Visible Women

Introducing Visible Women: Stylist's campaign to celebrate the brilliance of all women

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Stylist Team
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Throughout 2018, Stylist will be raising the profiles of important women past and present – and empowering future generations to follow their lead. 

Despite 100 years having passed since women were first awarded the vote and the right to stand for parliament, women are still shockingly underrepresented in positions of power and influence. We may have a female Prime Minister in the UK, but only 32% of MPs and 26% of the cabinet are women. Globally, just 15% of the seats on boards are held by women – and the number of women in the UK being hired to FTSE 100 boards is falling.

Given that 51% of the population is female, this is alarming. But why does it matter?

As American activist Marian White Edelman famously said: “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Countless studies have proven that girls and young women are negatively affected when they cannot see positive role models in their world – and adult women are also disadvantaged by a lack of visible female power. 

Research shows that women managers who lack powerful role models are less likely to be taken seriously by the people who work for them, while governments with significant numbers of women politicians are more likely to pass women-friendly laws.

It is clear, then, that seeing and hearing from more women would make a radical difference to gender equality in the UK. Which is why Stylist is pledging to do something about it in 2018 with our Visible Women initiative.

Just 32% of UK MPs are women. From L-R: Diane Abbott (Labour); Prime Minister Theresa May; Caroline Lucas (Green); Nicola Sturgeon (SNP).     

Launching on Monday 8 January, the year-long campaign to champion women’s equality will include a dedicated Visible Women channel on – your new destination for content that celebrates brilliant women past and present.

Throughout the year we’ll be bringing you compelling features covering women we think you need to know, including Forgotten Women: a regular column online and in print that celebrates an unknown woman from history.

Every Monday, we’ll publish an interview with an inspiring modern woman who’s making a difference to society, in our new online series Woman of the Week

In addition, Women Making Waves – a weekly news round-up highlighting women who have pushed for change and made history that week – will drop online every Friday. 

We’re also calling on Stylist readers to make some noise about their professional accomplishments all over social media. Hop on over to Instagram or Twitter and tell us why you’re proud of your career, using the hashtag #VisibleWomen. The writers of the six most impressive entries will be profiled in our Work Life column over the course of 2018, with one reader appearing on the cover of Stylist at the end of the year.

Emmeline Pankhurst, one of the Suffragettes who fought for women’s right to vote.

But this is only the start of Visible Women. Throughout 2018, Stylist has committed to delivering three pledges:

1. The Visibility Pledge

Raising awareness of women who’ve made a difference to society and celebrating their success to ensure there are more role models for girls and women.

2. The Representation Pledge

As just 32% of MPS are women, and just 26% of the cabinet, Stylist will work to increase the visibility of women in the political sphere.

3. The Education Pledge

Teaching future generations about inspiring women, past and present. 

A central pillar of Stylist’s Visible Women initiative: educating younger generations about inspiring women

On 6 February, 100 years to the day that property-owning women over the age of 30 were first granted UK voting rights, Stylist’s Suffragette issue will hit the streets. 

This special edition of the print magazine is designed to have the look and feel of a periodical from 1918, and will tell the moving stories of the heroic women who dedicated their lives to gaining equality – as well as highlighting present-day feminist activism.

“When I launched Stylist just over eight years ago, I circled February 2018 on my planner,” says editor-in-chief Lisa Smosarski. “I knew that the centenary of women receiving the vote was an important moment to mark for our audience of smart, feminist women.

“But as the events of 2017 unfolded, as we watched #MeToo grow, remembered the stories told through Laura Bates’ #everydaysexism campaign, once again saw the gender pay gap increase, and shook our heads in despair at the lack of representation in parliament, we knew that we were still a long way off the gender equality the suffragettes had made sacrifices for.

“So this seemed like the right moment to embrace the spirit of the suffragettes, to really finish what they started.”

We’ll be announcing more about Visible Women throughout 2018 – so stay tuned on the dedicated channel for regular updates. 

Images: Rex Features / iStock