Gender and Society graduate Maya Cohen-Ronen on her combining her passion for feminism and animal rights with becoming a published author.
MSc Gender and Society
|Year of graduation||2002|
Your time at the University
Born by the Mediterranean Sea, my husband and I got married in Edinburgh in 1999 and had our honeymoon travelling around Scotland. We fell in love with the country, its breath-taking beauty, the lovable accents, the rich history and culture. So, when time came to be picking a university to study at for our postgraduate degrees, Edinburgh was an easy choice.
We returned to Edinburgh in 2001. My experience of the University, the city of Edinburgh and Scotland in general was superb. The city’s unique vibe is without parallel. Old and new are meshed together perfectly. A city so rich in art, music and culture, there is never shortage of things to do.
Our Gender and Society team was small, only the three of us. Elaine, our Convenor, was wonderfully supportive. It was intimate, intense and empowering. We were encouraged to question everything, to doubt societal truths, to challenge norms.
I chose to study my postgraduate degree in Gender and Society (already holding a BA in Communication and Management) due to my strong feminist identity, and my eagerness to broaden my understanding of what it means to me, what it means to other communities, what it meant historically, and what it might mean in the future. To me, being a feminist and supporting broader concepts of human equality was always a matter of ethical course. It is possible that this state of mind, carefully nurtured by the University of Edinburgh, was the fertile ground that allowed the broadening of my rights-based approach beyond the human animal. For, does it truly matter if the female whose sexual organs are perpetually exploited is a human or a bovine? It shouldn’t matter. Abuse is abuse, regardless of species. We are all Earthlings. I have become an animal rights activist and vegan, along with my husband and children.
To me, being a feminist and supporting broader concepts of human equality was always a matter of ethical course.
Your experiences since leaving the University
In 2002 I graduated from the University with an MSc in Gender and Society. Following my graduation my husband (also a 2002 alumnus of LLM) and I emigrated to New Zealand, where we have since naturalised. I am now a mother of two, a government civil servant of many years, and as of 2018, I am also a published author. My books are the result of the beautiful, unavoidable unity between my two passions: feminism and animal rights coming together.
In 2018, I published my first fiction book ‘The Shed’, which is a gripping dystopian thriller for ages 15 and over. It has a strong ethical message but isn’t off-putting to those whose journey is still not there. The book was very well received, which led to a sequel being only very recently published, ‘Liberation’.
These two books are lovingly dedicated to the rapidly and ever-growing generation of ethical warriors, who so far had no voice in fiction.
Open your mind. Look beyond your immediate bubble. Challenge yourself. Always question the “truths” that surround you. Speak up for justice and fight for what is right.