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Safety Qualification Advisory Group

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NEBOSH International General Certificate is an essential part of professional development if you manage health and safety.
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Network Rail will lose control over Britain’s train tracks as power is handed to private operators in a major shake-up of the railway system, the Government is reportedly to announce next week. The move, which would mark the biggest change to the running of the rail network in decades, would see British rail companies such as Virgin Trains and Southern becoming responsible for repairs and maintenance for the first time, ending state-owned Network Rail’s monopoly. Transport minister Chris Grayling will announce the plans in a speech to the Conservative think tank Policy Exchange on Tuesday, according to The Daily Telegraph. The Government hopes this shift of control will incentivise train companies to carry out repairs more quickly and possibly bring in cheaper fares, . READ MORE Train fares set to rise by average of 2.3% Train fares are going up again and here's what you're paying for Network Rail pulls human rights advert for being 'too political' Network Rail fined £4 million after actress dies at level crossing Easter weekend: Record number of engineering works on UK railways It comes as the rail industry announced train fares would go up by an average of 2.3 per cent – more than double the rate of inflation – from 2 January 2017, with some unregulated fares likely to result in fares rise of considerably more. Currently Britain’s train tracks are owned by Network Rail while trains are controlled by completely separate companies. Mr Grayling has spoken previously of his lack of confidence in the railway system and his desire to give train operators more control. As the Conservatives’ front-bench transport spokesman 10 years ago, he said: “We think, with hindsight, that the complete separation of track and train into separate businesses at the time of privatisation was not right for our railways. “The separation has helped push up the cost of running the railways – and hence fares – and has slowed decisions about capacity improvements. “Too many people and organisations are now involved in getting things done – so nothing happens.” In publicity material sent out ahead of the speech, Policy Exchange reportedly said Mr Grayling’s vision will “put the passenger at its heart, ensuring that journeys are safe, quick, and provide value for money”. For Labour, shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said that “privatising” the rail infrastructure would be an “irresponsible move”. “The last thing our railways need is another layer of fragmentation and complexity. Train operating companies will only engage with this if they can extract more profit from taxpayers and fare-payers,” he said. “It's remarkable that operators such as Southern who display a cavalier attitude towards cost-cutting and safety might be invited to take responsibility for the repair and maintenance of the tracks. Since his election last month, they have struggled to understand who is advising Donald Trump on Asia and what his China policy will look like. This move will turn concern into alarm and anger. Beijing sees Taiwan as a province. Denying it any of the trappings of an independent state is one of the key priorities of Chinese foreign policy. Read more from Carrie: The Trump phone call that will stun Beijing Mild reaction - Cindy Sui, BBC, Taipei China's reaction is relatively mild. It doesn't want to get off on the wrong foot with Mr Trump. And it sees Mr Trump as an inexperienced politician, so for now it's willing to forgive him and not play this up. It may also be somewhat reassured by statements from the US that its policy on China and Taiwan has not changed. But behind the scenes it's safe to say China is working hard to "educate" the Trump team on not repeating such diplomatic faux pas. This move by Taiwan's President Tsai will further infuriate Beijing and make it distrust her even more and see her as favouring Taiwan's formal independence from China. World-changing ideas summit With our powers of reasoning, rich memories and the ability to imagine what the future might hold, human intelligence is unequalled in the animal kingdom. Our closest relatives, chimpanzees, are adept problem solvers, making their own tools to reach food, for example. They use sophisticated gestures and facial expressions to communicate. Yet, they fall a long way short of our own ability to think and plan for the future. Thomas Suddendorf, a psychologist at the University of Queensland, describes this as the gap – the cognitive gulf that separates us from animals. But it was not always so wide, he says in the video above. Our species once shared the planet with other hominins with intelligence that may have rivaled our own. Their extinction was at least partly due to the actions of our own ancestors, according to many anthropologists. We need to be careful not to make the same mistakes again and widen the gap between the species even further in our pursuit of progress, warns Suddendorf, who spoke to BBC Future at the World-Changing Ideas Summit in Sydney on 15 November. Read more: We’ve got human intelligence all wrong Jason G Goldman’s column Uniquely Human, about the similarities and differences between us and the animal kingdom Join 700,000+ Future fans by liking us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram If you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter, called “If You Only Read 6 Things This Week”. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Earth, Culture, Capital, Travel and Autos, delivered to your inbox every Friday. The minibus crosses the vast plateau on a newly paved road. Cracked fields stretch away towards the Moroccan desert to the south. Yet the barren landscape is no longer quite as desolate as it once was. This year it became home to one of the world’s biggest solar power plants. Welcome to Future Now Your essential guide to a world in flux Change happens quickly these days and it can be hard to keep up. That’s why BBC Future has launched a new section called Future Now to bring you in-depth stories about the people, events and trends that are shaping our world. We will be publishing regular stories from all over the world about technology, energy, economics, society and much more – you can find them here. We hope you will join us as we explore the changes that matter. Hundreds of curved mirrors, each as big as a bus, are ranked in rows covering 1,400,000 sq m (15m sq ft) of desert, an area the size of 200 football fields. The massive complex sits on a sun-blasted site at the foot of the High Atlas mountains, 10km (6 miles) from Ouarzazate – a city nicknamed the door to the desert. With around 330 days of sunshine a year, it’s an ideal location. As well as meeting domestic needs, Morocco hopes one day to export solar energy to Europe. This is a plant that could help define Africa's – and the world’s – energy future. (Credit: Getty Images) Hundreds of curved mirrors, each as big as a bus, are ranked in rows covering 1,400,000 square metres of desert, an area the size of 200 football fields (Credit: Getty Images) Of course, on the day I visit the sky is covered in clouds. “No electricity will be produced today,“ says Rachid Bayed at the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen), which is responsible for implementing the flagship project. An occasional off day is not a concern, however. After many years of false starts, solar power is coming of age as countries in the sun finally embrace their most abundant source of clean energy. The Moroccan site is one of several across Africa and similar plants are being built in the Middle East – in Jordan, Dubai and Saudi Arabia. The falling cost of solar power has made it a viable alternative to oil even in the most oil-rich parts of the world. As well as meeting domestic needs, Morocco hopes one day to export solar energy to Europe. Noor 1, the first phase of the Moroccan plant, has already surpassed expectations in terms of the amount of energy it has produced. It is an encouraging result in line with Morocco’s goal to reduce its fossil fuel bill by focusing on renewables while still meeting growing energy needs that are increasing by about 7% per year. Morocco’s stable government and economy has helped it secure funding: the European Union contributed 60% of the cost for the Ouarzazate project, for example. (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont) With around 330 days of sunshine a year, the region around Ouarzazate - a city nicknamed the door to the desert - is an ideal location (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont) The country plans to generate 14% of its energy from solar by 2020 and by adding other renewable sources like wind and water into the mix, it is aiming to produce 52% of its own energy by 2030. This puts Morocco more or less in line with countries like the UK, which wants to generate 30% of its electricity from renewables by the end of the decade, and the US, where President Obama set a target of 20% by 2030. (Trump has threatened to dump renewables, but his actions may not have a huge impact. Many policies are controlled by individual states and big companies have already started to switch to cleaner and cheaper alternatives.) Due to the lack sun on the day I visit, the hundreds of mirrors stand still and silent. The team keeps a close eye on weather forecasts to predict output for the following day, allowing other sources of energy to take over when it is overcast. The reflectors can be heard as they move together to follow the sun like a giant field of sunflowers But normally the reflectors can be heard as they move together to follow the Sun like a giant field of sunflowers. The mirrors focus the Sun’s energy onto a synthetic oil that flows through a network of pipes. Reaching temperatures up to 350C (662F), the hot oil is used to produce high-pressure water vapour that drives a turbine-powered generator. “It’s the same classic process used with fossil fuels, except that we are using the Sun’s heat as the source,” says Bayed. The plant keeps generating energy after sunset, when electricity demands peak. Some of the day’s energy is stored in reservoirs of superhot molten salts made of sodium and potassium nitrates, which keeps production going for up to three hours. In the next phase of the plant, production will continue for up to eight hours after sunset. (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont) “The last time the Tories privatised the tracks resulted in a series of fatal accidents that led to the creation of Network Rail in the first place. We don’t want to see a return to the bad old days of Railtrack.” Response to the reported plans on social media has been widely of concern and anger. One Twitter user said: “Government idea to turn Network Rail back into rail track in private hands to save money risks safety. Not a good idea!” Another tweet was more blunt, saying: “Government hands track repairs to profiteering Virgin and Southern. Deaths will result.” More about: Network RailtrainsRailwayVirginSouthernChris Graylingprivatisation “Whisky is all about education, understanding and driving flavour exploration,” says Greg Dillon, spirits connoisseur and editor of the Great Drams blog. “The depth of flavour, the variety and the intrigue of whisky is what is driving the trend towards whisky being a great accompaniment to meals.” Clearly, wine isn’t the only drink capable of being the perfect match for food. Whisky is gaining in popularity as the ideal partner for a range of dishes, from light starters to desserts. The many flavour descriptions vary from light to full-bodied; from a touch of sweetness and fruit, to more complex and bold with strong peat, earthy and smoky notes. Whisky is a great match for seafood, cheese, smoked and roasted meats, and desserts. The lighter styles fare better with smoked salmon and sushi, while medium-bodied whiskies work with smoked fish such as mackerel. Very few of us can claim to never tell a lie, but what if there was a way of spotting a liar without a lie-detector test? A new study has discovered which of us are actually most likely to be liars, and it’s bad news for young, single men. The study of 3,349 Americans of “all major ethnic, incomes, and geographic regions” by Curtin University, Australia, sought to discover whether there’s a link between socio-economic status and lying, and it drew some very specific conclusions. READ MORE 10 uncomfortable truths no one wants to admit All the lies and mistruths Trump told during the US election campaign Strict parenting turns children into liars, experts claim Bernie Sanders says Donald Trump is a pathological liar The researchers found that the most likely liars are young, unmarried men prone to road rage and with low levels of education - as well as asking about lying, respondents were asked questions such as “have you ever given someone the finger in traffic?” Lead study author Arch Woodside explained to the Huffington Post that a young male with low education isn’t enough to determine how prolific a liar he is, “but a young male with low education who engages in antisocial behaviour such as road rage, well by now you can be pretty sure he is.” However the second most likely group of liars is female - specifically, young, married women with low levels of education who’ve attained a high income. Woodside suggested these could be “women who have married into money.” Presumably they could also simply be women who have earned their own fortunes despite low levels of education. The world's most notorious liars 10 (CNN)The next possible US secretary of defense went by the military call sign "Chaos." Revered by his troops as a "warrior monk" with a knack for hard-edged quips, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis led troops in Afghanistan in 2001, won laurels for leadership in one of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq War and most recently headed US Central Command, perhaps the military's most complicated and challenging post. Now, Mattis faces an entirely different kind of fight. As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to formally nominate the former four-star to head the Pentagon, some Democrats are signaling his confirmation might not be entirely easy. Some observers question whether Mattis' battlefield experience prepares him for the very different task of running an enormous bureaucracy, while senior lawmakers worry about what the 66-year-old's nomination means for maintaining civilian control of the military. Republicans issued glowing testimonials to Mattis and his career. California Rep. Devin Nunes, who heads the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he could think of "no better candidate to lead America's military in our long fight against jihadism and countering other pressing threats." Noting that Mattis hasn't been out of uniform long enough to lead the Pentagon without a congressional waiver, California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said that while he "would make an excellent Secretary of Defense, we must also bear in mind the precedent we would be setting and the impact it would have on the principle of civilian leadership of our nation's military." Donald Trump speaks with Taiwan's President Kirsten Gillibrand, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee subcommittee on personnel, was more definitive. "Civilian control of our military is a fundamental principle of American democracy," Gillibrand said in a statement Thursday, "and I will not vote for an exception to this rule." Just one senator can demand that the waiver for Mattis meet a 60-vote threshold, meaning he would need to get the support of all Republicans and eight Democrats to move toward confirmation next year. If he's approved, Mattis would be the highest-ranking former officer to serve as defense secretary. The Washington State native and history major led troops through the conflicts in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq. From 2010 to 2013, he led Central Command, which oversees the Middle East and Southeast Asia, until the Obama administration let him go over disagreements on Iran. The White House was pushing for a nuclear deal with Tehran in 2013, the same year Mattis was telling the Aspen Security Forum that his top concern as Centcom commander was "Iran, Iran, Iran." Obama to sign Iran sanctions bill Mattis has since been critical of the deal and of the Obama administration's refusal to engage more aggressively in the Middle East, saying it has fueled extremism in the region. In 2015, he told a congressional panel that the US needed to come out of its "reactive crouch" in the Middle East and defend its values. Indeed, Mattis has not been known to mince words. He's affectionately known as "Mad Dog" by troops who trade his quips like prized baseball cards. On the news of his nomination, many of those sayings instantly became memes on Twitter. Among them: "a good soldier follows orders, but a true warrior wears his enemy's skin like a poncho," and "be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet." Human Rights Watch called on Congress to fully examine his views on a number of issues. "Media accounts suggest that Gen. Mattis doesn't agree with President-elect Trump's more outrageous campaign proposals, such as bringing back waterboarding, targeting terrorist suspects' family members, or tampering with anti-torture laws," said Washington director Sarah Margon. She urged that during the confirmation process "senators make sure Mattis unreservedly repudiates these proposals, acknowledges that they are illegal, and confirms that they are not up for future consideration." Mattis is one of a slew of generals Trump has been considering for other Cabinet-level jobs, including Gen. David Petraeus for the State Department, Gen. John Kelly to head Homeland Security and Adm. Mike Rogers as the director of national intelligence. Erin Simpson, a national security consultant and senior editor at WarontheRocks.com, said the incoming administration may be trying to capitalize on public respect for the military by considering so many generals. But "where there are really weak civilian institutions and an inexperienced president, it just doesn't sit right by me," said Simpson. The silver lining, she adds, is that many