HS Hi Ruth! Tell us about about Girls With Drills – what are you doing, why are you doing it, and how is it going?
Ruth Amos: Girls With Drills is something that me and my friend Kisha Bradley did at the end of last year. She does something called Bright Box, which is a charity that helps disadvantaged children access maker sessions and puts on sessions in libraries and community spaces for free. She’s also based in Sheffield.
We got talking and this phrase emerged – we wanted to see more girls with drills. Not with a view to turning them into engineers; just to give them the confidence to not be scared of them, so they can put up shelves and hang pictures, because quite often we see tools as a stereotypical bloke thing.
We wanted to highlight all these amazing women making and designing stuff, and really celebrate inclusive making. As the conversation went on we thought it would be really cool to make some #girlswithdrills tops. So we thought we could open up for pre-orders and see if anyone else wanted to buy the – and anyone who buys one could support and pay for a disadvantaged child to attend a maker session. It’s a bit tongue in cheek, and it’s a conversation starter: “Why is it just about girls?” well, it’s not just about girls. It’s about inclusive making.
We launched this programme, and people really liked it. People started to buy straight away. There was a set amount of time for the first run, because we knew we wanted get the tops made and sent out before Christmas. We were really lucky when some of the bigger names in the maker community retweeted us. Robin Ince signed up to it, and the campaign just grew and grew. We were getting people wanting to order from America and Australia. All over really.
So we closed the campaign, got everything printed and sent out. We were really lucky, we had people like Colin Furze buying the tops. Shawn [Brown, one half of Kids Invent Stuff] sent me a picture over Christmas and Simone Giertz had worn one of the tops in one her videos. That started it all up again.
We didn’t want to start up a clothing company, but it did make us want to start another campaign. So we’re going to launch again on International Women’s day (8 March). We’ve got an illustrator to do a unique design for the tops this time, and again we’re funding maker sessions for disadvantaged children. People really liked it last time – it’s really important to keep having those conversations.