Comic books featuring all of our favourite superheroes have been around for a long time. Since your parents were kids. Since your grandparents were kids, even!Although that doesn’t mean many of the stories, the characters, the superpowers and the badass things they do aren’t still great today.

Batman, for example, first cropped up in a comic book waaay back in 1939. Nineteen-thirty-goddam-nine. Since then, there have been a lot of comic books, movies, TV shows and other cool stuff made about him, starring him and celebrating him. But you may have noticed there are often far too many superhero dudes on our TVs and in our cinemas and jumping through our comic books. Which begs the question: Where are all the badass female superheroes?

Well, there are actually lots out there if you look carefully. And the good news is, more and more are appearing each day. They’re also representing more and more actual girls and women too, which is always a really good thing.

So if you’re already into comic books, can’t get enough of the new Supergirl show or need a helping of badass female superpowers in your life and don’t know where to start, then check out our list of favourite female superheroes who are totally #goals…

(And if you like superhero stories and comic books, there are so so so many more characters and stories for you to explore. This list is just the beginning.)

1. Rogue

If you’ve watched any of the X Men movies or TV shows, chances are you’ve come across Rogue before. She’s really different in some of the older comic books, but in the modern day films she’s a teen just like you, trying to get her head around regular teen stuff – like growing up and crushes. The problem is, when she touches people she sucks all of their energy out of them. Eek! Not great for a first kiss.

Rogue soon learns how to harness her powers and use them for good – she just needs to wear gloves at first a lot to stop her hurting anyone. We like her so much because we get to see how she learns to better use and understand her powers over time; a classic rise of a superhero story. BOOM!

Superpower: She can absorb powers, energy, memories and sometimes even skills via touch.

2. Gamora

Gamora is another classic comic book superhero who has recently appeared in a big movie. She was played by Zoe Saldana in Guardians of the Galaxy and her back story is she’s the green-skinned, adopted alien daughter of Thanos, a huge supervillain who is a massive deal in the world of The Avengers.

She naturally has some awesome superpowers, like enhanced strength, speed and durability. But she’s also trained in all of the martial arts you could imagine across all kinds of worlds. Why do we love her so much? Well, due to all her training she became known as “the deadliest woman in the whole galaxy”. What. A. Title.

Superpower: Super human strength, speed, agility and durability

3. Storm

Like Rogue, Storm is part of the X Men, which means fans of the films will be all too familiar with her awesome white hair and eye-changing abilities. Take a look at her back story and you’ll see she’s the daughter of a tribal princess from Kenya, but moved around a lot when she was growing up, finally settling with the X Men team.

We’re such huge Storm fans because she can control the ACTUAL weather. You may think that’s not that cool. Making it rain? Yeah, we get that everyday. But when you’re fighting big baddies being able to whip up a hurricane or throw a bolt of lightning is nothing short of amazing.

Superpower: She can control the weather. And also, just a small thing, she can fly.

4. Jessica Jones

Thanks to a recent Netflix adaptation, this little known superhero is one of our favourites. We love Jessica Jones so much because in many ways she’s a bit of an anti-superhero. She doesn’t really want to be out fighting crime or helping people that much – she’s a private investigator, and helping people just kind of… happens. Sometimes.

She also doesn’t have to wear silly (or cool, depending on your preference) costumes to fight crime either. She wears normal clothes and messes up a lot. Maybe she doesn’t sound like the best role model in the world, but we can relate to her very real, human story.

Superpower: Super human strength and endurance.

5. Supergirl

You’ve probably heard of Superman before, obvs. But, thanks to a new TV show all about Supergirl, she’s set to become even more popular than her big cousin.

Supergirl’s official name is Kara Zor-El and the back story is that she was sent to Earth from the doomed planet Krypton. Sound familiar? That’s because this is Superman’s back story too. The thing is, his little space pod thing got to Earth but Kara’s didn’t. Well, not until years later. Hence the reason he’s zooming around being all super for ages before she doesn’t turned up.

But we love her now she’s here, not least because her show is so refreshing when we’re all used to seeing Superman with the big ‘S’ on his chest. She has it too!

Superpower: All the super stuff, basically. We’re talking super strength, heat vision, speed, mostly invulnerable, x-ray vision, microscopic vision and more.

@BeccaCaddy

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STEM is a little word, with big importance. It stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and it’s used to group together all those subjects that look at the physical, technical way that the world works. We all start off studying them in their simplest forms, though loads of us give up STEM along the way for more flowery subjects – and by ‘us’, we mean girls.

But perhaps more of us need to give STEM a second thought. And a third, and a fourth. Here’s why.

…because STEM subjects are fascinating

STEM can take you from the depths of the ocean to the furthest known galaxy – and everywhere in between. You can study the power of the sun, the movement of the planets, the algorithms of love, the beating of the heart, the ways in which prosthetics can replace limbs and organs, or the real secrets behind the most popular Instagram posts. Yes, really: that’s maths for you.

microscope

“Physics was always a subject that I enjoyed – but when we got onto the more advanced subjects, everything opened up and became so much more interesting. I also realised that I loved the applied maths and the experimental side of physics,” says physicist Dr Charlotte Buckley.