military and security professionals wary of Trump may be convinced to serve under Mattis. "It provides some top-cover for other qualified folks to come in who might not have otherwise," Simpson said. "There are a lot of jobs to fill at the Pentagon, this could bring in some talent and that's a net gain." show all And if you want to have an honest conversation with someone, go to an unmarried woman over the age of 70 as they were found to lie the least. The study categorised “big liars” as those of us who tell 12 significant lies per year, and it found that just 13 per cent of people tell 58 per cent of all lies. In contrast, 21 per cent of us try to live our lives without lying. Woodside explained to Broadly that although most of us think we know ourselves well, we really don’t, and “such thinking may be the biggest lie of all." big computer companies aren't happy about it! Is your computer painfully slow? Have you considered buying a new 'faster' computer but the price of even a basic one makes you cringe? Do you wish there was a cheaper, more affordable way to get a new computer? (Hint: there is – keep reading.) It's incredibly frustrating when computers slow down or stop working for seemingly no reason at all. And even after all the diagnostics, upgrades, and money spent, the amount of time waiting for that spinning wheel or hourglass to disappear never seems to get any shorter. Your once new, lightning-fast, computer just keeps getting slower as each day passes. Well, fortunately, there's a new device that has recently hit the market and it's literally giving old, slow computers lightning fast speed again. And to say it's extremely affordable is grossly understated! What is It? It's called Xtra-PC and if you have an old, slow computer, it is exactly what you've been waiting for. Xtra-PC is a small thumb drive you simply plug into your computer's USB port and it instantly transforms your old computer to like new. It works with any computer (Mac or Windows) laptop, desktop, and netbooks made in 2004 or later. It is hands down the fastest, easiest solution to getting yourself a new computer without spending $400, $500, $800 or more – guaranteed. No more staring at spinning wheels or hourglasses ever again! How Does it Work? Super easy! In fact, it's so easy that it's like snapping your fingers and watching your old computer magically turn into the new, super-fast computer you want it to be. All you have to do is... Plug it in – Simply plug Xtra-PC into a USB port while your computer is turned off. Turn Your Computer On – Select 'Boot from USB' and bingo, you're good to go. Enjoy New PC – In less than 15 minutes you'll be shocked at the difference in the performance of your computer. You only have to setup Xtra-PC once and you can even use it on multiple computers! Watch This Video For A Closer Look At How Xtra-PC Works! No Hard Drive? No Problem! Amazingly, Xtra-PC even works on computers with no hard drives. That's right! Broken, damaged, or just plain missing – Xtra-PC will have your computer running like new again even without a hard drive! What Can I Do With My Like-New Computer? Everything! With Xtra-PC, there's simply no need to spend hundreds of dollars on a new computer – only to have it peter out on you in another year or two. It makes no sense. But getting Xtra-PC does (which is why the big computer companies are so against this incredibly powerful little device). With Xtra-PC you'll be able to do the things you normally do... Heck, you can even add other programs to your computer if you wanted to. Want to download Skype? No problem, with Xtra-PC, you can. How Much Is This Going To Cost Me? This is not a joke. Xtra-PC is only $24.99! That's right – ONLY 25 bucks! And they offer a 30-Day money back guarantee. There honestly is no good reason not to try Xtra-PC. You can get Xtra-PC direct from the company's website here. Make sure to buy it from the official site as there are many knockoffs on the market today. Want to win at job-hunting and being a student? It can be done. “Seizing the opportunities available at university is a valuable way for students to boost their career prospects, as well as giving them a richer university experience,” says Maggie Westgarth, head of employability and enterprise at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol). Here are some suggestions for how to do it: Work placements “They enable students to apply their skills in a real-world environment and see the impact their skills can have on an organisation or industry,” says Westgarth. “Employers value this level of work experience and it gives students a significant advantage in the jobs market.” Volunteer, work or study overseas “The number of new experiences that come from living in a different country and culture is extraordinary and can make a CV stand out from the crowd,” says Westgarth. “Someone who has spent time abroad during their studies will be able to talk about experiences and skills that will be unlike any other candidate.” Get involved in sports and societies Graduate recruiters stress how important this is, says Katie Seymour-Smith, senior career consultant at the University of Derby. “Not only does it expose students to a wider skill set, networking opportunities and skill application, but it contributes towards building confidence and resilience.” And it’s fun, too. Get advice from a range of people Different people – parents, friends, lecturers, employers – will have different perspectives on the world of work, according to Tom Staunton, careers consultant at the University of Derby. To help you filter all that information, he suggests seeing a professional careers adviser. “They can help you think through the different advice you have been given, work out what it means for you and what you could do about it,” he says. Mind your surrounding READ MORE SPONSORED Giving graduates a head start in business “Don’t bury your head in the sand - there’s always something going on around campus,” says Alison Armstrong, a careers advisor at Bournemouth University. That might be a careers workshop, a volunteering opportunity at the union or an event hosted by an employer. Look out for employability awards, too. “These are structured programmes designed to help you get the most out of your time at university,” she adds. Be a part of the wider uni community “Get as involved as possible with uni life,” says Armstrong. It’s not just societies – getting involved with student papers and radio stations can be great fun and build great skills. “Volunteer for opportunities such as becoming a student rep,” adds Armstrong. “This will develop and demonstrate leadership, negotiation and team-working skills.” This can be with fellow students on forums, but Jack Wallington, community director at The Student Room suggests casting the net wider as well. “It’s good to connect with lecturers, guest speakers or anyone you’ve worked alongside, as by getting to know them you’re likely to get introduced to even more people in the industry,” he says. Tap your uni's alumni network as well. “These people have first-hand experiences and advice to offer on how to break into your chosen field,” he adds.
Blog and its Sausage Party, back in December? Followed by its protest about hiring a Canadian woman director for the television remake of that classic, Picnic at Hanging Rock? Those protests have borne fruit, as reported in WIFTNSW’s latest newsletter. The Sausage Party highlighted the Australian Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards(AACTAs) disproportionately low amount of nominations and pre-selected films directed and driven by female creatives. Among the twenty-eight narrative feature films pre-selected for the AACTAs Screening Tour, just two were directed by women. And, as WIFTNSW pointed out, when female content cannot reach the public voting platform in the first instance there’s no point calling for quotas in award juries. Furthermore, of the twenty-eight films selected for consideration, seven films (a full quarter of the total), violated AACTAs’ own eligibility criteria and at least two fully eligible films helmed by women were excluded. After the protest, AACTA reached out to WIFTNSW and other industry guilds to discuss the issues raised by the Sausage Party protests. WIFTNSW now looks forward to meaningful consultation to create fair and diverse AACTAs.YAY. And the Sausage costumes are now available for use so do ‘enquire within’, adds WIFTNSW. omeninfi This year, writer/director/producer Amie Batalibasi won the fellowship. I read her powerful acceptance speech, published in her blog, and asked to cross-post it. And Amie also agreed to answer some questions. Warm thanks to her. –Marian Evans My Sundance Acceptance Speech — Merata Mita Fellowship by Amie Batalibasi Firstly I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, the Ute peoples. And pay my respects to elders past and present and also acknowledge other First Nations peoples in the room today. Labels: gendermatters, womeninfilm, Amanda Kernell, Array, blackbirding, distribution, indigenous women filmmakers, intersectionality, Merata Mita Fellowship, Solomon Islanders, Sundance 2017, Sydney Freeland SUNDAY, JANUARY 22, 2017 Solving the WomenInFilm Problem: Naomi McDougall Jones Those women's marches were amazing. And so is the womeninfilm movement, where women filmmakers' strategies for change are becoming ever more diverse and sophisticated. Writer/actor/producer Naomi McDougall Jones is one of the most thoughtful and energetic change agents around and Danielle Winston and the women of Agnès Films (named in honor of Agnès Varda) continue their own significant contributions with this excellent interview with her, copy-edited by Elena Chronick. Warm thanks to them all. Naomi McDougall Jones DW On a frosty January afternoon, I met with with writer/actress/producer, Naomi McDougall Jones. Our hangout, a little pie shop called Four Twenty Blackbirds, was quirky enough to have been the backdrop for a Gilmore Girls scene if not for being around the corner from the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Gowanus Brooklyn. As we shared slices of buttery lemon blackout pie, Naomi, a self-possessed woman with crimson hair and natural confidence, spoke passionately about the female cinematic voice that has not been discovered yet, practical solutions to Hollywood’s “women in film problem,” the hidden subculture of people who believe they are vampires, and so much more. You wrote, produced, and starred in the feature film, Imagine I’m Beautiful. How did you manage to wear so many hats and get a true perspective of your performance? NMcDJ I’m going through this process again with my second film. I also wrote, acted in, and produced that one, but I’m not directing. Both times it’s been an intense and specific process finding a director for a project that’s mine in a lot of ways. It’s like finding someone to marry. You just have to find the right person who gets what you’re doing and hopefully brings a different filter to it. I feel excited about passing my story on to someone else’s filter. I think that makes it better than it would be than if it was just all me. Imagine I'm Beautiful poster DW Imagine I’m Beautiful was done on a super low budget, received theatrical and digital distribution, and was well reviewed. How did the success of that film change your life as an actor and filmmaker? Read more » Labels: Agnes Films, Danielle Winston, Elena Chronik, Fear(ful)-less podcast, film economics, gender, Lois Scott, Sona Lang, statistics, TED Talk WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2017 Director Activist Maria Giese: Update on Women Directors, the ACLU the Feds Maria Giese Photo: Reggie Burrows Hodges for the Bluestocking Series About a year ago, I interviewed American director Maria Giese about her campaign to end discrimination against women directors in the United States. It's a collective human rights-based action that’s globally unique and significant for all of us who watch and are influenced by Hollywood entertainment. Here’s the next chapter of Maria's story, in two parts: a summary for everyone, followed by the deep nitty gritty for women directors and our allies. Summary WW What have you been up to? MG It’s been quite a year. After 20 years, I left LA and moved to Connecticut with my husband and two children to write a book, Troublemaker. It tells the story of my Hollywood insurgence and my battles in the Directors Guild of America (DGA) during the past 5 years, with a bold group of other women directors. It also describes my journey getting the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to launch the campaign for women directors that led to the current Federal government’s investigation, by ‘the Feds’: the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). I’ve been working hard to support the investigation, foster independent legal actions, and keep this issue alive in the mainstream media, through speaking publicly, talking to journalists, and networking with other activist individuals and organisations. We want to trigger a paradigm shift in people’s thinking so that everyone can comprehend and agree that it is fair and just and in accordance with America’s ideals that women contribute equally to our cultural narrative. I’ve also been part of five documentaries and have developed ideas about the role of distribution. Together with Christine Walker and Caroline Heldman, I am organising the 2017 Women’s Media Summit on gender equity among women storytellers in US entertainment media. It will take place March 31 — April 2 in Provincetown, Massachusetts. WW All women directors have to draw heavily on their imaginations, their hearts, their resilience. They have to be tenacious. A few, like you, are also activists with a collective vision for all women. Who and what has influenced you? Tell me about your childhood. Read more » Labels: 2017 Women’s Media Summit, ACLU, Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, gender equity, Hollywood, indigenous women filmmakers, Maria Giese, Original Six MONDAY, JANUARY 9, 2017 For the Artists, the Fighters, the Dreamers: 'Or Die Trying' Seed Spark's Emily Best OR DIE TRYING (ODT) is a series about women who live and work in Los Angeles as part of the entertainment industry, now in post production for season one. The ODT creators – and their characters – have set out to progress the narrative of women in film on-screen and are committed to hiring a team that is no less than 85% female. This is how ODT describes itself. I love it. OR DIE TRYING is a testament to the countless women in film. We, the creators, are active women in the film industry not just on screen, but in our real lives as well. We don't "ask for permission," we fight for our dreams daily. The struggles that we have faced as millennials in Hollywood have inspired us to create a story that is raw, real, and relatable for all of the young women who come out to California with a dream of making it in LA. OR DIE TRYING represents all of the resilient women who are judged not only by their talent, but also by their age, race, gender, "look," and social following. We represent the women who hustle for what they want, because they don't believe in a plan b. We represent the women who collaborate and create, hoping to build something bigger than themselves. This one is for the artists, the fighters, and the dreamers. ODT successfully crowdfunded production costs for season one on SeedSpark, and has been featured as IndieWire’s Project of the Week. It's exactly the best group to interview Seed Spark's Emily Best, by ODT's EPs Sarah Hawkins and Myah Hollis. So this is a very special post, reproduced by kind permission, a fine example of the mutual support that's characteristic of the womeninfilm movement. now Pratibha Parmar’s My Name is Andrea, about the radical feminist and writer Andrea Dworkin (1946–2005), explores who Andrea was. It also exposes the ongoing violence inflicted on women’s bodies and spirits across the globe, through featuring five diverse actresses — each one evoking a different aspect, experience and decade of Andrea Dworkin’s life. Pratibha on set with actress and activist Amandla Stenberg who plays young Andrea. In the spirit of contemporary independent women’s film making, the film’s being made in parts and the first twelve minutes of the film is shot and edited. And it’s an impressive twelve minutes. This is what Gloria Steinem said after viewing it– …I can see that this is going to be a film like no other — lyrical, poetic, referential, journalistic, placed in time, deep, complicated…. And it was so moving to me to see what I assume truly is Andrea as a little girl. Nobody but you could take her on as a human being, thinker, rebel and writer and unique force in the world — and I’m proud to be there with Andrea as a raging prophet. She has now joined the project as an Executive Producer. Julie Parker Benelux (co-founder of the legendary Chicken Egg Pictures) has also joined the team as an Executive Producer. The British Film Institute — one of the project’s funders) — was ‘deeply moved’ by the 12-minute clip and also continues its support. We can contribute, too, with cheques made out to Kali8 Productions and posted to– Pratibha Parmar 1563 Solano Avenue 340 Berkeley s in that book is quite radical and complex and beautiful. It’s the first book I’ve read by an author, masculine or feminine, that has a defiance of the situation, which is deeply subversive in the holy sense — it’s other-worldly. She says that this world is stained by human misconception, that men and women have wrong ideas — even if they are ten million years old and come from the mouth of god, they are still wrong! The position in that book is so defiant and passionate that she creates another reality and just might be able to manifest it. It’s from that kind of appetite, with the way things are that new worlds arise, so I have deep admiration for Andrea Dworkin. Labels: Andrea Dworkin, British Film Institute, Chicken and Egg, Gloria Steinem, Leonard Cohen, Pratibha Parmar MONDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2016 WomeninFilm Activists Speak: Voices From A Revolution This year WomenInFilm ‘how-to’ talks have flourished. The speakers aren’t the first to share, nourish and inform, of course. But until this year, there was just one standout for me: Ava DuVernay’s Film Independent Forum keynote in 2013. She brilliantly argued that filmmakers should abandon despair about not having access to what we need and move on from depression