March 10, 2017

"While strides have been made in equal opportunities for girls and women, there's still an unwritten code that holds so many girls back"

Anne-Marie Imafidon, Sarah Brown and Leslie Caron attend the Theirworld #RewritingTheCode International Women's Day Breakfast

Photo credit: Getty Images / Theirworld

Sarah Brown

Chair, Theirworld

This special episode of the Better Angels podcast series features Theirworld President Sarah Brown talking to guests at the charity's #RewritingTheCode International Women’s Day Breakfast in London.

The Better Angels podcast series is all about the activist spirit. That was in plentiful supply this week at the Theirworld #RewritingTheCode International Women’s Day Breakfast in London.

The event marked the launch of our campaign to expose the hidden codes that hold back girls and women across the world.

It was attended by scores of women who are successful in their fields and want to bring about change for females at home and abroad.

In this special episode of Better Angels, Theirworld President Sarah Brown talks to some of them - and we hear parts of the discussions at the event. You can listen to the show in the player below.

Sarah says: "We wanted to look at all those embedded values in society that hold women back - all the messages that tell her who she is, what she is allowed to believe she can be and what opportunities she's allowed to exploit.

"While strides have been made in equal opportunities for girls and women, there's still an unwritten code that holds so many girls back, no matter where they are in the world."

Gemma Cairney and June Sarpong

Photo credit: Getty Images / Theirworld

She speaks to Anne-Marie Imafidon, co-founder of the Stemettes, an award-winning social enterprise aimed at inspiring women to get into science, technology, engineering and maths roles. 

“When you browse the web you don’t see the code that’s written - you just see the effect of it. It’s a nice analogy for what we’re talking about," says Anne-Marie.

A special guest at the event was Leslie Caron - she has danced with Fred Astaire, won multiple awards for her work on screen and championed feminism and equality throughout her career.

Off-stage, she tells Sarah: “I think all of us have had little fights or big fights. 

'Women are taking power over their own lives and their own identity. There has been an enormous change.”

The event was told that Theirworld had launched Code Clubs for girls in Tanzania. They will give vulnerable girls and young women a unique chance to learn vital coding and technology skills in a safe space.

Marking International Women’s Day at the #RewritingTheCode event

Photo credit: Getty Images / Theirworld

Gemma Cairney - former fashion journalist and now Radio 1 DJ and journalist - says: “We’re living in a very noisy time and I think that the idea of tech being a launch pad is really interesting. 

"Tech can often feel overwhelming, particularly if you are a woman.”

At the event, Theirworld awards were given to courageous women from war-torn countries - the female White Helmets of Syria and a former Afghan footballer.

Khalida Popal received an award at the event in London

Photo credit: Getty Images / Theirworld

Gardenia, a member of the Syria Civil Defence Force, says: “Saving lives is humanitarian work. 

"This war was imposed on Syria and this is why we are there to help the women and children."

Khalida Popal, who moved to Denmark from her native Afghanistan, talks about how her own experience as a refugee has made her want to help others who have fled war-torn counties.

“These women need help - especially from other women. We have to help each other," she says.

“When I grew up I knew I wanted to change something - if not the world then a small something. Especially for women."

Other guests featured on the podcast include the Australian writer Kathy Lette, journalist and broadcaster Emma Barnett, TV presenter June Sarpong and TV producer Kate Harwood.

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Sarah talks to politicians, entertainers, activists and world leaders about their inspiration, their hopes and their dreams at a time of enormous international upheaval.

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