Women’s Prize LIVE: Women’s Voices in the Wake of COVID

Join us for an in-depth discussion exploring the issues affecting women through Covid-19 and beyond.

Lockdown has been a difficult time for everyone, but the disproportionate impact on women and girls through the Covid-19 emergency has been well documented, building on a steady pattern of historical global pandemics. The majority of key workers and front-line staff are women, leaving them exposed to the virus. Studies suggest that women have borne the brunt of extra childcare and domestic duties, with their contingent knock-on effects on mental health and career prospects. A rise in the number of sexual harassment complaints, assaults and deaths resulting from domestic violence has been reported.

How did we get here? How have gender dynamics impacted on responses to the pandemic globally? How has gender intersected with class and race in the wake of Covid-19?

And what we can do about it? For 25 years, the Women’s Prize for Fiction has put women centre stage by honouring, celebrating and championing women’s individual and diverse voices.  So today we’ll ask how a cultural lens might shed light on these issues: how the power to write and tell our own stories gives agency in a challenging world, how we can give voice to individual perspectives and encourage empathy and understanding to help build a fairer, more equitable, world?

About Our Guests:

Laura Bates is the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, an ever-increasing collection of over 100,000 testimonies of gender inequality, with branches in 25 countries worldwide. She is the author of Everyday Sexism, the Sunday Times bestseller Girl UpMisogynation and The Burning and her groundbreaking investigation into misogynistic extremism, Men Who Hate Women, will be published in September 2020. In 2018 she published Letters to the Future with Owen Sheers. Laura writes regularly for the Guardian, Telegraph and the New York Times amongst others and won a British Press Award in 2015. She works closely with politicians, businesses, schools, police forces and organisations from the Council of Europe to the United Nations to tackle gender inequality. She was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to gender equality in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2015 and has been named woman of the year by Cosmopolitan, Red Magazine and The Sunday Times Magazine. Laura is a contributor at Women Under Siege, a New York-based project tackling rape in conflict worldwide and she is patron of SARSAS, Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support. She is the recipient of two honorary degrees, an honorary fellow of St John’s College Cambridge and was awarded the Internet and Society Award by the Oxford Internet Institute alongside Sir Tim Berners Lee. Laura is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Vice President of the Hay Festival. She has judged the Women’s Prize, the YA Book Prize, the Children’s Laureate and the RSL Giles St Aubyn awards for non-fiction.

Jo Elvin (Chair) is a multi award-winning editor who has launched some of Britain’s most successful magazines. She is most well known as the editor in chief of Glamour, a title she launched in 2001 that rapidly became the biggest-selling women’s magazine in the UK and Europe. Jo also launched two major franchises for Glamour – 1. The internationally-renowned Glamour Women of the Year Awards, which in its 14 years, attracted every A-list you can think of to its London stage and enjoyed such moments as cementing Amy Schumer’s fame with her hilarious acceptance speech that went viral. 2. Jo also created the Glamour Beauty Festival – the world’s first ‘beauty theme park’, in a successful venture that has been rolled out to three other countries.

She is a regular on our TV screens, having been a presenter for celebrity interviews and fashion commentary for This Morning and Lorraine. Her writing has been published widely, including in The Daily Mail, The Observer, The Evening Standard and The Independent. She is also the host of the hit podcast, Is It Just Me, where Jo and her co-host James Williams, together with a celebrity guest, pick over the hilarious social hang-ups we all have. Guests have included Dawn French, Luke Evans, Frankie Bridge and Graham Norton to name a few. The podcast has had over 1million downloads to date and regularly tops the itunes Arts chart.

Jo recently took the helm as the editor in chief of You magazine, the glossy magazine from the Mail on Sunday. With a readership of 2million a week, it is the most-read women’s magazine in the country.

Dr. Leyla Hussein OBE is a psychotherapist specialising in supporting survivors of sexual abuse. She is an international lecturer on female genital mutilation (FGM) and gender rights. She is recognised as one of the key experts on this issue globally and her work has been presented at Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Harvard, and Columbia. She is the founder of The Dahlia Project, the UK’s first specialist therapeutic service for FGM survivors.  As a writer, she regularly appears as an expert commentator on women’s rights and health, with articles published in The Guardian, Cosmopolitan and The Huffington Post. In 2019, Leyla was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2019 Birthday Honours for her work in tackling female gender mutilation and gender equality. Her current project, The Girl Generation, focuses on the importance of the emotional wellbeing of activists in the field working with survivors of FGM.

Kate Mosse is an international multi-million selling novelist, playwright, non-fiction writer and essayist. The author of eight novels and short story collections – including the multimillion-selling Languedoc Trilogy (Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel) and Gothic fiction The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist’s Daughter, which she has adapted for the stage for Chichester Festival Theatre 2021 – Kate’s books have been translated into thirty-eight languages and published in more than forty countries. The Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, she is a regular host & interviewer for theatre, feminist and literary events. The second novel in her bestselling The Burning Chambers series, The City of Tears, will be published worldwide in January 2021.

Kate is a Member of the Executive Committee of Women of the World (WOW), the Patron of Sussex Together and the Sussex-based Consort of Twelve, and a Visiting Professor in Contemporary Fiction & Creative Writing at the University of Chichester. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was awarded an OBE for services to women and literature in 2013. An Ambassador for the Parkinson’s Society, Kate is a carer for her (brilliant!) mother-in-law and writes on issues of care and the invisibility of older women.

Nadia Whittome MP was elected in 2019 as the Member of Parliament for Nottingham East and at 23 is Parliament’s youngest MP. Nadia takes home a workers’ wage as an MP, donating the remainder of her MP salary to local causes.  Before her election, Nadia worked as a hate crime worker in Nottingham, and prior to that as a care worker. Inspired to enter politics in response to the Bedroom Tax, Nadia is a passionate advocate for participatory democracy and remains a committed activist and campaigner on migrants’ rights, workers’ rights, climate justice, and child poverty.  

Join us live at 1pm (BST) 11th August 2020

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This event is free but to learn more about the Women’s Prize Trust and how you can support the charity, click above.

With thanks to Arts Council England for its support for this event.