100 Years On From Winning The Right For Women To Vote But How Far Have We Actually Progressed? By Kelly Grehan

Next week marks 100 years since some women in Britain were granted the vote – it seems to be forgotten that, despite all men over 21 years of age being able to vote after the Representation of People Act, only women over 30 who occupied a house were deemed fit to vote.

It was another 10 years before equal suffrage was to be achieved. At this time the destiny of a woman was very clear – get married and raise a family.

Campaigners like Millicent Fawcett and Elizabeth Garret Anderson had carried out and pursued a peaceful struggle to open professions like medicine to women. Yet still, only the privileged few, whose fathers or husbands were enlightened enough to permit it, got a foot on the ladder of opportunity.

Today almost all jobs are open to women, and yet we have yet to get an even gender representation in Parliament or standard equal pay.  

But there is one industry where process towards equality has been particularly slow: sport.

Male played sports continue to dominate the TV schedules and news headlines. Women who have beaten the odds and the system, such as Assistant Referee Sian Massey-Ellis are subject to scrutiny on their appearance which would never be imparted on their male counterparts.

In fact, after Sky Sports pundits Andy Grey and Richard Keys were embroiled in a row over their sexist comments on her; The sun saw fit to print a front cover of Sian dancing in a vest top and denim skirt with the headline ‘Get ‘Em Off.’

Further to this, some sports – boxing and motorcar racing in particular –  have not only continued to be overwhelmingly male dominated, but have continued to use women in roles that I can only describe as ‘accessories.’

This week it seems, those responsible for the Formula 1 brand openly recognised its use of ‘grid girls’.

They deemed it out of date and not conducive to the image they wish to portray.  In a Press Release Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1 said:

“Over the last year we have looked at a number of areas which we felt needed updating so as to be more in tune with our vision for this great sport.  While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 Grands Prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms. We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”

Formula 1 should be congratulated for their change in policy here and let us not forget this was a commercial decision, taken to protect commercial interests.

Clearly F1 decided that girls doing nothing more than looking pretty and having champagne poured on them was not a good image.

This has, perhaps predictably, not prevented  the coverage that has followed; accusing them of ‘cowering to political correctness’  and that ‘jealous, ugly feminists’ have ‘banned’ women from jobs they loved.

Objectification of women is endemic in our society.  Just look at the recent events at the Presidents Club.  People claim the women concerned enjoy their work, choose it etc. No doubt this is true, but ‘work’ of this type contributes to a society in which women’s role is seen as being for the pleasure of men in a world where they are portraying that the nearest women can get to the top or be a success is by fawning all over the men who actually win something.

Then there is the vilifying of feminism and the repeated use of the word ‘feminist’ as a derogatory term.

A brief browse through this weeks tabloids or twitter attached to the hashtag #gridgirl gives no doubt about the vitriol aimed at women who dare to praise the F1 decision.

Women who call themselves ‘feminists’ can expect to be called ‘jealous,’ ‘ugly,’ ‘prudes,’ and such like as a matter of course.

So 100 years after women won the vote it seems the idea that ‘women should know their place’ still persists.

We still have a long way to go for gender equality.

Pardon Me, Ms Plummer! British Tourist or Egyptian Drug Smuggler? By Lucy Chapman

So it looks like any day soon, Laura Plummer will be a free woman once more!

It’s been reported today that the 33 year old from Hull who smuggled 300 Tramadol tablets into Egypt in October, may be released from her 3 year jail sentence as part of public holiday celebrations by President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, although nothing official has yet been confirmed.

Whilst for Laura and her family this will offer a wonderful ray of hope, some of the rest of us are left wondering what all of the outrage was in aid of in the first place.

Yes prison isn’t fun, in an Egyptian prison you’d be more than a little worried; the death penalty was a possibility, but she did commit a crime.

This wasn’t one pack of Tramadol she had in the bottom of her handbag for her own use and she hadn’t double checked, this was THREE HUNDRED tablets.

