One year of Women Are Boring

by Catherine Connolly

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Women Are Boring was due to celebrate its first birthday on  5th May 2017. However, my co-founder Grace McDermott died tragically on 1st May. While the blog is currently on a short hiatus, I wanted to write something small, for Grace, about what Women Are Boring has achieved in the fourteen months since we launched. We were blown away by the response to the site, and I continue to be humbled by the messages of support that we get every day. We worked really hard, and had so much fun as we did. We regularly told each other that it was one of the best things either of us had ever done. Every single moment of doing this with Grace was exciting and joyous, because we shared it together. We met at the beginning of our PhDs, in 2014. She felt like a friend I had been waiting for my whole life. My heart is broken, and I miss her more than words can say.

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Through the site, we met wonderful people, read and shared fascinating research every day, and created a community of women in academia through the Women Are Boring forum, which now has over 600 members. The site received its first acknowledgement and citation in an academic journal in May 2017, and numerous contributors have been featured and quoted in news stories as a result of their contributions. To date, there have been more than 100,000 views of the site, from almost every country in the world. In the past year we took part in numerous events to talk about the women whose research is featured on the site, why academic research is so important, and why we need women experts featured in media. Grace and I hoped that in some small way we were achieving what we set out to do when we created the site – to increase public engagement with academic research, to enhance the visibility of the women doing that research, and to improve the representation of women as experts.

When we discovered that only 24% of experts quoted in news media in Ireland and the UK are women, we decided to create a space for expert women’s voices ourselves. We couldn’t have done so without our partners  (Grace’s fiancé Colin O’ Neill has written beautifully about Grace in his homage to her on this site), our families, our friends, and most of all, the women who contribute their research to the site – it could not exist without them, and they have supported and championed the project from the very beginning. Thank you all so much.

What follows are the most popular posts from each month of the first year of Women Are Boring, along with some of our own favourites. It is such an honour to promote this research, and the women who conduct it. I’ve also included some of our media interviews, and pieces that Grace wrote for the site. I would really love for everyone to read these and to listen to our podcast interview, so as to hear Grace herself in her own funny, smart, ferocious, and always brilliant words.

Women Are Boring will be back with new pieces of fascinating research by interesting women in mid-September. Thank you so much for reading.

Catherine

The most popular posts during the first year of Women Are Boring

May 2016: The Political Participation of Women in Post-Conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina, by Tajma Kapic. The very first piece published on Women Are Boring, by our amazing friend Tajma. Learn about why it’s important for women to be involved in post-conflict peace processes, and what happens when they’re not.

June 2016: What now for UK academia? Twelve academics on Brexit. Twelve academics working in the UK give their reaction to the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, and the affect they think it will have on higher education in the UK.

July 2016: All by myself: what I have learned from doing fieldwork on my own. Olivia Wilkinson writes about travelling abroad on her own to conduct her fieldwork research, and gives advice for others who want to do the same.

August 2016: Waking the Feminists: Ringing the alarm for gender equality in theatre. We spoke to three women, all involved in different aspects of theatre in Ireland, about what the Waking the Feminists movement means to them.

September 2016: Death and Me. Dr. Ruth Penfold-Mounce writes about her research into death and popular culture, from Disney movies to celebrity deaths.

October 2016: Women: Ruling Hallowe’en since forever. Dr. Lucy Ryder tells us about the origins of Hallowe’en, and how women have always been central to its celebration.

November 2016: Space weather: predicting the future. Aoife McCloskey researches weather in space (yes, there’s weather in space), how it affects the Earth, and how we can predict it.

December 2016: Women, Shakespeare and Ireland: What ish my nation? Emer McHugh grapples with women, national identity, and Shakespeare.

January 2017: Using Evidence of Previous Sexual History in Rape Cases: The Ched Evans Case, Part 1 (trigger warning). Molly Joyce’s important three-part series on understanding the Ched Evans case, and the use of sexual history in rape cases in England and Wales.

February 2017: Dr. Kearney, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Imposter Syndrome. Eve Kearney’s piece on adapting to life as a PhD student, and accepting the imposter syndrome that many PhD students experience, is a perennial favourite of visitors to the site.

