“This year, a significant milestone was reached. For the first time, the number of women who have been Members of Parliament exceeds the number of men presently sitting. All that in just a hundred years.” These are the striking words of Angela Crawley, SNP MP for Lanark and Hamilton East, in The Huffington Post.
What did the right to vote signify for the Suffragettes to justify imprisonment, beatings, being force fed and ostracised? What did equality for women really mean? Was it mainly the right to be heard, or the right to vote?
I believe they fought for the right to vote: not just for the privilege but for their sacred calling to make a difference. It was not for equality’s sake but for the freedom to choose their fate. They championed the awakening of women. An awakening that we must continue today.
Patriarchy was not the obstacle then, nor is it now. The obstacle is every woman who remains silent in the face of the status quo. Change does not happen because someone allows it to happen. Change happens when we have the daring and commitment to say enough.
Enough to the gender pay gap. Enough to domestic violence. Enough to low rape conviction. Enough to female genital mutilation. Enough to youth and body shape as a measure of success and attraction. The list goes on.
We have managed to establish a presence in Parliament. An achievement brought about by 100 years of soul and courage. Yet deep in the psyche of every soul sister is the haunting question, “Am I good enough?”
Who made the list? Who decided what makes us good enough? More importantly, why did we see the movie and buy the t-shirt? Until we become conscious enough to the point of questioning our self-worth, parity for women will forever be a struggle. It’s not because it’s a man’s world. It’s because we have allowed it to be a man’s world.
Millicent Fawcett now has a statue in Parliament Square holding a placard that says, “Courage calls to Courage everywhere”. I answer the call to courage by stating that I am a singer/songwriter who had the audacity to call the Managing Director of a major label at the age of 56. Given that I have a voice, the powers that be in the industry have said that I am the wrong age, wrong dress size, and [refused me because] I refuse to dye my hair.
I took a deep breath and had sleepless nights about being the wrong “everything” who happens to have a singing voice. But I refused to go away and I begged to be heard. Yes, soul sisters, I begged. Persistence has taught me that there are men who can see past “the list” because the Managing Director licensed my work. Awaken to your self-worth, and others will see you as nothing short of amazing. You are good enough. You are worthy. March on.
Maria Muller’s new single Lost will be released on August 17, 2018, with new music already in the pipeline.