Standing up for Girls

Regular readers of my blog know I’m a feminist.

I find being a feminist comes with having a heartbeat and a brain.

Not much in life makes me roll my eyes more than hearing someone (especially a young woman) say, “I wouldn’t call myself a feminist…”  Seriously? What is it about equality and justice that worries you so much?

And there are the endless reductive, patronising emails and campaigns that assume because I’m female and a mother I am only capable of talking about any issue – politics, international aid, education, health, entertainment, technology – if it’s neatly packaged for me and only talked about in terms of how it impacts on babies.


Do men who are parents get this crap?

I think not.

You may think it doesn’t matter but the world is unfair and it isn’t getting better. And it won’t, because these insidious instances of gender bias are what form our children’s attitudes.

And our children are the policy makers, and employers, and spouses and friends and writers of the future.

It matters if they think women are only capable of seeing the world through a prism of motherhood.

It matters if they think fair play and justice are only important to one gender.

It matters because the world won’t change unless attitudes change.

I sometimes hear arguments (usually in the Daily Fail) that feminism has gone “too far”. That today’s women are too ambitious, too strong, too clever by half, and are at risk of making men redundant and therefore dying sad and alone. That’ll teach us, eh, Daily Fail?


How can feminism have gone too far when girls are being shot in the head to stop them speaking out about education for girls?

How can feminism have gone too far when we still call girls who like to climb and run ‘tomboys’ – as though a girl who likes to run and climb isn’t a “normal” girl?

How can feminism have gone too far when a man who viciously bullies and abuses his partner and is told by a judge that his actions are partially explained by the “difficult” woman he was involved with?


In 2012 , the UN has created an International Day of the Girl. It urges us all to “speak out against gender bias and advocate for girls’ rights everywhere“.

So that’s what I’m going to be doing this week. And so should you.

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