Sunday, 18 March 2012

How Far We've Come?

I finally got time to sit down with a glass of wine and enjoy BBC 4's She-Wolves: England's Early Queens.  Rather annoyingly, I did miss the first episode in the series, as the other half only thought to mention that he had seen it advertised, a few minutes before the second episode and thought it was right up my street.  However for those of you with fast enough internet and who missed the second episode, you will be glad to know you have 11 days still to watch it on BBC I Player or its repeated tonight at 11pm.

In the programme Helen Castor tells the story of Isabella of France and Margaret of Anjou, who through marriage became Queens of England, and due to circumstances both women found themselves having to lead in a mans world.  Helen explains, how history has dealt with these two women is not fair. Had they been men their behaviour would have been more than acceptable.

Going slightly off subject, as only a rambling wee lassie can, I have to say well done to BBC4, just lately they have been producing some very interesting programmes.  I'm starting to think that the smaller the budget for the programme, the better the programme is?

However, back on to subject.  From watching this programme one thing struck me, how far women have come.  I'm quite aware that life is not perfect for women but we have slowly made progress and its good to look at the positive.  900 years ago it was completely acceptable to send a 12 year old Isabella from France to marry a complete stranger, in order to seal a deal; her purpose in life to provide the heir and spare.  Today, in western world we have significant choice in comparison, choice to choose a career, partner, home and lifestyle.

History looks down upon Isabella and Margaret for standing up in a mans world, Shakespeare even called Margaret, the She-Wolve.  As women we are still judged by social conventions, for example Margaret Thatcher will always be known in history as the Iron Lady, a direct comment upon her sex.  However the idea of a women in charge is not as controversial as for Isabella and Margaret.  I doubt anyone would think it is odd that our head of state is celebrating HER diamond Jubilee this year.

Progress is being made, society has changed, speeded up in the last 100 years to get us to where we are today.  I wish I could see how we will be recorded in hundreds of years time, will this period be considered the big leap forward for women?

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