Today (March 8) is International Women’s Day - and undoubtedly there will be many who will argue that the whole thing is pointless.
‘Surely, in a 21st century world, it’s just not necessary/not politically correct/a waste of time/an outmoded legacy of a century now gone’ (if you’re one of those, delete as appropriate).
They might suggest it’s something of a misnomer, that the world is far more enlightened than when the event was first staged – when the suffragettes were still fighting for the right to vote.
After all, they might point out, an intrepid quartet of Yorkshire mothers has just returned to these shores after successfully rowing the Atlantic following a heroic voyage; Germany’s leader Angela Merkel is, without doubt, Europe’s most influential politician and it is feasible that Hillary Clinton will make history this November and become the first woman to be elected president of the United States.
And yet. And yet.
Even now, after everything achieved, our young women, our daughters, are growing up feeling not good enough, not clever enough, not attractive enough, not slim enough; not confident in themselves and their own ability.
Even in the most developed parts of the world, women still do not have pay equal to their male counterparts. Women are still responsible for over 80 per cent of domestic chores. Women are still the large majority of victims of domestic and sexual violence.
And that’s just in countries where women supposedly have equal rights.
Today, right now, women worldwide are being subjected to shocking abuse from sexual violence in warzones, to female genital mutilation, to forced marriage, to being made to feel like a second, nay third, class citizen.
No, International Women’s Day is not just another ‘raising awareness’ exercise.
Writing for today’s Yorkshire Evening Post Dee Collins, temporary chief constable of West Yorkshire Police is succinct and completely on the money.
“I think our greatest challenge is to ensure that the voice of women is heard and listened to in all of our communities.”
The issues facing women in the 21st century are certainly different to those of a century ago, but they are no less challenging and will only be addressed with progressive change 365 days a year. We hope you agree - but do tell us if you don’t.
Nicola Furbisher, Editor.