THE BLOG

From High Street Sexism to Fighting for Their Lives, Women Are Taking Back Power and Winning

08/03/2016 15:29 GMT | Updated 09/03/2017 10:12 GMT

Every day in the UK, women are fighting for equality in the workplace. Sick of getting ripped off for being female, they're fighting for equality on the high street. And, with two women a week killed at the hands of a partner or ex-partner according to the Office of National Statistics across the UK some women are even fighting for the right to stay alive.

Equality for women in the UK can mean everything from the price of your razor to the right to feel safe. But what's incredible about the UK right now is that women are increasingly taking on these fights themselves - and they're winning. On Change.org, men start more petitions but it's women who are most successful in driving their campaigns to victory.

Some women are demanding freedom from detention. Meltem was held in Yarl's Wood Detention Centre at the age of 13 after coming to the UK to seek refuge. She said it was like prison, a place of guards and barbed wire, a place where women became suicidal. After she got out in 2007, when she was granted indefinite leave to remain, she campaigned to end the detention of children, and in 2010 she won. Now she is calling on the UK Government to close Yarl's Wood and end the detention of all women who seek asylum.

Others are battling the VAT on being a woman. Twenty-three year old Laura sparked a global movement against the government's tax on sanitary products - she calls it the tampon tax. Her petition was referenced by George Osborne in his Autumn Budget, saying he would use his powers to lobby the EU to drop the VAT entirely. Until then the tampon tax will be ring-fenced for organisations helping women. Even better, charities can now apply for that funding. By starting one petition Laura has created waves across the country.

Many are taking action on high street rip offs. When Stevie Wise found out that women were paying more than men for products like razors and eye cream, she decided to change things. She called on the CEO of Boots to review the prices on products that were more expensive for women. She shared her petition online, getting 40,000 signatures and encouraged the people that signed her petition to contact the company on social media. Thousands did. Boots then contacted Stevie and invited her to meet their CEO. Within weeks of starting her campaign, the high-street giant made changes to their pricing, and other retailers followed.

They're fighting for access to lifesaving services. Last year Sisters Uncut, campaigning cuts to domestic violence services in Portsmouth, stormed a council meeting and let off confetti in the chamber and wouldn't leave until their message was heard by the Council: that domestic violence services are saving women's' lives, that cutting these services would be fatal. The council later announced that funding would be found to continue the service for at least another year.

The fights for women take different forms but share the same end goal: to be recognised as equals, regardless of gender.

Today's theme for International Women's Day is 'Pledging for parity'. It's a moment not just to talk about promises for the future, but to celebrate the many fights for parity that are being won by women today.