Let us women fight for what really matters

By Shelly Durrant

This Friday is International Women’s Day, a day that I’m increasingly expected to wholeheartedly support because I’m a woman. Forgive me if I don’t get the fireworks out. Despite my lack of excitement, I must stress that I am by no means an anti-feminist, far from it, I think we women have endured years of struggle.

However, does no one find it ironic that in times when women were oppressed, they didn’t demand a day or a date to mark a woman’s existence? It amazes me that, entitled feminists feel they need it now, when the fight has been won by women who were much less demanding and entitled, who fought and stood up for something that needed fighting for.

Feminism today, would appear to be more of a supremacy movement than a civil rights and equality movement, at its outset. Women feel under-represented and under-appreciated. They are seen but not heard. However, looking at the female leaders we currently have and the actual statistics, I think women have failed to look at the bigger picture.

  • The five most powerful people in the UK, at least officially are women. These include Theresa May (Prime Minister), Lady Hale (President of The Supreme Court) and Cressida Dick (the Metropolitan  Police Commissioner), and that’s even without the inclusion of Her Majesty The Queen and influential business leaders such as Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General of the CBI and Emma Walmsley, CEO of GSK.
  • Women earn more than men up to the age of 35. Overall average earnings put women 17% below men, although this doesn’t factor in that women work 13% fewer hours than men on average and are much less likely to take on overtime. Even without taking educational and employment choices along with social and biological factors in to account (a topic for another day), you can reduce the so called ‘Gender Pay Gap’ to no more than 4%.
  • According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, just 36% of males enter higher education compared to 46% female. This gap is also widening consistently.

To add a global perspective to this debate. Let’s look at America, instead of being pro-women, it just seems anti-Trump mostly, and instead of being inclusive to all women it excludes ‘pro-life’ women. Considering around 50% of women in the US are ‘pro-life’, you’ll forgive me if I don’t take your ‘Women’s March’ seriously and conclude it’s a political stunt.

As I mentioned at the start of my blog, I am a feminist, but I don’t see the value or worth in the existence of an International Women’s Day. I think replacing it with a day that is truly meaningful, and makes both sexes stand up and think, would be more beneficial. Some suggestions to replace’ International Women’s Day’ could include:

  • International ‘Women Job Swap’ Day. You swap jobs with a member of the opposite sex at random.
  • International ‘Women Do Some Overtime’ Day. Not sure an explanation is really needed for this day!

Let’s face facts here and say it how it is, there will never be equality of outcome because women are not men, and men are not women. Social construction in gender roles, plays a small part in how we develop and the choices we make, and both men and women have been complicit in the formation of these gender roles.

If we women really do have to stand up for something, then let’s take the fight to where it’s really needed and quite frankly, that’s not here in the UK. Places like the Middle East, large parts of Africa and Asia are where women have real issues and reasons to feel oppressed, such as FGM, child marriage, forced marriages and limited access to education etc.

I work for an agency where the Chair, CEO and COO are all female and I’m proud of that and feel our fight at Newgate has certainly been won. Sorry guys!




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