Don’t call me a feminist.

When people talk about feminism I have to admit I get a bit awkward and uncomfortable. 

Not because I believe women belong in the kitchen and all those other gender stereotypes. 

I feel as though someone will throw out some horrible snarly comment about the negative aspects of declaring yourself a feminist. (Men-hating, bra burning) things that aren’t true.

It’s hard to believe in ‘this day-and-age’ we’re still fighting for equality. In my world I am lucky that I am paid the same as my male colleagues, I have the same opportunities as them and I’m not inferior. But outside of my little world, the bigger picture isn’t as sweet. 

Nationally fewer thn 23% of MPs are female. Gender based violence is still a concern and on averge women earn almost 10% less than men.

In the whole of Europe there’s a percentile difference of almost 17%!

Internationally women are still subject of many gender based crimes or violence. While it is outlawed in most countries that practise Female genial mutilation women in at least 25 African countries (and more across the world) are still at risk. The basic human right to education doesn’t apply to many girls in developing countries and many drop out in their early adolescent years due to pressures including marriage and pregnancy. 


Women elected to be heads of state/government in recent years:

  • Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany (Elected 2005)
  • Executive President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberia (Elected 2006)
  • Executive President Michelle Bachelet Jeria, Chile (Elected 2006)
  • Minister President Emily de Jongh-Elhage, Nederlandse Antillen (Self-governing Part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) (Elected 2006)
  • Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, Jamaica (Elected 2007)
  • Prime Minister Han Myung-sook, South Korea (Elected 2007)
  • President Pratibha Patil, India (Elected 2007)
  • Executive President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Argentina (Elected 2007)
  • Acting President Dr. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, South Africa (Elected 2008)
  • Leader of the Government Antonella Mularoni, San Marino (Elected 2008)
  • Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed, Bangladesh (Elected 2009)
  • Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Iceland (Elected 2009)
  • Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, Croatia (Elected 2009)
  • President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Lithuania (Elected 2009)
  • President of the Confederation Doris Leuthard, Switzerland (Elected 2010)
  • President Roza Otunbayeva, Kyrgyzstan (Elected 2010)
  • President-Elect Laura Chinchilla Miranda, Costa Rica (Elected 2010)
  • Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi, Finland (Elected 2010)
  • Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Australia (Elected 2010)
  • Prime Minister Iveta Radičová, Slovakia (Elected 2010)

*Sources: Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership

Women like me who earn an equal or better salary than our male counterparts should not be blinded by the sexist inequality in the work place and all over the world. You would have to have been living in solitude to have not seen or heard about Emma Watson’s speech to the UN on gender equality and feminism launching the HeforShe champagne which encourages men (and women) to stand for equality of the sexes.

Believe it or not if you hope for gender equality you are a feminist. So why do I not want to be called a feminist?

It’s true, if you believe in the equality of the sexes you are a feminist but that word is so dirty and dusty, covered in the webs of history. 

No matter what we think there is still a negative stigma with being a feminist, it’s shameful since the women of our past died to make it so we are able to live as freely as we do in the modern world. But not only that, feminism refers to the social, political and economic equality of the sexes. It’s very one dimensional. What about the races? Nationalities? Gays? 
I have decided that I will not refer to myself as a feminist. I want everyone to know that I am for the rights of women everywhere, that I will fight for equality of the sexes but that’s not all. I won’t stop at the sexes, I want equality for all! No matter what gender, race, sexual orientation, age! I am no longer a feminist. I am an Equalitist. I believe that one day we will have the social political and economical equality of all! No one man should stand above another and tell them they are not their equal! Noone shall stand in front of a child and deny them their basic human right to education. No straight, gay, bi man or woman should feel subject to their peers or disallowed to be married! 
A part of my personality is feminist. A part of me is argumentative, I’m a vegetarian. I’m a baker, a daughter, a peppermint tea drinker. I play rugby, I play rounders, I love animals and the world blows my mind every day! My point is that I have many qualities, personality traits and hobbies. I am as complex as you, and we’re all as complex as the universe, why would I want to identify with just one thing. If I said ‘I’m a feminist’ then I am only one dimensional.
If we want change, if we really want equality, we should create a new world, one where our feminist ancestors of the last century are our Heros, role models.
It isn’t just about people accepting they are what they are (you’re a feminist because you believe in equality) it’s about a new world and a new age! Eradicating inequality and building a new future on educating our children to be equal, be the best they can be. 
Let’s bring this world into the new century, let’s dust off the cobwebs that feminism has left behind and shine light on the age of Equalitism,
Equality for all!

