Growing up I always felt that I had a voice. From reading the announcements in church as a girl to rewriting the church’s history, then adding my stamp to it, to creating stories and sharing them with my little sister, I loved having my say about things and participating in meaningful efforts where having a voice made a difference, even though in those days my voice likely only made a splash of a difference. But splashes make ripples, right?
Anyhow, though I’ve shied away from politics and other careers and industries where voice is paramount, I have found a dwelling place under the umbrella of communications. From journalism and corporate communications, to fiction-writing and podcasting, I am so grateful for the opportunity to hone my voice, pushing me to write, speak and do something about what matters most to me.
UIO: You Inside Out sprang from this very place in 2016, after the Brexit Referendum in the UK, followed by the US Presidential Elections. Long before these historical events shook the world and further changed (note I say further changed) the two societies that I live in, I’d been searching for a way to raise my voice on behalf of teenage girls, and to offer them a platform to raise their collective voice too.
In 2015, as my youngest niece approached her teens, it became crystal clear to me that the world had changed radically for all teenagers. Girls in particular were experiencing a new world disorder, unrest, disproportionately to boys. The data and real-life stories around sexism and objectification, the pressure to be perfect, the need to have everything so soon, to know everything, to catapult to womanhood or take a different route altogether – devaluing their precious teenage years at the risk of regret and dysfunction – stymied me.
I had to have a say, thus I toyed with the idea of a blog, a book, a business dedicated to teen girls … Then one morning, on a slow run by the river, the words ‘you I owe’ – a play on ‘I owe you’ – appeared to me as bright as the morning sunshine. And as I soaked them up, I forgot I was even running and by the time I made it home, I had it: UIO: You Inside Out – the podcast for teenage girls.
For months I told people about the idea and recruited women for interviews, and taught myself how to podcast with the help of many known and unknown experts. But it was only after the UK referendum and the US elections that I felt certain that UIO was relevant and timely.
Nearly two years later, we now have sixteen podcasts and plans for a third series this year. It is for and about teenage girls, offering them a voice, a platform, to be girls. Of course, there are many wonderful organisations and charities that campaign on behalf of girls and women, and it is our aim at UIO to work with them as and when appropriate, and in the meantime, we’ll keep lifting the voice of teenage girls, even if it is only one splash at time.
For more information or to collaborate, contact me here.