On International Women’s Day, I wait in the waiting room at the Flinders Medical Centre Eye Clinic for my mother to come out of cataract surgery. Most of the people waiting for relatives are women, ranging from one who might be a granddaughter to one daughter and possibly a couple of wives and/or sisters. Some of them have certainly had to take time off to do this for their loved ones. On the television in front of me I hear of hundreds of Australian childcare workers who will walk off their jobs today in a token strike to ask for their occupation to be valued with better wages and superannuation. They are nearly all women without exception and are asking for pay commensurate with the hours they put in. One woman being interviewed said, ‘We are not simply nose wipers.’ They get twenty dollars an hour in some cases (a little more than a teenager at McDonalds) and as another said, ‘.. live pay check to pay check and will never own a house as no bank will entertain a loan application’ in others.
Then I looked closely at a line travelling along the bottom of the screen.
LESS WOMEN HEAD TOP LEVEL COMPANIES IN AUSTRALIA THAN MEN NAMED JOHN.
That is not less women CEOs than men in general. But less women CEOs than men with one specific, slightly old fashioned name. Incidentally the highest paid public servant in Australia is Ahmed Fahour who will finish off in July. Another man. He gets paid ten times more than the prime ministerial $500,000. Another man.
We need more than one day. In the meantime, if you identify as a woman, then go bold, rise like the air, live like no one owns you and hold up your half of the sky with the intelligence, strength, discipline, self esteem, passion and grace that you were born with. I am in your corner.