of the main protagonists, and her father and her great uncle are helping her survive the Nazi invasion of France. She's blind and they participate in the resistance. It's a family that they're interested in science, but they're also very I would call them humanists in the sense that they have this way of reacting to things where they keep their humanity despite, you know, war and all of these terrible things happening all around them. So yeah, a family of resistance fighters in the Second World War in France, that would be my fictional family of choice.

Audrey S:

Great, they sound amazing. Nicole, I'm going to come to you. Who's your fictional family.

Nicole S:

Well, I also struggle with this one, particularly because most of the media both books and films and TV that I consume is, I think, about quite deeply dysfunctional people that you wouldn't necessarily want to spend a lot of time with. So finding my favorite was tricky, and now I feel I'm also going to lower the tone. Rather than a nice politically resistant family, I decided to go for the Simpsons.

Audrey S:

You stole my thunder.

Nicole S:

I'm going to go for the same wavelength because, while I think they're, also, you know they're quite dysfunctional. What made the Simpsons so great, particularly in its heyday, is its absolute heart. And you know, you see these deeply flawed, obviously massively exaggerated versions of people, but ultimately they really care about each other and they're trying, despite their huge flaws. So that was mine.

Audrey S:

Wonderful. See, that was exactly what I was thinking dysfunctional. But, love Lola, I'm going to move on to you your fictional family, please.

Lola T:

Yeah, this one is also. It's always difficult to think which family do I want to be part of, but I'm going to go for a light-hearted one. The Pre-Chet Modern Family I think I've chosen them because of the comedy, because of the comedy is light-hearted. However, even though it's light-hearted, they are dealing with a lot of issues. You know life, modern issues. It's about acceptance, about diversity and about love within all that, and that that love doesn't come easily comes with struggle. So, yes, I would love to be part of that family.

Audrey S:

You see, I think the thing about that is when we're looking at families and we're looking at understanding that we're flawed, understanding that you know what I mean. We're human beings, but actually out of that dysfunction there's love, there's caring, there's humanity and all of those things. Even in the most terrible circumstances we can still find our humanity and I think that's great. I'm so pleased, nicole, we're Simpson sisters. I love it. I think the first question I wanted to ask is do we actually need an International Women's Day? What is its purpose? What is its aim? Let me come to you as the youngest member of this group, as you're part of the young humanist what's your view on this idea of International Women's Day?

Nicole S:

I think we do absolutely. I think that it's quite easy for people, especially younger people and younger women, to be like oh, but we have equal rights now and all of this, and look how far we've come. And, of course, we have technically equal rights in lots of ways and we have come extremely far even when you look, you know, even something like 50 years ago, let alone 500 years ago but I think that there are still many, many issues that women face specifically that it's really important that we don't forget and we don't stop fighting for, whether it's in this country or internationally. I think that's the big thing, because, you know, we're very lucky to live in the UK where things are, in general, very good for women and we do have equal rights within the law, but there's lots of countries where there isn't the case, and I think, even if we were perfect gender-wise as a country, there'll always be other countries that we can think about and try and think about those issues and what we can do.

Nicole S:

Something I always really like about International Women's Day as well is the drawing attention to women in history who did things that were overlooked most because they were women. Often, you know, companies come out with fascinating stories about women who were integral to discovering something amazing or founding a charity. But because they were women, it wasn't really publicized. It was the man that did it and now but then they're looking back and they're like actually look what women were doing even when they didn't have that much opportunity.

Audrey S:

I think that is really important, that how women are written out of history, even if they're celebrated at the time, once they've passed, you know that whole history gets sort of disappeared, as it were. Lola, let me come to you. Do we still need an International Women's Day?

Lola T:

Absolutely, we still do. I think, you know, a lot is done for International Women's Day. Part of it is looking back and celebrating, acknowledging where we started from and then acknowledging people that have got us here, the women in the past who fought for different things for women, and then seeing how far we've come. But also to say, okay, we are here now. What about what is happening now? Taking stock, what have we achieved? As Nicole said, you know it's easy for us to think, oh, things are okay now, you know we have equal rights, we have this and that, but when you really look at it, I think the fight still continues. The campaign is still necessary. The awareness is still necessary.

