With the common mantra that "sex sells" and the idea that we have now reached a cultural peak of sexual openness and opportunity, a so-called 'post-feminist' outlook might argue that women today are now more sexually empowered to make a broader range of sexual choices. But whilst it's laudable that women are allowed to be sexual and openly enjoy sex; surely empowerment would be doing that on our own terms?
There are a huge number of activities going on around the world to improve the situation for women, and there are places where men are working with women to achieve this. There's no doubt that this movement is gaining momentum and makes nonsense of the idea that men cannot see women as equals. It's an outdated way of thinking, and increasingly governments, businesses, communities and families are all coming to recognise the positive benefits to be had when women and men are working together and treating each other as equal partners. Of the numerous ways to change women's lives for the better, I've picked out five things that you can do to help make that change today:
Awkward is that horrible silence that makes your skin crawl. You believe you need to fill with any rubbish that may come out of your mouth, to take away the feeling of awkward! Actors and directors know the power of this moment; they call it 'dramatic pause'. Pause is communication; a lot can be said in a pause, often more than something being spoken.
During the latter months of 2013, I came across a fantastic campaign entitled 'Take The Lead.' The campaign states that it "...prepares, develops, inspires and propels women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions across all sectors by 2025. It's today's women's movement - a unique catalyst for women to embrace power and reach leadership parity." I was hooked, and immediately followed the campaign...
The Prince's Trust supports 55,000 unemployed young people a year, 5% of the total, and intends to double the numbers it supports, with turnover increasing to £100 million a year, most of it donated. The Trust's objective is to help them enter the job market or found businesses. Volunteering plays a key role, both for the young and their adult mentors.
Hayley came to me last autumn with the idea of setting up a summer camp for children from deprived backgrounds. I nodded enthusiastically at her proposal but was frankly sceptical. Jess, co-founder of the camp, points out that students are eager to hatch lofty plans whilst nursing a drink but less inclined to see them through...
David Cameron remarked that Thatcher had "smashed through the glass ceiling" - she did, but not for women, simply for herself. She did not open the door for other women behind her; rather, she smashed the glass and replaced it with barbed wire fencing. She reinforced a system that does not allow for female leadership unless it acquiesces to patriarchal modes.
I don't like it when I hear people talking about "giving up" drinking. I don't like it because it doesn't really work. It's not about sacrifice. The very term "giving up" alcohol I take issue with. Nobody "gives up" drinking, the same way nobody gives up at a traffic light when it turns red. You just stop.