It wasn’t until I saw Steph McGovern on ‘Have I Got News for You’ wearing a girly swot jumper and immediately ordered one for myself that I realised, I have reached my mid 30’s before I have been able to embrace who I am, to truly own it and be authentic. Over the years those older and wiser than me have said that you stop caring what people think and I could never really imagine not worrying about how others might perceive me; but I intend to proudly wear my girly swot jumper because I am just that. I have accepted the fact I am an achiever, I like to do well, to learn to be good at things, I am able to say that I am feminine and a feminist and that’s ok.
The icing on the cake of my new purchase is that £5 from every jumper bought will be donated to Rubies charity, as Steph’s chosen charity. I had the pleasure of working with Liz, one of the founders of this charity. Rubies was inspired by her passion for equality for and empowerment of, women and girls. Following a plan international report which identified Middlesbrough as ‘the worst place to be a girl’ the founders of Rubies took action to change the narrative on Teesside and they are working in schools to deliver an 8 week self-esteem course, run community workshops and get girls involved in activities such as arts and football.
Rubies values are all about encouraging girls to recognise their strengths, embrace them, own them and use them. The Tees Businesswomen Awards were held this week and it is inspiring to see the achievements of so many women, some of whom may consider themselves girly swot’s, others who may say they were quite the opposite at school or have overcome adversity to be successful in their ventures we don’t know and it doesn’t matter all are amazing women. These women are paving the way for the young girls Rubies are educating and empowering and Rubies are looking for volunteers to help them share their message and do more on Teesside.
So why Rubies, as their website explains in the natural world Rubies are considered to be one of the most precious and valuable gemstones. Rubies gives girls on Teesside the message that they are also valued and have inherent worth. Whilst we can’t ignore the issues faced on Teesside we can overcome them by instilling the Rubies message in young people that ‘Girls with dreams become women with vision’.
Anyone interested in finding out more about Rubies can visit their website wearerubies.org or follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @rubiescharity