The world needs to provide a better platform for women to allow them to earn the same, speak as openly and not feel subjected to the scrutiny of men. 

And on that note I’m off to bake a cake and do other things women should be doing. 

👑

💁

Yours truly

The Equalitist xo

Our gift to our legacy; University Debts.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A classic question posed to most children.
Well at the ripe old age of 21 I was still asking myself this question. ‘What do I want to do?’ I had many interests and talents but even before anyone asked me about my career aspirations it was some-what drilled into my head from a young age that to get anywhere in life you had to go to university and you had to get a degree.
Why?
There was a girl in my year at high school who I sat on the same table as in French and she had always wanted to become a midwife. She somehow knew when she was just a kid what she wanted to do in life. But she really was one-of-a-kind, simply because I’ve never met anyone else who knew what they wanted to be at such a young age and never questioned it. She became a midwife… probably one of the best.
Back on track… Why are we ushered towards universities? I’ve never ever even been remotely interested in being a student. Not because I’m not smart, I got A’s and B’s at GCSE’s and 3 A-levels, I’m just not driven to academics. I always did well in compulsory education because I was smart enough to know that there was no getting out of it and competitive enough to want to be the best. I wasn’t the best but I must have been one of the most consistent. I worked had in all my subjects, including my worst (English) and I actively participated in after school activities like sports and drama.
My down fall came during my second year in College. Choosing to go to college was more like being on a country road with no turns, no lay-by to stop and think and certainly no manoeuvring room to turn around. I didn’t fit in at the sixth form I went to and if it wasn’t for a few really special people who I made friends with I think I would have just dropped out and become a full-time waitress (or waster). It must have been compulsory to apply for university because heaven knows why I would have. I remember struggling to decide what I wanted to apply for or where I wanted to go. I had my heart set on Falmouth University after finding a prospectus but that was out of the question when I told my parents. I thought about an arty course, tailoring, fashion, none of the above. I think the pressure must have been too much because I don’t recall being all too happy at that point in time. I didn’t want to be at college anymore and I only went because it was the only time I got to see some of the greatest people I’ve ever known. That sounds extreme but I lived 14 miles from college and on the opposite side of Preston to my 3 best friends.
I loathe the pressure that was put on me; onto every 16/17 year old, to decide what their future is going to be. It makes me angry I think it’s cruel. I didn’t feel like I could stand up and say ‘slow down I’m not ready yet’ I wasn’t given a list of my options, and even if I was I doubt one of them would have been ‘A break!’.
I know we were probably told that we didn’t have to go to university. That once we’d applied we could decline, but everyone was going and like I mentioned earlier it seemed like the only option. Rumours circulated that it didn’t matter what degree you got, or how well you did to get it, so long as you had a degree you were better equip to get a job. Well look at us now. Tuition fee’s tripled, less jobs for graduates, fewer jobs for everyone and a country in debt.

 

You know you’re not actually expected to pay back your student loan? Not that the government would use that as a tagline to get you to go but here’s the theory. If you began university this year you wouldnt start paying money back to the Student Loans Company (SLC) until you’re earning above £21,000paaprox (that’s £1,750pm or £404pw). You pay 9% of what you have earned over the threshold. For example if you’re paid weekly and in one week you earn £445 you’ll pay back £3.69, paid monthly you may have earned £1980 so you would pay £20.70 back to SLC. In theory if you’re lucky enough to earn £24,760pa you’d only pay back £338.40.

