I will confess, I used to be a bit squeamish about calling myself a feminist. I thought it meant that I had to stop shaving my legs and wearing a bra, neither of which I’m prepared to do. But as I’ve grown older and, y’know, grown up a bit, I’ve realised that’s really not the case. Feminism, and women’s rights, are about issues far more fundamental than my personal grooming habits.
I probably can’t put it better than Caitlin Moran, who has this to say.
“Here is a quick way of working our if you’re a feminist. Put your hand in your pants.
a) do you have a vagina?
b) do you want to be in charge of it?
If you said ‘yes’ to both, then congratulations! You’re a feminist.’
It really is that simple.
Today is International Women’s Day.
This year, Save the Children has chosen to focus their International Women’s Day campaign on exactly this simple an issue – a woman’s right to have control over her own body – her access to reproductive health care, and her right to choose when and how to start a family.
Around the world millions of women and girls can not make independent decisions about their healthcare – in Burkina Faso 75% of husbands make decisions about their wives healthcare on their own. In Nigeria the figure is 73%, in Nepal it’s 51%.
Right now, 215 million women who want to avoid pregnancy don’t have access to effective family planning: they can’t get advice from health workers, they can’t afford contraception and they don’t have the choice we take for granted here in the UK.
If you believe, like I do, that this is wrong and that all women should be able to make choices about her own body, please take two minutes of your time to sign this petition.
You might also want to check out the EQUALS website – run by Save the Children and some of its coalition partners – to see some of the actvities they have planned over the next few days.
Happy International Women’s Day.
(You can take your hand out of your pants now)