Look up the dictionary definition of rant and this is what you find:
“speak or shout at length in an angry, impassioned way.”
The following words are synonyms: outburst, bombast, tirade, rage, bluster, histrionics.
When one feels strongly about a subject, as many do nowadays on social media, it can seem like a rant.
This is not a rant.
This is an explosion of frustration that this week, the week which celebrates all that is great about being a woman, I am still hearing arguments around the value of International Women’s Day.
This week, in March 2017, I find people harking back to the good old days when men were men and women were women and never the twain shall meet.
Today, the day after #IWD2017, I read a tribute to the wife of one of the most corrupt despots Australian politics has ever known. I’m sure Lady Flo is a lovely woman but she stood by whilst her husband ruled with ignorance, ego and blind ambition for over 25 years. Come on Barnaby Joyce, what are you thinking!!
This morning, I laugh sadly with a girlfriend over the exchange she had with a woman, a woman for heaven’s sake, who asked her if she was out buying the coffee for the blokes back in the office. My girlfriend is a highly intelligent, senior manager for a large international company who has also worked bloody hard to get there and, with her very supportive husband, raise 2 beautiful children whilst she’s at it.
I shake my head that women I know and respect, still can’t see the point of celebrating all that is good about feminism and the utterly human lens it puts over this tired old world. That they feel the need to ask “where is International Men’s Day”, which for the record is on November 19, as if equality is as simple as each gender having a day!
Feminism is about choice and a fair go for everyone. But the facts around women’s equality even in this enlightened age, are sobering. It’s these facts that hold me accountable and declare myself as a proud feminist.
I am a proud feminist because the ABS Personal Safety Survey conducted in 2012 shows that of the total victims of partner violence since the age of 15, 23 per cent were men and 77 per cent were women.
I am a proud feminist because even in workplaces where a large majority of the workforce is female, like health and education, a large majority of CEOs are male. Granted there is larger balance in the next level down where the number of women executives is generally much closer to those of their male colleagues. But this is tempered by the types of roles they hold.
Marian Baird, professor of gender and employment relations at the University of Sydney Business School, said that whilst these numbers are encouraging, the roles are generally more in human resources, communications or public relations as opposed to the finance and operations management roles that typically go through to the C suite.
I am a proud feminist because there are less large Australian companies (ASX 200) run by women (19) than are run by men named John (32).
Or Peter (32).
Or David (21).
I am a proud feminist because according to UNESCO, two-thirds of the 774 million illiterate people in the world are female.
That’s over 518 million people.
Educating women reduces maternal death rates, improves childhood nutrition, reduces child marriage rates, and significantly reduces child birth rates. One in eight girls is married by the age of 15 in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia, and one in seven has given birth by the age of 17. These facts are from 2013; a mere 4 years ago. Education improves employment rates and leads to reduction in pay gaps.
I am a proud feminist because in Australia, the current national gender pay gap is 16.2% and has hovered between 15% and 19% for the past two decades.
There is a favourable pay gap towards men in every single industry in Australia.
Every single industry.
Ironically, as with senior leadership, some of the highest gender pay gaps can be found in traditionally female dominated industries including health care and social assistance. And it tends to be much larger in the private sector than in the public sector.
There is a gender pay gap favouring full-time working men over full-time working women in every occupational category.
Every occupational category.
And don’t even get me started on the irony of a group of middle-aged male American political animals making decisions about what a woman can do to her body.
Or that most of the war on this planet is endorsed and encouraged by the patriarchy.
Mostly I am a proud feminist because I am mother to 2 wonderful young women, who are blessed to know a whole heap of other wonderful young men and women, who believe that equality is important, that they all have choice, and that they can be the change they want to see in the world.
While we continue to fight, while we continue to celebrate #IWD, we are blazing a path for the future together.