I have to start this blog with a confession. Nothing too shocking but I must state that I have never been very supportive of women’s days and women’s groups. In fact, I have actively avoided having anything to do with them. But I am starting to question that strident position.
I was brought up in a very modern household in many ways. It may have been the 1970s and my mum and dad had traditional roles. Mum stayed at home to raise the two daughters and dad ran his own business. It was anything but a traditional upbringing. My mum taught us from a young age that both daughters could do anything they put their minds to. My parents never ever said ‘but you can’t you’re a girl’.
This led to some interesting moments. I had guns as well as teddy bears, I played on the primary school football team as the only girl, and I would stand my ground in any argument with anyone no matter what sex. Growing up I had some sympathies for the feminist perspective although I could never be as militant as many in the 1980s.
Years on from that I still have the same approach. I rarely identify myself as a woman, rather I am me and that has served me well. So, why do we need an International Women’s Day?
In recent months I have become increasingly concerned about the views of women that are being played out on a daily basis. On Twitter there is the constant stream of worrying real-life scenarios that are published by @everydaysexism. We still live in a world where Page 3 topless women are acceptable in a national newspaper. The attitudes of the men on the documentary India’s Daughter are shocking.
Around the world and close at home women are still facing a struggle to be treated as individuals, human beings. I find it incomprehensible that during my more than 40 years we haven’t progressed further. How can it be acceptable that there is still such a significant pay gap and that this has been identified in the very profession I work for. I am very grateful to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations for highlighting this inequality in a recent report. (Read about it here http://www.cipr.co.uk/content/policy-resources/policy/gender-balance-and-equal-pay)
Today then is International Women’s Day. For me it is not about one sex being better than another, it is about us all being individual human beings. I still believe I am capable of achieving whatever I want to without being held back because of my gender. I see today as something for those women who have not been as fortunate and are living with oppression, fear and inequality. Happy International Women’s Day and let us make it a day that becomes unnecessary in the future.