We’re women and we’re feminists. Bunty and I have always identified as feminists and we grew up in feminist households where the men were also feminists. What is International Women’s Day about?
Is it an annual appraisal of ‘women’s issues’ based on progress and regress of women’s rights? Is it about celebration and protest? It it only for women to acknowledge? What did you do, if anything, to mark the occasion?
BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour let us hear from women based in India and South Africa among other countries with stories that ranged from depressing to touching but it was the same old, same old. We can place bets now that next year’s Woman’s Hour might sound almost identical. Is anything changing?
Since last year’s International Women’s Day we in Britain got our second female Prime Minister and capable, inspirational female potential leaders in the Labour Party were forced to back down from a leadership challenge. Scotland has a female First Minister and the leader of the opposition there is also female. So far so good, except women at the top of politics in Britain hasn’t closed the gender pay gap which still persists in British businesses and there is a woeful lack of women on management boards of the top 100 listed companies.
This follows a TechCrunch article that highlights that women attract only 10% of venture capital funding for their ideas and if you’re a woman and an ethnic minority then that drops further to 1%!!
Shifting our gaze to healthcare, Britain’s so-called special relationship with both the USA and Ireland and actual legal relationship with Northern Ireland hasn’t affected the rights of women to unhindered access to reproductive healthcare and abortion. It’s 2017 folks and this is the tragic status of basic healthcare for women in developed nations so one wonders how much worse it could be for women in the rest of the world.
The EU spares no time in managing cross-border tax, legal and commercial competition issues and yet maintains a firmly zipped mouth and deflated muscles when it comes to imposing abortion rights for women in the Republic of Ireland and Malta.
What we want International Women’s Day to be about is for men in positions of power, men on the street and those working with us to think about the women in their lives past, present and future. We want them to stand in solidarity with us and we would like women in positions of power to use it.
Bunty & Bubbly