I’m fully aware that, if we want a better world, we will have to build it ourselves. Waiting for someone else to do the job will be a thankless task. But i’m equally aware that, if someone else did do it, the chances are that it would be a women who was paid less than me. The fact we need a day to remind us of inequality, or to prompt us to celebrate inspirational women, is, in itself, telling.
I could share stories of the women in my life who inspire me: Lucy, and Charlotte, police officers, making their community safer, Sally, working with autistic children, giving them the gift of learning, Liz, working as a nurse in remote communities decimated by alcohol and drugs. I could do that, but i won’t.
I could share stories of the women who step up, who face the inequality directly: Laurie Penny, one of the most important writers of her generation, Cherie Blair, fighting for human rights and mentoring opportunities for women, but i won’t.
Instead i spend today thinking of my niece who, aged thirteen, is wondering whether to be an engineer, or a nurse, or a hairdresser, or a dancer. Or whoever knows she wants to be this week. I won’t share her story, because it isn’t written yet: instead, i will try to take up the challenge. I cannot change the whole world, but i can change my part within it. I cannot make the whole world fairer, but i can strive to be fairer within it. I cannot help the world we have inherited, but i can use my actions not worlds to change it so that, in time, we hand it on, better than we found it. And so that one day she can ask me why we needed a day for women, to remind us.