vibrant, optimistic and hopeful – Laura Bates

vibrant, optimistic and hopeful – Laura Bates

For me, being at Hay is very similar to being part of the feminist movement! It is endlessly exciting, with different ideas and opinions flying; sometimes overwhelming, as you realise just how much there is to take in and learn; and also hugely vibrant, optimistic and hopeful.
I was thrilled to see the two worlds collide when I arrived in this year’s Green Room at Hay Festival to find a copy of the brilliant new feminist magazine Parallel, and even got the chance to meet one of its inspiring creators (another Laura!)
Speaking on the Telegraph stage was an honour and a rush, particularly as we celebrate the third anniversary of ‘Everyday Sexism’ and the milestone of our hundred thousandth entry. I started my talk with an account of an experience I had three years ago, when I was groped by a man on a London bus and all the other passengers looked out of the window. I explained how that was the tipping point that led me to start speaking out about the spectrum of sexism, sexual harassment and sexual violence.
At the end of the session, it was wonderful to receive questions from engaged young people talking about the importance of intersectionality, from teachers wondering how best to support students in their feminism and from people of all ages exploring the ways that they can fight gender inequality in their own lives and their own ways.
After today’s conversations, I feel hopeful that more and more people are beginning to stand up, and fewer and fewer will be looking out of the window.