Mental Health Awareness Week: Why Suicide as a Topic Should be De-stigmatized

TW: Mental Health, Suicide, Loss

Support contact details at the bottom of this post

As part of mental health awareness week I have written this blog, to share what life is like with borderline personality disorder and to explain why we need to be more frank when talking about suicide. 

Suicide is the hardest thing to accept as an answer as to why someone has died.

People always try to evade this topic, even though everyone is blaring out to everyone as to how we should all normalize mental health issues and yet the main killer of mental health sufferers is suicide.

Of course, mental health illnesses are the reason why so many sufferers resort to suicide. I suffer from borderline personality disorder and my daily symptom is constantly wanting to hurt and kill myself. It’s just a fact of my life.

It’s quite hard to understand why people struggle to accept this. A lot of people find it hard to believe that even though I don’t want to die, there’s always a voice in my head that constantly reminds me that I, in fact, do.

Although I’ve now learned how to deal with this symptom, it’s a lie to say that it’s easy to ignore. BPD sufferers take at least 40% of those who die via suicide. We are most likely to attempt suicide within the general population of suicide attempts, and those who do die via suicide are 50 times more than those who attempt suicide due to other reasons.

So as hard as it is a pill to swallow, this is why I talk about suicide just like how I would about the weather.

It took a while for my friends to get used to me constantly talking about my wanting to die, but that is just my way of being honest about what is currently on my mind.

They have now come to realize that if I don’t randomly start talking about death and suicide – that is when I’m more likely to hurt myself.

Only recently has my boyfriend come to terms that it is a topic that he has to get used to.

He always used to tell me that he hates hearing me joke about death and suicide, how I just casually mention my past suicide attempts – and then I attempted to kill myself.

It was only when I heard from your friend that you tried to kill yourself I realized that I should have listened to you more.

 

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What it can look like to be triggered with BPD:

For those who don’t know, BPD sufferers are often labeled as “manipulative” and “toxic” because of how we often end up hurting ourselves when we’re triggered.

What people don’t know is that this is a symptom.

I’m considered a “quiet borderline” within the BPD community, basically means that no one knows I’m suffering with BPD and maybe just think I am a very anxious person – until I act out in tantrums due to being triggered.

It’s only until I start reacting in socially inappropriate ways, such as inappropriate bouts of anger.

I’m so used to being labeled as this, but it’d be a lie to say that it doesn’t hurt.

I know I’m not manipulative.

My friends themselves, get mad at me because I don’t express this enough.

Instead I just end up trying to hurt myself or worse – kill myself.

When I tried to kill myself, I immediately regretted it.

I started to scream and lash out on myself, in front of my best friends.

They tried to calm me down and grabbed my hands away from myself.

I pulled hairs out of my head, leaving me with a slight bald spot. I punched myself repeatedly, leaving bruises on myself.

All because my boyfriend wouldn’t listen to me for five minutes when I asked him to.

Mind you, it wasn’t out of nowhere.

It was building up, the tension and annoyance which I usually am able to control and maintain, it pushed me to the edge.

Why? Because unfortunately, as aforementioned, he just wouldn’t listen to me. In the past I have also done this towards my parents, brother, and friends. I hate it. I hate it more than anything. The fact that I don’t know how to prevent myself from going over the edge.

 

Most people would know me as someone who is very rational and level-headed. They would never expect me to be so emotionally unstable.

 

It pains me to accept that if I’m not able to control myself, I may kill myself just because I feel betrayed by those who I care about the most.

Although now my boyfriend understands and we’re both trying to get professional help for both of us in order to progress, no amount of apologies could get rid of this seeping guilt within me.

I’m terrified that I will betray myself and I will die because of suicide.

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Destigmatization:  Talking About Suicide

But this is why I continually talk about death and suicide as if I am talking about the weather.

I want people to know and understand that this is something that could happen. Something that they must be prepared for, in case it does.

I’m not saying that I’m excusing my want to die, because “well” me doesn’t want to die.

It’s just that if “sick” me takes over, I want people to be prepared for the possibility of me attempting suicide.

It’s a very real thing.

My best friend died this year because of suicide.

The only reason I managed to accept their death due to suicide is because we always talked about it.

The shock of their death via suicide wasn’t as hard as the shock of their death overall.

