Yes, we should celebrate International Women’s Day.
No, everyday isn’t already women’s day.
Yes, we should celebrate 100 years since some women were given the right to vote.
Yes, Donald Trump is an absolute tool because of his attitude towards women and the male behaviour he legitimises.
I’ve found myself having the same sort of conversations a lot over the last few months. Fielding questions about why women are “shouting about things” and trying to quell disbelief from a male colleague that in 2018 there really isn’t a place for the ring side women in hot pants at boxing matches.
I’m not just having these conversations with men. I’m having them with women too. One lady I encountered was very disgruntled on IWD as, according to her, she had never been discriminated against so she didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. Well aren’t you one of the lucky ones m’dear? Although did you know that if you average out men and women’s pay in the UK, there is such a disparity that technically we stop getting paid mid November? (When I pointed this out, she said “Well I still get paid in December so it’s not all that bad” – head hits desk). Also, did you know that you may very well get made redundant while on maternity leave because you’ve been slung to the bottom of the talent pool. All because you dared to procreate, and god forbid might actually want to spend time with said off spring?
It’s the silent discrimination, the stuff that has been lurking in boardrooms and men only clubs for decades. If affects us all and is just as harmful as being groped in a nightclub or leered at in the street. Just because the discrimination is not physical, doesn’t mean it should be tolerated or taken any less seriously. So I’m sorry to break it to you love but yes, you are discriminated against. Every day whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.
I don’t think women are necessarily shouting any louder today than they have been for centuries – the Suffragettes, the Dagenham girls and 60’s and 70’s feminist groups were all pretty mouthy gals. Mother Pukka and Pregnant then Screwed aren’t exactly shrinking violets in their quest to end maternity discrimination and convince the business world that flexible working is work that works.
I think the change in 2017 and 2018 is that people are actually listening. All people, of all ages across all societies. ‘Me Too’ and ‘Time’s Up’ have firmly settled themselves in our dialogue. Finally, we are normalising these conversations. There’s a generation of female teens, tweens, toddlers and teenies that will grow up armed with information and the confidence to question behaviour they do not like or invite. How great is that?
It feels like we are at a turning point in history but I hope this isn’t just a change for the western world. Because for every woman who feels like they have never been discriminated against there are hundreds of women who are forced to marry and bear children as children. The women subjected to FGM. The women denied education. The women who don’t have the right to vote. The women treated as second class citizens. The women sold as sex slaves by traffickers. We need to keep #pressforprogress for those who are not able to fight for themselves to ensure equality and dignity for all.
Love you guys
Now don’t get me wrong I don’t hate men. I know and love several amazing specimens of the male species. My fiancé is the best partner and daddy I could ever wish for. There are many men out there who are as against discrimination as much as women are. It’s been heartening to see so many men coming out in support and joining their other halves (with their sons) at protest marches. So this post isn’t about man bashing. It’s about calling out inappropriate behaviour, illegal behaviour and not taking any more shit.
Also, in the interests of equality I would like to point out that there’s an International Men’s Day in November. So, come on chaps, this year why not celebrate your day with as much passion as we celebrate ours? Get loud, get shouty, we’ll join you – we’ve had enough practice!