On Wednesday, smack bang in the middle of British Pie Week, it was International Women’s Day. If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted about it until now, it’s because IWD is a super busy time for me. This year, I ran two pretty big webcasts for the women’s networks at work – one for the UK and one for the European group. I also co-ordinated the communication for the events in the UK, with a lot of help from some fantastic ladies. I arrived at work early and I left late, but the events went well, so mission accomplished.
“I would not be on the path I am now without them standing beside me.”
I felt it was important to take a bit of time out to share a little to celebrate IWD – particularly prevalent this year for me as the theme is #beboldforchange and I’m about to change my career. I’m about to start my dream career in PR, a job I wouldn’t have got without the experience I received from the two Women’s Networks I joined at work. From gorgeous Roisin throwing down the ladder to me and encouraging me to become the Communications Lead when she stepped down, to the partner in crime for life I found in awesome Anna, all the way to the opportunity I got today to put Khusbu up for a fab development role, I am a better person for meeting these women. I would not be on the path I am now without them standing beside me.
“The men in my family are feminists too, their actions always reminding me that my gender does not make me less than them.”
I have a family full of strong and independent women. A mother who taught me that dignity and intelligence were more valuable than a Mercedes; a sister who can pick a feminist argument with a dead painter (and win!); a step mum, a mother out-law, sisters in law (and out-law) and nieces who are always fighting the good fight. The men in my family are feminists too, their actions always reminding me that my gender does not make me less than them. My brothers always treated me as an equal; my nephew has a fantastic respect for women, not least because of my mad skills as an Auntie; my dad, step-dad and father out-law have always encouraged me to push on and achieve more in my career; and my partner supports me with so much love that some days I think I’m as awesome as Beyoncé (even on the days when I feel like poop!) I have a legendary best friend who is raising her daughters to be queens rather than princesses, because if you’re going to be royalty, you may as well be the boss!
It’s a privilege to spend my life with these amazing people who see me not as a gender stereotype, a howling feminazi, or a sassy broad in need of taming, but as Rosie, who makes them laugh but somehow always fails to do the washing up…
“Richard Herring spent around 12 hours on Twitter advising angry tweeps International Men’s Day is 19th November when people cried sexism at its non-existence.”
It saddens me too that every year, instead of people celebrating the often under appreciated role that women (particularly women of colour, disabled women and trans women to name a few) play in society, there is always a cry of “what about the men?” Richard Herring spent around 12 hours on Twitter advising angry tweeps International Men’s Day is 19th November when people cried sexism at its non-existence. This is the seventh year he’s done this. People still claim that we don’t need feminism, when trans women are being sent to men’s prisons and female politicians are referred to as sassy, shrill and feisty (please read that last one in the voice of Chuck from Daria). I would love to hear someone refer to Jeremy Corbyn as “a sassy one” – genuinely would make my day!
I recently spoke to someone who referred to Nicola Sturgeon’s call for 50/50 by 2020 (equal men and women in leadership positions within the next 3 years) as an “aggressive target”. 50% women in power is aggressive when 80% men in power (for example) is the norm. To quote an anonymous internet platitude, “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.” It is genuinely sad that some people still think that women having a greater role in society is a bad thing. As I’ve said many times before, feminism is good for everyone! More visible women does not make men less important, it makes us all more important as human beings!
So, no matter our gender, our race, our background or our privilege, let’s all #beboldforchange this year. Let’s do something that scares us. Let’s chase our dreams and be our best selves. And if a chance gets given to someone less fortunate than us, let’s celebrate the ladder getting extended out to them, rather than snatching it away. Let’s celebrate British Pie Week (and IWD, I suppose) by giving more people an equal slice.