INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY continuing the debate:


Greta Thunberg.  It’s not just a woman, it’s also a very young woman, and she has inspired me so much, a very young individual that can teach the world to be better and to fight for the planet. E (f 11)

Martha Gellhorn was a big influence on me, as a literary figure, as a brave woman, she was a war journalist, American living in Britain. Loud mouth, spoken mind. J (f 70s)

My mum.  She was working from when she left university and she was in a mostly male-dominated field, and she did really well and she’s still doing really well. D (f 12)

Women who have had authority and I noticed their justice – being just rather than to take the side of one or another. Al (m 83)

How do you think a woman can resist the societal pressure of being judged by their appearance?

I think it comes from each individual. She has to know her worth, she has to know what makes her important. She has to not tolerate, or listen to outside judgement. She needs to be confident and sure within herself. R (f 23)

Has being a female stopped you from doing anything in your life?

Who can say? Oppression works on so many levels, beginning at minute one of a baby’s life and getting so internalised that we cannot know what each of us may have done with our lives in a truly equal world. L (f 60)

I never thought I would get into university and thought about what I am really good at. And I thought about history; so what can I do with a history degree? Oh law, the typical thing they tell girls; you’re argumentative so do law. M (f 20s)

.. women’s rights before I learned black history was my favourite thing to talk about. [At] my old primary school ..I started a petition that girls should be able to wear trousers. They still can’t actually but it’s not fair that they can’t. I feel like feminism is my love when it comes to caring about injustice. I’m definitely achieving things people before me haven’t. But the way I was brought up, in the family that raised me, gender was never really an aspect that stopped me from doing anything. Apart from karate. But when I speak to other people, I realise not everyone had the same upbringing as me. The older I’m getting, what I view as equality is changing. When I was younger it was about the trousers. Now I care about relationships: how women are treated there. I do want to get more into the theory of things rather than just looking at experiences. Ma (f 20s)

We have had education about issues affecting women in this country for quite a long time for women, but we’ve not seen equality, is education the answer?

Well, I think there are somethings that just probably won’t change. Like seeing someone as rather than just a person, like they are a girl or a boy that is always going to immediately impact someone on how they treat you or their impressions of you or whatever. Like you are never going to get away from that. It doesn’t matter how much education you have on like how men and women are different. Mi (f 20)

If we look at any government in the world, it’s 99% men in suits. And that’s where law starts so how can we make that change?

Having more women in government should make a difference, but from our experience with Margaret Thatcher in Britain, it is clear that this is not enough. Just like having Barack Obama, a liberal black president, in the White House made very little difference to the USA. Governments are part of that system and individuals within government are powerless to change it. As the old anarchist mantras said: It doesn’t matter who you vote for, the government always wins, and If voting changed anything, they’d abolish it…  L (f 60)

We make that change by showing girls how to use their voice, chase their dreams and stand up for their opinions. I have seen too many young girls too shy to speak up. Girls need to be encouraged, by everyone, that what they have to say matters. R (f 23)

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