Say you started university before the tuition fee increase and the average debt of a student was £26,100, if you earn £20,000pa it would take you 55.5 years to pay back your student load (before interest). You might not live that long, I’m sorry to say, even though the threshold for re-payments is lower for students who began university before 2012 (£16,000). But the good thing is after 30 years the debt is written off anyway! That therefore leaves the tax payer to pick up the bill… You can imagine how many years it would then take to pay back the average loan of a post 2012 student (£53,400) impossible!

 uni_10uni_1

I received a letter through the post this week detailing my debts to the Student Loans Company. In 2010 I completed a foundation course in Art & Design. I paid £1612.50 in both February and May of that year resulting in a £3225 loan from the SLC. Since my ‘graduation’ (there was no graduation I swiftly left for a summer working at a camp in America, missed the deadline for the post-graduate Fashion course and essentially passed on a place I didn’t really want or deserve) I have been charged interest every month. I don’t understand the rates of interest, see below (bottom of the post) if you’re interested in the maths. I have however calculated that I have added £168.31 to my debt. A very remedial debt compared to some students who maybe did three or four years and had accommodation to pay for.
In the time since my ‘university’ experience I have paid back a total of £113. I am lucky to have a job that didn’t require a degree, doesn’t involve any paperwork, and I get paid very well to do. I therefore every now and again earn above the threshold to pay back some student loan. But even you can see in the last year I haven’t paid back enough to cover the interest that has been added. What chance is there for students laden with tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt if I, £3000 in debt, can’t even pay off my interest? Ha! It’s a joke; it just has to be a joke. Whilst students are riddling themselves with debt they’ll never pay, our country is falling further into an economic disaster that I don’t think we’ll climb out of all too easily and Mr Prime Minister is still telling the ‘Youth of Tomorrow’ to go to University- Go Get That Education! Better yourself!
So I beg the question once more, why do we grow up with the idea that university is the last stop on the way to success? Why are the government putting pressure of the youth to be graduates?
There are obviously a lot of jobs that really do depend on the success of universities; I certainly wouldn’t want to be seen by a doctor with anything short of a medical degree. But a lot of young adults are going to university for the wrong reasons. They’re looking forward to living away from home, to partying all night every night and not waking up to their parents asking ‘where’ve you been!?’ they’re looking forward to the maintenance loan that they can spend on a holiday with their friends to have even more time away from home, they’re doing what some people call ‘Mickey Mouse’ subjects.
Obviously there’s a lot to learn from living away from home for the first time and that is a really good experience to have but why not learn that travelling? Many students find moving out of their family home emancipating, but a very large majority of them will be right back home when their time at university is up because it’s just too damn expensive to continue living on your own. You’re used to the life style that you could upkeep when SLC were giving you £2000 every semester but now you have to pay for your partying and expensive meals out whilst paying your rent and trying to find a fulltime job that you think you deserve because you graduated with a 2:1.
IT JUST DOESN’T MAKE SENCE TO ME.
My parents wouldn’t let me get a car on finance when I was 19 because I would be paying that debt back for at least 5 years, they wouldn’t let me take a loan out for a part-time college course I wanted to do, they wouldn’t even let me get a credit card so I could have a bit more money. They were right about not letting me do any of those things because I didn’t understand the implications any of them would have on my future (I have since learned the benefits of having a credit card provided you use it sensibly and pay it back in full every month but that’s another post for another day). So why do we all then passively agree to let our children be buried under thousands of pounds worth of debt from university. I know it seems like it all makes sense ‘They’re getting a degree’ it’s a proud moment in any parent’s life; I just implore you to think about the consequences especially if your son or daughter doesn’t really know why they’re going to university.
A loan in any other sense of the word is something that you pay back over a specific period of time. So why not a student loan? £50 a week for 10 years and you’ve paid back £26,000. No. It just doesn’t work like that. Make university more affordable? Make it an elitist system? I wouldn’t even know what to suggest to Mr Prime Minister if he asked.
In short if you or your child are at the age of starting to think about university please exhaust all the options, including the option to postpone applying to university until you really know what you want to do. There are apprenticeships, college courses that are just as revered, working holidays (Camp America, Australia, skiing etc). I urge everyone to consider the debts you’ll have hanging over your head, and not to look at it like a free education because you won’t pay it back in the 30 years before it’s written off. That debt will hang over your head forever because if you can’t pay it off the government will have to increase taxes. And the reality is (if we continue the way we’re going) that we will never pay back our student loans, the 30 years will tick passed and not a dent will be made. But the harsh reality of that is it is our children, grand children and great grand children that will be footing the bill. When the country is debted up to its eyebrows they can say ‘Thank you’ with their middle fingers to us. That’s something that makes me feel sick. And guilty.