Everyone kept asking why, why did they kill themselves. My only regret was that I didn’t try to reach out even though I had an inkling they might attempt again.

Other than that, I’m okay with them dying via suicide.

It hurts, it hurts like hell.

But am I mad at them for killing themselves? No, absolutely not. Death is death.

Even though they died young via their own hands, it’s still death. So why can’t we normalize it as another method of dying?

Suicide isn’t just real for BPD sufferers, it can be for everyone who reaches a low point in their life.

So please, talk about suicide. Normalize the talk about death.

There is nothing wrong in talking about it.

 

If we normalize talking about suicide, maybe we can help our friends and family.

Maybe if we talk about suicide more it will allow someone to reach out when they need to.

I love my life now. I have reasons to live for now. I have a lot more coping mechanisms now.

So I hope you all can understand suicide more, from the perspective of someone who constantly thinks about attempting suicide.

Do not feel sorry for me. This is just my life.

If I have accepted this, then why can’t you?

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If this blog post has impacted you and you need to talk to someone please get in touch with any of the below charities: 

Info about BPD: click here

Contact Details for Help: 

Mind: https://www.mind.org.uk

Samaritans: https://www.samaritans.org

CALM: https://www.thecalmzone.net

 

Solidarity Visit to Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Action #MyRacistCampus

At the very start of this new year of 2019, I had made a promise with my friend to live our lives without filter – to live life with no fear of consequence as long as it is all for the right reasons.

This promise only strengthened due to their passing last month, and not too long after came something that I resonated with on Twitter: Goldsmiths’ Anti-Racism Occupation.

 

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A journalist was also locked in the same day that we were locked out of Deptford Hall || Angela Christofilou

 

Goldsmiths University has been criticized due to the university’s management having taken inadequate action against the racist abuse which was experienced by one of the candidates who ran in their student elections.

It is to no one’s surprise that this candidate falls under the Black, Asian and minority ethnic category since London is well known to be multi-cultural.

The student suffered racist abuse during her election campaign: her election posters  vandalized with racial insults in which they mocked her accent, and her banner physically being removed despite her fellow campaigning peers being left untouched.

To clarify as to why Goldsmiths has been declared as having taken “inadequate action” is due to the fact that they didn’t take any action at all.

Senior management at Goldsmiths have not taken any action since, and have denied access to CCTV footage of this incident. The student union has also been completely silent.

Most people within society believe that we live in a moderately equal world, in which people do not have to visibly campaign and strike against such issues like racism – I should say most white people, actually.

However this is not the case. The reason that I very much resonated with the Goldsmiths’ Anti-Racist Occupation is because of the current movements in our very own university regarding #DecoloniseKeele.

Whether people want to admit it or not, the societal system is biased to benefit white westerners as it is set up by white western men (See the work of Edward Said, or Sara Ahmed for two academics who discuss at length to explain this).

So when W.O.K.E co-founder, Sophia, suggested that W.O.K.E, BAME society, #DecoloniseKeele and Keele Friends of Palestine should do a collaborative visit at Goldsmiths – I rushed at the opportunity.

As fate might have it, Goldsmiths was my friend’s old university before they transferred to Keele for their second year. Maybe it was their way of giving me “go-ahead”? Who knows.

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You could hear the megaphone from a block away, the students were really trying their hardest to make their voices heard

The journey down south to London was incredibly long and tiring, moreover we also broke down as we exited the motorway into Greenwich – making our arrival time even later than we already were.

The whole group was anxious to arrive at Goldsmiths, we knew that the students were facing minor violent actions that the university had taken as a “counter-measure” against their peaceful occupation.

Although yes, the students occupied the hall by making that place their “home” for however long they may need to, the fact that they were locked in on purpose just broke my heart.

I knew this since I regularly check their accounts for their daily updates of their occupation.

After a couple of hours of waiting, we finally made haste towards Goldsmiths only to be told of more barriers that we had to face once we arrived.

The Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Occupation group and management had come to an agreement to allow the students the freedom to walk in and out of the premises without consequences from 09:00-19:00 (9 A.M. till 7 P.M.).

The Occupiers also gave the management notice regarding our visit, allowing the university to know that there will be visitors and more people coming into the building.

The original plan of the day, was this:

  • We arrive at 13:00 (1 P.M.) and have lunch with the Occupiers
  • Discuss with them about their experience so far with their peaceful protest
  • Give them some word of encouragement and food that had been bought for them
  • Leave around the late afternoon and hopefully arrive back at Keele for 19:00 (7 P.M.)
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I tried my best to keep documenting what was happening in a thread. Shameless plug, follow me on Twitter: @fidesadee_

Instead, the building’s security were allegedly “sent an email” from management stating that they had orders from them not to let anyone in or out of the building for the whole weekend.

However this wasn’t taken too kindly by the Occupiers as the building has had multiple people come in and out of the building all weekend, and worst of all: on the day of, during the morning white people were allowed into the building.

Security had stopped letting people in the moment they knew that our group from Keele were in London.

It had been a while since I have experienced blatant discrimination via access due to my skin colour, let alone denied access for just being kind and providing food for the Occupiers.

Of course, the moment our group had arrived – the security had stopped letting people in, in general.

According to those on the inside, they had apparently put up a sign stating: “only Goldsmiths students allowed to enter and must provide student ID card”.

This timing was too suspicious for the university to suddenly change its mind.

It was becoming quite clear that the university did not want anyone to support the Occupation.

Our group wanted to show our support and solidarity via our visit; to exchange words in regards to their experiences and give them some morale.

Instead we were met with denial and ignorance by security.

Deptford Town Hall is also open to all members of the public as standard.

 

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There were more people inside the first set of doors trying to negotiate with security in order to let us in, while the rest of use waited outside || @GoldAntiRacism

 

To add to our luck, the weather decided to play up and it started to rain for a good couple of hours.

We were locked out of the building, the Occupiers desperately trying to sway security from the inside whilst we also tried our hardest from the outside.

So many of us were angry, angry that such a thing that we have only heard of in history books is happening to us now, in the 21st century.

The frustration that we felt was indescribable.

The betrayal a lot of us felt was so painful that no one could really vocalize our disappointment fully.

White people, non-Goldsmiths students, had been allowed in before us that day, with food.

Every excuse we were given as we stood in the rain was a lie.

The security team hid behind their black colleagues, making them stand visibly in our way.

We felt even more betrayed.

How could they? How could they stand there, blocking our way into the building? How could they stand there, knowing that this is something that they can fully relate to?

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This was the tweet that I managed to get the picture from || @GoldAntiRacism

We all knew why they were there, choosing to follow orders.

It was obvious to us that the security guards were likely intimidated into following orders, worried they would face disciplinary consequences or worse.

As frustrating as this was, we all stood strong outside and communicated with the student occupiers via the balcony that you saw in the picture at the beginning of this post.

Something that really shocked me was the imprisonment.

The management ordered the security to lock ALL doors except the main front door, and only had security set in place just in case a fire broke out.

Somehow, the student occupiers had become creative over the past few weeks and had made a bag on a rope that they could drop down from the balcony.

This allowed us to send up some food their way.

It was baffling to me that management were saying we couldn’t even give them food and had to use this method.

We tried reasoning with the security guards stating that, it was fine with us to protest and wait in the rain – but at least give them the food.

They firmly stood their ground citing fake emails directing them to do so.

We were all in such disbelief.

University management and the on site security had decided that the occupiers would only be allowed out if there was a fire.

What is this? Are they [students] criminals?

The whole point of this occupation was for it to be a peaceful, but meaningful way to get their message across.

Four years previously, a mostly white students collective had occupied the same space. Getting drunk, having parties and coming and going from the building with no security in place, no consequences to their actions.

This occupation was designated alcohol free, and has been marked by multiple teach-outs, film screenings and study ins.

 

The space has a designated quiet zone for students who get overwhelmed by too much noise.

It is a highly inclusive peaceful occupation space.

The senior management at Goldsmiths university made it seem like they were violent and therefore had to be imprisoned.

A student had to climb out of a  first floor window to be able to leave

Not only was that unnecessary, but that was also dangerous.

The university clearly does not care for their students’ well-beings.

Goldsmiths university was ready to “punish” the students via starvation.

Goldsmiths university was ready to “punish” the students via imprisonment.

Goldsmiths university was ready to “punish” the students, full stop.

This change in policy for handling students dissenting is nothing to do with the occupation.

