I don’t come from a particularly politically driven family. At least, they weren’t very open about it. I wasn’t standing on the picket lines at 4 years old, nor were my first words ‘social justice’ (no joke – I know someone who claims those were his first words.)
My dad was a forces man and my mum worked tirelessly to raise myself and my brother and both of them provided everything either of us could ever need. We’re a wonderfully average family.
We were taught right from wrong pretty early on, so it’s no surprise that they managed to raise a raging feminist.
My dad and I are very competitive people, we’re cut from the same cloth I suppose. Neither of us likes to be wrong and both of us will rise to challenge each other whenever we see the opportunity.
So, one dinner time a few years ago I decided to bring up the topic of feminism with him.
“yeah, go on then…how don’t we have equality?” He jibed
“well….well….” my 15-year-old self had lived a rather sheltered life at this point, I was a young cis white woman and apart from the obvious social conditioning, hadn’t experienced much in the way of inequality. The unrequited gropes and grabs came soon after my tits grew in. Funny how that happens.
My dad continued “…was near enough ‘undred years ago that women got the vote, you can work, do all the things I can…”
“URGH policies can change but it’s the attitudes that stay the same GOD!” My 15-year-old self stormed off, the tactic used at that time when I didn’t have a rebuttal.
Looking back on it, we were both right.
Women’s rights have come so far in the last 100 years. But they haven’t come far enough.
So this blog post is my rebuttal. Better late than never, right?
Menstrual care is a human right and period poverty is a very real issue. In April last year, the #FreePeriods campaign was launched. The campaign came after it was revealed that over 13,000 girls skipped school last year because they were on their period. This is because they couldn’t afford sanitary products. Women have periods. We can’t control them and it’s completely natural, yet we’re still charged for the pleasure. That frustration you feel when you’re forced to pay 20p at the train station for a wee? It’s like that, but more. In fact, it’s thought that menstrual products will cost £4800 in a lifetime.
Women have periods. We can’t control them and it’s completely natural, yet we’re still charged for the pleasure. That frustration you feel when you’re forced to pay 20p at the train station for a wee? It’s like that, but more. In fact, it’s thought that menstrual products will cost £4800 in a lifetime.
For more info on this subject, Bloody Good Period is a charity helping asylum seekers, refugees and those who can’t afford sanitary products.
Abortions are still illegal in Ireland. In 2016, it’s believed over 3,000 women travelled to England for an abortion. When taking into account the procedure and the cost of flying, it amounts to a cost of £900, minimum. I think it’s fair to assume that not every woman can afford that. But this issue goes beyond money and cost. The right to choose what happens to a woman’s own body is taken away from her. Our bodies belong to us, not our governments.
However, slow progress is being made. Last year the UK government announced they would fund the procedure for Northern Irish women (but they’ll still have to pay the cost of travel). As well as that, in May this year, the Republic of Ireland is holding a referendum on the abortion ban.
THE PAY GAP:
According to Full Fact there is a 9.1% gap in pay between men and women in the UK. That’s about £1.32 difference for those in full-time work. They did say that it isn’t true just for part-time work or every individual age group, and the size of the gap can vary depending on the job.
It’s true that discrimination isn’t the only factor as to why the pay gap exists. In fact the most significant factors associated with the gap are part-time work, education and the fact that women are under-reresented in high-paying occupations.
It seems to be worse if you are a woman of colour. According to analysis done in 2017 by the TUC (Trade Union Congress) black workers of any gender do not get paid equally to their white colleagues. Black workers with A-Levels will reportedly earn about 10% less than those who are white with A-Levels. Black employees with higher education backgrounds are paid around 20% less than their white colleagues. Educated young women and men are denied the opportunity to thrive.
In April, employers with over 250 employees will be legally required to publish data relating to pay inequalities. This move may help to hold employers to account.
As my housemate Millie likes to say: “it’s 2018 people!”
International women’s day is the perfect day to celebrate trans rights as well. Feminism isn’t feminism unless it’s intersectional. I think I got that from where I find all my brilliant and profound quotes – Twitter.
It seems extremely difficult for some to accept people for whoever they wish to be. The abuse and dicrimination trans women (and of course men) face is just another example of someone’s right to choose who they are, being taken away.
International women’s day is about women, whether you have a vulva or not. Trans people are fighting the same battles we are. Stonewall charity reported that last year, 2/5 trans people were a victim of a hate crime or incident. The chief executive, Ruth Hunt also stated that Britain was “unsafe for transgendered people.”
Women have come so far in the last 100 years but times are still changing and we must progress with them, or get left behind. Policies can change, but it’s the attitudes that need to change too. Of course, today is a time to celebrate how far we have come. But most importantly, we need to look at how this shapes where we’re going.
. My dad sent me a text this morning that read: “Happy International Women’s Day, Em!”
Happy International Women’s day one and all x