A superb article in this week’s Observer by Mariella Frostrup focuses on International Women’s Day. Bearing in mind the statistic quoted elsewhere in the same paper that domestic violence in Glasgow rose by 80% on Saturday after a football match, it is naive to think that the battle is won and dungaree-wearing harridans from the sixties should now stop ranting.

700,000 people will experience domestic violence in the UK, and 90% of them are white British females, sex slaves are imported daily to this country who live lives of abject terror, equal pay is still not a reality nearly four decades after the act enshrining it was passed, etc., etc.

Being a feminist is not old hat for those of us who still believe that social, political and economic equality of the sexes is something that defines a healthy society.

Frostrup states ‘in the UK there are more blokes called Dave and Nick in government than there are women MPs’. And outside the comfortable west the notion of equality is even more mythical.

Two-thirds of children denied school are girls, 64% of the world’s illiterate adults are women, 41 million girls are still denied an education, 75% of civilians killed in war are women and children, causing … the former UN Peacekeeping commander in the Democratic Republic of Congo to declare in 2008: ‘It is now more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in modern conflict’…. Gender based violence causes more deaths and disabilities among women aged 15 to 44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war.

Frostrup and others have set up a Gender Rights and Equality Action Trust (GREAT):

When women have the status and power to engage, children thrive, communities flourish and nations prosper.

This is not a women’s issue; this is a human issue … We can work together to create the circumstances in which International Women’s Day can become a cause for celebration.

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