Women Now and Then – Are we really better off now? How are raising the next generation?
- Mums Tips
- Parenting Skills
- Published on Friday, 04 April 2014 11:55
- Last Updated on 04 April 2014
- Monica Costa
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We often give for granted lots of the things we do now as women. In order to understand where we are progressing to we need to understand where we came from. On International Women’s Day I attended a very interesting event at City Hall presented by the Deputy Mayor of London, Victoria Borwick, to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War I with authorative speakers hosting a panel discussion entitled ‘Women Now and Then: How WWI Transformed Gender Roles’.
Kate Adie OBE Journalist and author talked about women’s role during WWI mentioning how little women counted before the war to the point where they had not even control over their own body. She told the story of a woman that could not decide for herself whether to receive a life-saving operation without her husband’s consent.
Women then were invisible within employment statistics as domestic services were not considered work.
Women who went to a pub with a few extra shillings were considered scandalous and outrageous.
Working class women who dared wearing fancy hats were considered ‘shocking’ (literally confirmed by ladies who lived during the war). There was a rigid class structure that did not allow women from the working class to marry men in the upper class. And this in the country that gave birth to the Suffragettes movement!
Since then, we have come a long way!
A lot of the discussion that followed brought up lots of current issues and dilemmas, i.e. how we can empower young women, what we should be teaching boys about gender roles, how we can overcome gender stereotypes, should we change women’s behavious or men’s behaviour.
Sonia Brown, MBE Founder and Director, National Black Women’s Network and Sistatalk, Helena Morrissey CBE, CEO Newton Investment Management and Founder Thirty Per Cent Club, and Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin Chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen and Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, led the discussion and tried to provide some positive steps and solutions moving forward.
To empower girls we need to convey the message that education has to be taken seriously. Ambition is important and as parents we need to encourage kids to be the best they can be.
We need to change the structure of society so kids are raised by people who have time to do it. We need a massive change through the law and via public discussions. We need to support an attitude change. Just to be clear on what this means, the same happened with the smoking ban. Once the law was passed, everyone stopped smoking in public.
Parents need to be given teh time to raise the next generation of adults! Huge childcare costs and lack of government support certainly don’t help in a change of attitude.
We need to get outselves engaged in the political agenda. That is what the Suffragettes used to do. If we don’t get out there and make our voices heard, we won’t obtain much. People in politics do not make a change if they don’t get voices from the public.
One way of contributing, is to get girls and boys engaged in discussions how we can positively change the world.
WWI women had nothing and fought for everything. They had something to look forward ti the ‘everything’ they wanted. We now live in a time where we have conquered everything. Kids have far too much but have lost faith in the basic family values. Their values are how to make a lot of money quickly (as shown by the phoenomenon of reality TV ‘stars’) or get lost.
We need to go back to basics and make children understand that they only need to love their family, friends and respect the environment they live in. We need to encourage them to focus on solid career prospects rather than aspiring to a career in television.
There’s a lot of talk about female gangs on media recently. These gangs replace the family model which girls seem to be lacking.
If adults are lacking confidence, what messages are we sending to our daughters?
Women, play your role in public life! Make your voices heard!
There’s also a lot of talk about crisis in parenting. What is parenting really? It isn’t rocket science.
You don’t need to be rich to be a parent or to provide for your children.
Every child needs LOVE, COMFORT, ENCOURAGEMENT and SUPPORT, NOT MONEY! None of these things cost a penny.
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums