International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day to all my dear readers. It's an important time to reflect on the achievements made by women and how very far we still have to go to achieve equality. Sadly there are the usual noisy few who question why we need IWD, or feminism - don't we already have equality under law? I'm not sure then how those people explain why women earn less, why female dominated industries are poorly paid (and if it's about how hard one works, please give me one convincing reason why someone doing an eight hour shift as a builder deserves more money than an eight hour shift doing intake interviews at a shelter for victims of domestic violence); why women are overwhelmingly the victims of relationship violence; why an estimated 1 in 100 cases of sexual assault results in a conviction; why women are still underrepresented in parliament and on company boards and university management, if not structural inequality - maybe they think that women just aren't good enough and deserve what happens to them. But it takes more than equal rights to achieve true equality; you need to reddress the inherent issues which have put the oppressed group in a disadvantaged position for so long. Australia's Aboriginal population - racist intervention aside - have equal rights under the law, and any decent person would agree there is many years of very difficult work to be done to attempt to achieve equality for indigenous people.

Saddest of all is the women who knock feminism and IWD. Some seem to think that just because they have been successful in life, then feminism has done it's job and to hell with the other women facing difficulties. Others criticise feminism because of what they perceive to be judgements of their choice to stay at home - no, feminists aren't judging you, we're too concerned about the rising numbers of older, single homeless women whom have been out of the workforce for many years and left in a perilous financial situation after relationship breakdown or a partner's death. (That is why we might ask you are you sure staying out of the workforce for extended periods is a good idea - no one thinks it's going to happen to them - it's got nothing to do with feeling superior). Some argue that men's issues deserve attention, too. It's true that men's mental and physical health is often underfunded - so instead of criticising IWD, why not campaign on those issues, and you'll have our full support?

But there's only so far support can go. Some of the criticism, in the end, does go to show just how misogynistic our society can be. And so the criticism is emboldening. They can knock International Women's Day, but it just proves how much it is needed. Feminism is not going away.