WomenEd Blogs

Anger and Hope


by Nicole Rodden @NicoleRodden1

At the #WomenEd global unconference this weekend the word ‘anger’ was repeated. ‘Anger and hope leads to change’ by Dr Jill Berry. Being falsely called aggressive and angry, a stereotype of black women in particular, as mentioned in Caroline Verdant’s session. The need for an Angry Girls Club being set up in schools for girls to vent, mentioned by Emily Rosaman. Similarly, words like ‘vent’, ‘rage’ and ‘shock’ were used to describe some of the injustices within people’s stories linked to instances of racism and sexism within the sector.

This is not a coincidence that this word was mentioned multiple times when, across the country, thousands of women (and men) are angry at the murders of Sarah Everard and the 78 other women who have died since then because of male violence, including Sabina Nessa.

  • We are angry at being told that this was a one off, a bad egg in the police force, a lone madman.
  • We are angry at the fear we feel walking home in the dark.
  • We are angry at ridiculous solutions to this problem such as hailing down a bus.

Yet, I’m reminded…anger and hope lead to change.

In society, we see anger as a negative emotion but Gina Miller talks about anger as being one of the most influential emotions we have. Laura Bates shares that we’ve been taught that anger is unfeminine, unladylike and therefore shameful.

However, if we channel and manage anger, it can be hugely effective. Anger is a powerful tool for action, for inspiration and for change.

Hope message on the beach sand.

I’ve been channeling my anger into the work I do with Life Lessons, working to amplify diverse young people's voices to change school cultures and prevent peer on peer abuse. This helps to use my rage for good, for something practical, useful and reduces that feeling of things being overwhelming. As a woman, I’ve become more accepting of my anger, it’s legitimate, it’s necessary and, coupled with hope, it’s fuel for me to be brave and create change. We must find space for an anger that includes all of us; disabled women, trans women and sex workers who are all at a higher risk of attack.

So as the weekend of the WomenEd unconference comes to a close, I want to thank all the incredibly brave women who have shared their stories with us.

“If you’re not angry, you’re either a stone, or you’re too sick to be angry. You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger, yes. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.”       Maya Angelou


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Sunday, 29 January 2023

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