Tag Archives: feminism

Join us for our workshops and talks!

We are super excited to announce that we will be running the following events at The Guildhall on Saturday and Sunday 10-11th October 2015.

Remember we will still be exhibiting lots of work created by young people from the community!

On Saturday we have the following events taking place…

Talks on Saturday

Workshops on Saturday

11.00 – 12.00

Ian Constance & Amy Pressland

Girls and Sport 

Ian is a sports coach and chairman of Norfolk Women and Girls Football League and Amy is a researcher on media representations of women in sport at the UEA. They will reflect on the challenges that girls face in the world of sport, and how we can get more girls involved.


Throw Like a Girl

In our first activity of the weekend we will be playing games, inventing new sports and thinking about how sportswomen are represented in the media? #likeagirl

13.00 – 14.00

Get Political! Norwich Feminist Network Activist Meeting

What changes in Norwich do you think would benefit women and girls? What would you ask your MP to do to bring about equality? What grassroots activities could we do?

13.00 – 14.30

Rosette Making

We will be learning how to make rosettes in the style of those worn by the Suffragettes.


Hayley Long

Being a Girlbeing-a-girl-hayley-long

Author Hayley Long will talk about writing her book on girlhood as well as giving a short reading from her book for us.


Creative Writing

Join us after Hayley’s talk as we take her advice and try to start writing our own book!

And then on Sunday the 11th, we have the following events:

Talks on Sunday

Workshops on Sunday

11.30 – 12.30

Richard Cvijetc

Norwich White Ribbon Campaign

The role of men in countering violence against women and gender inequality. Richard will discuss his work with White Ribbon Campaign and Norfolk Says No.


Confidence Building

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 12.35.29A range of creative workshops will encourage young people realise their worth and value.

13.30 – 14.30

 Sophie Elliott

Women in Publishing

Founder of feminist magazine Parallel, Sophie Elliott will discuss what its like to make a feminist publication and discuss her success in using kickstarter to fund her projects.

13.30 – 15.00

Zine Making

Join us as we make our own zines and take inspiration from the mobile zine library!

We hope that you agree with us that its going to be our BEST Day of the Girl yet!

dotg no year


Lots of planning at Girl HQ

Greetings from Girl HQ!

We hope you’re having a lovely summer, we’ve been hard at work putting something brilliant together for day of the girl. This year we’re changing it up a bit and will be celebrating International Day of the Girl at the beautiful Guildhall (or as we like to call it, the Girldhall). Just look at how beautiful it is!


B32C6A Norwich Guildhall Norfolk 15th century Medieval English Gothic architecture East Anglia England UK flint stone city landscape


As well as a change of scenery, there’s also been a change behind the scenes. One of our co-founders Sarah has taken a short break while she welcomes a new baby to her family. Congratulations Sarah! As a result we are delighted to welcome Helen and Erica to the organising team. Both have been really involved with the project over the past few years so fit in perfectly – we are very pleased to have them!

This year we are continuing our exhibition of art and creative works from young people in the region and invite anybody who’d like to get involved to get in touch with us: dayofthegirlnorwich@gmail.org

Our theme this year is: ‘Working Together to Create a Brighter Future’ and we’ll be hosting lots of fun activities for those of all ages.

This year there will discussions and creative workshops covering topics such as:

  • Pubishing
  • Zines
  • Politics
  • Norfolk Men Say No
  • Girls in Sport
  • The Suffragettes

We’re hoping to provide workshops that include practical activities such as rosette making (support votes for women!), zine making (have your say!), artwork (get creative!) and if all goes to plan, a ping pong table!

So, watch this space and be sure to follow us on facebook and on twitter as we announce more details in the run up to International Day of the Girl 2015.

Much love from all at Girl HQ!


‘It’s Not Just Make Believe’: Girlhood and Fantasy Fiction – Carolyn Rickards

We are delighted to bring you a guest blog from Carolyn Rickards who hosted a cafe conversation about Girlhood and Fantasy at  International Day of the Girl.


