Jude Kelly, the artistic director of Britain's largest cultural institution, the Southbank Centre, considers how the female perspective has been underrepresented in her talk on humanity, and how the world would benefit from including diverse views more frequently.
She starts out by telling her audience of the festival she founded seven years ago called WOW, which stands for Women of the World. Since then, it's now is 20 countries, including Somaliland in Africa. She says it is here that she discovered some of the oldest cave paintings in the world, which show how people approximately 11,000 years ago understood their surroundings and themselves. When she asked the curator about the men and women who made the markings, the curator flatly told her that women had no part in it.
As someone who had worked as a theater maker for so long, Kelly wasn't particularly surprised by the curator's ignorant response, but it drove home the idea that female perception is largely ignored throughout history, as "divine knowledge" is always considered to come from masculine entities. Female views on the other hand, are often seen to be only relevant to other women.
Due to this, women are seen as less important, and only really relevant when mentioned by men. Kelley says that "it's that conviction, that that we are taught, that I think colors so much of whether we're prepared to believe that women's stories really matter. And unless we're prepared to believe that women's stories really matter, then women's rights don't really matter, and then change can't really come."
By exposing the lack of representation of female perception throughout history, Kelly highlights the need to be more inclusive of them, and to remember the biases that are formed when only male views are looked at.
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