International Women’s Day – March 8th 2018 – #PressforProgress – Coffee Morning Next Thursday.

Next Thursday I am inviting you to a virtual Coffee Morning in honour of International Women’s Day on March 8th. I will be sharing some of the quotes of women and men that I admire; who have made a difference to our world in terms of empowerment or inspiration. I would love you to join me with your own favourite quote and also your views on the subject of gender equality.

I am sharing my thoughts today on two separate gender issues, the first being the #MeToo campaign which has been stripping the entertainment industry of its glitter recently… You may not agree with all my observations but that is part of the dialogue needed to create change.

The second is the bravery and commitment to change shown by women in Saudi Arabia to obtain the right to something most of us take for granted.

This year the theme of International Women’s Day is #PressforProgress – motivating and uniting colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.

International Women’s Day is observed all around the world in many cultures. Its aim is to celebrate the achievements of women in every society and also to highlight areas where greater equality for women is required.

This has never been more evident than in the recent #MeToo campaign against sexual exploitation in the entertainment industry.

I do have strong views on this, and I absolutely condemn the actions of those in power within the industry, who wield their position to intimidate, blackmail and exploit young women and also young men. This condemnation is not just for studio executives, directors, producers or even established stars. It definitely applies to the ‘enablers’ who act essentially as pimps within the industry. How many of the less respectable talent agencies have sent young starlets to dinner with studio bosses, with instructions to wear something slinky, to be heavily made up, to suck up if they want to get that role? How many of their more cynical peers have advised that they need to be prepared to do whatever it takes to make it?

I also feel that some of the issues within the entertainment industry are rooted in much earlier brushes with fame and glitter.  I appreciate the majority of mothers are responsible about their daughters exposure to fantasy. However, there are others who feel that parading their five year old daughter in sexy costumes and makeup in beauty pageants, teaching them to act provocatively in front of the judges, is the way to educate a girl on how to present herself for approval and to succeed in life.

There are fundamental flaws in the entertainment industry that have been inherent since the days of Shakespeare, when young men were the focus of the casting couch long before women were allowed to act. If you read the autobiographies of the older stars of stage and screen, there is nothing new in history. Certainly in the last 100 years in the mecca of the film world, Hollywood, there has been a litany of cover ups, scandal, sexual harassment and denial. It would seem with the latest revelations, that very little has changed for certain people in power across the industry. Thankfully the spotlight has resulted in some of the mighty falling from grace. The repercussions are likely to be going on for quite some considerable time.

It is largely down to the power of the worldwide web that has given those who are victims, the platform to expose the long held secrets about the corruption that still infuses the ladder of success today.

It is not just the behaviour of certain stars, agents, producers and directors. It also includes the scriptwriters of the films and television dramas themselves. In recent years the demand, allegedly made by the public, is for graphic sex scenes, full frontal nudity and violence.

Actors are asked to perform simulated sexual acts on each other that are designed to spice up the story and in some cases shock. Why? Are people so devoid of imagination that they need everything in graphic detail instead of being led into the act of lovemaking and being left to our own devices? Much of the sex shown in film and on television is also depicted as an act without commitment, affection and often without any form of communication between the two parties. Is this anyway to depict the necessary love and other vital skills needed to form permanent relationships and become responsible parents?

Is this showing respect for the women or men for that matter, who are again being exploited by an industry driven by money to create the next blockbuster? Even those films that have been critically acclaimed and nominated for Oscars this year are not exempt from using random sexual acts instead of clever writing to convey emotions. There are things that I don’t need to see, including bodily functions that should be private.

I am not a prude, but if we really want to safeguard women and men equally, we the public have to stop and think about what the movie and television industry is producing, supposedly at our request. If a young actress or actor is forced into performing what is essentially pornography for our pleasure, then we need to start voicing our opinions more vocally.

Am I shouting into the tsunami of public opinion… probably, as one voice rarely creates change, but millions of voices do. If we really want to create gender equality within the entertainment industry and any other workplace environment we need to speak louder and in unison.

Many millions of women worldwide are fantastic mothers who instill in their children all the right attitudes to life, work and family. They are desperate to protect them from outside influences such as those imposed by a minority of powerful men and women across certain industries.

We need to help them in that mission by being vocal on their behalf. It seems like a tall order, especially if you criticise something that is so publicly applauded such as the entertainment industry.