March 2017: Researching through recovery: Embarking on a PhD post-brain surgery. Sinead Matson writes about starting a PhD after undergoing brain surgery, and overcoming the challenges that come with it.

April 2017: Literary representations of maternity. Helen Charman’s wonderful piece on literature and maternity, featuring Beyoncé, Warsan Shire, Georg Eliot, and Adrienne Rich.

And some more:

Learn about the diversity of life on Earth and the role of evolution in this piece by Emma Dunne.

‘There’s something about women who speak – sing, even – that makes people nervous…’

Parents and friends provide an important role for young people with depression

Fighting disillusionment as an American expatriate

Think animals don’t have personalities? Think again! This excellent piece also has lots of monkey photos, and an appearance by the legendary Jane Goodall

Understand why there are difficulties with preventing sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers on peacekeeping missions (trigger warning)

One of our STEM editors, Reham Badawy, writes about her research into developing a mobile phone app that can detect Parkinson’s Disease before symptoms arise.

Carol Ballantine writes about stigma, shame, and gender-based violence.

Folktales may have an evolutionary benefit for humans

(There are tons more excellent pieces on the site – please do go and explore them and tell people about them!)

Pieces by Grace

10 Things Americans can do to make St. Patrick’s Day about more than alcohol and appropriation. Grace was from New York – a proud Long Islander – and she wrote this piece in about half an hour on St. Patrick’s Day 2017, after becoming annoyed at some St. Patrick’s Day articles she’d seen online. Grace wrote this piece with her usual ferocity, humour and critical mind (and Irish people should read it too!).

The Media Gender gap… and what to do about it. Why the invisibility of women in media matters and what you can do about it.

Grace and I wrote this piece on Gender, Media and the Unbreakable Ivory Ceiling together for The Institute for Future Media & Journalism (FuJo) in DCU. We look at gender equality in Irish academic institutions, and female academics in the media.

The L’Oréal – UNESCO for Women in Science Awards: Grace wrote this piece about the importance of women in research and how research funding is allocated after we attended the 2016 L’Oréal – UNESCO event in London.

Women Are Boring media interviews and features

Listen to our chat with the wonderful Very Loose Women podcast

Our most recent interview was with the excellent Riposte Magazine

We were SO excited to learn that we had been featured in Marie Claire magazine in South Africa!

We chatted feminism and normalising the intellectual female voice with Siún of As An Nua

Our first print interview was in The Irish Times, in September 2016

We were interviewed in the January 2017 issue of Irish Country Magazine, and featured in the August 2016 issue of Stellar magazine

 

(Our wonderful logo was created by Chloe Randall-Hinton, who recently graduated from the Winchester School of Art. See more of her work here)

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5 thoughts on “One year of Women Are Boring

  1. Elena says:

    Happy belated birthday. We will always miss Grace, but we also love you, Catherine, and we will always be here for your. Congrats on the hard work and on keeping on even when it seemed impossible.

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  2. jacqui says:

    Catherine both you and Grace have always had my love and admiration, not only for all you achieved in such a short time with Women are Boring but also all that the two of you have achieved in your lifetime to date. Both courageous, intelligent, curious, considerate witty young women. By continuing with this blog you are helping to keep Grace’s legacy & voice alive and going by your statistics fighting the good fight for women everywhere which Grace would want. I know you have the strength and conviction to keep this going. Jacqui

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  3. Robert G. McDermott says:

    Grace admired you. She would be so proud and delighted at your commitment to keeping the blog going. Expanding on the work that you and Grace started together to highlight academic research and commentary addressing gender equality, and other relevant issues , is important. Grace’s family in the United States shares Grace’s admiration of you. We appreciate you keeping Gracie’s legacy alive. Well done, Catherine , and THANK YOU. ❤️

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  4. Patricia Oon says:

    Well done, well done, well done for changing the narrative for anyone to ever search the words ‘women are boring’. I’ve only found your blog 20 minutes ago and am so sorry to hear about Grace. The story of her life inspires me, and this blog inspires me to be more than I am now. Thank you so much for being strong and putting this on a platform for people, I hope you do continue and that I can contribute in the future!

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