 Rambling over.

 

 

13. Students who began their course prior to 1st September 2012 are on Repayment

Plan 1. Payments for Repayment Plan 1 loans are at the rate of 9% of income above

the income threshold which was £10,000 until April 2005 and then £15,000 until April

2012 when it changed to £15,795. From April 2013, the threshold was £16,365 and

from 6th of April 2014 the threshold is £16,910.

14. The Repayment plan 1 interest charge is affected by a cap at the bank base rate

of +1%. From 1 September 2013 until 31 August 2014, the interest rate for the Plan 1

Income Contingent Repayment Loans will be the lower of the Retail Prices Index (RPI)

in March 2013, or 1% above the highest base rate of a nominated group of banks. As

the RPI for March 2013 was 3.3%, the rate of interest charged between 1 September

2013 and 31 August 2014 is 3.3%. However, due to the low interest rate cap, the rate

from 1 September 2013 will be 1.5% until further notice. The interest rate does not

affect the monthly repayment amount of Income Contingent Loans; it will affect the

time taken to repay.

REPAYMENT PLAN 2

15. Students who begin their course on or after 1st September 2012 are on

Repayment Plan 2 and are subject to a different income threshold for repayment

which will be £21,000 from April 2016. They will make repayments at 9% of their

income above the threshold. Borrowers will normally be liable to make repayments

from the April after they leave their course, but for administrative reasons repayments

will not be taken through the tax system until April 2016.

16. The Repayment Plan 2 interest charge whilst studying is RPI+3% and remains

so up until the student becomes liable to repay. The current rate, which is applied from

1 September 2013 – 31 August 2014, is 3.3% + 3 % = 6.3%. Once borrowers are due

to repay, interest will be variable and income contingent. Those earning £21,000 or

less will be charged at the rate of inflation (RPI), interest rates for those earning

between £21,000 and £41,000 will be on a sliding scale from RPI to RPI+3%; and

those earning £41,000 or more will accrue interest at RPI+3%.

Curriculum Vitae

There’s no perfect CV. There are good ones, bad ones… really bad ones and one that stand out for all the right reasons. Having a good quality CV is essential. I’d say it’s more essential than learning to drive. But while writing a CV seems all well and good, each time I go to sit at my computer it is the most daunting, overwhelming task I’ve ever faced.

Feel the same?

I believe in adjusting my CV to suite each job I am applying for. I’ve applied for jobs on bars, in restaurants, retail stores and even abroad and each time I’ve adjusted my CV to suit my prospective employer. As you can imagine there are do’s and don’t’s when it comes to writing your CV. I’ve decided to outline a few to get you on your way.

But first, remember when you were at school, in lesson, and your teacher (let’s say English) sets you an essay. Ugh. What was the first thing they would suggest you do? As essay plan! Well I’d like to suggest tackling your CV like an essay. In your essay you have a structure, an opening statement perhaps; you discuss the subject of the essay briefly. The next 2/3rds of your essay is arguments for and against and you finish off with your closing stance, your opinion. For a CV you need structure too. Once you know the structure you can create a ‘CV plan’- make a note of the required skills or job specification and write down all the things you want to include in your CV.

To begin you will need a header, please make it your name, nothing spells ‘unemployed’ better than not making it clear who you are. Underneath include your address, phone number, email address and possibly a professional social media presence (I don’t recommend the latter. It’s very unprofessional unless you’re an internet blogger or have a Facebook page dedicated to your photography/cake decorations etc). You do not need to advertise your age/DOB.

Next unless you’ve just graduated school/college/university you should begin with your employment history it is probably of most relevance (having said that if you’ve been working in bars since your masters & applying for jobs in a labs then begin with your education (i.e. you’ve been to university and in the current climate are struggling to find a job so to pay rent you’re working at the bar below your flat. If it is more relevant to the job mention it first-be smart, you make the call)). Don’t delve too far into your past; most employers are only looking for up to 10 years of prior employment. You should list your employment from most recent, including your job title and the address. You might like to outline a few of your duties if you think they would be applicable to the job you’re applying for or are particularly impressive but keep it brief 4 or 5 bullet points and try to avoid long winded paragraphs (much like this one). If you were a waitress at two different restaurants split your acquired skills between the two, don’t list them twice.