It does seem like an impossible task, but the second gender issue that I wanted to share today, proves that just being a woman in a more enlightened society can make a difference without us even raising our voices.

Driving for most of us is a rite of passage and opens up the world for exploration as well as enabling us to do mundane chores like food shopping.

With the world-wide web, we as individual women, supported by many men, do make a difference simply by going about our daily lives. For example in Saudi Arabia late last year a law was passed to allow women to drive cars for the first time in their history. Something we take for granted and a right that is demonstrated in every television programme, film or news broadcast around the world. Even to those in countries where certain elements of society are denied that freedom.

Here is an extract from the campaign that shows how Saudi women defied the law and risked public whipping to achieve what millions of us around the world consider to be a normal rite of passage… to drive a car.

Up until September 2017, Saudi Arabia was unique in being the only country in the world where women were forbidden to drive motor vehicles. The women to drive movement (Arabic: قيادة المرأة في السعودية‎ qiyāda al-imarʾa fī as-Suʿūdiyya) is a campaign by Saudi women, who have more rights denied to them by the regime than men, for the right to drive motor vehicles on public roads. Dozens of women drove in Riyadh in 1990 and were arrested and had their passports confiscated. In 2007, Wajeha al-Huwaider and other women petitioned King Abdullah for women’s right to drive, and a film of al-Huwaider driving on International Women’s Day 2008 attracted international media attention.

In 2011, the Arab Spring motivated some women, including al-Huwaider and Manal al-Sharif, to organise a more intensive driving campaign, and about seventy cases of women driving were documented from 17 June to late June. In late September, Shaima Jastania was sentenced to ten lashes for driving in Jeddah, although the sentence was later overturned.

Two years later, another campaign to defy the ban targeted 26 October 2013 as the date for women to start driving. Three days before, in a “rare and explicit restating of the ban”, an Interior Ministry spokesman warned that “women in Saudi are banned from driving and laws will be applied against violators and those who demonstrate support.” Interior Ministry employees warned leaders of the campaign individually not to drive on 26 October, and in the Saudi capital police road blocks were set up to check for women drivers. On 26 September 2017, King Salman issued an order to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia, with new guidelines to be created and implemented by the following June.

Read the rest of the article here:

As you can see, our passive acceptance of this everyday activity across the world, inspired Saudi women to demand that they too should be treated equally. We really cannot comprehend the bravery that took as they risked imprisonment and public lashings to achieve their aims.

Attempting to organise change at a distance is not easy to do. Many women still live in an environment where they are  bound by strict rules of conduct and limited rights and  unlikely to have access to computers for online contact.There are organisations that work on their behalf in their countries and externally, and it is important to keep up to date with their efforts and support when we can.

But there are other opportunities to mentor, guide and support women within our own communities and that for me is an important aspect of International Women’s Day.

How can we support #PressforProgress in our own communities, on and offline.

  1. We as adults are the caretakers of this world for the generations to come. As you look at the world today, is it really one that you want your children and grandchildren to inherit? Be a pioneer in your small part of the world and it will encourage others to do the same.
  2. Don’t take our own ‘rights’ for granted, appreciating that the reason we can receive an education, vote, go out to work, head up international companies,  lead countries, go into space, walk down the street with our bare face and head held high, open a bank account in our own name, make decisions for our own bodies and drive a car, is because women raised their voices and many times put their lives at risk.
  3. Be inclusive of those you meet on and offline. Include a translate button on your blog Appearance, widget, google translate You never know… one of your inspirational posts could make a difference to someone without your freedoms.
  4. Ensure that children remain a child as long as possible and are exposed to role models within family, inside and outside of school and in books. That they are encouraged to learn about other cultures and appreciate their own privileged position and possibilities in the future.
  5. Encourage boys and girls to participate in household chores such as cooking and cleaning and becoming self-sufficient. Life skills should not be driven by gender. Don’t let them see you treat them differently in relation to behaviour whilst still promoting all the good attributes of both. Men and women are different in certain respects and that is not a wrong, it is nature.
  6. Teach boys and girls respect for each other and their abilities and to be supportive during both successes and challenges. Encourage offline interaction and activities that encourage mutual respect and understanding.
  7. Be open to learning more about others in the world and their customs related to gender equality. Be supportive as they take steps towards reform. Remember that it is only 100 years ago that we women in the UK were given the vote and other rights that we take for granted today. Change takes time.
  8. If you don’t like something then say something. People may not always agree with you but if it is about injustice, inequality, abuse of any kind then you are not likely to be alone in your views.
  9. If you are in a position of authority in a business or institution then ensure that you treat both men and women equally. Mentor younger members that you are responsible for and encourage them to understand that good management is not gender specific.
  10. Even making a difference to one person will have a ripple effect on their future and those around them. Setting an example for good is a very powerful and worthwhile goal to aim for.


