“That’s Why Mums Go To Iceland”


“That’s Why Mums Go To Iceland” goes the infamous advertising strap-line. Turns out it has a more than a ring of truth about it. If you ignore the obvious sexist stereotyping.

In 2016, Iceland followed by Sweden, Norway and Finland were the best places for womens rights in the world. Source: The Economist Glass Ceiling Index for 2016.

The Economist so-called ‘Glass Ceiling Index’ combined a mix of data on higher education, workforce participation, pay, child-care costs, maternity and paternity rights, business-school applications and representation in senior jobs into a single measure of where women have the best — and worst — chances of equal treatment in the workplace.

Those clever advertising guys were right after all, Iceland should be a mum’s first choice, for now anyway.

Conversely, coming in at a sluggish 22 is Great Britain, it transpires we’re still in the queue, slowly and quietly tapping our feet, waiting far too patiently, in my opinion, for our moment to bang those mighty women’s rights drums.

And that’s where my @AsPopularAs Work and Wellbeing campaign comes in.

The @AsPopularAs campaign is primarily aimed at women who have, for one reason or another, faced challenges and who need support through information and guidance.

Usually these challenges are work, financial or relationship linked.

For example, lack of income, career financial disparity, lack of career direction, no support, domestic violence, unplanned single parenthood, bereavement, redundancy, ageism or sexism.

Whatever the reason, the aim of @AsPopularAs is to be a ‘Big Sister”, a shoulder to cry on if you will, a confidante, a source of information without judgement while providing unstinting support.

My aim at the same time is to highlight the issues women face when trying to get back on track given the many considerations they have to make such as childcare, paying bills, school holidays, flexible working, single parent family issues, sexism, and equality, to name but a few.

It was heartening 2 weeks ago at the #GE2017 @UKParl that a record number of 208 women MPs were elected to the House of Commons out of 650 MPs.

While it’s still not 50/50 we are headed in the right direction — ish.

We must not forget that it is still relatively recent, not even 100 years ago, that women were allowed to stand for election in the UK(1918). Even so for the sake of clarity, only women who were householders over the age of 30 (6 million women) got the vote in 1918; women over 21 did not get the vote until 1928.

Since the #Suffragettes initial #feminism movement and the law change in 1918, female MPs made up less than 5% of the total number of MPs. This reached double digits during the Margaret Thatcher era in 1987 but has shot up in the past 20 years.

The Suffragette movement demonstrated the strength of a collective will. There is so much that can be achieved by women coming together, sharing their experiences and being heard as a #unitedvoice.

Many organisations and individuals such as UN Women and the #HeforShe campaign, UN Human Rights @EHRC The Department for Equality and Human Rights Commission The Womens Equality Party Women Returners @WomensAid @RefugeCharity Melinda Gates #CloseTheGenderGap @rachelreevesmp @jocoxfoundation @JKRowling to name but a few work with these issues and goals in mind.

Throughout my @AsPopularAs campaign I will highlight the #causes and data these organisations produce to share with you and hopefully build awareness and momentum.

This week I am focussing on, in particular, womens rights in relation to divorce and child maintenance.

Today 26 June 2017, the #single parent charity @Gingerbread has launched research highlighting how high earning partners avoid paying maintenance with their #ChildrenDeserveMore initiative.

Their aim ultimately is to lobby for a change in the 1991 Child Support Act — to ensure children don’t lose out to absentee parents who refuse to pay for their children.

Additionally @RefugeCharity and @WomensAid continue to campaign tirelessly on many fronts for womens rights to be invoked and listened to. The most recent campaign around the #DomesticViolenceandAbuseAct aims to amend and ameliorate the protection victims need.

Some broad statistics on domestic violence are, 2 women are killed every week in England and Wales by a current or former partner (Office of National Statistics, 2015

  • 1 woman is killed every 3 days
  • 1 in 4 women in England and Wales will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes and 8% will suffer domestic violence in any given year(Crime Survey of England and Wales, 2013/14)
  • Globally, 1 in 3 women will experience violence at the hands of a male partner (State of the World’s Fathers Report, MenCare, 2015)
  • Domestic violence has a higher rate of repeat victimisation than any other crime (Home Office, July 2002)
  • Every minute police in the UK receive a domestic assistance call — yet only 35% of domestic violence incidents are reported to the police (Stanko, 2000 & Home Office, 2002)

Finally my @AsPopularAs campaign also aims to support and encourage women in the workplace. Provide information about retraining such as the DigitalMumsHQ digital media training course.

I want to help women find retraining opportunities, give examples of success stories, build confidence for women to return to or fight for an equal opportunity work place.

Women in the UK still earn 24% less than their male counterparts and only 25% of FTSE 100 directors are women.

And the real reason for the financial disparity?

They walk through a different bathroom door.