STAND Student Podcast: Democratic Republic of Congo Series Episode 6 Pt. 1 + 2

STAND Student Podcast: Democratic Republic of Congo Series Episode 6 Pt. 1 + 2

STAND Student Podcast

STAND Student Podcast: Democratic Republic of Congo Series Episodes 6 + 7

Young Greens outside the Dáil

Listen to the final episodes of this series on the following platforms:



Google Podcasts





Radio Republic

Have you ever wondered what your phone is made of? What kind of journey it made before reaching your hands?

In the last two episodes of our podcast series on the Democratic Republic of Congo, we’ll explore conflict minerals and supply chains.

The DRC is a country with a massive abundance of mineral resources. This should be a blessing, but it has also proved to be a curse – for many seek to secure these minerals for their own economic advancement.

To get to the bottom of this issue, we’ll be talking to Sasha Lezhnev of The Sentry, who shares his expertise on supply chains, mineral extraction, and conflict in the DRC. 

Follow us on Instagram for updates and links to future podcast episodes.



#SecondHandSeptember: A Sustainable Fashion Story with @Traashion

#SecondHandSeptember: A Sustainable Fashion Story with @Traashion


#SecondHandSeptember: A Sustainable Fashion Story with @Traashion

sustainable fashion - second hand september
ARIANNA STEWART - stand news

Anastasiya Sytnyk

17th September 2020







Featured photo by reway2007

#SecondHandSeptember: 10 Sustainable Fashion Labels You Should Get Behind

#SecondHandSeptember: 10 Sustainable Fashion Labels You Should Get Behind


#SecondHandSeptember: 10 Sustainable Fashion Labels You Should Get Behind

sustainable fashion brands second-hand september
anastasiya stand news

Anastasiya Sytnyk

16th September 2020


Consumers are slowly beginning to change their clothing from fast fashion items to ones from sustainable brands. Instead of buying cheap clothing at the cost of someone else’s unfair treatment and pay, we’re becoming more and more likely to pay a little extra for our clothing to ensure it had been produced ethically and with as little environmental impact as possible. Many sustainable fashion labels are devoted to noble causes and also donate a lot of their income to charities and organisations that actually fight for change and equality. Here are 10 sustainable labels that you should get behind and why! 


1. Able 

Able are determined in their ethics which provide clothing Artisian-made in Peru and fight for fair labour practices, B corp. They believe that in order to end poverty you must create economic opportunities so that people, specifically women, can provide for themselves. This brand sells lovely items like denim, shoes, bags and jewellery. Their items are made by women from all over the world who are paid fairly and come from all walks of life. 

 Some of my favourites:


2. Tentree 

Tentree is another great sustainable brand whose ethics are that their products are ethically made and organic, B corp and Eco-friendly which gives back to the environment. The people behind Tentree feel a strong sense of responsibility to preserve and protect the world we live in. Each time an item is purchased a tree is planted. The motto of the company is “buy one, plant ten”, they believe you don’t have to be a hardcore environmentalist to make a difference. The brand has planted over 42 million trees around the world! 

Some of my favourites:


3. Boden

Boden, another great label who are passionate about ethical trading, fair wages, giving back and recyclable packaging (which is very important in a time where brands overpackage their stuff). Boden is a British brand which was founded more than 25 years ago and is renowned for being both ethical and expansive.

Some of my favourites:


4. Kotn 

Kotn is one of my personal favourites because of their soft and breathable Egyptian cotton. The bran works directly with farmers by paying fair prices for cotton and assisting supplies in making the switch to organic. Their ethics are simply, B corp, safe and fair labour standards for all. 

Some of my favourites:


5. Thought Clothing 

Thought Clothing create eco-friendly clothing from organic ingredients which include cotton, bamboo and hemp. This is another UK brand which ships worldwide and is dedicated to being sustainable. 

Some of my favourites:


6. Ref Jeans 

Ref jeans is an amazing eco-friendly Tencel, practices, organic cotton brand which launched in 2017 making affordable denim available to all. The thing about Ref Jeans is that they use only a third of the water used by other denim companies! 

Some of my favourites:


7. Girlfriend Collective 

This site is brilliant for real and honest photoshoot images advertising their recycled materials in all sizes. No photoshop or retouching their models which makes them very much fashion-forward and inclusive with sizes that come from XXS to 6XL. Their ethics are simple, inclusive sizing, ethical working conditions and fair wages to all. Unlike other brands that manufacture in Vietnam, the workers at these factories are provided with safe working conditions and fair wages as well as standard working hours.  

