This year, International Women’s Day will rightly be just one of many days where women’s rights, achievements and the discrimination and abuse they face daily will be high on the news agenda.
Following the revelations of wide-spread sexual assault in Hollywood, the Me Too movement was launched.
Me Too provided a platform for women to share experience of sexual assault, particularly within the workplace. This has been incredibly effective; at film awards, women and men have stood together to say Time’s Up to those who have been taking advantage of positions of power in the film and TV industry.
But of course, Hollywood isn’t the only place where sexual harassment occurs. As the #MeToo movement grew and gave women the confidence to speak out, so too did the number of sectors in which we heard about sexual harassment.
For me, it was truly horrible to hear the experiences of women in politics. Women who, more often than not, must work twice as hard as men to progress in politics, then find themselves being taken advantage of by those in positions of power, and then shamed and threatened into not taking action.
This International Women’s Day, I want to pay tribute to all the women in politics. Those that have called people out. Those that have survived sexual harassment in the workplace. Those who haven’t but have to live with the knowledge that it could happen to them – something men rarely think of.
I want to pay tribute to the women who are policy advisers and speechwriters, who are administrative assistants and communications officers, who are leading politicians and local activists. They all deserve our support and our thanks.
I hope that 2018 will finally be the year where women feel able to report abuse without fear of the consequences, and I will do everything I can to help women achieve this.