Are Feminists ‘Man Haters’?

Are Feminists ‘Man Haters’?

Articles, Opinion

Editor’s Note – In this passionate opinion article, Mariam makes the case that feminism has been portrayed in an unfair and untrue light, and should distance itself from the popular misconception that it is related to misandry.

Are Feminists ‘Man Haters’?

The misconceptions surrounding feminism are something I find very alarming. The number of people who are unaware of what feminism means or represents is shocking, and this has led to the miscommunications of its ideas and values. By far the most popular misconception is the idea that feminists are misandrists. This is simply untrue. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, feminism is “a belief in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes”. Misandry on the other hand is defined by the oxford dictionary as an “ingrained prejudice against men”. These two definitions show that the two sets of beliefs are not only different, but also mutually exclusive. A feminist cannot be a misandrist, so why are people so confused, and where does this link between feminism and misandry come from?

In some dictionaries feminism is also interpreted as the support for women’s rights and it is this definition that is responsible for a lot of confusion. The two definitions have vastly different meanings, one supporting equality between the sexes and the other siding with women only. In short, the feminist movement comprises of a collection of perspectives, some of which contradict each other. Misandry has become just another perspective on feminism that no feminist, by its definition, identifies with. This has led to the mislabeling of misandrists as feminists and consequentially the link has been formed.

Misandry has now, to an extent, been normalised within feminism through humour. It has become a joke that women are supposed to identify with. For example, a common phrase associated with the feminist movement you may have heard is ‘ban men’, and you can even buy T-shirts and bracelets with phrases such as these or the word ‘misandrist’ printed on them. Whilst these phrases hold little truth and are often expressed in retaliation to misogynist views, the irony and humorous element is all too often lost. However well intended the use of misandry is, its inherent meaning is hatred, and the justification that the right type of man will understand is simply unconvincing. If men were to start wearing T-shirts with the word ‘misogynist’ printed on them, there would most likely be outrage, so why are we not only allowing but welcoming misandry?

Feminists don’t hate men. What feminists truly hate is the patriarchy, the systemic oppression of women, and to overcome this obstacle and achieve equality more people need to be involved. Telling half the population that we hate them is no way to do that. In fact, it is entirely counterproductive. According to a poll carried out by Huffington Post, only 16% of men would describe themselves as feminists, and surely even fewer would find misandry funny or appealing. The toxic attitude that has started to grow within feminism is only preventing the feminist movement from reaching its sole aim of absolute gender equality. Appealing to the sense of humour of a minority is a great way to alienate the majority and cause a miscommunication of beliefs and values. This is what has happened within feminism. This has not only led to the stigma surrounding the word and the reluctance to be associated with it, but in fact nearly a fifth of people use ‘feminist’ as an insult, according to the Independent.

The use of misandry within feminism has damaged its reputation and how others view it. This in turn has prevented the growth of a very important movement. The two ideas need to be completely separated. Having misandry come under the label of feminism has caused confusion and contempt toward a perfectly acceptable notion. I believe it should have no place in the movement if it is to progress.

Education for the many or just one more perk for the few?

Education for the many or just one more perk for the few?

Articles, Opinion

Editor’s note – In this eloquently written article, our head of articles Lucy Higginbotham analyses Jeremy Corbyn’s policy to scrap tuition fees, one which was central to the Labour campaign during the 2017 General Election. Does the policy really succeed in fulfilling its aims of providing education for the many or just one more perk for the few?

Education for the many or just one more perk for the few?

Leading up to the 2017 general election, Jeremy Corbyn outlined how he planned to reduce inequality in the UK. The Labour manifesto had a chapter dedicated to education, which reflected the party’s endeavour to attract the support of young voters. A policy targeted specifically at young people was his aim to abolish university tuition fees, which did not appear on the manifesto of any other major party.

The Labour party also promised to reintroduce maintenance grants for students, which the Conservatives had previously replaced with loans. Whereas the average student now graduates with debts of over £50,000, under a Labour government many people who otherwise would not be able to afford the living costs associated with attending university would have received financial support from the government.
Corbyn put across a moral argument for free higher education, saying that “no one should be put off educating themselves for lack of money or through fear of debt”. Most people, if not all, would agree that it is wrong for someone to lose out on this opportunity simply due to their socioeconomic status which is entirely out of their control.

