Tag Archives: IWD

Year of activism #9

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is generation equality. Can’t help feeling the ambition in this one!

Let’s start with infanticide and selective sex abortion. This practice continues and shows up even when hidden and outlawed when a disproportionate number of females are visible at population levels.

Then let’s look at going to school and who gets educated. You don’t have to be in Taliban land to see this at work. In my own experience, in a number of families I went to school with boys were sent to the more exclusive schools while their sisters were sent to schools with lower costs and less status. Less investment in educating girls. We know educating women and girls is the fastest way to increase GDP and slow population growth – two good arguments to support the climate emergency too.

Then we come to world of work. Australian women are still esrninv 21% less than the average weekly earnings of men. Despite consistently kept our number #1 status in ‘Educational attainment’, in the World Economic Forum report on eve of 2020, Australia is ranked #44 in the world for gender equality, dropping year after year now for more than a decade.

Women are still doing more than their male counterparts in the home – physical and emotional labour – from child rearing and caring through to caring for the seniors and those with extra needs. This is one giant generational equality area being addressed with more men taking parenting leave. Highly recommended reading is The Wife Drought on this topic. For years I used to fantasize about a wife, a research assistant and a driver being the perfect team to support me as a parent and partner.

I could go on and on and I am sure readers are making their own lists.

Being a feminist is my anchor as an activist. It is so easy to apply a gender lens as an everyday practice. You don’t need a PhD in gender studies (although proud to say I have a daughter with one) you just need to notice and ask a question and before you know it you have taken a step towards solidarity with other women and begun disrupting the patriarchy.

For me this is a practice and it needs the discipline of a practice. To pop.a gender lens over the inequality and inequities we see usually unearths variables and surprises previously invisible. There is a treasure trove of structural examples of this in Caroline Criado Perez’s book Invisible Women. With a forensic examination of the application of data for design she exposes the dangers, including death for women.

On this International Women’s Day I am remembering all the women who have gone before me to get the vote, who have created learning opportunities, cared for my children, offered me friendship, a roof over my head, who have held me and listened to my tears and frustrations, who have given me opportunities and advice, who have been my friends. I have no sisters or aunts or cousins and bereft of many women in the family excepting my mother, two daughters, four neices, and sisters-in-law I want to celebrate my women friends who continue to bless me with acts of solidarity and come from across all generations. Viva the sisterhood!

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Promises to Tomorrow #10 Glue


Beyond gathering people together, or hosting a party or a meeting with family, friends, peers, colleagues … there is a moment when the group has the potential to tip into becoming a community. What are the magic ingredients being sprinkled in those moments when people feel connected more deeply than before ? The common cause? The common place? Is it the recognition in each other’s eyes that they are made of the same stuff, share the same dreams and are inspired to follow the same path?

In the choir on Monday night the sub-groups of tenors, sopranos, basses and altos bring their contribution to make a whole sound with the conductor overlaying his own joy to fuse it together. There is something about glue that turns random people into community. In my experience the glue is something other than the people, although it can indeed be manifest in flesh and blood. The adhesive quality of a sound, a mission, a place, a cause is powerful and transcends often the more familiar fixatives of colour, class and creed. Many of us know the power of coming together around trees being felled, human rights being violated or the colours of a favoured football team.

Being held together creates some kind of container in the stadium or in the park – and now in the virtual world containers like on line petitions, facebook and twitter bind communities together even when people may not have met one another. There is still glue here – the synaptic paths strengthened by digital ones. Holding these spaces for communities to deepen relies on the same techniques of support, encouragement and friendship and indeed some of these spaces become an experience of community in real life as well. Invariably though there are still glue people who are like zygotes who are cells in themselves or with a few friends who together hold all the potentiality of the DNA to made a new community or indeed even drive a movement. They join together and become the yoke that binds everyone together as they almost disappear into the new entity.

During this week of celebrating International Women’s Day I have been thinking about those women who on March 8 in 1917 rose up in their textile factory in Petrograd in what was then the Russian Empire and set the wheels in motion for the abdication of the Tsar (Nicholas II) and women were granted the right to vote – in 1975 the United Nations adopted the day March 8 as the International Day and so beyond socialist and communist countries, women’s rights as human rights took on a bigger canvas. The theme for 2017 is Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.

My promise to tomorrow is to be zygotic, find glue people and support communities to go beyond their invisible borders to grow into their best selves, and along the way be 3nourished and empowered myself. I am intrigued that the word glue comes from the Latin gluten and being gluten free in this endeavour will not be an option if we want to stick together.


        Glue and Zygotes a long way from Petrograd , Adelaide IWD 25th Anniversary Breakfast 10 March 2017