Back home we saw family members weeping on breakfast television, heard distressed friends of Laura on the radio, and again I’ll repeat, of course they should be upset for their loved one!

But why so much coverage of it in the media?

It’s not as if it’s even legal here! It’s available on prescription, but not over the counter to buy so it gets me wondering…

Who were these three hundred tablets prescribed to?

How many hours of a GPs time have been wasted in fake “oh my back’s still giving me trouble, Doc” appointments?

How much has that cost our struggling NHS?

What charge would somebody get in the UK for fraudulently obtaining prescription-only medication to pass on to somebody else for whom it was not meant?

Laura Plummer, I’m afraid, committed an offence despite her lack of knowledge of Egyptian law. And whether or not she knew the legality of the medicine itself, she knew it wasn’t prescribed for her boyfriend, that it had been obtained through deceit and legal or not, it was wrong.

NHS fraud can hold a custodial sentence here in the UK and NHS fraud does include “False claims – Patients claiming free treatment they are not entitled to”

Shortly after Ms Plummer made her ‘honest mistake’ a headline in the Independent read “NHS counter fraud authority to tackle £1.25bn bogus prescriptions and claims that could fund 40,000 nurses”.

Laura Plummer isn’t all that innocent in the eyes of our own law and people; so why are so many jumping to her defence overseas?

Let me be clear, I don’t have the slightest problem with a family trying to free their loved one from an Egyptian prison sentence; I’d certainly do the same! I’m sure it’s terrifying for this woman who is the same age as I am; I would be despairing too.

I have nothing against this woman personally or any desire for her to be in an Egyptian prison, of course not.

What I have a problem with is how as a nation we’ve dealt with this story and situation!

Aren’t there bigger injustices to fight?

She wasn’t sentenced to the death penalty, she was given three years; it doesn’t even sound all that disproportionate to me.

The month after Plummer was arrested, 16 men were also sentenced to three years in prison in Egypt. Their crime? Waving a rainbow flag at a concert!!

Is waving flags illegal in Egypt? No.

Is homosexuality illegal in Egypt? No.

Is going to a concert illegal in Egypt? No.

Is smuggling three hundred Tramadol tablets into the country? Yes. Yes it is!

You committed a crime, you got caught, it’s rubbish. Suck it up!

Debauchery is what the men were charged with by the way.

I wonder what would have been splattered across our newspapers, talked about on morning television and discussed on radio if the story was “Egyptian man smuggles 300 illegal tablets into the UK claiming ‘honest mistake’ to help his British girlfriend with back pain”.

Do you think we, as a nation, would be up in arms fighting for his pardoning by the Prime Minister?

No me neither.

A Desperate Plea From A Relative Of A Rough Sleeper By The Masked Avenger Anonymous

We have all walked past a rough sleeper on the street. Sometimes we give it a second thought. Sometimes we stop and chat, maybe even try to help.

But mostly we walk on by.

Most of us are fortunate enough to have never been there and while we sympathise, we often try and forget it and move on with our busy lives. Rushing to get somewhere; an appointment or some such.

We often don’t see the person beyond the sleeping bag. Sometimes it is very hard to imagine how someone got there. The government dehumanise rough sleepers. They advise us not to feed them as though they are pigeons in Trafalgar Square. They put spikes on floors to stop them being able to get some shelter in a shop doorway. Again treated like pests. So it’s no wonder that we walk on by. Sometimes it is a taboo subject.

But for me it is different. I happen to know a rough sleeper very personally.

You might want to ask me a few questions. Does anyone help him? Is he loved? Do you help him? The answer is yes. To all of the above.

But our help is not enough and the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ he gets into this position is what is complex.

My uncle has undiagnosed mental health conditions. He is an addict. Self medicating I guess. He has never had the support he needed from the professionals. And this is the product of years of neglect.

Born in the 60s to parents with severe mental health issues that lost everything down to gambling, my uncle was not diagnosed with anything himself or supported. Instead when the family broke down, my grandmother had a mental breakdown and no one was there to help. The authorities left my grandmother to it and just took my uncle away into care when he was 7. And that was the start of it. In and out of care. In and out of trouble.

