Five Wishes for a Merry Feministmas!

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It’s that time of year again and I have a few requests of Santa. I believe I deserve every single one of them because I have been a ‘good feminist’ all year long. So here goes…

Santa, ALL I WANT FOR FEMINISTMAS IS:

For women to be represented equally in media and films compared to men.

According to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, men outnumber women 3 to 1 in family films in the US despite women comprising just over 50% of the population. Even more staggering is that this ratio is the same as it was in 1946. But it’s not only in front of the camera where this unequal representation occurs. Women are also underrepresented behind the camera. Across 1,565 content creators, only 7% of directors, 13% of writers, and 20% of producers are female, which translates to 4.8 men working behind-the-scenes to every one woman.

It is vital for girls and boys to see three dimensional, varied and complex roles for women in the media and on film. We want to live in a world where individuals and communities live free from gender stereotypes and social injustices and we could start with equal representation in pop culture. As we know, you can’t be what you can’t see.

cover225x225For everyone to read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s ‘We Should All be Feminists’, not just Swedish 16 year olds

Sweden recently decided to give a copy of Adichie’s essay ‘We Should All be Feminists’ to every 16 year old. The essay is a condensed version of her excellent TEDx talk that you can watch here. It offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century: one rooted in inclusion and awareness. It draws extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics; she explores in amazing depth and insight what it means to be a woman now and makes a great case for why we should all be feminists. I would love for every person on the planet to read this essay and see her TEDx Talk. In fact, her other Ted Talk on the danger of a single story is also incredible. Watch them all!

Elimination of violence against women

Australian-based advocacy group Destroy the Joint launched a Facebook campaign at the beginning of this year called ‘Counting Dead Women.’ This page shines a light on the number of women murdered in Australia and the circumstances surrounding their death. Destroy the Joint makes the following note as to how they count the women:

“We do not confine our count to only deaths attributed as domestic or family violence, as we believe all violent deaths targeted against women are the result of societal misogyny. Most of these cases are subject to court proceedings but we do know that in at least 75 per cent of the cases reported so far this year, the victim knew her alleged killer. We include women killed by other women (lateral violence). Their relatively small but equally sad number confirms that most violence against women is perpetrated by men.” In Australia, 79 women have been killed in 2015. These women are not just statistics. Each of these women has a family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues. Some have children. Violence against women in this country impacts all of us whether we realise it or not. We know one third of women globally have experienced violence. That’s one billion women. Let that sink in for a moment.

It is time the world as a whole came together and not only stands against gender violence once and for all and declares ENOUGH and NO EXCUSES but that each and every one of us commits to understanding what causes violence and what we can do in our daily lives to ensure that women can live free and safe from violence in their homes and in the world.

For men to participate equally in caring and child rearing duties

Apart from the fact that it is the r i g h t thing to do, there are few things sexier than a man cooking, cleaning and wiping the baby’s behind. Amirite ladies? According to the 2015 McKinsey Global Institute’s report on the power of parity, women do unpaid care work equal to approximately 13% of the global GDP. Women undertake about 75% of the world’s unpaid care work. In America alone the value of women’s unpaid work is about $1.5 trillion a year.

More men have to step up to the plate and share in this massive undertaking. That said, access to an equal amount of paid parental leave for both men and women would play a big role in men being able to take time off to take care of their own children. Companies and governments need to offer parental leave for men as they do for women. Let’s make it easier for men to step up to the plate. And if we need a little nudge, look at Zuckerberg knocking it out of the park.

To close the Gender Pay Gap. Now. 

103436-4e6785ae-1498-11e5-9f1b-ea0e0a7b6fb6The Australian national gender pay gap is currently at 17.9% and has been between 15% and 19% for the past two decades. We have seen plenty of high profile examples of the gender pay gap in practice, particularly in the sporting world this year. The Matildas, Australia’s national women’s soccer team, went on strike in September 2015 because despite climbing the ladder at the FIFA World Cup their pay was a fraction of that of the male players. Each Matilda received $500 in match fees leading up to their knockout game against Brazil while male players received $7,500 each. A similar gap was seen in the US where their women’s national team received $US2 million for WINNING the Women’s World Cup as compared to the fellas who were knocked out in the first round yet took home $US8 million. The total prize pool for the Women’s World Cup: $US15 million; the Men’s: $US576 million. Now, I know what you’re going to say…perhaps read this Guardian article first.

In Australia there is a gender pay gap favouring men in every industry. Frustratingly, some of the highest gender pay gaps are found in female dominated industries including healthcare, social assistance as well as finance and insurance services. Factors such as few women in leadership roles, lack of part time and flexible roles in senior roles and women doing most of the household and care work contribute to pay gaps within industries.

So that is all I want from you Santa and I think for being the awesome fight the power raging feminist I have been this year I deserve each and every one of these wishes to come true. That shouldn’t be too hard now, should it!?

Wadzanai Nenzou is a passionate feminist and social justice advocate. She is currently studying a Master of Public Policy and Master of Economics focusing on women’s economic empowerment. You can find her on twitter @herconomics talking all things gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.

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