Some of my favourites:


8. Cuyana  

This label follows the motto “fewer, better things”. They believe you don’t need to buy a lot of things that don’t last and better to buy one or two things that are good quality. The brand chooses manufacturers that are close to raw materials so there is less travelling and sourcing items.  

Some of my favourites:


9. Amour Vert 

This brand is very much about minimising their waste by making small quantities of clothing in the US with a focus on sustainable options for materials, like organic cotton. The company plants trees every time a t-shirt is purchased with over 220,000 trees planted for far. There is an option to donate 1 dollar extra on top of your order to plant a tree. 

Some of my favourites:


10. Everlane  

Everlane is one of the brands that have nothing to hide. They show its markup proves as well as how each garment is created showing the factories and the conditions it is in. Although they may not be super environmentally focused it is still important that they are completely transparent with their customers, unlike certain fast fashion brands. 

Some of my favourites:



Featured photo by @charlotablunarova



Miss Representation (2011) Reveals a Glaring Reality Still Relevant in 2020

Miss Representation (2011) Reveals a Glaring Reality Still Relevant in 2020


Miss Representation (2011) Reveals a Glaring Reality Still Relevant Today

Miss Representation Documentary

Parisa Zangeneh

14th September 2020


The documentary film, Miss Representation, came out in 2011, yet it remains shockingly resonant today. The film exposes how mainstream media and culture contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. As an American woman, Miss Representation strongly resonates with mebut its message is relevant to women and girls everywhere.  


The film makes several vital points: that the media poorly depicts women; that it creates a culture of misogyny; and that it harms women’s and girls’ health, development, and their ability to be seen as intellectuals, rather than sex objects. The first two minutes of Miss Representation features dozens of images showcasing the way mainstream American media portrays women. In response to this visual barrage, a young girl (who reminds me a lot of myself at that agesums it up: “There is no appreciation for women intellectuals. It’s all about the body and not about the brain.”  


The poor representation of women in and by the media permeates all aspects of women’s and girls’ lives, including the interests that girls develop as they grow up. The film highlights the many obstacles women face in political participation, not least the searing criticism, objectification, and subjugation. Young girls who have political aspirations are depicted alongside obstacles women face in political participation and the searing criticism, objectification, and subjectification of women in roles of power. This link between the depiction of women in the media and women’s participation in the political process is made clear as the film provides abundant evidence of prominent female candidates for political and judicial office, women in public service, and in hard-hitting news programs who have been reduced to their appearances in media coverageChris Matthews, for example, said of Sarah Palin: “She’s irresistibly cute, let’s put it that way, in the way she presents herself, obviously she’s attractive and all that”Michael Savage  asked“Do you know that ugly hag Madeleine Albright, remember her, the psycho, she was Secretary of State under the Clinton, like a fat moron.” Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker of the House, was labelled the “Wicked Witch of the West” by one commentator (a google search to track down the commentator reveals too many hits referring to Pelosi as the “Wicked Witch of the West to result in identification), while Lee Rogers stated, “Look at these ugly skanks” (referring to the female Democratic leadership). Chris Baker observed that Pelosi’s perceived facelift was another reason “why it’s very rare to find a woman worthy of serving in political office.” Another, Jay Thomas, stated “I think if you waterboarded Nancy Pelosi she wouldn’t admit to plastic surgery.” 


In the years since Miss Representation was first released, progress has been questionable at best.”


Some of the language is also racialized: “Cynthia McKinney, the former Congresswoman from Georgia, was another angry black woman“. Notably, Miss Representation does not contain any reference to the negative, racialized media depictions of Michelle Obama, another prominent African American woman, in the 2008 presidential race, which directly relate to Miss Representation’s message. A greater focus on the impact of racialized language and negative media treatment of women of colour would have enriched and added depth to Miss Representation and is a missed opportunity to include the African American community to a greater degree in the film. For example, the 2020 documentary film, Becomingdepicted Michelle Obama’s vilification in the press during the 2007/2008 Presidential campaign. At one point, it cites negative media attention over the fist bump, which was alternatively called a terrorist fist jabbetween Michelle and Barack at a rally, an image of an angry-looking Michelle on the National Review with the headline “Mrs Grievance”, and voices of commentators calling her an angry woman, not warm and fuzzy, among other jabs 