However, many young people are already disadvantaged with regards to their education before they reach university age. Someone who can afford to attend a private school, or someone who can afford to live in the catchment area for a grammar school or an above-average state school has a far greater chance of obtaining the grades, skill set and advice that would give them a chance of gaining a place at university. This suggests that someone of a middle-class background would still be more likely to attend university than someone from a working-class background, regardless of the cost. If this is the case, does it mean that, instead of giving everyone a fair chance of going to university, the abolition of tuition fees would in fact only save the money of the middle-class students who were already able and willing to pay? Is this a way of removing the barrier that many people face in progressing to the next level of education, or just an unnecessary bonus for the few at the top?

Even if there was convincing evidence that the abolition of tuition fees would reduce inequality, one must still take into account the immense cost of free higher education for all. In total, Labour’s plans to abolish tuition fees and reintroduce maintenance grants would result in an increased overall cost to the Exchequer of £9.062 billion per cohort. This is obviously a vast sum of money, and, understandably, many would argue that this is not the best way to spend taxpayers’ money. For example, free higher education is unlikely to appeal to older generations who might want their money to go towards improving the NHS, and some young people would rather see more affordable housing for first-time buyers so they can get on the housing ladder. Is it fair to spend public money on something that many members of the public feel they don’t want or need?

One argument is that a more educated population would be beneficial to the country as a whole, not just those who were being educated. But are some degrees better for the public than others? Some might advocate for the sponsorship of only certain degrees that provide essential qualifications that are required for positions that need to be filled in the public sector. However, deciding which courses would be deemed “useful” would cause controversy, and ultimately this would go against the principle of offering equal opportunities for everyone, because it would only benefit the people who wanted to pursue certain careers, and people would still be prevented from studying what they wanted to study by cost.

Corbyn clearly hoped to win the support of younger voters with this promise, as well as showing that Labour were willing to invest in the country’s future. But is it rightfully popular, or simply a populist policy proposed by Labour in an attempt to claw their way up in the polls?

By Lucy Higginbotham
Head of Articles, YouthPolitics UK

The Brexit Negotiation’s impact on the Youth #2

The Brexit Negotiation’s impact on the Youth #2

Articles

Editor’s note – As an organisation we’re determined to highlight the impacts of any current affairs on the Youth of this country, ensuring that we are aware of the decisions being made which could impact us now, and in the future. Following on from last moth’s article, our deputy editor James Sullivan-Mchale provides us with an analysis of how this week’s Brexit negotiations have a direct influence on our generation…

The Brexit Negotiations and its Impact on the Youth #2

Summary

• Possible Worker Shortages with serious repercussions
• Problems over role of ECJ (European Courts of Justice)
• No set policy over Northern Ireland- still uncertainty over cross border projects
• Possible positive consequences of a Hard Brexit. But is it just wishful thinking?
• Devolution Disagreements with Scotland and Wales

Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In news set to worry young people across the UK it was reported that in a survey 17% of businesses with EU national workers were seriously considering re-locating to another country. In an already crowded workplace this could raise the prospect of a generation with even smaller prospects if these businesses do leave. It was also claimed that 47% of EU nationals are considering leaving many work in areas such as nursing (in the NHS and private sector) meaning there could be a dangerous shortfall in these areas. Despite 31% of businesses seeing workers leave the country it does not appear that, as some claimed, these jobs have been filled by ‘British Workers.’ The main problems are actually being caused by the lack of solid progress in the negotiations which is creating uncertainty in these sectors especially for young people. This uncertainty was shown recently by the case of a Finnish academic working in London who was mistakenly sent a deportation notice. It was withdrawn by the Home Office but it shows the confusion surrounding current arrangements.