Lola T:

Certain things are improving in terms of, you know, the pay gap, you know bridging, but it's still you know I was looking at the statistics it's still not where it should be. You know we can look at the. We are looking at the West as maybe possibly the most progressive in terms of women's gender rights. However, when you even look at the West, which is, you know, leading, we still have problems. We still have that gap. We still see less opportunity for women. It's getting better, but a lot of work needs to be done. For example, women are still, you know, most likely to do part-time for different reasons for looking after children, for looking after the elderly, you know so women are still predominantly the carers and that really, you know, puts women at disadvantage.

Lola T:

So for government around the world to look at that, you know, not to take it for granted that women are doing all this, how are they compensated and how does it limit, you know, whatever they want to achieve in the world, because you know it's about equality. So to look at different aspects of what is affecting equality, because what is happening is, as women are progressing, as we are having the right, we are having more responsibilities. That is the problem. We are taking on more and we need that help. So there are different focus. We are still dealing with violence against women everywhere in the world, including the West and in many other places. We can go on and on. There are still so many issues. So we haven't got to that place of rest. We are still in the struggle.

Audrey S:

Thank you. I think you've covered a lot there in terms of the struggles that still go on. Katia, what did you want to add to that? Do we still need this?

Katia U:

I definitely think we do. What I would add is I agree with both Nicole and Lola that having this looking back in order to correct some of our forgetfulness, also to inspire ourselves with women who, against even bigger odds, were able to play a very influential role in our history. But I also think that today we need to think about today and we need to think about the future. Today, you will have people saying no, no, no, feminism is old fashioned or we don't need. And it's when someone says something like that that then we get battle ready and we say oh, you don't think we still have a problem? Oh, tell me more. And then a conversation starts. So we are in a much better situation, but there are still many, many things, and these things need to be talked about and it can't be forgotten.

Katia U:

So one of the things that I was looking at was how big the pay gap still is. It's 25 cents, 25p less than men per pound. So women are making 75% of what men are making. That's outrageous. How has that not moved more and what can we do to move that? And then I was also looking at some statistics, because it's going to be International Women's Day.

Katia U:

The media is going to talk about women's issues, so you'll get a focus, and it makes us focus, once a year at least, on where are we at? And I saw this absolutely frightening graph on how the gender divide in investment and investment is something that is in the news today because our chancellor has announced how he thinks the future will be brighter for everyone in the UK. And you're looking at investment and how little women vis-à-vis men invest their money, and my question is why is that? Why are women so much less willing to take risks? Is investment not the right way for women to prepare for their future? I don't know. I think it's a topic that we need to maybe take advantage of things like International Women's Day to talk about. Let's talk about money. Why shouldn't we talk about money? There's no taboo subjects anymore, or there shouldn't be.

Audrey S:

My favourite phrase was battle ready. We need to be getting battle ready and not to get complacent about what's already been achieved in science, in mathematics, in all kinds of invention and all of these things that women do and never get any recognition for. So thank you, ladies. I think that was a real an eye-opener in thinking about what it is that we have achieved, but also where we need to go. And just thinking about where we need to go, what do you think that we should, that this International Women's Day should be trying to achieve? What are the main goals? Maybe two or three goals that you think that this day should be trying to achieve. Lola, let me start with you.

Lola T:

I think we need to find a bridge between the younger generation and the older generation, because I've observed that. I don't know if I'm correct, I don't have the statistics, but it's what I see on social media, what I see on television, and I'm a bit worried that younger women, because sometimes in life you get to I was discussing this, actually, with my daughter. It happens, when it comes to civil rights as well, that people get to a point that I can things are not until something outrageous happens. You know we are in the era of soft, that it is our parents soft and they are the same. Okay, people are comfortable. If you're a woman, if you want to have a career, it seems everything is there for you now to take, whereas it is really not like that. So, maybe because of the progress that has been achieved, to the point that I'm hearing young women expressing resentment for feminism, how do we get younger generation to understand that this battle is not over?

