Editorial - Warriors and worriers: it's all in a day's work

Two emails drop within minutes of each other. "It’s International Women’s Day this Friday!" one enthuses, "and to celebrate..." it continues. The other is sobering: "Forensic search in bushland..." for missing woman Samah Baker.

Women. We are warriors, and we are worriers. We are in the fight to be our best in a world that demands it. We are in the fight just to be in the world.

From boardrooms to bedrooms, sportsgrounds to playgrounds, parliaments to the local pre-school, we are in the fight for gender equality and equity.

So it can be hard to see International Women's Day as anything other than self-congratulatory rubbish. Trotting out some successful women one day of the year doesn't seem to have had much of an impact on institutionalised sexism the other 364.

The sexual objectification of women and girls continues to be normalised. Just check the headlines to see, for example, the grubby culture that haunts the national rugby league.

The 2018 NSW Budget gave no additional funding to victims of domestic violence, despite financial hardship being a common reason they (and their children) stay in abusive relationships.

Women are also disproportionately expected, at home and at work, to do the heavy lifting of domestic chores and emotional labour, for no extra pay. Support for that labour, such as affordable childcare, is inadequate.

The average hourly wage for female adults was 89 per cent of that for men (in 2016) in non-managerial positions; and (in 2017/18) 57 per cent of women (aged 15+) were employed, compared with 67 per cent of men.

Forty seven per cent of women in paid jobs are part-time (2017/18), but work double the hours of men in unpaid roles as carers and housekeepers.

Meanwhile, there's contrary public discourse about "feminism going too far", usually by blokes who've had their apple carts upset by women asking for equal opportunity.

And studies have shown that if women take up 30 per cent of the speaking time in a mixed-gender conversation, they are perceived as "dominating".

In this environment, celebrating women and women's achievements is important. But we need to bridge the gap between words and actions. 

Bridge the gap between words and actions.

Bridge the gap between words and actions.

This story Warriors and worriers: it's all in a day's work first appeared on Goulburn Post.