Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Coffee Morning in honour of International Women’s Day #PressforProgress

Welcome to this virtual coffee morning in honour of International Women’s Day 2018.

Last week I posted my thoughts on two issues that have impacted women in the last year, including the #MeToo campaign and the law that now allows women in Saudi Arabia to drive a car:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/01/international-womens-day-march-8th-2018-pressforprogress-coffee-morning-next-thursday-2/

Grab yourself a cupcake and a cup of coffee.

Please join in with your views on women’s issues, and also let us know your involvement with any community programmes that supports and empower women.

 

Back in the day…..

The world is a very different place to the day I started my first part time job at 14 years old over 50 years ago. Waiting staff, Office Staff and Nurses were mainly women (except for some specialised areas such as mental health care), but the majority of the management was male! You very rarely saw a woman chef, dentist, taxi-driver, lorry driver, train driver, commercial airline pilot, television presenter, newsreader, chat show host, game show host, front line soldier, or serving on a war ship at sea.

The advertising on television portrayed women as homemakers, cooks, mothers and in the caring professions. Dramas and films were written for the lead men and in most cases the ‘little woman’ was in the support role. Unless of course you were Mae West and could make up your own rules and get away with being ‘a bad girl’.

Clearly, in those fifty years, much has changed across most industries, medical institutions and the armed services in our countries. Women are now CEOs of international multi-billion pound companies, heart surgeons and prominent scientists. They serve on the front line and command respect as generals. They captain ships at sea and in space. Usually whilst still fulfilling the roles designated them for the last few hundred thousand years as partners and mothers.

That change was orchestrated from the moment the women’s movement was formed, and over the decades, more and more strong-minded pioneers broke through the glass ceiling; claiming their rightful place. Not based on their gender but on their abilities.

Fifty years is not long in terms of our human evolution of hundreds of thousands of years; making the transition all the more remarkable. It is also the reason why, those of us who enjoy the privileges gifted to us, should not get too cocky. Especially when talking about cultures where the situation for women in the work place or society appears to be stone age. In actual fact they are only 50 to 100 years behind us.

Not only that, but our track record within our so called ‘enlightened’ societies in regard to key gender related issues is less than perfect.

For example: The domestic abuse statistics for women the UK do not make for comfortable reading. It does not include the statistics for mental or emotional abuse that does not leave physical scars, but can be just as devastating. There is also a rise domestic violence in same sex relationships which increases the numbers of men being abused each year.

  • Will affect 1 in 4 women and now 1 in 6 men in their lifetime – Global estimates published by WHO indicate that about 1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
  • Leads to, on average, two women being murdered each week and 30 men per year
  • Accounts for 16% of all violent crime (Source: Crime in England and Wales 04/05 report), however it is still the violent crime least likely to be reported to the police
  • Has more repeat victims than any other crime (on average there will have been 35 assaults before a victim calls the police)
  • Is the single most quoted reason for becoming homeless (Shelter, 2002)
  • In 2010 the Forced Marriage Unit responded to 1735 reports of possible Forced Marriages.
  • In addition, approximately 400 people commit suicide each year who have attended hospital for domestic abuse injuries in the previous six months, 200 of these attend hospital on the day they go on to commit suicide

The other victims of domestic abuse against women are their children.

“Witnessing domestic abuse in adult relationships can have an enormous impact on the lives of children and young people. When there are children in a household where domestic abuse is occurring, the majority of children witness the abuse – and in 90% of cases they are either in the same or next room. Even if a young person does not directly witness the abuse, or they are too young to understand, the effects of abuse can be significant. Babies may show poor health, be irritable, cry a lot and have sleep problems which get better once removed from the abusive situation. Many children recall overhearing abuse and have said that not knowing if their parent was alive was more distressing than directly witnessing it. They sometimes felt guilty for not intervening to stop the abuse.”

For more information: http://www.lwa.org.uk/understanding-abuse/statistics.htm

We need a zero tolerance towards domestic violence, and however uncomfortable it is to face when it arises with family and friends, it does need to be addressed. If you are aware that someone is at harm then seek advice on how to proceed at these websites.

For the USA: http://www.thehotline.org/

And in the UK: https://domesticviolenceuk.org/

The Good News.