Lola T:

There are still a lot of issues we've talked now about. We've talked today about investment, never even talked about it, and that is so profound, and that is economic empowerment. Why is that happening? Why can't you not, you know, be in the same place, as you know, as your fellow citizens, male fellows citizens, why can't you so a lot, of, a lot of issues? Why are women still afraid for their safety? I saw very recently another woman actually talking about how young women are dressing and how they are put them at risk. I couldn't believe it that in 2024, another woman is. You know. Why are women not safe? Violence against women is still widespread, and you know there are many other issues. We have intersectionality as well, you know intersectionality of gender and race and sexuality, and so for me, it's about how do we engage the younger generation so that what we have achieved, what seems like or everything is okay now, so that they understand where things are, so that they can take the journey forward and not we are afraid yeah because sometimes it is fair.

Lola T:

It is fair that is stopping a lot of women. Fair feminism. They don't know what it means. They think that it makes them to be in opposition with men. It is not. Feminism is not in opposition to men at all. It is about humanity as well. Because, you know, when it is better for women, actually everybody benefits more. That is the finding, it's statistical evidence. When life is better, more progressive for women, men enjoy it. So it's for all of us, so that the younger generation can understand that this benefit is for all of us. It is a human right thing, you know. It is not in opposition to anyone.

Audrey S:

Thank you for that. I think the complacency within the younger generation is something that we need to guard against. Nicole, can I come to you?

Nicole S:

I think Lola said loads of really interesting points and I definitely agree with all of them. I think particularly the getting young people involved in getting them to realise what the important thing is. Like you touched on the sometimes with these any matters of rights and things like that. It takes something big and horrible for people to be incensed or to realise things. Like Sarah Everard, I think that was probably the most recent really big thing that people were reminded that actually there is a huge disparity of the experience of being a man and a woman, even in this country, where we kind of think, oh no, it's all completely equal, isn't it? I think, because it's less obvious now, you know, but before women had the vote as a big example, it was quite obvious that we weren't being treated as equal members of society and I think that then, obviously, while there would have been women and men who didn't care or weren't interested, it was then like, oh, we've got this very solid thing to point to, whereas nowadays it can be a bit more nebulous if we think about this country and, like you said, there's quite a lot of women who they are actually feminists with their beliefs, but they have this perception of what they think feminism is Like, so they think it's hating men or being against men or being a certain sort of way, which it isn't and it shouldn't be. Feminism is about equality and includes men's issues as well. You know, there's a tendency for young people, I think maybe just anybody to think that women care about gender and men are neutral. But obviously everyone has some sort of gender. That's what society is, whether we want to or not, and there are so many issues that do affect men that feminists absolutely care about as well and, like I said, it's for everybody and we should all care about it. But yeah, so I think just the kind of aims of International Women Day it was keeping those things in mind, reminding people why it's important and the struggles that women have had and how we can keep fighting and keep going is, and always bearing mind that things aren't, things aren't linear.

Nicole S:

I think a lot of people think of the progress, the March of Human Progress is like, oh, we're just always getting better, like everything's getting more equal, getting better, but that's not true and things can easily get worse.

Nicole S:

And I think that, if we're always aware, obviously not seem too negative, but actually these things are not guaranteed, just because when I was a kid at school they would teach us that men and women are equal and that was obviously great that they were teaching it like that, but then things can change. So I think to see how constantly it's just being aware and being aware of the new challenges. So I think a big thing is things like Andrew Tate. He's a huge misogynist, not even just because there's people who are misogynist in a more hidden way, but Andrew Tate is an absolutely raging misogynist and for him to have got so popular it's big issues like that and I think we need to constantly be adapting. You know, 10 years ago, international women's day wouldn't have been able to talk about stuff like that because social media wasn't in the same way and that sort of way of thinking. But yes, we're adapting to the new challenges.

Audrey S:

Absolutely. We're in a modern age. We're in a modern age and technology is taken over. Katia, what do you think to this question?

