International Women’s Day is a day of celebration across the world. It’s a day to come together to mark the achievements and successes of women, often in adverse conditions, in all spheres. It is not just a time for celebration - it is also a time for reflection; a time to realise that there is still so much to do to achieve gender equality.
We even risk going backwards – if the likes of Nigel Farage other figures in Ukip had their way. We’ve all heard those statements from them calling for paid maternity leave and anti-discrimination laws to be scrapped. Let none of us pretend that there are not existing threats to the hard-fought rights women have achieved to date.
I do not want my daughter or her daughters to grow up in a society that treats them worse or pays them less because of her gender. I do not want her to grow up in a society that could well overlook her for promotion because of her gender. I do not want her to grow up in a society where she is more likely to be bullied in her workplace or online because of her gender. And I do not want her to grow up in a society where she is more likely to be a victim of domestic abuse or rape because of her gender. Yet unless we see some drastic change, that is the fate that awaits her and other girls growing up in Wales and much of the world.
In the last century, a strong band of women put their lives on the line, quite literally, to achieve universal suffrage. They weren’t afraid.
They were not prepared to accept being treated as a second class citizen. A century on and we are still striving for gender equality and an end to violence against women and many more equality measures.
That is why I am proud to call myself a feminist and it is why I will join millions of others around the world to celebrate International Women’s Day.