The role of European Court of Justice (ECJ) is to be the ultimate arbiter in cases concerning EU law. After we leave there is the problem of who has the final say over such disputes. Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, has announced that when we leave the EU we will also not be subject to the ECJ. But we don’t know what will happen to cases if there is a transitional period when we leave the EU. One suggestion is for the ECJ and the UK to appoint an arbitrator, basically a 3rd party who can be relied to give an impartial decision. However, more clarity is needed over these decisions and while there has been some agreement there has been nothing concrete signed.
Northern Ireland and the impact on the border on with the Republic of Ireland post Brexit is a real concern. Recently the UK Government has released a series of possible options about what could happen and these models vary considerably. Some of the cross-border projects could be allowed to continue as both sides are determined to avoid physical infrastructure which would be a hard border with cross-border points and checks. However, if by the time the UK officially leaves the EU and nothing has been agreed upon there are real concerns that this will happen. This may in turn be in breach of the 1989 Good Friday Agreement. One suggestion made is to create an exemption for cross-border trade that would mean small and medium sized businesses to transport goods freely across the border. However larger business would have to register goods brought across through an online system. Of course, this raises the prospects of people exploiting the system and increasing problems such as illegal immigration across the border.

Despite of all the negatives surrounding Brexit one recent survey found that if we have a hard Brexit then there could be a possible positive outcome for the UK. A study by Professor Patrick Minford has shown that a ‘Hard’ Brexit (one where the UK takes an isolationist stance from the EU) could be beneficial to the UK economy. This would allow the UK to strike new deals with developing economies and not have to remain within the strict tariffs imposed by the EU. IF the UK was to eliminate trade barriers and tariffs with the rest of the world it could lead to a boost of $80 Billion a year and an extra $40 Billion a year brought on by the aftermath. But while the economy could be boosted there could be an impact on jobs and unemployment could increase. Indeed, this was described by supporters of Open Britain as ‘Economic Suicide.’ There are still large-scale disagreements over this research with other distinguished academics arguing it contains mistakes and while right in principle would not work in practise. Again, this just fuels the worry of young people entering such a volatile and uncertain job market with the prospect that any company they join could fall to the economic problems meaning they may have to start their job search all over again.

There was also a problem developing over devolution and the fact that in Wales and Scotland the respective First Ministers Carwyn Jones and Nicola Sturgeon are worried about a possible “power grab” by Westminster. Indeed, Sturgeon has called some of the proposals ‘daft.’ Their major qualm seems to be over the customs union and their lack of control over its outcome. If this limits devolution longer term then this might ultimately lead to a decrease in political participation and would be a serious concern if it means in the future the voice of the Youth could be even more neglected if it is simply policymakers in Westminster dictating everything. In fact, Wales does not even have its own specialised Brexit Minister meaning there is a feeling that their needs are being passed over. However, in response the UK Government claimed that the Bill would lead to increased devolution in both regions and one prominent minister even said it would be a devolution ‘bonanza.’ The situation still remains very uncertain.

Join our YouthPolitics Team!

Join our YouthPolitics Team!

Articles, Recruiting

We are now recruiting! We’re looking for talented young adults to volunteer to join our forever growing YouthPolitics UK team, it would be great to have you on board! Multiple roles on the Executive Committee in addition to our National Committee are available. Take a look at the available roles below and then fill out the application form (best opened in desktop format as opposed to on mobile devices or tablets) to apply – Good Luck!

Executive Committee application deadline – 12pm (noon) on 10/09/17
National Committee application deadline – 12pm (noon) on 14/10/17

YouthPolitics Application Form 2017

 

Executive Committee

Please note all applicants must be over the age of 16 and live in the North West and able to attend regular meetings in Manchester.

Marketing Director – Lots of commitment desired. Head of advertising and promotion.

Head of Events – Lots of commitment desired. Ability to organise and co-ordinate events such as workshop and panels, primarily in the North West. Great organisation skills, contacts with grassroots campaigns and enthusiasm ideal! – NO LONGER AVAILABLE

Training Director – In charge of organising and co-ordinating events and workshops which equip the youth with skills in debating, public speaking, policy making etc… – NO LONGER AVAILABLE

Head of Articles – Lots of commitment desired. Great literacy skills and political knowledge ideal, someone up to date with current affairs and be willing to be the first line of editorial. – NO LONGER AVAILABLE

Campaign Director – Lots of commitment desired. Someone with campaign experience, who is able to co-ordinate, organise and publicise campaigns that affect the youth. – NO LONGER AVAILABLE

Community Outreach Co-ordinator – Responsible for creating a YouthPolitics programme for political societies within schools across the UK to adopt. A great enthusiasm for politics, debating and public speaking needed! – NO LONGER AVAILABLE

YouthPolitics Activist Co-ordinator – Responsible for growing our core base of YouthPolitics activists, understanding what issues they are passionate about. Campaign experience ideal.