Katia U:

So I was also going to mention Andrew Tate as this thing that makes the situation for young people especially very, very different to what it was like when I was growing up. We did have back then, I think when I was growing up, kind of this law of silence which has broken down, and I think that's a great thing to celebrate. It used to be the case that when men were acting either just abusive or downright violent, they wouldn't be challenged by their friends or fellow men. So if someone said something awful, like, yeah, I had to slap her around, she was getting, you know, things like that. There would just be a silence, there would be an uncomfortable silence and maybe people would stop frequenting this person, but no one would go out of their way. No one would confront them and say you can't do that, you can't say that Really challenge them. I think that's something that we've adopted. But then, you know, a bit surprisingly for me, we have and rotate. That is feeding this, this hate, because I think it's hate, it's misogynistic hate, but it's, you know, it's hate. The damage that that does isn't just to women, as we've just said.

Katia U:

Now, feminist issues are also about, about being progressive Right. So, for instance, if women don't have reproductive rights, well then that also affects the men in their lives, and most, most men today that are progressive and have thought about these issues would class themselves as feminists as well. They would say I am absolutely 100% behind getting women keeping reproductive rights. Or, for instance, what happened in Iran when Amini was murdered, it wasn't just the women coming out to protest, the men in Iran protested with the women, and you know. So we've got these two things at the same time.

Katia U:

I do think that that is a huge challenge going forward. Boys are being influenced into thinking that women's rights aren't rights, they're kind of privileges, and if women get to these privileges, it's kind of like a zero sum game. Either women are on top or men are on top. Both can't. You know this? This is kind of the thinking in some of these anti feminist movements it's a zero sum game. So if you move forward, you're pushing me back, and we need to find a way to correct that perception by emphasizing things like reproductive rights are rights for fathers and mothers, couples where there are men and women. So yeah, but I don't. I don't actually know how. How do we do that when you know social media can have such a a direct and strong influence. It's a challenge?

Audrey S:

It sure is. Thank you, ladies. I think that was a really interesting idea. And we think about the incels and the andrutates and all of that and those things that you kind of feel that we're the victim of those, we're, we're recipient of those kinds of behaviors and yet we have less control on how to actually deal with them and how to challenge them. And I think that's that's that ongoing process that we have of how do we gain our power so that we can challenge and be strong in our space. And and you know, and we're 50% of the population we are here and we you know what I mean, it's not an either or kind of thing, it is. You know, we're here trying to make our contributions.

Audrey S:

Now we're sitting here this morning and we are open and declared humanists. We're humanist. Now, pods, and I just wondered, as humanists, does this automatically apply, imply that we are feminist? Is that a given or you know what I mean or do we see these negative traits within humanism as well? Kathy, let me come to you with that question. Humanism is, is it, is it an implicit that you know, all humanists are feminists.

Katia U:

I think the ideas of feminists. Feminism are shared by humanists in general, in so far as it is not a zero sum game. It is about all of us having a better outlook, having better lives making, being able to make the right decisions. So, in that sense, I think most humanists are, and the humanists that I know. When this conversation, when this topic has come up, I haven't had anyone say back to me no, no, I'm a bloke, I can't possibly be a feminist. I've had the opposite reaction. Yeah, the arguments given are very simple. Things like you know, if women are not doing well, humanity is not doing well. You know, half of the population of this planet can't be doing well if the other half is oppressed and is being denied their rights. It's just so obvious. As you've said, audrey, we are half of the population. We are, after all, their mothers, their sisters, their partners, their friends.

Audrey S:

Absolutely, nicole. I'm going to come to you. What do you think on this idea of you know the implicit feminists within humanism?

Nicole S:

Yeah, I think that I don't think it would mesh with humanistic values to not be a feminist. And, just like Katya said, I've never met a valid humanist who didn't absolutely agree with all the parts of feminism, and humanists are usually very well educated about all of these things. So you don't get any of those ignorant things. When people say they aren't feminists because they've misinterpreted what feminism is, and then they actually believe it. I think that humanists usually realize that it's a movement of equality rather than anything negative or damaging. So, absolutely, I think that it is kind of implied within humanism to be a feminist. Lola, are you going to agree?