about what makes our work difficult: a ‘wrong’ gender, a ‘wrong’ race or culture, no film school training, no money, no mentors, no advocates, no time. Instead, ‘Create work’, she said. ‘Look at what you have and work with that’. She’s also argued that ‘It’s not about knocking on closed doors. It’s about building our own house and having our own door’, and that has resonated for many women filmmakers. installation, National Museum of African American History Culture (Smithsonian) DuVernay, F-Rating, Female Gaze, Holly Tarquini, indigenous, Jill Soloway, Louise Hutt, Naomi McDougall Jones, Online Heroines, the 51 Fund, WARU SUNDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2016 Catherine Eaton's 'The Sounding' Catherine Eaton and The Sounding illustrate all that excites me about the 'new' women's filmmaking– sophisticated and engaging concepts; the rise of the actor/writer/director; writer/director/producer associations with womeninfilm support groups; crowd-funding; a beautiful, thoughtful, confidence; principled choices; visual pleasures. Catherine has Native-American heritage, so for me her project also celebrates the rise and wonderful diversity of indigenous women’s filmmaking. Catherine has performed on Broadway and on screen and written two television projects (both finalists for the Sundance Episodic Labs), and is a 2016 Tribeca Channel Women’s Filmmaker Award winner. The Sounding's immaculate crowdfunding campaign for finishing funds gives us two days left to get behind a winner! I'm delighted to share this engaging Danielle Winston interview, with warm thanks to Agnès Films, where it was first published. Catherine Eaton and team. Photo by Asya Danilova womeninfilm, Agnes Films, Catherine Eaton, Centre for the Study of Women in television Film, crowdfunding, feminist films, Film Fatales, indigenous, micro budget, Shakespeare WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2016 Megan Riakos – Writer, Director and Inspiration This is Megan Riakos, writer/director/producer of Crushed (a thriller, 2015, available on iTunes and Google Play in Australia, New Zealand and North America). Megan also inspired WIFT New South Wales’ red carpet demonstration at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) awards in Sydney, after she had ‘a terrible experience with the AACTA Award selection process’ and approached WIFT NSW, where she’s a committee member. She got a very supportive hearing: WIFT NSW says it’s ‘fed up with the Sausage Party that is the Australian film industry and calls on AACTA to make Australia’s night of nights truly representative of our diverse screen culture’. It’s also produced a Charter for Gender Equity at the AACTAs. The demo was called the Roast the AACTAs (AACTASausageParty). Here are The Activist Sausages. The protest attracted lots of attention. You can read about it in more detail here (WIFT NSW) and here (Junkee)and here (Guardian). Labels: womeninfilm, AACTA Awards, activism, Australia, gender equity, Megan Riakos, WIFT NSW WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2016 Megan Thompson: Looking for Women's Experiences When We Enter Film Fests! Megan Thompson Megan Thompson is in her final year studying Creative Events Management at Falmouth University in England and became interested in feminist film festivals because she'd like to be involved with them in the future. Inspired by the underrepresentation of women directors at general film festivals – a hot topic at the moment, as in Kate Kaminski's 'Aren't We There Yet?' the other day – Megan wanted to learn from women directors who have entered film festivals, including women's/feminist film festivals. What experiences have we had? What barriers have we faced, in the industry and at film festivals? Megan's chosen to use a feminist approach, allowing our voices to be heard without the pressure of fitting into questionnaire boxes. Our responses will help build her research into a strong narrative of multiple voices, which can be used by film festival programmers, to educate others about this issue and to help make change. Labels: womeninfilm, barriers, feminist film festivals, film festivals, women directors, women's film festivals SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2016 'Aren’t We There Yet?' I'm delighted to share Kate's illuminating article, because film festival selection is a global issue for womeninfilm, even here in New Zealand at the New Zealand International Film Festival. Many thanks, Kate! And thanks too, for Catherine's photo and Reggie's concept photos, developed for Kate's celebrated Bluestocking Film Series (Bstkg). Front: Sarah Doyle and Brittany M. Fennell, directors. Back: Yolonda Ross (director), Dawn Jones Redston (director), Tema Staig (Women in Media). Photo taken at Bluestocking 2016. Photo: Catherine Frost by Kate Kaminski As the founder and artistic director of the Bluestocking Film Series, this IndieWire headline caught my attention immediately: 'Women Directors Are Everywhere, But Film Festivals Are Still Catching Up — NYFF'. Now in its 7th season, Bluestocking Film Series’ mission is to celebrate and amplify women’s voices and stories, and is part of a long tradition of women-centered festivals, so I immediately wondered which film festivals the article was referring to. The first paragraph of the article jumps in to rightfully celebrate Ava Duvernay, (being the first Black woman director to open the NYFF) and to note that at least 2 films screening at the festival featured women characters who are not only over 25, but more than twice that age. However, once the writer of the article, aspiring critic Lauren Du Graf, brings in Lesli Klainberg of the Film Society of Lincoln Center as the authoritative spokesperson for the NYFF, the tone of the article takes a turn. Let's start with Klainberg’s thinly-veiled elitism, as she points out that the festival selects only those films that are 'the most significant of the year' without regard to any special criteria. If you’ve seen it, you know that Duvernay’s film 13th is an important film, even a seminal one, but why shouldn’t we notice (and applaud) the fact that the film’s director is both a woman and of color? Klainberg goes to great lengths to assure us that this film was chosen to open the festival based solely on its appeal to NYFF audiences as an important film: 'We didn’t choose Ava’s movie for the opening night because we wanted to make a statement about documentary film, or about people of color, or about women'. Yolonda Ross, actor-writer-director. Photo: Reggie Hodges But why not? Would that be such a terrible thing to do? Isn’t it important for the exact reasons Klainberg seems so ready to downplay? Even putting aside Klainberg’s convenient memory loss about a White male-dominated industry, Duvernay has made an important film about racial injustice in this country, and she’s a woman director of color. Why not celebrate all of that? The rest of us are. The next few paragraphs tell us that despite the lack of women directors in the Main Slate (which, don’t forget, we’ve been told use strict—albeit non-specific—curatorial standards in selection), the full program reaches about 30% parity for women directors/creators. Not bad at all, if you’re going by Hollywood standards. But then Klainberg is quoted as saying, 'I’m pleased to see that we have five of 25 of our films in the Main Slate directed by women…That’s certainly a reflection of where female filmmakers are in our industry in a certain respect. We are gaining and it’s getting better'. I don't know where she gets her statistics, but five out of 25 hardly reflects the actual state of working women directors in the U.S. film industry where, this very article points out, just 4% of the 800 most popular films in 2015 were directed by women. So clearly, it is not actually getting better. At this point, we wish we could get to 20%, but if history teaches us anything, gender parity is still generations of women filmmakers into the future. Proudly stating that five out of 25 Main Slate films at NYFF in 2016 are directed by women, when last year the number was three out of 26, certainly does prove where 'female filmmakers are in our industry'. But only if your expectations are at rock bottom, can you call adding two additional women filmmakers to your program a gain. Maria Giese, DGA member, women in film activist. Photo: Reggie Hodges But honestly, what bothers me most of all about this article is the complete erasure of the long tradition of women's film festivals which, whether you agree that they should exist at all, have nevertheless celebrated the work of women directors, brought women-centered work to the attention of audiences and the industry, and certainly also aspire to strict curatorial standards. After all, it’s in our own best interest to select high-quality films that show what women directors are capable of. When selecting for Bluestocking Film Series, I’m always aware of the industry- and media-perpetuated myth that men aren’t interested in and won’t go see female-driven films. What that knowledge instills, however, is a determination to find the widest possible range of expression from across the globe to dispel that myth. If we’re to survive as a festival that focuses exclusively on on-screen representation, it’s in our own best interest to demonstrate just what we have to offer to the culture: a well-curated, unique blend of women’s voices and stories that you won’t see together anywhere else. What role do festivals like NYFF play in repairing broader, systemic inequalities in the film industry, such as gender disparity among directors? 'I don’t know if that’s our role', said Klainberg. 'We are not a film organization that funds movies'. This is another misleading and, in my opinion, damaging statement. Very few festivals fund, yes, but that doesn’t mean your film festival isn’t still an important step on the career ladder for emerging filmmakers, or a possible conduit to distribution. Are women-focused film festivals the red-headed stepchild of the long-standing engagement between festivals and the industry? Are we best forgotten, somehow shameful? Women’s contributions to film art have systematically been erased, yet the history of women in the film industry is long and rich. To attain cultural balance, we all deserve to know about those contributions and that history. Ariel Dougherty, author-director and co-founder of Women Make Movies. Photo: Reggie Hodges And women’s film festivals with strict curatorial standards (however those may be defined) are still necessary to showcase a larger percentage of talented women working in the field than you normally would get to see at, say, the NYFF. And Klainberg seems to be saying that festivals should not actively work toward gender balance because it will happen naturally. Yet that hasn’t been the case, either in film festivals or the industry. But what’s more, we need women like Du Graf and others who gravitate to film criticism to stand with those of us actively addressing representation and, at a minimum, do diligent research and acknowledge the contributions women in film have already made (and continue to make) without sugar coating what is still, culturally speaking, a dire situation. As I’ve been writing and thinking about this article, I’ve heard from a diverse range of women filmmakers and change makers who are also troubled by the broad strokes and lack of research this article demonstrates. Evadne, actor-writer. Photo: Reggie Hodges Briony Kidd, founder and artistic director of Australia’s fine women in horror festival, Stranger With My Face, said, 'I would have hoped we could have moved on from this kind of thing by now. It is demonstrably not true (emphasis mine) that women are only interested in a certain type of ‘smaller’ film and perpetuating that idea is harmful, in my opinion'. And Kyna Morgan, founder of Her Film Project (an advocacy group for women directors) says– I get it. Who wants to admit that they, as a woman or person of color or anyone of a minority group who is non-white male-identified is effectively shut out because of implicit bias or overt prejudice to who they are? I get it! But being shut out is one of the hardest things we have to look at and own up to when it comes to festival programming, studio slated projects, and practical funding issues, and festivals and studios are still wearing blinders. No one WANTS to be part of the group(s) that the 'big guys' are shutting out. It's a 'great American myth' that anyone can make it as long as they work hard. We sell the idea that Hollywood and film festivals operate as meritocracies and that smaller films don't get made just because they are small films. I think we know better than that and that one of the ugly sides of confronting inequity and inequality is that there simply are certain groups of people (i.e. white males), who, even with smaller films (and sometimes even little to no feature directorial experience) have a better chance at securing funding, being offered directing gigs, and being programmed at film festivals. The proof is in the data. In short, no matter what kind of film you want to make, the playing field for women, minorities, and any identities other than the default is still far from level and we all know that. It’s time for the top tier festivals, whoever and wherever they may be, to step up their film inclusion game. So, once again, I call for solidarity among all of us who want to see film culture evolve and expand, to see the film industry reflect the small, and the profound, along with its wish fulfillment and larger-than-life fantasies. Let’s celebrate and amplify women’s successes in the field — especially those moments when we make history as Ava Duvernay did at this year’s NYFF — and let’s make room at the table for all the voices. estocking Film Series, Briony Kidd, film festivals, Kyna Morgan, Lauren du Graf, Lesli Klainberg, women directors SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2016 Sue Clayton 'Calais Children: A Case to Answer' Sue Clayton in the Calais Jungle camp Director Sue Clayton is perhaps best known for her award-winning Hamedullah: The Road Home, about the forced removal of young people from the United Kingdom (UK) to Kabul and for her archive of interviews with young asylum seekers in the UK and her work with a team researching best outcomes for young asylum seekers. Today, she’s in the vast refugee camp called ‘the Jungle’ in Calais, northern France, which acts as a border to the UK. According to Sue, it is 'not an official camp. It’s run by about 100 young volunteers, mainly untrained, and no infrastructure at all’. In a few hours, the French will begin to demolish the camp and scatter its occupants all over France, in buses. Liz Clegg, from the Women’s and Children’s Centre, has provided a list of children to the UK's Home Office. A few of them have gone missing and she is desperately trying to track them down– We are particularly worried that this evacuation has been left so late that we will see total chaos. The youngest child we have dealt with is eight years old, and tomorrow he will be herded in with thousands of adults. We are told once they are in the hangar there will be a separate queue for children, but in between the camp and the warehouse there will be utter chaos, with thousands of stressed inhabitants of the camp and large numbers of French riot police. It is gobsmackingly inappropriate that the most vulnerable of children will be put in this situation. I am sure we could have found a better and more suitable way to do this. Amelia Diamond | SEPTEMBER 12, 2016 AND GET READY TO FIND SOME NEW BLOGGERS TO FOLLOW @BlackGirlsWhoBlog — an Instagram account with 34.k followers, 85,881 posts under the IG hashtag and an endless scroll linked to the hashtag on Twitter — is one of those happy accidents that proves the unifying power of social media. What started as an afterthought is now an inspiration-based collection of the founder’s favorite bloggers. Morgan Pitts, the woman behind the hashtag, quickly realized that Black Girls Who Blog was larger than a trending topic. It has become a place where black women who blog can support, promote and discover one another. She created a community. Ready to meet her? Tell me about how Black Girls Who Blog got started: It was tweeted into existence. I shared a post to Twitter that I’d just published — I was still blogging at the time — and I included the hashtag BlackGirlsWhoBlog. A second later, I followed up with an additional tweet expressing that I’d love to have a T-shirt that said “BlackGirlsWhoBlog.” Lindsay Adams, the eventual artist behind the BGWB logo, asked if I thought an illustration should accompany the hashtag. It was never meant to be anything more than a tweet, but in that moment, I knew that this could be a thing…that I would have to make it a thing. People were interested in purchasing the tees before they even existed! They just saw our public Twitter exchange. We took the conversation offline and Lindsay sent me the illustration of a black woman in a white top and black bottoms with a laptop in hand. The shirts launched on April 15, 2014. [I started] the Instagram to promote the shirts, [it] evolved into a place for me to highlight my favorite black female bloggers and here we are. How has Black Girls Who Blog opened up your world, and how has it shifted your perspective in terms of fashion, blogging and writing? I have discovered that SO MANY black female bloggers exist. It’s humbling to receive emails about how much these women appreciate what I’m doing. I’ve been able to make connections between women and see them form their own relationships with one another because of this hashtag. It’s really awesome. My perspective hasn’t really shifted, though: part of the reason I kept the ball rolling on BGWB was because black women are still underrepresented in fashion and blogging. I created what I saw was missing instead of just complaining about it. I would look at lists of the “best/top bloggers” or “bloggers you need to know” and see MAYBE one woman of color; she might not have even been black. But I knew many black bloggers who were just as talented and qualified. I would also see black girls who blog not getting the same kinds of endorsements, sponsored posts, brand collaborations, etc. as our counterparts. The blogosphere has improved from when I started BGWB in 2014, but we are still underrepresented. I’m hoping that by doing my part and creating something that I always wanted to see, black girls who blog will feel