What Women Mean To Me on International Women’s Day

I’m a bit ashamed to admit it, but I wasn’t really a feminist before my divorce. I was one of those people who assumed all feminists were feisty, bra-burning, man-hating maniacs, and as a woman who enjoyed doing the housework I didn’t identify with this.

Yet now, on the wonderful occasion that is International Women’s Day, I am super proud to call myself a feminist. I even went on a date with one of those people who assume that all feminists are bra-burners recently and it ended with me crying and stamping my feet in frustration. Which was a first in a date situation. I think he enjoyed my passion for the cause!

When I was married my partnership with my husband was really insular. We had friends, but these friends were couple friends, and it was rare we’d break out to have friendships without the other. I did have friends, of course, but my best friend was my husband and I unconsciously believed the women in my life to be somewhat disposable. My husband was for life, my friends were just… there.

international womens day

This all changed when we split, when I started to need the comfort of the women in my life more than ever. I remember turning up at my friend Bryony’s house about six months post-split, bottle of Prosecco in hand, and bursting into tears on her doorstep. I have slightly wet eyes thinking now how that one moment was so important to me in my induction into lifelong women friendship: it was when I realised just how important this one woman was, and would be to me, forever.

It’s a strange fact that I’ve always felt that little more comfortable in the company of men. When I was with women I sometimes felt that undertone of competitiveness and bitchy behaviour, and it made me uneasy. With men you know where you are: banter, pints and inappropriate comments.

Perhaps it was the split with my ex-husband that brought the change in my attitude? After the divorce it completely switched. I relied on women more and altogether started enjoying their company. A raucous night with a woman over a bottle of Sauv Blanc vs banter over beers? No contest.

international womens day

And that’s the way it’s remained. I’m so happy to have strong female friendships on my life: I know that, should I need to call them weeping with a huuuge issue (and I often do!) that they’ll thoroughly be there for me. There’s still work to be done – when you’re a mother (me) and wife (them), or if there’s an ocean in the way, it can be tricky to get together, and I have friendships of days past that I want to re-discover. But we’ll get there: until we can be available in person we have Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

God bless the internet, am I right?

There’s also the power of inspiring women that I never considered before. Coming from a corporate world where most of my bosses were male, looking to women leaders has been a new thing for me. Yet I can’t tell you how exciting it is, how inspiring and energizing I find it to meet these powerhouses of creativity who are following their hearts, juggling families, friends and relationships to make it big and to carve new pathways.

international womens day

Women: we are AMAZING.

I spent today with a bunch of inspiring women who I know you’ll love. Thanks to Eastpak I was on the road (with women cabbies!) in London, dropping in on tattoo studios, social enterprises, flower businesses, leading chefs. ALL WOMEN. More about them another time, but let me leave you with a big warm Who Run The World? and an altogether feminist IWD high five.

We still have a way to go, but man does it feel good to be female.

5 Comments
  1. Omg, I am right there with you. I was always one of those people who had lots of male friends very few female friends. I thought I knew where I stood with men, whereas like you, I found woman harder to figure out more competitive, more bitchy and I have to admit that I thought a lot of feminist were bra burning looking for a fight, and while I think some still are. My eyes have been opened to quite how much society needs to change.

    I went through a massive break up and then my heart was broken a second time by a different guy. Instead of feeling comforted it seemed to be wherever I looked I saw weak men, looking out for number one and not giving a damn about who they hurt in the process -wives, children. In bed with someone else weeks after asking her to wait for you? Moving another woman into the family house weeks after separating from the mother of your children?! During that time my good female friends really stood up for me, they were there for the late night phone call and through the never ending repeats of “but if he still claims to love me how can he leave me.”

    I know now how important strong woman are. I think we can be a force to recon with.

  2. Great post Alice and glad you have found your inner feminist and letting her loose on the world, I would point out however not all men are about beer drinking and banter, some can be there when you need them as a friend, some of us also will let you keep the prosecco!!

  3. Although I’ve identified as a feminist for many years it was also my split with the ex that made me realise exactly how precious female friendships are. I love my girl friends now – wouldn’t be without them.

  4. Well said! Women are amazing and no more so than when we use our communities (both real world and virtual) to back up and build up each other

  5. Great post. My female friends are my lifeblood, always have been and always will. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband to the moon and back, but my inner circle of girlfriends enhance my world in so many ways, I’d be lost without them. Glad you have discovered just how amazing those strong female friendships can be and how much they bring xx

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