“I loved my degree. Studying everything from quantum mechanics or the behaviour of light, up to the formation of stars, galaxies and the universe was incredibly rewarding.”

…because they make the world go round. Literally.

We don’t need to tell you how big a role technology has these days. Google, Facebook, Apple and Twitter basically own us – and if you can’t beat them, work for them. Or at least understand how they work.

Mathematics is, basically, problem solving. It’s the foundation of spaceships, of hydrology (that’s all things water, the reason you can have a shower each day), of architecture, accountancy – even democracy. What is voting but a numbers game? Scientists find cures for disease, contribute toward the making of everything from food to shampoo to cleaning products, and explore the universe.

space

Engineering, meanwhile, is not just building bridges or working on oil rigs. “It can often have connotations of greasy overalls and spanners, but in fact [engineering] is a huge world of professions influencing the world that we live in,” says Vicki Greenwood, a chartered civil engineer and a construction project manager.

Engineering graduate Milly Belcher designed a simulated human jaw at Bristol uni to test new, chewable medicines; then, interning at Dyson, she found herself “designing, testing and evaluating products that, stereotypically, are used by women” – though ironically, the majority of her the workforce were male. Sigh. 

…because they need more women

Dyson is no exception. The numbers are scary, especially when you consider how important STEM subjects are to everything we do every day. Only 9% of the engineering workforce is female. Just 20% of A Level physics students are female, and only 14.4% of the science, tech, engineering and maths (STEM) workforce in the UK is female.

“Women represent half the workforce,” Vicki continues. “STEM subjects lead to careers that have a direct influence on our world. The world is losing a lot of innovative thinkers by not factoring in the female population.” And it has a real cost: “A balanced team will usually be more creative and have a more enjoyable and caring working environment, in my experience,” says Vicki, and indeed companies are shown to be 15% more likely to perform better if they are gender diverse.

goggles

At school and at university, girls studying STEM are “in the minority,” says Milly. “You stand out.” Indeed, at her all-girls school, engineering was not even discussed as a possibility. “My friend and I were the first people from school to study Engineering at university, so application and career advice were limited. Later, at Dyson, she noticed her male colleagues struggle with making products like hairdryers user-friendly – “for example getting a feel for something like the weight of the product: it is difficult for men to contextualise what it feels like for a woman to use. I think that women can sometimes provide an insight that men may not have even considered.” 

…because studying STEM subjects does not make you a nerd

On the contrary, says Milly, “the majority of girls I met on my course were the opposite. They chose engineering because they enjoyed science and maths, but wanted to see a more practical, more creative side to those subjects. Outside of their studies they were heavily involved in sports, charity, etc – and had rich social lives.”

geeky

“There is a very classic image of a woman physicist, which just isn’t true,” Charlotte agrees. “I have heard inspirational lectures from incredible women who have had to fight tooth and nail to get to the top of their profession.” The idea that everyone is super nerdy and can’t socialise is, she says (and I can second it, having seen her on a dance floor) totally not true.

…because they are NOT ‘men’s subjects’

Why do so few women go into STEM subjects? “Maybe young men are more confident in themselves and don’t mind taking on such ‘risky’ subjects, whereas girls are more likely to choose something they feel confident in,” Charlotte suggests.

i-believe-in-science

Of course there’s a perception that they are super hard – and we’re not saying it isn’t true. But that doesn’t make them ‘male’ any more than, er, cooking a soufflé is a female domain.

“There was one eccentric maths teacher who used to say ‘Girls should be in home economics’,” Charlotte laughs, “but I don’t think he was serious, and the three girls in the class would then get the best marks!” As she continued through university, “it became obvious that each person had different strengths in different areas, both technical and theoretical… I can’t really think of anything during my degree which I thought of as ‘male’ traits and ‘female’ traits.

…and it’s empowering stuff to know

After all, as the name suggests, everything starts with STEM.

science-everything

Check out STEMnet to find out more about the cool opportunities out there.

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Image: Hailey Hamilton

In Partnership With Girlguiding

So you didn’t get V festival tickets, your mum wouldn’t let you trek to the Isle Of Wight for Bestival, and Glastonbury was a big fat no. (Tbf you can barely pack for a sleepover at your bestie’s without forgetting your phone charger and a spare pair of knickers.) But even if your parents are as strict as Harry Potter’s house mistress Professor McGonagall, there is one festival we’re almost sure they’d let you go to.

Well, what is this magical festival?

Give a big fat Gryffindor wave to Girlguiding’s annual event, Wellies and Wristbands! The only catch? You’ve got to be a member of Girlguiding to get a ticket – and you’re going to want to sign up if you’re not a Girl Guide already as this camping extravaganza has serious cool factor. Not only is there tons of live music so you can pretend you’re dancing at V festival anyways, but there’s a pamper zone to get your beauty fix, hot tubs to chill with your mates in, cinema screenings, an amazing inflatable obstacle course, abseiling and even zip-lining! So, a) you won’t have to worry about getting bored and b) your mum and dad will get serious value for money without having to worry about mosh pits.

