Platform 51

Back at the end of 2010 I was in the youth work sector. The YWCA decided to change it’s name pre-empting the findings of the 2011 census and the fact that 51% of the population were women. Though the name change never took off, they changed again a few years later to the Young Women’s Trust, the story always stuck with me. One of the main reasons it captured my heart and my mind is that I thought the name change was inspired. At the time, 51% of the UK population were women and yet we lived (and continue to live) in a very unequal society in terms of gender. Misogynistic tropes were common place, Gender Pay Gap reporting didn’t exist and the 30 Percent Club were just finding their feet. Yet far too many of us found it all too difficult to understand what was meant by Platform 51…

Several years later, I discovered the brilliant book ‘Invisible Women‘ by Caroline Criado Perez (if you haven’t read it, especially if you are male, you need to get a copy to become a better ally!). It really opened my eyes to how the world has been designed from a male perspective and the impacts that this has on the lives of women. As we approach International Women’s Day on Monday, I am keen to further my knowledge, appreciation and understanding of the gender gap. This goes beyond pay and extends into all facets of our lives from the treatment of Jackie Weaver to the greater impact of the pandemic on women. Regular visitors to the blog will know I like to read and next on my list is Joeli Brearley’s book Pregnant Then Screwed. She has recently been appearing frequently on many of my social media timelines and I found this blog post on political support for mother’s an unsettling read.

I’d like to round off today by talking about the Duchess of Sussex. I know that the CBS interview with Oprah that is due to be televised this weekend will surely contain some intriguing revelations. However, my reflections are more based on what I have observed of her experience in the UK following her engagement to Prince Harry. It has really brought home to me how heavily the cards are stacked against women of colour. Kimberlé Crenshaw first raised the concept of intersectionality referring to the interconnected nature of our overlapping identities such as race, disability and gender and how they may multiply the discrimination or disadvantage that an individual may face

Through my career, I have had the pleasure of working with inspiring and amazing women. My post this week is dedicated to your your brilliance, the positive impact you have had on my career and to commit to doing more to level the playing field and be a better ally. Please join the conversation below and share with us a woman that has inspired / continues to inspire you and why. I’m hoping that together we can build a tribute to phenomenal and inspirational women as we head towards International Women’s Day #ImNotTired

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