” A handful, naughty, out of control, the mother can’t cope”

While he was in the place that was supposed to care for him, he was abused.

He went in as a child with problems and came out disturbed with even bigger problems.

No one knew what happened at the time. This is only a recent revelation. So he continued. In and out of trouble causing merry hell for the family.

As he got to adulthood he started to ‘self medicate’ and slowly but surely became an addict. Which led to petty crime, prison. And eventually being institutionalised .

“A write off'”

On paper yes. But what no one else saw was the snippets of the man he could have been if the support had been there during his childhood.

Detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure, he had structure, routines and he flourished. He took courses and passed them all. He read and learned and became a talented writer.

He did endless courses and took all of the opportunities he could. He grabbed them with both hands.So when he went back into the outside world he started his own business, he even wrote for a national newspaper as a regular columnist. He became a published author. Some semblance of a normal life was finally coming his way.

He was capable and intelligent and we could see the person he could become if he’d been given more support as a youngster.

But things happened and again the support fell away. Without the guidance of a probation officer, without the structure, his mental health problems that simmered under the surface reared their ugly, scathing, self destructing head again.

Addiction came back with a vengeance and along came some new ones too.

So we saw him slip back. He lost everything and again he went on the slippery slope into the abyss of addiction and self destruct.

So, we try to help as a family, but its not possible to keep an eye on him 24/7.

The downward spiral was and is fast and relentless;he loses touch of where he is and he ends up on the street. He loses contact with any kind of support network and before you know it he is sleeping rough.

We can’t track him. We don’t know where he is.

We’ve had phone calls in the past from wonderful passer bys that have tried to help him. In his moments of lucidity he remembers a number of a random relative and some very nice person decides to help him and calls.

We then hear he’s been in various places begging as he has lost everything. So we get there and we have to try and get him some help. He’s unwell and doesn’t know where he is. The police come and tell us not to bother with A and E as they are overcrowded but that they will try to help him.

Do you notice that even though I’m describing events in the past that I am using present tense? Why you might ask?

Because this is a recurring event. This happened last month but it could happen tomorrow, next week, next month. We never know what will happen next. This is the pattern that happens over and over again.

Services that are cut to shreds still try their best to help him. There are genuinely good mental health staff, hospital staff, police officers and key workers out there.

But it’s not enough.

The services need to be joined up. They need more funding to give him the intensive therapy and support for his mental health needs as this is the root to all of his problems, I believe.

But all that happens is the problem is treated that day. Acute support is given while he is physically unwell. But there is not enough in place to prevent this from happening again.

So I sit here and wonder what people must think when they walk past him. When he ends up on the street, bounding in and out of shops, trying to get someone to help him.

They will never see the man he can be. The man he has been, the man he could have been.

Every person has a story, but homeless people are nothing more than pests to the Tories.

If we followed the advice that they give us, which is to ignore a homeless person, don’t give them money or food; if every passer by that has helped my uncle thus far listened to this advice that this ‘government’ dish out my uncle would be dead by now. Perhaps that’s what they want. By treating homeless people like pests perhaps they think they will just die off.

But instead there are good people out there, people try to help. And for now he and we are riding our luck. That might just change one day. And we dread phone calls sometimes. What will happen next we just don’t know.

So I want to say to the people that help, the doctors, the nurses, the passers by, the staff in Pret that give out food, the key workers: Thank You!!!

Don’t ever change and maybe one day if we fight hard enough we will have a government that cares too so that real change can happen and people living in the streets being dehumanised by a callous government will be a thing of the past.

Educational Attainment and the British Indian Sub-Continent Origin Vote By Sarinder Joshua

They say be careful about what you wish for, are British Indians entering a cauldron of ingredients full of division and hate?

For the many not the few, this is Jeremy’s equality mantra and given the last election result it has become evident that this is clearly resonating with the British public.

There is another issue of concern relating to what we would classify as for the many and not the few.