seen, heard, celebrated and validated. What else can be done? When “bloggers you should know”-type lists are compiled, black women should definitely be in the rankings…and not just as a “token.” When bloggers are featured in editorials, a black woman should be included. I don’t think the blogosphere has an issue with highlighting asian bloggers (think of Aimee Song, Nicole Warne, Susie Lau, Tina Craig and Kelly Cook), but black (and also latina) women don’t seem to get the same kinds of exposure and opportunities. Black women speakers from all over the world are often featured in The Eloquent Woman Index of Famous Speeches by Women. Whether African, American or from elsewhere in the world, they make up close to 20 percent of the speeches we've collected and featured so far. And every year, this expanding collection of speeches by black women is the most-read post on the blog! Check out the 46 famous speeches from the Index given by black women speakers, arranged in chronological order from 1851 to the present. At the links, you will find (where available) video, photos, transcripts or texts, along with what you can learn from these speeches to improve your own public speaking: Sojourner Truth's 1851 speech "Ain't I a Woman?" is oft-quoted, but has a disputed source, illustrating why it's often tough to find famous women's speeches. In this case, that happened because Truth could neither read nor write. That doesn't detract at all from her message about equality for all women of all races. Read Soujourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman" Speech: A Primary Source Investigation for more about the many versions of this speech, only one of which contains the most-quoted phrase. Mary Ann Shadd Cary's 1858 "Break Every Yoke" defied the norms against women--and black women especially--speaking in public. This sermon demonstrates why she was such a popular antislavery speaker in the years leading up to the American Civil War. Harriet Tubman's 1859 fable about colonizing slaves tackled one of the proposals to end slavery--by sending American slaves to Africa--with a simple story anyone could remember and repeat. It brought the house down at an antislavery rally. Ida B. Wells's 1909 "This Awful Slaughter" busted the myth that women's safety was the reason lynchings were carried out, and used a mix of data and defiance to fight against the practice of mob killings of black men. Read the book To Tell the Truth Freely: The Life of Ida B. Wells to learn more about her campaign. Josephine Baker at the March on Washington shares the brief remarks of the lone woman to share the program with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and scores of other male speakers. Those who thought of her as a notorious showgirl learned more about her self-enforced exile to France as a way of seeking racial equality. Fannie Lou Hamer's 1964 convention committee testimony failed to gain her a seat at that convention, but succeeded in raising the visibility of violence against blacks attempting to register to vote. Four years later, she became an historic convention delegate. You can read more about her public speaking in The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer: To Tell It Like It Is. Coretta Scott King's 1968 "10 Commandments on Vietnam" -- a speech she gave in her husband's place, just weeks after his assassination -- took scribbled notes found in his pockets and made them into a powerful call to action. Desert Rose: The Life and Legacy of Coretta Scott King is a recent biography. This post was our very first Famous Speech Friday entry! Shirley ate urging women to "step out of the shadows" and get more credit for their work. Gabourey Sidibe's speech at the 2014 Gloria Awards used an iconic photo of her aunt and Gloria Steinem to honor Steinem, and to talk about being confident despite how she's taunted because of her weight. Michelle Obama's eulogy for Maya Angelou in 2014 echoed words from "Phenomenal Woman" and told how the poet inspired her as a child. Kerry Washington spoke in 2014 on the risks of public speaking for women and women of color, admitting she'd turned down the chance to give a TED talk in an award acceptance speech. Rashema Melson's 2014 high school valedictory speech made headlines because the speaker overcame homelessness to graduate at the top of her class and get into Georgetown. A short, fierce, fantastic speech. Laverne Cox gave a 2014 keynote on transgender activism for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force meeting, offering inspiration and encouragement to local activists. Lupita Nyong'o used a 2014 acceptance speech at a Hollywood luncheon to talk about the conflicting views we have about black women and beauty in a revealing, resonant talk. Viola Davis's 2014 acceptance speech focused on hunger, taking a Hollywood audience to the dumpsters where she dived for food as a child, and speaking abou the importance of public speaking to shed light on so-called "unspeakable" issues. A riveting short speech. he start of a speech? Several readers of the blog have been asking about blushing at the start of their talks, with comments along these lines: "What can I do about suddenly turning red right before I start to speak? It makes me feel terrible and unprofessional, and I don't understand why it happens when I don't feel nervous otherwise! Most importantly, how can I stop blushing like this?" Blushing is one of the most mysterious things that people do, and unfortunately it is mostly out of our conscious control. Blushing is fueled by the body's autonomic or unconscious nervous system--the same one that tells your heart to pump and your stomach to digest. The mechanics of how a blush happens are straightforward. Underneath the skin of your face and neck is a lacework of tiny blood vessels called capillaries, which dilate under the influence of adrenaline to allow more blood and oxygen to flow. And a blush isn't something you can fake. Unlike most human expressions, you can't force a blush to appear on your face. (Or, sadly, demand that your capillaries shrink back to size.) But you're in good company if you don't understand why you blush, because scientists from Charles Darwin onward have been perplexed by what Darwin called "the most peculiar and most human of all expression." The research on blushing covers a wide ground, and its findings match most of what we already know from novelists. Blushing can signal embarrassment, shame, self-consciousness, pride or guilt. The good news, however, is that more recent studies about chronic blushing and blushing and social anxiety have offered some insights that may lead to less blushing, and less worry about your red face. What does a blush mean? Duke University social psychologist Mark Leary suggested in a 1992 study that there are four main types of attention that can cause blushing: some sort of "threat to public identity," which could be anything from tripping on a street curb to clapping at a performance when the rest of the theater is silent; an openness to scrutiny, or a situation that makes you the center of attention; praise or positive attention; and accusations of blushing. All of these situations seem to trigger the body's "fight or flight" response that unleashes face-flushing adrenaline. Public speaking can involve all four of these, of course. You may think of speaking as a threat to your public identity because you are fearful that your words may displease your audience. For women especially, historically taught to be silent, the very act of public speaking may make you feel as if you are violating normal behavior. Speaking does put you at the center of attention. And if you've ever had anyone comment on your blush, you may have felt yourself feeling hotter and redder by the second. But blushing isn't all about you, and your feelings. Some evolutionary biologists think that blushing has evolved like other emotions in that it serves as an important signal. For instance, a 2009 study led by University of Amsterdam clinical psychologist Corine Dijk suggests that a person who blushes after committing some sort of social blunder--knocking over a grocery display, for instance--is more likely to be forgiven for the act by observers if she blushes. Dijk says that in this case the blush makes the person appear more sympathetic, and is taken as a signal that she is genuinely sorry about the social "mistake." Other researchers have found that blushers tend to think their red faces are more noticeable than their observers do, and frequently overestimate the social consequences of blushing. Some scientists have noted an unfortunate side effect of these misperceptions: worrying about whether you blush and how obvious your blush can actually lead to further blushing that is measurably more intense. Handling the heat Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter or track when others tweet about the lack of women speakers on programs via @NoWomenSpeakers. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels. Posted by Becky Ham at Thursday, February 16, 2017 0 comments Email This The Eloquent Woman's weekly speaker toolkit Savvy speakers keep up with my wide-ranging reading list on women and public speaking by following The Eloquent Woman on Facebook, where these links and articles appear first. I always collect them here for you on Mondays as well. It's a great way to expand your public speaking knowledge: May the force be with your slides: These tips on how to nail a technical presentation used Princess Leia as the presenter...love that. Hello, Captain Obvious: Finally, the explanation of mansplaining you've always wanted. Did you miss? This week, the blog looked at collections of speeches (and one memoir) to add to your speaking shelf, and Famous Speech Friday shared how Elizabeth Warren was silenced in the U.S. Senate (but gave her remarks anyway). You can learn from her persistence! Join me in London April 3 for my one-day workshop, Creating a TED-Quality Talk. It's a small-group session that will demystify how to prepare such a talk, whether you're aiming for a TEDx conference or everyday presentations. The first TED talk I ever saw was this one by the great Hans Rosling, who died last week. No one could make data more beautiful to look at, nor deliver it with more enthusiasm. About the cartoon: It's called "Zip it!" by Ann Telnaes of the Washington Post. Sums up last week for eloquent women... Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter or track when others tweet about the lack of women speakers on programs via @NoWomenSpeakers. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels. Posted by Denise Graveline at Monday, February 13, 2017 0 comments Email This n's silencing in the U.S. Senate Reading a letter from someone else is a common tactic in public speaking. Often, it's a powerful tool for the public speaker, offering a compact endorsement of the points you wish to make. And that was, no doubt, among the motivations for Senator Elizabeth Warren, who sought to read a now-famous letter from Coretta Scott King during the Senate debate about the nominee for Attorney General of the United States, Warren's fellow Senator Jeff Sessions. King, the widow of civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., was a powerful witness to injustice; you can find her speech on the 10 Commandments of Vietnam in The Eloquent Woman Index of Famous Speeches by Women, as just one example. The letter in question this week was sent in 1986 to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, which was then considering whether to appoint Sessions to a federal judgeship. King, who could not appear live to testify, asked that her letter be entered into the Congressional Record, the official archive of what is discussed in Congress, and that was done. So Warren this week was choosing to read a well-known letter about the nominee that was already an official document of the Congress to her colleagues in the Senate, during a debate on Sessions's pending appointment. Sounds appropriate on all counts, and perhaps even slightly less risky to use the words of a famous civil rights leader as the bulk of your remarks, right? Not even. Here's how the New York Times described the scene after Warren began reading the letter in the Senate chamber: Sensing a stirring beside her a short while later, Ms. Warren stopped herself and scanned the chamber. Across the room, Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, had stepped forward with an objection, setting off an extraordinary confrontation in the Capitol and silencing a colleague, procedurally, in the throes of a contentious debate over President Trump’s cabinet nominee. “The senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama, as warned by the chair,” Mr. McConnell began, alluding to Mrs. King’s letter, which accused Mr. Sessions of using “the awesome power of his office to chill the pre-exercise of the vote by black citizens." You can see video of the interruption here. Sen. McConnell used Rule XIX of the Senate to make the procedural move. When Warren asked to continue her remarks, McConnell objected again and the senator chairing the session ordered her to take her seat. Following a debate on the silencing, Warren was formally silenced until the debate on the nominee ended mid-week. “Sen. Warren was giving a lengthy speech,” McConnell explained. “She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards later called that statement, "The history of progress for women, summed up in 11 words." Republicans in the way several of them doubled down on criticizing her, even after it was clear public opinion was with her. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican, spoke at length on the Senate floor to defend the silencing (note that Fox News calls Warren "Chief Running Mouth," another attempt at silencing her). Sen. Lindsay Graham said the silencing was "long overdue," because "she is clearly running for the nomination in 2020." The reality is that Warren commands a larger audience nationwide, compared to many senators, and is known as an effective and persistent critic who gets a lot of media attention. She might, as many other male senators have done, be contemplating a run for president. In other words, she was silenced for being effective in her work as a senator. “They were waiting to Rule 19 someone and they specifically targeted Elizabeth,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “I think because she’s effective.” So when you are silenced in your work, remember that it happens at much higher pay grades, too. If it happens to her, it can happen to you. Warren's silencing gave her the last laugh: At this writing, Warren's livestream statement has been seen 11 million times on Facebook, with hundreds of thousands of reactions and shares. The views have been doubling each day this week. The full 10-page letter from King runs to 10 pages, and you can read it here. What can you learn from this famous speech? Stay calm if you are interrupted with a surprise: This is one of the toughest tasks for a speaker, but it's worth pausing, taking a breath, and remaining calm as Warren did. Wait to see what the interruption is before you respond, and work on responding, not reacting. If you are silenced, say so: “Tonight I wanted to read that letter, and Sen. Mitch McConnell and Republicans came to the floor to shut me down for reading that letter,” Warren said in her livestream. Name the people or organizations that silence you--it's the best way to take back your voice and your control. Thursday, February 9, 2017 King, Hamer, Ginsburg, Obama: Speech collections a memoir Women speakers often are left out of collections of "major speeches." But of the four recent finds I've made in speech collection and a memoir, three are by important women speakers. I'll be adding these to The Eloquent Woman Booklist, my collection of useful books about speeches and speaking as featured on this blog. Add these to your speaking shelf: Ruth Bader Ginsburg: My Own Words, by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, collects her speeches and writings; if you buy the audiobook, you can hear recordings of her delivery of many of the speeches. Ginsburg's humor and thoughtfulness are on display here in a way the court bench does not always permit. This is the first volume of Ginsburg's autobiography, and I'm so delighted she began by releasing her influential speeches. Fannie Lou Hamer: The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer: To Tell It Like It Is, edited by Maegan Parker Brooks and Davis W. Houck, is the first collection of speeches by the noted civil rights activist, including transcriptions of her extemporaneous remarks. While often called illiterate as a means of dismissing her, she was, in fact, able to read and write. And she was one of the most formidable and persuasive speakers of the America civil rights movement. This collection shows why. Barack Obama: We Are the Change We Seek: The Speeches of Barack Obama, by E.J. Dionne, Jr. and Joy Redi, collects key speeches of the most recent former U.S. president, with 26 major speeches. Sam Leith's review notes patterns in the written speeches, adding that Obama's delivery made them unique and persuasive. Coretta Scott King: My Life, My Love, My Legacy, just out this month, collects the memoir of King, who shared her thoughts before her death in 2006 with Dr. Barbara Reynolds. She recalls numerous important speeches, including her 10 Commandments on Vietnam, which we've covered here on the blog. In some cases, the text is shared as well as her recollections of the events of the day, although this is not a collection of speeches. Still a great read. Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter or track when others tweet about the lack of women speakers on programs via @NoWomenSpeakers. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels. Posted by Denise Graveline at Thursday, February 09, 2017 0 comments Email we like Monday, February 6, 2017 The Eloquent Woman's weekly speaker toolkit Savvy speakers keep up with my wide-ranging reading list on women and public speaking by following The Eloquent Woman on Facebook, where these links and articles appear first. I always collect them here for you on Mondays as well. It's a great way to expand your public speaking knowledge: Last-minute insights: Why I threw out my speech for the Women's March, by a speaker in Chicago, shares how she had to expand her speech last-minute...and what she learned. Because you're a man is a stunner of a post by the first female chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy, imagining what it would be like for a male speaker to nail a panel appearance and get asked for his male perspective--just as women are often asked to do. A useful role reversal to share with male allies... Did you miss? This week, the blog asked that we please describe women's speeches as something other than 'emotional,' and Famous Speech Friday shared Viola Davis's introduction of Meryl Streep at the Golden Globe awards. Join me in London, speakers: I'm giving a workshop in London on April 3 on Creating a TED-quality talk. Join me, please, and share with interested colleagues. Seats are filling, and this is a small-group session, so sign up today! About the quote: It *is* better to speak, eloquent women! Find more quotes like this one from Audre Lord on our Pinterest board of great quotes by eloquent women. Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter or track when others tweet about the lack of women speakers on programs via @NoWomenSpeakers. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels. Older Posts Home use this blog as your online speaking coach, or use it regularly for advice, tips, ideas and resources to make your public speaking, speaker coaching or speechwriting better and smarter, please consider supporting the blog with a subscription or a one-time donation. Your subscription will help expand and improve the content provided here, which takes thousands of hours to produce for you. 13 famous human rights speeches by women from The Eloquent Woman Index Meeting My Soul My personal journal and chronicles on my journey to meet my soul and discover who I am, and my purpose in this life. This blog is intended as a place for all women to find inspiration, empowerment, and support. CuckoldSpeak.com Cuckoldspeak.com is a blog and community website that focuses on all things cuckold. The blog includes an interactive cuckold forums where you can talk with others as well as headmistress Lon Michaels to learn more about the cuckold lifestyle. In Your Face Poems A collection of poems about love, hate and humor. Your sure to find something to your liking. Come and enjoy my poetry. Mama B Says Shape the future by creating value, inspiration and community, so all women may live better. Topics range from career, motherhood, sisterhood, and lessons learned, gender equality, the pitfalls of jealousy, etc. Becoming a Messenger of Love A social movement and community inspiring people to make the world a better place by responding to anger, fear and hate with love and kindness. Weekly Woman This blog is dedicated to the hectic lives of 21st-century women. Each day is dedicated to a different topic because every woman is everything, every day.
