A week ago it was announced that the new Doctor in Doctor Who would be played by a woman for the first time – Jodie Whitaker – and it felt long overdue – even to me, as a relatively recent convert to the show. (Current era mainly, though I dabbled just before it was cancelled in the eighties.)
But it met with some resistance in some quarters, including the less-than-progressive corners of the media and social media, and even one former Doctor.
I thought this was a great riposte, which I found via Stella Duffy on Twitter.
The gender-switch story, followed by a week in which the BBC was revealed to massively underpay its biggest female stars compared with the male ones, felt like a focal point for lots of things I have been thinking about and reading over the past few years about feminism, gender equality and female heroes and role models.
Lean In Together
Following her book about women at work, Lean In, and expanding on the movement it started, Sheryl Sandberg teamed up with Adam Grant for Lean In Together, looking at how both genders could work together and change their mindsets and approaches to push for gender equality. This began with a series of four articles a couple of years ago in the New York Times:
(Interestingly, this one starts with the old ‘riddle’ about a man and his son being in a car accident and then a surgeon refusing to operate – “I cannot operate, because this boy is my son.” – which is only a riddle if it doesn’t occur to you that the surgeon could be his mother… but then if you think ‘how could a surgeon be a woman?’ you probably think the same thing about a Doctor!)
All of which I was introduced to by a LinkedIn blog post from Adam Grant:
This struck a chord with me, as a father of daughters, as although I was a feminist before they were born I feel a new sense of urgency now that I also want the world to be as fair for them as possible too.
Role models and heroes
So here are some of the people I admire and respect, their writing and sometimes the characters they’ve created, all pushing for that fairer, equal world.