Welcome to Unlock the Future
We print heroines on bags!
We dedicate ourselves to the promotion of heroines; women who fought for the rights and freedom we now have and who paved the way for us; as women, as people, as a culture and as interconnected global citizens.
Sometime in the future we will – besides heroines – also print historical events and heroes on bags, since we at Unlock the Future adore courageous and non-traditional or groundbreaking men as well!
Namaste fellow space-travellers!
The idea for Unlock the Future began while running a small business in east London, where the whole world seems to come round to catch a glimpse of what is considered an authentic, creative or ‘alternative’ part of London.
But besides the still many amazing and independent shops and galleries, its street-art and very diverse mix of people, London’s east end – like the rest of the world – seems to be slowly turning into just another shopping centre filled with global chains like Pret A Manger, Tesco’s, Urban outfitters, Ben Sherman and H&M. This made me start to wonder with what kind of image of east London the average tourist must go back home with.
The First Topic
Since a major part of their story and battleground took place in east London, where Pacwoman Productions is based, the almost inevitable first choice as subjects to be printed on a bag were the suffragettes, the amazing women who fought for the right for women to vote and demanded equal rights.
Although we as women – and people – owe so much to their efforts and struggle, they seem to have been erased and are virtually non-existent in London’s east end today.
I have, for example, never noticed a monument or landmark for a suffragette or female activist at a prominent location and I don’t think that any street or pub is named after them. Also, in all the time that I have run my business in east London I have never seen advertisements or shop windows referring to them.
I understand that not everyone has the time or interest to research a piece of the past but I hope to bring back at least a few of the names of women that very much deserve to be remembered.
Especially in this time of information overload and kind of having Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (or AD/HD) myself, printing interesting people and historical events on a bag spreads information and sparks interest or discussion in a playful way.
The bags are 42 by 38 cm, 100% pure cotton and are hand printed on both sides. All bags are £10 each with free UK delivery. Buy the whole set of 6 bags with the individual suffragettes and get nearly two bags for free, so the set of 6 bags for £45 instead of £60!
We give 10 percent of the profit from the sale of our tote bags bag to the four charities listed below. These charities all work to protect human rights for girls and women, whether it being liberty from female genital mutilation, forced marriage and ‘honour’ violence or sexist advertising, trafficking in women and prostitution or simply having the right to divorce.
Equal, self-determined and free: this is still a distant goal for the majority of girls and women around the world.
1. Terre des femmes in Germany
2. Freedom charity in the UK www.freedomcharity.org.uk
3. The AHA Foundation in the USA www.femmesforfreedom.com
4. Femmes for Freedom in the Netherlands www.theahafoundation.org
Sites we like
Some links to blogs, articles and pictures of women, their struggles and achievements,
from east London to worldwide.
Suffragette pictures and articles:
* Powerful pictures of women fighting for their right to vote.
* Amazing pictures from ‘The Women’s Library collection’.
* Article investigating the campaign of terror orchestrated by the Edwardian suffragette movement, which asks why it has been neglected by historians
Local suffragette and London info:
* Organisation that aims to record, share and celebrate women’s stories and voices from east London’s history, which works towards opening the East End Women’s Museum in Barking, east London in 2019/20.
* Website from the Roman Road Trust in London, which features local heroes and heroines and his/her-storic information.
* East end suffragette map on ‘Spitalfieldslife’ by the ‘gentle author’. This blog gives a wealth of information and should be made a compulsory read for every school child (or everyone!) in Britain.
* A blog about where to find historic locations connected to Sylvia Pankhurst and the East End Suffragettes in east London.
* Website created as an interactive resource, giving information about Sylvia Pankhurst.
* Site listing his/her-storical places in Bow in East London.
* Site that focuses on finding memorials in London, putting them on a map and logging them in a searchable database, thus providing a powerful research tool.
* Site with loads of information about the suffragettes by Aurora Metro, which organizes the Virginia prize, a competition for women novelists.
Violence against women and sexism:
* Website from the ahafoundation, set up by the Somali/Dutch Ayaan Hirsi Ali. This organisation is determined to end honour violence and protect women and girls in the USA from the violence Ayaan – and many others she knew – faced.
* Website of ‘One Billion Rising’, the biggest mass action to end violence against women in human her/history.
* Interesting project that invites women to share their stories of sexism experienced on a day to day basis in a modern society that perceives itself to have achieved gender equality, where it is often considered unnecessary or increasingly difficult to talk about sexism, equality and women’s rights.
* Article about the lack of representation of women on the world’s city streets, from Rome to Kabul.
* Pirates, scientists, astronomers and athletes; a blog celebrating some of the many women history forgot. “Well-behaved women rarely make history”; these women misbehaved, but where are they in our history books?
* This amazing site with loads of heroines and inspiring women gives a wealth of information about their oppression, struggles and glory.
* A blog celebrating the achievements of young female activists and campaigners.
* Website from ‘The National Women’s History Project’ in America. Organization that celebrates the accomplishments of women by providing information as well as educational and promotional materials.
Funding, education and support:
* Organization that gives grants to projects in the UK and internationally that support women.
* A national association and charity for the promotion of women’s history and the encouragement of women and men interested in women’s history.
* The Feminist Library holds a large archive collection of Women’s liberation movement literature, particularly second-wave materials dating from the late 1960s to the 1990s, giving insights to women’s lives across the world.
* The Fawcettsociety is the UK’s leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights.
* Blog discussing the tradition of taking a father’s surname at birth and then a husband’s at marriage, stating that this is not a universal custom.
* A list of famous influential women who changed the world, including women’s rights activists, female poets, musicians, politicians, humanitarians and scientists.
* Great article on about men who supported universal suffrage for women. These included leading politicians, intellectuals as well as church leaders, army officers and academics.
* One of the many interesting articles on the website of the parliament of the UK about male supporters of women’s suffrage.
* Some presents featuring the suffragettes; from books and playing cars to tote bags and posters, available from the Museum of London shop.