Amazing! Tell me more…

The weekend of fun takes place at two locos; Foxlease in the New Forest and Waddow Hall in Lancashire, so it shouldn’t even be a total mission if you beg your ‘rents to drive you there regardless of where you live. You’ll hit the festival with your Girlguiding group and will be looked after by your Girlguiding leader, so you’re covered when it comes to getting that all-important helping hand in putting up your tent. Phew. Plus, it lasts from Friday night ’til Monday lunchtime which means maximum gal-pal time with your mates, not to mention the whole new group of friends you’ll make over the weekend.

How much will it cost?

The festival ticket costs £105 for the whole weekend. That includes all your food, campsite fees, activities, music, transport from a local train station and your wristbands. All you need to bring is your own wellies! If your ma and pa think it’s pricey, just tell them that a day at Go Ape, a ticket to a gig, the cinema, a manicure, and a shiny new hot tub cost a helluva lot more…

Happy camping!

For more information, please visit the Wellies and Wristbands homepage.

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Image: Girlguiding

Books are great for a variety of reasons. They look pretty on shelves, they’re useful for pressing flowers, they smell amazing. But one of my favourite things about reading book is uncovering great female protagonists (lead characters). The type who overcome the odds, the type who exceed expectations or the type who refuse to apologise for who they are.

Unfortunately, there aren’t as many books as there should be where the protagonist is a woman – and even fewer with girls. One study found that in 6000 children’s books, only 37% of them had female main characters. Since it was Day of the Girl on Tuesday and we are all about celebrating the sisterhood, we thought we’d have a look through our bookshelves and find our favourite literary girls.

1. Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games

If Destiny’s Child’s Survivor was written with someone in mind,  it would have been Katniss Everdeen(yeah yeah, we know it was written before the Hunger Games, but you get what we mean). We all know she’s tough, but perhaps the most wonderful thing about Katniss is how deeply she cares for her sister, Prim, for Rue and Peeta and Gale. And let’s be honest, isn’t it best to have a bit of both?

“Pity does not get you aid. Admiration at your refusal to give in does.”

2. Liesel Meminger, The Book Thief

Sometimes just thinking about this book can be enough to bring on tears. It’s set in WW2 and narrated by Death (stay with me). It’s a wonderful, quirky book about nine-year-old Liesel, who steals books but at the same time knows more about loss than anyone should ever have to.

“…She did not say goodbye. She was incapable, and after a few more minutes at his side, she was able to tear herself from the ground. It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on…”

3. Scout Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird

Despite being published in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird is still shockingly relevant today. Scout is the daughter of a lawyer who is defending a black man accused of raping a white girl in the deep south of the USA. Scout is a fearless young girl who refuses traditional ‘feminine’ behaviours and is generally an all around kicker of ass.

“I felt the starched walls of a pink cotton penitentiary closing in on me, and for the second time in my life I thought of running away. Immediately.”

4. Frankie Landau-Banks, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks 

This is a lesser-known (and in my opinion, better) book from e. lockhart, the author of We Were Liars. It centres around a girl called Frankie, who is enraged when she learns she can’t join her boyfriend’s all male secret-society at their boarding school. So, in the manner of a totally awesome lady, she created a society of her own.

“‘You have some balls.’

Frankie hated that expression, ever since Zada had pointed out to her that it equates courage with the male equipment…”

5. Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables

Feisty orphan Anne is sent to live with a grumpy middle-aged brother and sister on a farm after a slight communication error (it was the early 1900s, so Whatsapp wasn’t available). They had actually requested a boy, but Anne quickly shows them that anything a boy can do, a girl can do better. Including totally win their hearts.

“There’s such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I’m such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn’t be half so interesting.”

6. Jo March, Little Women

Little Women follows the adventures of the four March sisters as they grow up as girls in 19th century America. Tree-climber and playwright Jo is the most headstrong of the four, if she were around today I think her report card would be decorated with unsubtle pleas for her to “keep her temper under control.” The March siblings are all pretty kickass in their own ways, but Jo takes the cake.

“I want to do something splendid before I go into my castle – something heroic, or wonderful – that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead. I don’t know what, but I’m on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all, some day.”

7. Matilda Wormwood, Matilda

If you can read this book without spending at least 20 minutes staring at inanimate objects hoping to move them with your mind, I salute you. Matilda has pretty crappy parents but when her teacher Miss Honey notices how clever she is, she discovers her magical powers. And we’re talking actual magical powers, guys, not just ‘believing in yourself’. Though of course that’s great too.

“Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable…”

8. Natasha Kingsley, The Sun is Also a Star

This book is about a girl who loves science and a boy who loves poetry. It’s a book about love, sure. But it’s also a book about Natasha, an illegal immigrant, who is about to be deported along with her whole family. Natasha is willing to fight really damn hard for her future – and when she meets Daniel, she’s willing to fight that little bit harder.

“He closes the file and pushes a box of tissues toward me me in anticipation of my tears. But I am not a cryer. I didn’t cry when my father first told us about the deportation orders, or when any of the appeals were rejected.”