I am referring to the education opportunities in the nation and who are becoming the beneficiaries of the divisions that have been placed in our society since the Tories have been in power and their attempt at the ‘Big Society’.

It is evident from the statistics that the white working-class males are not excelling in education and they have become sound recruits for the populist mantra and the far right.

Are we supposed to believe that this is all the ‘fault of the foreigner within our midst’?

Is it the case that we must surrender to the belief that the ‘white British are lazy at work and educational engagement’ and leave it at that conclusion?

No! I disagree with these socially disruptive and falsehood statements that are brandished around like hearsay that is providing entertainment whilst there is a power cut for hours and people make up folklore to pass the time of day until the light returns.

The facts do reflect that the white working classes are falling behind in education, the highest performers are Indian & Chinese origin children in our schools.

One can agree that the investment in education within these cultures is of paramount importance.

We need to understand why this is the situation, I am of Indian origin, third generation, and I have my own perception of why this is the case.

Firstly, the white working classes have traditionally been directed towards apprenticeships and other trades.

This is no longer available in abundance and there is no doubt that the white working classes have suffered terribly from the demise of the extended family ethos and communities have been broken by the selfishness and self-centred ethos implementation of the Thatcher years that were continued by subsequent Tory governments.

The white working classes were ignored on an industrial scale once they were subjected to buying their council homes and generating money for the economy in the eighties. Did they ever recover from that Thatcher initiative?

I always believed this was to place the working classes in debt by having mortgages, so they would think twice about striking and rebelling against an employer.

On the other hand, we can look at first generation Indian sub-Continent immigration and ask ourselves why were they ignored and not subjected to integration and better race relations.

Why suddenly are third and fourth generation Indian sub-Continent origin British nationals being embraced by the Tories? The answer is simple, the Tory Conservative mindset that promotes business, family and traditional values resonates with the British Indian community.

However, their parents always voted Labour as a safety net due to the threat of being thrown out of the U.K.

We can’t ignore the Birmingham speech by Enoch Powell most popularly known as the Rivers of Blood speech and that many Indian origin immigrants were expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin. Once these immigrants, of which many were British nationals in the first place settled into Leicester and implemented their business acumen, they became of interest. Prior to their arrival they were encouraged not to come to the U.K and were met with anger in many cases.

Naturally the first generation would have been petrified about their status in this nation and saw the socialist outlook of Labour to be a safer vote and most of all a secure move to make; resting assured that they would not be thrown out of this nation.

Education is essential to people of Indian origin, there are cultural traits that dictate excellent results in education. For a lot of parents their pension policy is their children and the oldest son is expected to look after his parents in old age, one can only do this if the financial resources are available to do so.

The other issue that is of a major concern is the status symbol of education and caste, we know the Indian caste system is an abhorrent system of dehumanisation and it has found its way into this society without being questioned or opposed by all political domains in the early days of Indian sub-Continent immigration.

The exception to this is Jeremy Corbyn who has publicly opposed the caste system and has not been afraid of the multicultural appeasement agenda in doing so.

For many who immigrated here in the early years of the fifties and sixties it was to their amazement that they could even sit on a chair and do their work in a classroom whereas, in India if one was from a scheduled caste or regarded as an untouchable one would be humiliated and made to sit on the floor of the class whilst the higher castes were given preferential treatment by being given chairs and desks.

This gave many the hope that education should be embraced and most of all the opportunity; is it any surprise most of them have done well in the fields of education and employment by having an opportunity that does not dehumanise them.

I am convinced that the white working classes have been left behind by the Tories so that apathy is developed into voter stagnation and they rebel against Labour and choose the populist vote.

As for the Indian origin third and fourth generations they have been subjected to corporate appeasement rather than multicultural appeasement by the Tories. Did they care about them as first-generation immigrants?

Now that India is doing well in an economic sense we are seeing the Tories embracing the third and fourth generations, David Cameron’s warm up act at Wembley Stadium when PM Modi arrived here was a classic example. Even though many see his government as a theocratic lead government the Tories still are ignoring the concerns and pushing the division agenda. He went as far as speaking Hindi on stage and making the statement that there will be an Indian origin Prime Minister in Downing Street one day, if there will be a Tory PM it will certainly be one that is moulded into the expectation of the Tory prototype.

