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What It Means to Be a Woman in 2018: Gemma Cairney

To celebrate 100 years of Suffrage in the UK, we’re asking a host of women of note to answer our Q&A

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Broadcaster, author and presenter of Seven Dials Soundtrack Festival Gemma Cairney answers our ‘what it means to be a woman in 2018’ Q&A, to mark 100 years of suffrage. The Representation of the People Act 1918 was passed on 6 February 1918.

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Gemma Cairney, photo by Gabrielle Hall

Gemma Cairney, photo by Gabrielle Hall

Gemma Cairney Q&A

It’s been 100 years since (some) women were granted the right to vote in the UK – how far do you think women have come in the last century?

This is a massive question. But overall, I’m glad so many women are flipping open the lid on the injustice of inequality. The lid flipping is allowing women to be more understood for all that they are.

What does it mean to be a woman in 2018?

To encompass a spectrum of what it means to be a woman. We are defiant, sometimes nervous, we can be mothers and strident successful workers, we can be wild and rugged and we can be refined.. We are SO many things and that’s amazing.

What do women still need to achieve?

A global respect for how excellent they are!

 Your personal proudest achievement?

Travelling many parts the world. To prioritise exploring the planet I feel is the greatest gift I could have given myself. This includes climbing Mt Kenya, making radio in Lebanon & Colombia and inter-railing Europe (alone). I love that I have the confidence to get up, go and learn from other cultures.

If you could teach young women one thing about being a woman it would be…

To look to their gut when making decisions, to know anything is possible and to be true to yourself, rather than feeling like you have to do something, be something because of anyone else – is the most important thing.

And if you could teach young men one thing…

That gender stereotypes are lies and that we are all grappling with balance of femininity and masculinity and that can be exciting.

Complete the following:

In the next 100 years, I hope women will… feel respected more than ever.

Gemma Cairney is hosting Seven Dials Soundtrack event on 23 June, visit for the full line-up. Seven Dials Soundtrack is free to attend, you can register for your festival map and ticket at Listen to a snippet from our new podcast, below… 

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