SUZANNE HARRINGTON: What do women want? Let me tell you about it

What do women want? A report published in London just in time for International Women’s Day, asked 8,749 women this question.

 The answers haven’t changed much since the last time the same researchers asked the same question in 1996 — equal pay, freedom from male violence, equality of opportunity, better childcare, freedom from gender stereotyping. Irish women would add reproductive autonomy, for now at least.

That these basics are still not properly in place in 2018 makes one gnash one’s teeth. Thank god then for Millennials, with their relentless pursuit of gender equality and their endless banging on about ending arbitrary gender norms and their rejection of what has gone before. Go the snowflakes. We need you.

As a Gen X woman, I want a world where my son can cry without his masculinity being ridiculed or questioned. I want streets where my daughter can walk day or night without concern about dark alleys or dodgy corners.

I want emotional intelligence to be as valued as intellectual intelligence, and taught in schools. I want information packs on the menopause widely distributed, like any other public health information, so that when women find themselves in the thick of it, we can identify it, rather than wondering if we are in the grip of temporary insanity. (Which we are, but some advance warning would be nice — not just for us, but for the people we want to kill, so that they can stay out of our way).

I want all drugs legalised, as they are in Portugal, so that addicts can get their stuff safely with a prescription instead of wasting their lives begging and robbing and dying in public toilets.

I want all carers, teachers, and nurses to be paid the same as bankers, because they are doing a far more vital and difficult job. I want my future grandchildren to have no idea that we used to cage and kill and eat animals as a matter of course. I want a Kangen water filter but they’re two grand.

I want more men to be able to say ‘I love you’ and ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I was wrong’ without having to perform open heart surgery on themselves just to get the words out. I want dads to have equal statutory paternity leave to mums, so that parenthood evens out and the old gender roles of mum and dad morph into that of parent, with each one doing their bit equally. I want the pricing of junk food and wholefood to swap, so that Skittles cost more than avocados.

I want my son to be in awe of women, and my daughter to enter an adult world where her brain is valued more than her looks. I want my face to stop sagging, because I’m vain. And I want to thank Mattel for finally launching a series of Barbies that little girls can genuinely aspire to — at last, we have Boxer Barbie, Footballer Barbie, and NASA Physicist Mathematician Barbie. Yay.


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