it was never an overt “for crying out loud Emilia is just as capable as her brother!” it was simply etched into every action, choice, and behaviour of my family.
It was a recognised matter of fact that I, as a woman, was no different to my brother. Just as my mum was no different from my father in their careers, therefore I was raised in an equal earning, equally managed household that showed me anything a man could do, a woman could and should do too.
So I grew up with a voice, but it was not a shared voice of a generation, and it was only much later I realised what an incredible, feminist, start to life I had been given.
In the last few months we have all witnessed a major shift in the way women are collectively making their voices heard. The Women’s March on 21 January gathered more than five million people throughout the world – giving us all the lead to see what we can do to make this a change that’s here to stay.
Now I don’t know about you, but there are days where I feel like a guilty feminist. What am I actually doing every day to stand up for women’s rights? My personal experiences, and my understanding of the bigger issues of inequality, aren’t enough. What can I take part in, against hate and oppression, to ensure that the women’s movement continues, and strengthens and grows?
And so guest editing the All Women Everywhere edition of The Huffington Post UK is not a task I take lightly.
As my best friend would put it, I am a girl-boss, and I am in an industry where if I speak out against inequality I have a platform, and might be lucky enough to have a chance of being heard. The roles I’ve played have given me an insight into what it feels like to be a woman who stands up to inequality and hate, and stands out as a feminist.
That aside, it hasn’t stopped me from walking away from situations and people who have assumed I am weak because I’m a woman; it has forced me to stand by my actions and be ok with the consequences.
Do I get treated equally at work? Not always. Does every woman? No, and the statistics back that up. Do I get asked questions at press junkets by men and women alike, specifically because they will get headline grabbing responses coming from a young woman? Yes.
If you’ve watched Game of Thrones then, spoiler, you will have seen me in the nude. There are plenty of ways in which people want me to respond to questions about this fact. And plenty of reasons why I do not feel the need to justify myself.
I believe we all have the opportunity to stand up as women in our ordinary everyday lives. I believe that we all have the power to replace hate with justice, open-heartedness and kindness.
This doesn’t have to be a seismic change that we all have to learn. I believe we, as humans, (gender aside for a moment) have the opportunity to combat hate because of the way we behave towards one another. Not just during seminal moments, but during our everyday, ordinary ones too.
I believe we can start with kindness.
Kindness. I know, It’s a pretty un-cool word isn’t it? But its results are cool. They are immediate and they are real. One act of kindness can take your day from bearable to enjoyable in a heartbeat. Because being kind is showing someone that they are seen and heard, and that they do indeed matter. And that’s sexy.
For example, having the confidence to look someone in the eye, and speak to them as an equal, regardless of their gender, race or sexuality – that is kind. It is a small gesture towards showing that person that they are acknowledged. Imagine, just for a moment, that we all strive to be kinder to one another on a small, day by day, sincere level, wouldn’t that actually feel really incredible?
I believe that one woman’s success, is every woman’s gain. I believe that it is every woman’s choice to be able to live her life how she sees fit… that all of us are girl-bosses and the power of the girl-boss is that we care a bit more about those around us.
Little small acts of kindness can add up to a big movement. On this International Women’s Day I am not proposing a big idea, I will leave that to the leaders and politicians; instead I propose that each and every one of us start to re-energise our kindness gene, give it power and share it with each other, with our sisters and brothers.
As I read recently, kindness is sexy, it’s good for us, it makes us feel happy and valued. Positive action starts with small individual deeds that accumulate over time and become a movement… a movement toward a more equal society where kindness anchors our feet to the ground while giving us the momentum to keep chipping away together.
With my voice, I hope the feminist mind set my family instilled in me becomes the new normal, and boys and girls are raised to know they are equal.