Here is the link for this year’s events around the world:

I hope you will join me next Thursday March 8th for a coffee, some cake and some notable quotes from women (and some men) who have succeeded in their respective fields and inspire others to do the same based on equality. Thank you Sally

102 thoughts on “International Women’s Day – March 8th 2018 – #PressforProgress – Coffee Morning Next Thursday.

  1. Hi Sally,
    International Women’s Day has become quite important for me over the last 14 years. It is now my son’s birthday and therefore marks when we became parents, and I became a Mum. For a few years there, this felt like a form of repression, but I’ve moved on from that and am thriving in parenthood now my kids are older.
    I also spent 3 years on the Status of Women Committee at our local council which included organizing the International Women’s Day March through the main street of town. That was fantastic and there were also other local events I attended.
    Domestic violence is a big issue and I also feel something needs to be said for women living with disabilities and chronic illness. Disability gets swept under the carpet.
    I will try to remember to pop back and participate on Thursday.
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Rowena and for being such a force for change as a parent and as part of the community. I was at a senior level during my career and it offered me the opportunity to mentor and encourage managers irrespective of gender. I also have given talks at International Day conferences. It is not much and it is not enough but when we as a community work online to be inclusive it does have a powerful impact.. Look forward to seeing you next Wednesday and thank you for sharing your experiences. Sally

      Liked by 2 people

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  4. I read your post with great interest, Sally. It is not that long ago that women in Europe were fighting for the right to vote. German women only got the vote in 1950. I do question, however, whether there really is equality between men and women. I don’t believe there is, even in first world countries unless women are prepared to give up their role as primary caregivers to their children and work very long hours. Most women I know who have managed to get to the top do not have children or never see them.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think that is about choice Robbie.. rather than gender equality. Having children is not an essential part of being a woman, many of us don’t have children for one reason or another. Men are no less father’s because they don’t tend to a child’s needs all day but carry out other roles. I do believe that if you are going to have children they should have a parent with them for the first years of their lives until they go to pre-school or primary school. I believe that gender equality is about offering the same opportunities for both men and women and it is their choice if they accept them. Not everyone wants to be CEO of a company but if she does, the pay and conditions should be identical to a male counterpart. My niece is a CEO of a large company and travels a great deal and she has an amazing relationship with her children and a husband who has been there in a much more expanded role. xxxx

