International Women's Day is one of my favourite days of the year. It's a day that gifts us that much needed prompt when we are stalling, to remember how wonderful and important we are, how far we have come, and most importantly how far we have to go.... We need each other. More than ever before. While the smoke is much appreciated, we need a full on fire in order to make a substantial change to the billions of women being held back by the chains of tradition and lack of effect.
About ten years ago, I tried to book tickets for the Reading Festival. I had to go through a long process to prove I was disabled so they would give me a ticket. And when I looked into it further, I found that the viewing platforms for wheelchair users would have given me a restricted view, so it put me off going.
This week, word broke that Chris Martin and Gwynneth Paltrow had decided to part ways. It was like an oil slick near a crematorium. We knew instantly only seconds would separate us from what can only be a flaming onslaught of hate and sh** that infested the already festering world of Twitter. Everybody had an opinion. The majority of which were smug and snide. Delighted, almost relieved to hear the the "golden couple" had finally failed at something!!!! Marriage!!! YES!!!! We can all sleep at night! Thank God for that.
Lazy, social media obsessed and filled with a sense of entitlement. The all too familiar criticisms that levelled at Generation Yers today. Like millions of others born between the early 1980s until the early 2000s, I'm part of a group that everybody seems to have an opinion on. We're a group who can't focus on anything, a 'boomerang generation' who run back to their parents every time they face a problem and expect a glittering career to be handed to them on a plate.
Whether you agreed or disagreed with Brand's call-for-a-revolution speech, the point I'm making is this - young people DO care about politics. Brand's anti-politics rant struck a chord with young people because he echoed the underlying feeling of a generation frustrated with a political system that they feel 'doesn't represent or care about them'. But that doesn't mean they don't care...
In the last month we have heard the news that youth unemployment fell by around 20,000 in the three months up to May. There is clearly a long way to go but people seem to be feeling a bit more optimistic about the job market for the first time in years. It feels great to know that more people are finding work and gaining the experience, not to mention self-confidence, that they need. However, while finding a job can be a great boost, especially if someone has been struggling to gain employment, it doesn't mean that happiness automatically follows.
Young people aren't work shy, they just need the experience, training and direction to get the jobs they're fighting for. Use everything at your disposal, nothing is destined or fated - that's naïve thinking - but make sure you stack the deck in your favour. Let employers know exactly what you can do, and grab every opportunity.
It upsets me when I hear statistics about how many young people are out of work - almost a million 16 to 25 year olds if you didn't know. And it's not just moral outrage. Yes, the figure is staggering and unacceptable. But what really bothers me is a nagging feeling that the longer this huge number is tossed around, the more normal it will seem - like part of the landscape.