‘Hello BOYS and girls’
Thinking back 60 or more years prompted some particular memories on a long male dominated journey through the decades.
‘I wonder she dare show her face here after what she’s done.’ Crikey, she must have been very naughty I thought naively. I was listening to a conversation between a mother and the local Catholic priest at the youth club; I was 12 years old. The priest had nodded his head in agreement and, those views were eventually broadcast, deliberately and within earshot of the young people. The priest told the girls in the group of the importance to remain, ‘pure for your husband.’ I hadn’t really understood the meaning of his warnings and had to ask. The teenager was pregnant and had ‘disgraced her family and the church.’ Nothing was said about the youth; the focus remained with the teenage girl. The girl was sent away, I didn’t know where until years later. She had been sent to stay at a convent to have her baby. The baby had been adopted; I often wondered if she had agreed to this and thought of her when watching the Judy Dench film, (2013) ‘Philomena’.
Priests continue to outrank nuns within the catholic hierarchy. There were no women bishops in the church of England until 2015; men continue to be the superior controlling force.
‘Wait till your dad gets home.’ It was quite common for mothers to delegate the ‘telling off’ when kids were naughty.
Managers in shops and banks were generally men when I was a girl.
The boys at school were encouraged to consider a career and the girls were prepared for children; cooking cleaning and sewing.
My uncle John lived and worked in London throughout my childhood. He was a member of a gentleman’s club and excluded women. Fortunately, this has been successfully challenged in the UK.
The ‘Miss World’ competition was such an important social event on TV. Women continue to enter beauty competitions and are judged competitively on their looks; often by men.
Advertising continues to promote holidays with scantily clad perfectly formed females.
I lost touch with my lovely friend. Her husband had been offered a new post in the NHS. He accepted the job without any discussion and told her that they would be moving to another part of the country. She did not want to leave, she was happy and enjoyed her work.
I was one of a few women to join the male dominated ambulance service.
When my uniform was issued; I was given a pair of mens shoes.
The male officer said; ‘If you want to join our service (male dominated) you can’t expect anything different.’ Thank goodness things are different now.
It is worth noting, that priests continue to outrank nuns within the catholic hierarchy.
There were no women bishops in the church of England until 2015; men continue to a superior controlling force.
In the 1970s I told my mother-in-law about the levels of domestic violence in my marriage to her son; ‘that’s something you’ll have to put up with, you’ll get used to it’ was her answer.
A woman has to prove that she is a virgin before marriage in some cultures. Hymen repair surgery is to be banned in the UK.
It must be 30 years since I was involved in the care of a beautiful little girl. She died after her genitals had been ‘cut.’ Her mother and aunt had used rose clippers to perform the procedure. She was 7 years old; her family believing that ‘no man would want her…’
I found out on ‘Women’s Hour’ on BBC Radio 4 the other day that clinical medical instruments continue to be made predominantly for male surgeons in the UK.
‘I want my wife to have a cesarean; she’ll be too big for me.’
This was the first time I had been witness to this kind of reasoning; I hadn’t experienced this clinical dilemma before. There was no clinical reason for the patient to have the cesarean. She was not consulted and was a passive witness to her husbands demands. The clinical staff delivered the baby normally and the husband then asked the medical team to perform a vaginoplasty; the team declined and the man complained , unsuccessfully.
‘It’s a man’s world’ (Brown & Newsome) sings Karise Eden; it was and it really still is.