Washed up, by Sarah Juggins, Tuesday, April 16, 2019: Great event, but every day should be a Women’s Day
I took part in the recent Women Aloud event run by Soroptimist International of Kings Lynn, to mark International Women’s Day.
It was a heart-warming occasion as numerous charities, businesses and organisations gathered together in the Assembly Rooms of King’s Lynn Town Hall to showcase the work that they do. What united them all was that these were organisations mainly run by women.
And while the day itself was great, particularly as it ended with a Bollywood/Bhangra dance workshop, it did raise a doubt that has been nagging away in the recesses of my mind. Why do we need a day dedicated to half the population?
A question along the same lines popped up in a slightly different guise just a few days later.
As a member of the Sports Journalist’s Association committee I am part of a group that discusses annual journalism awards.
A proposal to introduce an award for best female sports journalism was put forward, by a very well-meaning male journalist.
To his astonishment, the four female committee members were all vehemently opposed.
We explained: why would we want to win an award that is only open to half the population? We want to win awards based on our ability as writers alone.
For many societies, where women are still appallingly relegated to second class status, then redressing gender inequalities is crucial.
In our country, there are undoubtedly still huge gaps – equal pay is unbelievably still an issue; the paucity of women holding top boardroom positions remains to be rectified; we still live in a society where men mock female football commentators or feel it is appropriate to comment on a newsreader’s looks or dress sense.
But I don’t think holding a day for women is the answer.
It should be a case that every day we should be calling out casual sexism, every day we should be pushing over gender barriers and breaking gender stereotypes.
The best way to make sure that women have equal status is to mirror those women at the Soroptimist event, and do what they were doing – leading by example and making a huge success of it.