Monday, 7 March 2011

The great divide ... still

Tomorrow (Tuesday 8th March) is International Women's Day 2011. In fact it's the 100th such day since it was started in 1911 to celebrate the social, economic and political achievements of women all over the world, and in particular to mark the work of Suffragettes fighting to extend sufferage (the right to vote) to women. It's quite frightening to realise that it wasn't until 1918 that women actually won any right to vote in the UK and only in 1928 that the right was extended to all women.

Scarey though that thought is, it's even more mind blowing that even today, women across the world lead lives that are disadvantaged, diminished and in many cases, downright dangerous. Far too many women across the world, and sadly right here in the UK, live lives that are different from the ones experienced by their male counterparts. I count myself lucky that I'm not one of them. But even fortunate as I am, I know that I am looked at differently from a man in the same circumstances as me - both at work and in my personal life. It's not fair, and for me, luckily that's all it is. Many are not so lucky. Tomorrow, whether you're male or female, take just a bit of time out and think about whether you think it's right or not.

And for the women in the UK reading this, on May 5th, whatever your politics, make sure you exercise the right that women fought so hard to get for you, and other women are still fighting for. Even if you just turn up to spoil your ballot paper because none of them are worth voting for, make sure you turn up. After all, women died for your right to vote, and are still dying to gain theirs. Don't throw it away, make an active choice, use it. Because you're worth it.

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