This is a Man’s World


A Scots/English poem may be an unusual start of a blog post, but do bear with me it will all become clear.


By Liz Lochhead – Poetry

it wis January
and a gey dreich day
the first day Ah went to the school
so my Mum happed me up in ma
good navy-blue napp coat wi the rid tartan hood
birled a scarf aroon ma neck
pu’ed oan ma pixie an’ my pawkies
it wis that bitter
said noo ye’ll no starve
gie’d me a wee kiss and a kid-oan skelp oan the bum
and sent me aff across the playground
tae the place Ah’d learn to say
it was January
and a really dismal day
the first day I went to school
so my mother wrapped me up in my
best navy-blue top coat with the red tartan hood,
twirled a scarf around my neck,
pulled on my bobble-hat and mittens
it was so bitterly cold
said now you won’t freeze to death
gave me a little kiss and a pretend slap on the bottom
to the place I’d learn to forget to say
it wis January
and a gey dreich day
the first day Ah went to the school
so my Mum happed me up in ma
good navy-blue napp coat wi the rid tartan hood,
birled a scarf aroon ma neck,
pu’ed oan ma pixie an’ ma pawkies
it wis that bitter.

Oh saying it was one thing
but when it came to writing it
in black and white
the way it had to be said
was as if you were posh, grown-up, male, English and dead



The final words of this poem came to me this week after reading Kiran’s post on why she won’t let trolls silence her. She entitled the post ‘These words of mine, this voice of mine’. It made me think about female voices in general and female voices in public in particular. Hence the poem, where the female poet is expressing her feelings about using a voice alien to her to express her thoughts and feelings – a male voice.


Following this train of thought my mind focused on a charity I recently became aware of, namely Womankind. This wonderful organisation helps women realise they have rights and a voice which they can use to improve their lives. They help women fight with causes of violence in their communities (inequality and patriarchy among others) and make individual women aware they can leave a violent marriage. Womankind lends it’s voice and expertise to help local women’s rights organisations be seen by wider audience. They also help at root level offering legal aid to rape victims, fight for justice of women murdered by their partners and families and strive to change attitudes to female genital mutilation.


Reading their website, visualising what horrible things happen to women worldwide just because they are women, brings tears to my eyes.


What Womankind highlights in their fight with the injustice and violence against women is the lack of voice. The fact that women often can’t decide about their fate (forced marriage for example), about their community, receive justice for violence done to them because the local value system is patriarchal and denies them right to have a voice.


All this really made me think of all those young girls, tweenagers, not only being denied childhood through forced marriages, but also not being able to experience the joy of willing motherhood. They have children, to their health and life’s peril, when their bodies and minds are not ready for it. They will never be able to experience the joy we take for granted, the joy of choosing to be a mother. They will also not be able to decide how many children they will go on to have.


Organisations like Womankind help to fight these practices, and support girls who managed to escape this system by providing refuges where they are protected from their enraged families (potentially wanting them killed for destroying family honour through refusal of forced marriage).


If you can give a gift to a woman who needs help, because she does not believe this is a man’s world. Give a gift to a woman who believes she has a right to live on her terms and not be dictated what to do by men in her life.

Brilliant blog posts on

Super Busy Mum