International Women’s Day – and – my Gibraltar angle

As a feminist, would I have known it was International Women’s Day had I not read it on other blogs? Why not? Because it’s hardly a cause for celebration is it?

Apart from the fact that nearly 50% of the population gets a whole 24 hours to celebrate its achievements and then we return to the status quo where men rule the roost and women once again retreat quietly back to their corners, read on:

• Women have not achieved equality with men in any country.
• Of the world’s 1.3 billion poor people, it is estimated that nearly 70 per cent are women.
• Between 75 and 80 per cent of the world’s 27 million refugees are women and children.
• Only 28 women have been elected heads of state or government in this century. (ie 20th century)
• Women hold 11.7 per cent of the seats in the world’s parliaments.
• Of the 185 highest-ranking diplomats to the United Nations, seven are women.
• The percentage of female cabinet ministers worldwide has risen from 3.4 in 1987 to 6.8 per cent in 1996.
• Of the world’s nearly one billion illiterate adults, two-thirds are women.
• Two-thirds of the 130 million children worldwide who are not in school are girls.
• The majority of women earn on average about three-fourths of the pay of males for the same work, outside of the agricultural sector, in both developed and developing countries.
• In most countries, women work approximately twice the unpaid time men do.
• An estimated 20 million unsafe abortions are performed worldwide every year, resulting in the deaths of 70,000 women.
• Globally, 43 per cent of all women and 51 per cent of pregnant women suffer from iron-deficiency anemia.

And finally:

Women and Violence

• Each year an estimated two million girls suffer the practice of female genital mutilation.
• Worldwide, 20 to 50 per cent of women experience some degree of domestic violence during marriage.
• The primary victims of today’s wars are civilian women and their children, not soldiers.
• The use of rape as a weapon of war has become more evident. In Rwanda from April 1994 to April 1995, estimates of the number of women and girls raped range from 15,700 to over 250,000.
• Rapes in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda are being investigated with a view to prosecution by International Tribunals established by the United Nations.

It’s an old list from the United Nations. Full list here. I could look for a more up-to-date one that would no doubt portray a much rosier picture. Yeah. Sure.

Let’s look at something more local and today’s news. Six new Queen’s Counsel were admitted to the Gibraltar Bar today, of whom one, yes, just ONE, was a woman. But wait, this is surely cause for celebration? Because, Gillian Guzman QC is our first woman silk.

The first woman to be called to the Bar in Gib was Pamela Benady in 1955. That makes a mere 57 years before a woman actually takes silk here. (Source for this info – Gib Chron)

If anyone wonders why I occasionally post the odd hesitant little feminist perspective about the total lack of equality…. Oh. Silly me. Wrong blog. I am not ranting away on Clouds now, this is my nice face.

Moving swiftly on. To some good equality news. I called in the decorators’ merchants to buy some new overalls, bib and brace actually.

I was chatting to the two sales people, who are really nice and friendly, and discussing the sizes.

‘I think you probably need the size I am wearing because you are tall like me,’ said one. ‘It’s large.’

‘Yes,’ said the other one, ‘You don’t need the size I am wearing, it is small and the legs are still too long for me.’

This is pretty good dontcha think? A woman walks into the shop to buy overalls and they do NOT assume they are for her partner. Good one boys!

Trouble was, they were for my partner so I came clean after some more banter. Not that it matters, they know I work with him. Of course, if they didn’t know me through him, I’m sure it would have been a whole different story.

Meanwhile, on International Women’s Day, this woman with a first degree and a master’s who can’t get a job in Gib, is dutifully patching another pair of overalls. (For the sewers out there, rips and holes sealed with fusible interfacing on both sides, and then patches made from a pair of shrunken overalls to go over the top).

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After all, that’s what women are for isn’t it?

For which, see this great link here. (Click the google link under the ‘cartoon’)

And a few other takes below on IWD. They are all totally different and well worth a read.

