Unfiltered Thoughts: Cracking the code for gender equality.

We want to help break down the barriers that women face around the world. We want to crack the code for gender equality.

We want to hear your bold, transformative ideas about inclusive technologies, accessible education, policy change, and well-being support (to name a few).

We want to crack the code to empower women to fight against discrimination and marginalisation. Every woman deserves the opportunity to live a free life and by working together – amplifying our voices – we can create a better, more equal world.

 

Content Warning

The following unfiltered thoughts may contain themes that might be difficult to read or triggering to some readers. Readers in need can visit our Creating a Safe Space page to see a full list of support services.

 

Blatantly misogynistic

It’s very easy to support someone aside from their problematic behaviour. When their beliefs and prejudices aren’t against you.

Recently, I listened to a cis, straight, rich white man tell me that being an Andrew Tate supporter isn’t problematic because “he’s a great businessman, has made lots of money, and is very intelligent.”

When another guy I was with said that Andrew Tate has said a lot of very questionable and misogynistic things, the first guy said that OBVIOUSLY he doesn’t agree with that, but that generally people are quite lazy these days and need to work harder.

Ok Ms. Kim K funnily enough, when I said that I didn’t agree with Andrew Tate’s values I didn’t get the same acknowledgement and agreement as my male friend did. Instead, this guy immediately said “oh what do you get your information off of TikTok?” to which I responded “no I don’t have TikTok” and he said, “oh sorry, because Instagram stories are so much better.” I had no response for that.

It made me think of the people who chose to support Chris Brown despite his many allegations. My truth is pretty simple. I’m a queer brown woman, and there are a lot of people out there who do not want the best for me.

I cannot, and will not, support someone ASIDE from their bigotry, because it just isn’t safe for me to see the good in everyone. And I will never respond to anyone who tries to negate my (well-educated) beliefs with something so blatantly misogynistic as his TikTok remark.

Anonymous,  18 NSW 

 

Education without gender

As young children, we are automatically pushed towards a particular set of interests and hobbies based on our gender. For example, “girls like playing with ponies, boys like racing cars”. As teenagers, these segregations delve into interests such as “girls like makeup and boys like playing sports.” It was only when I stumbled upon a kid’s microscope kit specifically made for girls – brightly adorned in pink and sparkles – I realized these classifications were getting ridiculous. As we demarcate hobbies between children, we also subconsciously alter and mold their interests. This is why most young women don’t take the time to learn about fixing a tire, while most young men are clueless about sewing. I cannot simply ignore the influence of culture and upbringing and the role that plays in all of this. We must teach children and young adults, regardless of gender identity, the importance of essential life skills. Fixing furniture, mending clothes, cooking and preserving food, gardening, cleaning, and replacing a tire are all life skills that should be taught by parents or schools to all children. Starting here is how we can revolutionize by letting go of gender norms and reducing the burdens placed on women to cook, clean, and rear children in a household. Starting simply by educating children, without a gendered difference.

Hashwina (she/her), 26 VIC

 

The internet has learned our bias

Breaking bias within technology is quintessential to the fight for global gender equality. Technology is one of the largest forms of communication, learning systems, and data processors, however, it has learned our biases. While there may be progress in terms of laws and social stereotypes surrounding gender bias, the bias in technology still remains. This bias can affect women across the globe, impacting sectors as simple as face recognition, to impacting women in the criminal justice and immigration systems. Shockingly, especially for women of colour, there is an extremely heightened chance that women will be incorrectly identified in the criminal justice system, possibly leading to wrongful arrests or convictions. To break down this bias, not only do we need to challenge and question our own preconceived notions, but the technology industry must change to become more gender inclusive, and the databases and algorithms on which these technologies are based must be reconsidered. To do this, more women need to be sustainably introduced into the industry, especially women of colour, with the proper support and mentorship so that change can be achieved. Further, more needs to be done within the governmental system so that this bias can be recognised. It is somewhat horrifying that court cases will use technology as evidence, but not recognise its bias, in cases where this is applicable. Technology has so many avenues to help women in need, however, true change cannot be achieved if the sources helping people may also discriminate against them, purely based on society’s previous, flawed biases.

