International Women's Day.
Today is international women’s day and it seemed appropriate we heard from a different voice. For the last 15 years I’ve worked with Alyson Pendlebury and my business would simply not function without her. Many of you have worked with her and know how fantastic she is.
Today’s Blog is written by her and I think it’s rather beautiful, moving and profound.
I have a hero (or heroine to be grammatically correct), she was never famous, she was never rich. She was not a leader of men or a powerhouse of industry, she never worked. She stayed at home looked after her family, she ran her home and raised two boys.
If she was here today to hear herself described as a heroine she would have laughed, shrugged her shoulders and got on with whatever she was doing.
I can remember talking with her about what I wanted to do with my life after school, about going to university, the kind of job I wanted, and what I wanted to achieve. Even though they were not things she would have ever contemplated - she saw fulfilment in raising a family and running a home, she never once told me I was wrong – she guided and nurtured and she encouraged me to go out and get what I wanted, what was right. She started me on the road to where I am today.
To most modern women her attitude and the fulfilment she derived from being a “housewife” would seem alien, an affront to their equality, detrimental to how far women have come. I admit that I would struggle living the life she did, it would undoubtedly make me feel unfulfilled and unworthy but she was never that, she was strong, brave and caring, she was not a fighter she was a trouper.
Historically women have fought for what should rightfully be theirs. The original aim of International Women’s Day – to achieve full equality for women of the world is still to be reached. This day should be a time to celebrate what we have achieved but to also evaluate all that is still to do and to move forward.
Sadly 2020 was not a good year, it is said that the pandemic could put gender equality back by 25 years. Women are doing significantly more of the household duties, they are proportionally responsible for more of the home-schooling duties whilst we are in lockdown, and their employment is more vulnerable. It’s sad but true, that it appears society has regressed in the last 12 months.
The more damaging question is that is this really a surprise? – unfortunately no, this will always be the story.
To recover the damage that has been done during this crisis we are going to have to work twice as hard to recover lost ground. We are now hitting what some are calling a “Shesession” more women than men have left employment during the pandemic, and the longer the burden continues the more this move will be permanent – which in turn will add burden to economic recovery.
I am nothing like my heroine, because I will fight and continue fighting so that my daughter receives the same rights as my son, and this is why my heroine is my heroine, it is because she showed me how to be strong. She was happy with her life, but she also gave me the gift of confidence to get on with mine.
Today we should think about all the women around the world, who are not that lucky, women who have no choice, who are still fighting or their most fundamental rights and have not perhaps been given the skills and tools that I had.
My heroine, her name was Alice, died 30 years ago this week, she did not see many of my achievements or how the world has changed for women, but I think she would have been proud.