Jen Light wants you to know about International Women’s Day.

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 That’s not to say that there are no longer active feminists fighting, but the size of the movement has shrunk not grown, and the three steps forward that women are taking are simultaneously taking one step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.

Ask Abe – Tenancy

Hi Abe,

I moved into a place in Stanmore at the beginning of February. I paid my bond and 4 weeks rent in advance. Now that I’ve lived there a while I really hate it and want to move out. The house itself is dark and gloomy and I don’t really like my neighbourhood. I told my landlord but she said I had to stay until the end of my contract. This is a real problem because I’ve already signed a lease for another room in a different house. Please help me.

Doubled Up

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Dear Doubled Up,

There are 2 types of renters: tenants and borders/lodgers. Tenants are covered by the Residential Tenancy Act (2010). It sets down rules for both you and your landlord. In the situation you have described you want to “break your lease early”. As a tenant you would have to pay a penalty of between 4 and 6 weeks rent in addition to rent up on till the day you move out. If you have maintained your room in good order you should receive a refund of your bond.

You may be able to convince your landlord to let you find someone else to take over your lease in exchange for no or a reduced penalty. They are under no obligation to do this.

If you are a border/lodger you are covered by the contract that you signed. There is usually some clause in there about how to break the contract early. Again, you may be able to convince your landlord to allow you to find someone to take over your contract. If this doesn’t work you might like to speak to the SRC Lawyer about breaking your contract with as little financial penalty as possible.

Abe

Abe is the SRC’s welfare dog. This column offers students the opportunity to ask questions on anything. This can be as personal as a question on a Centrelink payment or as general as a question on the state of the world. Send your questions to help@src.usyd.edu.au. Abe gathers his answers from experts in a number of areas. Coupled with his own expertise on dealing with people, living on a low income and being a dog, Abe’s answers can provide  you excellent insight.

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