Saturday, March 22, 2014

When will women gain equality? Ros Atkins BBC World Have Your Say

When will women gain equality?

This was the question that BBC World Have Your Say presenter Ros Atkins asked all women today on the radio.

When women are allowed go to Eton, join the Freemasons, become Pope and not have to wear a headscarf  is my simple answer. Until then women will always be second class citizens.

I admire Ros Atkins. I have listened to him for many years now. He comes from a Cornish fishing village and I come from Brixham, a Devon fishing village so we have a childhood in common.

I am so pleased that Ros Atkins has been brave enough to tackle this problem of female inequality. It is hard for any man not to resort to  male superiority in the heat of the moment and forget that a woman might be involved. Ros Atkins is no angel in this respect. In the past he has had his moments that now would make him cringe.

Early in Atkins career he had to interview a male South African statesman on this very subject and the poor female protagonist was very badly served on this occasion by Mr. Atkins. He grovelled to this disgusting example of male misogyny and the poor lady who was opposing this monster hardly got a word in. In fact Mr Atkins cut her off before she had a chance to reply saying that they had run out of time.

So wonderful to have you on the show Minister. Thank you so much for your time Minister. Is there anything else you want to say Minister. It was so embarrassing and I was so incensed that even though the hour was early in NZ I made an effort to email him and point out that he had been rather insensitive and unfair to the woman.... or words to that effect.

Ros Atkins must receive hundreds of emails but to his credit he did reply....almost immediately. He was very annoyed that I felt he had been insensitive. He said it was a Minister  and he felt he had to behave politely.

I replied that if it was necessary to be that polite  that he should have given the woman interviewee more of a chance to put these questions to the man himself or put the difficult questions to this example of male chauvinism if he did not allow time for her to do so. I think the Minister may have refused to speak to her but it was a long time ago.

I also told Ros Atkins if he did not believe me to go and actually listen to his performance which I expect he did because Ros Atkins has produced a TV documentary that I hope I shall see but because I live in NZ where BBC iPlayer is blocked I probably shall not.

I was impressed that Ros Atkins answered my criticism. Women have a long way to go to fight inequality. I can recall when I applied to the BBC for the production course when I was 18 and had won the GSM&D production prize judged by the BBC that my application to attend the BBC production course was refused because:
  1. I was a young woman who would leave for marriage and family so I was not worth the investment.
  2. I was an attractive woman and the BBC did not employ attractive women behind the camera as they would always be trying to get in front.
  3. I did not have a university degree and the BBC preferred degrees preferably males from Oxford or Cambridge.
 This was crushing especially as I saw my male peers who had not won the prize being accepted and going on to produce programmes while I was denied the opportunity.

When 14 years later I did get the opportunity to produce a TV series, I was not allowed to direct as their boys would never take orders from me! They were right their boys didn't until the end when they apologised as they knew I had done a good job. My series ended up on the BBC and finished as a finalist for best edited programme USA LA Monitor Awards alongside CBS 60 minutes. Think what I could have done with some help.

My life has been one long line of male jealousy and harassment. Production stolen and given to a male director. Fine art I have commissioned and paid for and somehow never received now on Art gallery walls and worth a fortune. Family paintings removed by male cousin who was miffed at the will where he was left out because of his behavior, after all he was the male and males come first. I have jumped out of first floor hotel windows to avoid rapists and been harassed and goosed by any male who felt like it and not only in Italy.

All my family expected me to have a career and do the housework. Never once did my husband cut the lawn or paint the house or feed the cat and birds. In fact I got no help from any of my family even when things went wrong. Women of my age were superwomen and totally unappreciated. However I did achieve my dreams with great difficulty.

I am not allowed to be bitter. I mean that would never do for a woman to be bitter  and  even today I must  never be allowed to ask:

Hang on? Would this happen to a man?

Like Ros Atkins I too have a daughter who I was quite certain was not going to have a life similar to mine  A daughter who I  and her father saw to it was educated and could stand up for herself. I might not like it as she can put me in my place and frequently does but she is no push over and no doormat. I am so proud of her. We need more women like this.

Lastly when I am allowed to be a Freemason, a Pope and do not have to wear a headscarf so that a man can go to heaven I shall know true equality has arrived.


No comments:

Post a Comment