(CNN)The next possible US secretary of defense went by the military call sign "Chaos." Revered by his troops as a "warrior monk" with a knack for hard-edged quips, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis led troops in Afghanistan in 2001, won laurels for leadership in one of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq War and most recently headed US Central Command, perhaps the military's most complicated and challenging post. Now, Mattis faces an entirely different kind of fight. As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to formally nominate the former four-star to head the Pentagon, some Democrats are signaling his confirmation might not be entirely easy. Some observers question whether Mattis' battlefield experience prepares him for the very different task of running an enormous bureaucracy, while senior lawmakers worry about what the 66-year-old's nomination means for maintaining civilian control of the military. Republicans issued glowing testimonials to Mattis and his career. California Rep. Devin Nunes, who heads the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he could think of "no better candidate to lead America's military in our long fight against jihadism and countering other pressing threats." Noting that Mattis hasn't been out of uniform long enough to lead the Pentagon without a congressional waiver, California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said that while he "would make an excellent Secretary of Defense, we must also bear in mind the precedent we would be setting and the impact it would have on the principle of civilian leadership of our nation's military." Donald Trump speaks with Taiwan's President Kirsten Gillibrand, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee subcommittee on personnel, was more definitive. "Civilian control of our military is a fundamental principle of American democracy," Gillibrand said in a statement Thursday, "and I will not vote for an exception to this rule." Just one senator can demand that the waiver for Mattis meet a 60-vote threshold, meaning he would need to get the support of all Republicans and eight Democrats to move toward confirmation next year. If he's approved, Mattis would be the highest-ranking former officer to serve as defense secretary. The Washington State native and history major led troops through the conflicts in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq. From 2010 to 2013, he led Central Command, which oversees the Middle East and Southeast Asia, until the Obama administration let him go over disagreements on Iran. The White House was pushing for a nuclear deal with Tehran in 2013, the same year Mattis was telling the Aspen Security Forum that his top concern as Centcom commander was "Iran, Iran, Iran." Obama to sign Iran sanctions bill Mattis has since been critical of the deal and of the Obama administration's refusal to engage more aggressively in the Middle East, saying it has fueled extremism in the region. In 2015, he told a congressional panel that the US needed to come out of its "reactive crouch" in the Middle East and defend its values. Indeed, Mattis has not been known to mince words. He's affectionately known as "Mad Dog" by troops who trade his quips like prized baseball cards. On the news of his nomination, many of those sayings instantly became memes on Twitter. Among them: "a good soldier follows orders, but a true warrior wears his enemy's skin like a poncho," and "be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet." Human Rights Watch called on Congress to fully examine his views on a number of issues. "Media accounts suggest that Gen. Mattis doesn't agree with President-elect Trump's more outrageous campaign proposals, such as bringing back waterboarding, targeting terrorist suspects' family members, or tampering with anti-torture laws," said Washington director Sarah Margon. She urged that during the confirmation process "senators make sure Mattis unreservedly repudiates these proposals, acknowledges that they are illegal, and confirms that they are not up for future consideration." Mattis is one of a slew of generals Trump has been considering for other Cabinet-level jobs, including Gen. David Petraeus for the State Department, Gen. John Kelly to head Homeland Security and Adm. Mike Rogers as the director of national intelligence. Erin Simpson, a national security consultant and senior editor at WarontheRocks.com, said the incoming administration may be trying to capitalize on public respect for the military by considering so many generals. But "where there are really weak civilian institutions and an inexperienced president, it just doesn't sit right by me," said Simpson. The silver lining, she adds, is that many military and security professionals wary of Trump may be convinced to serve under Mattis. "It provides some top-cover for other qualified folks to come in who might not have otherwise," Simpson said. "There are a lot of jobs to fill at the Pentagon, this could bring in some talent and that's a net gain." China's foreign ministry says it has lodged a complaint with the US after President-elect Donald Trump spoke to Taiwan's leader in a phone call. China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province. US policy set in 1979 cut formal relations with Taiwan. Mr Trump's transition team said he and Tsai Ing-wen noted "close economic, political, and security ties". The US is Taiwan's most important ally and provides Taiwan with sufficient weaponry to defend itself. China said it had lodged a "solemn representation" with Washington. According to the state news agency Xinhua, China urged the US "to cautiously, properly handle Taiwan issue to avoid unnecessary disturbance to Sino-US relations". Foreign Minister Wang Yi dismissed the call as a "petty trick" by Taiwan, Chinese state media said. What happened? Mr Trump tweeted on Friday that Ms Tsai had called him to congratulate him on winning the US election. His team said that the US president-elect had also congratulated Ms Tsai on becoming the president of Taiwan last January. No US president or president-elect has spoken directly to a Taiwanese leader for decades. Following media reports pointing out the risks of angering China, Mr Trump tweeted: "Interesting how the US sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call." The White House has said Mr Trump's conversation does not signal any change in US policy. US media reported that the White House learned of the call only after it had happened. Mr Trump's spokeswoman said he was "well aware" of US policy towards Taiwan. Read more: What's behind the China-Taiwan divide? What is the problem? This file photo taken on November 10, 2016 shows a man buying a newspaper featuring a photo of US President-elect Donald TrumpImage copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES Image caption China is closely watching Mr Trump's transition to president The split between China and Taiwan goes back to 1949, when the Republic of China (ROC) Kuomintang (KMT) government fled the mainland to Taiwan after being defeated by the communists under Mao Zedong. The KMT held China's seat on the UN Security Council and was, for a while, recognised by many Western nations as the only Chinese government. But in 1971, the UN switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing. Only a handful of countries now recognise Taiwan's government. Washington cut formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979, expressing its support for Beijing's "one country, two systems" concept, which states that Taiwan is part of China. But despite the cut, the US remains, by far, Taiwan's most important friend, and its only ally. The Taiwan Relations Act promises to supply Taiwan with defensive weapons. It says that any attack by China on Taiwan would be considered of "grave concern" to the US. China has hundreds of missiles pointing towards Taiwan, and has threatened to use force if it formally declares independence. President Tsai, Taiwan's first female leader, led the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to a landslide victory in the January 2016 election. The DPP has traditionally leaned towards independence from China. President Tsai's administration does not accept the "One China" policy. Read more: Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan's shy but steely leader From concern to alarm and anger - Carrie Gracie, BBC China editor, Beijing TaiwanImage copyrightREUTERS Image caption In an image released by her office, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen is seen speaking on the phone to Mr Trump Mr Trump's decision to turn his back on four decades of US protocol on Taiwan and speak directly to a president of Taiwan has stunned policymakers in Beijing. Since his election last month, they have struggled to understand who is advising Donald Trump on Asia and what his China policy will look like. This move will turn concern into alarm and anger. Beijing sees Taiwan as a province. Denying it any of the trappings of an independent state is one of the key priorities of Chinese foreign policy. Read more from Carrie: The Trump phone call that will stun Beijing Mild reaction - Cindy Sui, BBC, Taipei China's reaction is relatively mild. It doesn't want to get off on the wrong foot with Mr Trump. And it sees Mr Trump as an inexperienced politician, so for now it's willing to forgive him and not play this up. It may also be somewhat reassured by statements from the US that its policy on China and Taiwan has not changed. But behind the scenes it's safe to say China is working hard to "educate" the Trump team on not repeating such diplomatic faux pas. This move by Taiwan's President Tsai will further infuriate Beijing and make it distrust her even more and see her as favouring Taiwan's formal independence from China. World-changing ideas summit With our powers of reasoning, rich memories and the ability to imagine what the future might hold, human intelligence is unequalled in the animal kingdom. Our closest relatives, chimpanzees, are adept problem solvers, making their own tools to reach food, for example. They use sophisticated gestures and facial expressions to communicate. Yet, they fall a long way short of our own ability to think and plan for the future. Thomas Suddendorf, a psychologist at the University of Queensland, describes this as the gap – the cognitive gulf that separates us from animals. But it was not always so wide, he says in the video above. Our species once shared the planet with other hominins with intelligence that may have rivaled our own. Their extinction was at least partly due to the actions of our own ancestors, according to many anthropologists. We need to be careful not to make the same mistakes again and widen the gap between the species even further in our pursuit of progress, warns Suddendorf, who spoke to BBC Future at the World-Changing Ideas Summit in Sydney on 15 November. Read more: We’ve got human intelligence all wrong Jason G Goldman’s column Uniquely Human, about the similarities and differences between us and the animal kingdom Join 700,000+ Future fans by liking us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram If you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter, called “If You Only Read 6 Things This Week”. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Earth, Culture, Capital, Travel and Autos, delivered to your inbox every Friday. The minibus crosses the vast plateau on a newly paved road. Cracked fields stretch away towards the Moroccan desert to the south. Yet the barren landscape is no longer quite as desolate as it once was. This year it became home to one of the world’s biggest solar power plants. Welcome to Future Now Your essential guide to a world in flux Change happens quickly these days and it can be hard to keep up. That’s why BBC Future has launched a new section called Future Now to bring you in-depth stories about the people, events and trends that are shaping our world. We will be publishing regular stories from all over the world about technology, energy, economics, society and much more – you can find them here. We hope you will join us as we explore the changes that matter. Hundreds of curved mirrors, each as big as a bus, are ranked in rows covering 1,400,000 sq m (15m sq ft) of desert, an area the size of 200 football fields. The massive complex sits on a sun-blasted site at the foot of the High Atlas mountains, 10km (6 miles) from Ouarzazate – a city nicknamed the door to the desert. With around 330 days of sunshine a year, it’s an ideal location. As well as meeting domestic needs, Morocco hopes one day to export solar energy to Europe. This is a plant that could help define Africa's – and the world’s – energy future. (Credit: Getty Images) Hundreds of curved mirrors, each as big as a bus, are ranked in rows covering 1,400,000 square metres of desert, an area the size of 200 football fields (Credit: Getty Images) Of course, on the day I visit the sky is covered in clouds. “No electricity will be produced today,“ says Rachid Bayed at the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen), which is responsible for implementing the flagship project. An occasional off day is not a concern, however. After many years of false starts, solar power is coming of age as countries in the sun finally embrace their most abundant source of clean energy. The Moroccan site is one of several across Africa and similar plants are being built in the Middle East – in Jordan, Dubai and Saudi Arabia. The falling cost of solar power has made it a viable alternative to oil even in the most oil-rich parts of the world. As well as meeting domestic needs, Morocco hopes one day to export solar energy to Europe. Noor 1, the first phase of the Moroccan plant, has already surpassed expectations in terms of the amount of energy it has produced. It is an encouraging result in line with Morocco’s goal to reduce its fossil fuel bill by focusing on renewables while still meeting growing energy needs that are increasing by about 7% per year. Morocco’s stable government and economy has helped it secure funding: the European Union contributed 60% of the cost for the Ouarzazate project, for example. (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont) With around 330 days of sunshine a year, the region around Ouarzazate - a city nicknamed the door to the desert - is an ideal location (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont) The country plans to generate 14% of its energy from solar by 2020 and by adding other renewable sources like wind and water into the mix, it is aiming to produce 52% of its own energy by 2030. This puts Morocco more or less in line with countries like the UK, which wants to generate 30% of its electricity from renewables by the end of the decade, and the US, where President Obama set a target of 20% by 2030. (Trump has threatened to dump renewables, but his actions may not have a huge impact. Many policies are controlled by individual states and big companies have already started to switch to cleaner and cheaper alternatives.) Due to the lack sun on the day I visit, the hundreds of mirrors stand still and silent. The team keeps a close eye on weather forecasts to predict output for the following day, allowing other sources of energy to take over when it is overcast. The reflectors can be heard as they move together to follow the sun like a giant field of sunflowers But normally the reflectors can be heard as they move together to follow the Sun like a giant field of sunflowers. The mirrors focus the Sun’s energy onto a synthetic oil that flows through a network of pipes. Reaching temperatures up to 350C (662F), the hot oil is used to produce high-pressure water vapour that drives a