International Women’s Day festival set to reveal pioneering research on gender equality and women’s rights

  • University of Sheffield academics set to reveal new research on gender equality and women’s rights as part of festival celebrating International Women’s Day
  • Findings include wigs and women’s stories of cancer, young people’s attitudes towards gender-based violence and feminist stories of religious change
  • Research presented as part of SheFest – a week-long festival held in venues throughout Sheffield

Academics from the University of Sheffield are set to share their latest pioneering research on gender equality and women’s rights as part of a free city-wide festival that aims to engage women from across South Yorkshire this week (Monday 5 March – Sunday 11 March).

SheFest, which features a range of inclusive talks, workshops, exhibitions, live performances, film and comedy to celebrate and promote gender equality, is being held in several locations throughout Sheffield.

The week-long festival, which coincides with International Women's Day (Thursday 8 March 2018), is working to increase the number and diversity of those engaging in global celebrations of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Research from University of Sheffield academics being presented at the festival includes; wigs and women’s stories of cancer on screen and how gender marital roles and expectations affect young people’s attitudes towards female oppression and gender-based violence.

The festival includes research from University of Sheffield academics on women’s suffrage in Britain and how women’s bodies are a remarkable biological machine yet they are rarely regarded in this way with the majority of attention being on the aesthetics of the female form, valuing beauty over function.

University of Sheffield researchers will also reveal feminist stories of religious change, including how and why some nuns rejected the ‘liberation’ offered by reformers as well as how decisions taken by Bible translators in the 16th and 17th centuries have an impact on women’s lives today.

Greg Oldfield, Head of Public Engagement at the University of Sheffield, said: “The University of Sheffield is proud to be supporting SheFest this year. All our events are free and give people the chance to hear from our academics about their work and research related to inequality and gender issues. We’re also delighted to be supporting the festival, which is another addition to Sheffield’s diverse cultural scene.”

Beckie Brackett, co-founder and co-curator of the festival, said: “We’re proud to be working with the University of Sheffield for the first time this year to showcase academic research on gender and women’s issues. We have a lecture on women’s suffrage, which is particularly fitting as Sheffield was the first known place in the country to form a women’s suffrage society – The Sheffield Women’s Political Association.

"SheFest is a chance to mark International Women’s Day, and our female fronted addition to the city’s cultural calendar does just that. This year, it's more important than ever to celebrate as 2018 marks 100 years since the first women won the right to vote. We want to use the centenary to showcase the amazing talent of local women and empower the next generation to keep up the fight for gender equality.”

Events in the festival, which feature University of Sheffield researchers, include:

Wigs and Women’s Stories of Cancer on Screen - Monday 5 March - at The Holt from 6pm
Dr Seán Williams from the University’s School of Languages and Cultures discusses ‘Wigs and Women’s Stories of Cancer On Screen.’ In this talk, Dr Williams discusses clips from hit shows such as Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives, through to independent short films such as Cancer Hair. How critical are these representations of mainstream "cancer culture"? Do they subvert gender stereotypes of illness, or simply bolster them?

Ticket and event information: https://shefest-wigs-and-women.eventbrite.co.uk

Raising Dependent Wives and Breadwinner Husbands in Ghana - Wednesday 7 March – at The Holt from 6pm
Dr Afua Twum-Danso Imoh from the University’s Department of Sociological Studies discusses the topic ‘Raising Dependent Wives and Breadwinner Husbands in Ghana.’ The talk, based on a collaborative research project between the University of Sheffield and the University of Cape Coast Ghana, explores how gendered marital roles and expectations affect young people’s attitudes towards female oppression and gender-based violence and examines the gender socialisation of children in Ghanian communities.

Ticket and event information: https://shefest-wives-and-husbands-in-ghana.eventbrite.co.uk

Men Are Strong, but Women Are Strong Too! - Friday 9 March – at ICOSS Conference Room, ICOSS building, University of Sheffield from 12pm
Sandy Belle Rosales Cadena, a postgraduate research student from the University’s Department of Psychology hosts a workshop titled ‘Men Are Strong, but Women Are Strong Too!’ The human body is a remarkable biological machine - dynamic, resilient and robust. Yet women's bodies are rarely regarded in this way. Instead the focus is usually on the aesthetics of the female form, valuing beauty over function. This workshop guides attendees through exercises where they will consider their bodies from a positive perspective, looking beyond beauty and focussing on strength, functionality and capability. The session also explores how this mind-set can empower women to achieve more in life.

Ticket and event information: https://shefest-women-are-strong-too.eventbrite.co.uk

Reforming Women: Feminist Stories of Religious Change - Friday 9 March – at Council Room, Firth Court, University of Sheffield from 6pm
University of Sheffield Historians Elizabeth Goodwin and Sasha Garwood join linguist Dr Iona Hine to discuss ‘Reforming Women: Feminist Stories of Religious Change.’ The event reveals how the Reformation shaped and reshaped female body image, why and how some nuns rejected the "liberation" offered by reformers and how decisions taken by 16th and 17th century Bible translators impact women's lives today. The trio of short talks will be followed by an open Q&A chaired by BBC Radio Sheffield’s Jennifer Vernon-Edwards.

Ticket and event information: https://shefest-reforming-women.eventbrite.co.uk

Women’s Suffrage in Britain - Tuesday 20 March – at The Holt from 6pm
As 2018 marks the centenary of women’s (partial) suffrage in Britain, Dr Julie Gottlieb from the University’s Department of History provides an overview of the suffrage movement and what was achieved in 1918. She also considers how anniversaries function to establish a narrative, change conversations, as well as inspire, motivate and mobilize.

Ticket and event information: https://shefest-centenary-of-suffrage.eventbrite.co.uk

To see a full programme of events at the festival, visit: https://issuu.com/shefestsheff/docs/shefest_2018_brochure

Additional information

The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2017 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

Contact

For further information please contact:

Sean Barton
Junior Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9852
s.barton@sheffield.ac.uk