I’m about to have the answer to life, the universe and everything. I’ll be turning 42 this week and, thanks to my love of sci-fi and Douglas Adams, it’s a significant number. I’m worried that it won’t actually be an epiphany for me because I’m more unsure of some of the fundamentals of life than at any point in my existence. It’s the first birthday I’ll be celebrating since learning about some discomforting developments in the world. Language is changing, feminism is fracturing and women are finding their voices are even less powerful than they used to be.
I have two young children, a boy and a girl, and I want the world they grow up in to be the best it can be for them. I have started to question my identity as a woman and my place in the world. Where I fit into my politics and how I can stand by my scientific knowledge and understanding in the face of confusion, obfuscation and political activism by people whose motivation I don’t understand but who are insisting I accept their truth when every bit of my being insists they can’t be right.
I’m not being set upon by a religious cult, though sometimes it feels like it. I’m simply trying to understand what it means to be a woman in the UK in 2016 and the answers I’m uncovering are not at all what I expected to find.