NS March 8th, 2010
I’ve been trying to decide what to write today, on International Women’s Day. There are so many issues I could explore, explain, shout about, get angry, sad and wax lyrical about. But today, I am not in the mood for any of that. All I want to write is what needs to change. So, in no particular order, a few demands I’d like to make of the British government.
Give women absolute rights over their bodies and reproductive choices. This means allowing women as young as 25 to be sterilised if they do not wish to have children; granting no-questions-asked access to safe, inexpensive and immediately available contraception and abortion; and allowing women to birth their babies where, with whom and in whatever manner they see fit.
Require employers to keep and make transparent all records relating to the pay levels of their employees as they relate to skill level, length of employment and educational background. Heavily fine and penalise employers breaking the law by discriminating on the basis of gender or parental status.
Set out directives requiring that, wherever possible, meaningful, part-time and flexible work of all skill levels be made available to all employees, especially those with dependants or caring responsibilities.
Normalise, support and protect breastfeeding as a woman’s prerogative and a baby’s human right.
Produce a Parliament that is representative of the people it governs. If this means all-women, all-racial-minority shortlists, so be it.
Decriminalise the selling of one’s body but make buying another’s illegal and punishable.
Open childcare centres with fully-trained, well-paid staff, longer hours, greater flexibility, more individualised care, more outdoor space, healthier food and less expensive fees. Subsidise, subsidise, subsidise.
Stop blaming victims and demand that perpetrators of rape and domestic violence be held entirely accountable for their actions.
Put news relating to women’s rights, health and lives in the main bit of the paper, not the bloody ‘Lifestyle’ section or in ‘women’s supplements.’
Force anyone printing and distributing images of women, be it in advertising, promotion or media, to disclose when and to what extent said images have been altered.
Take your harmful, war-mongering, mother-blaming, woman-hating, gender-conforming, patriarchal norms and shove it up your collective arses.