      Liked by 3 people

      • Your reply has really made me think, Sally. It is a choice. I think I feel a bit irritated lately because even though I have chosen not to be the top of the pile and to earn [much] less, I still seem to have to deliver more and more. Maybe the only choice left is to stop working but that seems a pity as I do enjoy my job. Hmmm! So much to think about, it has been on my mind since I read this comment yesterday.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I do think that there is a glass ceiling and I had to push through it in a couple of jobs. But it was because I was too bloody helpful and good at the job at a certain level. Middle management is where the actual work is done and is still very much an operational role.. it keeps the company functioning. Then you have the strategic level where to be honest there is a high percentage of management what has lost touch with the front line and the customers. In my experience there two reasons for not getting into that top level and that is fear from those above you that you are so competent you will make them look ineffective and crucially that they will not find someone to replace you in the job that you are so good at. What they fail to realise is that if you are that good, you have been mentoring and training someone up to take your position. You are clearly brilliant at your job which is why you are so important to the company. Who have you got to take your place should you move up? xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • There is no-one, Sally. I have trained and trained but it never works out as hoped. The team I have currently is very good but they are still learning. I hope they will enjoy the job and stay for a while.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Great call out Sally… Everyone is stronger united. During my whole working life I have never worked with men and women only friends and colleagues and at time enemies it must be said… most were brilliant and some total idiots, but it had nothing to do with their gender. It is time we as a species moved on. As we have still got a long way to go and there are so many vested interests in organisations it must be a grass roots movement with everyone doing their bit. Parts of the world have already come a long way through education…. but we can effect change: together!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. This is an enormous topic, Sally, which I am grateful you are writing about. I lead Music Together classes three mornings each week with little children (aged 0-4 years old) and their caretakers (which can include mothers, fathers, nannies, grandparents, and sometimes visiting relatives). I am very happy that the families who sign up for our classes tend to be respectful of their children’s choices/preferences — even at this early age — regarding what they want to wear to class (boys might choose something pink or even have nail polish on because an older sibling was wearing some, while girls may arrive wearing blue overalls or a male-super-hero cape) and also respectful regarding how their children interact in class (one girl comes with her dad and sometimes asked to be called by an imaginary boy’s name rather than her own name). I am guessing that most of these children have not yet had much interaction with the entertainment industry — which will start to give them all sorts of (sometimes very warped) ideas about gender and behavior and presentation and success… What is MOST obvious to me — and I am sure to all parents — is how powerful the monkey-see, monkey-do impulse is. Children are copying each other’s behavior constantly in class — and I get lots of movement ideas from the children and the grown ups — and grownups are watching other grown ups (who are consciously and unconsciously modeling different parenting styles, different levels of playfulness and spontaneity, different levels of engagement or distractedness) — and everyone is watching me… Ripples upon ripples of feedback loops. So I guess I am circling back to the basic and wise idea that each of us can strive to embody the change that we want to see in the world. Each of us can walk the walk regarding these vital issues of equality and respect. On (perhaps?) a related note, I also can’t help thinking about how we as a human species have been treating the mother of us all — mother earth — ever since we discovered fossil fuels and our industrial era began chugging along (belching all sorts of toxic emissions)— faster and faster and faster! But this comment is already way too long and none-too focused. So I will end by thank you for weighing in with YOUR thoughts and feelings!

    Liked by 5 people

  7. I’ll be there, Sally! This is an incredible piece. Amazing! I feel and share your passion. There’s a movement, a fundamental change happening. You captured it brilliantly. It’s needed. It’s necessary. It’s now. Thank you! XO

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Brilliant Sal! Like you said, one voice may not be heard but collectively we are powerful humans. I especially loved the part about exploiting children, ie: beauty pageants. Change has started and it’s up to all of us to continue to speak up until equality and humanity becomes the norm. ❤
    You know I'll be away but I will make a note to drop by. ❤ xx

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Thanks, Sally. It is amazing what things we take for granted and how hard others had to fight for them. You are right about the entertainment industry. I’ve recently been reading some biographies and it’s impossible not to think about expectations and what was assumed to be the norm. We need to keep fighting.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thank you for highlighting the work that still needs to be done on gender parity. It was a big part of my work as a natural medicines therapist, creating workshops and classes for women in community projects, mental health and disability projects and a women’s prison.
    There are still so many issues needing to be addressed worldwide, including trafficking for sex and FGM.
    I will call in on Thursday for a little although it is my birthday and I am stepping away from work. xx

    Liked by 3 people

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  12. I think you’re right that gender equality begins at home. We need to raise our children to be more accepting and kind no matter race, religion, health, or any other differences. We’re all human- the end.
    Cruelty is cruelty, no matter what form it takes and basically that’s what exploitation comes down to. It’s not only the men though. My ten-year-old grandson has experienced bullying instigated from girl in his class because he has a phone to monitor his diabetes and keep in touch with his mom for corrections. She’s made school tough for him when he used to loved it, and thats sad.
    We all need to learn humility.

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. A very pertinent topic and some very thought-provoking comments…I am looking forward to Thursday… I have children of both sexes and have always divided “jobs ” out not by gender in any way shape or form…I have always worked enabled by the fact that my husband was hands on..whoever was home first started the evening boys can hold their own with cooking, cleaning, ironing, in fact, their wives never iron…clever ladies…lol..they shop, get up to the kids in the night it’s about sharing and caring gender shouldn’t enter into the it…They, in turn, have well-rounded kids…I think family units are important as are sharing…I am in danger of writing war and peace here…lol…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well said Carol.. I have worked with quite a few teenagers with weight issues and interestingly learning to cook for themselves and the family with the goal of providing a balanced healthy meal improved their chances of losing weight safely and with the knock effect of improving the overall family health. It was not just teenagers it was grown men who believed that their wives should do all the food shopping, decisions on what they ate and the preparation. I once had a wife come in and give me an earful for suggesting that her husband eat one of those new-fangled diets. It ended up with me insisting that wives came to the second visit where I went through their tailor made eating programme in detail so that everyone was on the same page. Like you I think learning to cook and look after yourself is a vital element in putting together life skills that are as important as any qualifications. and War and Peace was a very good book.. bring it on.. xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