turbine-powered generator. “It’s the same classic process used with fossil fuels, except that we are using the Sun’s heat as the source,” says Bayed. The plant keeps generating energy after sunset, when electricity demands peak. Some of the day’s energy is stored in reservoirs of superhot molten salts made of sodium and potassium nitrates, which keeps production going for up to three hours. In the next phase of the plant, production will continue for up to eight hours after sunset. (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont) Once fully operational, the solar plant will only require about 50 to 100 employees (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont) As well as boosting Morocco’s power production, the Ouarzazate project is helping the local economy. Around 2,000 workers were hired during the initial two years of construction, many of them Moroccan. Roads built to provide access to the plant have also connected nearby villages, helping children get to school. Water brought in for the site has been piped beyond the complex, hooking up 33 villages to the water grid. Water brought in for the site has been piped beyond the complex, hooking up 33 villages to the water grid Masen has also helped farmers in the area by teaching them sustainable practices. Heading towards the mountains, I visit the Berber village of Asseghmou, 30 miles (48 kilometres) north of Ouarzazate, where a small farm has now changed the way it raises ewes. Most farmers here rely on their intuition alone but they are being introduced to more reliable techniques -such as simply separating animals in their pens – which are improving yields. Masen also provided 25 farms with sheep for breeding purposes. “I now have better food security,” says Chaoui, who runs a local farm. And his almond tree is thriving thanks to cultivation tips. Even so, some locals have concerns. Abdellatif, who lives in the city of Zagora about 75 miles (120 kilometres) further south, where there are high rates of unemployment, thinks that the plant should focus on creating permanent jobs. He has friends who were hired to work there but they were only on contract for a few months. Once fully operational, the station will only require about 50 to 100 employees so the job boom may end. “The components of the plant are manufactured abroad but it would be better to produce them locally to generate ongoing work for residents,” he says. (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont) The solar plant draws a massive amount of water from the local El Mansour Eddahbi dam. Water scarcity has been a problem in the semi-desert region (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont) A bigger issue is that the solar plant draws a massive amount of water for cleaning and cooling from the local El Mansour Eddahbi dam. In recent years, water scarcity has been a problem in the semi-desert region and there are water cuts. Agricultural land further south in the Draa valley depends on water from the dam, which is occasionally released into the otherwise-dry river. But Mustapha Sellam, the site manager, claims that the water used by the complex amounts to 0.5% of the dam’s supply, which is negligible compared to its capacity. Still, the plant’s consumption is enough to make a difference to struggling farmers. So the plant is making improvements to reduce the amount of water it uses. Instead of relying on water to clean the mirrors, pressurised air is used. And whereas Noor 1 uses water to cool the steam produced by the generators, so that it can be turned back into water and reused to produce more electricity, a dry cooling system that uses air will be installed. The success of plants in places like Morocco and South Africa will encourage other African countries to turn to solar power These new sections of the plant are currently being built. Noor 2 will be similar to the first phase, but Noor 3 will experiment with a different design. Instead of ranks of mirrors it will capture and store the Sun’s energy with a single large tower, which is thought to be more efficient. Seven thousand flat mirrors surrounding the tower will all track and reflect the sun’s rays towards a receiver at the top, requiring much less space than existing arrangement of mirrors. Molten salts filling the interior of the tower will capture and store heat directly, doing away with the need for hot oil. Similar systems are already used in South Africa, Spain and a few sites in the US, such as California’s Mojave desert and Nevada. But at 86ft (26m) tall, Ouarzazate’s recently erected structure is the highest of its kind in the world. (Credit: Getty Images) Africa’s sunshine could eventually make the continent a supplier of energy to the rest of the world (Credit: Getty Images) Other plants in Morocco are already underway. Next year construction will begin at two sites in the south-west, near Laayoune and Boujdour, with plants near Tata and Midelt to follow. The success of these plants in Morocco – and those in South Africa - may encourage other African countries to turn to solar power. South Africa is already one of the world’s top 10 producers of solar power and Rwanda is home to east Africa’s first solar plant, which opened in 2014. Large plants are being planned for Ghana and Uganda. Africa’s sunshine could eventually make the continent a supplier of energy to the rest of the world. Sellam has high hopes for Noor. “Our main goal is to become energy-independent but if one day we are producing a surplus we could supply other countries too,” he says. Imagine recharging your electric car in Berlin with electricity produced in Morocco. With the clouds set to lift in Ouarzazate, Africa is busy planning for a sunny day. -- Keep up to date with Future Now stories by liking BBC Future on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram If you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter, called “If You Only Read 6 Things This Week”. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Earth, Culture,
Blog and its Sausage Party, back in December? Followed by its protest about hiring a Canadian woman director for the television remake of that classic, Picnic at Hanging Rock? Those protests have borne fruit, as reported in WIFTNSW’s latest newsletter. The Sausage Party highlighted the Australian Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards(AACTAs) disproportionately low amount of nominations and pre-selected films directed and driven by female creatives. Among the twenty-eight narrative feature films pre-selected for the AACTAs Screening Tour, just two were directed by women. And, as WIFTNSW pointed out, when female content cannot reach the public voting platform in the first instance there’s no point calling for quotas in award juries. Furthermore, of the twenty-eight films selected for consideration, seven films (a full quarter of the total), violated AACTAs’ own eligibility criteria and at least two fully eligible films helmed by women were excluded. After the protest, AACTA reached out to WIFTNSW and other industry guilds to discuss the issues raised by the Sausage Party protests. WIFTNSW now looks forward to meaningful consultation to create fair and diverse AACTAs.YAY. And the Sausage costumes are now available for use so do ‘enquire within’, adds WIFTNSW. omeninfi This year, writer/director/producer Amie Batalibasi won the fellowship. I read her powerful acceptance speech, published in her blog, and asked to cross-post it. And Amie also agreed to answer some questions. Warm thanks to her. –Marian Evans My Sundance Acceptance Speech — Merata Mita Fellowship by Amie Batalibasi Firstly I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, the Ute peoples. And pay my respects to elders past and present and also acknowledge other First Nations peoples in the room today. Labels: gendermatters, womeninfilm, Amanda Kernell, Array, blackbirding, distribution, indigenous women filmmakers, intersectionality, Merata Mita Fellowship, Solomon Islanders, Sundance 2017, Sydney Freeland SUNDAY, JANUARY 22, 2017 Solving the WomenInFilm Problem: Naomi McDougall Jones Those women's marches were amazing. And so is the womeninfilm movement, where women filmmakers' strategies for change are becoming ever more diverse and sophisticated. Writer/actor/producer Naomi McDougall Jones is one of the most thoughtful and energetic change agents around and Danielle Winston and the women of Agnès Films (named in honor of Agnès Varda) continue their own significant contributions with this excellent interview with her, copy-edited by Elena Chronick. Warm thanks to them all. Naomi McDougall Jones DW On a frosty January afternoon, I met with with writer/actress/producer, Naomi McDougall Jones. Our hangout, a little pie shop called Four Twenty Blackbirds, was quirky enough to have been the backdrop for a Gilmore Girls scene if not for being around the corner from the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Gowanus Brooklyn. As we shared slices of buttery lemon blackout pie, Naomi, a self-possessed woman with crimson hair and natural confidence, spoke passionately about the female cinematic voice that has not been discovered yet, practical solutions to Hollywood’s “women in film problem,” the hidden subculture of people who believe they are vampires, and so much more. You wrote, produced, and starred in the feature film, Imagine I’m Beautiful. How did you manage to wear so many hats and get a true perspective of your performance? NMcDJ I’m going through this process again with my second film. I also wrote, acted in, and produced that one, but I’m not directing. Both times it’s been an intense and specific process finding a director for a project that’s mine in a lot of ways. It’s like finding someone to marry. You just have to find the right person who gets what you’re doing and hopefully brings a different filter to it. I feel excited about passing my story on to someone else’s filter. I think that makes it better than it would be than if it was just all me. Imagine I'm Beautiful poster DW Imagine I’m Beautiful was done on a super low budget, received theatrical and digital distribution, and was well reviewed. How did the success of that film change your life as an actor and filmmaker? Read more » Labels: Agnes Films, Danielle Winston, Elena Chronik, Fear(ful)-less podcast, film economics, gender, Lois Scott, Sona Lang, statistics, TED Talk WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2017 Director Activist Maria Giese: Update on Women Directors, the ACLU the Feds Maria Giese Photo: Reggie Burrows Hodges for the Bluestocking Series About a year ago, I interviewed American director Maria Giese about her campaign to end discrimination against women directors in the United States. It's a collective human rights-based action that’s globally unique and significant for all of us who watch and are influenced by Hollywood entertainment. Here’s the next chapter of Maria's story, in two parts: a summary for everyone, followed by the deep nitty gritty for women directors and our allies. Summary WW What have you been up to? MG It’s been quite a year. After 20 years, I left LA and moved to Connecticut with my husband and two children to write a book, Troublemaker. It tells the story of my Hollywood insurgence and my battles in the Directors Guild of America (DGA) during the past 5 years, with a bold group of other women directors. It also describes my journey getting the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to launch the campaign for women directors that led to the current Federal government’s investigation, by ‘the Feds’: the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). I’ve been working hard to support the investigation, foster independent legal actions, and keep this issue alive in the mainstream media, through speaking publicly, talking to journalists, and networking with other activist individuals and organisations. We want to trigger a paradigm shift in people’s thinking so that everyone can comprehend and agree that it is fair and just and in accordance with America’s ideals that women contribute equally to our cultural narrative. I’ve also been part of five documentaries and have developed ideas about the role of distribution. Together with Christine Walker and Caroline Heldman, I am organising the 2017 Women’s Media Summit on gender equity among women storytellers in US entertainment media. It will take place March 31 — April 2 in Provincetown, Massachusetts. WW All women directors have to draw heavily on their imaginations, their hearts, their resilience. They have to be tenacious. A few, like you, are also activists with a collective vision for all women. Who and what has influenced you? Tell me about your childhood. Read more » Labels: 2017 Women’s Media Summit, ACLU, Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, gender equity, Hollywood, indigenous women filmmakers, Maria Giese, Original Six MONDAY, JANUARY 9, 2017 For the Artists, the Fighters, the Dreamers: 'Or Die Trying' Seed Spark's Emily Best OR DIE TRYING (ODT) is a series about women who live and work in Los Angeles as part of the entertainment industry, now in post production for season one. The ODT creators – and their characters – have set out to progress the narrative of women in film on-screen and are committed to hiring a team that is no less than 85% female. This is how ODT describes itself. I love it. OR DIE TRYING is a testament to the countless women in film. We, the creators, are active women in the film industry not just on screen, but in our real lives as well. We don't "ask for permission," we fight for our dreams daily. The struggles that we have faced as millennials in Hollywood have inspired us to create a story that is raw, real, and relatable for all of the young women who come out to California with a dream of making it in LA. OR DIE TRYING represents all of the resilient women who are judged not only by their talent, but also by their age, race, gender, "look," and social following. We represent the women who hustle for what they want, because they don't believe in a plan b. We represent the women who collaborate and create, hoping to build something bigger than themselves. This one is for the artists, the fighters, and the dreamers. ODT successfully crowdfunded production costs for season one on SeedSpark, and has been featured as IndieWire’s Project of the Week. It's exactly the best group to interview Seed Spark's Emily Best, by ODT's EPs Sarah Hawkins and Myah Hollis. So this is a very special post, reproduced by kind permission, a fine example of the mutual support that's characteristic of the womeninfilm movement. now Pratibha Parmar’s My Name is Andrea, about the radical feminist and writer Andrea Dworkin (1946–2005), explores who Andrea was. It also exposes the ongoing violence inflicted on women’s bodies and spirits across the globe, through featuring five diverse actresses — each one evoking a different aspect, experience and decade of Andrea Dworkin’s life. Pratibha on set with actress and activist Amandla Stenberg who plays young Andrea. In the spirit of contemporary independent women’s film making, the film’s being made in parts and the first twelve minutes of the film is shot and edited. And it’s an impressive twelve minutes. This is what Gloria Steinem said after viewing it– …I can see that this is going to be a film like no other — lyrical, poetic, referential, journalistic, placed in time, deep, complicated…. And it was so moving to me to see what I assume truly is Andrea as a little girl. Nobody but you could take her on as a human being, thinker, rebel and writer and unique force in the world — and I’m proud to be there with Andrea as a raging prophet. She has now joined the project as an Executive Producer. Julie Parker Benelux (co-founder of the legendary Chicken Egg Pictures) has also joined the team as an Executive Producer. The British Film Institute — one of the project’s funders) — was ‘deeply moved’ by the 12-minute clip and also continues its support. We can contribute, too, with cheques made out to Kali8 Productions and posted to– Pratibha Parmar 1563 Solano Avenue 340 Berkeley s in that book is quite radical and complex and beautiful. It’s the first book I’ve read by an author, masculine or feminine, that has a defiance of the situation, which is deeply subversive in the holy sense — it’s other-worldly. She says that this world is stained by human misconception, that men and women have wrong ideas — even if they are ten million years old and come from the mouth of god, they are still wrong! The position in that book is so defiant and passionate that she creates another reality and just might be able to manifest it. It’s from that kind of appetite, with the way things are that new worlds arise, so I have deep admiration for Andrea Dworkin. Labels: Andrea Dworkin, British Film Institute, Chicken and Egg, Gloria Steinem, Leonard Cohen, Pratibha Parmar MONDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2016 WomeninFilm Activists Speak: Voices From A Revolution This year WomenInFilm ‘how-to’ talks have flourished. The speakers aren’t the first to share, nourish and inform, of course. But until this year, there was just one standout for me: Ava DuVernay’s Film Independent Forum keynote in 2013. She brilliantly argued that filmmakers should abandon despair about not having access to what we need and move on from depression about what makes our work difficult: a ‘wrong’ gender, a ‘wrong’ race or culture, no film school training, no money, no mentors, no advocates, no time. Instead, ‘Create work’, she said. ‘Look at what you have and work with that’. She’s also argued that ‘It’s not about knocking on closed doors. It’s about building our own house and having our own door’, and that has resonated for many women filmmakers. installation, National Museum of African American History Culture (Smithsonian) DuVernay, F-Rating, Female Gaze, Holly Tarquini, indigenous, Jill Soloway, Louise Hutt, Naomi McDougall Jones, Online Heroines, the 51 Fund, WARU SUNDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2016 Catherine Eaton's 'The Sounding' Catherine Eaton and The Sounding illustrate all that excites me about the 'new' women's filmmaking– sophisticated and engaging concepts; the rise of the actor/writer/director; writer/director/producer associations with womeninfilm support groups; crowd-funding; a beautiful, thoughtful, confidence; principled choices; visual pleasures. Catherine has Native-American heritage, so for me her project also celebrates the rise and wonderful