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:
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.