International Women’s Day. I’m cynical.
I’m wondering wether to even write about this… I’ve just come from Twitter, where my stream included adverts clearly jumping on the IWD bandwagon purely as a marketing opportunity.
What’s the function of this day? To celebrate progress? To highlight inequalities? To sell stuff?
I noticed a woman got 13 years in prison today, 11 of them for committing FGM against her daughter. Aged 3.
Is that progress? It’s the first ever conviction in this country. Yet the fact of it happening in the UK is hardly an encouraging sign.
I see Emma Gonzalez.
I see Greta Thunburg.
I see Malala Yousafzai.
And I feel hope.
And then I see Theresa May, and I see a schoolgirl knifed in the back, and I see the metaphor right there.
I see companies ‘celebrating’ the day by reinforcing the exact same stereotypes that make the day necessary.
I see 137,000 schoolgirls missed class in the UK due to period poverty. A problem so easily fixed it’s ridiculous.
I see women’s services being cut.
And so on and so on and so on.
I find it hard to ‘celebrate’ this day.
On an institutional level, a political level, there’s so much that could be done so easily for such a modest amount of money. And it isn’t. And we have a women prime minister, and a great many female MPs and business leaders. Some of whom paid themselves over £200 million last year.
And still there isn’t the money to provide sanitary products for schools?
Or have refuges and support services for women escaping abuse?
Or youth services, to keep girls, and boys, from entering gangs?
I’m finding it hard to stay non cynical. If we cared, if we really cared, change would be upon us already. And yet we do care. So who is it who doesn’t? Who is it who finds reason to not fund women’s services, to not have sanitary products in schools, to close those youth services?
Whoever they are, I suspect one thing.
They are promoting themselves by ‘celebrating’ International Women’s Day today.