In the years since Miss Representation was first released, progress has been questionable at best. One manifestation of this is how women are treated in the political arena. In 2016, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump described his opponent Hillary Clinton as a nasty woman. Recently, Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez recounted on the House floor how Representative Ted Yoho “had put his finger in [her] face” and had called her disgusting, crazy, out of her mind, dangerous, and publicly, “a f****** b****”On the other hand, women made considerable gains in representation in Congress (the legislative branch of the U.S. government) during the 2018 elections. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were elected to Congress, making history as the first two Muslim women elected.  


However, women still face a long battle aheadAccording to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, as of August 1, 2020the United States came in at 85th in the world in a ranking of the percentage of women in parliament. Afghanistan ranked 69th. Recent headlines include coverage of racialized and sexist press attention directed at Kamala Harris, named as Democratic Presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s running mateRupert Murdoch’s The Australian published a cartoon of Biden and Harris, in which Biden states “It’s time to heal a nation divided by racism so I’ll hand you over to this little brown girl while I go for a lie-down”. 


The issues depicted in Miss Representation are clearly coming to the fore again in the U.S. election race. Hopefully, more women will be elected to office this fall and women will continue to make strides in the direction of equality. However, systemic barriers, such as the media coverage of female candidatesare very real problems that need eliminating.



Featured photo by Miss Representation (2011)



Women and the Military: Harmful ‘Feminist’ Recruitment and Whitmore

Women and the Military: Harmful ‘Feminist’ Recruitment and Whitmore


Women and the Military: Harmful ‘Feminist’ Recruitment and Whitmore

British Army 2020 recruitment Campaign Women Confidence
Aoife Burke

Aoife Burke

4th September 2020


Love Island presenter Laura Whitmore faced major backlash last month following her sponsored Instagram post promoting her appearance on the first episode of the British Army podcast ‘The Locker’. While Whitmore denied that she was trying to recruit people to the army, many condemned the paid partnership as insensitive and tone deaf. Her tribute to John Hume on twitter the same day was the subject of particular scrutiny, with some accusing her of hypocrisy and ignoring Irish history. Despite the controversy, Whitmore defended her decision to appear on the podcast, arguing that the episode presented an important discussion on gender. Although issues such as body image and being female in a maledominated industry were covered, some have questioned whether the British Army podcast is an appropriate platform for these discussions.  


As is the case with most military bodies, the British Army has a poor track record when it comes to women’s rights. The prevalence of sexual harassment within the military, the disproportionate effect of military conflict on female civilians, and the historic impact of colonialism on women’s liberation are all defining issues in the relationship between women and the army. With this in mind, it is clear why many were sceptical of Whitmore defending her collaboration with the army in the name of feminist discourse. While the British Army’s use of feminist language in their PR campaigns could be interpreted as a sign of progress, it is important to question the intentions behind this move and, most importantly, who benefits from it.  


While discussion on this topic has been focused on Laura Whitmore personally, there has been little scrutiny of what the military were trying to achieve with the collaboration, or what this controversy says about their recruitment tactics more broadly‘The Locker, the podcast that Whitmore appeared on, is dedicated to “lifelong confidence”- the theme of the 2020 military recruitment campaignThe campaign, released at the start of this year, is targeted at 18 to 24-yearolds who believe that confidence holds them back. The primary message of the campaign is that while today’s society offers youth shortterm confidence boosts, military service provides confidence that lasts a lifetimeA marketing tool that plays on the insecurities of young people is highly questionable in and of itself, but is particularly concerning in the context of military recruitment. 


British Army recruitment campaign advert for 2020 – ‘Army confidence lasts a lifetime’ (The Telegraph, 2020)

Through their podcast, social media and other marketing platforms, the 2020 recruitment campaign has presented young people with a deceptive image of military service. Far from being the beacon of confidence and stability that is portrayed, there is much evidence to suggest that army service can have a devastating impact on mental wellbeing. A study published in 2018 showed that 17% of UK military veterans who were deployed in a combative role in Iraq or Afghanistan presented symptoms of PTSD – over three times higher than the rate for UK civilians. Furthermore, while the UK does not keep records on suicide rates amongst veterans, evidence from countries such as Canada, the U.S., and Australia suggests that the risk of suicide for army veterans is far higher than it is for the general public. These issues may partly explain why the UK military is facing a crisis in both recruitment and retention, with figures released in mid-2019 revealing the army had fallen in size for the ninth consecutive year. The charity Forgotten Veterans argue that this shortfall has arisen in part from public recognition of the severe mental distress experienced by veterans.  


