Athena SWAN

Event Items

NOT Acting Our Age: Older Women Challenging Gender Stereotypes and Celebrating Life - Invitation for Event Participants

PUBLIC EVENT taking place on International Women's Day (Wednesday 8 March, 12 - 1 pm) in a city centre location

Date/Time: Wednesday, 8th March 2017, 12:00 - 13:00

Venue: Newcastle City Centre

Context:  I have been researching the ways in which women are represented in media and popular culture for more than twenty years and my research, and that of many other colleagues, shows that as women get older, they become less visible and when they do put in an appearance, they (we) are often shown in stereotyped roles and contexts. This project, then, aims to challenge those gendered and ageist images by working with older women to tell their own stories and show the richness and diversity of our lives in relation to our family, our friends and/or our communities. It comprises three elements: digital story-telling, photographic exhibition and public event. The first two aspects have now been concluded and we are now working on the public event.

PUBLIC EVENT – the intention is to gather as many older (Age Concern’s definition of older age is 50yrs) women as possible on IWD to take part in the event. This will comprise us walking about in a city centre venue in twos and threes wearing face masks and giving out flyers: the flyers will comprise a series of questions such as, why are the top-earning Hollywood actors all men? why do women disappear from our TV screens as they get older? and so on. The purpose of wearing the masks is to make people look at us, make us visible, and a group of journalism students will be filming people’s reactions. After 15 mins or so, we will all move to a designated spot where another group of students will already be set up, holding up placards with the same questions and they will form the background for the next part of the event where we will be joined by members of a choir who will lead us in a song, probably Sisters are Doing it For Themselves, where the choir members sing the verses and the eventers sing the chorus.  There will also be a poem read out by one of us. We will also be joined by members of Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) who will sing their WASPI song (campaigning against raising the state pension age for women, to the tune of “Blaydon Races”), and the eventers can also join in with this.  The event will last between 30 and 45 mins.  We have permission from the City Council and Newcastle Police to put on this event.

There will be a rehearsal/talk-through on 1 March, 5.30-7pm, at the City Library (Bewick Hall), and it would be great if you are interested in taking part in the event, to attend the rehearsal. 

If you would like to take part in the event, please contact me by email or phone. I look forward to hearing from you. I will send the lyrics to both songs before the rehearsal.

Best wishes

Karen Ross
School of Arts and Cultures
Tel: 07798 884110
Professor Karen Ross