The divisions are evident, we are seeing a shift in ethnic minority voting patterns.

In the 2015 election we saw 1.6 million ethnic minority voters support Labour and for the first time the Conservatives managed to get 1 million ethnic minority voters.

However, the area of concern is the origin of the voters and the divisions that are being created. Muslims and Christian ethnic minorities are still voting for Labour and the Tories know this very well indeed.

Historically there have been divisions between these communities, the partition of India and Pakistan is evidence of this but what are we seeing now in the U.K, have we moved to a new category in the class divide?

Is it now evident that minorities within minorities will become categorised by a new class hierarchy structure that is only applicable to ethnic minorities in this nation?

The Conservatives have clearly managed to convince the professional British Indian community to vote for them and thus create a new class in society.

In my youth, people of Asian origin would only really stay in cities and in their city suburbs at the most, now we are seeing third and fourth generation people moving into the areas that are Conservative and rural. To fit in and get the best employment opportunities and display their educational prowess they are certainly managing to change their voting intention and social integration; falling straight into the hands of the Conservative plot to create a new division in society.

It is evident from the research that the Conservatives are focusing on the Hindu vote, 41% voted Conservative and 49% Labour. Muslim voters were very different in their behavioural pattern, 64% Labour and 25% Conservative.

Whilst the Tories are placing political expediency before equality the gulf between British Indian, Chinese and white British within education is increasing rapidly.

Students with five or more GCSEs at A*- C grade or equivalent in 2014-15 was immense in difference.

Chinese origin students reached 86.8%, Indian origin students reached 80.8%, white British 65.9%, Pakistani origin 62.4% and Black Caribbean reached 58.1%.

Obviously, we know that fuel poverty and food poverty have increased immensely over the years so when one looks at the same figures for those who are in receipt of free school meals there is a bigger gulf of a difference.

Chinese origin girls reached 80.6%, Chinese origin boys 67.6% Bangladeshi origin girls 59.6% and Indian origin girls 58.2%.

The national average is 57.1% for this category in receipt of free school meals, the figures plummet from the national average indicating that the groups that need the most help are clearly becoming victims of social exclusion due to the Tories and their desire not to have a cohesive and fair society.

Black Caribbean girls 40.9%, White British girls, 32.0%, Black Caribbean boys 24.4% and White British boys 24%.

If the Conservatives call these figures a success I would like to ask them what a failure looks like.

Some in the media have been critical of Jeremy Corbyn, highlighting that his opposition to the caste system and a greater vision for welfare reform will not resonate with the British Indian community.

My view is steadfast on these views that are being brandished around, we don’t need to appease to one social evil to keep the multicultural appeasement ethos happy!

Where there is an injustice we need to stand up against it in full force and hold our ground.

I will not tolerate appeasement to keep a segment of the British Indian or any other community happy, if a practice is not conducive to the laws and values of this land it has no place within it.

Jeremy Corbyn is working to prohibit this abhorrent system of caste discrimination in our nation.

It is evident that the Tories are willing to appease those who are supporters of this system to continue with their fast pace of recruitment and voter retention among the Hindu & Sikh communities.

There are many who still support caste based temples and see Jeremy Corbyn’s stance as an impingement to their culture or some would rightfully call it social apartheid.

Jeremy Corbyn has been on the case since 2012 to ensure that greater equality is displayed within the British Indian community by dealing with the issue of caste discrimination.

An equal society must be equal in all its components, where political expediency exploits differences for its own advantages it is a gross act of selfishness and indirect hate implantation; the Tories have already imposed this ethos to the white working classes.

Now it seems they are working their way into the British Indian community.

Do not forget, colonialism was not successful without those who wanted to benefit from the arrival of the menace on their shores.

Can we justifiably state that Priti Patel and others have the same ethos of the collaborator where they benefited from engaging and dancing to the tune of the Tories?