diversity of indigenous women’s filmmaking. Catherine has performed on Broadway and on screen and written two television projects (both finalists for the Sundance Episodic Labs), and is a 2016 Tribeca Channel Women’s Filmmaker Award winner. The Sounding's immaculate crowdfunding campaign for finishing funds gives us two days left to get behind a winner! I'm delighted to share this engaging Danielle Winston interview, with warm thanks to Agnès Films, where it was first published. Catherine Eaton and team. Photo by Asya Danilova womeninfilm, Agnes Films, Catherine Eaton, Centre for the Study of Women in television Film, crowdfunding, feminist films, Film Fatales, indigenous, micro budget, Shakespeare WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2016 Megan Riakos – Writer, Director and Inspiration This is Megan Riakos, writer/director/producer of Crushed (a thriller, 2015, available on iTunes and Google Play in Australia, New Zealand and North America). Megan also inspired WIFT New South Wales’ red carpet demonstration at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) awards in Sydney, after she had ‘a terrible experience with the AACTA Award selection process’ and approached WIFT NSW, where she’s a committee member. She got a very supportive hearing: WIFT NSW says it’s ‘fed up with the Sausage Party that is the Australian film industry and calls on AACTA to make Australia’s night of nights truly representative of our diverse screen culture’. It’s also produced a Charter for Gender Equity at the AACTAs. The demo was called the Roast the AACTAs (AACTASausageParty). Here are The Activist Sausages. The protest attracted lots of attention. You can read about it in more detail here (WIFT NSW) and here (Junkee)and here (Guardian). Labels: womeninfilm, AACTA Awards, activism, Australia, gender equity, Megan Riakos, WIFT NSW WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2016 Megan Thompson: Looking for Women's Experiences When We Enter Film Fests! Megan Thompson Megan Thompson is in her final year studying Creative Events Management at Falmouth University in England and became interested in feminist film festivals because she'd like to be involved with them in the future. Inspired by the underrepresentation of women directors at general film festivals – a hot topic at the moment, as in Kate Kaminski's 'Aren't We There Yet?' the other day – Megan wanted to learn from women directors who have entered film festivals, including women's/feminist film festivals. What experiences have we had? What barriers have we faced, in the industry and at film festivals? Megan's chosen to use a feminist approach, allowing our voices to be heard without the pressure of fitting into questionnaire boxes. Our responses will help build her research into a strong narrative of multiple voices, which can be used by film festival programmers, to educate others about this issue and to help make change. Labels: womeninfilm, barriers, feminist film festivals, film festivals, women directors, women's film festivals SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2016 'Aren’t We There Yet?' I'm delighted to share Kate's illuminating article, because film festival selection is a global issue for womeninfilm, even here in New Zealand at the New Zealand International Film Festival. Many thanks, Kate! And thanks too, for Catherine's photo and Reggie's concept photos, developed for Kate's celebrated Bluestocking Film Series (Bstkg). Front: Sarah Doyle and Brittany M. Fennell, directors. Back: Yolonda Ross (director), Dawn Jones Redston (director), Tema Staig (Women in Media). Photo taken at Bluestocking 2016. Photo: Catherine Frost by Kate Kaminski As the founder and artistic director of the Bluestocking Film Series, this IndieWire headline caught my attention immediately: 'Women Directors Are Everywhere, But Film Festivals Are Still Catching Up — NYFF'. Now in its 7th season, Bluestocking Film Series’ mission is to celebrate and amplify women’s voices and stories, and is part of a long tradition of women-centered festivals, so I immediately wondered which film festivals the article was referring to. The first paragraph of the article jumps in to rightfully celebrate Ava Duvernay, (being the first Black woman director to open the NYFF) and to note that at least 2 films screening at the festival featured women characters who are not only over 25, but more than twice that age. However, once the writer of the article, aspiring critic Lauren Du Graf, brings in Lesli Klainberg of the Film Society of Lincoln Center as the authoritative spokesperson for the NYFF, the tone of the article takes a turn. Let's start with Klainberg’s thinly-veiled elitism, as she points out that the festival selects only those films that are 'the most significant of the year' without regard to any special criteria. If you’ve seen it, you know that Duvernay’s film 13th is an important film, even a seminal one, but why shouldn’t we notice (and applaud) the fact that the film’s director is both a woman and of color? Klainberg goes to great lengths to assure us that this film was chosen to open the festival based solely on its appeal to NYFF audiences as an important film: 'We didn’t choose Ava’s movie for the opening night because we wanted to make a statement about documentary film, or about people of color, or about women'. Yolonda Ross, actor-writer-director. Photo: Reggie Hodges But why not? Would that be such a terrible thing to do? Isn’t it important for the exact reasons Klainberg seems so ready to downplay? Even putting aside Klainberg’s convenient memory loss about a White male-dominated industry, Duvernay has made an important film about racial injustice in this country, and she’s a woman director of color. Why not celebrate all of that? The rest of us are. The next few paragraphs tell us that despite the lack of women directors in the Main Slate (which, don’t forget, we’ve been told use strict—albeit non-specific—curatorial standards in selection), the full program reaches about 30% parity for women directors/creators. Not bad at all, if you’re going by Hollywood standards. But then Klainberg is quoted as saying, 'I’m pleased to see that we have five of 25 of our films in the Main Slate directed by women…That’s certainly a reflection of where female filmmakers are in our industry in a certain respect. We are gaining and it’s getting better'. I don't know where she gets her statistics, but five out of 25 hardly reflects the actual state of working women directors in the U.S. film industry where, this very article points out, just 4% of the 800 most popular films in 2015 were directed by women. So clearly, it is not actually getting better. At this point, we wish we could get to 20%, but if history teaches us anything, gender parity is still generations of women filmmakers into the future. Proudly stating that five out of 25 Main Slate films at NYFF in 2016 are directed by women, when last year the number was three out of 26, certainly does prove where 'female filmmakers are in our industry'. But only if your expectations are at rock bottom, can you call adding two additional women filmmakers to your program a gain. Maria Giese, DGA member, women in film activist. Photo: Reggie Hodges But honestly, what bothers me most of all about this article is the complete erasure of the long tradition of women's film festivals which, whether you agree that they should exist at all, have nevertheless celebrated the work of women directors, brought women-centered work to the attention of audiences and the industry, and certainly also aspire to strict curatorial standards. After all, it’s in our own best interest to select high-quality films that show what women directors are capable of. When selecting for Bluestocking Film Series, I’m always aware of the industry- and media-perpetuated myth that men aren’t interested in and won’t go see female-driven films. What that knowledge instills, however, is a determination to find the widest possible range of expression from across the globe to dispel that myth. If we’re to survive as a festival that focuses exclusively on on-screen representation, it’s in our own best interest to demonstrate just what we have to offer to the culture: a well-curated, unique blend of women’s voices and stories that you won’t see together anywhere else. What role do festivals like NYFF play in repairing broader, systemic inequalities in the film industry, such as gender disparity among directors? 'I don’t know if that’s our role', said Klainberg. 'We are not a film organization that funds movies'. This is another misleading and, in my opinion, damaging statement. Very few festivals fund, yes, but that doesn’t mean your film festival isn’t still an important step on the career ladder for emerging filmmakers, or a possible conduit to distribution. Are women-focused film festivals the red-headed stepchild of the long-standing engagement between festivals and the industry? Are we best forgotten, somehow shameful? Women’s contributions to film art have systematically been erased, yet the history of women in the film industry is long and rich. To attain cultural balance, we all deserve to know about those contributions and that history. Ariel Dougherty, author-director and co-founder of Women Make Movies. Photo: Reggie Hodges And women’s film festivals with strict curatorial standards (however those may be defined) are still necessary to showcase a larger percentage of talented women working in the field than you normally would get to see at, say, the NYFF. And Klainberg seems to be saying that festivals should not actively work toward gender balance because it will happen naturally. Yet that hasn’t been the case, either in film festivals or the industry. But what’s more, we need women like Du Graf and others who gravitate to film criticism to stand with those of us actively addressing representation and, at a minimum, do diligent research and acknowledge the contributions women in film have already made (and continue to make) without sugar coating what is still, culturally speaking, a dire situation. As I’ve been writing and thinking about this article, I’ve heard from a diverse range of women filmmakers and change makers who are also troubled by the broad strokes and lack of research this article demonstrates. Evadne, actor-writer. Photo: Reggie Hodges Briony Kidd, founder and artistic director of Australia’s fine women in horror festival, Stranger With My Face, said, 'I would have hoped we could have moved on from this kind of thing by now. It is demonstrably not true (emphasis mine) that women are only interested in a certain type of ‘smaller’ film and perpetuating that idea is harmful, in my opinion'. And Kyna Morgan, founder of Her Film Project (an advocacy group for women directors) says– I get it. Who wants to admit that they, as a woman or person of color or anyone of a minority group who is non-white male-identified is effectively shut out because of implicit bias or overt prejudice to who they are? I get it! But being shut out is one of the hardest things we have to look at and own up to when it comes to festival programming, studio slated projects, and practical funding issues, and festivals and studios are still wearing blinders. No one WANTS to be part of the group(s) that the 'big guys' are shutting out. It's a 'great American myth' that anyone can make it as long as they work hard. We sell the idea that Hollywood and film festivals operate as meritocracies and that smaller films don't get made just because they are small films. I think we know better than that and that one of the ugly sides of confronting inequity and inequality is that there simply are certain groups of people (i.e. white males), who, even with smaller films (and sometimes even little to no feature directorial experience) have a better chance at securing funding, being offered directing gigs, and being programmed at film festivals. The proof is in the data. In short, no matter what kind of film you want to make, the playing field for women, minorities, and any identities other than the default is still far from level and we all know that. It’s time for the top tier festivals, whoever and wherever they may be, to step up their film inclusion game. So, once again, I call for solidarity among all of us who want to see film culture evolve and expand, to see the film industry reflect the small, and the profound, along with its wish fulfillment and larger-than-life fantasies. Let’s celebrate and amplify women’s successes in the field — especially those moments when we make history as Ava Duvernay did at this year’s NYFF — and let’s make room at the table for all the voices. estocking Film Series, Briony Kidd, film festivals, Kyna Morgan, Lauren du Graf, Lesli Klainberg, women directors SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2016 Sue Clayton 'Calais Children: A Case to Answer' Sue Clayton in the Calais Jungle camp Director Sue Clayton is perhaps best known for her award-winning Hamedullah: The Road Home, about the forced removal of young people from the United Kingdom (UK) to Kabul and for her archive of interviews with young asylum seekers in the UK and her work with a team researching best outcomes for young asylum seekers. Today, she’s in the vast refugee camp called ‘the Jungle’ in Calais, northern France, which acts as a border to the UK. According to Sue, it is 'not an official camp. It’s run by about 100 young volunteers, mainly untrained, and no infrastructure at all’. In a few hours, the French will begin to demolish the camp and scatter its occupants all over France, in buses. Liz Clegg, from the Women’s and Children’s Centre, has provided a list of children to the UK's Home Office. A few of them have gone missing and she is desperately trying to track them down– We are particularly worried that this evacuation has been left so late that we will see total chaos. The youngest child we have dealt with is eight years old, and tomorrow he will be herded in with thousands of adults. We are told once they are in the hangar there will be a separate queue for children, but in between the camp and the warehouse there will be utter chaos, with thousands of stressed inhabitants of the camp and large numbers of French riot police. It is gobsmackingly inappropriate that the most vulnerable of children will be put in this situation. I am sure we could have found a better and more suitable way to do this. Amelia Diamond | SEPTEMBER 12, 2016 AND GET READY TO FIND SOME NEW BLOGGERS TO FOLLOW @BlackGirlsWhoBlog — an Instagram account with 34.k followers, 85,881 posts under the IG hashtag and an endless scroll linked to the hashtag on Twitter — is one of those happy accidents that proves the unifying power of social media. What started as an afterthought is now an inspiration-based collection of the founder’s favorite bloggers. Morgan Pitts, the woman behind the hashtag, quickly realized that Black Girls Who Blog was larger than a trending topic. It has become a place where black women who blog can support, promote and discover one another. She created a community. Ready to meet her? Tell me about how Black Girls Who Blog got started: It was tweeted into existence. I shared a post to Twitter that I’d just published — I was still blogging at the time — and I included the hashtag BlackGirlsWhoBlog. A second later, I followed up with an additional tweet expressing that I’d love to have a T-shirt that said “BlackGirlsWhoBlog.” Lindsay Adams, the eventual artist behind the BGWB logo, asked if I thought an illustration should accompany the hashtag. It was never meant to be anything more than a tweet, but in that moment, I knew that this could be a thing…that I would have to make it a thing. People were interested in purchasing the tees before they even existed! They just saw our public Twitter exchange. We took the conversation offline and Lindsay sent me the illustration of a black woman in a white top and black bottoms with a laptop in hand. The shirts launched on April 15, 2014. [I started] the Instagram to promote the shirts, [it] evolved into a place for me to highlight my favorite black female bloggers and here we are. How has Black Girls Who Blog opened up your world, and how has it shifted your perspective in terms of fashion, blogging and writing? I have discovered that SO MANY black female bloggers exist. It’s humbling to receive emails about how much these women appreciate what I’m doing. I’ve been able to make connections between women and see them form their own relationships with one another because of this hashtag. It’s really awesome. My perspective hasn’t really shifted, though: part of the reason I kept the ball rolling on BGWB was because black women are still underrepresented in fashion and blogging. I created what I saw was missing instead of just complaining about it. I would look at lists of the “best/top bloggers” or “bloggers you need to know” and see MAYBE one woman of color; she might not have even been black. But I knew many black bloggers who were just as talented and qualified. I would also see black girls who blog not getting the same kinds of endorsements, sponsored posts, brand collaborations, etc. as our counterparts. The blogosphere has improved from when I started BGWB in 2014, but we are still underrepresented. I’m hoping that by doing my part and creating something that I always wanted to see, black girls who blog will feel seen, heard, celebrated and validated. What else can be done? When “bloggers you should know”-type lists are compiled, black women should definitely be in the rankings…and not just as a “token.” When bloggers are featured in editorials, a black woman should be included. I don’t think the blogosphere has an issue with highlighting asian bloggers (think of Aimee Song, Nicole Warne, Susie Lau, Tina Craig and Kelly Cook), but black (and also latina) women don’t seem to get the same kinds of exposure and opportunities. Black women speakers from all over the world are often featured in The Eloquent Woman Index of Famous Speeches by Women. Whether African, American or from elsewhere in the world, they make up close to 20 percent of the speeches we've collected and featured so far. And every year, this expanding collection of speeches by black women is the most-read post on the blog! Check out the 46 famous speeches from the Index given by black women speakers, arranged in chronological order from 1851 to the present. At the links, you will find (where available) video, photos, transcripts or texts, along with what you can learn from these speeches to improve