|Thanks to Nancy at Nancy's Point for this great quote|
|Women in Kenya heading to vote this week.|
Women across the world are a long way from experiencing equality and this kind of activity is not empowering ...just demeaning. So long as women think this is ok then how can we expect issues of women's place in society to be taken seriously. I was shocked to learn that women from across the world aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria combined. It's down to us to do everything we can to tackle this. We need to demonstrate that we are serious about ending violence against women and girls. And to provide better support for the survivors of abuse and challenge sexism when we encounter it.
I have joined The Woman's Room and entered my name in the list of women with experience or expertise. This was set up to challenge the BBC and other media to ensure that women's expertise is sought as well as mens. It was a news article on breast cancer that provoked this. Only men had been asked to provide their opinion. Given the gender issue and the fact that many women ,unsurprisingly , have expertise and opinions in this terrain, this -rightly in my view -provoked outrage. So go on women join up and stop thinking I'm not good/experienced/whatever enough......just do it!http://thewomensroom.org.uk/
And in this week alone I witnessed the power of the informed female advocate in the monthly European tweet chat. Marie of @JBBC from Dublin and I have started this very tentatively to enable women in Europe to join to discuss issues around breast cancer-#BCCEU. We have started small but already have had some great chats. This week it was on whats new in breast cancer research. I had asked a former colleague who leads the research team in Breakthrough Breast Cancer, the fab Dr Julia Wilson, if she would want to take part. She sent her first tweet the day she joined the tweet chat....a brave woman indeed. Summarise answers on genetics and dormancy in breast cancer in 140 characters and you will grasp the enormousy of the challenge. She was fantastic , communicating complex science with clarity and sensitivity to her audience. Take a bow Julia! And the questions were wide ranging from deeply personal to internationally challenging. Providing richness to the chat were the experienced and informed advocates from the US #BCSM group. They have an amazing chat every Tuesday evening but its 2 am our time so aside from reading the transcripts it's hard to take part from here. But join if you can, it's influence and information is impressive.
I do LOVE the way twitter connected this community of interest who not only were engaging their intellects on this complex disease but also their compassion for each other. When an exchange happened that spoke of the possibility of exploring tissue banks for metastatic disease I got goose bumps....in this way the future could change. Perhaps not necessarily through that particular idea but in the exchange of experience and drive for change. And it was Julia who summed it up for us all when she said towards the end "keep challenging, keep asking us to do better...we can end this devastating disease". If you have an interest and want to read the transcript here it is. And we will be asking Julia back!
And finally and in my reasons to be heartful this week, I want to acknowledge the other great women in my life. My Mum, my sister, my daughter and step daughter, step granddaughters, my sister in law, my nieces and friends of all ages. You all make my life richer. Just imagine if the world could truly embrace all that you as women have to offer what a richer, better place it would be. So in a week that has International women's day and Mother's Day...step forward all and take a bow, you are fantastic, thank you.