In celebration of International Women’s Day 2021 on 8 March, we spoke with three women and men who have kindly agreed to share their stories to help raise awareness and celebrate International Women’s Day. This global day is an opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. In this International Women’s Day 2021 Part 3, this is the third and last of three stories.
Gender equality – Georgia, See Suffolk
We have come along way, but we have far to go…
When the Botanical Forrest team asked me to write about gender equality for their International Women’s Day post, so many themes sprang to mind.
Yes, in some respects we have come along way, but we still have so far to go. I believe we must have acceptance and equal rights for how everybody chooses to identify before we can truly say we have gender equality.
I could talk about the recent changes in abortion rights for women in countries such as Poland and America. Or I could write about the increase in domestic violence during lockdown. But I do not claim to be an expert in these matters.
What I can put into words is my thoughts and feelings about gender equality, and my own experience.
I was brought up in the nineties – the era of ladette culture and girl power! Spice up your life and all that.
Millennial women were taught that we could ‘have it all.’ We could have a career of our choosing, be successful, raise a family and everything would be hunky dory. We were equal now, right?
As I grew up these pressures to ‘have it all’ seem to weigh down as a new kind of patriarchy. We needed to have a successful career, be independent, yet still have family values to seem less of a bitch in the boardroom.
Yes, we can have the career, but the long-held ideals of what a woman should be are still prevalent. In business meetings I am asked on a regular basis (by men and women!) whether I’m married or have children. When I answer no, I’m often met with the reply; ‘there’s still time.’ It is assumed that I must want those things. And if I don’t there is something less ‘female’ about me.
As a society it’s time to look at our stereotypes around gender, not just for women but men too. Shake them up, and add in some acceptance, understanding and empathy. Then perhaps we can have equality.