Chittle Chattle


Age of Innocence

Lucid Gypsy

Now as a super housewife, I have some top news about baked beans – but it will have to wait.

Normal newsy and pretty posts will return soon.

35 comments on “International Women’s Day – and – my Gibraltar angle

    • Just about to do it, I got distracted with some comments on my other blog!! I’ll comment on your post as well, wanted to get my thoughts straight and posted on here so I could do it all at once. Thanks for publicising the hop.


  1. With you 100% here – I may not be the ardent feminist you are but think we as women are hard done by here in the Western world and even more so else where.
    The mention of Female Circumcision always hit’s a raw nerve with me, having once had a friend in the Revinue, so fixed by her loving Father & kept so by her even more loving husband between pregnancies I’ll add, who died because of complications because of this abusive practice.

    On a lighter note – you mending A’s trousers did raise a smile, just because I’m so undomesticated my-self – though I did do an emergency patch on Little Buddy’s uniform pants once :)


    • I think all you have to do is look at the stats. That’s why I like to post them, it’s not just total rhetoric. Hardly difficult to work out from the above UN stats that women are not equal. Sad story about your friend – and just adds weight to the fact that there is no equality.

      You know me, I like to look at things from different angles :D I used to hate, loathe, detest, mending. But – a lack of income – and suddenly – mending becomes an interesting, challenging and rewarding task. (I joke not, for once). I am quite surprised to see myself doing it, and even moreso, doing a decent job!! Mending, and sewing, aren’t actually about domesticity, rather about creativity. I was being flippant about my housewifely role as no doubt you realised, although others may not. They will if they read the comments.


  2. I don’t disagree with anything you say. I have always felt that women have to work harder and be better than men just to tread water. One reason why I always instructed female barristers. I knew they would be better than their male counterparts. However as this is your happy Smiley face place this may amuse. I am a red blooded male. My employer (the pigs of the pen) have e-mailed me to inform me that I must not wear an underwire bra under my ballistic vest. I’m very grateful for the tip.


    • I didn’t expect you to disagree, that’s not allowed on any of my blogs.

      Can I recommend a sports bra or whatever they are called? The sort of tight enclosing things?

      But on a slightly more serious point, probably easier to send a mail to everyone, rather than trying to discriminate on a gender basis. A few names that could belong to men or women, and you send to the wrong person. Nah, easier to send to everyone, up to the recipients to choose whether it applies to them or not.


  3. Phew, I’ll have to hide this post from T, if he reads you’ve had the needle & cotton out, he’ll start to get ideas ;-). Seriously though, I had it up to here (hand placed across my forehead) with sewing etc at the girls school I went to, I’d have much preferred to be at the local boys school learning woodwork & metalwork etc.


    • Actually when I first met A, I totally refused to sew a single thing for him. I disliked sewing classes at school too, partly because my mother didn’t have a sewing machine and every other person’s mother did :( But at some point, I decided I wanted to sew. Loved it. Vogue Designer Woman me :)


    • Thanks for that link, I had a read last night and will comment today. Given that the ruling classes write and shape history it follows that it will reflect the glories of that particular class, in this case men.


  4. thanks for this great post. i somehow missed that it was international woman’s day, too, until i read a blog post earlier today. must make a note for next year :)
    thanks for the links. the story about female circumcision on Lucid Gypsy is both touching and heartbreaking. i couldn’t access it via your link, though. it kept taking me back to this post. if anyone else would like to read it, it is @
    interesting – and sobering – stats. it doesn’t surprise me that there is such a high percentage of illiterate women, as this corresponds to the rate of women living in poverty. what is sad, however, is that the actual numbers are so high in the first place. i used to work for a relief and development agency and in some of the myths surrounding hunger and poverty, the fact is that there really is enough wealth in the world that no one need go hungry, impoverished, uneducated, without potable water. there is lots of good information available. it just takes the good will of those who can make a difference.
    anyhow, thanks for this sobering and reflective post. also – your repair job on those overalls is awesome. :)


    • I’ve fixed the link, thanks for letting me know. It was a very powerful story, was it not?

