Campbell Robb’s thoughts following International Women’s Day
I got very very angry this morning listening to the radio. I admit that happens quite a lot, but this was unusual and noticeable. The reporting of the coverage of the investigation into the disappearance of Sarah Everard was what did it. How can it be 2021 and the discussion about violence against women, misogyny and sexism is still stuck in the last century or even the one before? How can it be that over 110 women and girls have been murdered in the last year, that rape is basically no longer prosecuted as a crime, that the discussion is about women protecting themselves against men, not men changing their behaviour?
Growing up there was only one person who supported me, believed in me and really listened to me: my grandmother. Forced by her father to leave school at 14 when her mother died to look after him and her brothers, then married at 20 and looking after a husband and 3 children. Never worked or earned her own wage. A force for good, an intelligent, thoughtful woman stuck in a society where she was pigeon-holed and could not escape the life she believed was the only one she had available. A life so far from the life I wish for my daughters – to be liberated, independent, free women who are not afraid of anything and are able to make their own choices. Yet they too are constrained. They still have to make choices about where they go and what they do, which are defined by the actions of men. My eldest is studying medicine but most female doctors do not end up as consultants because to do so is almost impossible if you have children.
And I’m as guilty as others: I still nag my youngest every time she walks home late to do so with a friend, to be careful, to not take risks. So that’s what makes me angry. Generations of women bound by the same constraints and fearful of what a male dominated society and men will do. As I get angry a lot, I do try to channel it, to make use of it. So what can I do to make this better, what will I try to do? I can strive to make Nacro as inclusive and as diverse an organisation as I can, I can champion causes and projects that support and celebrate women, I can call out sexism and misogyny when I see it. I can also try be a partner and a dad who does everything I can to ensure the women in my life lead the life they want to lead. I will keep trying and I will keep getting angry.
Campbell Robb, Nacro Chief Executive