Women Empowerment in the UK

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In this “Women Empowerment Worldwide” series for House of Notoire, women empowerment sceneries all over the globe will be researched and discussed with you. My ambition is to enlighten and inspire you with facts & figures on women empowerment you didn’t know yet - but which should definitely be a part of every girl’s cultural education. During the week I’m involved with TheNextWomen, where I’m responsible for the TNW women’s network and all of the events related to that. During the weekends I’m a freelance creative that loves to write about all things girlbossy. In between that, I’m a true globe wanderer and I try to discover new places as often as I can.

After discussing women empowerment in France and my recent experience with it. We’ll take a look at women empowerment in London in this sixth edition of the series already (!). After visiting Paris, France, for the semi-finals for TheNextWomen Pitch Competition, me and my colleague touched down in London town on Wednesday September 19. Following the same format as in Paris, the semi-finals of the competition would take place on Thursday in collaboration with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the UK. 8 inspiring female founders were to give their live pitch during the perfectly organized afternoon. From a relationship-platform to an art platform, we had it all.

The event was opened by the Dutch ambassador, Simon Smits. Although it seemed to be a similar opening as the semi-finals in Paris - it was not anything like it. Whereas Nico Schiettekatte pronounced himself as a “feminist” the opening speech Simon Smits gave was short, compact and very general. A coincidence? Could be. Where Nico Schiettekatte’s wife is very active in the women empowerment industry in the UK, Simon Smits might not have a strong woman by his side, emphasizing that gender equality in the UK still has a long way to go.

As in France - and other prosperous European countries - feminism in the United Kingdom seeks to establish political, social, and economic equality for women. The history of feminism in Britain leads back to the roots of feminism itself. Many of the earliest feminist authors and activists were British, think of: Mary Wollstonecraft, Lydia Becker and Barbara Bodichon.

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The current situation of the feminist movement in Great Britain, looks not that prosperous at all. Recent figures (2018) showed that only 37% of the British citizens (respondents to the research) agreed and a majority of 46% disagreed with the following statement: do you define yourself as a feminist? The respondents were  both male and female, so the figure is gender neutral. On top of that, sexual harassment (32% of the respondents) in the UK is still seen as the biggest issue faced by women. This is followed by sexual violence (28%), physical violence (21%) and domestic abuse (20%).

In response to the “Press for Progress” theme from the previous International Women’s Day, market research institute Ipsos created a survey, asking the respondent critical questions and then immediately giving them the - often quite shocking - answers. “Global misperceptions of equality and the need to press for progress”, it’s called.

On that note, I would like to conclude this 6th edition of the series. We’ve looked at less developed countries, we’ve looked at very developed countries; but can conclude that prosperous countries are not perfect when it comes to gender equality. On the contrary, they need to #pressforprogress themselvesand not to forget to improve their situation before being able to help any other country reaching out.

Maxime Eveline
stay in touch via instagram: @maximetenbrinke