One thing I didn’t mention yesterday was that for the first time, there were women present in every single team in the Olympics, all 204 countries. It surprises me how special this feels, especially as I have been cynical about the Olympic Movement in the past. It seems that there really is a forward-looking faction behind the scenes, bringing about change.
This summer has been a difficult one for many people. For one thing, the weather has depressed lots of us in the UK. The economic situation in Europe is a constant drain and results in worries over personal finance and lack of security in employment. Then there are natural disasters, violence, civil war in Syria, poverty, famine and so forth; an endless list of things that are too hard for us to cope with. What a difference it makes to have a small but significant change in attitudes towards women.
As a young child in secondary school I was vaguely aware of the inequalities that existed between the sexes, but it was only later I started to realise what it actually meant. In my early years as a mother, I did my best to be supermum. Then in a return to my original field of insurance, I found myself having to work twice as hard as anyone else to be recognised as someone of experience and qualifications. In the latter part of my working life as a parish minister, though equality was ensured by Act of the General Assembly, the reality was somewhat different. There is still, today, an uneasy alliance between male and female ordained people in some parts of the Church of Scotland. So good for the Olympic Movement, taking another small step for equality.
I know there is a long way to go, but it is good to have started.