Read the original article on the Sunday Herald website.
Written by Judith Duffy
IN HER job, Annie McLaughlin works every day to improve gender equality, while in her spare time she is an enthusiastic writer. Now she has a chance to combine both of her passions after winning a bursary awarded by the Write to End Violence Against Women group.
The 38-year-old, from Glasgow, beat some strong competition to secure the award, which offers unpaid writers the opportunity to publish their work and participate in the campaign to tackle the culture of abuse in Scotland.
The bursary is part of the Write to End Violence Against Women Awards, run by charity Zero Tolerance, which is being supported by the Sunday Herald as media partner.
McLaughlin is gender equality officer at Strathclyde University and has completed a Masters degree in creative writing.
She said: “In my work I am responsible for helping to implement gender equality initiatives to achieve cultural change at the university, in particular to improve female representation in certain subject areas and leadership in senior management.
“I was really keen to apply for the bursary - I have always written in one form or another since I was a child.
“I thought it was a really good opportunity to combine something I have great passion for - in terms of gender equality - and use my writing skills to try and make an impact in that area.”
McLaughlin wrote two pieces for her bursary application – one which examined the topic of online abuse and misogyny, and another looking at the portrayal of female politicians in the media.
As the bursary winner, she will produce six pieces of writing on topics related to violence against women and the press, which will be jointly commissioned by Zero Tolerance and the Sunday Herald. She will also be given the opportunity to spend time in the Sunday Herald’s newsroom.
She added: “I am delighted and really pleased to have been awarded the bursary.
“This will give me a chance to make an impact in addition to the work I am involved with just now.
“Contributing to the campaign to end violence against women in this way is a huge opportunity as the media has got such an important part to play. The media can help to change stereotypes, but bad reporting – where it exists – can contribute to those myths and stereotypes.
“The chance to have any influence in that is something I am very excited about and it combines two of my passions – writing and equality, particularly gender equality."
Zero Tolerance launched the Write to End Violence Against Women Awards, with the support of a number of organisations, in recognition of the vital role the media has to play in increasing understanding of violence against women and challenging its place in society.
The awards are aimed at recognising quality writing, both paid and unpaid, in categories covering everything from formal journalism to bloggers and emerging writers.
Liz Ely, campaigns and engagement officer at Zero Tolerance, said: “We’re pleased to congratulate Annie on being the winner of our 2016 Write Awards bursary.
“The competition was fierce and we received a number of high quality applications, but Annie’s strong working knowledge of gender issues and passion for writing really made her stand out.”
She added: “The Write to End Violence Against Women Awards is important not just to raise awareness among the general public, but to celebrate the quality reporting that’s already happening across Scotland.
“We are delighted to be able to support an aspiring writer like Annie and we look forward to reading more of her work over the coming months.”
Sunday Herald editor Neil Mackay said: “We are delighted to be the media partner for this year’s Write to End Violence Against Women awards, which highlight the important role the media has in giving the public the facts about violence and inequality.
“Many congratulations to Annie on being selected as the bursary winner and we are very much looking forward to reading her articles.”
For more information on the Write to End Violence Against Women Awards, including how to enter, visit the website or send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can enter your own, or someone else’s work, and the deadline for entries is September 30, 2016.