International Women’s Day 2013

Scanned the television news this morning. Don’t know why I even bother with the annoying BBC ‘Breakfast’, which is nothing but patronising pap. It’s not a news programme, dammit: it’s a magazine programme. Why even pretend? If a magazine programme is what you want, you might as well watch ITV, where at least they understand the conventions.

Anyway, on to Al Jazeera and then Russia Today. Not a SINGLE item to mark International Women’s Day on any of these channels! Plenty on the BBC, though, about the disastrous performance of the English (men’s) cricket team in Australia, as well as an impenetrable and meandering item about the price of a pint of beer in English pubs.

Are those who run these channels and shape these programmes not aware of any of the issues affecting half the world’s population, or do they just not give a damn? Are they completely impervious to any recent events, such as:

the impact of the ‘Arab Spring’ on women’s rights; the turmoil in India over the dreadful gang rape case; Iran’s efforts to reduce the number of women in higher education; the Turkish government’s attempts to curtail women’s reproductive rights; the astonishing incidence of gender-based violence throughout the world; the Malala Yousafzai case; the exploitation of vulnerable young women for sex by groups of unscrupulous men in our own country, and the misogyny endemic in some of our own (academic) institutions and in the minds of many of our young people.

Hundreds of events were scheduled to take place today in London alone to mark IWD, but none of them, apparently, was worthy of mention.

It was an unwise move to downgrade the status of IWD in this country. As current events show, equality may be a bold concept, but it’s not well understood and it’s existence is fragile. Women’s equality with men if/where it exists, is hard-won, and the fight is far from over.

Surely to goodness our TV media can do better – much better – than this – and surely we ought to be requiring them to do so?

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