Chief Executive Carol Matthews reflects on International Women’s Day

It’s international women’s day and I was asked by our Spectrum Chairs to write some reflections on the day.

Initially I was a bit nonplussed as I wondered whether we still needed such a day.  As a mother of boys I see them struggling with the same anxieties I had as a child and teenager about being liked, self-esteem, asking can I crack this subject? Why does a teacher not like me? Etc. etc…

And then I experienced the shock of an American presidential candidate and the Russian Premier speaking openly and disgracefully about women as playthings and objects. I realised with a jolt that we sure do need to celebrate and reinforce the part that women play in society in our country and around the world.

It’s also clear to me that we need to re-embrace the concept of feminism and being a feminist, as I’ve again noticed that some women and especially those in the celebrity world are unsure about whether it is cool to be a feminist?!

So what is it exactly?

For me it’s the belief that women should be equal to men and still aren’t in enough places and parts of society.  Feminism addresses these inequalities whether economic, social, political and cultural – it’s all about power and rights.

I was really heartened that the male stars of a huge TV hit had demanded that their female colleagues get paid the same salaries as them – direct action.

So for me I’ve come to terms with the need for International Women’s Day because even though I am in such a privileged position we have still got a way to go to achieve equality for all.  My delight in seeing folks of all genders proudly saying “this is what feminism looks like”.

I’m Carol and I’m proud to be a feminist!