It isn’t only in the USA that we have seen an increase in the number of women who are coming forward with complaints and allegations of sexual and/or physical harassment, abuse and intimidation.
The United Kingdom – who have a history of lecturing the world on integrity and moral fortitude – has also seen the same increase in allegations stretching a long way back.
Perhaps one difference is unlike what appears to be the case in the USA that following the Jimmy Saville case in the UK the number of complaints are equally divided between abuse of females and males.
Some going right to the top and heart of our Government over decades.
Which incidentally the paperwork recording the allegations made at the time that should have been under the watchful eye of our current Prime Minister when she was Home Secretary have mysteriously disappeared.
To be fair previous Home Secretaries of all political parties who have formed the Government since 1945 are also implicated in the protection and “cover-up” of allegations against the establishment hierarchy.
But it isn’t the purpose of this blog – perhaps I’ll return to it later – what has inspired – if that is the correct word – to write this is that I have just watched and listened to one of our Government Ministers saying we “need to empower women”.
Let me explain this was a Minister in a Government who comes from a privileged inherited wealthy background, a white man who attended one of the most exclusive schools in the world – Eton – who has a record of parsimony, lying, cheating and objectifying women.
The perfect man to be a the top of Government and I suppose a mirror image of the President of the USA.
Now please don’t get me wrong I absolutely believe that women should be empowered in order to maximise their talents, abilities and opportunities in all walks of life.
Where did this belief come from?
To put it simply it came from the women I have had in my life who every day of have empowered me to treat them with respect for what they have achieved and what they will achieve in the future.
I have been fortunate – and no I’m not being condescending – to have had my attitudes towards women formulated by incredible women in my formative years and especially a mother who married at seventeen having only known my father for ten days and with who went on to raise six children.
Our mother was also our father during long periods whilst he was away doing what a professional soldier who served throughout WW2 and afterwards in various theatres around the world did until his retirement from the army in 1964.
Her strength of character is legendary – as was her ability to wield a mean broomstick when the occasion arose – (please don’t judge I got away with a lot more than I got caught for).
The point is she was an incredibly emotionally strong woman who raised five sons and one daughter.
It also helped that our father was a man who recognised how great mum was and what qualities she had which meant that between them they raised us to judge and accept people for their abilities, talents and characters irrespective of gender.
Our sister inherited mums characteristics but perhaps as important is that the brothers who have got married or entered into long term relationships have done so with women who are all strong women.
And yes, all the daughters and nieces are also strong empowered women.
It was – perhaps to my shame – when thinking of writing this that it dawned on me just how frightening they would be if confronted by anyone who wanted or even thought of taking advantage of them.
As for the sons and nephews they have also entered relationships with incredibly strong women some of who it is fair to say have had their empowerment strengthened by their experiences.
The point is the women in my family have been “empowered by women who themselves were empowered”.
In the UK it is why the WASPI women’s campaign against the unfair way the Government has effectively stolen their pensions is important because it will empower them to stand together.
It is why the global #metoo movement is important because it empowers the victims to stand up to the perpetrators.
It is why we need to see more women at all levels of the establishment structures but especially at the top of Governments.
Only then – and I know this is only the opinion of a white working class male who feels they have been fortunate to be so though I suppose I’d now be classified as middle class – will women really be in a position to empower other women.
The sadness – as far as I’m concerned – is that as I’ve been writing this I find myself thinking :-
“Why in the 21st Century am I writing abut this at all”?