It’s International Women’s Day today!

But what does that mean?#Balance for better?

Today is not about a battle of the sexes. It’s not about comparing women to men, or proving which is better, stronger or cleverer. Today is not even about asking whose role is more important and whether stay-at-home carers matter more than those who earn money. In my eyes, they are both hard work.

Today is about recognising that despite wishing it were not the case, in many parts across the world, women are still treated as second class citizens. In education, religion, politics, leadership and business, many women who are bright and able are not allowed the choice to be the person they were meant to be.

In the West we probably can’t fully understand this kind of oppression. Despite rumblings of inequality in the UK (and the UK pay gap is but one measure of this), we know nothing compared to our sisters around the world who face much greater opposition.

It’s true that in the UK we continue to have to nag away at ‘accepted norms’ and stereotypes. To reduce the disadvantage that women often face, and the historical beliefs and structural challenges that make pure equality very hard to deliver. But compared to many women we must be grateful that we have role models who have risked their lives to break through those imposed barriers and paved the way for us.

Some of the women I am truly grateful for – Emmeline Pankhurst, the women’s suffragette leader who gave women the right to vote, Mother Teresa, who showed tremendous compassion and humility yet walked on the world’s stage, Laura Ashley and Anita Roddick – both female entrepreneurs who made a difference within a feminine power. Jocelyn Bell Burnell – a female physicist who first discovered pulsars at the end of the 1960s. The discovery was recognised by the award of the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics, but despite the fact that she was the first to observe the pulsars, Bell was not one of the recipients of the prize.In 2018, she was awarded the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. She gave the whole of the £2.3m prize money to help women, ethnic minority, and refugee students become physics researchers.

Who are the women who have inspired you? What are their qualities and traits that have driven you forward, helped you feel great about yourself, made you believe in more?

For me these women showed strength in the face of massive challenges and family responsibility. They showed courage in the face of great fear and opposition. They showed humility and prowess. They showed grace and love.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all emulate these qualities. Then, certainly, we would have #balance for better.

#internationalwomensday #women #inspiration #future

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