I like pink. Some of my favourite clothes are pink. But when I opened Shutterstock to search for International Women’s Day pictures there was a sea of pink with flowers and hearts. It looked more like commercials for a beauty product or a florist. Is that the best way to depict one of the biggest struggles for human rights across the world?
On International Women’s Day 2022 I wonder how many women out there have been busy organising events for their organisation? Because that’s what women do on IWD; they organise, do the invitations, manage the event, turn up to speak (often unpaid) and the blokes show up for the food and feel good about their contribution.
Whilst I’m not against an event that celebrates 50% of the human population, I’d like to see some more meaningful change that goes beyond a token event, brand washing and some feelgood PR. Here are our top 10 wishes for International Women’s Day.
- IWD events that are organised by men in consultation with women, supported by male CEOs, with paid female speakers.
- More female CEOs in non-profit organisations. Women make up 80% of the workforce in the third sector but are underrepresented in leadership roles and on boards. It’s not just the corporate sector that is slow to take action on leadership equality and it’s time for NFPs to walk the talk.
- Changes to Australia’s tax and childcare policies that are designed around women as the primary caregiver. Current policies disadvantage females from developing careers and discourage stay at home dads. Let’s support dads to be more hands on with the children and women to build a strong base of financial income and opportunities.
- No more laws that tell women what to do with our bodies. Hands off.
- Men turning up to female led events. I noticed that the recent Press Club event with Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins had two male journalists out of a room full of women. Equality is not a women’s issue, it’s for everyone.
- Decent wages for everyone working in the professions that are dominated by women, such as teaching, nursing, aged care, childcare. The construction industry got massive government support during COVID, whilst childcare saw wage subsidies disappear at the first opportunity. Proper pay will ensure that these important roles attract a diversity of talent, and our kids won’t go through primary school without experiencing a male teacher.
- More support for women entering politics. We need more visible and equal representation because our vote counts, and we need a female perspective to decision making. See point 4. No more relegating female candidates to unwinnable seats.
- Sharing the care at home. Women do two thirds of the unpaid work in the home. We need role modelling of equality at home or we’re perpetuating the status quo with our children. Guys- don’t wait to be told that the laundry is piling up or the floor is filthy. Don’t make us strike for action like the women of Finland did.
- Calling out sexist, misogynistic or discriminatory behaviour. We need allies not bystanders.
- Men being comfortable to challenge traditional masculine stereotypes. It diminishes us all to be pigeonholed into narrow roles in society and we all miss out on the breadth of human experience that is our right.
We’d love to see equality every day, not just for one day. If we can achieve that, then we’ll all be free.