Sunday’s post should have been a piece puzzling over International Women’s Day – somehow I lost my draft and gave up. I was gob-smacked to get an ‘Honourable Mention’ for one of my entries to last week’s MicroBookEnds challenge – I’d entered three responses and the one I’d written first and nearly didn’t post at all was the one that got an H.M; I’ve re-posted one of my entries, Old Man Time, to my poetry blog today. (I’d planned to take it easy and give myself a break from writing poetry today and break my habit, but couldn’t resist the poetry101rehab prompt ‘Second’ so wrote a short acrostic poem in response to that.)

I’d been reading various articles yesterday about feminism and International Women’s Day, mainly because they were flooding my twitter feed and I was curious.

The author here poses the question ‘would “equalitist” be a better term?’ – but feminism doesn’t seem to be about promoting or furthering equality, does it? (I’m probably wrong as ever!)  The article shares these statistics:

•Around 700,000,000 women worldwide live without food, healthcare, sanitation or water (compared to around 100,000,000 men)
•Only 1% of the titled land in the world is owned by women
•67% of illiterate adults are women
•Approximately one women per minute dies in childbirth
•In the UK, approximately 85,000 women are raped on average in England and Wales every year, over 400,000 women are sexually assaulted each year and 1 in 5 women (aged 16 – 59) has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16 (Ministry of Justice statistics, 2013).

Another gentleman blogger bravely asks “Are women their own problem?”  in posting a woman’s statement on the issue ahead of International Women’s Day – and then a touching and respectful poem posted for I.W.D.

I was surprised to read of the inequalities in ESA decision making dependant on gender and also read the following articles

http://newapproachuk.org/2015/03/08/iwd-mary-ohara-women-and-austerity/

http://newapproachuk.org/2015/03/08/iwd-bernadette-horton-disabled-women-deserve-the-same-life-choices-as-all-women/

Today I’ve been not only battling exhaustion but hindered by technical difficulties with gremlins in the works in the form of keyboard and mouse refusing to co-operate – think it’s sorted now but took some doing. I realised this morning, seeing in my diary that it’s ‘Commonwealth Day’ today, that I’d no idea what that meant or what the Commonwealth is (and learning it’s not to be confused with the Russian version).

Apparently I’m not alone in my ignorance and it’s pretty irrelevant to most UK citizens but must be of importance to ex-patriots in the Commonwealth countries/ the nations of the former British Empire who make up the other 52 member states with Queen Elizabeth II as Head of the organisation. Another blogger has some nice pictures of Westminster Abbey where a multi-faith service is held every Commonwealth Day, which always take place on the second Monday in March. I haven’t heard the Queen’s message and probably not alone in that either but have read a little of it http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31789818 (having a quick look for news items seemed Kate Middleton’s outfit was more newsworthy!). I shouldn’t have been surprised at lack of local news regarding this day, the Nottingham Post gave Notts County Council’s flag-flying for Commonwealth Day a mention last week, no mention of the City Council. The only local news site giving it a current mention had a nice write up of the service at westminster Abbey.

It seems ironic – and contradictory – that Queen Elizabeth II is head of the Commonwealth of Nations, an organisation promoting equality and human rights, while she is also monarch of a nation whose government has legislated welfare repeal (Welfare Reform Act 2012) and tens of thousands are being denied and deprived of welfare assistance, the means to survive and access to healthcare as a result.

We don’t get to see stories of people who have died for having no help when their benefits are stopped but I was reading yesterday of another suicide as result of the Welfare Reform Act.

Julia Kelly, as a woman with disabilities that cannot easily be seen and appearing young, attractive and capable will simply not have been believed by the CTS: made up of pompous ignorant buffoons who rely on presentations of disability to be visible and obvious, for help to only be needed if help is actually in place and are in cahoots with the DWP to meet number-crunching targets. Age discrimination and lack of disability awareness particularly with “hidden disability” are a big problem in CTS decisions – older people nearer retirement age are more likely to receive sympathetic judgements (though not in all cases). There is also the expectation that if you had a valid case you would have representation from either a solicitor or a welfare advisor – but they’re inaccessible to most people – and especially if you’re disabled and left with no means. Apparently this is IDS’s view on the matter of impoverishing and destituting people in their thousands. The government’s blatant denials of the impacts of the Welfare Reform Act are absolutely shocking and horrifying.

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