Twitter has hashtags #

These took me over a year to work out (I’m a slow learner) and I hadn’t realised how useful they were or, how important they are in a conversation. Picking up a thread if everyone has used the hashtag allows you a good overview.

Hashtags then trend and can be very funny. #notamosque highlighted UKIP’s error in thinking Westminster Cathedral was a mosque and people began tweeting pictures of random buildings. My favourite had to be a Mecca bingo hall.

You may have also noticed #ostentatiousbreastfeeding following Claridges’ request for a woman breastfeeding to cover herself up with the the largest, starchiest napkin you’ve ever seen.

Anyway #genderedcheese is my hashtag and thanks to @gazneedle I now have illustrations. The reason for #genderedcheese came from a photo on Twitter (sorry I don’t know who and I’ve tried to track back), showing different cheese for boys and girls.


On the same day a professor had said there was no point in spending money encouraging girls into science as those who have a propensity towards it will ‘follow their calling’. http://ow.ly/z2s6u

A few days later I saw an all male panel discussing education.


And it seemed to me that we have to challenge these things; we have to realise that images do have an impact on boys and girls.  I visit lots of schools and always look for the photo board in reception – is your leadership team all male? Also this, by TeachFirst:


But it can be more pernicious than this. David DavisMP recently referred to ‘Tiger Mums’ in the race to Grammar school places, like there aren’t any competitive Dads out there. http://moregrammarschools.co.uk/

David Cameron put down a fellow female MP by saying ‘Calm Down Dear’ and women are often told they are too emotional or too strident or that they flounce – gendered phrases, gendered images, gendered attitudes.

And then, the very paper who should be reflecting our views does this:IMG_0615.JPG

So, #genderedcheese has made me aware of the subliminal and the downright in your face messages we receive and I will continue to use it when I see all male panels or any overtly gendered images or toys or articles or blogs – I don’t expect it to catch on but would love it if you just noticed.

Here are some hashtags, twitter handles and blogs to have a look at.

Good to follow on gendered toys and books (these people are really changing how manufacturers and book sellers advertise)

@lettoysbetoys #lettoysbetoys


A campaign which challenges stereotypes and limiting roles to young girls.

@amightygirl is the world’s largest girl empowerment marketplace with books, toys, music, and movies for raising smart, confident, and courageous girls!

Good to follow for questioning gender issues

@betsysalt (a headteacher)

@ideas_factory (Primary School Technologist.Master Computer Teacher)

@suecowley (Writer, teacher, trainer, presenter, chair of preschool committee: suecowley.wordpress.com)

@LCLL_Director (Executive Director: London Centre for Leadership in Learning, IOE & Assistant Director: School Partnerships, IOE)

@Dr!eatonGray (Senior Lecturer in Education, researcher and writer.)

@annashipman (Technical Architect on GOV.UK)

@ruthkennedy (Public Service innovation | systems thinking | leadership | design | learning)

@kejames (scientist @mdibl (DNA barcoding/citizen sci), co-founder/director)

@edyong209 (Science writer, freelance journalist, husband. I CONTAIN MULTITUDES–on partnerships between animals & microbes–out in 2016. flavors.me/edyong)

@Spacecatgal (Head of Development at Giant Spacekat.)

Campbell-nominated author of: BLACKBIRDS, UNDER THE EMPYREAN SKY, BLUE BLAZES, more.

@nomorepage3 – campaigning for The Sun to drop page 3 – yes this is still happening 😦

@50:50parliament (Petitioning party leaders to debate and take action to make Parliament more equal )


I also know @tombennett71 and @hgaldinoshea consider a good gender mix important at #ResearchEd

A few blogs to consider

Possibly one of the best blog on women in education by @benniekara


This is just superb – http://lareviewofbooks.org/essay/gender-blah-blah-blah/#.VKKtHd382LY.twitter

Do super-hero films have women talking to each other about anything other than men?

Which Major Superhero Films Pass The Bechdel Test? Here’s a Handy Chart

Proper research on women aren’t in top jobs

This by @suecowley on the machoisation of education http://wp.me/p3iyKp-wN

@debrakidd’s take on her experiences http://debrakidd.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/woman-know-thy-place/

@annashipman on encouraging women to speak at conferences http://www.annashipman.co.uk/jfdi/how-to-get-women-speakers.html

@phylogynomics I always like it when men notice too – sometimes there’s tumbleweed on the twittersphere but this is great; he refused to be a keynote speaker when he looked back at previous guests http://phylogenomics.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/turning-down-endowed-lectureship.html

From one of the most sensible heads I’ve encountered on Twitter @RosMcM

The always great writer @miss_mcinerney reminds us how gender disparity works both ways

This is great – Joan and John – composite experiences of two research lecturers (thanks to @PamelaSnow2 for this)


This is a great blog by Summer Turner (@ragazza_inglese) on a teacher’s duty to challenge stereotypes:

 And my original post: http://wp.me/p4sUgv-Z

Thanks to @gazneedle for his shamazing illustrations.



  1. stepping out against the grain here, but you do realize:

    1) gender cheese was probably a poor attempt to pander to feminists because someone mentioned their cheese mascot was masculine

    2) the professor speaking on science was right. We don’t need to spend money attempting to force girls into science. If they are interested, there are lots of opportunities for them to enter science, just look at the stats regarding university biology – more than 50% female for the last 20 years (even when I was in uni, way back). So, after 70 years of affirmative action, if a field is underpopulated by women, despite gender-biased scholarships and hiring practices, it’s because women have very little interest in entering it. If you didn’t enter it, why do you think some other woman will?

    3) an all male panel discussing education is a rarity, unless they are politicians. However, being as the vast majority of teachers are women (where’s the gender equality there?), women already have a huge voice in education. Letting men speak occassionally on an otherwise female-dominated subject does not equate to sexism. In fact, teachers conferences are often dominated by female speakers.

    4) your ‘tiger moms’ comment is clearly a case of you making something from nothing. The term ‘Tiger Mom’ is a reference to a specific style of raising your children and it comes from a book by American mother and professor of Law, Amy Chua entitled ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’. It’s about not coddling your children, and instead teaching them to work hard and not expecting the world to give them anything they don’t earn through that hard work. It’s a memoir of how she raised her own daughters. So, use of the term was referencing something specific, and was in no way a statement that only mothers can be competitive.

    5) David Cameron used a term applied to females to attack a female… okay, it was condescending, but ?! Consider something that should be more demeaning to you. Women, including feminists, will often insult men by attacking their masculinity. ‘Men don’t have the balls to…’, as one of many similar type examples. (http://elitedaily.com/dating/men-pssies-women-need-start-asking-men-dates/746965/) What does that mean? It is essentially insulting a man by calling him a woman. This should give you pause. If even women think being called a woman is an insult, you have a problem of self-esteem that no man can fix.

  2. Just a great post Jules.

    Thanks for mentioning me too-much appreciated.

    As the only male in a 4 team Primary school Senior Leadership Team and the proud son of a successful woman politician,your post struck a massive chord with me.

    I’ve seen at close hand how difficult the journey is for successful women to be taken seriously in education.

    Any campaign that seeks to redress this inequality balance is alright by me.

    Keep up the great work

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