‘It’s Not Just Make Believe’: Girlhood and Fantasy Fiction


From recent blockbuster adaptations of Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood through to the Harry Potter phenomenon, fantasy and fairy tale continue to dominate popular culture.  And children are often immersed in fantasy worlds from a very young age through books, films, television, online and other affiliated merchandise such as toys and games.  They grow up to recognise and understand the meanings and messages inherent within these texts.  Fantasy worlds can provide a unique arena in which to question or even challenge established norms and stereotypes.  However, fantastical stories can also promote more conservative and traditional ideals, particularly around issues of gender.  Given the continued popularity of the fantasy and fairy tale, we should perhaps attempt to address whether such fiction resonates with the interests and concerns of young girls today.

This post was inspired by a lively public discussion which took place as part of the International Day of the Girl Event in 2013.  The aim was to debate and answer some of these questions and we began by talking about the enormous appeal of the Disney Princesses.  Created by Disney Consumer Products chairman Andy Mooney in the late 1990s, the franchise features a line-up of fictional female heroines, including Snow White and Cinderella, who have all appeared in various Disney animated films.  In this period, Disney have also released dolls, costumes, jewellery, stationery and a variety of other products designed specifically to appeal to young female fans.  In a sing-along video starring all the princesses and aired on the Disney Channel in 2006, the cheery lyrics announced:


I look in the mirror and I’m not who I used to be at all

You got me glowin’!



I’m Cinderella at the ball

I’m Alice growing 10 feet tall

It’s not just make believe

Here comes the prince’s kiss

I’m positive the slipper fits

It’s not just make believe






This song captures perfectly the narrative arc of the typical Disney Princess who experiences dramatic transformation in the fairy tale story.  In the examples of Cinderella, Snow White and Ariel, each character goes through some personal change either in their bodily appearance or through the sudden presentation of expensive dresses and fine jewellery (thanks to a certain fairy godmother!).  And it is also clear that this process of transformation is initiated, or at the very least endorsed and supported, by a powerful and highly influential male figure – the prince.  In the lyrics to the song, the fantastical experiences of the Disney Princesses are transposed to the everyday.  The young girl listening or watching at home is encouraged to engage with their highly fictionalised adult lives; to grow up and become a princess themselves.  The message underpinning this song is that the magical stories presented in the fairy tale are really ‘not just make believe’ at all and should be embraced as a normal and expected transition from girlhood to womanhood.

So – one of the questions we discussed was whether the Disney Princesses presented positive or negative role models for young girls.  The opinion in the group was certainly mixed.  It was agreed that the fairy tale narrative would appear to be promoting a certain femininity based on good looks, pretty clothes and conforming to societal norms with an emphasis on the prince getting his newly transformed girl.  The Disney Princess could therefore be seen as problematic; a female figure who is defined by her appearance and countenance, and whose personal story is bound to the fate of the male character all the way through to the eventual proposal of marriage.  However, on the other hand, some people in the group made the extremely valid point that their own daughters, nieces or sisters loved the Disney Princesses from a young age and still grew up into confident, intelligent and independent women.  In this context, the princess character was more associated with the nostalgic past, constituting an ultimately benign figure from childhood.  Such complexities are considered by Bella Honess Roe who recently posted a similar discussion on this topic.  Yet, despite conflicting opinion in the group about the possible lasting effects, most people agreed that the Disney Princesses have the potential to influence young girls.  Disney constitutes a major, multi-million dollar international corporation with a massive global reach.  There were some concerns that if certain representations of gender are problematic, then the extensive marketing campaigns and distribution of merchandise merely acts to disperse such images to a wider audience of children.  In doing so, the princess archetype is provided repeated exposure as a prominent feminine figure across a vast multi-media landscape.  And as the fairy tale continues to dominate popular culture, with Disney’s new adaptation of Cinderella due for a big screen release in early 2015, this particular debate will no doubt continue.  We may then wish to reflect on the significance and impact of the fantasised princess on our own everyday lives…


carolyn 2

Female Entrepreurship

I accidentally started out in business at the age of 23, having been in a pop band that toured with Take That and then playing Cinderella in Disneyland for a while. My CV certainly wasn’t impressive, in fact it looked like a 5 year old child had dreamed it up.

