Tuesday, 6 February 2018

100 years Suffrage… still fighting for TRUE EQUALITY

Today, in the UK, we celebrate one hundred years since the passing of the Representation of the People's Act 1918. This act gave a limited number of women the vote! Equality in voting did not occur for another ten years… TEN YEARS in 1928.

We may have the right to vote today but we have a hell of a way to go before we see true equality. I have no interest in the notion of women being superior to men or vice versa. We are all human beings, only separated by genetics. What concerns me more is the artificially made inequality within our society.

The hypocrisy of the Prime Minister and Home Secretary this morning is sickening. They are lauding the Suffragettes, their actions and their fight yet these two women are responsible for Parliamentary Acts specifically designed to stifle democracy and freedom of speech. In addition, their Conservative Party has orchestrated poverty, WASPI women loss of pensions, working mothers being disproportionately hit by austerity and our young girls suffering period poverty. 

Cameron was even worse. His ignorance was permanently and clearly on show when he referred to female colleagues as "she". This disdain for women MPs continues, a glaring example was the during last week's Prime Ministers Question Time, when Tory MPs did their best to bray at and shout down Emily Thornberry. How do we really expect to convince our girls to voice their opinions and take public office?

I admit, I have no desire to serve in public office due to the negative media attention and the biased bullish behaviour some men display. I would much prefer to work with books and use research and education to influence future policy. I should not feel that way… but I do.

I faced sexism and misogyny all my life especially in a male dominated industry but even today, some recent events within my own local party, only demonstrated misogyny is alive and thriving in 2018. 

The whole system, Government and commerce, is endemically against mothers yet being a Mum is a vital role within our communities. As a single Mum, I was constantly told my growing boys needed a male role model. They did NOT. They needed a strong role model who could teach them the importance and significance of equality and being respectful to ALL human beings.

All these calls for more women MPs, business leaders, role models, etc, etc will never be achieved without a total change in attitude and ethos within our whole society. It must start with education of both boys and girls. We must get away from this divisive language and rhetoric. As soon as a child enters the education system, they are labelled and collectivised based upon gender which immediately hinders their opportunities in certain subjects because of societal stereotypes. This is prevalent in STEM subjects. The fact that Wes is helping me write this, demonstrates how far we can develop mutual understanding without gender bias.

What I would like to see going forward, amongst many other ideas:

  • A conscious effort within education to eradicate divisive, restrictive labels and stereotyping
  • An education curriculum that truly represents equality. The curriculum is weighted towards men's achievements – Bletchley Park is known for Alan Turing's codebreakers yet actually 8,000 women worked there and were instrumental in the war effort. They made up 75% of the workforce but rarely get the recognition they so richly deserve.
  • I want issues not to be "women's" issues. Period poverty should concern everyone in society as should sexual harassment. Men and Women should stand together to fight for these issues. My boys know how to treat men and women respectfully, more importantly equally.
Anyone who believes in equality, regardless of gender, should unite and fight for true equality. I don't want to set in women's groups. I want to take the fight to the main platform!!

Let us promote behaving as equal human beings.

Let us unite and fight for true equality against economic and political systems that are specifically and inherently designed to divide us. Let us also fight to ensure every human being has their right to vote across the world.

I can't write this post without mentioning… today would have been Annie Williams' birthday. Annie fought tirelessly for the truth and justice for Kevin AND all the victims and survivors of Hillsborough. A Mum, through no choice of her own, fought with love, great resolve and dignity. She took the fight to the establishment at such great personal cost to herself and her amazing family and WON!! 

Annie will always be my hero.

Much love