What could be a more fitting place to write this particular blog? I am sitting in the houses of Parliament in a bright pink (suffragette hat tip) shirt about to go to a reception hosted by the Speaker of the house and Lord Speaker. Its a party to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the first wave of women achieving the vote.
I like celebrations and I like being optimistic. Its important to spend a moment reflecting on the extraordinary people that came before us and made huge social change possible. Think of the story of Countess Constance Markievicz. She should be far better known than she is – the first female MP elected to Parliament, attaining the position while incarcerated! Look her up, shes remarkable. A socialite, she traded ball gowns for bullets. THANK YOU CONSTANCE.
Staring at the pictures of the women who relentlessly fought, at great personal cost a century ago, it is impossible not to want to try and help equality edge forwards with all of the resources and opportunities that are available.
For while huge steps have been made since 1918, I wonder if all those brave fighters would be so impressed with progress.
No woman has ever been Chancellor.
Two of our three major parties have never been led by a woman.
Not quite a third of Parliament is female.
In business, 90% of public company directors are men and the rate of progress in the tech sector means that men and women will NEVER reach parity.
Most dispiritingly of all, two women a week are killed by domestic violence and can you imagine how many women face abuse, intimidation and an absolute lack of of power in their daily lives?
There is arguably more understanding and more focus and more noise than I can remember in my lifetime, but we have to keep fighting.
Two people keep me focused. They form an interesting cultural collision. Mary Wollstonecraft was the ultimate suffragist before the moniker even existed. “The beginning is always today” continues to nail the way we need to think. Of course, MLK never fails to keep your motivation and inspiration bubbling. I think Constance, Millicent, Emily, Emmeline, Martin and Mary would have been firm friends and conspirators.
Here are some people you might not know who are moving things forward so I recommend following them :