I awoke this morning to a stream of colourful posts strewn across my socials. It was an empowering reminder of all the achievements of influential women before me. It was a welcomed feeling, to revel in unity with my fellow gal pals, in what is an extremely important day for both women and men.
I also woke this fine Friday morning with a general sense of curiosity – a marked break from my usual daze as I approach the end of the working week burnt out and dying for a wine or two. This curiosity led me to wonder where Australia actually stands in terms of gender equality on the world stage?
Sure, we’ve the right to celebrate all the countless feats and triumphs today… but isn’t it also our duty to highlight the cold, hard facts on where we stand in the plight? What we have left to do/fix/improve/totally transform? We should use the amplified voices we have today to scream out what we’re yet to change, right?
I naturally turned to Google and I looked up where Australia ranks globally in the plight. It was here that I stumbled upon the 2018 Global Gender Gap Report. I kind of subconsciously began scanning from the top. I thought, you know, Australia seems a pretty progressive place so we should be up here somewhere. I scanned further down and to no avail, I couldn’t find us.
In a slightly aggressive/sightly offended outburst of low-key disgust, I punched in ctrl + f, ‘Australia’. There we were, wayyyyyy down the list, at number 39. It’s a shock to me that we rank far below countries like the Bahamas and Bulgaria. As a nation, we’re closing in on the top 10 biggest economies of the world.
Clearly our point of industrial and financial development hasn’t translated into social progress – one would think this is the fundamental basis of any type of growth, that people are regarded on equal terms, right? The historical narrative would sure prove otherwise.
But then when I consider my day-to-day reality as an Australian female, living in the current day, the stats aren’t so much of a shock to me. ‘Professional’ sporting players in the NRL routinely flood my feeds with their blasphemous sexual assault charges, domestic violence accusations and blatant disrespect for females.
It’s equally not unusual for me to wake to the news of a young woman, my age, brutally murdered on her way home in a cowardly and unnecessary act of violence. The news is unrelenting and yet, I still thought we must have been progressing okay-ish at the least…
I guess it’s just a plain and simple, rather uncomplicated reminder that our view of gender inequality shouldn’t be clouded by all the talk we hear of development, growth and progress. Australia, as number 39, tells me that these discussions are ignoring something extremely vital to the bigger picture here…
So let’s use this International Women’s Day to highlight what we’ve done, where we are, and how we will get where we want to be. Clearly we’re not at all there yet.
Image Source: Giphy, Unsplash.