My name is Rowan, and I am a feminist.
As a woman, with a mother, a sister and a daughter, that statement is not hard for me to say. It trips off the tongue, it’s a no brainer.
And in 2017, I know I am not alone in my willingness to set out my feminist stall with such conviction. But it wasn’t always this way. Just a few years ago Feminism was far from mainstream or even popular, it was for the outsiders, and seen by some as counter productive, after all, equality should be assumed, so why in this day and age are we all making such a fuss about it.
So what has changed? Well, as western women the world we live in is undergoing a seismic shift. The basic rights over out bodies and health that we have come to expect are being challenged by the most powerful man in the world while the staggering gender pay gap continues to stifle and disadvantage capable, intelligent women.
As we celebrate International Women’s day, we are also reading about a Polish MEP who feels justified in calling women weaker and less intelligent than men, while one of the true feminists of our time, Emma Watson, comes under fire for a stunning and completely tasteful Vanity Fair shoot, challenging her right to call herself a feminist while also celebrating her femininity.
On the flip side, the five most powerful positions in the UK, from PM through to the leader of Scotland Yard, are all now held by women – proving that while the struggle is real, we as women are not giving in anytime soon.
Women in power, women in the media and women just like us are now forcing the feminist agenda, leaning in, and frankly not backing down. And it is great. It is also potentially a little populist, and I wonder how long this wave of feminist feeling will continue.
But perhaps more importantly, away from the cover shoots and political soap box, there is a world of women and girls in desperate need of the feminist movement. Girls in the developing world still face FGM, forced marriage, and a severe lack of education and opportunities. They can’t don a funky t-shirt and hit the streets to make their voices heard, and that is precisely why we must.
So while I as a women who has had the benefit of education, employment and the support of many many men in my life, it’s not like that for everyone, and it is that side of feminism that I will be marking today, for all of those for whom feminist issues are not a matter of activism, but genuinely a matter of life and death.