18.4% the pay gap between men and women in the UK

10th November is ‘Equal Pay Day’ because from this day onwards until the end of the year  women work for free because of that difference in average pay between men and women of 18.4%. Some women to try and raise awareness of this pay difference have even set their email response to be ‘out of office’ until December 31st!

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In North Thanet the pay gap is a bigger 20.9% so Natasha Ransom a self-employed gardener has set up an ‘out of office’ voicemail on her phone, explaining; “I’m doing it to support those on lower wages – I work for a lot of elderly people whose [female] carers are on such poor wages.”

pay gap around the country

There is even evidence that the pay gap in the UK is growing not getting smaller. This is especially true for young women where the pay gap for those in their 20s has grown from 1.1% in 2011 to 5.5% this year.

Closing the gender pay gap is about equality. It should matter to everyone. It could be you, your sister, best friend, cousin or mum. It’s just not fair and at least the 10th November puts a spotlight on this inequality.

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Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

In a recent Year 8 PSHCE lesson as part of our healthy lifestyles unit, we learnt about dementia. It was poignant to see students talking about their experiences of family members with dementia, and the rest of the class listening, learning and empathising.

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In class we started by checking that we understood what dementia was.

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Then we discussed how having dementia would be tough for those who have it and their families. One student told us about his mum working in a centre where lots of people have dementia and how it can get quite violent.

On Sunday evening the well-know former Blackburn, Newcastle and England football player Alan Shearer, who also presents on BBC Match of the Day, will appear in a BBC documentary exploring the links between dementia and football. Alan Shearer writes in a BBC article about the documentary:

“I went into football knowing that at the end of my career I could probably expect to have some physical issues, which I do – I have dodgy knees, a dodgy back and dodgy ankles. But what I never contemplated for a second back then was that there is a chance that heading the ball could affect my brain.”

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The documentary airs on BBC One on Sunday 12th November at 10:30-11:30pm, though you will be able to catch it again on BBC iPlayer.

The Boy with the Topknot

There’s a new 90 minute BBC drama about Sathnam Sanghera, a boy born to Punjabi immigrants living in Wolverhampton, covering topics like secrecy, mental health and the life of a second-generation immigrant. It’s based on a best-selling book where the protagonist moves to London and embarks on a career as a journalist, while gradually building up the courage to tell his traditional Sikh parents about his English girlfriend.

 

 

 

You’ll be able to catch it on BBC Two at 9pm on Monday 13th November, or after that on BBC iPlayer.

Sacha Dawan who stars as the older Sathnam says that he nearly turned down the role as it felt too close to home, and made him think about his own upbringing too much. As a young man he also felt like he “was running away, not just from my culture, but from stuff that was going on at home.”

I’m hoping the drama not only gets the audience thinking about how it feels to be an immigrant and the struggles of growing up in a new culture, but also some facts about Sikhism. Fingers-crossed!

Watching TV or film and learning about Christian worship

It is such a natural form of revision to be watching TV or film and suddenly spotting something you’ve learnt in class. It is so exciting to be able to explain something, understand it better, simply because you were in that classroom, listening and concentrating on that particular day.

Some students have had the challenge of comparing TV and film which show liturgical and non-liturgical worship. Well done to my Year 10 Tuesday afternoon class who did so well on this homework.

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  1. Four Weddings and a Funeral would be a good film to watch for its many scenes inside a church. For Roman Catholics and some Anglicans you’ll also get to see some sacraments.
  2. The BBC’s recent drama called Broken which I’ve previously referred to on the Blog is fantastic not only for showing liturgical worship (the eucharist is given in every episode) but also its depiction of a local church community with food banks and diversity.
  3. Songs of Praise is on television every Sunday afternoon, or you can catch a number of previous episodes on YouTube.
  4. Coronation Street has a brilliant 2 minute scene showing parts of an infant baptism from a few years ago.
  5. There is a really peculiar scene from the Kingsman: The Secret Service film, which shows a church massacre (15 rating). Watching simply that scene makes no sense unless you know more about the film.  The actor Colin Firth play a suave secret agent, Harry Hart, who recruits a kid from the streets named Eggsy (Taron Egerton) to be part of the Kingsman. But Eggsy is quickly thrown into the fire when evil tech-whiz Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) creates a technology that can cause mass terror across the globe, and only the Kingsman can stop him. On the hunt for Valentine, Hart ends up at a hate church group in Kentucky. While Hart is in the church, Valentine tests his technology, which causes the SIM cards in everyone’s phones in the church to make them become homicidal maniacs. There is then this three-and-a-half minute sequence in which we watch Hart shoot, stab, slam, and break everyone in his path as the guitar solo from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” plays in the background. It’s peculiar and unsettling.
  6. The Simpsons has a plethora of church scenes, including this one when Homer refuses to go to Church. Listen out for Lisa saying a snippet of the Lord’s Prayer. Another short clip is from when the Simpsons go to an evangelical church. Not to do with worship but really clever is the Protestant Heaven Vs Catholic Heaven with all its national stereotypes.
  7. Family Guy has numerous satirical moments where you can learn about Christianity. Students often forget that singing is a form of worship, New Yorker’s in Church has an opening prayer, and the Mr Booze clip shows an drinking den turn into a fake alcoholics anonymous based on a church with pews and singing.

We realised that a lot of our choices were comedies and openly mocked Christianity for laughter. It is interesting how far comedy is deemed acceptable going about some faiths but less so others. An article in the  BBC Religion and Ethics page debates how far comedy should go, and the BBC also reports on whether Islam has a sense of humour (of course it does!). Finally there New Humanist website decides that no idea should be able to escape satire and comedy.

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73 millions trees being planted – a huge reforestation project in Brazil

A multi-million-dollar initiative which is led by a US-based NGO (non-governmental organisation), is being described as “the largest tropical reforestation project in history.” Over the next six years, it will aim to replant 70,000 acres (that’s about 35,000 football pitches) of land that has been turned into animal pastures.  We all know why this is necessary. Around 20% of the Brazilian Amazon (the world’s largest rainforest) has been destroyed since 1970, mostly owing to cattle farming. The rate of destruction has been slowing gradually since 2004 but scientists fear that a further 20% of the Amazon rainforest will be destroyed in the next two decades. So this reforestation is a great way not only for Brazil to keep the promises it made at the Paris Agreement, but also to help the world keep to the 1.2-2 degrees centigrade of warming permitted in the Agreement.

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