 

National Committee

All are welcome to apply!

U14 Officer – Responsible for growing our base amongst those between the ages of 11-14 and engaging them into politics, ensuring that they are properly represented.

U16 Officer – Responsible for growing our base amongst those between the ages of 14-16 and engaging them into politics, ensuring that they are properly represented.

U18 Officer – Responsible for growing our base amongst those between the ages of 16-18 and engaging them into politics, ensuring that they are properly represented.

Over 18 Officer – Responsible for growing our base amongst those between the ages of 18-25 and engaging them into politics, ensuring that they are properly represented.

LGBTIQ Officer – Responsible for growing our base amongst young adults who are in the LGBTIQ community and engaging them into politics, ensuring that they are properly represented.

BAME Officer – Responsible for growing our base amongst young adults who are in the BAME community and engaging them into politics, ensuring that they are properly represented.

 
The following available roles are responsible for growing our base amongst young adults who live in the region specified and engaging them into politics, in addition ensuring that they are properly represented.
 

Scotland Representative x2

Wales Representative

Northern Ireland Representative

London Representative

South East of England Representative

South West of England Representative

West Midlands Representative

East of England Representative

East Midlands Representative

West Midlands Representative

North East Representative

Yorkshire and the Humber Representative

 
We’re also looking for delegates to represent the youth segments of the following political parties. Please note, you have to be a member of the youth membership of the party in order to apply.
 

Conservative Delegate

Labour Delegate

Lib Dem Delegate

Green Party Delegate

UKIP Deleagte

Wow – you reached the bottom of the list of roles available to apply for! As you can see, there are many opportunities to get involved, so do!

YouthPolitics Application Form 2017

Controversy surrounding the BBC: Why we should care…

Controversy surrounding the BBC: Why we should care…

Articles

Controversy surrounding the BBC: Why we should care…

Summary

• The license fee makes the BBC a Public Responsibility
• Political Bias – where do we draw the line of impartiality?
• Gender Inequality in 2017?
• Significant pay gaps in many areas
• Lack of Diversity in its ranks

Since its creation in 1927, the British Broadcasting Corporation has played a pivotal role in shaping British culture, and by doing so, has been the focal attraction of a significant amount of harsh criticism. The well-established global network has provided multiple generations of the British public and foreign audiences with decades of entertainment and news coverage, yet has become the subject of equally infamous accusations. These accusations range from holding political bias to an unfair portrayal of certain groups within our society. However, recently the topic of discussion has been around gender pay gap, after the BBC released official documents in July 2017 displaying its TV stars who earn above £150,000 (which is more than the Prime Minister earns in a year). The public’s attention has been sharply directed to not only the large amount of earnings of these individuals, but more importantly who was earning these high six-digit figure salaries. It was revealed that of the 96 on-air male and female ‘talent’ paid £150,000 or over, only 34 were women compared to the 64 male stars. In addition, the total cost of the 96 personalities was £28.7 million. It may be confusing to the youth as to why controversy surrounds this issue as it stems further than just the issue of gender inequality. Anger has been directed towards the BBC for many years, but has been gaining a sheer amount of momentum very recently. Despite there being individuals such as myself who see the BBC as a powerful tool in conveying news and entertainment to millions of citizens effectively, many hope that this latest evidence of a gulf between the salaries of its stars is the final blow to end the public service corporation.

The main concern of many is that the BBC receives funding from the license fee (which is currently £147), and hence, is funded by public money. The license fee is needed if individuals seek to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel, and the BBC claims it ‘allows the BBC’s UK services to remain free of advertisements and independent of shareholder and political interest’. However, the latter is the issue with many. In light of recent political events such as the EU referendum, the presidential election of Donald Trump and the General Elections of 2015 and 2017, some say that the BBC has held a somewhat more favourable stance towards specific political agendas, such as the Remain campaign during the referendum. Thus, this anger, in addition to recent reports of £28.7 million of the public’s money being spent on 96 stars alone, is infuriating for sceptics across the country. Is this the final blow they were waiting for? Maybe not, as the argument to be had is whether these stars are worth the money, and ultimately that becomes a matter of opinion and is much less objective.

