5 things to think about on International Women’s Day

1. Women’s suffrage should be taught at school to girls AND boys

Perhaps this subject is now on the curriculum (and I apologise to teachers everywhere if that’s the case), but I certainly don’t remember discussing women’s suffrage when I was at school, or at least not in any great depth. In my opinion, this very important topic needs to be taught at secondary school level to both girls and boys in order for us to successfully move towards gender parity. Educating the next generation about the sacrifices our ancestors made to get us where we are today will benefit us all going forward.

2. We need to talk about sexual harassment

The flood of shocking allegations that were made against film producer Harvey Weinstein towards the end of 2017 prove that sexual harassment is still rife in the work place today. Sadly, this isn’t just Hollywood’s problem, but since Weinstein’s appalling behaviour has come to light, movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp have united us in talking about this widespread problem.

As a result, maybe other less high-profile professions will start to take a much-needed look at how their own female employees are treated.

3. Sharing the stories of women you find inspirational will help inspire others too

The Pankhursts, Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks, Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai…the list of inspirational women, past and present, is endless. Chat about them, blog about them, tweet about them or post pictures of them – however you do it, start the conversation about the women whose stories need to be shared.

Emmeline, Christabel and Sylvia Pankhurst, 1911

4. Women need to support each other – we’re all on the same team

As women, we need to support each other’s decisions rather than looking for ways to criticise and disparage. If someone’s taking a different path to you, forging a different journey for themselves, then that’s not a comment on your own choices.

I decided not to change my surname when I got married and subsequently I heard a lot of ‘you’ll regret that decision when you have a family’ and ‘why would you even get married if you’re not going to change your name?” – surprisingly, many of these comments came from women. My decision was never meant to cause division, its merely an expression of who I am. I believe freedom of choice is a fundamental part of feminism. Let’s support each other’s choices.

5. Men can be feminists too

And isn’t that one of the most attractive qualities in a man? The fact that he cares about your rights as much as you do? How do we inspire more men to become feminists? Well, that circles right back round to my first point: education.

📷: Sabina Ciesielska on Unsplash

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