As women, we are constantly told what we should and shouldn’t be doing; how we should look, what we should eat, what exercise routines we should nail, who we should date and how we should feel about ourselves, our bodies, our jobs, our lives – the lot.
‘So many women have shared similar experiences but never shared them’ – this inspiration led award-winning documentary and podcaster Hana Walker-Brown to create and executive produce Anthems, a soothing podcast series voiced by British ethnically diverse women creatives vocalising their thoughts on world issues and culture. Hana tells us why it is important, more than ever, for women to speak out and tell it like it is.
“International Women’s Day is a really important day, of course, but it was getting a little tiring witnessing the industry go a whole year before someone felt they should make content that was women-led.
So many companies capitalise on this without supporting women beyond the month of March.
We wanted to do better.
When I first had the idea for Anthems the world hadn’t turned upside down.
Harvey Weinstein hadn’t been convicted, airports were bustling, influencers were influencing and 2020 felt hopeful.
And yet despite the total shift in life as we knew it, the idea for Anthems remained the same, although perhaps the meaning is more poignant now.
It was born out of irritation more than anything, that even in 2020, there were still not nearly enough woman’s voices out there, and diversity was severely lacking.
The idea was to create an album of original manifestos, speeches, stories, poems and rallying cries written and voiced by exceptional women that celebrate and contemplate what it means to be a woman – our beauty, our failures, our rich heritage, our rage and our power.
The episodes are bitesize so as to work in place of motivating morning meditation, each beginning with a ‘word of the day’ introduced by each of the individuals that encapsulate the theme of their piece, leaving the listeners with something to carry forward after they’ve heard the work.
We wanted to offer some inspiration, a held hand, a bit of hope. We had no idea how important it would be to offer our listeners these daily podcasts and how comforting it was to have something new to open every morning.
We have had a lot of people reach out and tell us that this routine has been a tonic during these increasingly difficult times, that Anthems was getting them through the month or that it was something they hadn’t even realised they’d needed.
We hadn’t realised how much it would be needed, even before the lockdown – we knew it was missing, we knew there was a gap to be filled.
The fact that people are finding comfort and courage in the words of others, was really the whole point.
There are so many shoulds to being a woman and it was really important that we try to dispel some of that, to provide a variety of experiences and voices that our listeners could find common ground with or be surprised and have their eyes opened by; that women could be hugely successful and still struggle with their self-worth, that the stoic businesswoman also had a wicked sense of humour, that the cheery writer who continues to inspire everyone else to keep going wasn’t sure she would make it herself.
It’s a fact universally acknowledged that if you’re not seen then you don’t matter and it’s really important for us, professionally and personally, to make sure that every voice is amplified.
Each woman in our series is so unique and was so authentically themselves and yet, despite their differences, what begins to emerge throughout the series are so many common threads between the women.
I hope it gives other women and men permission to be authentically themselves, to realise that ‘success’ and ‘doing it right’ comes in so many guises, but also to acknowledge that there truly is more that binds us together than sets us apart.
And that sharing, talking and listening are essential practices for getting through just about anything.
This feels more important than ever and is a good reminder that ultimately, we need each other to thrive, and now especially, to survive.”
Images Copyright – Writer’s own / Shutterstock