International Women’s Day 2010

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?

15 responses to “International Women’s Day 2010

  1. Why is abortion even vaguely an issue in the SA election?

  2. Pingback: Doing the maths « In a strange land

  3. Why…when I mention to men (not all but always at least one and usually one who has never had any discrimination and had all the privileges of being the ruling elite!!) that today is international women’s day do they grumble and say “when’s international men’s day then?”….. My response is usually that the remaining 364 days of the year seem to be dedicated to them. Mind you I work in a human services area and when domestic violence (DV) is discussed, there is usually one (usually a man) who pipes up about husband bashing. Yes it exists, but it is a small minority meaning that DV is predominantly a women’s issue, so responses need to address the needs of women and children…and yes men get help too and so do same sex bashing.

    It is the same argument I hear all the time about feminism – ‘if you want equality, you shouldn’t demand special conditions”. Argh! Where to start with that little beauty!!! This desire to make sure that women don’t get something extra to men astounds me, especially when they have been buffeted by patriarchy since the year dot. Boys….its about fighting discrimination and getting support for issues that predominantly affect women not asking for all the blanket! The same applies to other sections of society that face discrimination – they need to speak loudly to get their voice heard cos otherwise they are just ignored.

    Oo I’m all cross now

    • You’re spot on. If things were equal, then we wouldn’t need action on these things, but things are not equal so we do need action.

      The one that shits me to tears is ‘the suicide rate proves that men have it tougher than women’. Uh, no. It proves that men are more likely to commit suicide than women, which has nothing to do with gender equality in the workplace, in the media, in society.

  4. If anything it may indicate a highler level of resiliance or tolerance amongst women

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