There are many wonderful things about growing up in the bush. The smell of eucalyptus, winding rivers and white, sandy beaches to name a few. Despite its beauty though, it can be particularly isolating for those who do not conform to the patriarchal idyll.
Growing up, male football stars were always lauded, while the local netball team would find their match report next to the funeral notices. For those who didn’t take to sport or motor-bike riding, there were very few cultural avenues to explore, with academic success generally frowned upon. Women were expected to perform traditional roles and stay silent, in the face of crass remarks and harassment. It is these injustices that sparked my interest in gender equality, which is at the very core of the democratic project. Gender equality is about increasing women’s access to education, challenging representations of females in the media, raising aspirations of girls, giving proper value to unpaid work, getting women into positions of real power and supporting girls to enter non-traditional jobs.
In my own life, I support gender equality by taking on work that has been historically defined as women’s work, teaching humanities from the perspective of marginalised groups, actively listening to a range of perspectives and reading feminist analysis, such as Emma Goldman and bell hooks.
In order to eradicate patriarchal violence though, I believe we must go even further than gender equality. Men and women must challenge the institutionalised sexism and oppression at the very heart of Australian society, both in the country and the city. As men, we must relinquish the will to dominate others and wholeheartedly embrace feminism. I believe it is the only way to know justice, to know peace and to know love.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.
Thank you to our guest bloggers and community advocates for taking part in our Gender Equality Matters 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign.