I’m reading The Equality Illusion by Kat Banyard and not only is it wonderfully written, it’s also chock full of (excuse my French) fucking scary facts.
Like a girl in South Africa today is most likely to get raped than learn how to read.
Like two-thirds of the world’s work is done by women but they own 1% of the means of production and 10% of the world’s income.
Like it will take, judging by the current rate, 200 years for women to achieve equality in the UK Parliament.
Like women are more likely to be affected by natural disasters than men, due to clothes, entrenched poverty and societal customs.
Like 70% of those living in poverty on under $1 a day are women.
Like in the UK, women earn 73p to every £1 that a man makes – and the gap is widening.
Like two-thirds of the illiterate population are women.
Not only does this freak me out, like it should freak anyone reading this out (and I hope it does), but it also massively saddens me because of the way these facts are all connected.
If women are not taught to read, this enables men and governments to exploit them because they can’t get the information that they are not being treated fairly. If they can’t read, they are unlikely to get a higher paying job. If they are exploited, they will be kept in ignorance and not enticed to break free. If they can’t get a high paying job, they will be kept in poverty. If they are paid a lesser wage than men, then society is tacitly saying that women are worth less than men, that not only the work they do but also themselves as humans are worth less than men, and so are more likely to be victims of sexual harassment and rape and more likely to not be seen, paid or treated as equals.
This is not just happening in the third world. This is not just happening far away where you can ignore it. This is not just a remnant of the past. This is happening right here, right now, to you, to your mother, to your sister, to your wife or girlfriend or your daughter.
So do what you can. FOI your employers for gender pay data. If you have access, look at how your company recompenses women and men doing the same job. Check to see how many women have been denied the right to work flexibly or at reduced hours. If you’ve been harassed, report it. If you’ve been raped, go to the police. If you see someone treating a women unkindly or disgustingly, say something.
Stand up. Stand tall. And do something.