David Cameron may have generated a few headlines recently when he argued, in an article in the Times, that for those advocating gender equality "there has been a recent slew of good news". But the reality is somewhat different... Notwithstanding its rather clunky title, "Pregnancy and Maternity-Related Discrimination and Disadvantage", the paper included some shocking findings. Interviews with more than 3,200 women about their experiences of being pregnant at work, or returning to their jobs after giving birth, found that 11% reported having been dismissed, forced to take redundancy or treated so badly that they felt they had no choice but to resign.
I have spent my career working with women who have been beaten, raped and exploited. What all failed to understand in the debate, is that women are beaten and raped exactly because they have less value in society. To me it was not about money and wages it was about worth. So as the government marched through the no lobby it felt like we women were worthless. So who can we blame when this week two of us, the worthless, are murdered?
Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, wrote a blog piece recently about the disturbing practice arising at some book festivals, where authors are not paid for appearing. Her rallying cry was taken up by the Bookseller and the Society of Authors, which recently published guidelines about the level at which authors should peg event fees.
Pay transparency is a simple measure, but sometimes simple changes are the most powerful. Once implemented, employers of over 250 workers will have to publish details of the average pay of their male and female employees, meaning for the first time, women will be able to see if they are being paid less than their male colleagues. Women still earn on average just 81p for every male pound and the rate at which the pay gap is closing has slowed under this government. In fact, if we'd continued to make the same progress we were under Labour women working full-time might be over £100 a year better off.
Arquette massively let herself down when she assumed that women of colour and LGBT+ women did not exist within the definition of 'woman', and she idea that multiple forms of discrimination act and can be seen in isolation from each other is one that is doing damage to these movements. But most of all, it is doing a disservice to the most marginalised people in our societies.
So, when chatting with the denouncers, I naturally ask them who these 'radical feminists' are that they feel are dominating the conversation. To date, no one has been able to identify or name a single person or organisation who they believe is controlling the air waves spouting 'radical feminist stuff'.
Food bank use is rising almost as quickly as executive pay. If something isn't done to correct the worsening structural inequality in the economy, the government may find itself called upon to bail out the food banks and provide basic nutrition to people living in one of the richest nations in the world.