Smash It! Young Womens Project
Funder: Big Lottery Fund
Synopsis: The Smash It project was aimed at educating young women around gender equality and career pathways, using media as a tool to change perception and build confidence. As a short term intervention, this project operated as a pilot for planned future work in this area.
Brief: The aim was to work with young women aged 12 to 16. The work was targeted in the North of the city, based on our youth work consultation. This had identified that many young women accessing general youth sessions weren’t engaging in learning opportunities due to dominance of young males in these mixed groups. A significant concern we found was that many young women were affected by low aspirations, limited expectations around “suitable”career pathways for women and negative gender stereotypes, yet were not conscious of these issues.
Our Approach: We employed a youth worker to lead on the delivery of the sessions, working alongside our media team. The project started with group work sessions to develop thinking and awareness of gender disparity issues, followed by practical studio photography sessions to produce a series of campaign posters. The group then developed ideas for a pair of short films based on issues the group felt most relevant to them; body image and stereotyping.
Impact: The participants gave extensive feedback about the benefit of the sessions in raising their awareness and confidence. Participants commented that; “the whole thing has made me more passionate about equality because I’ve learned that there is much more inequality than i thought.”, “it’s weird that it’s not equal. and unfair and stupid that men get paid more than women.”, “it’s made me think.”
Youth Workers also noted that running the sessions in the professional setting of Fotonow’s base at Ocean Studios rather than their youth centre helped to focus the group, as the opportunity to visit the facilities was a new experience for all of the participants.