If you know me, you should know my answer already. I spent this year’s International Women’s Day basking in a glow of empowerment as women and men all over the world recognised the achievement’s of women and highlighted issues that still require further discussions and activism.
Just this weekend, Chimamanda ngozi adiche (One of my favourite writers) came under fire for her comments suggesting transgeneder women being different from biological women and the John Allan, Tesco’s Chairman claimed that white men are ”endangered” in executive boardrooms, which is ironic as Tesco’s executive board is made up of nine white men and three white women. Women in western countries are certainly seen as more equal than 50 years, but there are a number of countries across the world where women are still denied the same rights as males. For example, in Saudi Arabia women aren’t allowed to be out in public without a male guardian. However, progress is happening in the region with Saudi celebrating its first International Women’s Day this year, which featured speakers who called for an end to the country’s male guardianship system. In countries such as Mali and Somalia, FGM is still rife. In Chad, from the age of 11 girls are forced into arranged marriages with men much older than them.
However, as much as I educate myself about these global issues, I still don’t feel comfortable or informed enough to comment on these issues yet. I wouldn’t speak on behalf of LGBT or disabled women, so I won’t speak on behalf of women I have never met who live in countries I have never visited. I’ve identified three issues that have affected me, or women around me, in one of the most diverse and tolerant cities in the world. It’s completely western-centric. Hopefully, next year I will be bold enough to speak about wider issues.
- Street harassment is still very real
I’ve spoken a lot about street harassment in the past, but it is still a very real issue and one which affects women all over the world in varying degrees. A couple of weeks ago, I was stood outside my front door waiting for one of my friends to arrive at mine and two guys walked past. One of them started talking to me and without even asking my name or telling me his he told me to take his number. I wasn’t interested so said politely said ”No, thank you. I am alright” and he kept on telling to take his number so we could go for coffee. I kept on saying ”No, thank you” and he kept on pushing it, eventually telling me ”Just take it, out of respect!” I appreciate that for both men and women takes confidence to go up to a complete stranger and express interest/ask for their number. However, if that person isn’t interested you should simply accept their first ”No” and go on about your business. I don’t know about other women, but when a random guy approaches me and keeps pressuring me to talk to him or give him my number, immediately I’m starting to feel threatened which is something every woman can relate. Sadly, it seems when a women says ”No” it isn’t always seen as their final answer.
2) The 18 year commitment
I watched Bridget Jones’ Baby last weekend, and the part where she’s in the middle of giving birth and is screaming ”I changed my mind!!!” sticks in my mind. I don’t know if I want children, particularly in this political and economic climate. Children are at least an 18 year comittment and that scares me. Nobody can prepare you for motherhood and if you don’t like it you can’t take three year old James to the pub and tell him ”Look, this isn’t working out. I think we should go our separate ways”. However, despite the irrevocable changes children bring there is still a silent judgement passed on women decide they do not want children. Primarily, they are seen as selfish, abnormal or less of a woman. After all, it was only last year Andrea Leadsom said that Theresa May doesn’t have a real stake in the UK’s future as she doesn’t have children.
3) The three date rule
In the dating world, there’s the ”Three date rule” which is basically that it’s ok to sleep or take it past first base with someone. Talking to my heterosexual female friends who are actively dating, there’s a belief that the longer you wait to sleep with a guy the more he will respect you/he’s less likely to ghost you. I completely understand and support women’s decision to wait before sleeping with someone. However, it makes me sad that there’s still a fear surrounding sex and that if you sleep with someone too soon that you shouldn’t be surprised if you are ghosted. I personally believe that if someone ghosts you after having sex with you then he/she is not someone you want to be dating anyway. Sex is not a prize to be won, but unfortunately it is an age old belief that still plagues modern dating. I consistently tell my friends that you can sleep with someone on the first date or on the tenth and still get cut off. I’ve seen relationships develop from one night stands and people date for months without ever becoming exclusive. At lot of it boils down to chemistry and timing. I think when you meet someone, you can tell quite quickly whether someone truly likes you and whether it will go somewhere. The right person will still like you after you’ve had sex with him/her.