For Column use only.
For Column use only.

Winning the fight for gender equality

OPINION:

I'M pretty lucky, I don't have to look far to find an amazing woman in my life.

I'm quite literally surrounded by them.

My mum, who was left to raise three ratbag kids alone (well two ratbags and one angel), while dad was deployed overseas for up to 12 months at a time. The whole time working full-time as a teacher and juggling myself and my brother's obsession to try literally every sport and musical instrument in existence.

My sister, who completed a doctrine of law both studying and working full-time, while holding her family together in a state of tragedy.

My friends who are marvellously creative and who are imprinting their individuality on the world in so many different ways. And all the incredible women I interview for my stories, who all seem to have super powers or quite possibly time machines.

Last Friday I was able to celebrate these women for International Women's Day and you know what? I don't care if some say it's "contemptuous” or "indulgent”, I'm stoked to have a day that gives a big metaphorical high-five to the female population.

At all the lunches, brunches and events held to celebrate the day, there were many conversations. Empowering ones, confronting ones, inspirational ones and some immensely frustrating ones. But the one that I thought was the most important, was the conversation of balance.

Because for every inspirational and strong woman in my life, there's an equally supportive and darn good bloke.

My father, my brother, my partner, my work colleagues and mates - who on many occasions have stood up for me when another man has acted out of line.

There's no doubt that gender imbalance is still a very relevant issue, I'm not naive to that. Even in our First World society in Australia, women represent just 25 per cent of company directors, and only six out of 30 Federal Parliament members are female. That doesn't represent the Australia that I love.

For us to find a stable equilibrium, I think it's imperative we have these celebratory events to initiate public conversations and spread awareness. We need to open up special opportunities for all minorities, not just women.

But at the same time, I also think it's important to remember that as we raise women, we shouldn't push down men. We don't need to demonise men, categorise them (just as we don't want to be categorised) or make them the enemy.

Because gender equality is exactly that - balance. It's not about one gender winning or the other being better, it's about seeing each other for what we really are - humans.

We should remember those great fathers, friends, brothers and partners just like we remember our sisters, mothers and wives.

Women have put up an enduring fight to get us to where we are from the days when we were classified as "assets” but to keep progressing forward, we need the help of our male allies who continue to call out those who refuse to evolve.



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