9. Lily Owens, The Secret Life of Bees

Set in 1960s America, Lily and maid / stand-in mum Rosaleen run away from Lily’s dad and end up living with the Boatwright sisters who make honey (hence the title). This book is more adult than YA, which makes Lily’s role as the female protagonist even cooler. Lily is an amazing chick who isn’t afraid to go out and find the life she wants.

“Knowing can be a curse on a person’s life. I’d traded in a pack of lies for a pack of truth, and I didn’t know which one was heavier. Which one took the most strength to carry around? It was a ridiculous question, though, because once you know the truth, you can’t ever go back and pick up your suitcase of lies. Heavier or not, the truth is yours now.”

10. Bee Fox, Where’d You Go, Bernadette

When her mother Bernadette grants Bee’s wish to go on a family trip to Antarctica (casual), she gets enveloped in the plans. One day Bernadette disappears and it’s up to Bee to find her. As she sifts through her mum’s emails and old documents, she comes across some incredible revelations about her mum’s past.

“My heart started racing, not the bad kind of heart racing, like I’m going to die. But the good kind of heart racing, like, Hello, can I help you with something? If not, please step aside because I’m about to kick the shit out of life.”

So go and and get reading – there is so much kick-assery to discover.

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We’ve mentioned volunteering quite a bit at betty, but we’ve never actually properly explained how to volunteer, or why you should in the first place.

So, here we are: betty’s guide to the wonderful world of volunteering!

I mean, why would I WANT to volunteer?

It’s a very good question. Why WOULD you want to volunteer when it takes up a lot of your time and you don’t even get paid for it? Well, here are just a few benefits we can think of:

– You’re supporting others or a cause in need
– You’ll make a bunch of cool friends
– You’ll learn loads of skills for free
– You can even get qualifications for free!
– You can learn a lot about yourself, what you love and what you’re good at
– You can even volunteer FROM HOME?!
– It looks bloody great on your CV
– It can even lead to a permanent job

Happy Wednesday! ☀️🌟✨

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That actually sounds cool. But is it super serious like a job?

Nope! It doesn’t have to be. Fair enough, you often have to formally dedicate a certain amount of hours when you volunteer, but that’s only so the charity or organisation can keep a track of who’s doing what when, and so they know just how dedicated you will be (very dedicated, because you are obviously awesome).

But because it’s voluntary work and therefore you aren’t getting paid for your time, you aren’t bound into a life or death contract. We promise. If you find the role isn’t for you, that’s totally ok. You can let them know and pull out.

That’s fair enough. So where can I find these volunteering roles?

Another very good question. It’s all well and good saying GO AND VOLUNTEER but, um, where do you start?! Thankfully, there are a couple of great websites that cater exactly to this need:

Do-it is a wonderfully simple platform to find the best volunteering opportunities for you. They allow you to filter your search down to even ‘volunteering from home’ opportunities (yeah, they exist, we told you!) and is a super easy website to use.

We love to share your volunteering stories to inspire others! Email hello@do-it.org to get involved ✌️

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vInspired is a charity helping 14 – 25 year olds get into volunteering. You can filter your search right down and, if you can’t find the thing you’re passionate about, they can even help you set up your own voluntary project! Pretty badass.

Volunteering Matters focuses more on the importance of volunteering in your local community to support the most vulnerable. Look at their Instagram – everyone’s having SUCH A GOOD TIME.

And here are some charities (and, um, search engines…) who are looking for brilliant young people like you…

The Mix is a charity supporting under 25s in the UK and a lot of their services rely on volunteers. As they’re passionate about peer-to-peer support, a lot of their opportunities are 16+ AND they offer those sweet, free qualifications. We’ve heard they get pizza in during their training sessions too. Just saying.

parkrun isn’t just for those who like running. The weekly, free, timed 5k runs all over the UK wouldn’t exist without volunteers. Literally – they organise the whole thing! There are a number of roles available, you’ll make a load of friends, and be so stupendously inspired by all the different people who take part.

Girlguiding offers volunteering opportunities for those still in school and beyond. Thought Girlguiding was old-fashioned and embarrassing? WRONG. Girlguiding has grown into a strong, feminist, modern movement and GOD we wish we could go back and join them.

Google. Apols for being basic, but you can always just search for opportunities in your local area. There will always be something available, from volunteering in schools to volunteering in parks and green spaces.

Also, don’t forget big events! Huge sporting events like the Olympics always rely on hundreds and hundreds of volunteers, so it’s always worth searching their official websites. It could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of something incredible.

I feel like you have something else to say…

YES. Sorry. I’m passionate, ok.

Volunteering doesn’t just stop at the end of your volunteering shift. When you’re a volunteer, you should just want to help and support people, causes, and organisations full stop. And opportunities could come at you at any moment.

After the tragedy of the fire at Grenfell Tower in London, hundreds and hundreds of people came out to volunteer their time and donate clothes, bedding, and toiletries etc to those affected. That included young people, too. We were pretty inspired and motivated (and emotional) at the video below of the human chain of teenagers volunteering to help.

