By Patrick Dransfield
Writing in the Financial Times in May 2019 the English novelist Jeanette Winterson reflected on 100 years of feminism. She wrote: “Exposing the craziness behind (sex) discrimination really matters because once any kind of discrimination is both accepted and acceptable every other kind gets the run of the road: race, class, colour, creed and sexuality.” Men can be — and some are — feminists too. We have sisters, and mothers.
My own mother, an educated woman from Yorkshire, battled against the craziness of the tax system implemented by Harold Wilson’s Labour government of the 1970s that put a married woman’s earnings at literally nil: my father was punitively taxed as a consequence of my mother having the audacity to work. The value to herself that work granted meant my mother went ahead anyway with a career in teaching in rough and tumble Runcorn schools. It was heartening to hear recently from a childhood friend that my mother’s courageous spirit (and my father’s support) inspired her to strive for a career on her own terms and as an undeniable right. *
According to the UK’s Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS): “The current crisis has brought existing inequalities to the fore. It also risks exacerbating them”. It is important to me to feel that I am helping to expose the craziness behind sex discrimination in memory of my mother and through the marvel of social media (an option for dialogue not open to my mother’s generation) the In-House Community can bring together all professionals to discuss the issues to women’s careers thrown up by the prevailing Covid-19 crisis. You are all cordially invited to join — and to spread the word.
*The above is adapted from a letter published in the Financial Times, 11 May, 2019
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