Building occupation is something Goldsmiths has a strong history of.

It has everything to do with the races and ethnicities of the occupiers.

They are people of colour and so treated as dangerous.

I’m not sure as to whether the university were prepared for our tenacity, but we really did stand our ground.

The Occupiers sent down some signs for us to show around the passers-by and those who drove past.

Many showed support: those who were walking, they stopped and read our signs and/or talked with us then took a leaflet with them; those who were driving honked their horns in support; some of those who were driving even purposely slowed down traffic just so they could read our signs!

Alas it wasn’t all good people who passed by.

There were some who shouted abuse at us, telling us to get a job or whatever other insult they had in their minds.

So many people in society really do believe that these matters do not concern them – and yes, this includes POCs and black people.

Even empathy is hard to come across nowadays, apparently.

Then They Took Our Names

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Sophia took this picture of me talking with one of the lecturers from Goldsmiths, who came to bring food for the students || Sophia Hayat Taha

For hours we stood outside; despite the rain we stood our ground and kept protesting with the occupiers; we wanted their voices to be heard, and so we used ours.

We shouted alongside other Goldsmiths students who came in support of the occupiers.

For hours we kept trying to reason with the security guards to let us in.

At 18:00 (6 P.M.), security finally came outside, made us all show ID and took our names down on a piece of paper.

They said they were ready to let us in. Or so we thought.

They made us wait for a further hour.

They really took their time.

We demanded to be let in.

When they finally began to let us in, hours after our arrival they once again demanded to see ID.

It was a tactic of intimidation.

Finally, one by one, we were allowed into a normally publicly available building that allows non-students in without demanding to see ID.

A wave of relief rode over all of us.

I stood for a couple of minutes by the main front lobby.

We were so stubborn, standing there for hours shouting that I hadn’t realized that my fingers lost feeling a while ago.

The heat from the inside hit me and slowly started to regaining the feeling of my fingers. I breathed a deep sigh of relief and I just thought to myself: “We did it. We really did it, we made it in.”

The hall was so beautifully designed that I couldn’t help but admire the staircase as I walked up them.

Seeing their main banner on top of the staircase, filled me with a sense of pride.

I was so proud of the occupation group.

They really inspired me to do this, to come and show my support for them.

Outside their door was a quote, which they also had another sign which stated that whoever enters through the main lecture hall – they must read the quote first.

As a reminder as to why this occupation is occurring in the first place.

Black and third world people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity.

Women are expected to educate men.

Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world.

The oppressors maintain their position and evade responsibility for their actions.

There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future.

  • Audre Lorde

This quote is spot on.

I can see why these students are still standing strong.

This quote has managed to refine into a small excerpt, the experiences of the marginalised.

Upon reading this, I felt very emotional. My respect for these students rose even higher than it already was.

Surprisingly, they were all ready with food and accommodating. It was someone’s birthday.

There was home cooked food, birthday cake, hugs between the occupiers and Keele Students. We shared relief, exhaustion, understanding, celebration.

We sang Happy Birthday to the student, the woman who’s experience of racism during an election had been the tipping point for many students to come together and demand change.

Although brief, I had an opportunity to speak amongst the occupation’s students.

The everyday experiences of racism that they shared with us was heartbreaking but familiar.

It’s the start of Easter break, and instead of going home – many of these students have chosen to stay and occupy the building.

Albeit forcibly so, since they’re locked in.

Once again, it struck me as awful that previous occupations led by mostly white students had been allowed to come and go from the building, to have the equivalent of a giant party but that when people of colour stood in occupation, they were subjected to frequent lock-ins. 

We exchanged worries since security had been ordered to lock all of the exits except for the main front door, and this was heavily guarded by at least two security guards.

The students who were peacefully in occupation, a protest tactic used by many before them were being denied basic needs such as food.

Management had also given orders to have the bathroom screwed shut – but luckily the students managed to prevent this from happening.

These occupiers were being treated like animals, rather than humans.

Whether Goldsmiths university wants to admit it or not, they are resorting to violent acts in order to get the students to stop their occupation.

The change is because of who was in occupation.

 

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Sophia sent me this picture at the end of the night, my signs unfortunately stayed in our broken bus – but at least passersby knew we were there for @GoldAntiRacism || Sophia Hayat Taha

 

Taking The Stories Home

A few of us didn’t stay for long, we had to be back in Keele by the end of the night at least – I was one of those people.

