How do you feel your confidence has changed over the past 10 years?

My confidence has definitely changed since my journey into feminism over the last 10 years.

Learning that almost everything I dislike about myself came from a boardroom full of middle aged men.

How I look, how I am as a mother, what my home is like – all related to this limiting but profitable gender stereotypes.

Having the tools to see that means that self hatred can be turned outward into critical analysis on the experience of girls.


Why do you think that is?

Because now I know they have absolutely nothing to do with anything important. It’s about profit or providing free labour for men.

My weight, my hair, how tidy my kitchen is doesn’t affect if I’m capable, knowledgeable, good at my job, can be there for a friend, the memories I make or the changes I can make in the world.

They simply do not matter and shouldn’t take up my space, time or money.


Do you feel invisible in some aspects of your life? How does that show up?


As a working class woman and a survivor of male violence. Both of these things are topics people with the power to change them do not want to hear about.

They don’t care what you have to say, they dismiss your experience or outright try to silence you.

Because you are the inconvenient truth – they failed.

Tell me about a woman who is older than you, inspires you and why? Describe how she makes you feel.

There are so many women.

I am very aware that we stand on the shoulders of giants.

Feminists have been labelled hateful and extreme every step of the way. The rights women have were not given by men because it was the right thing to do.

Women have been imprisoned, beaten, killed, had their children taken, sexually assaulted, humiliated and for everything I have.

I read their work and I learn from women as much as I can.

Sheila Jeffries, Andrea Dworkin, Linda Bellos, bell hooks, Gail Dines, Karen Ingala Smith, Julie Bindel and so many more.

They have my undying thanks for clearing the path ahead.


What worries you about ageing?

The dignity I will be afforded should I need care. After a lifetime of being exploited as a carer and my financial opportunities being significantly lower and for less time than men, I worry my needs and boundaries will be dismissed in old age. Vulnerable women do not do well in a patriarchal society.

What excites you about ageing?

Being able to make as many memories as possible. Having time to admire nature more. Being able to look into the eyes of girls after me knowing that I fought for them to have safer and better.

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

You are not worthless – they are just trying to make you feel that way to keep you compliant.

You have power.

One day you will use it.

Fast forward to 2033 what are the 3 things you hope will have changed?

Pornography is regulated so that women are seen as people and not objects.

Gender stereotypes are abolished creating a huge reduction in male violence against women and girls.

We stop demonising the poor for the deeds of the rich.

Thank you Gemma for answering my questions.
If you would like to learn more about Gemma’s work visit