      As is your comment about the fact that we could have a more just and equal world if people wanted one. You didn’t say that, but that’s my take on it. It doesn’t surprise me either.

      My repairing – make do and mend – skills have come on in leaps and bounds over the last few years. Thank you.


      • Two million a year according to the stats above. Two would be two too many IMO. It was a good piece of writing, a different way of drawing attention to genital mutilation, and an interesting take for IWD, I thought.


  5. Good post. I’m glad you circulated that information. We commemorated IWD in my work place, as we do every year, and rather than celebrating women’s achievements the focus was the same as your’s – so much more to be achieved.


    • Thank you. That sounds as good a place as any to work. Even working in the public sector, it never met with any interest from 99% of my colleagues. There seems to be an interesting split between those who do mark it as a day – those who actually celebrate it and try and focus on the positive, and those who treat it rather more critically(?). I really don’t think the statistics quoted above are any cause for celebration in a so-called civilisation. ‘Celebrating’ women’s achievements on IWD strikes me – these days – as a mere token gesture. However, it serves for me and others to point out the continued injustices and abuses that continue throughout the world.


  6. I honestlyt impressed me about the number of highest-ranking diplomats to the United Nations that are women. Why do they make reports, when they should start working in-house???


    • I know little about how the United Nations works, but I *think* that the diplomats referred to are from the individual countries, eg mine from the UK, or yours from Spain, so the blame for so few women lies with our own countries.


  7. You are 100% right, it’s hardly a cause for celebration… looking for the day this celebration is not any more necessary because everybody is clearly equal…


  8. Took me awhile to get a spot of free time to visit (thanks also for stopping by my blog). I was undergoing a lot of cognitive dissonance on March 8th, as I did a quick internet search for IWD logo-art that I thought I might want to use with my post. I was unhappy to see that a lot of the “art” out there looked like valentine’s day fluff. There was even one abysmal piece of doo-doo that featured a naked CG perfect-clone-bot generic woman, on tippy-toes, no less, arching her back just so and reaching upwards towards nothingness with her arms– it looked like a game-boy designed personal-hygiene-spray-for-robots ad. Contrasting that with 2-million-plus women undergoing genital mutilation each year was not even possible, because the art was flat-out delusional as well as poorly realized, whereas the 2-mil-plus women are both real and crippled for life.

    I was also mightily unhappy to see that in this year’s IWD logo, the militant clenched fist had been removed from the center of the Venus/female-symbol. I have to ask why the tidying up? We are still fighting to keep from losing ground, and personally, I am still clenched-fist-p*ssed we are having to once again fight for women’s free access to contraceptives in the good old U.S. of A…


    • Thanks for repaying the visit. I planned to ‘follow’ yours but my browser crashed before I had got round to it – whereupon I forgot – so I’ve remedied that one now.

      I left this post fairly factual – I think the facts speak for themselves anyway – but I am planning another post over on my more ranty blog – Clouds – which probably won’t make for pleasant reading.

      As for the anti-contraception movement in USA it defies belief. Of all the issues that need sorting in the world – why spend so much time, effort and money on that one? Seriously worrying and extremely skewed (aka lack of) values.


  9. Great post, lady! (As usual) I had a huge, intense discussion with a decidedly right wing dad in the school yard last week about IWD and I think I’ll leave the discourse there, as it left me with a most unpleasant taste in my mouth (especially as this particular gentleman has three young girls!) Bah. It’s too bad I didn’t think to grab his email addy…I could’ve forwarded him this most straightforward, factual post :)


    • Thank you. You could always chat with him again, and then get his addy ;)

      Sometimes, I think the facts really do speak for themselves, in this case very sadly. So there was no need to add commentary.


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