My mental health deteriorated by the end of the night.

I was getting so upset and triggered by the whole situation. I suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder, and this basically means that I’m emotionally unstable and extremely empathetic, so much so that I feed people’s energies.

Usually I’d be okay, being able to socialise more and listen to their stories.

However it was too much for me that day.

All I wanted to do was cry.

I was so upset, since I could feel how they all felt.

Although they were all so strong for standing their ground with occupying the building, I could also feel their stress and their pain.

That and being exhausted physically, it just made me so vulnerable.

I knew that if I stayed, I would’ve just been irritable because of my incapability to control my emotions.

I also had other reasons for leaving, but mainly it was because I really couldn’t handle the pain anymore.

You could feel the energy from everyone in that room: the frustration, the pain, the stress.

I was so proud of them for being staying so mentally strong.

It’s beyond upsetting, seeing how they are being treated.

During the journey home on the train, I had so many questions.

How can such a thing happen in this modern era? In 2019? Decades ago, there were rallies for equality.

Something that many of us POC born after these occurrences, never expected to have to carry out ourselves.

Why is it that oppressors would rather sit comfortably in their privilege rather than allowing others to also be comfortable with them?

Why does anyone have to be above another?

Why does a hierarchy have to exist?

Something as basic as equality and having a university acknowledge that a racist incident happened – and then addressed with – was that really such a hard thing to be done?

As of today, the Goldsmiths Anti-Racism Occupation has been on-going for a month.

They recently had a Skype session with students from John Hopkins University who are campaigning against private police on their campus.

These very students are also suffering from racial profiling amongst their BAME community.

There is also a hunger-strike happening at Birmingham university that started a few days ago.

Knowing that more and more universities are standing together in solidarity and supporting each other brings me hope.

Hope that there are people like us out there, who care enough for things to change.

Not just for us, but for the next BAME generation who is yet to come.

The Press is listening, but sadly management still ignores the problem. 

Press Links: Amal Bider, Goldsmiths anti-racism action group, on occupation of Uni building by student activists

Anti-racism protesters occupy Goldsmiths university building

UEA statement of solidarity

The Manifesto From Goldsmiths Anti-Racism Action Group: http://tinyurl.com/GARAmanifesto

 

We hope we can add our own SU’s official statement of solidarity soon, until then we send solidarity from WOKE, BAME Society, Keele Friends of Palestine and Decolonise Keele.

More Photos to Follow

Written by: Fides Dagongdong
Twitter: @fidesadee_
Wordpress blog: @fidesadee
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fidesadee/

Global Fair Stall

We are planning an event next semester during International Women’s week to celebrate and create a discourse about our cultures individually and together as People of Colour.

The information will be updated here

We will have a panel discussion which will include topics such as colourism, gender roles and sexuality.

As some of you may know Keele has a annual global fair which celebrates diversity and the contributions of others.

We had the opportunity to promote Cultural Affairs at the annual Global Fair launch.

The main idea surrounding the event is creating discussions on important topics that are not discussed enough.

When planning the stall we decided the best way to start a conversation around culture was to ask people what they loved and celebrated about their culture and what they would change.

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As one of the topics will be discussing is on colourism, we decided to bring this subject to the stall to understand what other peoples perceptions on the topic.

We discussed the issue of negative connotations associated with dark skin especially with women and how colourism has impacted our experiences growing up.

It was a great opportunity to engage with people that had so much to say on the subject.

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We also asked people to self-identity and write where they are from as a way of showing that there are people from ethnic backgrounds that are part of LGBT and identity-based communities.

The stall gave us the opportunity to have meaningful conversations that confirmed these are the topics we need to be talking about among peers.

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We welcome everyone to attend Cultural Affairs and become part of a big step towards a cultural shift at Keele.

For more information feel free to contact me (Ade) or Raveena.

Ade (w6j55) + Raveena (w6h50)

or get in touch at the woke email using the below form:

Picking Your Battles, Collective Action and Fighting Tokenism: A Talk with Professor Farzana Shain

Read on for a write-up by Laura, a first year PhD student, Postgraduate Decolonise Rep and WOKE Champion

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On the 22nd November 2018, Dr. Farzana Shain (Professor of Sociology of Education) gave a talk as part of the Women Of Keele Educate (W.O.K.E) series.

