A Sunday ponder: International Women’s Day. What’s it all about?
Of course I’m in support, why wouldn’t I be? Obviously, it’s important and, without doubt, the rights of women, their safety and equality should be at the top of everyone’s agenda.
There are women and girls in the world who can’t get education, who are in real danger or who have no choice about what happens to them. It’s about them surely.
I’m lucky. No one abuses me, I got a good education, legislation protects my rights. I’m safe. I have everything I need for me and my family. I have choices.
International Women’s Day, with its #makingithappen theme, is about those less fortuate.
Last night was the Glasgow Press Ball. An annual gathering of the great and good among Scottish journalists to raise funds and glasses. Jolly good fun and probably why I’m slightly less sprightly than usual today. It was lovely, as ever, to catch up with lots of people I haven’t seen for years.
It’s weird. Some of those people are now fairly lofty – editors and the like. Of note, even.
But the thing is, almost all of those in elevated positions are men. Odd that.
Able though they are, I don’t believe any of these blokes are endowed with significantly more talent than the rest of us, men and women, had when we were starting out. So what happened?
There’s no great conspiracy – not really. There’s no boys’ club secret handshake thing (or at least I don’t think so). And I don’t believe journalism is any different to any other field.
No. Instead it’s a series of small, almost insignificant, decisions made along the way, for a variety of reasons. Things like concluding that the only childcare solution is the one that requires a job with regular hours; that the sexist comment from a manager isn’t worth challenging; that applying for flexible working won’t make a difference (ha!).
This includes domestic matters too – who does what at home, the kind of care your children get, and how that makes you feel? Who’s responsible for it all – really responsible?
And elsewhere, every time no one stuck up for a bullied woman, each instance a woman was objectified or demeaned for her gender – and nothing was said, and all the times you wearily sigh and get on with it – because that’s just how it is. They all count too.
Would it have made a difference? I’ve no idea whether I could have been chief of this or editor of that if I fought harder – or even noticed – every time I made a sexist choice.
I do know this though – making it happen isn’t just about clear significant campaigns in other part of the world. It’s about seeing, understanding and saying something every time it happens.
#makingithappen for International Women’s Day.