I don't miss the Miss

Gayle Wade strikes out for true equality of the sexes.

REMEMBER feminism? Women don't want to identify themselves with the F-word these days. They don't think it's really necessary any more. The battle for equality has been fought and won - hasn't it?

Maybe not.

Even in these enlightened times, disgruntled football manager Mike Newell felt quite entitled to comment that a female match official “... should not be here. I know that sounds sexist, but I AM sexist so I am not going to be other than that.”

I suppose we should be grateful that his remarks caused such a furore that he was forced into some kind of grudging retraction but, really, he was expressing what a lot of men think, but know better than to say out loud. Especially when journalists are listening.


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In the twenty first century, allegedly smothered in political correctness and living in a paradise of equality for people of all races, classes and genders, feminism is disregarded as old fashioned, no longer necessary.

Just like it was in the 1970s, feminism is portrayed as man-hating selfishness. Women still say: “I'm not a feminist but...” they do want equal pay, the right to do jobs outside the boundaries of 'women's work', the right to maternity leave, their own pensions and all the rest of it.

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But there is still a widespread, if unspoken belief that women and men should occupy different spheres of activity.

I recently heard of an employer who needed an apprentice mechanic, but rejected the candidate offered because she was a girl rather than a boy.

And years of using 'Ms' as a neutral title for women has failed to deflect society's obsession with our marital status. Men are called 'Mr', whether they are married, single or divorced, but women still have to be categorised.

Not long ago, I had to fill in an official form giving my personal details.

I was called back for more information, because the recipient believed I had omitted to enter either my maiden name or my married name on the form.

Because I style myself Ms (rather than Miss or Mrs) she assumed I must be divorced, and so should have written down more than one surname.

Have attitudes to women really changed, or is it just that most men understand (better than Mike Newell does) how to conceal their true opinion of women, which has changed very little from the days when men ruled women, and women ruled children and dogs!

Lads' magazines and 'sporty' tabloids take a cheerfully unreconstructed view of women as sexually available playthings. Although many women are now in employment, they are thin on the ground in the higher managerial ranks in all areas.

And in competitive sport, women's teams are often seen as less important, in some way inferior to their male counterparts.

A generation of keen young sportswomen deserve better encouragement and acceptance as they strive for excellence. They do not deserve to be denigrated by embittered male chauvinists.

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