Schools Toolkit for IWD17
Images are powerful. What our daughters are told: everyday, by the items they wear, the books they read, the little messages and the big signs are all important.
I started Dauntless Daughters to respond to the imbalance in my own children’s world. But, actually – if I’m truthful it started earlier than that. I was raised by an amazing woman who told me, daily, to go and be what I wanted to be. It didn’t matter what people had done before, or what anyone said. As Hillary Clinton recently put it “Take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you.”
I grew up on a farm, in the rolling Quantocks hills in Somerset. My childhood was idyllic, filled with endless summers and warm winter fires. Food straight from the fields and nature all around us. Free and encouraged to dream big and world changing dreams. After completing a Sociology Degree, I dived into the world of publishing and at 21, I was elected as the UK’s youngest District Councillor. I was dedicated to my community and business, but it wasn’t for me. I knew I had something else to give, so I left to nourish my creative soul. Finding my path, firstly as an artist and later joining a design studio in Bristol.
It was over the course of five great years; I got married, birthed two wonderful children, moved house a couple of times and I discovered that activism, equality, justice those were lifeblood’s in me. And they would never go away. Politician of not.
Then I began to repeat my mother, in that way we all do at some point! “Go, be brave”, “yes, you can be that too”, “did you know this company is run by women”, “come look at this cool science experiment”.
Then, after a birthday party last year, I looked at the visual landscape that my children were living in. My liberated, feminist cohort had filled my house that year, with wonderfully generous presents. All purples and pinks, nicely illustrated versions of sexist stories, tea and cake play sets, dresses. I turned to our bookshelves: women getting beaten, traded, subjugated and rescued. It was like the last straw: I wasn’t having it. I went hunting: might girl (http://www.amightygirl.com/) was a powerful resource and now we are fully stocked with wonderful books like tatterhood, not one damsel in distress, ada twist scientist, among lots of other treasures.
Why am I telling you this? Well – I am on the beginning of a journey. My children love science and the fact is there are very few images of girl scientists: so I drew some. My friends saw them and they wanted copies. Then I got really brave and published a calendar; which sold out. So now I am building Dauntless Daughters to reach a bigger audience than just my friends. I want to build a resource area on the website filled with lovely downloads and freebies, I have a shop to sell some goodies so that my children can still have shoes, and lastly – why I am writing to you now I am building a Schools Toolkit with Women’s Ed and Action Aid for international Women’s Day and we are looking for contributors: we are already working with lots of awesome people who are going to share ideas and resources – and if you have a resource to contribute we would love to hear from you. The Toolkit will be hosted in the cloud for all schools and group leaders to use for International Women’s Day. It’s going to be chocked full with ideas and activities.
Help us fill their world with Dauntless.
Be brave. Be bold and live what you love.
Illustrator and founder of Dauntless Daughters.