Last year, our Director Madeline hosted 'The Weekly' - a weekly blog post pertaining to feminist issues. This year, it is the 'Director's Cut'. Stay tuned for more blogs from our National Director and Founder, Madeline Price.
Today I had the absolute privilege to speak to a diverse group of 86 Year 9 students from schools across Brisbane, at the Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie) annual Gender Summit. With my fellow panelists I had the opportunity to hear the stories of these young people, explore poignant issues in gender equality, and answer their incredible questions.
One such question was from a young boy, eager to know what he could do in his everyday life to further the cause of global gender equality.
In light of this, here are my top 5 tips for things you can do to positively impact upon gender equality in your everyday life!
1. If you see sexism, misogyny or inequality in your daily life, call it out (or call it in).
When you see sexism, or misogyny, or other forms of inequality in society, use this as an opportunity to call it out, or call it in.
Calling it out is publicly confronting the issue - maybe it is a colleague at work who made a sexist joke, and you outright say 'I do not find that funny'. Maybe it is a classmate at university who wolf whistles a passerby and you ask them why they thought public sexual harassment was okay to do.
Calling it in is confronting the issue in private, such as pulling aside your colleague at a later time to explain why that sexist joke was inappropriate.
2. If you have children, or work with children, or know children (you probably do), use time with them as opportunities to explore gender roles and stereotypes.
Kids are our future, and if we can educate them young about gender roles and stereotypes, then we are well on our way to creating a more equal society.
If you have children, or work with children, use this time with them as opportunities for education and engagement. It could be as simple as asking them to think more critically about why they want to play with a particular toy (is it because they want to or because they think they are meant to?). It could be exploring in depth why their teacher saying 'he pulls your hair because he likes you' could be problematic.
Use these opportunities to educate.
3. Watch War of Waste or a similar environmentalism documentary.
Whilst environmentalism may appear far removed from the feminist movement and the movement towards global gender equality, they are intrinsically linked - the majority of individuals impacted by issues of climate change, rising sea levels, environmental destruction and food shortage are women and children.
Educate yourself on environmentalism and minimising waste, and on how closely linked gender and the environment are.
4. Reflect upon your own unconscious bias and internalised thoughts.
There is this old adage that, when you see a woman in a short skirt walking down the street, your first thought (the one that goes 'Oh that is short! She shouldn't be wearing that!') is the thought that society has taught you to believe.
Your second thought (the one that goes 'Wait! What the hell brain?! Why would I think that! She should be able to wear whatever she wants! You do you girl!') is the thought that reflects who you are as a person.
It is worthwhile taking the time to discover, recognise, acknowledge and work on changing your own internal biases, stereotypes and prejudices. Because if we do not acknowledge they exist, we cannot do anything to change them.
This does not say that you are a terrible person, but simply that you are the product of a society that raised you to think in a particular way - and we need to change that thinking.
5. Join something!
Finally, if you have the time, accessibility and ability, you should join something to further the movement towards global gender equality.
Whether it is your local women's AFL team and you further the visibility of women in sport in Australia, or a local non-for-profit dedicated to gender education (have you seen all of our available roles?), or an online Facebook group exploring how to life a waste-free life, join the movement towards global gender equality.
Because together, we can make a difference. <3