We do know that even UKIP became victims of the Tory plot, the Tories always wanted to control immigration but after Enoch Powell’s speech they were very careful how they tread on the terrain of immigration.

One could argue that UKIP played the tune that the Tories wanted to broadcast and hear but were not willing to speak the language that UKIP were using.

My perspective as a British Indian is not unique, I am free in this nation and I am a proud British citizen and a convert to the Christian Roman Catholic faith.

I am glad that I am free to choose my faith and be free to express my opinion, having the support of a new proper socialist leader who believes in the defence of his citizens against such inequalities be it economic, geographical or caste based discrimination is assuring and strengthens my identity as a British national of Indian origin.

I call those who disagree with Jeremy to come forward and argue with him over his stance against discrimination.

It is the next challenge that we face where a new division is being manufactured and supported, British Indians can argue that they are free to vote for who they want.

The issue here is, are they aware of the new class divide that is being created under the guise of practicing democracy by voting for the Tories or are they welcoming a new-found class that is only promoting division?

It has happened to the white working classes and created a massive surge in voting for populism and a recruitment ground for the far right.

Will British Indians sub consciously or deliberately make life harder for themselves if they become the victims of populism and the far right; will their ‘new’ Tory friends come to their rescue when there is hate breeding in society and they become the victims of their own desire to be part of the Tory elite?

Sources:

DFE,

University of Leicester,

The Economist November 2015

British Future.

The Rough Sleeping Homeless- A Growing Problem by Eddie Luigi

At this time of year Christians everywhere are reminded that Mary and Joseph found themselves homeless, in Bethlehem, through no fault of their own, but because a physically distant government passed a law to determine how much tax they could collect, in order to keep their privileged citizens in the luxury that they had become accustomed to.

Two thousand and seventeen years later, in English towns and cities, you don’t need to walk far to be reminded that, just like Mary and Joseph, there are now many people who find themselves homeless through no fault of their own, because an emotionally distant government passes laws to determine how much tax they could collect in order to keep their privileged citizens in the luxury they have become accustomed to.

The idea of taxes is a redistribution of wealth. That redistribution of wealth should be for the benefit of the many wealth producers and not solely for the benefit of the privileged few.

I think that a good Christmas present for the homeless would be for the government to put as much effort into their house building policies as they put into their rhetoric about how much they have done, whilst failing to mention how much they have not done that they promised to do.

There are currently 4,000 people sleeping rough and over 300,000 people classed as homeless in England, according to the charity Shelter.

The figure for the rough sleepers has increased by 134% since the Tories came to power in 2010.

Isn’t it time Theresa May and her government owned up to this figure instead of trying to lie about it?

Why It Took Me So Long To Realise The Importance Of Education By Eddie Luigi

Let me make this clear from the start. I failed my 11+, and was thereby consigned to the ever growing ‘scrap heap’ of the under educated.

This never occurred to me to be a problem. I could read, I could write and I could accomplish basic arithmetic. You can not miss something that you never had.

I joined the Royal Navy, and learnt how to read electrical engineering manuals, in order to carry out the tasks assigned to me. My leisure reading was, purposely, limited to pulp fiction western and detective novels.

The news held no interest for me and I was quite happy blindly obeying orders. In an armed forces environment there is no place for a square peg in a round hole. Life was cosy in an environment where you were cocooned from the cares and worries of the civilian population.

Now that I have retired, and broken three television sets getting angry at day time programs, I decided to do something positive with my free time and enrolled at my local college for an access course with a view to attending university.

Now I understand why the Tories don’t want to invest in education and why the media write articles that you only need a rudimentary education to read, but not necessarily understand.

Primary and Secondary education is adequate for what used to be termed ‘factory fodder’. You are taught that this is a word and it must be true because there it is. You are taught to read the words but not taught to question the words, and as long as there is a roof over your head and food on your table you don’t particularly care. You assume an ‘I’m alright Jack’ attitude.

However, what about your children, or your children’s children.

