Last Saturday marked International women’s day, with the annual international women’s day march. It therefore seems an appropriate time to reflect on how far the equality movement has, or hasn’t come.
It’s 2014, It’s been 111 years since Emmeline Pankhurst founded a new organisation, the Women’s Social and Political Union, which sparked further radical feminists fighting for equality. It has been 102 years since the first International Women’s Day, and 97 years since the Russian revolution which was sparked on March 8, 1917 by women protesting against bread shortages in St. Petersburg, the 8th of March is recognised as International Women’s Day.
By 1923 all women in Australia had the right to vote, in 1961 the pill became public accessible empowering women to have the rights over their own bodily autonomy, women account for over 50% of University graduates in Australia. In the last 10 years the Sydney Uni SRC has seen 7 female Presidents, and I was fortunate to be one of 3 female candidates running for Presidency last year.
However as a 21 year old woman I feel incredibly disappointed and increasingly afraid of what the future holds for women and the seemingly distant future of equality.
The Marie Claire #demandbetter video that went viral in the last week demonstrates the devastating statistics and the inequality to the treatment of women. The pay gap between men and women is 17.1%, women are constantly judged on their appearance and superficial characteristics.
80% of women who considered a career in politics now say that the treatment of Julia Gillard has put them off.
Women are better represented in the Afghan Government than in Australia’s federal Cabinet. With the only Minister being Julie Bishop and Tony Abbott disturbingly appointing himself Minster for Women.
It seems that the feminist movement has been paused. That’s not to say that there are no longer active feminists fighting, but the size of the movement has shrunk not grown, and the three steps forward that women are taking are simultaneously taking one step back.
It is up to young women to make a fuss, and not be shut down, now is the time to re-energise the movement and fight for women’s rights and equality.