Today is International Women’s Day. Twelve months on the third UK lockdown is taking its toll. The lack of social connections, interactions, and variety, have turned almost every day into a Groundhog Day.

Nothing like this has ever been experienced before. The last twelve months has, for so many women, regressed their hard won positions, worn them out, AND worn them down, threatening not only their mental health, but their career paths too. 

The effect of lockdown on everyone, especially women has been colossal. Despite equality legislation, and changing attitudes, research confirms that the majority of childcare, including home-schooling, and domestic chores are undertaken by women, who are for the main part also holding down jobs and careers. 

Welcome change comes this week as UK children begin to return to school, bringing some much needed relief to parents everywhere, especially those juggling work from home. For many the ‘working from home’ has become ‘living at work’, a dangerous precedent, especially for the less robust, and those with very small homes as there is no escape from the screen, and no privacy. For those with children at home the issues are compounded.

The vaccine rollout continues apace, it is one thing the UK can be really proud of. The uncertainty continues; yet the knowledge that we are all in the same stormy ocean, but in very different boats or rafts remains. 

A sneak preview of our Spring, just over a week ago with three warmer and sunnier days, raised all our spirits as we immediately threw off some of our thick winter woolies, and our winter blues. It was a tantalising glimpse of what’s to come, quickly replaced by leaden skies and colder days leading to us piling the layers back on.

Life is like that, whether we are in lockdown, or not. A few steps forwards and then back, a kind of permanent dance, traversing time in its own inexorable style, and of course it’s different for everyone. 

The daffodils are coming, and the wild garlic is growing down by the river. Spring always comes, this year will be no different, and perhaps we will welcome it and notice the small things even more, and strive to seek the blessings in everything.  

I salute ALL the women of the world.

May you be strong.

May you be loved.

May you love yourself, and may you know your own strength and value to making a better world. 

This is your virtual hug, and soon we will be supporting, connecting, hugging and speaking together in person and I for one can’t wait.