We’re not saying you have to go out and volunteer after every tragedy like this – sometimes it can be dangerous, and you definitely shouldn’t wander down on your own without an adult – but often you can feel useless after something horrible happens, so it’s always worth seeing if there’s something you can do, however small, to help.

Alright, you’ve persuaded me. I’m going to volunteer!

YAAAAAAS. We’re proud of you. Go forth and do good. The world needs you.

@louisejonesetc

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It’s Friday, which means we’re another week closer to the start of summer holidays. And if you ask us, they can’t come soon enough (only two and half weeks to go guys! Keep on keeping on).

But while the sun has abandoned us, it hasn’t been all bad. Here’s everything we’ve been doing, loving and reading this week.

Serena Williams truly is the World’s No #1

Serena Williams has been in the news a lot this week. Firstly, when John McEnroe remarked that if she were a man, she would be ranked “like 700th in the world”, Serena reacted with typical coolness, responding: “…Respect me and my privacy as I’m trying to have a baby. Good day sir”. Then later in the week, Vanity Fair released their new cover starring a breathtaking Serena Williams, seven months pregnant and naked, on the front. We never thought we’d see anyone trump Beyoncé’s pregnancy shoot, but Serena, you hit it out of the park.

You might want to rethink that Friday frap…

Bad news, frozen coffee fans. A BBC Watchdog investigation revealed this week that ice at three of the UK’s biggest coffee chains was found to contain faecal bacteria. Which in normal-person terms means: poo germs. Poo germs, right there in your venti mocha Frappuccino.

The cafes in question were Starbucks (nooo), Costa (nooooo) and Caffe Nero (nooooo), ie. All Of The Main Ones. Now obviously we’ve been drinking their icy drinks for years without anyone dying of food poisoning so there’s probably no reason to completely freak out… but a germ expert has called the little lurkers “concerning” and the chains in question are all taking steps to clean up their act. Meanwhile watch this space next weekend for our ultimate DIY iced coffee recipe. Cheaper, prettier, and without any nasty secret ingredients. Ew.

The Boy Who Lived turned 20

From the cupboard under the stairs to the Hollywood walk of fame, Harry has come a long way in the past two decades. That’s right, this week marked a whole 20 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published, and pretty much changed the face of children’s literature – hell, literature full stop – forever.

Naturally the internet celebrated with all the fervour of Gryffindors winning the house cup, and there were wonderful wizarding tributes left, right and centre. Our favourites included Twitter’s special Harry emoji, Pottermore’s beautiful Tweet Beam, these four writers passionately defending each of the Hogwarts houses (even Slytherins deserve love, guys) and, of course, JK Rowling reminding us that you just never know when one day might change your world forever. After all this time? Always.

Please look after this bear

In more emotional childhood book news, author Michael Bond passed away this week aged 91. The Paddington creator wrote over 20 stories featuring the famous talking bear, which have inspired young readers (as well as TV shows, films and a lot of teddies in welly boots) since 1958.

Fans of the world’s most famous duffle-coat wearer (soz, Liam Gallagher) paid tribute to the bestselling author by leaving flowers and jars of marmalade at the Paddington statue in his namesake, London’s Paddington station. No YOU’RE crying into your sleeve.

Are you #ProudToBe?

YouTube’s #ProudToBe video was released this week to celebrate the voices of the LGBTQ+ community in honour of Pride month, and I honestly don’t think it’s possible to watch it without welling up a bit. The bravery of the entire LGBTQ+ community is breathtakingly inspirational, and the YouTube community’s commitment to helping their fans feel like they are part of something is nothing short of beautiful. We hope everyone out there is #ProudToBe whoever the hell they want to be.

It’s been a pleasure, guys. Have a great weekend x

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You know about the suffragettes, right? You know they fought, and eventually won, women the right to vote alongside men. You know the mum from Mary Poppins was one. You can sing the whole of Sister Suffragette, with appropriately strident dance moves.

But you might also be a bit hazy on the details. Plenty of us know that we ought to be grateful to those women, without knowing exactly why. You might have been told, the way my mum always has, that you must vote as soon as you have the chance – “because of the suffragettes”.

So let’s hitch up our petticoats and have a little march through history, shall we? Here’s everything you need to know.

Let’s start with the basics – what does ‘suffrage’ actually mean?

‘Suffrage’ means having the right to vote in public, political elections. So ‘women’s suffrage’ means women having the right to vote, while ‘universal suffrage’ means giving everyone the right to vote, regardless of their gender, race, social status, education level or wealth.

(Not age though. If you know an eleven year-old who has strong opinions, afraid they’ll be waiting a while yet.)

So hang on, women weren’t allowed to vote? Like, at all?

Nope. In 1832, the first petition to grant women the right to vote was presented in Parliament by a woman called Mary Smith. It was rejected – at the same time as The Great Reform Act was passed, confirming that women definitely, definitely weren’t allowed to vote. Just to rub it in.