Chris Evans came out top, earning between £2.2 and £2.5 million per annum, this salary could be considered just, considering he anchors the most popular radio show on the most popular radio station in the country. However, the salary paid to Gary Lineker which is £1,750,000 – £1,799,999 per annum, despite only appearing to present Match of the Day once a week, is much harder to justify. In regards to the use of public money to fund the BBC, the main question to be asked concerns its worth, is it a powerful tool or a waste of money which could be redirected to better causes?

The issue of the pay gap between the genders is a much more evident one, and one which is a concern to all, but the interesting thing now will be to analyse how the BBC will manage the situation. Lord Hall, the Director-General of the BBC has pledged to close the gender pay gap by 2020, but how will this be done? Does he wish to give female stars a pay rise and use more public money, or alternatively ask male ‘talent’ to take significant pay cuts? Neither situation is ideal, but Lord Hall raises a fair point when he states: “On gender and diversity, the BBC is more diverse than the broadcasting industry and the civil service.” Within the UK, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that on average the pay for full-time female employees was 9.4% lower than for full-time male employees. Thus, the issue of inequality of pay between the genders is certainly not specific to the BBC, if anything, it betters other industries and it has only made headline news because it is such a pivotal part of our lives and British culture.

But the revealing of these figures didn’t just expose a worrying pay gap between the genders, but also a terrifying lack of BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicity) individuals who earn above £150,000. ‘Equity’, a trade union stated: “The apparent pay gaps in gender and for those from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background are troubling.” And they’re certainly right, just 10 people on the list were from a minority ethnic background, and they tended to fall into the lower end of the earnings scale. But is this a different issue, one which is perhaps more of a concern? The fact that nearly a tenth of the highest earners were from a BAME background may highlight a lack of diversity and representation, and may be an important eye-opener for casting directors. All we know for certain, is that this is an additional issue for Lord Hall, who will be brainstorming his options on how to tackle the evident inequality within his corporation.

The importance of disclosure of salaries for a public corporation such as the BBC should never be understated, as it is vital that we understand where the public’s money is being directed to. But the main argument regarding this issue, which many activists exercise in their attempts to promote further disclosure amongst other large corporations, is that it generates a large extent of trust and security amongst employees. But has this possibly had the opposite effect to what it could have achieved, and more importantly, to what extent is this damaging for the BBC?

From a personal point of view, I would love to see a strong, impartial BBC continue, one which presents the facts and continues to entertain and engage the British public, provided the issues regarding pay inequality are resolved. But why should we care at all? Well, whether you like it or not, chances are you have immersed yourself into the content which the BBC provides, and very soon we’ll be paying the license fees. In its current form, in light of the recent controversy, would you support the public funding of such an organisation?

By Dan Lawes
Editor, YouthPolitics UK

Let us know what you think by contacting us via the contact page. Should public money fund the BBC? Is the anger held against the BBC justified? How could the issues regarding unequal pay be resolved?

The Brexit Negotiation’s impact on the Youth #1

The Brexit Negotiation’s impact on the Youth #1

Articles

Editor’s note – As an organisation we’re determined to highlight the impacts of any current affairs on the Youth of this country, ensuring that we are aware of the decisions being made which could impact us now, and in the future. Here James provides us with an analysis of how this week’s Brexit negotiations have a direct influence on our generation…

The Brexit Negotiations and its Impact on the Youth #1

Summary

• Admission of impact on economy after Brexit
• EU cross-border projects in NI threatened
• Is the negotiating team out of touch?
• Worry of impact on School and University staff over lack of agreement on citizens’ rights
• Concern over risk of austerity by the ‘Brexit Bill’

Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In a recent statement to the BBC Liam Fox and other leading Brexiteers spoke of a transitional period as they admitted leaving the EU straight away might lead to problems with the economy. This uncertainty could be a setback for youth employment prospects which had been seen to be improving- youth unemployment fell by 55,000 over the last year. 10 Downing Street categorically denied this as a possibility showing the lack of clarity with the government and its position. However, the projected job problems in certain areas may be balanced out by the fact the construction sector has grown and other primary and secondary sector jobs likewise.

