A Reflection of International Women’s Day

Do you remember when we had our first female Prime minister? Perhaps you remember what she wore and the way her hips looked in her outfit?

When we all celebrated international women’s day and reflected on how far we have come, it somehow became about a traffic light that depicted a man…or a woman in pants? This is what our message to our daughters has become. People want to do something different with a traffic light? Go for it, but media and society love to cause a stir and make what should be a celebration of inspirational women into a day of incessant whining and controversy. Sorry, but look at White Ribbon Day. A day which recognises domestic violence against women and encourages us all to come together to say “No”. How is that controversial? Somehow it always is because men get hurt too. Of course they do. But give these women this day. Stand up for them without argument, for at least one day.

When contemplating this topic I looked at my children and thought, in this day and age – what can my son do that my daughter cannot? Well. Nothing. But, my son does not have an expiry date and my daughter does. Equal pay is just the beginning, and it really doesn’t summarise the way women as a whole are viewed in society. I don’t classify myself as a feminist and to be honest, I don’t care what is on a traffic signal. Just tell me when to cross the damn road.

Why are we not celebrating Malala, a woman who is contributing and fighting for the right to education, or is she just another Muslim not worth our conversation. This is not a religious or race issue, this is about what we value and why.

Models are beautiful and unattainably so, and those of us who have surpassed the 25 year old mark look at clothes and cosmetics on 16 year olds. We as a culture idealise their beauty and once we wrinkle or sag we are no longer valued. We are constantly bombarded by imagery to sell youth, but youth has a time limit. I don’t want my daughter to be valued by her looks, her smooth skin or her long luscious hair. I want her to be valued for her contribution to society. Her brains, strength,  intelligence and the hilarious sense of humour she gained from her mother.

Sit and watch an hour of television. Think about your perception. What do you note about the female presenter who is NOT fresh out of university? Maybe she’s looking a little old, a little tired or a little plump. The male presenter? Well, he’s very well spoken and he knows his stuff. Can my daughter play football, work as a mechanic or run this big old country? Yes she can. But can she do this without being assessed on her sexuality, looks and clothing choices? The closest men ever got to this inequality is those memes of Tony Abbott in his speedos. And he brought that on himself.

Why do we feel this way? This is inequality and it’s all in our minds. It’s not real. We have it good in Australia. Very good. Young women are facing forced marriage and female genital mutilation while we are sitting back laughing at YouTube videos of people we don’t remember the names of. “How bout dat?” You tell me.

This week we hear of Kate Ellis, an Adelaide woman and member for Labor. She’s also a mother who has chosen her child over Canberra. Yes, women want equal pay and equal opportunity – but many (not all, and that’s cool too) of us want to have children. And we shouldn’t feel ashamed because we make this choice. Working is hard. But so is being a parent. It’s not a debate, it’s called doing what’s best for yourself and your own situation.

Burn the bra? No, let’s not. I appreciate the support and I don’t care who invented it. Although rumour has it that it was a woman.

We aren’t there yet but we are pretty lucky in this country. How about next year we have more  celebration and less whining. And, for the record there is such a thing as International Men’s Day, it’s November 19th 2017.

Tell me about a female who inspired you?

6 thoughts on “A Reflection of International Women’s Day

  1. Great article. How very poignant…especially in the era of a social media/fake news cycle. Let me add by saying I have just recently watched the movie Lion and not only was this Australian/Indian film a true story but also a warm, wonderful experience. Nicole Kidman’s performance was sublime and worthy of recognition. So, why are people still talking about the way she was clapping awkwardly at the Academy Awards instead of the way she acted in this film?? Hmmm.

  2. Women are inspiring.
    Many years ago when I had just left High School I applied for a job at the local Cement Works. This was in 1977. Needless to say I was unsuccessful and was told it was because I was a girl. In those days there was no such thing as Discrimination. I am so happy this has changed and a job in male dominated industries can be filled by whoever is suitable for the job, not just because the applicant is male.
    I work in the Health industry and see many male Nurses whom are wonderful workers.
    The females who did the hard yards standing up to society and were stubbon in their choice of career, I have so much respect and admiration for them. They rock!!!

  3. Why is it that if men develop grey hair they look distinguished but a woman is perceived as frumpy?
    Why is it when Jesse applied for a job as a motor mechanic the interviewer said “”but you are a girl”by the way she got the job on merits.
    I feel we are all equal on this earth men & woman can do any job they set their mind to but oh! I can only dream of equal pay for all.
    As for the woman figure on the traffic lights never really noticed I just see red or green.Are some people so bored that they have to think up these ridiculous ideas I am so over this political correctness rubbish!

  4. I cannpt believe what an uproar about the little man in the traffic lights. I have never given it a thought as to it is male, why isn’t it a female person….blah, blah. For all my life, I have seen it as a stick person, no gender whatsoever. Honestly, people need to look at other things to jump on.

    All I care about is getting across that road safely 🙂 .

    I can’t particularly thnk of a female that has inspired me except my mum who taught me so many things that I have taken into my future.

  5. I would have to say my mum inspires me, she always used her brain and tried to plan things out and would think of others and help them. It’s hard to describe someone like that, you just feel how they are.
    Great article and certainly something to think about, and motivating too!

  6. Anna, loved your article, so great to read inspiring writing. We’ve come a long way as women. I feel so proud of my femail ancestors many of whom fought for women to have the vote, yes I’ve seen their names on a petition from early last century. It’s so wonderful to know that women can do anything, including if they want to be a full time Mum.

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