Rhianna Pratchett and Ieva Beneckė talk to Kim Chakanetsa about their love of gaming and the impact they can have in an industry that's still dominated by men. What difference does women working in the industry have on the games themselves?
It was while she was a journalist in London and reviewing computer games that Rhianna Pratchett was asked to story edit a game herself. Her award winning scripts include the Tomb Raider reboot series, The Mirror's Edge and Overlord. She now also writes film scripts.
Ieva Beneckė grew up in Lithuania playing computer games with her dad. She never dreamed that she could work in the industry but taught herself the coding skills needed to create games anyway as it was her passion. She's now a Senior Games Designer and determined to create games that are truly inclusive.
L: Rhianna Pratchett (c) The Estate of Sir Terry Pratchett
R: Ieva Beneckė (credit: Ieva Beneckė)
Busting period taboos
Two women who've made it their mission to smash period taboos, and make it easier for girls to manage their menstrual health. Kim Chakanetsa speaks to campaigners from India and Tanzania.
When Aditi Gupta got her first period she was banned from sitting on the family sofa or touching certain foods. From the women in her family she also learned to feel shame and to hide her damp menstrual rags in dark places, exposing her to infection. As an adult she decided to help break the taboo, and create the Menstrupedia comic book, a global resource for parents and teachers to talk about periods comfortably with their girls.
Lucy Odiwa's first period arrived just as she was called on to answer a question in class. As she stood up her classmates began to snigger at the stain on her skirt. She says as well as being embarrassed and confused, she then often had to skip school when menstruating because she couldn't afford hygiene products. Now a successful businesswoman, she has developed a low-cost reusable sanitary towel.
(Image: Lucy Odiwa (L) Credit: UN Women/Amanda Voisard. (R) Aditi Gupta. Credit: Menstrupedia)
Social media poetry stars
Poets Leticia Sala and Nikita Gill on being taken seriously by the establishment after launching their careers on social media. They talk to Kim Chakanetsa about overcoming snobbery around the title 'insta-poet' and balancing being able to share their work with millions of people with the immediacy of follower feedback.
Nikita Gill is a British-Indian writer and artist. Born in Belfast, she spent the majority of her childhood in New Delhi. She had poems published in papers and magazines as a teenager but went on to study a 'more practical' degree. She began posting her poetry on Tumblr in 2015 and later on Instagram, where she now has over half a million followers. She's since had five books of poetry published.
Leticia Sala is a Spanish poet and writer. A law graduate, she always assumed she couldn't earn a living as a professional poet, but then started getting huge feedback on poems she wrote and posted on social media in her spare time. She very quickly signed a book deal and has a huge online following in Europe and Latin America.
L: Leticia Sala (Paloma Lanna)
R: Nikita Gill (BBC)
Coaching national teams: Tracey Neville and Desiree Ellis
Two exceptional sportswomen who've coached their national teams to victory in major tournaments. England's former netball head coach and South Africa's women's football coach speak to Kim Chakanetsa.
South African women’s football coach Desiree Ellis had a nine year international playing career, having to endure discrimination under apartheid and unemployment alongside pursuing her sports career. She says women’s football is now being taken seriously in her country and under her stewardship 'Banyana Banyana' qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 2019.
Former England netball head coach Tracey Neville represented her country as a player before taking on the task of managing the ‘Roses’ in 2015. She had a miscarriage a day after leading the team to Commonwealth gold in 2018. A year later she made the difficult decision to quit her dream job to start a family, and is now expecting her first child.
L: Tracey Neville (Press Association)
R: Desiree Ellis (FIFA via Getty Images)
What's so important about friendships between women and how do they change over the course of our lives? Kim Chakanetsa talks to two women about making and keeping good friends. How do you maintain strong friendships when you're constantly on the move?
Uloma Ogba is founder and CEO of Launch Africa, which offers career advice and mentoring to people wanting to work in international development. She works with the United Nations in Rwanda and has also co-founded the non-profit, Give Girls a Chance, which aims to increase access to quality education for girls across Nigeria. Given her busy, international lifestyle how does she keep the friends she has and make new ones when she travels?
Kanwal Ahmed is a Pakistani entrepreneur and founder of Soul Sisters Pakistan, an online community which sets out to create a space where Pakistani women feel comfortable to speak their minds. 'I saw thousands of women coming together online, not even knowing each other, but standing up for each other and being there for each other.' More recently Kanwal has also launched a digital talk show, Conversations with Kanwal, about everything from love and loss to cyber harassment.
L: Uloma Ogba (credit: Uloma Ogba)
R: Kanwal Ahmed (credit: Sarosh Pirwani)