Once you get beyond rudimentary education you start to question the written words and ask

Who wrote this?

Why did they write it?

What are they trying to achieve?

This is just the thing that the Tories want to avoid. They do not want an educated population that will question any of their policies, they require an obedient population that are happy to live off the few crumbs that might fall from the master’s banquet.

If you want a quiet life for yourself vote Tory, do not become educated, accept that ‘this is the way things are’ and ignore your children’s plaintiff cries of inequality.

“There is no more far-seeing investment for a nation than to put milk, food and education into young children” Winston Churchill 1939

My Vulva Has Betrayed Me By Lucy Chapman

By Lucy Chapman

I love my vulva. I even like to say ‘vulva’. But my vulva doesn’t like me.

It is because of my vulva that I bore children. Wonderful, full-of-joy children. It is because of my vulva that after doing so I dropped down from being a full time secondary teacher to working three days a week.

We had a choice, it could have been my husband who stayed at home two days; I earned more than he did at the time, so it would have made sense financially, but it was my breasts which fed the babies, so it was me who went part time.

Damned breasts.

Being part time, there aren’t many positions of responsibility in a school; if you’re a Head of Department, your staff could need guidance and you’d be at Baby Song Time or as a Head of Year a child protection issue could arise when you’re at soft play / ball pool hell. It just couldn’t work.

So, as I stagnated in the workplace, I watched with pride as my husband (who worked at the same school as me) progress, get opportunities and promotions that were just not available to me. His pay was now already more than mine, simply as a result of me going part time and still the gulf was getting bigger.

As a direct result of this common phenomenon, my husband is swiftly paying off his student debt whilst I chip away £14 one month £21 the next. His pension contributions are also substantially higher than mine are now.

So, does any of this matter if we plan to grow old together and pool our income forever?

Well yes actually, it does. 

What if I was to become a single mum (imagine he had an affair or I discover he’s gambled away our life savings)?

Firstly, I would probably have to move my boys out of their school to get a more affordable home, I’d also become reliant on benefits and as a result I’d probably be labelled a ‘scrounger’ and television programmes would be made about my ‘sort’ of person.

I’d be villainised and people would wonder why I didn’t think about this before having children. I’d still be part time, so we’d struggle a little.

I’d still have a tonne of student debt left to pay and in my old age I’d be trying to manage on my meagre pension, whilst my now ex-husband joins the fancy golf club and books a cruise on his.

Women currently make up two-thirds of Britain’s poorest pensioners and changes being made to pensions (both public and state) will disproportionately affect women further still. 

It’s 2017 and in response to me querying why I’d not be getting my expected pay increase when returning from maternity leave, my boss, I kid you not, replied “it’s not as if you’re getting a pay cut”.

It’s 2017 and if my husband was beating me I’d honestly have to decide if I could financially afford to separate.

It’s 2017 and there are hundreds of thousands of mothers working part time and passing up on opportunities whilst fathers continue to breeze their way up the management ladder with the people they work with not knowing nor caring that they have children at all; it’s just not an issue. Nor should it be.

Girls have been doing better than boys in school for years yet we still have more men in management and leadership positions and there are much more male higher earners.

Only a mere 7 bosses of the 100, FTSE 100 companies are women.

It’s shameful. 

Women have been hit far more drastically than men by welfare cuts due to harsh austerity measures, a whopping 74% of welfare cuts are coming out of the pockets of women.

Women’s refuges are closing up and down the country despite 2 women being killed every week at the hands of a partner or ex-partner.

Women are considerably more likely than men to be in part time work and part time workers earn less per hour on average than their full-time peers.

65% of public sector workers are women so have been disproportionately affected by public sector pay freezes and job cuts.

I sound bitter.

I sound jealous.

I sound dried up; it’s not sexy to be overtly feminist, but is it that unladylike to want to be self-sufficient (even if from within a marriage)?

Am I that much of a bore to want a fair shot?

Is it so very unappealing to ask not to live completely dependent on another person?

It’s 2017 and my wonderful, sensual, sexy vulva has betrayed me.