Editorial March 10th 2023
Welcome to this week’s editorial, This week saw the celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD), an annual event held on March 8th. For those not familiar with the background to IWD it is, according to Wikipedia, a global holiday celebrated annually on March 8 as a focal point in the women's rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women. According to unwomen.org.au “Australia’s first International Women’s Day was held in 1928 in Sydney. Organised by the Militant Women’s Movement, women called for equal pay for equal work, an 8 hour working day for shop girls and paid leave. The next year the event spread to Brisbane. In 1931, annual marches were launched in both Sydney and Melbourne and both marches continue to be held today.
Since these early days, International Women’s Day has continued to grow. It is a day to celebrate women’s achievements and both highlight and work to address barriers that continue to perpetuate gender inequality”. The sad thing is that we need a day of the year to remind ourselves that women, females, mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, aunts and female friends continue to be treated any different to their penile counterparts. Here we have a day every year that reminds us that men make laws around women’s reproductive rights. Men legislate laws that see them earn more and craft laws that allow domestic violence to reach the alarming rates that they are in this region and in this country. International Women’s Day came about one hundred and eleven years ago as a direct result of protests over the treatment of women by men. Research conducted for International Women’s Day on behalf of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership ,which is led by former prime minister Julia Gillard, showed that Australian men have some of the most sexist views in the Western world. Of 20,524 adults across 30 countries almost one-third of those surveyed believe that traditional masculinity is under threat while more than one-quarter said that feminism did more harm than good.
Men, it appears, are threatened by the belief that women, females, mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, aunts and female friends are equal to them. Such a revelation would discount their right to denigrate them, to remove their right to physically and mentally bully and abuse them, to sexualise them and to devalue them. In response to International Women’s Day men began to lobby for their own day with International Men's Day (IMD) inaugurated in 1992 as “a global awareness day for many issues that men face, including parental alienation, abuse, homelessness, suicide, and violence” and celebrated annually on November 19th.
It irks me that we nominate single days for issues that deserve to be front and centre in our minds on a daily basis. Every day should be Clean Up Australia Day. Every day should be Women’s day, Men’s day, World Wildlife Day, Day of Persons with Disabilities, World Soil Day, Day of Forests, World Oceans Day, Children’s Day, Day for saying no to Child labour. It seems as though we are allowed to do what ever we want for the whole year but stop and consider our actions against forests, oceans, children, the disabled, the wildlife and even women, and desist for 24 hours at least before we return to business as usual for another year. It is more than evident that we will collectively continue to act untoward towards our oceans, forests, children, soil, disabled and wildlife. While there a gender divide remains for whatever reason we will continue to need Men’s and Women’s days, and while we continue to throw rubbish out of the car window and dump ute loads in our forests and waterways we will need Cleanup Australia Day. Maybe we should add a new day to the ever so considerate calendar. Maybe we should add “Say sorry to the Generation Z and Gen Alphas for our failures as a species that now requires so many annual days to say sorry Day”. Until next—lei PS… to all the women out there … each and all of you should be celebrated every day of the year for who you are, and for what you do; for yourself, your family, and your community. Our future relies on you.