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  • iaindryden1

The feminist thing

“I would liquidate her,” said the person behind the bar.

We were talking about our current PM, the idiot who won’t back down from an economic policy which has wrecked financial havoc, spinning an already limping country, post Brexit, further down the gutter.

“Typical woman, can’t see sense.”

I have never got the feminist thing, but now I do. The above, in a nutshell is why women have to fight for equality. It should be automatic, we are all humans after all. OK, our current idiot is a woman, but the last fool was a man; they are individuals. I see women as individuals, not a different sex, which primarily they are. I take people, be they coloured, female or a white male like myself, on their merit. It has always boggled me that others don’t think like this. OK, each sex has evolved with different bodies, we can have different priorities, but we are unique, each with our own gifts and charms, it is society which has created values which have divided the sexes.

OK, it was Thatcher, a woman, who ruined the basis of our support systems, with all the basic changes she made education, health and industry. But May, given a chance, would have kept this country on an even keel which her two successors certainly can not. Regardless of the examples above, women in positions of power, in my experience, are generally more level headed than many a man.

My own mother, a highly intelligent and wise woman who, in June 1945, was in charge of the Radar section above Portsmouth harbour as the massive fleet sailed towards Normandy on D Day, was. After the War, though, she was treated badly… because she dared to divorce her violent husband in an era when women, even highly qualified ones like her, were paid less than half a poorly qualified man’s wage. Things have evolved since 1952, but not much. Look at the BBC’s reluctance to pay women the same salary as men doing the same job. Recently on BBC Radio4, , Daphne Koller, a woman scientist who was Professor of Stanford University’s highly respected Computer department and who set up the world’s largest free online learning platform boasting a 100 million participants, said she struggles to be accepted as an equal. It is not uncommon for this world famous woman to attend a high level meeting with her male assistant there to take notes, but afterwards it is this man who is generally contacted by male leaders, rather than her, the CEO.

It must, however, be said that men can also suffered sexual discrimination. Once, when I worked with CND, I heard the feminist group opposite yelling at their failing printer, I leaned in through their open door to offer help and they told me that being a man, I should shut up and leave. I had the same experience when protesting at Greenham Common against the immanent arrival of American cruise missiles - despite my having helped CND highlight this issue, the angry women camping outside the gates told me men weren’t welcome. Another time, I was told to quit a concert by women lining up either side of me because I was a man. As the discontent spread I realised I was the only man there. I quietly explained the (feminist) musicians had specifically invited me, but was shouted down. The superbly talented jazz group, The Guest Stars, couldn’t help as they hadn’t yet arrived, so I left.

I can understand such anger. Often in meetings, I’ve noticed women have had to struggle to get heard, that they aren’t listened to as keenly as men, that they are sidelined. That their brilliant ideas are later repeated by men, who claim them as their own.

Over half my friends are women, (seeing them as characters, not sexes, I had to stop and think to realise this). My wife, who was extremely shy when we met thirty-four years ago, gradually gained confidence because, as she puts it, I have always encouraged her to be proactive. Now filled with testosterone created by the menopause, she is a changed character and is quite a force, which I find fun.




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