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-in-Chief 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 Editor-in-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.