your own public speaking: Sojourner Truth's 1851 speech "Ain't I a Woman?" is oft-quoted, but has a disputed source, illustrating why it's often tough to find famous women's speeches. In this case, that happened because Truth could neither read nor write. That doesn't detract at all from her message about equality for all women of all races. Read Soujourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman" Speech: A Primary Source Investigation for more about the many versions of this speech, only one of which contains the most-quoted phrase. Mary Ann Shadd Cary's 1858 "Break Every Yoke" defied the norms against women--and black women especially--speaking in public. This sermon demonstrates why she was such a popular antislavery speaker in the years leading up to the American Civil War. Harriet Tubman's 1859 fable about colonizing slaves tackled one of the proposals to end slavery--by sending American slaves to Africa--with a simple story anyone could remember and repeat. It brought the house down at an antislavery rally. Ida B. Wells's 1909 "This Awful Slaughter" busted the myth that women's safety was the reason lynchings were carried out, and used a mix of data and defiance to fight against the practice of mob killings of black men. Read the book To Tell the Truth Freely: The Life of Ida B. Wells to learn more about her campaign. Josephine Baker at the March on Washington shares the brief remarks of the lone woman to share the program with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and scores of other male speakers. Those who thought of her as a notorious showgirl learned more about her self-enforced exile to France as a way of seeking racial equality. Fannie Lou Hamer's 1964 convention committee testimony failed to gain her a seat at that convention, but succeeded in raising the visibility of violence against blacks attempting to register to vote. Four years later, she became an historic convention delegate. You can read more about her public speaking in The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer: To Tell It Like It Is. Coretta Scott King's 1968 "10 Commandments on Vietnam" -- a speech she gave in her husband's place, just weeks after his assassination -- took scribbled notes found in his pockets and made them into a powerful call to action. Desert Rose: The Life and Legacy of Coretta Scott King is a recent biography. This post was our very first Famous Speech Friday entry! Shirley ate urging women to "step out of the shadows" and get more credit for their work. Gabourey Sidibe's speech at the 2014 Gloria Awards used an iconic photo of her aunt and Gloria Steinem to honor Steinem, and to talk about being confident despite how she's taunted because of her weight. Michelle Obama's eulogy for Maya Angelou in 2014 echoed words from "Phenomenal Woman" and told how the poet inspired her as a child. Kerry Washington spoke in 2014 on the risks of public speaking for women and women of color, admitting she'd turned down the chance to give a TED talk in an award acceptance speech. Rashema Melson's 2014 high school valedictory speech made headlines because the speaker overcame homelessness to graduate at the top of her class and get into Georgetown. A short, fierce, fantastic speech. Laverne Cox gave a 2014 keynote on transgender activism for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force meeting, offering inspiration and encouragement to local activists. Lupita Nyong'o used a 2014 acceptance speech at a Hollywood luncheon to talk about the conflicting views we have about black women and beauty in a revealing, resonant talk. Viola Davis's 2014 acceptance speech focused on hunger, taking a Hollywood audience to the dumpsters where she dived for food as a child, and speaking abou the importance of public speaking to shed light on so-called "unspeakable" issues. A riveting short speech. he start of a speech? Several readers of the blog have been asking about blushing at the start of their talks, with comments along these lines: "What can I do about suddenly turning red right before I start to speak? It makes me feel terrible and unprofessional, and I don't understand why it happens when I don't feel nervous otherwise! Most importantly, how can I stop blushing like this?" Blushing is one of the most mysterious things that people do, and unfortunately it is mostly out of our conscious control. Blushing is fueled by the body's autonomic or unconscious nervous system--the same one that tells your heart to pump and your stomach to digest. The mechanics of how a blush happens are straightforward. Underneath the skin of your face and neck is a lacework of tiny blood vessels called capillaries, which dilate under the influence of adrenaline to allow more blood and oxygen to flow. And a blush isn't something you can fake. Unlike most human expressions, you can't force a blush to appear on your face. (Or, sadly, demand that your capillaries shrink back to size.) But you're in good company if you don't understand why you blush, because scientists from Charles Darwin onward have been perplexed by what Darwin called "the most peculiar and most human of all expression." The research on blushing covers a wide ground, and its findings match most of what we already know from novelists. Blushing can signal embarrassment, shame, self-consciousness, pride or guilt. The good news, however, is that more recent studies about chronic blushing and blushing and social anxiety have offered some insights that may lead to less blushing, and less worry about your red face. What does a blush mean? Duke University social psychologist Mark Leary suggested in a 1992 study that there are four main types of attention that can cause blushing: some sort of "threat to public identity," which could be anything from tripping on a street curb to clapping at a performance when the rest of the theater is silent; an openness to scrutiny, or a situation that makes you the center of attention; praise or positive attention; and accusations of blushing. All of these situations seem to trigger the body's "fight or flight" response that unleashes face-flushing adrenaline. Public speaking can involve all four of these, of course. You may think of speaking as a threat to your public identity because you are fearful that your words may displease your audience. For women especially, historically taught to be silent, the very act of public speaking may make you feel as if you are violating normal behavior. Speaking does put you at the center of attention. And if you've ever had anyone comment on your blush, you may have felt yourself feeling hotter and redder by the second. But blushing isn't all about you, and your feelings. Some evolutionary biologists think that blushing has evolved like other emotions in that it serves as an important signal. For instance, a 2009 study led by University of Amsterdam clinical psychologist Corine Dijk suggests that a person who blushes after committing some sort of social blunder--knocking over a grocery display, for instance--is more likely to be forgiven for the act by observers if she blushes. Dijk says that in this case the blush makes the person appear more sympathetic, and is taken as a signal that she is genuinely sorry about the social "mistake." Other researchers have found that blushers tend to think their red faces are more noticeable than their observers do, and frequently overestimate the social consequences of blushing. Some scientists have noted an unfortunate side effect of these misperceptions: worrying about whether you blush and how obvious your blush can actually lead to further blushing that is measurably more intense. Handling the heat Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter or track when others tweet about the lack of women speakers on programs via @NoWomenSpeakers. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels. Posted by Becky Ham at Thursday, February 16, 2017 0 comments Email This The Eloquent Woman's weekly speaker toolkit Savvy speakers keep up with my wide-ranging reading list on women and public speaking by following The Eloquent Woman on Facebook, where these links and articles appear first. I always collect them here for you on Mondays as well. It's a great way to expand your public speaking knowledge: May the force be with your slides: These tips on how to nail a technical presentation used Princess Leia as the presenter...love that. Hello, Captain Obvious: Finally, the explanation of mansplaining you've always wanted. Did you miss? This week, the blog looked at collections of speeches (and one memoir) to add to your speaking shelf, and Famous Speech Friday shared how Elizabeth Warren was silenced in the U.S. Senate (but gave her remarks anyway). You can learn from her persistence! Join me in London April 3 for my one-day workshop, Creating a TED-Quality Talk. It's a small-group session that will demystify how to prepare such a talk, whether you're aiming for a TEDx conference or everyday presentations. The first TED talk I ever saw was this one by the great Hans Rosling, who died last week. No one could make data more beautiful to look at, nor deliver it with more enthusiasm. About the cartoon: It's called "Zip it!" by Ann Telnaes of the Washington Post. Sums up last week for eloquent women... Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter or track when others tweet about the lack of women speakers on programs via @NoWomenSpeakers. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels. Posted by Denise Graveline at Monday, February 13, 2017 0 comments Email This n's silencing in the U.S. Senate Reading a letter from someone else is a common tactic in public speaking. Often, it's a powerful tool for the public speaker, offering a compact endorsement of the points you wish to make. And that was, no doubt, among the motivations for Senator Elizabeth Warren, who sought to read a now-famous letter from Coretta Scott King during the Senate debate about the nominee for Attorney General of the United States, Warren's fellow Senator Jeff Sessions. King, the widow of civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., was a powerful witness to injustice; you can find her speech on the 10 Commandments of Vietnam in The Eloquent Woman Index of Famous Speeches by Women, as just one example. The letter in question this week was sent in 1986 to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, which was then considering whether to appoint Sessions to a federal judgeship. King, who could not appear live to testify, asked that her letter be entered into the Congressional Record, the official archive of what is discussed in Congress, and that was done. So Warren this week was choosing to read a well-known letter about the nominee that was already an official document of the Congress to her colleagues in the Senate, during a debate on Sessions's pending appointment. Sounds appropriate on all counts, and perhaps even slightly less risky to use the words of a famous civil rights leader as the bulk of your remarks, right? Not even. Here's how the New York Times described the scene after Warren began reading the letter in the Senate chamber: Sensing a stirring beside her a short while later, Ms. Warren stopped herself and scanned the chamber. Across the room, Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, had stepped forward with an objection, setting off an extraordinary confrontation in the Capitol and silencing a colleague, procedurally, in the throes of a contentious debate over President Trump’s cabinet nominee. “The senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama, as warned by the chair,” Mr. McConnell began, alluding to Mrs. King’s letter, which accused Mr. Sessions of using “the awesome power of his office to chill the pre-exercise of the vote by black citizens." You can see video of the interruption here. Sen. McConnell used Rule XIX of the Senate to make the procedural move. When Warren asked to continue her remarks, McConnell objected again and the senator chairing the session ordered her to take her seat. Following a debate on the silencing, Warren was formally silenced until the debate on the nominee ended mid-week. “Sen. Warren was giving a lengthy speech,” McConnell explained. “She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards later called that statement, "The history of progress for women, summed up in 11 words." Republicans in the way several of them doubled down on criticizing her, even after it was clear public opinion was with her. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican, spoke at length on the Senate floor to defend the silencing (note that Fox News calls Warren "Chief Running Mouth," another attempt at silencing her). Sen. Lindsay Graham said the silencing was "long overdue," because "she is clearly running for the nomination in 2020." The reality is that Warren commands a larger audience nationwide, compared to many senators, and is known as an effective and persistent critic who gets a lot of media attention. She might, as many other male senators have done, be contemplating a run for president. In other words, she was silenced for being effective in her work as a senator. “They were waiting to Rule 19 someone and they specifically targeted Elizabeth,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “I think because she’s effective.” So when you are silenced in your work, remember that it happens at much higher pay grades, too. If it happens to her, it can happen to you. Warren's silencing gave her the last laugh: At this writing, Warren's livestream statement has been seen 11 million times on Facebook, with hundreds of thousands of reactions and shares. The views have been doubling each day this week. The full 10-page letter from King runs to 10 pages, and you can read it here. What can you learn from this famous speech? Stay calm if you are interrupted with a surprise: This is one of the toughest tasks for a speaker, but it's worth pausing, taking a breath, and remaining calm as Warren did. Wait to see what the interruption is before you respond, and work on responding, not reacting. If you are silenced, say so: “Tonight I wanted to read that letter, and Sen. Mitch McConnell and Republicans came to the floor to shut me down for reading that letter,” Warren said in her livestream. Name the people or organizations that silence you--it's the best way to take back your voice and your control. Thursday, February 9, 2017 King, Hamer, Ginsburg, Obama: Speech collections a memoir Women speakers often are left out of collections of "major speeches." But of the four recent finds I've made in speech collection and a memoir, three are by important women speakers. I'll be adding these to The Eloquent Woman Booklist, my collection of useful books about speeches and speaking as featured on this blog. Add these to your speaking shelf: Ruth Bader Ginsburg: My Own Words, by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, collects her speeches and writings; if you buy the audiobook, you can hear recordings of her delivery of many of the speeches. Ginsburg's humor and thoughtfulness are on display here in a way the court bench does not always permit. This is the first volume of Ginsburg's autobiography, and I'm so delighted she began by releasing her influential speeches. Fannie Lou Hamer: The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer: To Tell It Like It Is, edited by Maegan Parker Brooks and Davis W. Houck, is the first collection of speeches by the noted civil rights activist, including transcriptions of her extemporaneous remarks. While often called illiterate as a means of dismissing her, she was, in fact, able to read and write. And she was one of the most formidable and persuasive speakers of the America civil rights movement. This collection shows why. Barack Obama: We Are the Change We Seek: The Speeches of Barack Obama, by E.J. Dionne, Jr. and Joy Redi, collects key speeches of the most recent former U.S. president, with 26 major speeches. Sam Leith's review notes patterns in the written speeches, adding that Obama's delivery made them unique and persuasive. Coretta Scott King: My Life, My Love, My Legacy, just out this month, collects the memoir of King, who shared her thoughts before her death in 2006 with Dr. Barbara Reynolds. She recalls numerous important speeches, including her 10 Commandments on Vietnam, which we've covered here on the blog. In some cases, the text is shared as well as her recollections of the events of the day, although this is not a collection of speeches. Still a great read. Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter or track when others tweet about the lack of women speakers on programs via @NoWomenSpeakers. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels. Posted by Denise Graveline at Thursday, February 09, 2017 0 comments Email we like Monday, February 6, 2017 The Eloquent Woman's weekly speaker toolkit Savvy speakers keep up with my wide-ranging reading list on women and public speaking by following The Eloquent Woman on Facebook, where these links and articles appear first. I always collect them here for you on Mondays as well. It's a great way to expand your public speaking knowledge: Last-minute insights: Why I threw out my speech for the Women's March, by a speaker in Chicago, shares how she had to expand her speech last-minute...and what she learned. Because you're a man is a stunner of a post by the first female chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy, imagining what it would be like for a male speaker to nail a panel appearance and get asked for his male perspective--just as women are often asked to do. A useful role reversal to share with male allies... Did you miss? This week, the blog asked that we please describe women's speeches as something other than 'emotional,' and Famous Speech Friday shared Viola Davis's introduction of Meryl Streep at the Golden Globe awards. Join me in London, speakers: I'm giving a workshop in London on April 3 on Creating a TED-quality talk. Join me, please, and share with interested colleagues. Seats are filling, and this is a small-group session, so sign up today! About the quote: It *is* better to speak, eloquent women! Find more quotes like this one from Audre Lord on our Pinterest board of great quotes by eloquent women. Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter or track when others tweet about the lack of women speakers on programs via @NoWomenSpeakers. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels. 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