Caroline Criado Perez - Feminist Campaigner and Journalist
Last week’s assembly speaker was Caroline Criado Perez, a feminist campaigner and journalist, who also brought along her dog Poppy. She began by suggesting that the dog was a useful tool as it encourages people ‘to come for the dog but stay for the feminism’.
However as Perez began speaking, describing how she had tirelessly campaigned for a female figure to be put on a banknote (Jane Austen was put on the ten pound note in 2017) and then just this year successfully campaigned for a female statue to appear in Parliament square (a statue of suffragette Millicent Fawcett was put up in April 2018), it was clear Perez was much more impressive than her very cute, but less politically active dog!
Perez described herself as an ‘anti-feminist’ young girl, as she felt girls were ‘rubbish anyway’, always picturing men in high powered well-respected job roles. Interestingly it was the realisation that she associated much of the world of work and influence with men and, after reading ‘Feminism and Linguistic Theory’ at university, that she discovered this was the common and problematic view of many people. She explained how it was this book which sparked her interest and passion for feminism. Perez also shocked us with facts and statistics proving how much of the world is designed to fit and benefit men, as women’s different bodies and needs are not recognised. The most surprising statistic was that women are 47% more likely to die in a car crash, as the cars have been tested with male test dummies and therefore do not protect women as well.
Perez was an engaging and inspirational speaker ending by telling us there was no need to defeat the stereotype of the ‘angry feminist’, because in fact we should be angry!
Maia - Sixth Form Senior Prefect