Lola T:

Absolutely. I agree with Katya and Nicole. Humanism is about, you know, at the heart of humanism is about equality and fighting for oppression. You know, fighting against oppression rather. Therefore, most you know humanists will identify the experience of feminism is part of, strongly part of humanism, is my opinion.

Lola T:

Religion, I think, is part of the reasons why we have this inequality and oppression, you know, of women. We can see it in Christianity. It's clearly in the Bible, you know, ordering women to shut up. We see, like within the Anglican, you know, catholic, the dominant religion where women are still. You know they can't ordain.

Lola T:

I don't know whether we will ever be able to have, I'm not religious, but you know, is it ever going to be considered that they will have a female pope, you know, or a female Imam, and you know a lot of the monks in, you know, in Buddhism and other religions. So I think religion has to accept. You know the contribution to, you know, the oppression of women and not being there for women. You know through the years that it has to be circular movement, fighting for women. So because of that, you know, humanists, there is no doctrine, doctrine. The doctrine is for equality, is for women, is in full support of women. So we can safely say, even though you know we don't have a male on the panel, I think we can confidently speak on their behalf to say you know, male humanists are humanists.

Audrey S:

I'm going to push back a little. I'm going to say that we as humanists, we as female humanists, we mustn't get too complacent about our male counterparts, and I do think that we just need to be aware because, as we say, men are 50% of the population. We do have all of this negative information that is out there, and I don't think as humanists you know what I mean male humanists are immune to that and changing their thinking or all of that. So I would just suggest I'm just putting it out there that we don't become too complacent about what humanism is and how it's practiced in our life, because we see those contrasts all the time. I'm just putting it out there. I'm not asking for a response, but just one doesn't want to get too complacent. Now I'm going to move on. I'm aware of time and I just want to give each of you this opportunity now just to sort of highlight and focus someone that you consider needs to have that spotlight at the moment, and Katya.

Katia U:

I'm going to come to you. It's going to mesh really well with what we've been saying just now. I am going to vote for Margaret Atwood, who is an author. She wrote the Handmaid's Tale, yes, and it is a completely plausible history. So it's dystopian. It's in the near future. It's not science fiction dystopian. It's dystopian in the sense of this could happen, and I've heard her speak about the book a couple of times.

Katia U:

The most important point that I want to make is how she went about writing this book. So I don't know if you're familiar with the story, but the US government in the story, the US government has been overthrown by a very nationalist, very, very right-wing group and they've created the Republic of Gilead and in the Republic of Gilead birth rates are declining. So the commanders, or the elite men, get handmaids. So from the population, women are kidnapped, are enslaved. I guess we could say those women that can have children are given to the commanders. So the commander will be in his marriage with his wife and have a handmaid whom he is going to impregnate, and the child is then kept by the commander and his wife. And this is just one of the things that happens in this book. It is an absolutely wonderful book. I think absolutely everyone should read it.

Katia U:

When she was writing this book, margaret Atwood had a way of choosing which things she would put in the book and she never used anything that wasn't referenced in history or that we could know happens today. So, for instance, the handmaids Lola was talking about the Bible. That is, in the Bible, you know, god or one of the prophets what does it matter? Says to a patriarch in the Bible oh, you cannot have children. You know, here, take so-and-so I think it's his wife actually who says take this woman and impregnate her so that we can have children. Right, and it seems a completely no, that would never happen. But when you read the book, it is filled with things that could actually happen. It was written in 1985. And today there are so many echoes in what's happening with reproductive rights in the United States. What could happen if simply if Trump is re-elected? That?

Audrey S:

was my first thought.

Katia U:

Yeah, yeah, yeah it's, you know. I would encourage you to go read that book. Margaret Atwood is such a great personality to think about, not only because she's written this book in 1985, but because it has been so popular. There was a Netflix series on the book. That was immensely. I didn't watch it, but the Netflix series was so popular that it brought these ideas to a whole generation of people who wouldn't have encountered them because they weren't going to go read the book. So she is influential, she's alive today and we're very lucky to have someone like her. We should put her in the spotlight and listen to everything she has to say, I think.

