International Women's Day: No level playing field just yet, even in the media

International Women's day
International Women's day

When I was at school and very small I wanted to play football.

Not netball with rules about staying on the spot and short skirts I hated, not hockey with its very high risk of a low-flying ankle injury, but football in shorts with the boys.

Of course, back then I wasn’t allowed even at my fairly progressive school, but for a seven-year-old it was an eye-opening moment.

I couldn’t, as my parents had earnestly educated me, do absolutely anything I wanted as long as I worked hard enough.

Instead, I could do absolutely anything I wanted as long as it was deemed suitable for a girl.

I was not amused.

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These days , of course, we have moved on apace and girls can play football, boys can play hockey, and the differentials of gender are a hot topic and under constant scrutiny.

But as we mark International Women’s Day today I can’t help thinking we have a long way to go.

I was reminded just this week via an industry website lauding the appointment of a newspaper’s first female editor.

Just the fact this is still a headline in 2019 is telling.

A woman being a senior manager of any type shouldn’t be a story, it should be normal

(and FYI both editor and deputy editor of this title are women though there are plenty of other media organisations yet to mark this milestone).

The reality is that life is certainly not yet a level playing field for women.

While we can celebrate the differences between the sexes, we still need to be able of offer parity of opportunity, of pay and of treatment in every day life.

There is no neat pink and blue split in life and nor should there be which is why International Women’s Day is important in raising awareness of a bias that even women themselves can’t always see - it’s so embedded in our society and upbringings.

Some may scoff at change, say they coped with the bias all their lives, but it is unlikely they would want their daughter’s to live the same way.

Would you?

So as women stand up and be counted today, let’s celebrate all our achievements and speed up change.

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International Women's Day #balanceforbetter #IWD