Ruby (she/her), 17 NSW 

 

More than Mothers

Last year on International Women’s Day, I attended an assembly hosted by two young men. In their speeches, they spoke about the importance of International Women’s Day and the things our community could do to show our gratitude to the women and girls within it. They each shared a woman who inspires them.

I was disappointed that they set the standard amongst the men and boys in our community to default to “my mum”. Of course, the first woman most people think about is their mother. Our mums usually do so much to take care of us and we love them for that. But none of the boys I spoke to could think of any other woman to look up to, and I doubt if their mum inspired them to embody the maternal traits that comfort them or pursue the domestic chores often relegated to ‘supportive, always-there-for-me’ women. It just feels like a cop-out. You really couldn’t think of a scientist, a poet, a human rights activist, an educator, a religious figure, or anyone other than the woman you know most because it’s her responsibility to care for and cater to you?

Today, I was walking away from a group of boys. One began to bark at me loudly, behind my back. Tell me what to look forward to this International Women’s Day.

Brianna (she/her), 24 QLD 

 

Another day in the corporate events calendar

Businesses across Australia have scraped off the rainbow peel-and-stick wall and window decals they put up for Sydney World Pride and replaced them with posters and signs showcasing their ‘commitment to inclusion’ of the current marginalised community of the month.

“Happy International Women’s Day”, the C-suite suits say, plastering their Instagram stories with photos of pink morning teas and hashtags for equality. Executives across the world cross another date off their corporate events calendars, satisfied with all their hard work. It’s a tough job getting your unpaid female intern to write up an IWD LinkedIn post that’s punchy enough to seem like you’re doing something, but vague enough to make it hard for people to realise you’re not.

Politicians clawed their way into the line of sight of whatever camera they could find to start campaigns and make speeches about feminism and girls’ access to education where in reality, their foundation is not at all supportive of gender equality.

Older women are the fastest-growing group of homelessness people. What is the government doing about housing? Oh, that’s right, almost nothing. The greatest cause of homelessness in Australia is family and domestic violence, where women are overwhelming the primary victims. What is the government doing about this? Pinning purple ribbons to their expensive blazers and shaking their fist in borrowed rage.

“Let’s fix the gender pay gap!” Women around the world shout.

“What are you complaining about?” The capitalists respond. “We gave you a frosted pink cupcake.”

The women glance at their Tupperware. They made the cupcakes at home.

Maeson (they/them), 22 WA 

 

Mixed feelings

I have very mixed feelings about International Women’s Day. While it is an important day to celebrate the progress and achievements of women, it is also a day to remember and recognise the challenges that still remain in achieving gender equality.

With its increasing commercialisation, International Women’s Day has become a time for brands to run sales and offices to put out cupcakes and other “tokens of appreciation”. While these gestures are well-meaning and can help to spread awareness, it can also feel like a form of tokenism, as if the work of achieving gender equality can be solved with a few cupcakes or a sale.

We must remember that International Women’s Day is about more than ticking a box. It is about recognising the challenges that still exist for women and the ongoing work that needs to be done in order to achieve gender equality. It is about highlighting the progress that has been made, but also recognising the work that still needs to be done.

International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate and recognise the progress made, but also to remember the work that still needs to be done. Let’s use this day to reflect on the work that still needs to be done, and to commit to actually making real change – like equal wages, equal opportunities and equal respect.

Crystal (she/her), 26 NSW

 

Gender equality in a failing system

Growing up, I watched my parents work tirelessly to make ends meet. Watching them both work in similar jobs (labour intensive) but in different fields, always made me want to pursue this kind of work myself.

Looking into this kind of work opened up my eyes to the huge disparities that exist between women and men in the workplace. It is important to recognise the gender pay gap that exists for men and women who work in the same industry. But the issue is bigger and more systemic than that. Fields that are dominated by women are often paid significantly less than fields that tend to be dominated by men.

I think it is important that we remedy this, by having more opportunities offered to women in a variety of fields, and also supporting women in these fields. Provide PD days where the staff are educated on issues that are present in the workplace when people of a variety of different genders are working. I think it is important to consider how we pay our staff, some of the most valuable individuals and industries, which we would not be able to survive without, are often underpaid, misunderstood and underappreciated.

Madieson (she/her), 24 WA