The World that We Live

Picture shows former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, at a rally alongside a sign that says ditch the witch.

I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.

Maya Angelou

Happy International Womens Day. I have been lucky in life to grow up and work with strong women. Nearly all my bosses have been women. I am married to a woman who is very strong, scarily so. She is never backward in reminding me and our three lads when we are sexist. My mother was a person, while old fashioned, who taught me to go out there and take the world on and never take a backward step. I have learnt from the best. I am lucky.

Sadly for all those women that were my boss the person above them was nearly always a man. You can have women as managers but the ultimate prize at the top of the organisation is nearly always a man. Even when I have sat on Boards the President has nearly always been a man.

I am a social worker, It is a profession that employs mostly women. You know helping and caring is womens business in this world. Wanting a better world and empathising for the disadvantaged, puzzlingly, is seen as womens business. Nurses are predominantly women. Teachers are predominantly women. Yet even though this is so the people at the top, the CEOs, the school principles, the managing directors and so on are still overwhelmingly male.

This is what I am reminded of on International Womens Day. I am reminded that men control everything. Men are paid better. Men pull the strings. And when a woman does manage to get up to the top they face insurmountable barriers and prejudice.

Who can forget what happened to Julia Gillard. She dressed poorly. She spoke badly. She was barren because she didn’t have children. The then opposition leader Tony Abbott proudly stood in front of a banner stating, “Ditch the Witch” It was disgusting.

None of this is ever experienced by a male. If they do not have children they are career driven. If they are single minded they are tough. If they are ambitious they are hardworking. But not women.  Nearly always these so called strong traits in men are considered a negative in women.

Yet despite this Julia Gillard was, arguably, the most effective Prime Minister that we have ever had. Even though she presided over a minority Government she had a rate of passing legislation in parliament higher than any Australian Prime Minister in history. She was not just tough, she was effective, skilled and a supreme negotiator. History will be a lot kinder to her than politics was. Or men were for that matter.

Compare her achievements to the current Liberal Government that can hardly get any legislation through Parliament. When they fail it is because of a hostile senate and not because they are a male dominated Government that are well – SHIT! Excuses abound but the reality is that they are rubbish. Julia Gillard set an example for them to follow and they have failed miserably.

So this is International Womens Day. It is actually sad that we even have to have it. We have to have a day where we remind ourselves how important women are. Fancy that? That’s quite sad when you think of it. But it’s needed because every day a woman is beaten or murdered by someone who is male. Every day women are belittled by men and treated like sex objects, and yes even I am guilty of this sometimes. Everyday women are paid less than men, often for doing the same work. This is unfathomable to me.  And I am only talking about Australia. Let’s not forget other parts of the world where it is even worse.

But this is Australia today. It’s a country that discriminates by habit. Just this morning there is a story where the Ibis Hotel in Alice Springs puts all Aboriginal people that they deem as from “The Communities.” In one of six rooms. An investigation of these rooms by the ABC found these rooms to be filthy and not on par with the rooms that privileged and predominantly white people stay. Then wheelchair users can’t get in planes and blind people cant get a Uber if they have a guide dog. It happened this week.

It almost seems that discrimination is ingrained in our culture to the point where it is acceptable. This is the world that we live.

But anyway – Happy International Womens Day to all the women in my life. As an aside, what say we appoint Julia Gillard to head the Royal Commission into the Abuse and Deaths of People with a Disability. Now that would be something to celebrate on International Womens Day. God help us if they appoint another doddering retired judge who is a Government lackey. It is the last thing that we need!





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