Today is International Women’s Day. A very important day for all women. As I am from the UK, I was thinking about the ways in which women’s rights in the UK had changed in the last one hundred years and how far we have come. Having said that, it is also quite worrying that it took the UK so long to pass certain laws.
A hundred years, women in this country did not have the right to vote, the right to have equal pay – or work in some cases. Women could not advance into certain careers, were expected to go to women only Universities. They had no rights over their own body. It was only in the late 19th century that laws about abusive husbands changed. Looking back, it is quite frightening just how inferior women were viewed as.
At the same time it’s also quite impressive just how far women in the UK have come since the end of World War One. Since 1918, we have gained the full right to vote, we can work in whatever career we want and get paid the same amount as men. If we want contraception, we can have them. If we want children or if we don’t want them – that is our decision and there is nothing wrong with either option.
At the same time, it’s opened up opportunities for men as well. Before men were expected to follow a certain path in life. Now they don’t. If a man wanted to be a stay at home dad, that’s fine. If he wanted to be a nurse or a teacher or a nanny – well we wouldn’t think twice about it.
There are still issues with inequality with women in the work place that will take a long time to overcome. In certain companies, women will only ever be able to go so far up the ladder before hitting the glass ceiling. This is an issue more and more women face each year. Hopefully, as more women reach the top of their ladder, companies will have to accept that women are entitled to full equality.
So today, let’s be grateful that we’ve been allowed a full education and then some. That we can pursue a career in anything we want and the only person, who could hold us back, is ourselves. We should also be thankful for those women who went before and made it possible for us to be where we are today. Without those women, who knows if we’d be in the position we are today.
Happy International Women’s Day!