In a lengthy post on Instagram today, UK music industry leader Annie Mac let her voice be heard. Loudly.
So many issues relating to women's issues are brought forth on days like Women's Day, and through a 400-word post, Annie Mac can't even begin to address them all. Starting out with an anecdote about her personal life, she describes growing up as a tomboy. From there, she writes a powerful post relatable to many women: understanding your her own womanhood, and now, motherhood.
Annie Mac can be perceived as a woman who "has it all" as a devoted mom expecting her second child and one of the world's top tastemakers as a BBC Radio 1 host and DJ. In fact, she didn't even get into the role she plays in a male-dominated industry. But if anything, this post demonstrates exactly that even with success, understanding womanhood is a constant battle that extends a lifetime long, as we are reminded of on this International Women's Day.
Something I wrote about IWD. I started out as a tomboy. All day long I played on our estate with a group of boys; climbing trees, scoring goals, skateboarding. My parents let me be the girl I was, a dishevelled frizzy haired and freckled slight of a thing with scabs on her knees. I remember getting my period so clearly, coming home from school over the back garden wall to see my Mother hanging washing out on the line and telling her my big news. There was no fuss, she got me some sanitary towels and later that night, when I woke up crying, scared of the red patch on my bed sheet she told me not to be frightened. But it was frightening; aggressive almost. It represented this huge fear of the unknown, this womanhood looming ahead of me that I felt too young to understand. It wasn't until my thirties when I became pregnant for the first time that I was so starkly reminded of my womanhood again. This time watching in wonder as my body changed shape, my pelvis widening, my breasts filling with milk, HOW DOES IT KNOW WHAT TO DO? And now, in a world churning with noise and nonsense, the very simple action of breastfeeding my newborn baby and keeping him alive for two months feels incredibly profound in it's simplicity. Whether we choose to have children or not, our bodies capabilities are mind blowing. IWD can sometimes be moaned about because why are we not campaigning for women's rights groups every day of the week? One day is not enough! Agreed, on all parts. But we must continue highlighting in whatever way we can the things about being in a woman's body that are still SO grossly unfair; that bar an STD, we have to be responsible for the basic repercussions of sex; that we still get paid less than men, that we are still a minority in politics/policing/science and tech/media, seemingly every vocation apart from nursing and teaching and bringing up families. i.e. three of the most worthy and heinously underpaid vocations that exist, that in so many countries including my native and beloved Ireland and Northern Ireland, a Mother cannot terminate a pregnancy unless her life is threatened