Today, Wednesday 8th March is International Women’s Day 2017. With its humble beginnings going as far back as 1911, International Women’s Day is regarded by most as a way to celebrate the economic, social and political achievements of women. And, although the world has made great strides toward gender equality, especially during the last several decades, major disparities between men and women still exist. Women from all walks of life still face disadvantages. Around the world women will earn on average only 60 to 75 per cent of men’s wages and are 65 per cent more likely to work in informal, and often unpaid, work. And for some this still appears to be perfectly acceptable, the idea of gender parity preposterous, proven several days ago during a discussion with members of the European Parliament. Politicians were debating the pay gap when Polish nationalist MEP Janusz Korwin-Mikke shared his thoughts on the subject. He stated that,
“Of course, women must earn less than men, because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent. They must earn less, that’s all.”
This is shocking to say the least and until this conscious and unconscious bias is challenged and completely eradicated, women still have some way to go before they can truly observe a gender balanced society.
However, although there is still some way to go, women in more developed countries, in general, have come a long way. Sadly this is not the case for those living in countries still developing. Activists for women in developing countries tend to focus on more basic issues like combating violence against women and providing equal access to vaccines, basic healthcare, and primary education.
Therefore, as both a woman and mother of daughters, I feel compelled to acknowledge such an important day. I hope this post will help draw attention to some of the on going issues still experienced by women and eventually lead to a change in attitudes that find us living in a more gender inclusive world. Unfortunately the World Economic Forum predicts that the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186 and I for one don’t believe this is acceptable. I implore anyone who wishes to help bring about change to mark this day. It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything big or grand, we all live busy lives but even the smallest gesture or acknowledgement can make a difference. You may even be rather surprised as to who takes note – like I was last year.
To mark IWD in 2016 I posted a tweet on my Twitter account of a quote by Malala Yousafzai:
“Extremists have shown what frightens them most: A girl with a book.”
Malala was shot in the neck and head by the Taliban in October 2012 in the Swat Valley of Pakistan. She was attacked because she advocated a girl’s right to an education; an idea that the Taliban fervently opposed. Malala was only 14-years-old at the time and amazingly, Malala survived. The extraordinary thing about my story though is how quickly my tweet was retweeted. I’d like to say it was all down to me for posting such a poignant message but the brilliant truth is it was mostly due to J.K. Rowling – and yes I do mean the writer! J.K Rowling retweeted my tweet and thanks to her that particular tweet now has 8,363 likes and has had 6,159 retweets, which only goes to show that sometimes even the smallest contribution or support towards change can have a far greater reach than you’d ever imagined.
If you do tweet some words of inspiration today, don’t forget to use the hashtag campaign theme #BeBoldForChange and if you’d like some more information about IWD you can take a look at their website here.
If you’d like to take a look at the video footage of Janusz Korwin-Mikke you can visit the BBC News (World) Twitter account here where you can also see the brilliant response to his statement by the Spanish Socialist member Iratxe Garcia Perez – go girl!
My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry
Published by Penguin
What if your life was built on a lie?
When lawyer Lily marries Ed, she’s determined to make a fresh start. To leave the secrets of the past behind.
But when she takes on her first criminal case, she starts to find herself strangely drawn to her client. A man who’s accused of murder. A man she will soon be willing to risk everything for.
But is he really innocent?
And who is she to judge?
MY HUSBAND’S WIFE is a thriller with so many twists you won’t be able to put it down, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, Clare Mackintosh and C. L. Taylor.
An intense psychological thriller, My Husband’s Wife, will keep you gripped to the very end. As with most good thrillers the short prologue teases the reader by beginning with the end of the story:
Flash of metal. Thunder in my ears…My head is killing me…The pain in my chest is scary. So, too, is the blood…Can a marriage end in murder?…So it’s true what they say about dying. The past comes back to go with you.
This is then followed by several sentences of a newspaper article reporting the death of the artist Ed Macdonald. Stating he has been found stabbed to death, we are left in no doubt that this a tale of murder…or could it simply a case of self-defence? Full of suspense, including chilling insights into the human psyche, Corry skilfully leads the reader down a slippery path littered with intrigue and dramatic twists. We are told from the outset that this story ends with the death of one of it’s characters but by whom and most importantly – why?
A tale of two halves the story then begins fifteen years prior to the prologue where we are introduced to the two central characters, namely Lily, a fledgling solicitor and Carla, a young school girl and only child of her Italian single mother. Lily, narrated in the first person, is newly married to Ed, an artist, but it is immediately apparent, despite having recently returned from honeymoon, there are problems within the marriage. Lily, having recently been consigned to criminal law is then assigned with the management of an appeal case of a convicted murderer, where Lily, despite her better judgement, finds herself strangely drawn to her client. In the meantime, acting as well meaning neighbours, Lily and Ed befriend Carla, written in the third person, and her mother. The young married couple agree to babysit Carla from time to time when her mother has to work and Carla finds herself becoming Ed’s muse for his artwork. The story then jumps forward twelve years. Lily is a successful solicitor specialising in criminal law, Ed is the efficacious artist of the painting of The Italian Girl and Lily, now a young woman studying law, is hell bent on revenge. However, as with all good thrillers, all is not as it seems.
This is a classic whodunit with many surprising twists and turns. Corry’s characters are well rounded and believable. At times I found myself liking and disliking them all in equal measure, despite their flaws and bad deeds, because, they are all typically human and as we all know, given the right circumstances, good people are capable of bad deeds just as bad people are capable of good ones. Corry also provides some well-researched insight into autism as well as some thought provoking observations of suicide, adultery, unknown paternity, and adoption and, of course, murder. Definitely one I’d recommend.