This International Women’s Day, we want to tell the stories of the #BossWomen who inspire us here at GG HQ. And who better to start with than Gina Martin? Gina is 28 from Liverpool and successfully made upskirting illegal in England and Wales after experiencing it first-hand at a festival. We sat down with Gina to discuss all things International Women’s Day and catch up on how she is making a change!
What is your current role?
I’m a writer and activist. After 18 months of campaigning, I just changed the law in England and Wales back in 2018 to make non-consensual upskirt photos illegal, and I have released my debut book called BE THE CHANGE: A toolkit for Activism which is a handbook for anyone who wants to make a change no matter how small. The law was useable from April 2019, and since then we’ve had almost one report to police per day of upskirting. We’d prosecuted 10 men by Christmas – including convicted pedophiles.
What have you been up to since making upskirting illegal?
I spent last year touring and speaking to politicians, civil workers on the importance of listening to working people and how they can diversify their understanding of gender equality. I’ve also started broadcasting with BBC5Live and my show Gina’s Game Changers where I platform regular people who are trying to change the world. And I was named one of TIME Mags #100Next Influential people. Right now? I’m currently researching my next campaign!
What you like to do in your spare time?
Paint, read, watch movies, eat heaps of pasta but mostly paint. It makes me feel calm.
Could you tell us about the proudest moment/greatest achievement of your life?
The greatest achievement in my life professionally was probably changing the law on upskirting.
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Meet Ryan, my lawyer of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher who has been representing me through the whole campaign process. 💪🏼 He became a lawyer because he cares about changing things for good. 🙌🏼 I talk about working with Ryan, what it's like campaigning, why the assumption that being into fashion or makeup = superficial needs to die (I like a strong brow ~and~ politics) and how social media aided my campaign, with @emmagannonuk on the latest episode of her excellent podcast Ctrl Alt Delete. 🎙I will warn you, though, I screamed 'YAY' at the beginning and speak at about 5,000mph because I was so excited – but go and have a listen! ♥️🌝
If you could tell your younger self something 5 years ago, what would it be?
Don’t shrink yourself, be passionate and enthusiastic because it gets you everywhere and anywhere.
What would your ultimate superpower be?
Teleportation: the amount of time I waste getting places is mad. I’m always late, always stressed and I’d love to be able to just transport myself to the Andes for a quick sit sometimes during mad days, or to Paris for dinner. Joy!
What does being a woman mean to you?
For me, it means being an agent of change.
Which women inspire you?
Reni Eddo Lodge, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Greta Thunberg, Munroe Bergdorf, my sister Stevie Martin.
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I've began filming a documentary with the brilliant @bbcthree on upskirting, and I need your help. If you, or anyone you know has been upskirted please get in touch – there will be no obligation to take part in filming! 🎥✖️We need to prove to parliament that this is a real problem for women and should be a sexual offence.
Why is International Women’s Day important?
It ignites dialogue and is a catalyst for discussion. It asks us to look back at the past twelve months and celebrate the progress – something that’s critical if we are to stay hopeful and motivated to keep pushing for a society that doesn’t protect oppressors, normalise assault and brush our rights under the carpet – and it asks us to question what we haven’t done enough of, what we haven’t given more thought to and what we should be prioritising.
How would you describe your perfect female archetype?
I don’t think there is the perfect female archetype. I think the only way to create a more equal society is to get rid of the idea of a perfect female archetype.
What is one of the hardest things women face today or that you have personally faced being a woman?
The list of challenges women across the world face is endless and heartbreaking, and my personal struggles, although still valid, pale so drastically in comparison to what marginalised womxn experience, and what womxn experience globally. But I’d say the basic lack of protective legislation and of fundamental human rights globally is the biggest problem womxn face, for sure.
Big thanks to Gina for sharing her experiences with us this International Women’s Day. Here at GG HQ we can’t wait to see what she gets up to next on @ginamartinuk!