Student Voice Ambassador Eloise Barnes tells us a little more about herself, what she is choosing to challenge, and what International Women’s Day means to her:
Tell us a bit about you?
My name is Eloise, and I am a second-year Business Management student. I work as a Student Voice Ambassador; you may have seen some of the content I have created on the Student Life Instagram page. I love arts and crafts and being creative and have a passion for learning new things.
How do you feel about being a woman in 2021?
As a woman, I am feeling optimistic and positive about lots of the change that is happening at the moment. It can be difficult to understand what being a woman means to you, but for me, it is being part of a community and striving for what is right. In the past, it has been hard to be a woman with unfair ideologies and rules – not being able to vote in England, Wales and Scotland before 1918, and even then, most women could not vote until 1928. We are now in 2021, and great progress has been made; I am proud of that. Therefore, being a woman is having a duty to carry on that progress to show that I am grateful for that work that has brought about past change.
Why is International Women’s Day important to you?
International Women’s Day is a time for women and their achievements to be celebrated, and you don’t have to be a woman to take part. The day signifies that journey that has been taken from the past and gives everyone a shared day to celebrate that change. The day also gives you the chance to think about what you would want to change for the future.
Is there anyone who inspires you and why?
The person who inspires me most is my Mum. She is amazing and really shows me how to be the best kind of person. She is kind, positive, strong, and I really hope to be more like her when I’m older. I can come to her with anything, and I know she will help me develop myself as a person and improve. She inspires me the most, and I really appreciate having her in my life!
Why should we #ChooseToChallenge?
Choosing to challenge is all about thinking about something that you would like to change in society or stop from happening altogether. From that, you can then create a pledge or promise to challenge that activity or ideology if you see it happening. It can be anything you like and can be really individual to you! As long as you are passionate about it and genuinely want to see a difference in the world, you should #ChooseToChallenge something. You don’t even have to be actively campaigning or changing the world; it could just be to gently challenge someone you know on a view and ask to know more about why they think that way and how you could understand their thinking. That way, they may listen to your view of the world and understand the issue from a different perspective! Therefore, if you choose to challenge something, this is a triumph and another step forward for equality.
What is your statement for #ChoosetoChallenge?
I am choosing to challenge stereotypes of what women should be doing and instead try and break down barriers to show that women can do anything.
I am going to do this by:
- Further educating myself on the issues of gender equality and bias
- Taking the opportunities that come to me while at and beyond the university
- Developing myself to become the best kind of person I can be
- Celebrating and encouraging diversity when I enter the workplace
- Educating myself and others about the benefits of diversity
- Empowering others and giving them a voice or platform to share their own perspectives
I hope that you enjoy International Women’s Day and #ChooseToChallenge!