Thank you United Nations. You Shouldn’t Have

Imagine my surprise when I got the news that the United Nations (UN) had chosen me to be an ambassador for women and girls around the world. I am honoured. So honoured but really they didn’t need to. Seriously, they shouldn’t have.

 

On a serious note, I can only imagine the meeting where this was being deliberated. Where some wise person said, “You know what? It would be wonderful for woman and girls around the world to have a universal role model. Let’s put our suggestions in a hat.”

  • Maya Angelou
  • J.K Rowling
  • Beyoncé
  • Kim Kardashian
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Michelle Obama
  • Amy Poehler

As each name was called out, there were grimaces, or nods, or smiles or vehement hand signals waving frantically – no way. I’ll leave you to match the reaction to the relevant name.

It’s no surprise to me that there are protests against this.

Do women really need a mascot? I mean are we living in a Disney movie that we need a dressed up super hero to encourage us?

I can totally understand why they chose Wonder Woman. They discovered that there is no such thing as a universal role model. As they struggled to find one woman who could represent all women, they discovered that such a woman only existed in fiction.

We are all wired differently. For each of the women listed above, I can assure you that there are women round the world who would sooner renounce being a women than accept one of them as a role model. For EACH ONE, I promise you.

And that is fine.

Women don’t need to identify with one person. Heck men don’t need to. What women need is to be exposed to a plethora of women who have done extraordinary things. From pilots, to scientists, football players, coaches, doctors, activists, philanthropists, artistes and so many more. What young girls in particular need is to know that they can be and do anything they set they heart on. That there are no limits or ceilings. What we need to know is that we can.

Of course I am ecstatically happy they chose Wonder Woman. I understand it and get it. Within every woman is a wonder woman. I get it but this was ill thought out on so many levels too political for me to get into. However, I wonder if the UN has noticed that men and boys don’t have an icon. Just wondering.

Time and money would have been better spent say on featuring women who have smashed the glass ceiling in their respective careers over the last decade or so; or a focus on women in STEM careers; or even better a woman or women living out the core actions on their website. Why did there have to be one anyway?

Women round the world, ordinary, everyday women are achieving great things. And they keep inspiring us daily. We don’t need to look very far for role models. They exist in our communities. They might not have celebrity status but they are real and they exist all around us.

I am actually quite tired of the elevation of celebrities over everyday people. And now you are telling me we have to contend with fictional characters????

I’m telling you, there is no better time than the present to redefine Wonder Woman!

International Day of the Girl 

​The day I had my daughter my world view changed.

I knew that I was her first example of what a woman could be and I found that scary.

I didn’t want to grow up or be responsible for such an onerous role. But I have no choice because I don’t want her to ever feel that she shouldn’t work hard; or that she needs a man to make her complete; or she can’t be sporty and girly at the same time; or be anything she wants to be.

So I straightened up my life so she could be  a Wonder Woman too.

Every girl deserves to know that all things are possible for them should they want it.

We’ve just got to keep punching through that glass ceiling wherever we find ourselves so that the next generation doesn’t have to.