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!Continue reading