It’s International Women’s Day and on 702 (ABC radio station in Sydney), James Valentine is talking about make up. Granted, he’s talking to Paula Begoun, author of Don’t go to the cosmetics counter without me, and she’s talking about how the cosmetics industry just sells crap that doesn’t work to women, but still… there’s something flippant about saying ‘ooh, it’s International Women’s Day, so let’s talk about make up’.
However, it is International Women’s Day. There are people who can write with more knowledge than I can about the problems women face in other parts of the world – about rape as a weapon of war, about sexual violence, about honour killings, about female genital mutilation, about death threats because women want to be involved in politics.
So, here are some questions:
* Why is the “women’s” section of the newspaper full of fluffy entertainment and shopping? Yes, a lot of women are interested in these things, but also a lot of women are not. And the last three entertainment editors where I work have been male, so why do we persist with this idea that it’s only women who like entertainment news and entertainment news only?
* Why is John Della Bosca’s affair always reported as Belinda Neal’s “scandal”? In articles about her losing pre-selection over the weekend, his affair was given as a reason why she should lose her job. Huh?
* Why are women still paid 13-17 per cent less than men, even though they do the same job, with the same experience, and it’s against the law for employers to discriminate like this? I’ve had several jobs where my male colleagues were paid more, simply because they were male – obviously I can’t prove this, but the evidence was pretty damning, particularly when a few of them were younger, with much less experience. Australian women were granted the right to equal pay for equal work in 1969, even though this right was recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights two decades earlier, in 1948.
* Why is International Women’s Day a public holiday in China and Russia, but not Australia?
* Why, to borrow from Shiny New Coin, is half the population considered a niche market? Actually, 50.3 per cent of the Australian population is female. Yet only 30.8 per cent of state and federal politicians are female. That’s hardly adequate representation, and puts us on par with Afghanistan.
What why‘s do you want to add?