And the replies have continued this morning and hopefully will still flow through in the coming days.
More than half the responses were supportive of the concept of International Women’s Day. There was also a common theme as to the reasons why and this could be broadly summarised as follows:
It is a day when the world can reflect on the work of those before who fought for greater equality and opportunity Women enjoy today. It is also a day when there is focus on continuing inequality and to identify where efforts need to be concentrated to continue what is still a long road to equality.
I had posed the question about the value of the various ABC Radio stations having all female presenters for IWD. Specifically, I wondered if this was a novelty event or even trivial.
One respondent offered the view that the broadcast media is strongly male orientated and an industry with a large gender imbalance. The point was made that a novelty event such as all-female presenters is a good way of highlighting this imbalance.
A most valid point indeed.
I have lifted several quotes to share:
“I’ve always looked to IWD as a day to recognise the work done and the work still to do in gender equality. From personally attending events, speaking on panels and organising fundraising, IWD to me is an important day to reflect and re-direct (if needed) efforts. From my experience it has mobilised men and women by simply focusing on the fact that there is inequality between the sexes, and this can and should be changed.”
“Now our daughters can have it all (although to quote Quentin Bryce "not all at once"). They can vote and wear hot pants and with focus and persistence, govern anything they choose. IWD is a lovely celebration of this achievement. A celebration carried out over high tea, glasses clinking together with men alongside.”
“In this world there is still such disparity between the sexes so love that we have this one day to keep women's rights in the media, but I would love that one day we have equal rights, equal pay & there does not need a special day because every day should be equal but we are a long way off, especially on some issues & some countries. I also see it as a celebration of what has been achieved, & the barriers that have been overcome.”
“I support it and don't see it as patronising at all. It shines the light on how far we still have to go as a society to achieve fairness. Yesterday we heard all sorts of stats highlighting the chasm between male and female working conditions, pay and domestic responsibilities. Celebrating women doesn’t detract from or diminish men. It doesn't cost anything- aside from time and thought. Further- affirmative action achieves results. Let's abolish it when we've achieved parity- professionally and domestically.”
I will finish this post by highlighting how educational this process has been for me.
There are so many elements I had not considered or understood.
So much of our lawmaking, decisions about what content is broadcast or printed, employment decisions, allocation of funds, advertising campaigns and so much more are male dominated.
As much as International Women’s Day received significant majority support in my small survey sample, more so it highlighted the need for day in day out vigilance in the pursuit of equality.
We must be diligent in the wake of the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC.
In referencing the election of President Trump these are the words of one respondent - “incongruous with celebrating anything about women and parity”.
Food for thought and ingredient for concern indeed.
In closing I quote a line from the presentation to the Integrity 20 conference in Brisbane last October and suggest it applies very much to the journey to equality.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Let’s go together.
NB – I will post further addressing #metoo feedback and about some alternative views about IWD