One year on the fact is that we still have a long, long way to go to achieve full gender equality all over the globe. The burning issues remain: violence against women, including genital mutilation, sex trafficking and rape as well as inherent sexism that denies women fundamental human rights such as getting an education or having the freedom to live their lives and express themselves without the supervision or judgement of men. In Western societies equality is theoretically written into the law but there still is a glass ceiling preventing most women from gaining positions of power even if they are equally qualified as their male competitors. Women also still receive less pay than men for the same amount of work. Economically women are usually less well off than men and find it harder to borrow money to invest into projects or a business.
We have to continue our fight for true equality but also do ourselves what we can to support other women. This could be through donations of time or money into your local women’s shelter or by helping other women to make their dreams a reality. Sometimes a little goes a long way.
Eight years ago I met a woman who changed the course of my life. Emma C was one of my photography customers. When I met her I had shot a few erotic scenes but had no funds to shoot more, edit and publish them. Emma believed in my vision of erotica from a female perspective and chose to help me to get my film seen and my message heard. She paid for two more shoots and the postproduction and this is why “Sexual Sushi” ever made it into the shops. Emma was not worried about making a profit with her investment. She told me that to her it was enough satisfaction to help me getting started. I will be eternally grateful to Emma – without her my films might not exist and my life could have taken a different direction.
I would like to empower other women to express their fantasies on film – this is why I created the Petra Joy Award in 2009. For years I have been looking for a sponsor for the prize money so I could run the short film competition again. A trophy is great and it is fab to get your film published but money goes a long way, enabling you to keep on working and shoot more films. I have decided to put my money where my mouth is and will donate the prize money for the second competition for emerging female filmmakers myself. The topic is “female fantasies” and you can get all info on the award here: www.joyawards.com
If you want to help other women to set up a business and make a living, there are various fantastic microfinance charities set up such as www.kiva.org
which enables you to give loans. You can lend £5 or £500 – even small amounts make a huge difference in countries like Africa. For example 56 year old Kisaru who has five children needs to borrow $500 to buy maize and sugar for her small retail store. She has already raised 75% of that loan and only needs $125 to be able to invest into her business. So if only 5 people lend her $25 she will have succeeded. The loans will be paid back once the business is writing black figures. You will not gain interest in financial terms but in the satisfaction that comes with helping other women (or men) that are less well off than you are.
Make International Women’s Day 2012 – a day for giving…