To think that the things that us women take for granted nowadays are, in many an instance, things that our Great Grandmothers and Great Great Grandmothers could only dream of is quite a scary thought. We receive a polling card, no questions asked. We visit our GP and are able to access the contraceptive pill or any other form of contraception with few questions asked, no judgement and for free. We work freely amongst our male counterparts and are entitled to paid maternity leave and flexible working.
There is still much to do however. And I firmly believe that this fight is not just down to women, it is also the responsibility of men too. As the Mother of a boy, I often ask myself ‘What can I do to ensure that this future man contributes to an equal, fair, balanced society for all?’
During the recent ‘Grid Girls’ debate, I noticed the same type of comment being used to justify why it was a good idea to have women in these roles on the track. ‘This is just the way that men are, a pretty girl and they are putty in your hands.’ Now, you may think me naive, but don’t men deserve a little more credit than that? Maybe, guys and girls could just to watch an event without needing to see half dressed women that have no other function than to show boobs and bum?! ‘That’s just the way its always been!’ someone commented. Does that make it ok though? Do we just continue with things even if they are stupid/outdated/immoral just because ‘thats the way it’s always been?’
I heard similar comments when the #metoo came to prevalence. ‘Silly men! She should have just given him a slap!’ I read time and time and again. My response – what do I teach my son? Do I tell him it’s ok to do whatever you want to a girl until she slaps you? Maybe I could just teach him to respect other peoples personal space and wishes instead?
We desperately need some positive male role models in our sons lives both personally age in the public eye. There seems to be a great female positive vibe happening at the moment that I hope little girls can latch on to as they get older. To make sure that today’s lithe girls grow up not needing to use a hashtag to speak about sexual violence against her and to ensure she can be confident of equal pay in the workplace, the men of the future need to be behind this, not just the women.