Another 34 years passed before MP John Stuart Mill tried again to change the law, and again failed, which prompted people up and down the country to form suffrage societies and start campaigning to make themselves heard. Time and again, suffragettes presented petitions to parliament and had their efforts rejected, ignored or mocked – but the movement grew and grew in pace and power, as more women joined the cause.

The term ‘suffragette’ was first used in 1906 by the Daily Mail (and it wasn’t meant to be flattering to women – some things never change). By the time the First World War started in 1914 the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies had over 50,000 official members and more funding than the Labour Party, with loads more unofficial supporters taking their own course of action.

What did they actually do?

At first the suffragettes were peaceful, holding meetings and signing petitions to try to get their point across. But some began to think that only direct action would really change anything. After decades of unsuccessful campaigning, famous suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, along with her daughters Christabel and Sylvia, formed a breakaway group (the Women’s Social and Political Union) which kicked their protests up a gear and became louder, angrier and more forceful.

Known as the ‘militant’ suffragettes, these women adopted the slogan ‘Deeds not words’ and began staging rowdy, headline-grabbing stunts in the name of votes for women. They chained themselves to railings, smashed windows, started fires and defaced public property in an attempt to make themselves noticed – and more than a thousand were arrested in the process. In prison many continued their protest by going on hunger strikes, which led to them being brutally, and often dangerously, force-fed.

Who were they?

Although many of the most famous suffragettes were, like Mrs Banks, well-to-do women who had the time and resources to join the campaign, plenty were also working class with money to earn and children to support who were risking much more than just their social reputation by protesting. And some were even men.

But despite having some male support on their side, the suffragettes met with plenty of abuse and sexist ridicule. They were declared ‘unladylike’ and ‘unnatural’, accused of everything from robbing men of their masculinity to going against God himself. Watching the awesome, angry crowds assembled at the women’s marches earlier this year, it’s kind of incredible to think that 100 years ago just being a woman with an opinion was enough to brand you a freak of nature. Threatened much, guys?

The other kind of battle

A turning point came for the suffragettes with the outbreak of World War One. While Britain’s men were sent abroad to fight, more than a million women stepped into their place and took over running the country’s factories, farms and public services. Pay was low, the work was hard and conditions were pretty horrible – but naturally, they still bossed it.

Many people think that it was their effort during the war that finally ‘proved’ women deserved the vote (don’t get us started on that). But while it was an important step in the struggle, truth was plenty of men still expected women to head straight back into the kitchen once the war was over.

What happened at the horse races?

If you know one story about the suffragettes, it’s probably this one – on 4th June 1913, a militant suffragette named Emily Wilding Davison went to the Epsom Derby, climbed under a railing, and ran onto the track in the midst of the race, holding a ‘Votes For Women’ sash in the suffragette colours – green, white and purple. Throwing herself in front of a horse named Anmer, who was owned by King George V., Davison was violently trampled underfoot and later died from her injuries.

Nobody knows if she meant to die that day, or just attract royal attention with a dramatic public statement, but her desperate act became one of the defining points of suffragette history.

…and they won in the end, right?

Correct! But you knew that. Because – spoiler alert – tomorrow, women up and down Britain will go to the polling station and vote, the way they have for 99 years now. Women will be elected to new seats in Parliament, and the next generation of women (you) will be able to look at them and think, ‘yeah, I could do that.’ A woman may, or may not, continue being our prime minister. Leslie Knope happened. The suffragettes abso-bloody-lutely won.

But what you might not know is that reaching true voting equality actually took far longer. In 1918, the UK vote was granted to women (yay!) over the age of 30 (oh) – and only if they were married to a man who could vote, owned property, or had been to university (sigh). Women could also be elected to parliament from 1918, but it took until 1928 for ALL women over 21 to be able to vote.

Meanwhile around the world, the fight was far from over. In the United States, women of colour weren’t given the right to vote across all states until 1965. NINETEEN SIXTY-FIVE. The Beatles were in the charts by then. Your grandmother had a mini skirt. In Switzerland, it was 1971 before women were granted the right to vote – and astonishingly, 1991 before it applied to all local elections too.

And of course, even in your lifetime the fight has continued. It was only two years ago that women in Saudi Arabia finally had the right to vote and run for election. Love Yourself by Justin Beiber was in the charts. You had a fluffy keyring.

So let’s remember never to take those votes for granted. Because thousands of women fought, and many died, for your right to register to vote the moment you turn 18 (then have champagne and cake to celebrate). And until then you can still shout, good and loud, about the issues that matter to you – petition, protest, persist. Because if the suffragettes taught us one thing, it’s that angry women get things done.

@laurenbravo

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Image: Suffragette (movie)

There are many things the world needs more of – love, peace, peanut butter Magnums, tights that actually stay up – but one thing we have no shortage of whatsoever is motivational quotes. They’re everywhere. On our walls, on our fridges, decorating our notebooks and cluttering up our Instagram feeds. They are the hot air that powers Pinterest like a jet engine.

But of course, they’re not always helpful. There are only so many times you can be told to ‘be a unicorn!’ before you want to smash your phone screen with your non-existent horn – and of all the genuinely cool and inspiring things Audrey Hepburn did in her time on earth, that quote about believing in pink ain’t one of them.

