Tuesday, 4 March 2014

A slogan for International Women's Day 2014? PENALISE - PENALISE - PENALISE

"What's on your mind?" Facebook asks each time I post.  Well, what's on my mind is the dreadful interview with a young-ish woman on ABC TV this morning.  The young-ish woman spoke about why women are not getting a fair go in the workplace and are not well represented in the higher management positions etc ad nauseam.

Let me declare my interest.  I am a 1970s-1980s feminist and to see what happens to even the most basic feminist traditions such as IWD makes me ill.

The young-ish woman enunciated a new version of failure to understand or act on the REAL problem by discussing how mentoring of women had failed but this new thing called sponsorship of women would be a huge success. 
What absolute garbage!!!  The problem no longer lies with women - except perhaps those women who are unable or unwilling to study and work hard to progress.  A lot of women prefer stasis to playing boy's games or suffering  under boys' bias.  

But let's take a look at what women can do.  Work hard? See Gail Kelly, CEO of Westpac.  Manage family responsibilities - even multiple births?  See Gail Kelly! Extend your education in a new direction? See Gail Kelly.  Improve the company's bottom line? See Gail Kelly.    

Gail Kelly is not alone in managing all this.  She is merely (?) the most public face of what a lot of women are doing, have done, and will continue to do.

In 1984 Australia legislated the Sex Discrimination Act which in recent years has been revised without doing what needs to be done.  Discrimination of any type can be difficult to prove.  Discrimination on the basis of gender is particularly difficult.  Penalties for such discrimination either at business/corporate level or the individual level have been, more often than not, the equivalent of being well and truly beaten with a feather duster.  

The problem, in the main, is no longer a problem of women and their abilities and education.  Women - generally speaking - have never been more well-educated, well-qualified, and able.  

The problem lies where it has always lain - with men.  The problem lies even in the second-highest office in the land - the Prime Minister's office. The problem lies, currently, in the civil discourse established by Australia's current prime minister to defeat one particular woman - but also women within his own party.  What is the punishment for the Prime Minister's vilification of women?  Success - that's what.  He got there.  His cronies got there.  The media he favoured got there.  

What will the young-ish woman do about that?  What will the ABC Breakfast Show do about that?  What will the Sex Discrimination Act do about that?  What will that joke of a government bureaucracy titled the Workplace Gender Equality Agency or EOWA do about that?

Men are rewarded with real status and meaningful incomes while women are given useless legislation, a very dim government bureaucracy, a lot of lip service.  

Saturday 8 March is International Women's Day.  Are you spending it in a meaningful way or just going to one of the frippery type events.  I suggest that there be a one word message for this year's IWD - PENALISE!

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