No degree, no clear career path and no idea what I actually wanted to do. Luckily for me, the one thing I had buckets of was ambition and that (with some added sheer, dumb luck) has found me running a successful business 5 years later.


The Wharf Ltd. is a music school based in Norwich. I knew I would be involved in music, but never anticipated full-time teaching for a living. However, my role here at The Wharf began with me teaching 10 hours a day and then catching up on Admin and lesson planning in the evening, 6 days a week. Over the last 5 years I’ve gained a team of 10 brilliant tutors and Administrators that has allowed my role to change. I now manage my team and develop the business, teaching a few students in the evenings. In 2010 I won the Young Business Woman of the Year Award, giving me the boost of confidence I needed to grow my business further. We now have a client base of 500+ students and a turnover expected to hit £200k next year.

As a young female in business, I did encounter difficulties. From the patronising Estate Agent who wasn’t keen to even discuss the lease on a premises, to the networking events filled with men in suits who had no interest in my business, but wanted me to sing at their staff parties. To be taken seriously was difficult and I’m still finding moments to this day when I feel the need to justify myself to people. Occasionally I will have a brief moment of regret about not achieving a degree, usually when I’m struggling with a difficult  situation. It’s these moments when I remind myself that I have achieved more than I could have anticipated, that having a degree would not have made this process easier.. I’m learning constantly by mistakes I make every day. Running a business is like learning to drive a car. You can be taught how to do it, but until you’re out on the road by yourself, hands on the wheel and steering alone, that’s when you learn to take control.

Looking back over my career in business so far, the one thing that really stands out to me is just how great other women in business have been. Whether it’s specific groups such as the team at Everywoman (a dedicated, online support network for women in business) networking groups in the city aimed specifically at women, Twitter members who support and share advice… there is a wide network of people out there, both male and female, who will support women in business and appreciate just what we are able to achieve. The idea that for a woman to succeed in business she has to be brutal, cut throat and willing to sacrifice starting a family is long gone… this is the new dawn of female entrepreneurship and “mumpreneurs”. It’s meant to be difficult, but that’s what makes it so very rewarding.


-Samantha Parravani-Coe

The Wharf Academy

The Girl Ambassador Programme

So, it’s been a busy few weeks at Girl HQ and we are super excited that the Evening News has covered the project.


press cutting


The article talks about our Girl Ambassador programme – but what is a Girl Ambassador and what do they do? We thought that it was important that girls were at the centre of this project – it is by them, for them and about them. With this in mind we set about trying to realise our idea of building a network of girls across Norfolk. These girls would help to lead the project and make sure that we’re heading in a direction that is relevant and useful to girls.

Girl Ambassadors will act as leaders within their communities (these could be schools, youth groups, villages or even just a few friends who are interested in the project). The Girl Ambassadors will be the main point of contact and will help to share the vision of Day of the Girl Norwich and celebrate and raise awareness of what it means to be a girl.

Because Norfolk is a big place and not all of it is served by public transport, we needed something that was more than just meeting up – although this is one aspect of what we are trying to do. Much of how we communicate as a network will take place online – using blogs and social media to set the agenda and co-ordinate the events.



We know that girls have got lots to say  about what is good but also not so good about being a girl and what we hope to do with the Girl Ambassadors is to make sure that this project creates that space effectively.

Girl Ambassadors will play a big role in making GirlsRoar a lively place for discussion and sharing. GirlsRoar is our online initiative which we really hope will be led by girls from our community. You can find us on Twitter (@girlsroar) – so follow us and send us your tweets. Your tweets can be about something cool that has happened to you or something that annoys you or about anything else girl related!! If you’re not on twitter you can always #girlsroar on instagram and whatnot.

So, send us your thoughts, your pictures – or whatever else you’d like to share! We can’t wait to build a space that is really led by you!

If you would like to write or do something for this blog then get in touch – we’re always looking for enthusiastic girls who want to have their voices heard!

Over and out for now, from Tori and Sarah at Girl HQ!