The cross-border cooperation between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (NI) is threatened due to the EU funding that many of the local projects rely on. For example, in NI the European Social Fund which helps support around 5000 18-24 year olds is under threat. These projects have helped provide education, training and improved these young people’s job prospects. Also, there is worry over the NHS and any shared services across the Northern Ireland-Republic of Ireland border potentially affecting children’s cardiac services and medicinal requirements.
The gender imbalance on the negotiating team has created concern that women’s issues may be neglected and indeed that it may be more generally out of touch and issues important to young people will not be investigated enough.

Major questions remain regarding the status of citizens from another EU member state in the UK and UK citizens currently living elsewhere in the EU. Many young people will be worried about their own position and their own rights to remain in the UK and those of their families post Brexit.

The lack of agreement over the ECJ has also created uncertainty with Schools and Universities as some staff working here originally from another EU member state may return to their original country. This could lead to staff shortages in specialised areas and might mean that there are fewer specialist university courses for students to study on in the future.

Recently the Government pledged $60 million for youth projects but with the so-called Brexit Bill they could be cut if austerity returns. This Bill has been rumoured to reach $60 billion euros creating a worry among some young people that they will be the generation that have to pick up the pieces. The 6 years of cuts under David Cameron look as if they may have to be extended and there are worries that with even more cuts some services may grind to a halt.

By James Sullivan-McHale
Deputy Editor, YouthPolitics UK

Brexit Negotiations Update #1

Brexit Negotiations Update #1

Articles

Editor’s note – This Article by our Deputy Editor James Sullivan-McHale summarises this week’s Brexit negotiations as we begin the first stage of the fierce negotiations, the final product of which will heavily influence the lives of millions. As he begins the weekly saga of updates, we anticipate a plethora of previously unpredicted developments.

Brexit Negotiations Updates #1 Summary

• A ‘pragmatic’ transitional period after official Brexit rumoured.
• Old Northern Irish Divisions re-opening over Irish border.
• UK widely criticised for gender imbalance on negotiating team
• Big disagreement over ECJ and its jurisdiction
• Confusion over the scale of so-called ‘Brexit Bill’

According to Liam Fox and many other key Brexiteers there may be a transitional period after leaving the EU in 2019. This would allow a compromise period to allow British business access to the single market while slowly closing free movement to prevent a hit on the economy. This has been rejected by some Conservatives including Peter Bone MP who believe that free movement should cease in 2019. However, despite initial murmurings 10 Dowing Street has publicly stated that this transitional period is simply a rumour and unfounded in fact.

The sheer scale faced by the negotiators over the Ireland question was revealed this week. Not just is there a problem over what kind of border there will be between Northern Ireland and Ireland but the political uncertainty in Stormont has meant no deal will be forthcoming from there. With Sinn Fein arguing that Northern Ireland should remain in the EU on a special status pass and their ideological foes the Unionists arguing that NI should leave the EU and remain with the UK there is a risk of fracture of Northern Ireland stability.

The UK’s negotiating team came under fire this week due to the gender imbalance in its ranks. The UK’s main negotiating team only has 1 woman out of its 9 members however, in the EU team nearly half of the team are women. Therefore, this is causing some consternation about whether women’s rights will be sufficiently investigated due to this imbalance.

However, the main disagreement this week came over the European Court of Justice(ECJ) and how much control it should retain. This directly impacts its citizens rights therefore the EU was keen it should retain a measure of control. However, Theresa May (Prime Minister of the UK) was very clear in her view that the UK will be leaving the ECJ meaning that any EU citizen who wants to live her will be put under a criminal record check before arriving. The EU team are refusing to come to an agreement over citizens’ rights until the ECJ problem has been sorted. One of the UK’s resolutions was rejected out of hand and the EU look to be playing hardball over it.

The bill UK will have to pay when leaving the EU has become one of the focal points. This sum will be to compensate the EU for its current investments and any possible outstanding costs the UK will owe. Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, in response to being told the bill could reach 50 billion euros told Barnier and his EU team to ‘go whistle.’ There have still been no serious discussions over the bill and no actual figures have been mentioned.

By James Sullivan McHale
Deputy Editor, YouthPolitics UK

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