International Women's Day - This isn't one day to celebrate, it's something that should happen every day

On International Women’s Day today, I have wanted to do a Rosie the Riveter fist pump. One of my most profound memories as a child is running down the stairs in the morning, getting to the bottom and doing the Rosie the Riveter stance and fist pump at the poster of her. I did this every day for a good 10 years! It always set me up well for the day and gave me a bit of ‘ooomph’.

As one of about 30% of women who are on the crew of the 17-18 Clipper Race, International Women’s Day is very relevant for me and my challenge of sailing round the world. However, I don’t think it’s as big a deal as people make it out to be. Yes, I could talk about not being able to wash my hair or my clothes, or dealing with various problems while on a boat that only females have to deal with. However, I think that the achievement I am going to feel is irrelevant of whether I am a woman or not.

I think this attitude I have is mainly due to my upbringing and not being too led by peer pressure when growing up. Of course there were, and still are times, when I think I should dress a certain way or behave to fit in, but in general I think I have always known my own mind and tried to stick with my beliefs and principles.

I think this links into my view on IWD. I am a very strong believer in equal rights for women. I definitely would have been a suffragette, Donald Trump appals me, the fact that only 9% of CEO positions globally are held by women makes me sad and that two women a week still die at the hands of a partner or former partner in England and Wales is beyond horrendous. There is clearly so much still to be done, despite the amazing things that have already been achieved. However my theory is that things will start changing in childhood and through the education of both boys and girls, men and women, not through one specific day once a year.

One of the most shocking things I have read in all the media around IWD is that girls start to see themselves as ‘less talented’ than boys at the age of six. How on earth did this happen? How do we ever think that things are really fundamentally going to change if girls are starting to underestimate themselves from as young as six? And why is that? I believe that this will only ever change if we start instilling values in children, girls and boys, at a young age. All children need to be brought up with the mantra that people are people, regardless of sex.

I have experienced many times in my life when I have thought, “would that have happened if I was a boy?” whether this is being overlooked at work, being leered at in the street or people assuming I’m gay because I choose to play sport, but I have tried not to let any of this really bother me. I know what I want to achieve – I want to achieve something different. I want to stand out, and I want to be fulfilled and happy. And only you can make these things happen for yourself, they don’t just happen by accident! So I am proud on International Women’s Day to be a woman, I am proud of the adventure I am about to embark on, but as far as I am concerned, the world is my oyster and I need to grab life by the balls and make the most of every minute. Every day.