Awareness is key, with all aspects of inequality, be it gender, colour or religion, being highlighted via the worldwide web. Once it is in the public domain it is very difficult to put any kind of unacceptable practices back in the box. Change only happens effectively through knowledge, and a coming together of enough voices to be heard.

As a community of bloggers we have an incredible platform to become a force to make a difference with posts that inspire, encourage and empower others to take steps themselves. Like me, I am sure that if you check your country statistics you will see that you are being followed from some countries, where culturally, women may not have the same rights as we do. You might be surprised how that can effect change.

Sometimes just going about our daily lives is a great place to start.

The Internet, and the various social media platforms, have millions of images of women  driving cars as a normal part of their daily lives. I would imagine that was instrumental in the movement in Saudi Arabia by women to have that right too. That law was passed last October, enabling them to drive a car for the first time in their history.

You do not need to march with placards and raise your voices and shout from the roof tops…

You just need to respect, put to good use and retain the rights and privileges that you have been given.

I know that many of you who are reading this already commit time, financial assistance, counselling and many other kinds of support to women and also men in your community.

We would love to hear about that and so please use the comments to share.

  • Your name and blog or website.
  • The organisations that you work with or support.
  • Your own experiences if you are happy to share where you needed help and support.
  • What changes you would like to see made in education of young people, public awareness, the media or in the workplace to ensure that women are treated equally.

 

To give you an example of two people within our writing community to inform, educate and support others.. meet Judith Barrow and Brigid P. Gallagher.

How members of our writing community contribute not just today but year long.

Judith Barrow gives talks on Millicent Fawcett the founder of the suffragette movement in 1897. Here is an extract from her recent post and today Judith will be delivering a talk on Millicent locally in Pembrokeshire.

The move for women to have the vote had really started in 1897 when Millicent Fawcett founded the National Union of Women’s Suffrage.

Millicent Fawcett believed in peaceful protest. She felt that any violence or trouble would persuade men that women could not be trusted to have the right to vote. Her game plan was patience and logical arguments. Fawcett argued that women could hold responsible posts in society such as sitting on school boards yet were not trusted to vote; she argued that if parliament made laws and if women had to obey those laws, then women should be part of the process of making those laws; she argued that as women had to pay taxes as men, they should have the same rights as men.

Head over to find more about this extraordinary woman and the ongoing campaign by the society set up in her name to achieve equal rights for us today: https://judithbarrowblog.com/2018/02/06/millicent-fawcett-founder-the-national-union-of-womens-suffrage-suffrage-women-ourtimenow/

Judith Barrow is the author of several books, her latest A Hundred Tiny Threads is set in the time of the women’s movement.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6

Read more reviews and follow Judith on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3295663.Judith_Barrow

Author and alternative therapy advocate Brigid Gallagher has been active in both women and men’s community groups for many years.

Scotland boasted a great network of community projects in the 1990’s, and I was very blessed to facilitate lots of natural medicine classes throughout the Central belt.

I taught women (and some men) the basics of aromatherapy for home use, Swedish massage, meditation and creative visualization exercises, the healing power of flower essences… I always encouraged participants to be proactive in their health and well being.

In 1999, I left Scotland for Donegal, Ireland. It was a shock to find there were very few community projects thus very few classes for women. Thankfully, there are now projects in almost every town and village.

On Monday evenings I attend a women’s shed where I enjoy listening to tutors facilitating classes in meditation, reflexology, vegetarian cooking…

Learning never stops!

You can find excellent posts on Brigid’s blog including this recent one on curing insomnia: https://watchingthedaisies.com/2018/02/28/my-top-ten-tips-for-healing-insomnia/

Millions of people around the world suffer from fibromyalgia; the majority of them are women. As yet, there is no cure.

In her memoir, Brigid P. Gallagher shares her experiences on:

  • The busy life she followed before succumbing to this debilitating disease
  • Stopping and soul searching for answers to her vast array of symptoms
  • Entering a new life of SLOW

Read  reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Watching-Daisies-Life-Lessons-Importance-ebook/dp/B01N3M9VJ0

and more reviews at Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Brigid-P-Gallagher/e/B01N8UCYYD

Read more reviews and follow Brigid on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16119226.Brigid_P_Gallagher

Thank you very much for dropping in today and your feedback and comments are very welcome. We may not be able to make a difference to the millions of women and their families worldwide, but making a difference to just one person is a great place to start.

