MEETS

Yawn meets Vinice Cowell

Vinice wears Yawn Pyjama Set 'Lovebirds'

Thousands of activists gathered to march on London in celebration of women’s rights in the wake of Donald Trump’s election victory at the end of January 2017, however we wanted to catch up with one in particular – introducing, Vinice Cowell.

This year we're on a mission to get to know our customers, because who better to speak to to find out more about your interests, relaxation methods and discover what makes the perfect nightwear. 

Whilst tweeting away, we came across Advance Social Work Practitioner and long-term customer of Yawn, Vinice. Using her maternity leave with her first child to focus on political activism for the Women's Equality Party, Vinice has been hands on in helping shift focus to prioritising equality throughout society. Fascinated and eager to find out more about our customers as individuals, we met up with Vinice for a coffee...

So, Vinice…what is the Women’s Equity Party?

The Women’s Equality Party is a new collaborative force in British politics uniting people of all genders, diverse ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, beliefs and experiences in the shared determination to see women enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men so that ALL can flourish.

Equality for women isn’t a women’s issue. When women fulfil their potential, everyone benefits. Equality means better politics, a more vibrant economy, a workforce that draws on the talents of the whole population and a society at ease with itself.

How did you discover feminism?

I have always had positive feelings towards feminism. Equality and independence are traits that my parents instilled in me from a very young age. My father, although he probably doesn't realise it, was the biggest driver behind my feminism. As a child I spent many afternoons with my dad, my head under the bonnet of cars, helping with building and decorating, being very hands on. There was no talk of me not able to do any activity as I was a girl, all emphasis was on being strong and capable in all that I do.

I suppose feminism wasn’t spoken about directly, and I think if I was to ask my father he wouldn't call himself a feminist as he feels the term, like many, has negative associations of angry women and bras...but it naturally played out thanks to my parents and upbringing at home and having never been told that a job or career pursuit was off limits because I was a girl.

What made you join WEP?

I didn’t become politically active until I fell pregnant with my first child in 2015. I started to feel very anxious about the state of UK politics and despondent with its representatives, alongside the repercussions of prolonged austerity and how the disproportionate impact that it has on women now would affect my daughter in the future.

No party had spoken to me in such a long while that I had given up on politics as a whole. My WEP membership is directly attributable to a Paula Cocozza article that I read in the Guardian the night before my wedding, introducing me to the party. I signed up that night as a founding member and have been active with my local branch of WEP ever since.

Are there any downsides to the work you do today?

Social media trolls, although the mute button is highly satisfying! We sometimes come across women that are hostile towards feminism and feminists. This is something that I continually struggle with, however it makes me want to keep equality and feminism on the agenda, as these attitudes show how deep and entrenched patriarchal views run.

And what are the main highlights?

Being part of the 100,000k strong force that was the Women's March London and canvassing for Sophie Walker, two months before my due date, for the mayoral elections last May, (Where 1 in 20 people voted for WEP). I felt a very strong need to get out there and start being the change that I want to see in the world. Some people paint the baby's nursery, I became active in politics! It’s great being part of a political movement that is so fast growing and really shaking up the political landscape.

Do you have an advice for anyone wishing to join WEP / a political movement?

Politics is for everyone as it’s about everyone. If you are unhappy about something, lobby your MP, contact your local councillor, go to your local council meetings and ask questions, get answers and hold your elective representatives to account.

Your voice is as good as anyone else’s; your experiences matter and they need to be heard. If you are despondent about politics as a whole, get involved and change it, the world is run by those that show up and get involved, not necessarily those that are the best fit for the job.

With a baby and being so involved with the WEP, how do you manage to find time to relax?

Well trying to smash the patriarchy alongside work and family life is tiring! So when time allows, I can be found in one of my many pairs of Yawn pyjamas; my current favourite is “Take It Slow”, very apt for these dark and cold winter months, whilst enjoying a book on the sofa.

What’s coming up in 2017 for yourself and WEP?

Catherine Mayer (Co-founder of WEP) will be at the South Bank Women of the World Festival on 07/03/2017 to promote her new new book, Attack of the Fifty-Foot Women. Catherine will respond to questions posed by Sandi Toksvig (Comdeian and WEP co-founder) and have extracts of the book read allowed by Tanya Moodie.

 

WEP are still focusing on expanding their membership and growing local branches. If you would like to get involved but cant find a WEP meeting near you, then why not register your interest in starting your own branch, its not as scary as it seems.

To contact Vinice or find out more, you can reach her across Twitter:

Twitter: @V_cowell

             @WEPWForestandNewham

             @WEP_uk

Or read more online at www.womensequality.org.uk

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