The pressure on women to be perfect in everything they did was intense during this era and present at every stage in life. Household products were pitched directly at women, rather than men, and the marketing message was clear – ‘Brand X’ will help you win over that man and guarantee you’ll keep him.
The period of the late-1950s going into the 1960s saw a recovering economy, greater availability of ‘luxury’ items, the introduction of television, widespread migration and a growing women’s movement. There was a shift in culture and more relaxed social attitudes but the advertising industry continued to employ strictly defined gender roles whenever it thought they might be helpful in targeting different demographics.
The coronavirus outbreak has had devastating health, economic and social consequences for many Australians. In paid and unpaid work, women have been disproportionately impacted. Many of the gendered inequalities that existed in the pre-COVID-19 world of work – like the overrepresentation of women in lower-paid, insecure jobs and the uneven distribution of unpaid domestic labour – have been exacerbated by the global pandemic.
Women have been the essential frontline workers of the COVID-19 crisis
Women are disproportionately losing work and pay
Women are doing (even) more unpaid work at home
With billions of dollars earmarked for “shovel ready” infrastructure and housing construction projects, the Australian government may be digging holes the economy cannot fill. In contrast, investments in highly feminised sectors, which represent some of the biggest areas of employment growth and which help take some of care load off individual households, are much more likely to pay off in terms of getting people back to work and in providing economic benefit.
And while the coronavirus crisis has seen a large increase in all demographics, the number of women over 55 on the now ‘JobSeeker’ rate has risen by over 60 per cent in the last year.
On average, women retire with just over half the superannuation savings than men do. But worse, one in three women retire with no super at all.
And this government’s early access super scheme will only exacerbate that problem, further depleting retirement savings.
Globally, this figure is estimated at 1.18 million each year, with 666,300 in mainland China (including Taiwan and Hong Kong), and 461,500 in India.
Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA representative in Vietnam, said because of decades of gender-biased sex selection and the neglect of daughters relative to sons, a shocking 140 million girls globally are missing today from the world’s population.
“When men far outnumber women, social problems can emerge, exacerbating forms of gender-based violence, including rape, coerced sex, sexual exploitation, trafficking and child marriage,” she told the event to launch the report in Hanoi.
The latest ATO taxation statistics show that women in 2017-18 made up a record number of the top 10% of income earners, but that good news is unable to mask that overall – whether in high or low-paid jobs – women continue to earn much less than men.
But the big difference is overall numbers. Women make up only 30% of workers in the top 30 paying occupations, but two-thirds of those working in the bottom 30 paying jobs.
And this brings us back to barristers. The average income for a barrister is $131,251, but the median income was just $45,376 – the second largest gap between the average and the median.
The median income for a male barrister in 2017-18 was $113,667, while for women it was a paltry $32,464.
Following her mental health crisis in 2007, Spears was placed under a conservatorship. For more than 12 years, the 38-year-old has been unable to drive, get married, have kids, spend money, see how her money is being spent, have any control over her career, go shopping, go for a walk, use her phone unmonitored or speak in interviews without her father’s permission.
While she hires lawyers in an attempt to retrieve any sense of agency over her own life, a man named Kanye West is running for President.
In a 2019 interview with David Letterman, West said he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and his wife, Kim Kardashian-West, has since said they can “definitely feel episodes coming, and we know how to handle them”.
By his own admission, it seems fair to assume that West is currently unwell.
Then came his first ever presidential rally over the weekend. He spoke for more than an hour, and at times his speech was incoherent. He had no microphone. He wore a bullet-proof vest, yelled, cried, argued with people, reprimanded the audience for clapping and had 2020 shaved into the back of his head.
It is an interesting contrast, that a man behaving like Kanye is able to hold a presidential rally, while a woman behaving like Britney can’t buy herself a coffee from Starbucks.
Five years ago, Stephenson-Goodknight didn’t have her own Wikipedia page. For most of her life, she didn’t contribute to the website at all. But Stephenson-Goodknight has become a superstar in the community, and a pioneer for gender equality on a platform deeply in need of articles about women. She has written over 5,000 articles for the website, nearly 1,400 dedicated to women specifically.
Stephenson-Goodknight is up against centuries of history that haven’t documented or recognized women’s accomplishments. And in the present day, she’s up against various factions of Wikipedia’s contributors, who are 90 percent male. Some go so far as to delete articles about women or, worse, sexually harass the website’s female users.
But that’s beginning to change, in large part thanks to Stephenson-Goodknight, who, in 2015, co-founded Women in Red, a volunteer organization that works to increase Wikipedia’s women biographies (one of Stephenson-Goodknight’s many gender-equality projects on the website).
A new study surveying more than 1,000 names found in common biology textbooks in the US revealed that the most common scientists featured were white men, and that just over 13 percent were women.
The study, titled, “A scientist like me: demographic analysis of biology textbooks reveals both progress and long-term lags” was published on The Royal Society Journal. It revealed 962 names in the textbooks were of men, and 145 scientists were women, representing a 1:7 ratio of women to men. That is seven men for every woman scientist.
Even more startling in their findings was the almost entire erasure of women who were BIPOC in the textbooks. In fact, not one single black woman was represented across any textbooks that were analysed. A mere 6.7 percent of scientists were from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
The department responsible for advising the prime minister on women’s policy was excluded from consultations about a $150m program to improve female participation in community sports that was subsequently caught up in the sports rorts saga.
Most women in prisons have gone through violent or sexual abuse. These already vulnerable women are then subjected to more abuse from the state. They need people to start speaking out for them, not judging them.
As an advocate for First Nation women prisoners, especially Yamatji prisoners, I find the present situation disturbing. Prisoner numbers just keep growing and new prisons keep getting built. I have learned that the number of First Nations women being locked up is growing at a faster rate than any other demographic. These women, who have more than likely encountered an aggressive police officer or two, are taken from their children or, even worse, their children are put in state care. Prison breaks up families, causing more social issues back in the community.
Women detainees also face violations of their bodies via multiple strip searches. What the average Australian would call a violation of a woman’s body is done legally in prison. The prison system legally violates a woman’s body in the name of law and order.
I support prison abolition and while people are being locked away in cages, I will continue to be an abolitionist. There is not only a strong need to abolish the police force but an even stronger need to abolish the prison system. They work hand in hand, the police and prison systems.
[Deborah Green is a Yamatji woman and writer.]