So as your antidote to all the whimsical sunsets, we’ve dug up 13 truly awesome quotes from some truly awesome women. Go kick some ass today – like yourself, not a unicorn.

(The hooves would just be impractical.)

“Courage is like — it’s a habitus, a habit, a virtue: you get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.”

Marie M. Daly, the first African-American woman to to earn a PhD in Chemistry

 

“However many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there.”

Nora Ephron, first lady of American screenwriting

 

“If I stop to kick every barking dog, I am not going to get where I’m going.”

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who won three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals at four different Olympic Games.

 

“We can’t be feminine and be feminists and be successful? I want to be a f***ing feminist and wear a f***ing Peter Pan collar. So f***ing what?”

Zooey Deschanel, your fringe icon and all-round comedy babe

 

“Everyone’s got some greatness in them. You do. The girl over there does. That guy on the left has some. But in order to really mine it, you have to own it. You have to grab hold of it. You have to believe it.”

Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, from her book Year of Yes

 

“You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

JK Rowling, everyone’s favourite dream auntie

 

“She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring.”

Zelda Fitzgerald, Jazz Age legend, from her Collected Writings

 

“Be brave and fearless [enough] to know that even if you do make a wrong decision, you’re making it for a good reason.”

Adele. You know Adele.

 

“Because you don’t live near a bakery, doesn’t mean you have to go without cheesecake.”

Hedy Lamarr, 1940s movie star and inventor, who developed the radio wave system that led to the modern creation of wi-fi (thanks Hedy!)

 

“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

Maya Angelou, author, poet and civil rights activist

 

“I say they should enjoy it while they can. You’ll be happy later to have taken pictures of yourself when you looked good. It’s human nature.”

Margaret Atwood, the Booker Prize-winning novellist, on (you guessed it) selfies

 

“One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world.”

Malala Yousafzai, female education activist and the youngest ever Nobel Prize winner.

What better motivation could you have before double Geography?

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Image: Getty

When the results of this years Girls’ Attitudes survey by Girlguiding revealed that girls as young as 7 feel pressured to look ‘perfect’, we were upset. But not surprised.

Almost every woman and girl alive knows how it feels to be judged on our appearance – by friends and family, by boys in the street, by strangers, by the world – and how it feels to be so conscious of our appearance that it holds us back in life. From getting down and dirty on a sports field to seizing the most exciting opportunities, so much is sacrificed because of the pressure to be pretty.

But it turns out those 7-10 year old girls also have the answers sussed, saying loud and clear that the most important thing to improve their lives right now would be to stop judging girls and women on the way they look.

Got that, society? Stop. It. Now.

Newsflash: that means thinking twice about the nice comments, as well as the nasty. The ‘compliments’. Because obviously, being told you have great hair or a beautiful smile can make you feel great – but while we’re only praised on our appearance, it’s so much easier to believe that’s all we’re worth.

So inspired by Girl Guiding’s #YouAreAmazing campaign, we had a go at coming up with a whole list of lovely compliments you can give girls (or anyone really) that have nothing at all to do with their appearance.

And you know what? It wasn’t hard.

1. You are so clever.

2. You are so creative.

3. You are so brave. 

4. You know the lyrics to so many songs off by heart.

5. You’re perceptive.

6. You’re a brilliant listener.

7. You give really good advice.

8. You give quite bad advice, but always with the best of intentions.

9. You have the fiercest moves on the dancefloor.

10. You’re completely hilarious.

11. You’re a fantastic problem-solver.

12. You’re kind.

13. You’re generous.

14. You’re amazing at whistling.

15. You are very good at seeing the best in people, even when everyone else sees the worst.

16. You are very good at seeing the worst in people, even when they’re not as great as everyone thinks.

17. You have the wisdom of a very old oak tree.

18. You always pick the best place to eat lunch.

19. You have an excellent sense of smell.

20. You can always pronounce the non-English words on a menu correctly.

21. You’re tough, resilient and not afraid to take risks.

22. You’re the person everyone wants on their team.

23. You can probably hang pictures perfectly straight, first time.

24. If I threw something at you with no warning, I bet you’d catch it.

25. You’re such a quick learner.

26. You have the best taste in books.

27. You always have the perfect reaction gif for every occasion.

28. You’re the kind of person who can sing the harmonies in Happy Birthday.

29. You make the perfect cup of tea.

30. You have an adventurous spirit.

31. You have the brightest future ahead of you.

32. If I ever went on Pointless, I would want you for my teammate.

33. You have the best sense of direction.

34. You embody all the best qualities of each Hogwarts house, rolled into one.

35. You inspire me.

Share the love! Tweet us your best compliments @bettycollective, and join the Girl Guiding campaign with #YouAreAmazing.

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Emma Watson is a woman. And like lots of women, she has those lumpy things that come in various shapes and sizes and decorate a woman’s chest. You know, those things that get perkier in the cold and jiggle when you run down the stairs? Boobs. A girl’s breast friend.