When I heard that Farzana was the speaker for this week I jumped at the chance to write up the event for the W.O.K.E blog. I have been lucky enough to meet with Farzana a handful of times now, as part of the Decolonise Keele project, and at various events around Keele.

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Whenever I talk to her, she instills in me this drive and passion for academia.

In fact, she was featured in my last W.O.K.E blog post as a person who offered me some important words of wisdom.

 

Farzana’s talk was about Tokenism, specifically tokenism in her academic career. She very kindly provided a definition of tokenism:

 

Tokenism is likely to be found wherever a dominant group is under pressure to share privilege, power, or other desirable commodities with a group which is excluded. Tokenism is the means by which the dominant group advertises a promise of mobility between the dominant and excluded classes. The token does not become assimilates into the dominant group but is destined for permanent marginality. The token is a member of an underrepresented group, who is operating on the turf of the dominant group, under license from it (Laws, 1975: 51).

 

Farzana explained that in any given situation, the dominant group would cover approximately 60% of the overall group of people, whereas the token group would be made up of only 15%.

She also explained that tokenism can be displayed and ‘felt’ in three different levels – individual, institutional and systemic.

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On an individual level, Farzana explained that people are assumed to represent a specific culture or group more than they represent the work that they complete and because of this she has encountered a number of situations throughout her academic career that have placed her specifically within a culture group.

Farzana told us of a time when she was working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) and completing research in local schools.

She was contacted by one of the local schools to ask if she would be willing to give a talk to the students that attended that particular school.

Believing that this was research related, she was interested in this opportunity. That was until the organizer asked her if she could produce examples of Asian Cuisine for the students to try, or give a talk on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

 

 

Another more recent example Farzana gave was when she was speaking at a Gender and Education conference.

A chance encounter in the bathroom after the talk led a woman to explain to Farzana that she was the ‘token black person’ on the panel.

Similarly, Farzana received an email from a member of staff inviting her to participate in a project due to it having an equalities dimension.

These types of encounters bring with them a whole host of questions that Farzana openly shared with the room.

 

Mainly, the question of being chosen for the work and research she has conducted, or simply to make the panel diverse.

 

So how does Farzana aim to combat this tokenism?

She deliberately goes for ‘mainstream’ roles such as a Research Director position to show that she can perform in these roles and perform well.

But within these roles there is a level of institutional tokenism.

Farzana pointed out that women are generally hired for ‘women’s jobs’ such as teaching and learning jobs that require a certain amount of administration.

These roles contain work that is not only unpaid and unrecognized, but also takes time away from research and scholarship, which are the areas that are required for recognition, pay rises and promotion.

As well as this, generally being called upon to represent a culture, or as an expert in equality, is also unpaid or under-paid.

Tokenism is also present on a systemic level.

Farzana used the example of Further Education (FE) to detail this point.

She explained that FE underwent some changes that caused a mass exodus of male employees to leave their professions, causing the number of female employees to rise from 3% to 17%.

But with this came a reduction in salary and an increase in workload where women were expected to shoulder the burden for change in the FE environment.

Once the crisis was settled, the number of men working in these roles began to increase again.

It is only recently that the number of women Vice Chancellors has risen as high as 29%, with it sitting at around 16% for a long time. Still an unequal number for the role, but maybe a step in the right direction.

So, Farzana tries to take more ‘mainstream’ roles wherever she can.

This in itself presents challenges, people just don’t expect women to be interested in these roles, and to be able to complete them as well as their male counterparts.

She also engineers her research to reflect this attitude.

As well as researching topics such as race and gender, she continually stays in the loop with policy research, so that she is known in an area outside of race and gender equality.

Farzana advised us to pick our battles, some things just aren’t worth the fight. But when they are it is the collective voice that will shout the loudest.

Institutional networks such as the Decolonise Keele project and W.O.K.E are challenging power struggles that threaten everyday issues. To read more about Decolonise Keele click here.  

If you could be part of the departmental lead for the Decolonise Keele Project read the below poster:

call for working groups decolonise

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Together, the collective voice can help combat issues such as tokenism.

 

Farzana’s talk made me reflect upon my own academic life.

