Queen Elizabeth II: A Feminist Success Story?June 5, 2012 1 Comment
Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee this weekend. That’s 60 years heading up the UK and Commonwealth.
In a world where, even recently, women have found it difficult to reach powerful positions, it seems something of a contradiction that a woman has been in such a prominent position for such a long period of time.
Now, let me be clear! I am no Royalist! Of course the Queen gained her position through an accident of birth.
But over the years, she has maintained an incredibly high level of respect even in the most conservative, male-dominated societies in the world – many of which have undergone incredible changes during her reign.
And even for me, there has been something strangely beautiful about the Diamond Jubilee weekend festivities. The lasting image has been that of a woman who,with the full support of her husband and family for half a century and then some, has fulfilled a top world role and a full-time job in the unflinching glare of the public eye.
The Queen began her reign at a time when women were not guaranteed equal rights at work and could easily become trapped in their lives by restrictive divorce laws and very limited reproductive rights. When a woman’s work was in the home. She has presided over changes in the lives of ordinary women that are quite phenomenal.
No doubt at moments throughout the struggle for women’s rights there have been times when someone has turned and said, “How can they say we’re not as capable as men – just look at the frikkin Queen!!”
I’m not saying that the Queen is a feminist – I’m not sure she would even want to be called one – but she is a woman who has shown herself to be strong, adaptable and determined. A woman who married for love, has travelled the world and been a stable influence throughout masses of the world for 60 years. It’s no mean feat!
So monarchist or otherwise, if you are a feminist take pride in the fact that the longest-standing head of state in the world and the person who has been a beacon of stability and continuity in all the varied countries of the Commonwealth is… oh yes, that’s right… a woman.
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