Instant Opinion

‘International Women’s Day should be a day off work’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Kezia Rice at Metro

On International Women’s Day in Berlin, everyone is given the day off work – the UK should follow suit

on gender equality

Berliners take 8 March off work to celebrate International Women’s Day. The tradition started in 2019, and though “other German states have yet to follow suit… the concept is clearly popular beyond the capital”, writes Kezia Rice for Metro. “An extra holiday for women seems indisputably positive,” but some women have “expressed resentment at the notion” of the day being one of “celebration” when that might imply “gender equality has already been achieved and we can all relax”. That is not the case, says Rice, but “taking the day to march, protest and come together seems preferable to celebrating International Women’s Day at work, where a rose-tinted girl-boss sheen” can “dominate a day that is about equality for every woman, not just female CEOs”.

2

Patti Waldmeir at the Financial Times

Bans bring back the bad old days of travel abortions

on overturning Roe vs Wade

As a child of the 1960s, Patti Waldmeir writes at the Financial Times that she’s getting déjà vu. “I never thought I would live to see abortion banned in many US states, or forced again into the back alleys of my homeland.” It’s expected that “a more conservative court” than that of 1973, which passed down the Roe vs Wade ruling, will “constrain or overturn” the precedent it put in place by the end of June this year. Some states have already passed measures banning the procedure. It seems “the bad old days of abortion travel – or to put it crudely, as we did back then, the choice between Canada and the coat hanger – may have returned as well”. Waldmeir says that “from the nuclear threat to abortion wars, the fears of my childhood have all come back to haunt me”.

3

Jamie Blackett at The Telegraph

War shows the folly of ignoring farmers’ role as food producers

on global food chains

As a result of Russia’s war against Ukraine, “Britain has been blindsided by the threat to our food security”, says Jamie Blackett at The Telegraph. “For years, Defra [the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs] has been incapacitated by food and environmental wokeism”, and “our ability to produce food, and thus keep prices down, has been hampered by government policy that could not be more helpful to Putin if he had written it himself”. The UK’s food supply is around 55% self-sufficient, “and that number is falling”. We are “at the mercy of world markets. And they are in turmoil.” Many farmers, including Blackett, “felt that the recent Cabinet reshuffle was a missed opportunity”, and Environment Secretary George Eustice’s “talents” could have been “deployed elsewhere”. Until the government gets “a grip of Defra”, he warns, “prepare for higher food prices”.

4

Nicola Adams at The i

Women’s boxing is still in the shadows, but Commonwealth Games could change that

on role models

Before the pandemic, Nicola Adams says “we saw what many sporting heads coined as the ‘tipping point’ for women’s sports”. Writing on the i news site, the former double Olympic gold medallist remembers how “we had started to experience a heightened excitement around our performances from fans alongside game-changing financing and more television coverage”. This year, the sporting calendar line-up includes the Commonwealth Games, the Ashes, and the European Football Championship – “all great opportunities to make even more noise and support women in sport”. But “there remains a glaring disparity between the streaming of men’s sports and women’s”, and “it’s important” young girls are able to switch on the TV and see sportswomen competing against one another. Female athletes are, she says, the “driven and committed” role models they need.

5

The Daily Mail

At last, Boris Johnson ditches green dogma on energy

on being in favour of fracking

“Has Boris Johnson finally seen the light on the need for Britain to be self-sufficient in oil and gas for the foreseeable future?” asks the Daily Mail. As households face soaring energy bills, “the prime minister seems to have grasped how decades of energy policy have been simple-minded and self-harming”. Moves such as “stepping away from virtue-signalling green dogma” and “accepting” that the net-zero transition “needs to be slower” are “not only welcome, but eminently sensible”. The Mail backs plans to phase out the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels, “but this should be done in an orderly way”. Without enough reliable wind or solar power, “the solution – combined with nuclear power – lies under our feet and off our shores”. The UK “potentially sits upon some of the world’s richest layers of shale”, and fracking would supply “cheap gas” while “creating many jobs”. “The alternative is importing dirtier fuels from despots such as Putin”.

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