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  17. Reblogged this on Cecily's Writings and commented:
    Reblogging from Smorgasboardinvitation … This week is Internatioal Womens Day- 8th March 2018 – Coffee and discussions on many issues includig this one – driving … I don’t know how I would cope if I wasn’t permitted to drive. There are many good works happening – take a look here … Here is the link for this year’s events around the world:

    Liked by 1 person

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  20. Wow enormous topics here Sally and I can’t leave a proper comment now! But I love your post and am going to show it my 15 year old daughter – I have shared your link on my regular feature on PainPalsBlog “Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!” Claire

    Liked by 1 person

  21. A thoughtful post, Sally. Part of what bothers me about the sexual abuse and harassment is the silence – all the people (respected industry actresses, actors, directors, and a slew of others) who knew it was happening and said nothing. It shows how this devastating behavior continues despite our knowing better. When people speak up together with courage about the “accepted status quo,” change can happen. Saudi Arabia is a good example. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Reblogged this on When Women Inspire and commented:
    Sally Cronin invites us to participate in an important conversation on Thursday March 8th at her blog (and anywhere else!), which is International Women’s Day. This post is one I’m reblogging as it is a great read, bringing up many relevant issues. Please take time to read it.

    On a related note, when I wrote about the #MeToo movement last month, your comments were very insightful and I will share some of them in a fresh post on Thursday. Thank you as always for your feedback ♥

    I’ll leave you with this quote from Sally’s post, “If you are in a position of authority in a business or institution then ensure that you treat both men and women equally.” What are your thoughts? Are you seeing this happen in the workplace?

    Liked by 2 people

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  24. Reblogged this on alessandro tinchini and commented:
    I do celebrate women daily, in my attitudes and my work of fiction which, even if it has not been published yet, makes large room for strong, independent female characters.

    I am reblogging this post because it reflects my personal convictions and I do think it goes back to my sensitive nature; I have always been a women supporter.

    Thank you, Sally for pointing out milestones in history and I hope the message gets spread wider and wider.

    And remember, it’s not about being a Gen Xer or one of the last romantics, it is about being a human being.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Sally, reblogged on

    I agree with you on all points, even if it’s not easy to teach the kids in a world so overwhelmed by a multitude of useless and in many cases negative and distracting messages. Our kids are always one step ahead of us and that is not always to be intended in a positive way.

    But revolution does not come easy, does it?

    I too look back to the Golden Age of Hollywood, Sally; that’d be magnificent to go back to the purity of the messages those films instilled. As a Gen Xer, I am old enough to have a father who taught me how it all began and how to appreciate it.

    Thanks for sharing such important messages. And thank you, Christy B. for having reblogged in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Hello Sally – I have reblogged your post and would like to share it again on my Facebook Page on International Women’s Day. I’d like to invite my readers to join your Coffee Morning and discussions – is there any particular time and, if so, what time zone?
    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Pingback: International Women’s Day – March 8th 2018 – #PressforProgress – Coffee Morning Next Thursday. – sarbawrites

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  30. Reblogged this on Carol Balawyder and commented:
    I am far from the first to reblog this article by Sally and it is with great pride and conviction that I do so. Thank you, Sally, for articulating so eloquently what needs to be said ❤ and what we all need to be aware of. We are all in this together.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Coffee Morning in honour of International Women’s Day #PressforProgress — Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life – wandasncredible

  32. These are some good points, Sally. The human race in western countries is spoiled, without realizing it. We are so used to our luxuries that we become entitled (especially the younger generations). Traveling abroad definitely opens our minds to how other cultures live and to what we take for granted might be non-existent to others.

    And, I hear you about the pageant contests, especially for young girls. What a way to instill a certain image into these kids’ minds! As a girl, I grew up playing in the yard and the woods, climbing trees and doing everything “mixed”. As Europeans, we also don’t blink twice seeing nudity (our parents when growing up, beaches in Southern Europe, movies, not wearing bathing suits until we were twelve, taking baths with our parents and siblings), but don’t necessarily relate this to sex, as is the case in the US. It is part of our life and our bodies over there – different cultures, different upbringings…

    Liked by 1 person

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