In her latest shoot for Vanity Fair magazine, Emma Watson showed some of her boob. Not the whole knocker, though that would be fine too, but this was just underboob. And in a shocking turn of events, certain people of the internet went batsh*t about it.

For some reason, people took issue with the fact that Emma Watson, a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN who is one of the most outspoken celebrities advocating for gender equality… had boobs? Showed her boobs? Wore a ridiculous looking and highly impractical top? Oh god, it’s just so confusing and stupid and WHO EVEN CARES?!

They’re her boobs to do what she wants with – if Emma Watson wants to knit nipple covers and wear them like tea cosies, that’s her prerogative. If she wants to guard them like a state secret, that’s cool too. If she wants to photocopy them and put them on every billboard all over the country, bras off to her.

Thankfully, there are loads of people on the internet who understand that feminism is about choice and that you can be a feminist and do whatever you fancy with your boobies.

But no one said it better than Emma herself, who defended the shoot during a press junket for her upcoming film, Beauty and the Beast.

Wow, all those haters must be feeling like real tits right now.

Watch the full interview below:

Image: Getty

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February is the month of love. Sure, you could be celebrating an actual romantic Valentine, or you and your mates could be each other’s Galentines. But what about celebrating the person who has your back 24/7? The person who gets you dressed and feeds you delicious unicorn bagels?

That’s right, we’re talking about YOU, you wonderful human. Why not practice a bit of self-love this month with these awesome slogan t-shirts?

A is for Awesome

Why yes, yes, you are. And you know what will go perfectly with your awesomeness? This sweatshirt.

here-to-be-awesome

Long-sleeved jersey top, H&M, £12.99

B is for Babe

You’re an unstoppable force! We know that you’ve totally got this, babe.

yougotthis

Slogan tee, H&M, £8.99

D is for date

Dinner and a movie? Sounds perfect – and this way you don’t even have to share your popcorn.

screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-14-41-22

I’d rather date myself, ASOS, £18

G is for Girl

You wanna wear an inspirational t-shirt with a bit of a 70s vibe? We say, ‘You go girl’.

you-go-girl

Ringer Tee, Monki, £10

P is for Power

You’re not just brilliant and clever and hilarious. You’re also hella powerful. Watch your vibes don’t interfere with the wi-fi.

babe-with-power-vibes

Message print, Pull & Bear, £12.99

S is for slayin’

Pride doesn’t always need to shout about it. This shirt is discreet, with a typeface you kinda have to squint to see… because you’re just slayin’ away, like NBD.

just-slayin

Slayin’, Monki, £8

T is for Texting

You don’t need anyone to text you a Happy Valentine’s Day. You’re an independent woman who has fabulous taste in tees.

dont-text-me

Rose envelope t-shirt, Pull & Bear, £12.99

Now all you need is to make yourself a handmade card and you’re good to go. Go on, be your own Cupid.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

It’s official – awards season is upon us. The Golden Globes were held on Sunday, the BAFTAs are just around the corner and we can practically smell the Oscars in the air.

Which means red carpets. Loads of red carpets. Amidst all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, it’s easy to get caught up in the beautiful dresses and the hair so shiny you can practically use it as a mirror – and that’s all lovely – but let’s also remember that awards season is really about acknowledging how kickass these people are at their jobs. 

Unfortunately, some of the reporters of the red carpet seem to forget that these women aren’t just walking, talking clothes hangers. But the leading ladies of the big screen aren’t about to take it lying down. Here are some of our very fave women calling out sexism and stupidity on the red carpet. Give them ALL the awards.

Cate Blanchett 

Australian actress Cate Blanchett wanted to know why the cameras were only interested in the women’s legs. Aren’t all pins created equal?

Rashida Jones

Parks and Rec star Rashida Jones called BS when a reporter asked her about her ‘tan’. Mike drop.

rashida-jones

Amy Schumer

Stand up comedian Amy Schumer got real about the other sort of red carpet.

amy-schumer

Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner wondered why no one asked her (then) husband about how he ‘balances work and family’. Now will someone please ask her something important, like if she did all her own stunts in Alias?

jennifer-garner

Mayim Bialik

A reporter made some big assumptions about the Big Bang Theory star’s calculus ability. He got schooled.

mayim-bialik   mayim-bialik2

Jennifer Lawrence

J. Law, winner of three Golden Globes and the highest paid actress in Hollywood, called it like she saw it when she was asked about her dress. Literally.

j-law

Emma Stone

Emma Stone, who won a Golden Globe for her performance in La La Land this year, sassed it up when a reporter cat-called her, proving, for the millionth time, there’s so much more to this leading lady than the way she looks.

Elisabeth Moss

In what has got to be one of most bizarre inventions of the 21st Century, the red carpet introduced the ‘mani cam’ where celebrities can show off their manicures. If flipped Elisabeth Moss right off.

Rihanna

When asked about her dating life, Rihanna made it clear than she don’t need no man. Preach, Rhi Rhi.

rhianna   rhianna-2

This awards season, let’s remember that there’s more to these ladies than the way they look. They’re the best in the business and they’re fierce as hell.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Getty