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Gill Buchanan's Blog

What does International Women's Day mean to you?

The UN theme for this 8th March 2022 is Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow

However, the International Women's Day website have announced this year’s concept to be: Break The Bias

The official colours for International Women’s Day are Purple, Green and White

• Purple signifies justice and dignity

• Green symbolises hope

• White represents purity

So, what do we make of this?

A good friend of mine bought a book for me Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez and what an eye opener it is. I always thought that we were making progress in terms of gender equality, albeit slow progress. What this book shows is that women have been disregarded throughout history in terms of their contribution to the world and the data collected on human experience which is almost entirely based on ‘man’. Even the word ‘man’ is meant to include women in some contexts but doesn’t actually take into account the fact that women are different.

It really makes you think and you start to notice things.

The novel I am writing at the moment, Wanda’s Tree, has an ancient oak tree as one of the characters. In my mind, this oak tree was a ‘he’. Until I read Invisible Women. Then it occurred to me that oak trees produce acorns which grow into baby oak trees. So perhaps, Quercus should be a ‘she’. What I am doing, in practice, is avoiding giving the tree a gender which seems like the most appropriate thing to do.

A sustainable tomorrow

For Wanda’s Tree I’ve been doing a lot of research into intensive farming versus organic as this is a theme of the book. The use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers is actually destroying our soil as well as many organisms which means that farming in this way is not sustainable.

Organic farming is nothing whacky

It’s just farming without chemicals. It’s what we did before the 1950s which is not so long ago. Farming in this way increases biodiversity and helps us to reduce carbon emissions. It also produces food which is better for our health. I hope one day soon we live in a world where all food is organic and affordable rather than just a limited amount which is a more expensive. So, I’m a fully paid-up member of the sustainable tomorrow ethos. I’m not sure that gender comes into it though.

Green, as the colour of nature, certainly does symbolise hope; if we don’t pay attention to the green issues of our planet, we make for a very uncertain future for generations to come.

All thoughts with Ukraine

Perhaps the colours for today should have been blue and yellow. I have great admiration for the people of Ukraine, they are unbelievably brave in their fight for justice and dignified with it. My heart goes out to them all.


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