If we want young women to speak up

Kate posted a comment on that article. I wonder if Espinoza will reply…and apologize.

Hello all – I am Kate Smurthwaite and I feel I should clear a few things up. Firstly I didn’t say young women “shouldn’t speak up” I said if we want young women to speak up [we] should focus on making sure it is safe for them to do so, rather than giving them patronising pep talks.

Secondly the suggestion that I should maybe not get paid for doing my job or that I should spend my time visiting state schools (who generally can’t afford to pay me) rather than private schools is ridiculous. As I said in my article, I have to take work that pays before work that doesn’t pay. I think it’s deeply regrettable that that means state school students miss out on interesting speakers. I am actively involved in campaigns for better school funding. I can’t live on air though so I have to do paid work. I’m JUST GUESSING the journalist who spent a whole five minutes writing this also expects a paycheque at the end of the day.

And it’s rather an exaggeration to call me a BBC writer. I have written for two shows that are produced by HatTrick and aired on the BBC. This is less than 5% of my job (time-wise or money-wise). I’m a comedian, writer and political campaigner.

And yes, thanks for the feedback – aren’t I ugly?! You are rather making my point for me that the Internet can be a nasty bullying place, especially for women, and as such pushing young women into it without challenging the sexism in it or even warning them of the risks is downright stupid.

Curiously if the author of this piece had, well, shall we say, grown some ovaries, he could have just included the link to my actual article in The Teacher. There is an online PDF of the whole issue and my column is on P25. I guess that would have spoiled all the fun of the dishonest click-bait headline though, wouldn’t it?

Thanks all for the interest in my work though.

Why would girls or women feel any hesitation about speaking up when their words are always treated with the scrupulous fairness we see in this very article? I just can’t figure it out.


  1. anthrosciguy says

    She gets paid for giving talks?!? No amount of outrage is too much! I’m actually outraged at myself for not being outraged enough right now!

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