It made me think of a time when I was applying for academia and I was told that I would definitely be given a place because universities love ‘mature students’ and mothers.

Not that I had achieved ten distinctions above the required amount for my course.

I research about migrant mothers and, although I’m not a migrant, I’m a mother.

But I also look at the way people are represented, even throughout academic study. I’d like to think that my research will someday pave the way for a different type of representation, for the way migrant mothers, working mothers, and mothers who study are perceived.  

And I’d like to think that one day this will enable me to write about more than motherhood, postcolonial science fiction and soap for example.

Farzana makes me believe that we do not have to be just one tick box on a form, we can  jump around and tick every box if we want to.

 

If you would like to join us in the women of Keele Educate project or if you are interested in more information about Decolonise Keele please fill out the below:

 

 

Meeting Professor Iyiola Solanke: Realising my Own Ambitions

Who Says Women Are Not AMBITIOUS?

Women have their own passions and aspirations.

It was the last summer of high school, and my class had organized a farewell party.

At that time students were asked about their plans after completing twelve years of compulsory education.

There were thirty-six students, twenty girls and sixteen boys.

I was surprised by the answers.

All the boys replied that they were going  to  pursue higher education, while the girls had doubt about their ambition for study, their ability to study continuously and the social expectation from the girls regarding getting married. 

The girls expressed all these doubts and barriers that made it difficult to reach their goals.

I asked myself, the question “why should women choose to spend time studying?”

I am now finding the answer for this question.

On 29th November 2018, I was so privileged to meet, listen, talk to and have tea with Professor Iyiola Solanke.

She is an academic who holds the Chair in EU Law and Social Justice in the Centre for Social Justice of the School of Law, University of Leeds.

She is an Academic Bencher of the Inner Temple, and was recently a Fernand Braudel Research Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence.

In 2017, she set up the Black Female Professors Forum (blackfemaleprofessorsforum.org) to promote the presence and visibility of Black women in the Academy.

She came, invited by ILAS to speak about her latest book and research. 

 

I study Accounting and Financial Management, I have no knowledge about EU Law and Social Justice.

I didn’t know if I should attend but I made the right decision!

I was there and listened to her.

I realized the power of sharing knowledge and experiences. 

I felt the decision to attend came just at the right time, the moment a door opened and I realised there is an opportunity I never saw before.

If you know, share with others – if you don’t know, get to know.

Professor Iyiola Solanke is such an amazing woman.

When we sat and had tea with her, she went around the table and asked who wanted to pursue an academic career.

At first a few of the women said that they weren’t sure they did and so, she talked about the time she did not think she could study PhD, but she did well.

She said “You Can If You Believe You Can” and sometimes if you don’t believe you can, others will believe in you for you. 

That’s the exact moment I decided I wanted to study for my PhD after finishing my Masters degree.

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I also decided that I want to have a role that goes and inspires and motivates other women.

This is because I believe every woman has their own power, but they sometimes need “catalysts” to get out of their comfort zone and achieve their ambitions.

We need to support each other. 

Now, I have the answer to my question, “why should women choose to spend time studying?”

The answer is “To Succeed.”

The Age of Industry 4.0 is the time when women must be more serious about using feminism and breaking down patriarchal rules and barriers.

Women must have legitimate rights and opportunities. 

Feminism in the Economy

In November, Forbes published a list of the 100 most powerful women of all time.

More than half of them are business women with the most admirable positions in all areas, whether it be the manufacture of  aircraft, construction, technology, finance and banking.

For example, Mary Teresa Barra is President and CEO of General Motors Company. She has held the position of CEO since January 2014, and is also the first female CEO of a major auto company around the globe.

I believe that women empowered with knowledge will  help companies go through difficult periods and succeed. 

Feminism in the Politics

The politics of the world over the past decades have seen a lot of change in leadership.

By 2016, there were 15 female heads of state in the world.

As a head of state a person takes possession of the nation’s destiny and raises the influence of the nation.

The Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel is ranked as the Forbes most powerful woman. Her leadership has meant that many migrants, fleeing wars have been welcomed into safety. 

There are a lot of other brave women who hold important responsibilities and build big bold strategies.

They always have the effective way to call the community by heart.

Knowledge and vision, not gender, are what creates decisive leadership. 

Women show that women can do well in all areas.