Sunday, March 9, 2014

Women, days and nations


Yesterday was International Women's Day and one or two things caught my eye while window shopping on sites such the BBC and Bella Caledonia. Most interesting to those of us who seek self-determination for Scotland and her people was this article on the BBC from October 2013 which saw a surge in readership, perhaps due to IWD. Is it just a co-incidence that small nations perform better in areas of equality?

Top of the pile is wee Iceland - with a population roughly the same as the city of Aberdeen. So much for Alistair 'Black Dwarf' Darling's moaning about Scotland being 'too small' to do all sorts of things.

Also interesting is that a country such as Ireland, where a significant number of people still adhere to the teachings of the Catholic church, can leave behind shameful episodes like the Magdalene Laundries scandal and move forward. While abortion rights are still a major issue in Ireland, it's good to see auld Eirinn recognised here. As more Irish people lose their Catholic superstitions in years to come, it can only be expected that Ireland makes more progress on gender equality.

Overall gender gap

Europe has seven countries in the top 10. The UK is 18th and the US is 23rd.The Philippines, at fifth, is the highest ranking Asian nation and Nicaragua is the highest-placed country from the Americas, at 10th.
The G20 group of leading industrial nations has no representative in the top 10, nor do the Middle East or Africa.

Top countries

1. Iceland
2. Finland
3. Norway
4. Sweden
5. Philippines
6. Ireland 7. New Zealand
8. Denmark
9. Switzerland
10. Nicaragua

Also, was this piece on Bella by bana-Ghaidheal Mary Ann Kennedy touching on issues such as bilingualism and the fear of change.

The Gaelic angle on independence and women brings to mind the bana-bhàrd of the crofters during the Clearances, Màiri Mhòr nan Oran. Her songs are still popular though some lines such as that which calls for the 'Sasannaich' to be cleared from native Skye may make some sing it through gritted teeth. A brave woman who was ahead of her time.

This finally leads on to the Poison Girls and their singer Vi Subversa. Noted for their quirky and jazzy punk on the Crass label, Poison Girls were every bit as political as Màiri Mhòr though the satire was a bit closer to the bone and the language a bit more colourful. Think of NoMeansNo with Elaine C Smith on vocals and out of her head on acid.

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