Saturday, 9 March 2013

Fairness

International Women’s Day was earlier this week.  I have been thinking a lot about feminism lately because the world my daughter is entering is not the one I hoped we would have forged for her.  I was at the tail end of the vociferous seventies feminist movement and even owned a pair of dungarees, but couldn’t afford Doc Martens. 

The vintage photos look as if we were having a whale of a time with our banners and badges.

“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”

 But in fact we were often challenging ourselves, trying to assert ourselves in every aspect of our lives in a society which thought feminism was either cute (perhaps a ploy to add spice to flirting with that man we fancied) or deplorable (making ourselves unattractive and aggressive and disrupting the all-male status quo). 

I am very grateful that Carenza is a feminist, puzzled that many young women of her age are not.  As the popular feminist website has it, it has become "the F word" .  One ray of hope is that if you ask almost any sixth form girl, “If you and some man were doing the same job for the same company, but he got paid ten per cent more than you, would you think that was fair?” they come up with the only rational response:  “No!”  Because at the heart of feminism is not aggression nor a wish to be contrary, just a desire for fairness.

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