Still Suffragettes

Baroness Deech

I went to see the new film “Suffragette”, (director Sarah Gavron, daughter of Labour peer Lord Gavron, who sadly died recently) at a special showing in Westminster. It isn’t perfect, but it certainly makes you think.  This is what I thought.

The struggle is not over.  There are equality laws in place, but women are still not treated seriously in the workplace, in the legal profession, by the media, even by fellow women.  This is due in part to the fact that family law still sees all women, regardless of their actual circumstances, as dependants, as needing to be kept by the man with whom they have, or have in the past had a relationship.

Then I thought, it is presumptuous for today’s feminists (however defined) to see themselves as being in the vanguard of the movement, as breaking new ground.  They know no history if that is what they think.  The call for equal rights and respect goes back hundreds of years, if not thousands, and has had several manifestations in the last century.  For me it was the 1950s and 1960s, and the book that affected me most was Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. For others it was Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, 1963. Today’s feminists need to know that the big struggles and victories, such as the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, were achieved long before their time.  The mood in those decades could be summed up as: take down the barriers, we can do everything that a man can do, and, if we want to, be good mothers as well.  Now the mood seems to be one of demanding special treatment, seeing themselves as victims and sexual objects.

Third thought.  Next time I hear a young woman saying she does not vote I will remind her, forcibly if necessary, that women were laying down their lives to achieve the right to vote only 100 years ago, and she is betraying her sex if she does not use it. Likewise someone who puts aside her education, another hard-won privilege – but I don’t want to get into the war between full time housewives and women who go out to work, because the comments will be too vitriolic! And we should all take up the struggle on behalf of women the world over who are not allowed to drive, not allowed to vote, who are mutilated, denied access to contraception and education, forced into marriage, bought and sold, covered up and silenced.



2 comments for “Still Suffragettes

  1. MilesJSD
    06/11/2015 at 6:25 pm

    It’s not only “women” who are treated unfairly in the Workplace –
    and also often distortedly in the Lifeplace
    and especially in the “International Community” Places and Governing Bodies;

    it is many Men also

    and do not gloss over the constitutionally, regislatively,
    and educationally neglected
    vital progressive Age-Frames of Children, too.

    For a recently published “clue” as to what Universities, Colleges, Schools, Communities, Religions, NGOs, and the “Aternative”, “Complementary”, and “Atheistic” sectors are NOT teaching nor foundationing nor supporting nor even recognising;
    please see – today.

  2. maude elwes
    28/11/2015 at 9:57 am

    I really regret having to say this Baroness, but, you are so out of touch in respect of women and their need for emotional satisfaction and their true view of feminism it’s enough to make me weep. No wonder women are presently so deperate and becoming more akin to the women of Brazil than natural European female expectations from life and the men in it.

    Can you please expain to us all what it is you see as equality and the lifestyle that will bring happiness for women as a whole? What is your view of their needs, desires and sense of fulfilment?

    The women you write of in the past would roll over in their graves if they saw what has become of the life females are forced to live in todays world, and as you have done, blame it on them and their fight.

    Seemingly neurotic females in western governments appear to have lost their minds and rather than the equlity they speak so repetitively of, have made the lives of women a hell. Mothers have been degraded to the level of whores, wives derided as seeking to live the life of the golddigger and the general view of people like my mother, grandmother and great grandmother is of worthless homemakers and loving child carers, living as beggars from the men that supported their ‘chosen’ fulfillment.

    Look at the sad harrassed and confused mass of women today and get away for a few weeks from the frustrated lawyers, barristers and doctors who cannot allow themselves to feel and appreciate the sense and fulfilment it is to be accepting of their feminine selves. The ignorance in all this disgusts me.

    And from the point of view of society? This group of videos are in five parts, here are two of them.

    And the joke is women are just as aggressive and war mongering as men when in power. Are they voting against it today? Or, did Margaret Thatcher get off on the Falklands? The one difference being society is losing any sense of the female psyche and the healthy difference of two thinking, feeling factions. All this whilst women face more abuse by masculine females. Instead of female liberation they are being forced into masculinisation. And it is the pits.

    Women must refuse this masculinisation box and do it by action rather than chat. Female choice must, by action, refuse to be used in this political enslavement of their lives, simply by rejecting the moves being pressed on them from every angle.

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