BFWG Thoughts on International Women’s Day

We defintely still need IWD because it is an opportunity to reflect on progress, and to Celebrate what has already been achieved by women since its inauguration in 1911.

Conceived as a political event in some European countries. It has now grown into a global event of which every woman should be made aware of..

This should  empower women and men to help women achieve equlity; to further women’s economic political and social achievements; it must do more than just expressing  respect and admiration for women.

‘Inspiring Change’ is an excellent theme.  Change needs to happen: we need more women in senior leadership roles; more women in STEM; more women in business and achieving financial independence; more recognition of women in the arts and in sport. EQUAL PAY for work of equal value. For BFWG it means promoting opportunities for women in education at all levels: we want more women in higher academic posts as professors, researchers and vice chancellors; we support  life-long learning; access to higher education for women who return as mature women and whose aspirations are blighted by funding cuts. We need change so that women’s lives change for the better.

Bringing about change is a slow and gradual process; awareness rasing is the most likely outcome IWD can achieve in one day and ensuring that the struggle for equality is understood as a global  issue that  concerns all women.

In the 100 years since IWD has been commemorated we have won many battles but not the war! The fight must go on. Women need more support enabling them to make a serious contribution to the public,ecnomic and social life of the country. Men usually have a wife to help and support them. .

The key message is: 52% of the population are women but they do not have a voice:  since the demise of the EOC (Equal Opportunities Commission) nobody speaks for women; other exclusion categories  (racial, disabled) are represented at the Commission for Equlaity and Human Rights but not women as a generic group.
Women’s organisations  criticised this ommission at the time. The mantra of the 90ties ‘ we need gender mainstreaming’  was in many ways counterproductive in that it made women invisible and gave legislators and  employers in politics and public services the feeling of satisfaction that they have complied with  ‘gender duty’. The    private sector has no such obligations to fulfil. Therefore women must be recognised as a powerful group with its own voice.

Gabrielle Suff


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