teh day of teh wimins #IWD

This is a great quote from a 19-year-old protesting in Tahrir Square earlier this year that was in Foreign Policy recently:

‘There are no differences between men and women here … We are all one hand.’

Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.  Yes, that’s right.  We’ve been fighting for equity and celebrating  incremental achievements for a century.

And as we cover our Twitter profile images with purple Twibbons and go to fancy breakfasts and muse on the insightful (cough) comments made on last night’s IWD-themed Q&A, it occurred to me how important it is that the fight for equity and the celebration of achievements shouldn’t happen on just one day a year.  It’s like Valentine’s Day, I reckon — if you’re into the lovey dovey stuff, shouldn’t you celebrate it every day?

Is it because of the F-word?

While I didn’t watch more than 3 minutes of Q& A last night, but I did see my favourite Conservatroll make reference to a straw-poll from which she concluded that ‘young girls are not finding feminism attractive’.

Even if Aunty Jan is right there, I wonder if maybe that could be the case because Tories like her, whose voices are somehow louder and get more airtime, continue to suggest that women and men ARE on equal footing and that women are ‘opting out’ of high-flying careers/board positions because they want to.

‘Feminists’, meanwhile, are painted as being out of touch (and unattractive?) and whining about issues that aren’t problems any more.

Here’s the thing, right: the facts and the stats speak for themselves, but Kate Ellis said it pretty well last night:

… on your question about why are the numbers so low, what’s stopping women, frankly I think it’s not that we need to stick with merit based appointments. We don’t have merit based appointments. If you think we do then you’re effectively saying that there aren’t more than 8.4 per of women out there with merit, which I think is rubbish.

I’m not going to get into the arguments about the structural issues that lead to women to ‘choosing’ to quit their jobs and drop out of the pipeline to leadership positions or the fact that in 2011 our national ‘broadsheet’ splashes on their front page that the Premier of Tasmania is (shock horror) single, or how this country’s Paid ‘Parental’ Leave policy is aimed at letting mother’s bond with their children and forgets that men can be parents too.

I just want to say that there is nothing wrong with being a feminist.

There is nothing hideous with wanting equity and thinking it’s OK for girls to have the same opportunities as boys.

There is nothing uncool about these boys from Sydney Boys High School who’re championing gender equality among themselves.

What IS wrong is that Hillary Clinton was told she could never be a trial lawyer because she didn’t have a wife.

What IS hideous is that in some countries girls in their teens have no choice other than to drop out of school and let go of their dreams because their parents are dead, missing, or too poor to look after them so they have to get married.

What IS uncool is that if the Coalition was in charge at the moment, dads who wanted to stay at home with their kids would get their ‘parental’ leave entitlements  paid out at the mum’s salary, which would probably be lower because men get paid more than women do.

I adore this quote from Jezabel on the ‘lack’ of female comedians being chosen for SXSW:

You can blame women for not coming out in droves to attack a system that constantly undermines them and their talent or you can change the fucking system.

As I pointed out in my whinge about gender-roles on the ABC’s Unleashed last month, both women and men (as the Sydney Boys know) need to work together if we’re ever going to get close to gender equality.

Annabel Crabb has a great post on The Drum today that makes me want to cheer and clap:

I think it’s a pity that lots of fathers who would love to have more time with their children feel they can’t ask, because of some mad workplace culture that confines them in some atavistic hunter gatherer mind-set.

I think it’s a pity that when we think about women and work, it’s often about how we can do more work at work, when the other half of the equation – how better to share the work at home – is still so unresolved.

“Choose your spouse wisely,” is what Pru Goward once told me, when dispensing – as she still does – advice on how to “do” family and career.

Can I get a ‘hell yes’?

I worked with a Senior Associate whose husband quit his job to take their gorgeous baby girl to swimming lessons and play groups. HELL YES.  And as I’m getting older I’m realising that I’m at that stage were lots of my friends are settling down, getting married, and having little people.  Turns out that I know heaps of awesome young couples who are working together to raise their kids. MORE HELL YES.

Gender equity isn’t something that just benefits women. It benefits everyone in our community, and communities around the world.  And that’s why everyone in our community needs to work together to get there.