“I try to give a voice to people in remote places who would not have access to social media” said Bianca Jagger talking to me at Holyrood. We were there to celebrate 70 years of United Nations adopting the Declaration of Human Rights and after an activism career spanning four decades, she is certainly an advocate for this.
Watching, first, as she delivered an impassioned speech in the Scottish Parliament. Holding the attention of First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, MSP’s, countless charities and a gallery full of the public. Each person, sitting entranced as she called us to action. To encourage us all to demand a fairer world, not just for us, but for future generations. An eloquent woman who, while softly spoken, her presence filled every corner of the debating chamber and left no doubt in anyone’s mind: she meant business.
I was both lucky and honoured to have the opportunity to interview Bianca Jagger and nothing could have prepared me for the awe-inspiring moment we were introduced. As a woman who has worked in male dominated industries for years, I found her fearless campaigning for gender equality since the 70’s really struck a chord with me. It is impossible to forget how women like Bianca have fought for women’s rights long before we were born. To make our path easier.
“First we obtained the vote. It wasn’t that long ago we didn’t have the vote in many countries” Bianca told me when I asked what she felt was the biggest achievement for women. “And even though we have a vote and even though we have been campaigning for gender equality and for equal pay we still have not achieved our goals. We still grapple and I think that we need to continue to complain and we need to embark on a nonviolent revolution to achieve our goals”.
There is still work to be done and we owe it, not only to ourselves, but future generations to irradiate gender inequality. That in years to come we look back in disbelief that women were not paid the same as men for the same job, just as it’s unfathomable to believe women could not vote because of their gender.
Another thing that struck me about Bianca was the sincerity she showed in not only women’s rights, but in empowering women. Too often you see women dragged down by other women. It was a common sight in my time in the banking industry. As if life wasn’t difficult enough when competing with men for promotions, women were pulling up the metaphorical career ladder at the back of them, leaving those behind high and dry and without a mentor or advocate.
When asking Bianca what makes an empowered woman, her answer both inspired and gave food for thought “I think you have a perfect example here. Nicola Sturgeon. There you have an empowered woman who is credible, concerned about women’s rights, about children’s rights, human rights, who has a vision for women. Someone like her is a great role model for women throughout the world. Who is in a powerful position”.
Whatever your thoughts are of Nicola Sturgeon, her words do hit home. Our country is run by a woman. An empowered woman. If you’ve ever watched Nicola debating in the chamber, you will see how she conducts herself with dignity and class. She is quick to respond and inform. She gives an answer. It may not be the one you want to hear, but there is no subterfuge or panic in her voice. Her ego is outside the door and she is there to do a job and follow through with the promises she made to the people of Scotland.