It’s been a big and crazy few weeks for women. We celebrated a historic milestone, got prepared for quiet snacks foods and a major supermarket might be about to might understand the true meaning of “every little helps”.
Too much feminism
A friend of mine declared on Facebook that there were too many feminists (being interviewed during the reporting of the President’s club event and the equal pay dispute between the BBC and its former China Editor, Carrie Gracie). Of course, these stories come against the backdrop of Weinstein and the #metoo campaign. Women’s rights are having a moment, you might say.
A woman’s right to vote
On Tuesday the UK marked the 100th anniversary of the start women’s suffrage (women who were excluded from the landmark 1918 legislation were finally given the vote in 1928). It was a great time to celebrate the achievement of the very brave women (not forgetting their male allies) who campaigned for a woman’s right to vote. It also gave us a chance to see how much more there is to do to create true equality throughout our society.
Shh, snack eating ahead
Apparently one of the things that we need to do is to have crisps especially designed for our female mouths. In one of the most hilarious bits of culinary news this week, the woman who runs global food giant, PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi told us that her company plan to launch crisps that won’t require a woman to crunch loudly, lick their fingers or tip the crumb-filled packets into their mouths. Essentially, the company has done it’s research and is about to do it’s bit for “equality” with women-friendly packets of Doritos.
Campaigning in Iran
On the other side of the world women in Iran have been standing on roadsides waving their hijabs on the end of sticks. Their complaint is that they simply want to be able to choose if they want to wear the scarf or not. Like the suffragettes, these women are being arrested for their protests.
Women alongside sport
In the UK, we’ve had a bit of a debate around women in sport as FI and international darts announced the end of the “walk on girls” and hostesses. Cue uproar and petitions from those keen to defend the rights of women to be employed in these roles. I know people who have done this job, see nothing wrong with it and complain about the ban. Fair enough, it was their money-spinner after all.
Another viewpoint comes from women involved in the sport part of sports. It is telling that the women who are not particularly bothered with these roles tend not to be the ones trying to forge careers on the main stage and taken seriously as the competitors.
Contrarians will gleefully tell you that there is no gender pay gap, but this week a group of supermarket workers (in roles predominantly taken up by women) began their claim against their employer. The case shares similarities to the landmark case of the Dagenham car plant strike in 1968, which eventually led to the 1970 Equal Pay Act.
Representation of all the people
Let’s look at the UK Parliament. In the 100 years since women were allowed to vote we have had 2 women Prime Ministers, not bad. Ah, but then look at the decision-makers. Consider the membership of the House of Commons and you cannot help but notice the imbalance in representation; 208 women to 442 men in this current parliament.
How about women running companies? As of last year, there were 7 women running FTSE 100 companies….. that is right, 7 out of 100 possible companies are run by women.
I heard about this brilliant charity Rosa through the fund-raising efforts of a friend. If you look at the work the charity does, it’s another reminder of the journey we have as women, as a society as humanity.
Fairness for all
It’s great to celebrate the things that we have achieved. We must know that we can make things better still. For those who feel threatened by “feminism”, (which may also just be the campaigns to treat women and men fairly) the big secret is this: we can make things better for women without making things worse for men. It is not a zero sum game, in fact, a fairer society will be a better society for everyone.
Too much feminism? Who has time to sit around thinking about that, there’s campaigning work to be done. Not-to-mention sourcing of whisper-quiet crisps.