What a way to set the tone for 2018! This video released in conjunction with the February issue of Edward Enninfuls’ new Vogue to mark the centenary of women’s right to vote, got some of us talking.
The video talks about equality and what women of influence hope for women’s rights in the next 100 years time. Described as the new suffragettes / suffragists, it shares thoughts influential women in the UK who all campaign for equality, featuring Labour MP and sexual harassment advocate; Stella Creasy, politician and founder of Womens Equality Party Sophie Walker, artist Gillian Wearing, founder of online magazine; Gal Dem; Liv Little, Reni Eddo-Lodge – author of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – (which if you haven’t read it, it is a MUST read for all of us, it will truly open your eyes) journalist Paris Lees and blogger Dina Torkia.
There is a movement happening, a wave of modern justice seekers are not tolerating what has become the ‘norm’ anymore, they are asking questions, they are challenging the status quo and we are raising our standards as a result and it is so exciting to see.
The 1st January 2018 saw Iceland being the first country to implement a law making it illegal for men to be paid more than women to abolish the gender pay gap. A brilliant step forward and I strongly hope many countries follow suit. To me. It is a no brainer – why women of the same merit and skill-set are still being paid less than men is infuriating. BUT after watching Hidden Figures (again) and examining how much women (and more-so black women) had to fight for respect and credibility in the workplace, I also recognise we have to change our mindsets around equality first and that will take some time.
So whilst we cannot ignore and should celebrate progress, we must also not lose sight of the magnitude of work still to do and our responsibility to take it forward.
Fact: Women are still not viewed with the same regard as their male counterparts. We can start by better understanding feminism and what it actually means, rather than to see it as a false quest to hate all men on earth, that shining a spotlight on gender equality matters for women, people does not automatically mean inequality for men. To see feminism as simply a movement for equality and to not be frightened by the rise of ‘new suffragists’, of strong, intelligent, self-assured and vocal women.
Feminism is a movement to examine and deconstruct power structures that benefit some at the expense of others – Reni Eddo-Lodge
To truly make lasting change in gender equality, we have to eradicate misogyny and the way we all speak about other women, especially whenever there is any form of mistreatment. Misogyny manifests in many intricate ways and is the result of decades of being embedded in our mindsets, behaviour and popular culture from our deep routed history with gender inequality. I speak about it with my clients and in this post here; particularly about celebrated behaviours in men that are frowned upon in women. Research and popular culture shows us that when women are self-assured and confident they are disliked, when women speak up, and are vocal they are shamed or shut down, or treated as if they are aggressive, angry or trouble makers. For lasting change, we ALL have to mind our language, to notice how we speak about other women and to consciously do better in the way we speak to, treat and perceive each other.
As Liv Little aptly says,
There is no one way to be a woman and all should be celebrated
100 years since women were first allowed to vote – quite unimaginable isn’t it.
Header image for Vogue: Photography by Julia Hetta