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103 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Coffee Morning in honour of International Women’s Day #PressforProgress

  1. Those cupcakes look delicious. I’ll take one, thanks. I am of the generation of second wave feminists. I was getting a bit complacent about how women have all these opportunities nowadays, equal opportunity. Well, all the recent women’s stories about sexual harassment in the workplace shook me awake. I thought the casting couch was gone but apparently it was still being put to disgusting uses. And it is on display in many workplaces. So we have a way to go even in countries where we think we have it all figured out. It is important to be aware of women’s history and accomplishments and I have blogged on this issue periodically. Recently did a post about women in STEM called “Women Can Do Science.” https://notestiedonthesagebrush.com/2018/02/22/women-can-do-science/

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you Deborah and glad you enjoyed the cupcakes. I agree entirely and I think this recent outing of old practices is a wake-up call for the younger generation. It demonstrates that there is still work to be done and that they are the new flame bearers. It has already had a ripple effect as other organisations such as major and formerly respected charities, have had to come clean. When the dust settles the entertainment industry and those charities will be the better for it and so will those who they serve. Will head over and read your post.. thanks again for commenting. Sally

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Society goes round and round and up and down; you would think after the Great War, when women had to take on men’s jobs and become independent because marriage and family was no longer a likely option, that we would have retained our equality.
    I read a little book I found in the charity shop about Medieval women; the women whose husbands were away for years at The Crusades ran their households and estates with a very strong and capable hand!
    As fast as women move into every aspect of society a dark side catches up. – A body was found in a suitcase in the canal; the dead woman was a popular, smart person who had a good job at Heathrow Airport; that appeared to be the only reason why her husband killed her? Some men can’t cope with women being successful.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Janet and you are right there have been amazing and unsung women who just got on with what needed to be done. And women like my grandmother who were left with small children after the Great War with a pittance and were expected to cope by doing whatever they could to put food on the table Today is a celebration of those women as well as those who have blazed a trail… x

      Liked by 1 person

    • Listened to an interesting talk today on Women’s Refuges. It’s still beyond me that one person can so destroy the life of another – if not by fist, by words.And, unfortunately it’s not just men, it’s other women sometimes. Seems some aspects don’t change that much. But, luckily we’ve overcome some things: http://bit.ly/2sVtOFT. Hope you don’t mind my comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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  4. I wish the transition from lackey to equal was a bit smoother and moved at a faster rate. We all know that women are the equal of men except usually in matters of strength though you certainly have your own strengths (like multi-tasking). I’m sorry to say that I think Saudi Arabia’s allowing women to drive is a distraction from the number of executions of critics of the regime which includes people arrested as children. The Crown Prince needs to move much further in his effort to convince the West he’s a modernist, and that move needs to start with cutting back on executions. Allow criticism of the regime, you may learn what the people want that you can supply and earn a pat on the back from the West.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I guess I’m early here Sal but will pop back again tomorrow. Wonderful acknowledgement for this important day. I must be a teabag for sure! (Eleanor Roosevelt). Gratefully, there are many places for support these days. Sadly, some women feel trapped in these abusive situations and feel as though if they leave there’s nowhere to go, no money, no support. It’s a scary road, I know, I’ve been there. I was one of the lucky ones who did get away. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks Debby and we have come a long way. You and I both know how tough it is to gather the strength to move out of toxic relationships, and certainly if I had children at the time it would have been so much more difficult. There are more places for support thankfully, and hopefully those organisations such as the police and social services will make more effort to deal with abuse in the home as there is still too much complacency when dealing with a ‘domestic’. ♥♥

      Liked by 3 people

      • So true Sal. And sadly, I’m willing to bet there are too many of us who’ve endured. I hope word spreads around enough for others to learn there is always help and hope. ❤ I wanted desperately to share my story in my book Conflicted Hearts but was petrified to write about it in fear of being found and sued. But I think I'll write a piece for my Memoir Bytes series about it when I return. ❤

        Liked by 2 people

      • Like you I have not shared my story except for snippets. Partly because it is 45 years ago now and I have moved on. But there are times that I wish that I had been brave enough at the time. I know now that there were certainly two others who followed me that might have been saved a great deal of heartbreak. ♥♥

        Liked by 3 people

      • That’s just it Sal, it’s never too late and by sharing our experiences we might just save someone else. Maybe not those after us, but at least others for look out flags. ❤

        Like

  6. Morning Sally, I’m raising a cup of Rooibos tea to Mrs Mary Barbour this morning. Her statue is going to be unveiled in Glasgow today and she is a woman well worth remembering. Look her up, folks. She can make us proud. Cheers!

