International Women’s Day is a celebration of women around the world. To me, its a celebration of their achievements, sacrifices and the perfect opportunity to highlight just how far we have come and still have to go in the search for true equality between the sexes.
You may not see it, you may not be affected by it, you might not care or even believe it to be true… but millions, if not billions of women around the world are verbally, sexually, economically and institutionally worse off than men. This includes trans women, women of colour, disabled women, poor women and anyone who identifies as non-binary. This is a day to unite.
All I ever hope for, is for my gender and all those I’ve mentioned above to be seen as equal, not better than, simply equal to our male counterparts. We’re genetically, biologically and mentally different in tonnes of ways, sure. But does that mean our brains/opinions shouldn’t be valued by the media as much as the shape of our bodies? Does that mean women shouldn’t feel safe to walk the streets at night? Does that mean only a female nipple should be censored as a sexual object, whilst a mans is not? Does that mean we shouldn’t be paid the same as our colleagues for doing the exact same job, at the exact same level? I could go on…
With the idea of celebration in mind, I thought this is the perfect opportunity to shout out to my ultimate female inspirations. The women who inspire me to strive for change and never think twice about standing up for sisterhood…
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that with four sisters, that idea of ‘sisterhood’ is always on my mind. The sense of responsibility I have over my four younger sisters is one I can’t even fully comprehend to you. I’m always so aware, especially now (there are plenty of years I’m not proud of) of the example I’m setting them. They’re already such strong, beautiful little women, so I’m never too worried about what their futures hold for them, but I can’t help but worry about the society they’re growing in to.
I’ve written before (here) about an example of my sister Gabrielle being amazing at football and constantly being compared to other boys her age because of it. I think it was here that I truly realised how much women and especially young girls are viewed/treated differently just because of their gender.
I think I’ve always been a feminist. I just wasn’t fully aware of it and I guess I didn’t want to put my views into any category. I’m now convinced that my name-sake, my Great Grandmother Renate is responsible for the personality I have today. I’m talking about the ‘I don’t give a shit what you think, this is what I think and that’s not going to change’ attitude I’ve found myself possessing. (Within reason, we all make mistakes.)
This is a woman who lost the majority of her family in the same war, who’s husband was sent to a Nazi Concentration Camp, who stuck by a son who could be physically abusive towards her, who survived a rape attack by kicking a guy in the balls and who brought up her grandchild as her own, basically on her own, with enough love to mold the most beautiful and understanding soul I’ve ever known… My Mama.
Now this is a woman who left her home country at the age of 19, moved to England and started her own life completely off her own back. The woman who alongside my amazing Father has raised not one, not two, but nine children. The woman who’d work on the weekends after a full week of looking after at least six kids to make sure we had enough money for absolutely everything we’d need/want. The woman who would cause absolute HELL for anyone who ever upset her husband. The woman who would spend birthday money given to her on presents for her kids rather than herself. The woman who taught me to be house proud and also to only ever surround yourself by people who wouldn’t give a toss about what your house looks like. The woman who can simultaneously destroy the nightmares scaring a four year old and deal with the daily developments of teenagers.
This is a woman who is soon to be a New York Times Best Selling AUTHOR.