Women’s rights have come a long way since the Suffragette movement. However, there is still a long way to go.
In the UK, according to the Office of National Statistics, the gap between men and women's pay for full-time workers was 9.4% in April 2015, equivalent to £100 per week. Only 5 of FTSE 100 CEOs are women. There are more CEOs called John, David and Sir than women!
According to the NHS, an estimated 137,000 women in the UK are affected by female genital mutilation (FGM), some of which may have been performed in the UK.
According to the women’s charity, Refuge, two women a week in the UK are killed by a current or former male partner and at least 750,000 children a year witness domestic violence.
Globally, the inequality faced by women is even more severe. According to the UN, up to seven in 10 women around the world experience physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime, making violence against women one of the world’s most widespread human rights abuses. As well as violence, women across the globe suffer forced marriages, illiteracy and a lack of opportunity available to their brothers, sons and fathers.
Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting, said: “We need to keep the issue of gender equality firmly on the table. I have 2 daughters and so this is personal to me. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to promote equality for women and highlight women’s rights and the challenges they face here in the UK but also globally”.
Sadiq Khan at last year's event to mark International Women's Day in Tooting
This year, Tooting Labour Party is marking International Women’s Day with a pop-up screening of Suffragette, a film made with an entirely female crew. The film will be introduced by its producer, Faye Ward, who lives in Tooting, and by Barbara Davison, the great niece of Emily Davison, who features in the film.
Sadiq Khan said: “Although this is a social event, it is also a chance for women – and men - to have an open discussion about the issues women are still facing in the 21st century. It is an opportunity to bring the women of Tooting together, to celebrate their achievements and to inspire them on to even greater things.
“I am proud of the Labour Party’s track record on tackling gender inequality. As a result of women-only short lists, at the last local election the Wandsworth Labour Party returned 7 new female councillors out of 8. I fought the last General Election on a manifesto that included plans for a Violence against Women and Girls Bill, to appoint a commissioner to set minimum standards in tackling domestic and sexual violence and to provide more stable central funding for women's refuges and Rape Crisis Centres. However, it is vital that, as a society, we don’t fool ourselves that the job is done – it is not”.
You can find out more about the screening of Suffragette, which will be held in Tooting market, on March 8, here.