Given the harsh reality of military service, the British Army’s “lifelong confidence” campaign can be seen as an attempt to manipulate and exploit vulnerable youth in the name of hitting recruitment targets. Troublingly, women may be disproportionately harmed by this kind of campaigning. Women, particularly in youth, face intense social pressures and harmful patriarchal narratives that can be detrimental to their self-confidence. These issues contribute to the self-esteem gendergap, wherein women tend to be less confident than men. Because of this, any marketing campaign that is intended to play on insecurity has inherently gendered effects. As well as this, the Laura Whitmore controversy reveals that the army may be specifically targeting women’s insecurities as part of their campaign. 


“Sexual harassment, the disproportionate effect of conflict on female civilians, and the historic impact of colonialism on women’s liberation are all defining issues in the relationship between women and the army.

As Whitmore herself suggested, the podcast episode she appears on discusses the issue of confidence from a specifically female perspectiveIt is hosted by three women who speak on topics such as body image, imposter syndrome, and underrepresentation in the workplace. While this kind of discussion has the potential to be productive and empowering, it arguably had the opposite effect in this case. Underneath the language of female solidarity, the episode is essentially an advertisement for the army. Military service is continually framed as a solution to the challenges facing women’s self-esteem. It is suggested that women can be empowered by joining the army, as this proves others wrong and demonstrates that they are as competent as men. This individualistic approach masks the reality that lower confidence in women is a product of systemic misogyny that must be tackled through collective feminist actionIt also promotes the harmful idea that in order to overcome the psychological harms of being stereotyped, women need to prove themselves to others, instead of fighting the system of patriarchy that creates these stereotypes in the first place.  


Laura Whitmore British Army Podcast The Locker

Laura’s Instagram post for ‘The Locker’ podcast (@thewhitmore, 2020)

However, perhaps the most damaging part of the episode is what is left unsaid about the experience of female soldiers in the British military. In May of this year former senior officer Diane Allen spoke out about the widespread issue of sexual harassment and abuse experienced by female soldiers both historically and in the present day. She argued that power in the military is still held by a toxic cohort of senior, misogynistic, white, middle-class males.” Allen’s statements are in line with the findings of a 2019 report by the British government that revealed unacceptable levels of sexual harassment, bullying, and discrimination facing female and minority soldiers. As well as these issues, women in the army face disproportionate risks to their mental health. The 2019 Ministry of Defence report into mental health in the armed forces revealed that servicewomen were over twice as likely to present with a mental disorder than servicemen. Research from the US also suggests that female veterans are significantly more likely to commit suicide than their male counterparts. When the true experiences of female soldiers are brought to light, it seems unjustifiable that the army are advertising to young, insecure women with the promise of empowerment.  


Ultimately, female liberation is about more than individual women occupying roles that have been traditionally held by men. Liberation is about tearing down entire systems of inequality and holding those who have perpetuated them accountableIt is therefore a step in the wrong direction when institutions that have consistently undermined women’s rights are allowed to co-opt the language of female empowerment for their own gainThe recruitment of young women into military service by preying on their lack of confidence is to the benefit of the British Army alone. This PR move appears without any recognition of the experiences of female soldiers; it comes without any promise of change and, despite what Laura Whitmore might suggest, it is anything but feminist.


Stay tuned for episode 2 of this series which will explore the disproportionate effect of war and conflict on civilian women.



Featured photo by Ministry of Defence



Has COVID-19 Impeded Free Speech? The “Land of Origins”, COVID-19 and Personal Liberties.

Has COVID-19 Impeded Free Speech? The “Land of Origins”, COVID-19 and Personal Liberties.

Business + Politics

Has COVID-19 Impeded Free Speech? The “Land of Origins”, COVID-19 and Personal Liberties

free speech covid-19
brandon lynch

Brandon Lynch

8th September 2020


Freedom of speech is understood to be fundamental to the democratic system, a system that, thus far, has stood the test of time. We hold our freedom of speech dearly as human beings, with constitutions such as the United States reserving its first amendment to uphold such a right.  


