As we head towards another International Women’s Day on March 8, it’s an important time to reflect on the year that has been, and how we can each continue to do our part to dismantle the patriarchy and construct a more equal society.
Are you with me?
Last week, at a screening of Bombshellfor International Women’s Day—hosted by Victoria Kluth from Araza—we were each asked what we were doing to make gender equality a reality.
It’s a confronting question, but she’s absolutely right—despite all the things that will be said in the days and weeks to come, ultimately, it’s what we each do that matters.
So, what are we doing?
At Ms Tee, we’re using our design skills to create feminist T-shirts that not only speak to issues such as the pay gap, body shaming, and the way gendered language reinforces oppressive norms, but which give women the confidence to raise their voice and speak their mind.
We’re also offering a 14% discount on all our T-shirts until March 8—a discount that reflects the pay gap as it stands in Australia, in the hope that this will make our high-quality tees more accessible to more women.
To buy yours before March 8, visit www.mstee.com.au
At Quip Brands, we’re calling it out.
Language, as Cynthia Nixon rightly highlighted in the powerful ‘be a lady’ video, is incredibly potent. The gendered expectations women continue to face each and every day are not just harmful, they’re dangerous.
I’m exceptionally proud of our team, who have been active in calling out sexist and degrading language, despite it making us a little unpopular at times.
Brandon Jack, who doesn’t just write for us but also for many leading media outlets, has been fearless in his takedown of the online trolls who continue to harass women, and his articles on masculinities and AFLW in particular are stellar examples of how this generation of men can play an active and important role in reshaping society.
Read his latest article here: https://www.smh.com.au/national/men-must-learn-to-talk-rather-than-act-to-deal-with-their-emotions-20200223-p543ig.html
We’re using our social media channels to support the Each for Equal campaign, and we’ve attended a conference on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace to ensure we were prepared internally, too.
At Maven Intelligence we are delivering diversity to the male-dominated tech space. As female co-founders, Elisa Choy and I are well and truly outnumbered, but will persist in having our presence felt in the tech space.
Bias, particularly when it comes to coding the machines that will replace human thinking in future, is a worry for women. With so few women in tech—and frightfully few female coders—how will diversity be reflected in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning?
It’s why forging our way as female founders in this tech space—despite the barriers to entry—is a critical first step.
And, what am I doing personally?
Through SheEO, I’m putting my money where my mouth is, and taking an active role in helping female entrepreneurs gain financial support for their businesses. You’re welcome to join me: https://community.sheeo.world
I’m also educating myself. Intersectional disadvantage is something many of us need to better understand. As a white, able-bodied, financially independent woman, I hold incredible privilege.
Speaking on Shameless, Clementine Ford recently remarked: ‘You do not have to be racist, to benefit from racism.’
She’s right, and as uncomfortable as it is, the same is true of each and every form of disadvantage we experience. It’s why I’m trying to be active in how I hold myself to account on my own blind spots, by exposing myself to a range of ideas and perspectives that place an uncomfortable lens on my privilege.
If you’re looking to join me in this quest, I’d recommend ‘Can we all be feminists?’ by June Eric-Udorie as a great starting point.
This International Women’s Day, let’s all ask ourselves what we are doing, not just saying, in order to make real change.
If you’re not sure what to do, here’s a quick list to get you started:
- Champion women—women don’t just need mentors, we need champions who will put us forward and open doors, so we can gain greater opportunities.
- Stop asking women to work for free—women do the majority share of unpaid work in Australia. If you believe in equality, pay for it. Especially when asking women to speak at events, or appear on panels.
- Don’t benefit from disadvantage—if you know a woman is less likely to ask for a pay rise, stop waiting for them to do so.
- Call people out—whether it’s all-male panels, or sexist comments, start calling it out.
- Make addressing sexual harassment a priority—Harvey Weinstein is, sadly, not simply a Hollywood story but the reality in many, many workplaces.
I’d love to know how you’re working towards #EachforEqual, not just for IWD but for every day, until we reach equality.