    Liked by 6 people

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  8. I have a post to be published later about working women. Despite both parents been allowed parental leave following birth of a child, it is still the women who takes most and has career disrupted. Saying that, it is partly because that is what women want. I’m thirty five and have been wanting to take maternity leave for a few years now. I want to breast feed therefore I do want to be the parent who takes leave.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for commenting and please pop back later and leave the link to your post. It is a new thing for men to be given maternity leave. If I am honest I think with a new baby.. especially the first it would be more use having someone around who knows what they are doing.. not another amateur. I do believe that men have been offered paternity leave to relieve the burden on the NHS in the first six months!

      If there is not extended family to help out then I would like to see a different approach. In the good old days!! Mothers stayed in hospital for 10 days and when they came out they had a pretty good handle on breast feeding, bottle feeding if needed, the daily care of the baby and they had bonded enough to understand the different cries and behaviour that indicated if something was wrong. Today you are in and out and sent home bewildered and stressed. I would like to see an actual version of the online Mumsnet with mothers in the local community providing help to first time and experienced mothers with other children. I think that it would be possible to do this on a volunteer basis with the right organisation and training and that those mums how volunteer should be offered a full stamp towards their pensions.

      My father worked full time and my mother had a home help who came in every day and took care of us when my brother was born at home. My father came home from work and was hands on for evenings and weekends, cooking and keeping us occupied. The old fashioned approach does work.

      Liked by 2 people

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  12. Have reblogged and thank you for a wonderful piece on women. I was lucky when I had to call for help when the local police did everything they could for me, without them I don’t know where I’d be today. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Great post, Sally. I especially appreciate this sentiment: “You just need to respect, put to good use and retain the rights and privileges that you have been given.”
    I was interested to read about what Judith and Brigid are doing for the cause and their communities. Of course, you are wonderful at adding your voice to that too.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. A worthy shout out for Judith and Brigid!! I’m a fan of both of them! The figures are so depressing and one sometimes despairs of any improvements! Having grown up in the UK I, to my chagrin, I was surprised when I saw female dockers, lorry drivers etc in Sweden – about 50/50 split! I have female friends there who without any thought otherwise went into the forestry management industry … and it was not unusual! It should be thus everywhere!

    Liked by 4 people

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  16. I’ll have one of those adorable cupcakes and a cup of coffee to celebrate International Women’s Day! Sally, you are a woman who inspires many. Your picture should be included in this lineup.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. Just heading out for my Vitamin D dose (a.k.a. sunshine, lol) but just wanted to say I’ve saved your post in draft to link to for when I return and write a memoir byte post. ❤ Also, forgot to say how adorbs those cupcakes are!!!!!!!!!!!! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Nice cupcakes..very pretty and moreish…As we celebrate another Women’s Day and the advances that have been made let us spare a thought for those women and girls who are still treated as second class citizens and brutally treated…God bless woman everywhere.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Hear! Hear! Thank you for being a voice, a platform for women to share their strengths and meet others who do the same. Every voice, big or small, makes a difference and is heard. There is strength in numbers. I like to think that I empower young girls in my preschool class. Every word of praise and encouragement, every story that I read, every song we sing together… all makes a difference. I think I have the most important job with the biggest responsibility in the world, as I am their first teacher. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. What a great day you’ve had, Sally. I’ve been to two events today, so sorry I’m late getting here. So much going on all over the world; so many strong women. I think the Suffragists and Suffragettes would be proud that women of all ages are following in their footsteps. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  21. OOH cupcakes! Thank you and I’ll bring a scoop of ice cream for everyone. While we still do have a ways to go to reach gender parity, there is a lot to celebrate, including the law allowing women to drive cars in Saudi Arabia. So, today we hold our heads high and do our part to continue to advance positive change for women, no matter their age, where they live, race, ethnicity, or anything else. Thank you for this wonderful post. I’ll share it across my social networks today, Sally. Hugs.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Sally, it’s been an amazing day of reflection, gratitude, and now my hopeful spirit soars. The power of the human heart shines in this post. I’m so grateful to you and all the women before me and will contribute, in any way I can, to carry on this legacy of compassion, resiliency, and fortitude.
    Cheers and much love to all! XO

