What’s happened to women?


When I was 14 years old ( in 1961) my mother said: “You can’t help being intelligent, but try not to show it, because no one will want to marry you.”

When I was 17, my school science teacher discouraged me from doing an engineering degree on the grounds there wouldn’t be any toilets on building sites for women.

When I was 20 and getting married (for the first time), people laughed at the idea that I wanted to keep my family name rather than changing it to my husband’s.

Back then, on the rare occasions I gave a thought to the future, I assumed that women would get more independent, less concerned about their appearance and that the sexes would be treated equally.

Back then, I didn’t expect people to be saying we should be voting for a woman to be president of the United States simply because she is a woman, without considering the policies she stood for.

Back then, I didn’t expect that in 40 years’ time, young women would be posting on Facebook (if I could have imagined Facebook) that they couldn’t wait to get married and change their names, and that that would be Liked by all their female friends.

Forty years ago I imagined that women would be more involved in sport and fitness, but I didn’t imagine that any of them would be worrying about the effect of sweat on makeup.

There is so much that is sadly the same. I don’t blame men for it. I think they have a hard enough time without being blamed for everything that happens to women. So many women give mixed messages to men about ow they want men to behave. This doesn’t excuse the alleged activities of people like Harvey Weinstein, but it does mean we need more honest dialogue between women and men.

We can’t pick and chose the bits of liberation, independence and emancipation that are convenient to us as women, and expect men to deal with the rest.