Happy International Women’s Day?

Love it or loathe it, today is International Women’s Day – billed as a chance to both celebrate progress and highlight how much further society needs to evolve.

Regardless of whether or not you believe IWD is a good thing, I think it’s worth taking a moment during the day to reflect on how lucky we are compared to a significant proportion of the world’s female population.

We are so lucky, in fact, that many of us have frequent opportunities to change our fate, for instance: ask for a pay rise; look for a better position; learn a new skill; find a new hobby; or, volunteer to help those who are far less fortunate – both at home and abroad. There are many women in the world for whom these are just the start of a long list of impossible dreams.

Yet we don’t always take these opportunities, something largely due to inherently human – not female – characteristics, chief of which are fear, self-doubt and a reluctance to leave the predictability of a current situation. A recent study by SWNS Digital, for example, found that 70% of women would never consider asking for a pay rise, with 50% of these believing that doing so would jeopardise their jobs.

It could be argued that this failure to act harms all women, especially because there is still a need for female role models in many aspects of rural life. It’s not easy, and heaven knows it’s not always possible, but you owe it to yourself to seek new opportunities, take risks and – where appropriate – put yourself first. People need role models: help yourself and you’ll inspire others to do the same.

Incidentally, I’d love to be proved wrong about the lack of female role models in rural life. If you know one, or are one, and would like to be included in a future feature please get in touch.

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