Last Friday, Women for Women International opened its landmark Women's Opportunity Centre in Kayonza district, Rwanda. The WOC will serve as a centre of excellence and innovation supporting women's economic and social development in the region through training, employment, and business opportunities.
While I certainly agree that both men and women must recognise and escape the "confines of our gender", and that we need to acknowledge that we have all been ill-served by our culture's emphasis on certain gender stereotypes... I can't quite believe that it is truly down to women that men feel, well, emasculated.
18 months ago, I walked out on my publisher, HarperCollins, because I was sick of seeing my novels getting packaged as frivolous, girly 'chick lit'. This week, eminent British children's author Jacqueline Wilson spoke out about the pink covers assigned to her books, which 'pigeonholed' girls and put off boys. And now, young adult author Maureen Johnson has come up with the #CoverFlip challenge in which she encouraged her 78,000 followers to take a well-known book, then imagine what that cover might look like if the author's gender were flipped.
In what seems like another life, I was a medical student in the mid-80s. The New Romantic movement had only just begun its steep decline, along with my spiked-up straw-dyed hair. Around then, one of my clinical tutors died from Aids. Fellow students whispered that he was gay and "promiscuous". So then, otherwise caring people were implying that he deserved to die from HIV.
So what can be done to make more women 'Lean in' and to rise above the social stereotypes so that we have more female role models and ensure that the list of future contenders to appear on our bank notes has a 50:50 split? It is important that women understand that they are not alone in feeling some of the deep-rooted fears and social biases that they experience in the workplace.
The older I get, the more I believe that 'equality' is nothing more than a smokescreen to prevent the true liberation of women. Equality before the law means nothing when violence is endemic; when women are most likely to live in poverty; when no one bothers to actually enforce the existing equality legislation.
Obviously, I don't mean Margaret Thatcher was a man in women's clothing. That's not really what drag is about: it's about drawing attention to the public performance of gender. Like many drag acts, her performance slid between the glamorous, the parodic and the grotesque, but there's no question that it was sensationally successful.
What worries me most about Thatcher's death is not the Bieber generation tweeting their desperate confusion about why someone's name they don't recognise is trending. What is far more concerning than that is how Britain's only ever female leader being gone will impact the future of women in politics.
Thatcher was certainly not a feminist either in principle or in practise. She is alleged to have said that feminism was "poison". Far from seeing herself as a role model to female politicians, she actually promoted fewer female MPs than her male predecessors. She was the archetypal successful woman who revelled in being 'one of the boys'. But in a curious way the cult around her, particularly in the later years of her career, was one that could only have been excited by a woman.