An opportunity arose through my role at Women’s Views on News (WVoN) to write a guest blog for the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI). There was no specific brief, both a blessing and curse to writers.
I spent some time considering my options. What was the link between me and my blog, WVoN and the NWCI?
Simple really. Feminism. Or rather, writing about it.
The fight for genuine equality between men and women has always been important to me and my time writing for WVoN has introduced me to a mass of fascinating people and subjects and opened my eyes to quite how hard a fight it actually is.
The week I sent the finished blog post to the NWCI had been a roller-coaster of highs and lows for the organisation.
They were celebrating the passing of a historic bill which applies a mandatory target of 30% female and 30% male candidates for the next general election. The NWCI had campaigned tirelessly for a change to the current appalling gender balance in the Dáil, never less than 86% male, putting Ireland just above Zimbabwe in 76th place for women in government.
Sadly this news was bitter sweet against the backdrop of a budget that many view as anti-women. This same budget saw the NWCI lose 35% of their funding and extremely distressing and disproportionate blow to an organisation that had surely just proved it’s worth?
Against this background my blog seemed almost petty. Yet at the same time perhaps not. What I wanted to get across is how important it is that we continue to be vigilant, that we don’t get complacent just because we are told that equality is all sorted now.
In many parts of the world it really, obviously, isn’t. But even here, in the UK, it is not in any way secure. Women are one of the biggest victims of the budget cuts as a result of the global recession, for example. While big business company directors, overwhelmingly male, are receiving 50% pay increases, the rest of us struggle with frozen wages, threats of redundancy and reductions in social provisions.
What is becoming very scary is the realisation that it is not paranoid to suggest we remain vigilant, in fact, that is positively restrained.