To women, my sisters on Women’s Day
Today we celebrate a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. For me – a twenty-something freelancer still living at home – it is bittersweet. Two weeks ago, I attended the Labour Women’s Conference as the delegate for Basingstoke CLP, and it reminded me of what I’m really proud of:
I am proud to live in a world where I can call a stranger my ‘sister’;
I am proud to live in a time where women can gather together regardless of race, religion, class, sexuality, assigned gender at birth or ability, and speak freely of their experiences;
and I am proud that I am lucky enough to be able to speak for myself at a time when many others can’t.
What I’m not proud of is the way our government treats us in the UK in 2019
At the end of last year, the UN rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights delivered a verdict on ‘austerity’ policies and their impact in the UK. They concluded that:
there is such a gender dimension to these welfare reforms that if you got a group of misogynists in a room and said how can we make this system work for men and not for women, they would not have come up with too many ideas that are not already in place.
Under today’s Tory government, we are seeing the biggest assault on women in the entire history of the welfare state. We can’t stand by now and let women’s equality be rolled back.
That is why this International Women’s Day, we call louder for equality
Celebrate the women in your life and celebrate the women you will never meet, because all of them do far more than you will ever know. If you identify as a woman, celebrate yourself, too, and remember that the difficulties we face now will not be here forever.
We fight for equality for our daughters and granddaughters, for women in other countries without a right to property, free speech and independence, and for the woman next-door who is fighting post-natal depression while trying to secure maternity leave at her part-time job. We will get there.
The rising of the women is the rising of us all
Bread and Roses
About the author: Olivia Phipps is a writer, Labour activist and award winning film maker. She works to challenge injustice wherever she sees it and is passionate about creating a fairer more equal society for women. She lives at home and is guardian to a tortoise called Norbert.
International Women’s Day is an event first organised in 1909 and celebrated worldwide on May 8. This year’s theme is #BalanceforBetter whereby a balanced world is always a better world. In the UK, the Fawcett Society, named for Millicent Fawcett, a suffragist and ardent campaigner for women’s rights. Today the society works to continue her legacy and increase the representation of women in everyday life.