Of course, I couldn't let this day pass without marking it somehow. A few years ago, we might have believed that women were getting closer to the goal of equality. Events of the last few years, though, have reinforced and re-highlighted how, even in a supposedly 'advanced' society like Australia, women are still getting the raw end of the deal. No doubt there will be the usual questions like 'Why isn't there an international men's day?' The answer to that question is, of course, every day is international men's day. The reason we mark International Women's Day is because:
There is still a pay disparity with men receiving 15.3% more than women for an average full time salary
On average, women receive just over half of the superannuation that men do
1 in 2 women have experienced sexual harrassment in their lifetime
Most upaid carers are women
Women are the face of poverty world wide
Most of the unpaid work around the house is done by women
1 in 3 women have experienced sexual or physical abuse since the age of 15
1 in 5 women have experienced violence by a partner since the age of 15
and of course, Australia still has one woman a week dying at the hands of a partner or ex-partner.
We have seen some awful discrimination against women in our society in the last few years. For example: the whole women in parliament problem which filters down and is manifest in situations like the rape culture in private schools, with private school boys also posting images of their naked classmates online.
Yes, we have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go. And while our politicians, the majority of whom are rich white blokes, continue to avoid doing anything, it will continue to be a two-step forwards, three steps back situation. Paolo Friere, an exiled Brazilian wrote a book in 1968 titled Pedagogy of the Oppressed. In it, he consistently says that it must be the oppressed who make the change. Obviously...the power brokers are hardly likely to willingly relinquish their control for the sake of equality. And the power brokers are men. So its up to us, ladies.
In the last few years, we have seen some amazing strong, brave women fighting for women's rights: Grace Tame, Brittany Higgins, Julie Banks, Lisa Holgate, and more. Their collective resolve to 'not be silent' and 'block the bias' is inspiring. So what can we do? Well, this is an election year. Just over half of us are women. We can, if we wish, send a very strong message to those rich white blokes in government. Watch Miss Represented. Be informed. Don't be silent, keep pushing for equality and help to create a fairer and more sustainable world.
I will be discussing these and many other issues in a book which should be published by next month. Till then, stay tuned.