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Stories, Weekly Interviews, things to see and footnotes.
Stories, Weekly Interviews, things to see and footnotes.
Stories, Weekly Interviews, things to see and footnotes.

March 8, 2021


On International Women’s Day: For women who are fed up of arguing, and men who are feeling defensive. 3 minute read


Women pointing out the discrimination they experience isn’t ‘man-hating.’ I’m 50 years old this year and I’ve met a lot of feminists. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number who hated men. I lost count long ago of the number who are afraid of them.

Author Sophie Walker

The most immediate reason for this is that women live with the threat of violence against them daily. From humiliating catcalling to harassment to abuse, violence and death, the spectrum is long and wide. Look up Counting Dead Women.

Rape convictions in the UK are so low it has been effectively decriminalised: 

Women generally don’t lie about this. The CPS says false allegations are “serious but rare” and estimates there is one prosecution for a false rape claim out of every 161 rape cases prosecuted. False allegations make up 0.62 pct of all rape cases. 

Violence against women is cause and consequence of women’s inequality. Men have more power than women. This is a global fact. Some places are worse than others. You can campaign anywhere and everywhere. Suggesting otherwise is whataboutery.  

Women who earn less don’t need to be told to try harder. They are trying really hard already. Studies show that women do ask for pay rises and promotions – they just don’t get them because of sexism. 

Many women would also like to share parenting with their partners, to have more of a chance for economic equality and the freedom that comes with financial stability. But men don’t ask for parental leave very much and employers often don’t give it: https://www.peoplemanagement.c... 

Women are often fired and forced out of work for getting pregnant and having children. Men tend to get more money when they become fathers. This is called the motherhood penalty/the fatherhood bonus. 

Half of women have experienced sexual harassment at work. Imagine trying to ask for pay, promotion and parental leave from a boss who says he’ll only consider it if you have sex with him. 

‘Lean In’ is a phrase coined by Sheryl Sandberg to suggest women need to try harder to push past internalised sexism. Now, she says it’s on companies to lean in to fixing sexism instead: 

We haven’t even got started on FGM, forced marriage, sex trafficking, so-called ‘honour killing’, or the repeated assault on women’s reproductive rights and their ability to control their own bodies. 

Nor have we yet discussed how women from different races and ethnic minorities live with racism as well as sexism. 

Or the ways in which disabled women face ablism as well as sexism every day. https://www.equalityhumanright... 

Or the ways in which women from the LGBTQ+ community face multiple forms of discrimination. 

Or the fact that all of the above make it hard for women to run for political office and write better policies that respond to a different lived experience. 

The good news for men is that you can help. But if you’re a good man - show don’t tell. Forgive us if we are impatient with a #notallmen lecture. Because …  

While you may have a stressful life, known fear or trouble or financial difficulty, you have nonetheless still benefited from structures, quotas and policies (many informal and invisible) written by and for men for hundreds of years. 

If you don’t want to hear it from a woman listen to these guys instead: 

You can also: campaign for equal pay in your workplace. Campaign for shared parental leave (and take it yourself.) Leave at 3pm to pick your kids up. Request flexible leave; make it a day one right if you’re the boss. Hire women. 

Campaign for immigrant women to have recourse to public funds. 

Donate to your local women’s refuge. 

Do the housework so your daughter doesn’t have to: 

Consider the disaster that Covid-19 has wrought for women’s rights and the impact on societal cohesion, economic growth and environmental sustainability if 100 pct of the population was seen, heard and had a chance to contribute ideas and talent.

Consider this is the tiniest, tiniest snapshot of what’s out there and happening. Do your own research. Read books by brilliant women and connect to female community activists doing the work where policies have failed to see them.

Campaign for men’s issues – help smash harmful toxic masculinity and gender stereotypes. Women will support you, particularly if you do it every day and in every way, not just on March 8 on social media and in response to women’s posts.

International Men’s Day is on November 19th. If you were just waiting for this bit, please go to the top and read it all again. Thank you.