I wanted to do something to celebrate today, 8 March 2011. It is International Women’s Day and it is the 100th anniversary of the day too.
In other countries it is an accepted holiday, maybe more like Mothers’ Day or Fathers’ Day than a Bank Holiday, but still, accepted. Yet, here in the UK, there is still the mixed response to it.
So, I felt – and I still feel – that it was hard to celebrate, not just in mixed company but also amongst women too.
It is as if the acceptable public postion is that women and men are equal here in the UK and there are no improvements yet to make. And yet, look at all the internet ink spent in earnest discussion of how to improve “diversity” – code in the UK for more women although it has a wider meaning elsewhere – in the boardroom. And, look at the Independent on Sunday survey, results published on 6 March showing that in terms of women in parliament the UK is in 53rd place. And, that is before considering more sober topics of domestic violence, sexual violence and street harassment.
In this week’s Sunday papers, Annie Lennox talked about claiming back the concept and word “Feminism”. Beverley Knight in the Observer magazine offered a definition to cling to: “Feminism … is about women caring about other women, giving a voice to those who have no other voice.”
I am in meetings all day so what can I do? Well, I’m going to a meeting of the Women in Finance group at the ICAEW this evening and, inspired by the Equals? website, I’m giving a small voice today and taking these actions:
- wishing people International Women’s Day!
- venturing a suggestion as to when we’ll know that men and women are equal – (in case you are wondering that was: “when we fear no ridicule for talking about equality, feminism and even IWD”)
- tweeting #IWD
In addition, I am sending a wish for women via the Womankind Worldwide web-site. My wish is for everyone to have progress in their struggles, joy in their hearts and smiles on their faces!