I opened up my search engine and there was a Google Doodle of a woman I didn’t instantly recognise. Me being a pretty aware feminist and all had to check out who this sister was. And it was Edith Cavell. Still I drew a blank. So, a few clicks later and now I know she was a famous nurse of the First World War who helped the wounded from all armies and who helped British soldiers escape from Belgium. She met a particularly gruesome end when she was accused of being a spy by the Germans and executed.
I felt a bit rubbish to be honest that I hadn’t known of poor Edith instantly. But then maybe there are a few English and Belgian feminists who wouldn’t recognise Margaret Skinnider instantly, so I didn’t beat myself up too much.
But anyway, fair play to Google. Writing in women’s history is a good thing and it certainly expanded my knowledge.
But then I remembered the small matter of their staff globally walking out in protest last month at how the company does not deal with allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace. That made headlines across the world, and in the year of Me Too, and the anniversary of partial women’s suffrage, was a particularly bad look.
So, for the promotion of that good old egg Edith to look something other than, well, cynical, they would need to get their jeans wearing house in order. And then, once they start paying their billions in taxes, I can consider them cool. But, you know, thanks for the history lesson Google.
And that brings me nicely onto the poor organisers of the Ballon D’Or. There they were getting their Brasso out for their halos, having a Ballon D’Or for the world’s best woman footballer, a first and in the year that is in it a great move forward.
They even hired a famous DJ to compere the evening, Martin Solveig. Now when I say famous in 2011 he was ranked 29 in DJ Mag’s World’s Top 100 DJ’s. Considering how many DJ’s there are in the world this is not to be sniffed at.
So basically, the format was simple. Fabulous international women soccer players get nominated to this prestigious award for the first time ever. Everyone pats themselves on the back for this history making moment. Woman who wins comes to platform, thanks her mammy, daddy, manager and everyone who knows her, job done.
Not for Martin. No. He opens the envelope and sees Ada Hederberg’s name. Ada plays for Lyon, who are (if you need me a football reference points) incidentally currently the Barcelona of the women’s game, and Norway. Martin sees this as the perfect moment to ask in front of the crowd of her peers, including Modric, Ronaldo and Messi, if she twerks. Ada, without a beat, gave him a withering look, said “No”, and walked off with her trophy.
Of course, there was a storm of protest and of course Martin did the apology that is not an apology “if I caused offence then I am sorry”.
So instead of us having replays of Ada’s finest moments on the pitch, which we were treated to when Luca Modric won the men’s Ballon, all we will remember Ada for is her withering look.
As things change so much remains the same.