Audrey S:

Wonderful. I'm going to move on. I'm going to come to Lola. Who is your person that you would like to spotlight? A woman called.

Lola T:

Omo Lara Ugundikwe Leslie. Professor Omo Lara, she's a Nigerian poet, critic, editor, feminist activist. I'm going to say a little bit about this woman because and this is it's just in line with what I was saying that sometimes about you know, when you are in a soft and high don't. Okay, she was my lecturer when I was in the university and somehow I didn't know how great this woman was, how you know, even at international level, especially with African feminism. I was with her for four good years and this is how you know a society can silence someone, someone so great that I was with her. I was a student for four years and somehow I did not know any of this about her. And you know that she was this. She was a feminist, but she was very smart because she didn't want to rock the boat. She didn't want to. Yeah, she, I don't know if she was this strong woman, but still she did things in a very quiet way, she still influenced me. She was still my inspiration because I could still see that, I saw that she was.

Lola T:

I remember my mom not liking her. I remember a lot of the women not liking her. They just find her very threatening and I don't, you know, I don't. I think it's because women, you know, still rely a lot on men and when they see a woman, you know, telling them you can be this and that and you don't have to be treated like this. Sometimes women, you know, even when it is something for their own benefit, it is uncomfortable for them. So she wasn't liked by the women and she wasn't liked by the men, but she stood her ground, but in a very quiet way, and she was able to inspire me. She was one of the reason and I was in Nigeria in December, I didn't know that she had passed, so I was discussing her because my family, they, they know how much our daughter, so we were still talking about her and how much she influenced me, you know, and some, you know, other female students. So it's just so strange that somebody can be in that environment, that that environment was so suppressive to someone that was so strong. But her strength still came through and she was. I did not know that she was a feminist, that I knew she was a poet, I knew she was a writer, I knew everything else about her, but I did not know that she was a feminist and to the extent that she came up with one unique feminist theory.

Lola T:

A term is called steuanism. Steuanism and it comes, you know, it's an acronym for social transformation in Africa, including women. It's a brand of feminism in Africa so that because there is a lot of pushback in Africa, you know for that word feminism. So she coined this and she was able to promote it throughout Africa, especially among the contemporary. So what we were saying earlier on about what we want to achieve, I hope her theory doesn't fade away that. Maybe somehow, I don't know how we can't revive it. So it's about you know how the society can be transformed in a way that favors, that includes women and favors women. It is feminism in another word. So steuanism, if we can remember it, I like it Sounds really cool.

Audrey S:

It does. It sounds amazing and, as I say, it's just about how women have had to coin new phrases, have had to think doubly, think about how they present themselves, to try and not get pushback and to try and get their ideas out and to actually say I'm here, I'm part of the society. You know what I mean. This is what I have to contribute and you know, we still have to be thinking, even today, and we get in pushback, as Lola was saying, from our own women and so and Katya was saying the same thing it's about women saying, actually I can't do this.

Audrey S:

When you were talking, katya, I was thinking about slavery. That's the first thing that came into my mind of how slaves were. You know what I mean were the wet nursing and all of those kinds of things and the slave masters taking their, you know, having these children with slaves and what would happen to those children. They could be sold, all of these things. So you know what I mean.

Audrey S:

She's taken stuff that has already happened and is still happening, and women having to sell their children or trying to give their children better lives, having to hand them over to strangers and all of these kinds of things that women have the decisions that women are having to make on a daily basis, and you know we so. When we look at feminism, when we look at what women are going through here in the UK, here in Europe and throughout the world, we're still having to make tough, difficult, heart wrenching decisions and with the least amount of recognition, the least amount of recognition for all of the pain that we're going through. Nicole, can I come to you? Can you tell me your spotlighted person, please?

Nicole S:

Absolutely so. My woman that I'd like to talk about is Claudia Rodin, who is a food writer. I was thinking about lots of women who are doing very important and actively political things, and of course there's so many, but I thought I'd talk about in a slightly different way today. So, like I said, claudia Rodin is a food writer. She was born in Egypt in the 30s and she has been really, really influential on so many British chefs. As she came to Britain when all of the Jewish people were exiled from Egypt, which is unfortunately a really common story.

