Showing posts with label activist. Show all posts
Showing posts with label activist. Show all posts

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Women and Empowerment


This week we're talking about women and empowerment! The issues of social equality, including economic, marital and historical, have been debated for hundreds of years. Many books have been written about women and their place in society. So what's the latest?

Well, it's become a bit of a free-for-all. Thanks to the internet we can share our views far and wide under the protection of the UK Human Rights act of 1998, which says that "everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions". But the overwhelming feeling at the moment is, of course, that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities in every area of society. This in itself might not seem too difficult in theory. However, another aspect of this feeling is that women and men deserve equal respect and be treated as equals. In practise this has been shown to be slightly more tricky.

    Photo credit -Tonight Josephine 

Anyway. We're not here to discuss politics (or are we?). We're focusing on women in power, women in business and women who don't give a flying squirrel what anybody thinks of them while they get on with their lives.

Allow us to introduce Serena, Michelle, Emma and Suki!

Photo credit -

Serena Williams
A powerhouse of epic proportion and a keen advocate for equal pay and rights for women and people of colour, Williams has for a long time been kicking ass. This happens on the court and off it, and for this reason she totally belongs on this list. 

In an essay called 'How Black Women Can Close the Pay Gap', Williams acknowledged that "growing up, I was told I couldn't accomplish my dreams because I was a woman and, more so, because of the colour of my skin". She goes on to speak about the "cycles of poverty, discrimination and sexism" endemic to Western society today, and urges that reversing this will take "dedicated action" by "all of us", including men and women "of all colours, races and creeds". Click here for the full essay.

Photo credit - Newsweek

Michelle Obama
What an inspiration! She's been ranked as the 13th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes, but this doesn't begin to describe Michelle Obama's enormous efforts to do good in the world. She's unafraid to address the challenging, complex issues faced by society today, and especially by women and girls.

In her speech during Campaign Week 2016, just before Donald Trump was elected President, she mentioned her work with Let Girls Learn, saying "I wanted [the girls present] to understand that the measure of any society is how it treats its women and girls". Let Girls Learn is an education initiative "led by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)" and created by Michelle. To read the full transcript of her New Hampshire speech, which emphasises the importance of women's autonomy and power today, click here

Photo credit - wikipedia

Emma Thompson
This legend of British cinema has won basically every award going, including two Oscars, two Golden Globes and three BAFTAs. She has no time for sexist rubbish, and certainly no problem talking about it. Thompson has been quick to defend and applaud the women who have spoken out against Harvey Weinstein in the recent scandal, saying "I spent my 20s trying to get old men’s tongues out of my mouth". It's a gruesome image that fits an equally horrifying situation. 

Alongside her vow to "always speak up" on such issues, Thompson has dedicated a lot of effort and money to foundations such as the Refugee Council and the Helen Bamber Foundation. The former charity works with refugees and other people seeking asylum in the UK, offering "practical support and advice". More about the Refugee Council here. The Helen Bamber Foundation works with "people who have experienced extreme human cruelty, such as torture and human trafficking". More about their work here.

Suki Waterhouse 
Avid fan of Madia & Matilda, actress and model now turned singer Suki Waterhouse is a multifaceted wonder woman, with own accessories label as well. The label, co-created with best friend and business partner, Poppy Jamie, provides proof that when the sisterhood comes together, great things can be created! Find out more about their work here. We hope to see Suki in some of our designs in the future. 

Sincerely Madia & Matilda

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

More on Sustainability and the Climate

Mama Giraffe & Mama Earth

Climate Change Week is from the 9-14th of October. In view of this, we've decided to do a series of posts focussing on the climate, sustainability and local initiatives to do with these topics. Hope you enjoy reading!

The Giraffe Bit

We know why you're really here, and we don't blame you (giraffes are super cute), but here's the thing. Climate change isn't only affecting humans and trees. It has had, and will continue to have, an enormous  impact on the habits and habitats of thousands of species across the globe. I'm sure this isn't news to you (anyone else adopt a tiger or polar bear through the WWF when they were 12?) but let's get some facts.
The WWF (World Wildlife Fund) is one of the major charities aiming to improve the welfare of wildlife by: "advancing policies to fight climate change; engaging with businesses to reduce carbon emissions; and helping people and nature to adapt to a changing climate".

According to the World Animal Foundation (WAF), giraffes are being lost "at an unprecedented and alarming rate". The IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) have classed giraffes as a "vulnerable" species (by the way, did you know there are 9 subspecies of giraffe?! Neither did we). We're using giraffes as an example (mainly because Madia & Matilda's founder Shalize Nicholas has an obsession) but there are thousands of other animals and plants in the same sticky situation as giraffes, or worse.

This list includes Sumatran tigers, orangutans, whales and many others, from all regions and taxonomic groups.

A Sumatran tiger takes a dip. How cute?!?

The Pocahontas Factor 

How is Pocahontas relevant?!

You'd be surprised. The classic Disney flick was based on a true story and deals with topics such as colonialism, racism and displacement of indigenous people. Pretty hard core, considering its target audience! (There has been some discussion about how well Disney dealt with these complex topics, but let's leave that for another time.) 

Pocahontas vs Modern Example. A compare/contrast kinda thing. Bring it on!

Pocahontas: Sexy beast Cap'n John Smith and buddies rock up to Pocahontas's area hoping to find precious natural resources, such as gold (bling bling).

Modern Version: Some powerful organisations are seizing land that's been sacred to local tribes, sometimes for thousands of years. Their aim is to grow new crops to use as biofuels and to cut down on the use of fossil fuels. Though the search for alternatives to fossil fuels is important, it's coming at a huge price to local people.

