Why are women still being discriminated against?
I have four daughters who I am proud to say are strong, feisty and independent and aren't afraid to speak their mind. They take after their mother but despite this they will encounter discrimination just for being female.
One in 3 women experience sexual harrasssment and in their lifetime and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Women are more likely to be emotionally and physically abused by their partners.
It doesn't have to be that extreme to see discrimination against women. Take the Pink Tax for example. Female products on the market cost more than male, starting with school uniforms: girls' uniforms are on average 12% higher in price. Girls' toys are on average a whopping 35% higher, pink branded tools in DIY stores are 15% more costly just because of the packaging. Women's razors are far more expensive and have less products in the packaging, just because they're in pink wrappers. Women's insurance is also higher.
And then there's the tax on menstrual products. We can't help having periods, it's our biological make up.
It came to my attention recently that even everyday medicines were only tested on men so the dosage on packaging is aimed at men, not women.
There's no justification for this, everyday, women are fighting for rights and it's not about being a burn-the-bra feminist.
I have encountered sexual discrimination in every office I have worked in, from being pinned against the wall by a male colleague, to being asked daily if I had sex the night before, to comments about my clothes, my breasts and even my mouth. As a journalist on national tabloids I was advised by my news editor to dress salaciously for certain meetings to extract the stories out of people.
I was made redundant from a television role I was in for eight years when they found out I was pregnant again. I was told the job wasn't required anymore but as soon as I was put on "gardening leave", a male was put in my place with the same title. I went to tribunal and settled beforehand.
Even now I regularly receive lurid comments and sexual offers in return for advertising, sometimes to the point that I don't want to go out and face people in business meetings. But I do as it's my job and I won't let them get the better of me. I have a smart mouth and am not afraid to use it. My phone number is public for my business enquiries but that doesn't stop men messaging me every week asking for hook ups.
You need a thick skin to be a woman. we're judged for how we dress, how we speak and how we conduct ourselves and it's wrong.
I dress fashionably and am conscious of my body, I work hard in the gym to look the way I do but that isn't an invitation for men to touch me on the knee, arm, leg or bum. A short dress when I go out isn't a yes.
And showing off a cleavage? God forbid? Women have breasts of all sizes, they naturally stick out, we're not usually showing them off, they're part of our body and they're not an invitation for men to stare at our chests, least of all touch them. I see comments on social media about how women dress inappropriately for the gym and that if we don't want attention we shouldn't dress the way we do. First of all have you seen the gym wear in the shops? It's all bra tops and tight leggings for comfort, what are we supposed to wear? A table cloth?
And let's not talk about the unsolicited dick pics regularly sent online. It's not attractive, it's not a turn on, it's aggressive behaviour and disrespectful and alarming that I have had to educate my daughters on social media about this.
How about men accept accountability for their behaviour and are taught not to stare, not to make women feel uncomfortable and not to make creepy comments. My two sons have been brought up this way and I am proud of the way they behave. If only more men were like that.
We live in a supposedly civilised society where men are educated to treat women equally but women are still paid less than men, sports competitions pay less for the prize money for women athletes yet they put in just as much effort and dedication to their sport. A recent report showed mysogeny is still institutionally prevalent in our police force.
The list goes on and on and how can we stop this?
By continuing to speak up. Of course we'll be labelled as aggressive but who cares what others say. It's important to shout loud about what is important to us.
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