Happy International Women’s Day to older and younger women everywhere

5 years ago, I wrote this post on Facebook: “Happy International Women’s Day! To all the amazing women I know, from the first women in my life, my incredible and inspiring mother and my talented, gutsy, brilliant sister; to all the women I call friend – there are so many – you inspire me daily. But this world is still not the one I aspired for when I was 16 and had only just realised that I might be at a disadvantage because I was a woman. It had never occurred to me before then! 

30+ years on and it feels like not enough has changed. My challenge today to myself, and to my friends and family, men and women alike, because this is not a unilateral cause: What are you going to do to make change happen?? Let’s make action and intention collide.

Important words important day #IWD2021 Draw strength from #RuthBaderGinsburg On #InternationalWomensDay commit to ALWAYS #ChooseToChallenge Call out #stereotypes. Act if a woman is interrupted, spoken over #Fightbias Make invisible visible #Biascorrect From challenge comes change


— Women’s Day (@womensday) March 8, 2021

Today it seems nothing much has changed in these past five years. The sexism, the misogyny, the lack of women in government or in boardrooms or in business. The number of older women assaulted in nursing homes, the number of women with a disability assaulted, the numbers of women who don’t report rape, the number of women killed each year as a result of intimate partner violence. When will it change? What can we do to make a difference to the lives of younger and older women everywhere?

I for one, am tired of marching. It doesn’t feel like a solution. I’m tired too, of being patient and nice. I’m tired of the politeness required of me as a woman.

I prefer to take a leaf out of Mona Eltahawy‘s book these (her literal book is called “The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls“). Especially I take inspiration from her ideas about being profane and being angry. And fighting back. No one expects that from women but it is time that we fight back against these daily acts of oppression that seem small but add up to so much over time.

The origin of the word inspire also makes me feel good about using it to describe how I feel.

Inspire comes from the Latin word that means to inflame or to blow in to. When you inspire something, it is as if you are blowing air over a low flame to make it grow. It is definitely beyond time to fan the fires.

I’m inspired too by Grace Tame, a young woman with an anger that burns incandescent. Her courage in the face of yet more older men in authoritarian positions is quite something to behold. I hope we can support her as she strikes a powerful blow for survivors everywhere.

And I’m further inspired by Belorussian woman Nina Baginskaya, an older woman fighting back. Despite her heroic and long-term activism, nearly every headline leads by describing Nina as a great-grandmother or grandmother, or even worse, elderly – an unnecessary and not particularly useful term.

I’d rather see her as I see many older and younger women – strong, fierce, and unwavering in her convictions and oh yes, she’s also someone’s mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, great-grandmother too…

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