If you’re 18 and never had a job before don’t focus on it, or at the very least don’t paint it negatively. If you were involved in a lot of after school activities, such as a theatre group, sports team or simply concentrated your spare time on your education (homework/studying) then an employer will understand and it will show your dedication. Don’t however list these activities in place of an employment section; they will come later in the ‘Personal’ part.

After you’ve completed your employment history, remembered all the dates maybe even included your working holiday or voluntary work (you might what to put the latter in with your ‘personal’ section) it’s time to tell them that you can read and write! Education guys!

The dates of your education aren’t important, Mr Perky doesn’t want to know when you qualified to teach astrophysics to 6 year olds he just wants to know where you studied and what qualifications you achieved. Again begin with the most recent first. When talking about the grades you achieved at high school/college simplify it (12 GCSE’s A*-E) it’s preferable to just lump them together but if you only got 2 D’s and an E you might what to group them (9 GCSE’s grades A*-C 3 GCSE’s grades D -E) if you didn’t get less than a C don’t bother with D & E and visa versa, don’t imply you got at least one A*, if you didn’t get anything higher than a B just be honest and write B-E. Give a shout out to English, Maths & Science, employers love them! And a special mention to the subjects that are relevant. If you did Graphic Products & ICT and you’re applying for a graphic designers position tell them!

‘Personal’ does exactly what it says on the tin. It is about your character and the personal skills you have acquired. It should include your interests, activities (some people will tell you an employer won’t care but I think they’ll still want to know you’re human), qualifications for example hazard awareness, food hygiene, cake decorating courses.  If you received an NVQ in hospitality whilst working at a Hotel (not whilst in full-time education) list it here, remember to still list the most recent first and if there’s a lot try to keep it relevant, your short course on pattern cutting isn’t relevant to your application to be a tree surgeon.  You can add extra information that you think relevant, like reasons for a career change but only if you’re not required to provide a cover letter.  Remember to sell yourself! You want to advertise your best, most desirable qualities so think about what they’re looking for and how you can tick their boxes.

References! Include at least 2 and no, that does not mean your mummy and daddy. If you have no previous employers ask a teacher if they would be willing to be a reference. You can ask family friends to be personal references but professional ones are the best, they’re more unbiased and just look good!

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER:

DONT ‘over-do it’. There’s no need to over load a CV with information on everything you ever did. Keep it simple, relevant and clean! Try re-reading it from an employer’s point of view, would you care about how many rabbits someone has, how old they are and what their names are if you were just looking for a barista.

DON’T LIE!!! If you don’t have the experience don’t pretend you do. Earn your dream job the right way. Your degree might say you know how to type 1000 words a minute but if the job you want requires 1000 hours of experience you’ll just have to look for a job you may think ‘beneath’ you and work your way up. Do volunteer work; email everyone and anyone, even if you don’t think anyone will respond you may be surprised, especially if you can offer a good amount of free time a week in exchange for experience and inside knowledge! Your time might be valuable to you but what better way to spend it than to get onto the job ladder. No one starts from half way up so you may as well start from the bottom.

DO proof-read!!! Don’t just use ‘spell checker’ even if you’ve changed it from English ‘US’ to ‘UK’ get someone to proof read it, someone who you know can point out if you’ve put a comma or apostrophe in the wrong place. If your CV is littered with bad punctuation and spelling you might as well have gone to all that effort to throw it in the bin yourself. That’s what an employer will do.

Hopefully this has straightened things out for you. If it still seems like an arduous task, work through it slowly, a bit a day. Take regular breaks (keep yourself hydrated) but don’t distract yourself. Toilet breaks are essential, but not every 30 minutes, if you’re going that often consider a visit to the doctors, you probably have a bladder infection.

OH and NEVER HAND WRITE A CV. Ever. Some teaching positions will require an example of your hand writing, so just leave the hand writing for the cover letter.