There is a huge issue in Australia that affects more than 50% of us (whether we recognise it or not) every.single.day.
Now before I go on, let’s just talk about some facts.
Fact- men are physically stronger than women.
Fact- only 3.5% of ASX200 CEOs are female. (i)
Fact- on average, women earn 17% less than their make counterparts in Aus. (ii)
…and I haven’t even started on the domestic violence figures.
Still think we don’t need feminism? That’s okay- I used to be like you. I used to think we needed equality between the genders- and as a mother to a little boy I am well aware of the challenges faced by the opposite gender.
But then I learnt the difference between equality, and equal opportunity.
I spent the first twelve months of my career working in the nations capital, which is renowned for being run by men in blue ties. And let me tell you, it is.
We used to joke about it, and I was told over and over again about how it is because the women CHOOSE to stay at home with the kids, or choose to not take the promotion, or the men are simply smarter…
I also saw two very competent women go on maternity leave, and be pushed out of their positions. I witnessed a very senior staff member joke with new female staff that they better not get pregnant. I saw males offered positions over their female counterparts and said women being credited their position due to sexual favours.
Although I knew at the time that it wasn’t quite right, I never truly recognised that it was wrong.
And, at the risk of sounding defensive, none of it was intentional. It is all just so embedded into the culture, it just was and in many ways that’s worse! Not just by the men either, some of the women were just as bad at victimising their female peers. And I feel for them too, because it was really bloody tough to join that ‘boys club’.
I definitely agree that it was not all men, heck not even a majority of men. It was a small minority of powerful individuals mixed with a following of people unaware that it should be any different.
But it should be.
I remember the moment I realised I was a feminist. I was rushing home from work to get my son from daycare, and I was sitting on the train scrolling through Twitter when I stumbled across the hashtag #questionsformen and I thought to myself boy, I’ve got a few questions myself. Like why, in my younger days, was I called a slut if I decided not to put out, or why am I always asked where my son is all day whilst I am at work whilst my husband has never had that question in his life, or why am I judged on my appearance before anything else?
And, as many middle aged men would say, I was triggered.
I deserve better. You deserve better. Your sister, mother, girlfriend, daughter. I realised that we deserve better.
I don’t want to hear anymore excuses about why I should accept being second class. I don’t want to be told that I should accept a lower wage because I decided to have children (yep, that happened). I don’t want to be told that feminists are too aggressive and should take a more passive approach (bullshit!). And I don’t want to be told what a feminist should look like by (perhaps well-intended) middle aged white men who have NEVER experienced sexism in their life.
I am a feminist and THIS is what a feminist looks like:
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