Gay Mackie

Gender roles in Australia: The alien landscape I walk on

womens-march-australia

Approx Reading Time-10As for someone who witnessed the euphoria of 1970’s feminism, the landscape I see today is quite different, but has far surpassed us.

 

 

 

Each time this date rolls around, I find the landscape more unfamiliar. However, the fact that the gender roles in today’s society make us resemble Mars more than the planet I grew up on, is a cosmic positive.

My son was seven by the time I read Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch (in itself an act of societal rebellion) so you could argue that I was already well-ingrained in the societal responsibilities of marriage. My husband worked all day, so he didn’t feel compelled to equally raise Jamo (those were the times) so meaningful grassroots demonstration was behind me, however, the words moved me enough to push advancement in my own, humble way. My fight was fought in the workplace I walked into each morning, as opposed to the lecture halls and the streets of the capitals. My fight was daily, which stretched into the years, and across many careers.


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What seemed radical then, seems conformist now. Not to knock the importance of Germaine’s work, but the breadth of the conversation that is put forward in this generation is heartening. While this generation doesn’t have an absolute equivalent of Greer, fortunately, there doesn’t need to be. The shift of consciousness has birthed many leaders – and perhaps each woman, a leader herself. Crucially, it seems that the conversation is now being held as part of the rule, as opposed to it sticking out as the exception.

However, much is still to be won, and these battles echo the same battles my generation fought back when they were us; bridging the pay gap; birth control; social equality. It may seem that because the challenges are the same as they were in 1971, a serious lack of progress has been made in the last 46 years, but there has been change, and there has been progress won – in legislation, yes, but of equal importance, in the minds of those who have changed their thinking.

While those who oppose us might have replaced the front door we’ve kicked down, with yet another, know that there are more behind us, swinging the boot. Not to dip to morbidity, but I earnestly wish I could live for another 40 years, to gaze at what that alien landscape looks like too.

 

Gay Mackie

Gay Mackie is a retired print journalist, who spends her time at yoghurt (yoga), tap dancing and asleep between the hours of 2-4pm. She'd also like to make it clear that the Editor-in-Chief of The Big Smoke is her grandson.

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