Pocahontas: Cap'n John Smith's buddies are particularly looking forward to fighting some of the native American Indians, so that they can use the new land as they choose (maybe build a few villas, a water park, poss also some quality shopping arcades?).

Modern Version: Fighting has broken out between these large companies and the Indigenous communities over land ownership. This has resulted in devastating loss of life on both sides, and damage to the land in question.

Pocahontas: Smithie and buddies believe for a long time that they are the ones in the right. So do the Powhatan, Pocahontas's tribe. 

Modern version: Actually, the principle is the same. And it's a tough one to call (so we're not going to try). On one hand there's ancient tribal tradition around the world, and sacred lands are super important to that; on the other hand, biofuels are one real solution to battling climate change, by reducing the amount of fossil fuels we use (this includes damaging collection methods such as fracking, which also cause pollution and habitat loss). The jury (meaning us) is out. 

The Saami People and the Guarani People

The Saami people have lived and herded reindeer in parts of Scandinavia, Russia and Canada for thousands of years. The reindeer rely on a consistent climate to flourish, and the Saami people suffer alongside the animals if this is upset. In recent years the weather has been unpredictable: snow and wind patterns have gone a bit crazy, and there have been sad reports of reindeer falling through the ice. When reindeer are put at risk like this, it dramatically impacts the lives of the Saami people and their culture.

In the case of the Guarani of Brazil, some 47 000 to 51 000 people, it's actually the efforts to grow and make biofuel which is harming their community. In recent years there has been a huge displacement of the Guarani people from their ancestral lands. This has had disastrous effects on the population: the suicide rate within the communities has risen to about one per week, according to anthropologist and community leader Tonico Benites Guarani, in conversation with The Guardian. (For the full article click here). It's the result of unrest and disputes over land in Brazil which has been going on for decades. Sources say that around 95% of ancestral Guarani land has been torn from the community to make room for biofuels, sugar cane and soya plantations.

Young people from the Tupiniquim tribe, another Brazilian tribe who have fought hard to retain ancestral lands seized for the production of biofuels

I'm sure you've spotted the dilemma. In the case of the Guarani people, efforts to develop a new, renewable energy source to replace fossil fuels have caused major damage to their way of life, both psychologically and physically. There's obviously no easy solution to the problem. 

So what the heck can be done about it?

It seems like one of those problems where a balance needs to be struck: somewhere between moving forward positively, and conserving natural habitats and indigenous communities. It doesn't look like there's a magic formula for this, unfortunately (unless you have one??), but that shouldn't stop us trying. 

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, "you must be the change you wish to see in the world". 

Sincerely Madia & Matilda

Friday, 16 December 2016

Countdown to Christmas - Day 4 - Style a Day

Emma Watson – Actress/sustainable fashion advocate:

Following the release of the latest film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that is currently taking the Wizarding World by storm, we thought we’d cast our minds back to the original Queen B of the world of Harry Potter.

Emma Watson is not only a renowned actress in top films such as the Harry Potter saga but has also starred in releases like The Perks of Being a Wallflower and spends her spare time advocating for Human Rights – particularly Women’s. 

We at Madia & Matilda think that makes her a superhero in her own right, but particularly when it comes to her style. Emma has her own look, taking inspiration from the latest trends as well as her own passions. In 2010 she worked closely alongside People Tree, a sustainable brand like us, to create her own line and continued creating clothing for the company until late 2012.

Dress her look in our very own Dakota knitted tank top and Ellen Cigarette Leg Trousers or for a more adventurous night wear look, try our Bella Halter Neck Jumpsuit or Amber Lace Top and Evelin Mini Skirt.

Sincerely Madia & Matilda

Monday, 24 October 2016

News - Women of the Year

We felt inspired by Red magazine’s Women of the Year awards and decided to

write up about the women that inspire us here at Madia & Matilda.

The Female Boss

Bianca Miller is a true M & M babe being a real advocate of Madia & Matilda and fulltime female boss. 

You’ll recognise her from winning The Apprentice and her self-titled hosiery business that is

blooming and you can spot her on our Instagram! She’s recently started

stocking her tights in Topshop, congrats Bianca!

The Fashion Muse

Nina Nesbitt is one of our fashion muses, we love her 90s style and playing her

songs on repeat in the office. We also love her Twitter, she’s always posting

her thoughts and cute outfits.

Corinne Bailey Rae

She’s a woman who has inspired us for years, we love her music and her

personal style. She’s got a quirky elegance about her and we dream of seeing

her in M & M one day!

The Activist

Emma Watson, what a woman. As if she hadn’t already cemented her place in

our hearts through Harry Potter, her role in HeForShe will always mean there is

a place for her in our Women of the Year.

We are always talking about sustainability here at Madia and Matilda is some

way or another, so Dame Vivienne Westwood’s spot in our most loved women

is well secured. Seeing her at the Cheltenham Literature Festival talking about

her Climate Revolution campaign completely reinforced our love for the Queen

of Green and Punk.

The Internet’s Big Sister

Whilst she’s also a top female boss, there is no denying that the for younger

generation Zoella is the internet’s big sister. There is also no denying our inner

fan girl that’s released when we watch her Lush hauls.

Megan Gilbride is another big sister to the internet. Over at Wonderful You she

writes about some of the most important topics a girl can read. Mental health –

check, Smear tests – check, girl power – check she’s got the guts to talk about

it all and we love her for that.

We’d love to hear about your women of the year – be them family members or

celebrities, let us know! tweet @MadiaMatilda 

Sincerely Madia & Matilda