I am thrilled to have been invited to speak to aspiring women writers at a local event for International Women’s Day being organised by the Colchester Feminist Collective. It particularly pleases me because in my twenties and thirties I was part of a movement called Women in the Media which campaigned against female objectification and stereotyping, particularly in the tabloid press. Sadly there are many battles yet to be won – not least the fact that some newspapers still feature topless women. How archaic is that! Women are still all-too frequently described by how they look or what they wear – even very senior politicians and academic types – whereas men are rarely described as ‘tall, handsome, Gucci wearing charmer Mr so and so’. There are still too few women in senior positions in newspapers and broadcasting, too few represented on panels in comedy, or, for example on Question Time, where the male:female 3:1 ratio still seems to pertain. Why, when the population ratio is approx. 1:1? I could go on.
The second reason it pleases me is that my daughter, Polly Trenow, has been working in the women’s right sector for the past seven years. Her passion for feminist issues has left me feeling vaguely guilty for having put aside my youthful activism – not from complacency, because I know there is no room for that – but because of too many other competing priorities.
So, on Saturday 8th March I can redress this balance, just a little, by supporting International Women’s Day here in my home town. If you are around between 4 – 7 pm at The Waiting Room (the former bus station café off Queen’s Street) do drop by to say hello. There will be other writers and talented artists of all kinds, music, dance and lots more throughout the evening. See the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/#%21/events/587661797985704/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming