Victorian women are seeking mental health support at record levels as the coronavirus pandemic drives up stress, anxiety and depression among those bearing the brunt of caring responsibilities.
Social isolation, the stress of home schooling and caring for elderly relatives, and economic worries are affecting women of all ages during the coronavirus pandemic.
When Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday at age 87, she was the most senior Justice on the Supreme Court of the United State’s liberal wing. She was also the second woman ever to be appointed to that hallowed court.
But when Ginsburg first left law school, she couldn’t get a job anywhere despite graduating at the top of her class at Harvard law. It was 1959.
“To be a woman, a Jew, and a mother to boot,” she would later say about this time, was “a bit much.”
She would often cite Justice Benjamin Cardozo: “Justice is not to be taken by storm. She is to be wooed by slow advances.” She was wary, she said, of “taking giant strides and thereby risking a backlash too forceful to contain.”
Ginsburg’s radical heart was laid bare when she would often joke about how frequently she is asked when she would consider there to be enough women on the supreme court and she would reply: “when there are nine.”
It’s hard to believe that the already minuscule number of women leading these organisations could have dwindled further, but it has. Dropping from 12 to 10. So just 5 percent of ASX200 companies are now led by a woman.
Other key stats from the CEW report:
- Just 5 per cent of leadership line roles in healthcare are held by women, despite the workforce being female dominated
- Women in senior IT roles have dropped to 9%, from 21% four years ago
Enough already. When people try to be cheerful about social distancing and working from home, noting that William Shakespeare and Isaac Newton did some of their best work while England was ravaged by the plague, there is an obvious response: Neither of them had child-care responsibilities.
For those with caring responsibilities, an infectious-disease outbreak is unlikely to give them time to write King Lear or develop a theory of optics. A pandemic magnifies all existing inequalities (even as politicians insist this is not the time to talk about anything other than the immediate crisis). Working from home in a white-collar job is easier; employees with salaries and benefits will be better protected; self-isolation is less taxing in a spacious house than a cramped apartment. But one of the most striking effects of the coronavirus will be to send many couples back to the 1950s. Across the world, women’s independence will be a silent victim of the pandemic.
Wicks, a Democrat in the California State Assembly, was on maternity leave when some key pieces of legislation regarding family leave and affordable housing came up, that she desperately wanted to see passed.
Wicks had given birth to her immunocompromised daughter, Elly, at the end of July, and had applied to the House Speaker, Anthony Rendon, to vote remotely. The request was denied.
Having recently given birth to a baby with jaundice wasn’t deemed a sufficient reason for casting a vote remotely, a privilege that had been granted to other COVID-19 “high-risk” members.
“My daughter’s immune system is basically nonexistent,” Wicks said. “But I was told that maternity leave didn’t qualify for in-proxy voting.”
House Speaker Anthony Rendon, a fellow Democrat, was forced to apologise to Wicks for not considering her situation fully.
Leaders, parents, workers, educators and community organisations are joining forces to call for a universally accessible early education system.
The campaign is supported by Goodstart Early Learning, Early Childhood Australia, ARACY, The Mitchell Institute, the ACTU, The United Workers Union, The Australia Institute, The Parenthood, Chief Executive Women, The Centre for Social Impact, The Smith Family, ACOSS and more.
By global standards the cost of childcare in Australia is prohibitively expensive. Combined with our tax system it actively disincentivises women from working beyond three days a week.
According to a report released in March this year by think tank Per Capita ‘Measure for Measure. Gender Equality in Australia’ 34% of single women (divorced, widowed or never married) are living in poverty by the age of 60. That number rises to 50% of them once they are living on the aged pension. These figures are pre-COVID.
For as long as I can remember, women have been told that a man is not a financial plan, but when I look at my contemporaries and who is secure and who is at risk, it seems that is a big fat lie.
The job stimulus packages offered by our government are so entirely focussed on male-dominated industries that it almost feels like they are trolling us. They even keep being referred to as ‘shovel-ready’ jobs. To absolutely rub women’s noses in it, the first group of workers removed from Jobkeeper were childcare workers – overwhelmingly underpaid women. No one has been able to explain the logic of singling them out.
As I have said before, in today’s Australia we tell older women ‘look, its lovely you put the needs of your kids, elderly relatives and anyone else in need of care ahead of yourself, thanks for that. Now, can you just go and live in your car?’
Annabel Bassil decided to take a stand against harassment in the hospitality industry after an incident which she says well and truly “crossed the line”.
The bar manager was smacked on the bottom by a male patron, who later pleaded guilty to common assault, and says she hopes her case will be a force for change for women in the industry.