We can stop to take pride on International Women's Day – but only for a moment | Polly Toynbee


The fight for equality has come a long way since I started work in 1968. But the pandemic has shown how far there is to go

On the long climb, stop and catch your breath on International Women’s Day. Look back in anger – but with pride, too. Dear granddaughters, let me recount women’s lives when I started work in 1968. To you, it’s the same ancient history the suffragettes were to me.

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With my first paycheck from the Observer, I tried to buy a washing machine on hire purchase, but was refused without a signature from a husband or a father. That felt symbolic, since washing machines were such liberators. The 1975 Sex Discrimination Act gave women the right to goods, credit, loans and services, but they were still often refused, just as the law is ignored now, with women still sacked for pregnancy.

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