Historically, the ancient Greeks pioneered this principle around the early fifth century B.C as “Parrhesia” or “to speak candidly or to ask forgiveness for so speaking”. Parrhesia was fundamental to the democracy of classical Athens, with courts, theatres and assemblies subscribing to its proponents, much like today’s contemporary structure. However, protection of speech was first introduced by King John of England in 1215 with the signing of the Magna Carta, a charter of liberty and political rights, subjective to who you’re asking of course.   


Today,  free speech centres around the 1948 United Nations International Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes free speech as a human right.  


‘If the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech and press is to mean anything, it must allow protests even against the moral code that the standard of the day sets for the community’ – William O.Douglas (1957)  


In the past outbreaks of disease have shaped our politics, crushed revolutions, and entrenched racial and social discrimination. Epidemics have also altered the societies which they have spread through, affecting personal relationships, the work of artists and intellectuals, and man-made and natural environments. COVID-19 is much the same in this sense, with its presence rapidly altering the political, social and economic landscapes of our modern world.  


Now COVID-19 is attacking not only our ability to be heard, but also the legitimacy of that voice. The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is one of the many prevalent examples of where freedom of speech has been hindered by COVID-19’s continued exponential growth. However, I do feel Ethiopia, unlike many other examples I could use, will disproportionately suffer from the stripping of such scarce personal freedoms.  


In the past outbreaks of disease have shaped our politics, crushed revolutions, and entrenched racial and social discrimination.


As of July 23rd, Ethiopia, the ‘Land of Origins’, where humans first walked uprights, ranks 75th in world COVID rankings, with 11,524 cases. For a country of 115 million inhabitants, this stat isn’t particularly daunting. However, when we look at the additional statistics of testing capacity and availability, the issues become more cognizant. Arbitrary arrests, persecution of government critics and journalists have spiked following the declaration of a state of emergency on April 8th 2020. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed cited such arrests under enforced emergency legislature, stating “media institutions are to deliver accurate information to the public”.  


However, if we are to critically analyze such statements, a reality of biased corruption and state censorship shines through. This lockdown on free speech has been exacerbated by the change in government., Under the current administration, the Hate Speech and Disinformation Prevention and Suppression Proclamation legislation grants government authorities powers to fine and imprison citizens for their social media activity, infringing on the autonomy to speak, organize, mobilize, and challenge the government’s narrative.  


We have seen the impacts of this on a personal level, with stories such as that of Yayesew ShimelisShimelis, an employee of Tigray TV, a regional government-owned station, published on his personal Facebook and YouTube the proposal and preparation of 200,000 graves in anticipation of deaths from COVID-19. The following day Oromia police arrested Shimelis at his family home, seizing his laptop, cellphone and notebooks.  


Other examples of free speech infringement can be seen in examples like that of Elsabet Kebede, a prominent member of the Ethiopian Women’s Lawyers Association. On April 4th, Addis Ababa police detained Kebede and transferred her to the custody of Harari regional authorities. Reports suggest officials have not charged her with an offence but accuse her of disseminating false news on Facebook posts they claim could ‘instigate violence’.  


Alp Toker, executive director of Netblocks, a non-profit organization that monitors internet censorship expressed his concern on the ever-increasing powers of censorship in Ethiopia.  


“On 22 June 2018, his government (Ahmed) declared free expression a foundational right and ordered the unblocking of over 200 websites. Instead, exactly one year later, the entire internet  has been blocked and Ethiopia is digitally isolated from the world”  


Such issues are unfortunately not pandemic exclusive, beyond arrests of some high-level officials in November 2019, there has been little progress on accountability for past abuses within Ethiopian institutions. A national reconciliation commission was set up in December 2018 but it has an unclear mandate.  


For the roughly 16 million internet users in Ethiopia, internet shutdowns have been routine since 2015, with newly implemented emergency powers exacerbating restrictions. Internet access is key to unlocking the country’s economic, social and political potential. Continuing internet blackouts and censorship are costing Ethiopians roughly $4.5 million each day the internet is cut, hindering proposed social initiatives to lift inhabitants from poverty.  



Featured photo by wiredforlego