International Womens Day
Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.
Gloria Steinem, 1969
I love how old-fashioned this Gloria Steinem quote seems today. Women’s lives have changed dramatically over the past forty years.
This is especially true here in Australia, where women and men of my generation have grown up as equals.
Our notions of being held back are focused inward. We are self-reliant, independent and act with genuine ambition on our own terms. We are free to make our own choices, and spend our lives with people who encourage them.
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Today is a day to reflect on the progress made towards equality for women, but it is also a day to consider the road ahead.
We know that women are innovators who are increasingly making a serious impact in industry and in business.
This is backed up by findings of the first national survey of women business owners and female entrepreneurs released this week.
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We can vote, work and get an education. We can give birth or make the considered choice not to. We can marry, get divorced, have a public voice and write under our own names.
Compared with the lives of many women that marched through the streets of New York City in 1908, planting the seeds for the first ever International Women’s Day, we’re living in another dimension.
So what are we celebrating more than one hundred years later? And what are the real issues affecting the majority of Australian women today? Here’s what you, our readers, said yesterday.
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The nation was stunned by the gruesome triple homicide in Kapunda last year. A husband, wife and their 16 year old daughter were each butchered by multiple stab wounds in their otherwise peaceful rural home. Also shocking was the neighbour who heard repeated screams of “help, help” and stated that he heard a woman who “sounded desperate to get away from someone” decided against calling the police. He believed it was probably just a domestic dispute.
On this, the 100th International Women’s Day, our country now has a female Prime Minister. We have a female Governor General. Three of the seven justices of the High Court are women.
These are some pretty good statistics. Here are some more: In Australia today one in three women experience physical violence after the age of fifteen. One in five experience sexual violence.
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Today marks the hundredth anniversary of International Women’s Day. It is an occasion to celebrate the achievements of women, to reflect on how far women have progressed on the journey towards equality in the last century, but also to recognise that significant challenges remain, here and abroad.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is “Female Leadership and Political Participation” and, on this score, Australia has much to celebrate. One hundred years ago, we were one of only three countries in the world that could boast women’s suffrage.
The significance of this achievement is evident when one reflects that Kuwait’s Parliament extended suffrage to women in 2005 and only then by a 35-23 vote, and in Saudi Arabia women are still deprived of voting rights.
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I don’t think Germaine Greer would like my friends.
The woman who personifies the feminist movement of the 70s and makes every wife willing to iron her husband’s shirts feel like a feminist-traitor would certainly frown on my little circle of Mummy-friends.
Especially on International Women’s Day.
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With today being International Women’s Day, there will be millions of men around the world thinking – “This is so sexist! Where is my International Man’s Day?”
Heck, I used to be one of those people. I used to think that all the affirmative discrimination was sexist, backward and downright wrong. For my male friends nodding your head in agreement, I challenge you to read on, and to watch the above clip.
It has only been in recent years that my stubborn mindset has changed. I happily admit that I am no expert on this issue, but you don’t need to be an expert to realise that things need to change.
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