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Monday, 18 March 2013

From suffragettes to school runs....


 'School Run - Sorry - be back at 4pm'  The sign on the gift shop door made me stop and stare. Had I  stepped  back in time?  After almost a hundred years of campaigning for women's rights  some of us, it seems, are  still  hedging our bets. So what did happen to equality for women?

I wasn't around when suffragettes were starving themselves in prison or throwing themselves in front of the king's racehorse, but I do remember Women's Lib.  It wasn't  about bra-burning, though that bit has gone down in history. 'Women in a Man's World' ran the headlines in newspapers across the land. We were trying to prove we could do anything the men could do, in the same way, for the same pay.

'You want equality - then earn it,' said my then news editor, sending me to cover Sunday League soccer in the pouring rain.  I listened and I learned.  Women  worked harder to keep up with their  male counterparts;  took the flack,  resisted the sack and got the job done.

Back then job interviewers routinely asked married women if they were planning to start a family. Mothers were quizzed about childcare provision and always kept it a secret when their children were ill, even enlisting the help of a trusty neighbour. They may have been frazzled but they swore they could cope.

Today comes the news that working mums spend 28 hours a week looking after the home and family on top of their full-time jobs. This includes shopping, cooking, making beds and - you've guessed it - driving their children to school.

 'So why did the school sign make you mad?' asked my other half, innocently.
 'The shop owner,' I sighed. 'She's just making excuses.'
 'She?' he said, smiling at my indignation. 'How do you know it's not  a He?'

 He's right, I admit. But then he's a man,  Maybe we've found a different kind of equality after all?



Elaineyross said...

Talking of equality, my newly retired husband has taken on some of the "domestics" as he calls them whilst I continue to work. However, despite all his help today, he is curently in the bath relaxing after a hard days "work" and I have only just finished clearing the dinner pots away as some things will always remain in my domain. I'm just about to tax the car on line and check our 'phone contracts as they are due to expire. Oh yes, I need to shower and wash my hair ready for a trip to Salford on business. Ahhh well - some poeple are just more equal than others I guess - ha ha!

Guernsey Girl said...

Equality in reverse then? Thanks, Elaine- you've just proved my point!!

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

oh I remember those days, Gloria Steinem, Cosmopolitan AND getting asked those very questions ! In the 80's I worked with in a "man's job" and many of them grumbled about it. Sadly, I don't think we've come very far. (()) oops hope I get thru the word verification !

Guernsey Girl said...

Lovely to hear from you, Francie- great to hear that you agree with my sentiments...sorry about the word verification - I had so many problems when it wasn't in place...

Barbara said...

I remember those days too, has very much changed? I'm not so sure it has.