Nicole S:

I also feel a connection with that. While I was born here, but my family were also Mizrahi Jews, they were from Iraq. The same thing happened to them, and I think and I don't know if I've mentioned this on the podcast ever before I'm a huge foodie and I love cooking, and the history of food and cooking as a career is a really interesting gendered one, and especially when you look at things like the Middle East. So cooking scene is like the woman's job, you know, being in the house, being housewife, providing for everybody, but then also you had simultaneously the kind of the big chefs, the ones that get the attention, the ones that do it for famous people or on TV or write books about it or all men. And so it's a really interesting thing where it's kind of like oh, like the daily, the daily sustenance for people is like oh, that's the woman's job, and then the grand, flashy things are the men's.

Nicole S:

And what I really like about people like Claudia Rodin, who she was doing this very early on, she combined both of those things without rejecting the elements of femininity as well. So a lot of her, the way she writes, which I find so evocative and gorgeous, is all about like family and tradition and having people together and having people around a table and celebrating those things which would have been obviously traditionally put on women, whether it was their choice. But being like we can choose to have that if we say, if that's what we want our lives to be, to do that and have those connections with family and being kind of a matriarchal centerpiece as well as and celebrating that if that's what we choose to do. And, yeah, and being so famous I think she's got she's got so many cookbooks and to have that space and to have influenced so many modern chefs and, like I said, being making it kind of glamorous is the wrong word, but making such an amazing career out of that, I just think, is really really, really wonderful.

Audrey S:

Thank you. These are amazing women and I think it is a way that how women have had to get their voices out in very different quiet ways. They had to be quiet but also being loud, so you know what I mean. So Claudia had to kind of think about how can I present myself and present my ideas without seeming too threatening. And it's these ways that women have had to navigate this idea of being a woman and being in in this space and trying to hold their own, but also being aware of their surroundings and who's around them and thinking and having to think double think about how they get their voice out. I want to thank you for this discussion. It's been an eye opener for me. I wanted to just kind of wrap up with this idea of if any of you one of you may have something that you thought very strongly about but have now changed your mind about something kind of get fixed in your ways. This is me, this is how I think, but are we open to persuasion?

Katia U:

I'd like to answer that with women's health issues. So I feel that I'm not the only one that has changed her mind or their mind on this. Lately, we are having a lot more open discussions about issues that are strictly women's health issues. It used to be the case that I would only talk about health issues like you know, I don't know, like menopause or breast cancer, with other women, and I would, and then maybe I would talk about it in front of men, but only so far as I knew it wasn't going to make them uncomfortable, and more recently I've gone like no, to hell with that. The more it makes them uncomfortable, it's a sign that they haven't talked about this with anyone. So maybe they need to be shaken a bit.

Katia U:

Women's health hasn't had, you know, other than because I've been corrected on this point breast cancer does get more research and more money than something like testicular cancer, and men are also super ashamed to talk about their health, their own health issues.

Katia U:

So that's that I'm not saying again, it's not because we're going to talk about women's health that men's health should suffer right, absolutely not. But that is something that I've changed my mind on and now I will mention, you know, menopause in mixed society, and I think it's actually it's already brought me some tidbits of very good information, like the fact that breast cancer gets more research money than testicular cancer. I did not know that. I would encourage other women not to be so shy, even talking with other women, but there are so many things that we could learn from one another, and I have endometriosis. I have severe endometriosis, and it was only through talking to other people more recently that I've discovered that it isn't the rare affliction that I thought it was, and I can. I can help other people by saying no, no, no, those symptoms, that sounds like you need to go get get seen. So, yeah, that would be my top thing. Let's be more open, let's not be shy, and sometimes people need to be made to feel uncomfortable. It's important.

Nicole S:

One example I was learning about recently is the symptoms of heart attack for women are often completely different to those of men and there's quite a lot of health issues where they seem like gender neutral as issues and you think heart attacks that just affects everybody. But the symptoms are often very different and it's kind of been in the news recently because, again, it's like women talking about these things. If you don't talk about, hey, oh, I had this and this and this, and then you can't be like, oh, these are actually the symptoms of whatever or whatever it is because they, because they appear differently in men and women and yeah, it's just like, if you don't talk about that stuff, how can anyone know? And for ages I think people had no idea.

