Today I am both humbled and brought to the edge of tears by a blog my friend and fellow writer, Sandra Bendelow, posted:
So in reply, who might I name?
There are so many – maybe too many to name or this becomes a self-congratulatory roll call. The presence of many of the women who inspire me to strive to be better than I am are already on this blog.
But perhaps it is important to reflect on women and their achievements in what has felt to me recently as an increasingly misogynistic world. It is a world where a fifteen year old girl can be shot in the head on a school bus for wanting to have an education; it is a world where a female medical student can be raped on a public bus and left to die at the roadside in Delhi; it is a world where a sixteen year old girl can be stabbed fatally on the Birmingham bus taking her to school, twenty four hours ago. Sexual assaults in august institutions and by ‘national treasures’ dominate the press amidst gagging orders and white-washing, whilst casual sexism creeps back into the media and stalks popular culture.
Maybe it’s my skin getting thinner as I age, but I am feeling the cold more – and the gender climate outside is feeling decidedly hostile and chilly.
So before I depress you all, let’s seize the moment to celebrate and give thanks. I salute the campaigners and the whistle blowers, the activists and the doers, ‘the difficult women’ and ‘the ball breakers’, the scary marys and their redoubtable chums, the viragos and the slatterns, the harpies, hags, and shrews, the biddies and the xanthippes, the jezebels, medusas, gorgons and graeaes, the vixens and the fishwives, the battleaxes and witches, the crones, ogresses, and old bags… keep answering back, keep leaving your mark, never be bowed and long may you continue….