One of the great things about not working is the cinema. Not that I’d want you to think I’m lazing about or anything but when you’re no longer a slave to the nine to five, you can go to the movies in the afternoon. On a weekday. I’ve seen the new Woody Allen. I’ve seen Everest (and since swimming the Channel, don’t think it hasn’t crossed my mind). And last week I went to Suffragette.
If you haven’t been, you’ve got to go. Especially if you’re a woman. Because what you’ll realise on watching it is that the Suffragette movement wasn’t just about women winning the right to vote, it was about women winning the right to be. If the film itself doesn’t make you cry then the credits at the end will get you. Well they certainly got me.
It’s a really important film and what’s shocking is that when you think that humans have been around for about two million years (and may I request the anthropologists among you to forgive me if I’m a couple of hundred thousand years out) then the fact that it’s charting history that is just a hundred years old is a profound and humbling thought.
But what it has also made me think about a lot is that where fertility and motherhood is concerned there is still so much inequality that needs to be addressed. I do get why I was encouraged to go to university and climb the career ladder in my twenties (because that’s what men did and do) but it also meant that when I started trying for a baby in my thirties my natural fertility was running out. And I do therefore get why there is currently so much emphasis on women freezing their eggs but is it right to encourage them to put their future hopes of motherhood into what is still a far from perfect science? And I know there was a change in paternity leave earlier this year but has it really gone far enough? I write about the pursuit of motherhood but if I were a mother maybe this blog would be about the pursuit of my career instead. And in addition to all this there’s another question that really haunts me. Why is that when a man becomes a father in his forties or even fifties, society thinks little of it, yet as a woman in her forties why is that I feel society thinks I’m getting too old to become a mum?
The women’s movement has allowed me to be who I am. I don’t underestimate the magnitude of that for a moment and it’s why I believe every woman should go and see Suffragette. But on Sunday 25th October 2015 I also feel there’s something else I need to tell you.
The fight isn’t over. There are two million years to make up for. It’s only just begun.