. The government’s recently-published list of key workers, for instance, includes a number of predominantly female occupational groups, like nurses, care workers and supermarket staff, who will all be at heightened risk because of the personal contact their jobs involve (these are also, and will doubtless remain, among the lowest-paid jobs on the key worker list). The absence of women from pandemic ‘war cabinets’ isn’t just a symbolic issue, it’s a ‘nothing about us without us’ issue.
The idea of ‘home’ as a safe haven, a shelter from the dangers of the outside world, may be less than soothing when you’re the one who will be expected to do even more caring than usual, in conditions of household isolation (i.e., without a break, or any of the usual social supports), and possibly with drastically reduced economic resources.
There’s also the point that for some women ‘home’ is a place of danger rather than safety. Reported incidents of domestic violence increase significantly even during relatively brief holiday periods; it’s horrifying to think about what could happen during a lockdown lasting weeks or months.
The chief executive of the Women’s Resource Centre, Vivienne Hayes, told The Guardian “This use of International Women’s Day by companies is part of the co-option of feminism and women’s equality into a much more mainstream position, that has led to the corporatisation of the advancement of women’s rights.”
The blatant commercialism of a day designed to highlight the very real inequity women and girls continue to face is vile. The absolute last thing any woman or girl the world over needs is a corporate version of Mother’s Day.
On Sunday Westfield Hornsby ran a promotion with a list of seven different ways women could ‘celebrate’ IWD. From getting a blow dry, to a mani/pedi, new dress or eating a pastry, I very nearly threw up.
A new UN report has found at least 90% of men and women hold some sort of bias against females.
The “Gender Social Norms” index analysed biases in areas such as politics and education in 75 countries.
Globally, close to 50% of men said they had more right to a job than women. Almost a third of respondents thought it was acceptable for men to hit their partners.
There are no countries in the world with gender equality, the study found.
Sunday 8 March is International Women’s Day. This is a day when we celebrate women’s achievements, while calling out inequality. But with the murders of Hannah Clarke and her children still fresh in our minds, it’s hard to feel there is much to celebrate.
Jaime Evans, Director of the Women’s March, joined The Daily to tell us about the March planned for International Women’s Day.
The radical insight of feminism is that gender is a social construct – that girls and women are not fated to be feminine, that boys and men don’t have to be masculine. But we have gone through the looking-glass and are being told that sex is a construct. It is said that sex is merely assigned at birth, rather than being a material fact – actually, though, sex is recognisable in the womb (which is what enables foetal sex selection). Sex is not a feeling. Female is a biological classification that applies to all living species. If you produce large immobile gametes, you are female. Even if you are a frog. This is not complicated, nor is there a spectrum, although there are small numbers of intersex people who should absolutely be supported.
Female oppression is innately connected to our ability to reproduce. Women have made progress by talking about biology, menstruation, childbirth and menopause. We won’t now have our bodies or voices written out of the script.
This latest silencing of women is a warning. You either protect women’s rights as sex-based or you don’t protect them at all.
Male violence is an issue for women, which is why we want single-sex spaces. Vulnerable women in refuges and prisons must be allowed to live in safe environments – the common enemy here is the patriarchy, remember? How did we arrive at a situation where there are shocking and rising numbers of teenage girls presenting at specialist clinics with gender dysphoria, while some who have transitioned are now regretful and infertile?
“Because I do not care to enlarge my menagerie of pets, and I find the animal man less docile than a dog, less affectionate than a cat, and less amusing than a monkey.”
Jessica Williams writes:
The ways in which girls and women are objectified, dismissed, neglected, harassed, silenced and abused seem to be endless. Girls and women have always been objectified in books, magazines, advertisements, tv shows and movies, and we have been overlooked and erased from our very own archived history. Black and Indigenous girls and women have suffered and have been erased even more so than white women.Our body parts are commodified. Archaic beliefs are held about our natural bodily functions, and unless you are a female, the full extent of the brutal truth about how girls and women are viewed, spoken about and treated has been hidden from you. This steady erosion of our humanness has created a world where, for the most part, we are treated like objects and not like living human beings.
Look back at early feminists and you will find women with views that are unpalatable to their modern sisters. You will find women with views that were unpalatable to their contemporaries. They were awkward and wrong-headed and obstinate and sometimes downright odd – and that helped them to defy the expectations placed on them. “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself,” wrote George Bernard Shaw in 1903. “Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” (Or, as I always catch myself adding, the unreasonable woman.) A history of feminism should not try to sand off the sharp corners of the movement’s pioneers – or write them out of the story entirely, if their sins are deemed too great. It must allow them to be just as flawed – just as human – as men. Women are people, and people are more interesting than cliches. We don’t have to be perfect to deserve equal rights.
Yes, there is something unique about black breastfeeding. Several somethings, actually.
For most of U.S. history, generation upon generation upon generation of black families were torn apart. Black mothers were often not allowed to nourish and raise their own babies, but were forced to nourish and raise the babies of their enslavers. For most of U.S. history, black breastfeeding meant wet nursing white babies, often at the expense of a black woman’s own children.