It’s not just up to girls to create change…
When I was pregnant, I was convinced I was having a girl. It just made sense to me. I worked in magazines and wrote articles on the Gender Pay Gap, the Glass Ceiling, and was passionate about all things feminist. I loved high heels, lipstick, and pictured myself and my baby-to-be sporting matching insta-worthy mummy and daughter twin sets. When my son was born I was in a state of shock. Dazed and exhausted I thought something had gone wrong, that somehow the stork gods had given me the wrong baby. While it took a few days for me to acknowledge that I wouldn’t have my ‘girl-gang’ (and probably wouldn’t be sporting matching dresses) I realised my desire to impart my feminist disposition on my baby didn’t end with having a son, but actually, started. Because like the Dior T-shirt says ‘We Should All be Feminists’.
Put in its simplest form, a feminist is someone who believes in the full equality of men and women. This is what I believe. That is what my family believe. And judging by the posts on Instagram today for International Women’s Day – that is what the majority of my friends and wider circle believe. Everyone is toasting, posting, promoting women. It’s feels exciting, like there is an electric current in the air just waiting to spark. I feel proud to be a woman. I feel proud that over the years, as a society we’ve empowered girls, teaching them (and rightly so) that at they can do anything, be anyone. But what about the boys? Shouldn’t we be teaching them that women are their equals too?
If the Harvey Weinstein outing, #timesup and all the #meetoo’s has told us anything, it’s that this unequal, unfair (and at times, disgusting) treatment of women isn’t just a Hollywood thing. It’s everywhere. And it’s not enough to teach girls that they can be anything anymore. We have to teach our boys that girls can be anything too. We have to make boys the cheerleaders – teach them to respect women, to see that women are strong, smart, successful. EQUAL.
So how will I do it? Well, I’m not exactly sure. But I think right now, it starts in our home – showing Raff that his dad and I are equals. I want him to be one of the good guys, to help champion women, to treat them well. To realise when he’s older in the workplace that women in the same role do not deserve to be paid less than him. Not because it’s the trendy thing to do, but because it’s the right thing to do. I know I can’t force Raff to think the way I do, but my hope is that he grows up learning by example.
So here’s to all the boys and their mummas. Together we rise…
Something else you might like: How I Found Life After Birth