Audrey S:

They had no idea that we need to talk more, and usually it's women sort of cajoling, forcing and pushing their partners and husbands and to go to the doctors because you know, the lump that they've got on the side of their neck needs to be looked at and they're looking and dismissing it. So we are aware of other people's health and we are aware of what needs to be done for other people. We're less aware of what we need to do. We kind of you know mosey on through to kind of not deal with our own things and I think this idea of discussion.

Audrey S:

I'm in several WhatsApp groups, I'm a woman of a certain age and you will always see me fanning. I walk around with my fans and I am more than happy to talk about menopause and all the things that are going on within me, but I know that I find my rare species and I do think we do need to be talking more in general about our health and about what's going on, so that we can share that information. Ladies, I want to thank you. I know that you're all part of organisations. I know that you're all part of. You're all doing things. I know that you're not. You know the things that you're part of, so I want to give you the opportunity now just to kind of if there's anything that you want to mention to our listeners, anything that they can be a part of, anything that they should know.

Nicole S:

In terms of Lester Humanists, we've actually got something quite exciting. Next in April, on the 14th of April, we're doing a Humanist Sunday assembly and it's going to be the first one in Lester, so something we're starting out. So if anyone listening is in Lester or near enough, please, you're welcome to come along. The details will be on the Humanist website and I can also put a link in this podcast as well. But that's really exciting. I'm really looking forward to that.

Audrey S:

Wonderful Lola. What are the associations of Black Humanists up to?

Lola T:

I think I want to highlight a couple of things. The first one is in March. On Saturday, the 38th of March, from 4pm we are on Meetupcom so you can see details of our events. So on Saturday, the 38th of March, we are discussing a book titled this is Not America why Black Lives Matter in the UK. So a gentleman called Tomiwa O'Wolladay has written a book discussing Black civil rights issues in America and then comparing it with the situation in the UK. So it's a very interesting book. It's not as the same. It's one of those that don't judge the book not just by cover but by its title. It's controversial. So I think it's going to be an interesting discussion. So please come along.

Lola T:

Also, in August, we are going to celebrate Taisularani Day. So Taisularani was this 80th humanist in Nigeria and he was a philanthropist. He was a vocal in a country like Nigeria, where it is known he was open about being an 80th. He was an educationist, he was a lot of things. So even though he was an 80th, he was also accepted and loved in Nigeria. So every year we celebrate him. So we are celebrating him in August and it's going to be in Houston this year in August. So it's going to be on a meet-up as well. We are going to publish the event on a meet-up. Please watch this space.

Katia U:

Katia, we're also like Lola's group on Meetup. We have a lot of events. I wouldn't even try to list them.

Audrey S:

Yes, central London Humanists are a very, very busy group. I also just want to add one more thing to the Association of Black Humanists the second and fourth Tuesday of the month, we have our philosophy discussion, so we discuss various philosophers. When we've done all the usual philosophers within Europe, we're now moving on to the African philosophers that are out there, so do join us. Again, those details are on Meetup. Our next one will be on the 9th of April and it's between 7 and 9 o'clock, so please join us for that, and you don't have to know loads about philosophy. I knew next to nothing, but the discussions are really good. There's a little bit of reading that you might want to do beforehand, but we'll advertise that as we go along.

Audrey S:

Thank you, ladies, for joining us today. Your contribution has been invaluable. If you have enjoyed this podcast and you want to leave a message, a five star review would be much appreciated. You can do that on the network. We also are open to feedback and if you have any guest requests, any topic requests, again, please leave them for us and you can follow us on all social media and see the show notes. And I want to thank you all for joining us on this podcast today and if you want to follow up on any of the other podcasts, humanism now has a whole plethora of programs and episodes, so if you've missed anything, do please have a look at what we're putting out. My name has been Audrey Simmons and please join us again.