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International Women’s Day 2015: MAKE IT HAPPEN

How would you feel if you were insulted by your partner on your birthday? Not wonderful? I didn’t think so. All Australian women should feel insulted by the Queensland LNP Women holding their International Women’s Day event at a “Men Only” club.

Now, I’ve read, very carefully, Peta Simpson’s rationale for holding the event at that venue. I agree with some of the points Simpson makes. I still think it as a highly inappropriate choice of venue given the battle for equality is far from over.

It pales into insignificance, however, against this behaviour of one Hani Al Seba’i, a London based “scholar” (very questionable description, if you ask me) who felt it was beneath him to be interviewed by a woman.

There is our own Minister for Women, who spent the day waltzing around with, well, a lot of blokes.

He did manage to thank women for contributing to the economy, families and Australia later in the day.

Cute, huh? I’m surprised he didn’t mention the ironing.

Past PM Julia Gillard’s words were much more appropriate for International Women’s Day.

31 million girls still denied an education. Remember Malala Yousafzai? Malala is the young Pakastani girl shot in the head by the Taliban for seeking her right, the right of an education. This is the sort of thing International Women’s Day is meant to be about. Making It Happen.

Make It Happen is the theme of International Women’s Day 2015.

All around the world, International Women’s Day represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality.

Make It Happen is the 2015 theme for our internationalwomensday.com global hub, encouraging effective action for advancing and recognising women.

I am sure Hani Al Seba’i feels such a day is beneath him. He needs to pay a little more attention to the life of Aisha.

I’ve now been alive almost sixty years and watched education and employment opportunities for women in western countries grow dramatically. Yet still humanity has a warped attitude to women. Speaking While Female says a lot about society’s attitudes, even in 2015 in western countries. In a meeting the other day I found myself saying “I would like to finish, please.”

When male employees contributed ideas that brought in new revenue, they got significantly higher performance evaluations. But female employees who spoke up with equally valuable ideas did not improve their managers’ perception of their performance. Also, the more the men spoke up, the more helpful their managers believed them to be. But when women spoke up more, there was no increase in their perceived helpfulness.

Why is this? In 2015. In a supposedly “equal” society. We aren’t there yet. I remember teaching Mr O Jnr 1 to say “please” to his sisters. His initial response? “I don’t have to say please to her, she’s my sister”. Well, mate, “get me a drink” doesn’t work in this house! Different cultures, different perspectives even today. He has now watched his countrywoman, Chimamanda Adichie, of course. Mandatory viewing for young men in this house!

Thoroughly enjoyable was Annabel Crabb’s essay on feminism, I’m proud to be a feminist despite my regular lapses. I particularly liked her take on high heels, although I am not as enamoured of aprons! Annabel is hosting Q & A tonight which I will be making a point of watching as it is an all-woman panel in honour of International Women’s Day.

Back to Simpson’s point about there not being an International Men’s Day.

“But how can we celebrate international women’s day knowing that there’s not an international men’s day – and then when the men do want to have something that’s for themselves, we can’t respect it?”

I think we should have an International Men’s Day. There are many issues that affect men that we could do well to focus on. Men’s physical and mental health are just two examples.

I am not particularly against any clubs being men only or women only – as I have always said, equality does not mean sameness. Men and women are not the same, get over it. Sometimes it is good to have a space just for “us”, whether “we” be men or women. The privilege should not be abused, as has happened so often throughout history. “Men only” was used, and still is in many cultures, as a way to exclude women from participating in political and  commercial life.

Back at Monash University in the 1980’s there was a Women’s Room, but no Men’s Room. In my naivety at the time, I refused to use the Women’s Room as I felt there should be one for men too. I didn’t realise back then the treatment some women were subjected to venturing into the corridors of male dominated higher education. Now more women graduate university than men – but women still earn less. We needed some positive discrimination to redress the wrongs of millenia. Even so, I think there could be much to be gained from an International Men’s Day, provided we leave the military “boys toys” out of it and concentrate on meaningful enhancements to men’s lives. Better work-life balance, health, relationships. Men could use such an event to educate other men about preventing family violence. Edit: There IS an International Men’s Day, November 19. I’ve learnt something today!

Women are roughly fifty percent of the global population. Any man who does not accept women as equal is either uneducated, more than a little crazy, suffering an inferiority complex or all of the aforementioned. Yes, religion has a lot to answer for, but given religion is a social construct essentially “constructed” by men, the responsibility lies at the feet of men for the historical subjugation of women.  Yet women allowed it to happen – how and why I will never understand.

Let’s MAKE IT HAPPEN together. Women and men. Together.

Or we could just do what the women of Iceland did. They went on strike.

Iceland’s men were barely coping. Most employers did not make a fuss of the women disappearing but rather tried to prepare for the influx of overexcited youngsters who would have to accompany their fathers to work. Some went out to buy sweets and gathered pencils and papers in a bid to keep the children occupied. Sausages, the favourite ready meal of the time, sold out in supermarkets and many husbands ended up bribing older children to look after their younger siblings. Schools, shops, nurseries, fish factories and other institutions had to shut down or run at half-capacity.

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6 comments on “International Women’s Day 2015: MAKE IT HAPPEN

  1. Hi Robyn, yes, very similar to my thoughts. Feel betrayed by our PM for Women.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. To have an International Men’s Day is an excellent idea, Robyn. Peter and I are looking forward to watch Q & A tonight! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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