    Like

  23. I always thought that the developing countries, which hide behind their cultures to justify their parochial attitude are lagging behind in respecting their women but I was shocked to note that the women of the most progressive societies face the same issues… like less pay, sexist remarks, domestic violence and “nasty woman” and worse than such words, (which we can’t even write but they can speak for us!) to pin them down and keep them away from the highest posts.
    Just a few successful women in few fields is hardly a yardstick for our progress. I am not a cynic and appreciate the light, which has been guiding and beckoning us…we have a long way to go and when we start raising our sons in a different manner, a significant difference could be made. Women as mothers have an immense responsibility on their shoulders because they are raising the next generation.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. A spectacular post about a meaningful subject – equality for all. I believe we women are coming into our own and more powerful in each century. Soon USA will boast more women in power in top positions in businesses than ever before. Of course there are some women in the USA and maybe too many that are still suffering from abuse and stripped of their rights to be citizens like any man.

    I don’t like to talk about such things because I once had a trying time dealing with some of this in my past. I have overcome this and moved on. I think I have become stronger. I beseech all women who are in an unhealthy relationship, take a stand, be strong, and move on!

    Thank you, Sally, for bringing this tough subject to our attention. We can all help by doing little things each day. If we know of anyone who is oppressed, council them, and assist them in any way we can to find a better place to be in their lives. Thanks for the lovely cupcakes! Hugs xxoo

    Liked by 1 person

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  26. I’ve turned up late again (and no, that is NOT the little lady’s privilege – excuse being I was out seeing my (woman) GP and getting my snapped glasses repaired by my (woman) optician). I don’t think we should have International Women’s Day, I think we should have International Women’s Six Months! And the men can have February, because statistically I believe there are slightly fewer of them. What have I done for women? Well, since my days as an Anarcha Feminist at Sussex University (no, i don’t remember what it meant either), I’ve spent a teaching career persuading girls they could have as many choices as their brothers have, I’ve produced an awesome daughter and a son who treats us as equals, I’ve written some female characters who are forces to be reckoned with, and Ive doggedly insisted on “Ms” as my form of address. And my chosen charities usually involve girls education in some form. It doesn’t seem much, but I’m heartened by the changes I’ve seen over the past few decades – mostly. PS No cupcakes for me thanks, although I think they look brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jessica and I think you have definitely done your bit for empowerment. I don’t do wishy washy women characters either. We have an effective platform with our blogs and books and like you I am heartened by my choices to see a women GP if I wish despite them saying a doctor is a doctor. Personally I find it helpful to talk to someone who has experienced the various stages of fertility and menopause. Anyway.. I doubt that in my lifetime there will be complete equality in everything but those that count would be very good. And just as well you did not want a cupcake.. I ate the last one this morning.. hugsxx

      Liked by 1 person

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  28. Sorry, Sally. Somehow I seem to have been a bit cut off from everything while staying at my friends’ (I’m still there, but now they are back I have a bit of time to catch up). You are right and I can say that having spent a fair amount of time in Spain over the last few years, there seems to be news of women seriously assaulted or killed almost every day there (although it is perhaps that my mother watches television more than I do and the media seem to talk about it more there). In some places it might be more insidious than in others (and perhaps less talked about), but there is still a long way to go to end the gender-related violence and also to ensure everybody has equal opportunities. Great contributions. Thanks so much for bringing attention to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope your weather was good for walking the dogs Olga and that you have enjoyed your time there. Yes.. Spain has not got a great record but I don’t think that any country has the luxury of complacency. I see that the UK government is planning on bringing in some new measures for those who are committing domestic violence with a ban on alcohol (tough to police) and tagging go ensure that they don’t go into off licences and pubs.. however.. with alcohol so readily available in supermarkets it will be difficult to prove they were not in there for the weekly groceries. Not only that but they are likely to coerce their partners with threats of violence if they don’t buy it for them. A very complex issue.. hugs xx

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