On International Women’s Day

Today – Wednesday 8 March – is International Women’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate and reflect on the achievements of women across the world but also to look at how far we have to go to achieve equality.

At the weekend, I was getting my five-year-old son and toddler daughter ready for their weekend activities. My son commented that boys couldn’t do ballet. I explained that boys could and he was amazed. 

This is just one small example of the ways in which gender stereotypes are ingrained at such an early age, even when we’re trying so hard to avoid them as parents. 

So that is one of a myriad of reasons that I am supporting International Women’s Day. 

I want to live in a world in which my daughter isn’t called pushy and bossy for being assertive and confident. A world where my son knows that boys and men can do ballet and wear pink if they want to. A world where we raise our sons to see women as equal in all ways and where we raise our daughters to know the same.

I want equal pay and equal rights and all of the benefits they would bring to men and women across the globe. I want girls in every country to have access to free education and to be free from forced marriage, violence and exploitation.

I want women to be free to make choices about how they live their lives. I want mothers to know that the right choices for them and their family are the best ones no matter what people say.  And I want women to have the confidence to apply for the jobs they have the skills to do and to apply to be on that board.

But we can’t do this alone. We need men and women, organisations and influencers to keep demanding more. 

Yesterday, I attended an excellent session at the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action’s (WCVA) conference about women and wellbeing and what’s been achieved in the last 50 years. There much to celebrate and to be proud of in terms of legislation, flexible working and the continued conversation about equality across the globe.

But there is still more to do. One point the panel discussed was how many women today don’t describe themselves as feminists today despite living lives that wouldn’t have been possible without feminism. We talked about reclaiming feminism and I was so proud to hear so many panellists declare: “I am a feminist.”

So today is a day to listen to women’s voices and experiences across the world  and to think about the ways in which we can support creating a more equal world for women and our daughters. 

That could be by teaching our children not to limit their horizons and to rule out careers because of their gender. 

It could be by encouraging the women around us to apply for that job or that training opportunity.
It could just be by declaring our support for feminism whether we are a man or a woman.

What are your thoughts on International Women’s Day? How are you showing your support?


6 thoughts on “On International Women’s Day

  1. I’m trying to teach my son from a young age that he can play with dolls if he wants so as not to lead him down a stereotypical path. He loves Cinderella (the movie) and I’m quite happy to indulge. As he gets older I’ll do my utmost to teach him to be respectful of all women and to support them too.

    I was surprised in Cinderella to hear a line though in the song the mice sing from the ladies which is very stereotypical and shows it was drilled into society from an early age in the 50’s and 60’s. I hadn’t realised it before we started watching it on loop.
    “leave the sewing to the women, you go get some trimming” is the response from the female mice when the male mice say “I’ll cut it with the scissors… And I can do the sewing”. Back then those were ‘typical’ female roles and even Disney was saying so. My son will be taught otherwise!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My daughter recently came to me with a broken toy and said we’d have to wait for Daddy to come home to fix it. I was mortified that she had somehow got the impression that mummies couldn’t fix things! We’ve also had them coming home from school saying things are for boys or for girls. I try to explain to them that if things don’t appeal to them, then that’s fine, but that’s because they don’t like it, not because of their gender. I know some feminists say that these things are irrelevant when there are such bigger issues to worry about – but I think working at the little things is so important because it’s one thing we can do something about and it makes the bigger things closer and more within reach.

    Liked by 1 person

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