Before you ask: International Men’s Day is November 8th. That’s the end of that conversation. As we anticipate International Womens’ Day, and as we begin Women’s History Month, the themes of personal identity and action collide with that looming Western legacy within everyone who identifies as a woman: a mixture of pride and anger, looking back on millenia of achievement and disenfranchisement.
This year, the UK public elected more women in parliament, writing and scrutinising our laws and budgets, than we ever have; 34% of all MPs who legislate for our 50% female population. Representation within entrepreneurship and investment is alarming, revealing that the visibility of movements for social equality does not equate to actual systematic change – financially, women remain marginalised – and there are many who argue that in a capitalist society, money is power. 13% of senior members of UK investment teams are women, and only one in five startups who receive funding are founded by women. Diverse business environments have been proven more profitable time and again, yet this is often ignored in favour of cognitive bias and discrimination.
The Academy Awards’ refusal to nominate a single woman for the Best Director award emphasises the “glass ceiling”
Within the film industry, women made up 35% of speaking characters in the 100 highest-grossing films of 2019. Whilst many film festivals such as Cannes, Toronto and Venice have newly committed to a “5050×2020” pledge, agreeing to total transparency with regards to representation on executive boards and within their film selections, it is clear that our stories and our voices are still far too scarce. The Academy Awards’ refusal to nominate a single woman for the Best Director award emphasises that the “glass ceiling” problem that permeates discussions of gender is one we carry into 2020 – the endless cycle of sameness within power structures, within storytelling, that a lack of representation dictates.
How should we celebrate? We must always empower the youth, and each other (of all genders) by amplifying the diverse achievements of women, by donating time or money to organisations who fight to teach and protect young women, we must recognise the worth of women’s contributions and pay them their due. Vitally, we must all listen more to the different stories and perspectives all around us – because each is different – and continue to forward making more informed movements.
Every time I began typing “women representation” into search, Google autocomplete supplied “women reproductive system” first
Whilst researching for this article, every time I began typing “women representation” into search, Google autocomplete supplied “women reproductive system” first. Representation wasn’t even on the list of popular or trending searches.
If there are girls growing up now and in the future who feel trapped and frustrated by the capabilities of their gender, then we as a society have failed. We must teach them, above all, that this world is theirs to mould, and give them the tools and the opportunities to take action.
Last modified: 26th February 2020