YEP Says, March 8: Still a long way to go before women win struggle for equality

The Barnbow Munitions Factory in Leeds
The Barnbow Munitions Factory in Leeds
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International Women’s Day puts issue in the spotlight.

TODAY is International Women’s Day, an event which seeks to highlight the contribution of women and the inequalities that they still face in today’s society.

It’s fitting then that in today’s YEP we recall the key role female workers played during the First World War, whose outbreak is being commemorated this year.

Here in Leeds, the so-called Barnbow Lasses of the munitions factory in Cross Gates worked tirelessly to produce the arms that eventually carried Britain to victory. Yet it was work that came at a great cost.

On the night of December 5, 1916, a huge explosion killed 35 workers and injured many more. Yet within a few hours, others were volunteering to work in the same room and production was only briefly halted.

Nearly a century on, however, women still find themselves on an unlevel playing field in the workplace. New figures show the UK ranks 18th out of 27 of the world’s most developed countries when it comes to female economic empowerment, with a female employee still likely to be paid less than a male colleague for doing the same job.

Then there is the shameful statistic that Britain ranks as one of the worst countries for violent abuse of women. At a time when so much is being done in other areas of inequality, it’s important that the role of women in our society is recognised and celebrated.

We may have come a long way in the last hundred years, but it’s clearly not far enough.

A first class betrayal of the public’s trust

POSTMEN and women occupy a position of trust. They are responsible for handling highly personal correspondence and often items of considerable value.

So when Royal Mail worker Thomas Maloney stole packages of foreign currency worth nearly £1,500 over the course of a few months, he was betraying the trust his employers and the public had placed in him.

It meant Recorder Sophie Drake was left with no option but to impose a custodial sentence to send out a clear message that such dishonesty won’t be tolerated.

Maloney won’t serve anywhere near the full three months behind bars.

But it’s still important that he’s been sent to jail.

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