I was thinking on international women’s day, about the women that I see every day.
They range from beautiful young women in their late teens, early twenties, working hard at school or university, ambitious motivated and chasing goals, to career women, working more hours a week than I tend to be actually awake. These women operate globally across international time zones, seemingly never sleeping. Alongside these are the mothers, operating in that scary world of playground politics and competitive parenting, sometimes they’re juggling a job as well.
So, every day at work I meet amazing, talented and strong women, yet what they share are feelings of anxiety, perfectionism, and a sense that they are somehow just not good enough.
Somewhere along the way to a feminist ideal, we seem to have left women with the impression that they are chasing perfection not equality. That they have to be everything, to everyone, at all times, that being a fallible human being is not enough.
This is the message that we are giving our daughters and it is a message that is literally unbearable. Even before secondary school starts they are physically hurting themselves to cope with the strain and pressure they feel under. Self-harm in girls aged 10 – 14 rose by 93% in 2014. Yes – 93%. And whilst women around the country are chasing success and achieving great things, many of them are doing this whilst struggling with the self-loathing and neglect that comes with an Eating Disorder (89% of the 1.6 million eating disorder suffers in this country being female).
I am a feminist, I believe in fairness and respect regardless of gender, and I want any woman to be able to chase whatever dreams they have. But I still believe women are the nurturers, the carers and I’m saddened when I see the extent to which we seem to have forgotten how to do this for ourselves, and the example we are setting our daughters.