I am a privileged woman. My silver spoon is not moneyed or titled but comes from being born into the privilege of a family packed with strong women.
As a girl I never questioned my rightful place and was taught that my voice mattered. My parents kept the world open to me, curated a library of inspirational heroines and encouraged me to find my way in the world.
As a young woman I set about proving my worth with zeal and industry at university, and then work. On the way I felt it was my duty to challenge bias, alter gendered perceptions and feign confidence. Again, I was privileged to keep company with some amazing women who trod down the grass and pushed back the brambles before me.
I decided I was going to take motherhood in my stride, and like a good ‘have it all’ feminist I was back in work three months after giving birth. Turns out, having it all is more like compromise at everything. Parenthood is the biggest driver of the gender pay gap; but all of a sudden my desire for equality and social justice was confronted with the reality that work was only one way to succeed. I began to see what both genders lose out on when we see the world as pink and blue.
So through ‘the compromise years’ I set a different tempo. I put a lot of time and energy into work, but not too much: I was mostly a good mum and kept my home a below average tidy. As my daughters have grown and needed me less I’ve reclaimed interests of my own. The solidarity of sisterhood has mattered most to me during these years and I have enjoyed the company of women who have lifted each other up, sympathised and laughed at the chaos of it all.
I will always be the girl who doesn’t question her right to be at the table, the young woman who champions equality and the plate spinner who finds success and fulfilment in work, home and within me. This is my privilege that I seek to share with my daughters, with my colleagues and with my friends.
On International Women’s Day here’s to strong women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.
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