"Laws and tradition that hold back women hold back entire societies"
Welcome to the first of our regular feature about women and politics. This will be a mixture of light heartedness and in depth thinking, with featured writers who are making changes and our team writing their thoughts. We would also love to hear from our readers, sharing stories of campaigns, change, learning and inspiration.
If you would like to write for us email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some of the latest news stories we want to highlight.
BBC Gender and BAME pay gap
We are sure you haven't missed this one! All over the papers and other media the BBC published its highest paid earners, which starkly highlighted the massive pay gaps between genders - even those doing the same job on the same TV show. The list showed that Chris Evans was the the top-paid male star on between £2.2m and £2.25m, while Claudia Winkleman was the highest-paid female celebrity, earning between £450,000 and £500,000 last year. And in the highest paid earners list there were no BAME people in the top 24 of the 96 and only 11 in the whole 96 - over 50% of whom were at the bottom of the list.
There are many arguments I am sure for example - Chris Evans is a bigger star/more experience/pulls a bigger audience yada yada - this may be the case but I don't think it warrants a £1.75m pay difference!
So why has it happened and what should we be doing about it?
When I read the follow up stories it's always the same 'men ask for more money, women never do'. I hate this response! So men always think they are more valuable and so are happy to ask for money to reflect their own opinion of themselves - but why are the pay rises being given without anyone considering what others are getting paid for the same job?!
The media then shares 'its wisdom' giving advice and tips to tell us women how to ask for a pay rise - putting the blame and responsibility firmly back on women! Meaning even though all this has been highlighted nothing is done by the organisations as they pass the buck to the victims and turn us into the perpetrators!
Instead of 'learning how to ask for a pay rise' we should challenge organisations to change the process of how companies review pay. Let's not accept that we should just start asking, lets force permanent change so pay is equal for all.
Women aren't represented in our history
This one isn't new. I'm sure you all recall the lack of stories of women in history class (except maybe a Queen or two) and at any sites you visit. Well you may or may not have noticed the lack of statues of women in history, there are plenty of men!
In the UK 2.7% of statues (March 2016 Newstatesman) are non-royal women. Like me I am sure that figure horrifies you, it sure makes me feel as though women have been wiped out of history. In New York there are approx 145 statues of historical men but only 5 of women and in central park the only statues of women are fictional. Fictional! Like we are only interesting if our character and appearance have been made up - most likely by a man!!! Aarrgghh!!
But people are trying to change things - yay! In NYC a group just couldn't wait the many many years it would have taken for change so to bring things forward (though we still need real statues) they have created an augmented reality app to use when you tour NYC - https://thelily.com/app-introduces-statues-of-historic-women-using-augmented-reality-7755d345dcff
In Britain campaigns are happening to raise funds for new statues of women - https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2017/jan/09/britain-statues-women-emmeline-pankhurst-ellen-wilkinson-victoria-wood
I have read a lot now that girls aren't inspired to be what they cannot see. This really resonates with me when I reflect on my childhood ambitions. It also makes me worry and feel inspired for change for the benefit of future generations.
Here are just a few amazing women - there are sooooo many more go and have a google I promise you will leave inspired and emotional!
Women's inventions that changed the world - https://www.buzzfeed.com/hannahjewell/inventions-by-women-that-changed-the-world?s=mobile&utm_term=.ypM012LQn#.vqB5noZRJ