Women: second class citizens

If women were classified as a standalone industry such as manufacturing, we would be the largest contributors to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Australia. Yes, we are the biggest spenders and the biggest contributors to the economy. In fact, women as a standalone industry are bigger than mining, which comes in at a close second.

The Minister for Finance, the Hon. Mathias Cormann, probably forgot about this fact on International Women’s Day, when he ranted that women’s representation in Parliament and, more importantly, quotas, was a ‘side issue’. Really? A side issue?

I shouldn’t be surprised by the fact that the government doesn’t fully appreciate the role women play in society nor the value they contribute to our economy. Our very own Prime Minister, the Hon. Tony Abbott made his views very clear when he included one solitary woman in his cabinet and appointed himself the Minister for Women!

The Minister assisting the P.M on Women, the Hon Michaela Cash is not the only Liberal woman on the periphery of the Abbott’s power house, but as he said when he announced his Ministry, ‘they (women) are knocking’; so why doesn’t he let them in?

If we accept that actions speak louder than words, we must understand from our feminist P.M that there are no women in Australia capable of representing women, 51 percent of the population. In fact, there are no women capable of representing any portfolio other than Foreign Affairs. For all else, apparently we need a man to speak for us and the rest of the country.

Perhaps this is why we have a pseudo Minister for Women, Michaelia who is simply the Minister ‘assisting’ the Prime Minister for Women – and hence why perhaps she is not a feminist.

The real job of a woman, no doubt, is still to do as she is told by the Alpha male.

Michaelia said: “I’ve never been someone who really associates with that [feminist] movement.” OMG! Could she be referring to equal rights?

Perhaps the former lawyer needs to consult an English dictionary to learn that feminism in the 21st Century isn’t just about hairy armpits and burning bras (was it ever?). At its base, feminism is “advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.”

It is the lack of understanding and the imbalance at the political, social and economic level that drives so many women, of all ages, to flee the corporate environment, lose faith in the political system with its mealy-mouthed politically correct yet delivery challenged accoutrements, and rely on their own very well learned professional judgement.

I spoke to a young International Business student recently who said it is: “extremely difficult to understand why female business owner are still ignored in Australia.”

“If anyone has the time to glance at the stats,” she said, “they will clarify the obvious: Women are having a profound economic impact on our society.”

And she’s right. In fact, female owned businesses are the most rapidly growing sector of our economy and there are now more women than men between the ages of 33-45 trading in Australia.

A political party that fails to acknowledge women is a political party is no doubt on the road to suicide.

Together with one voice we can make changes. I ask each one of you to take less than one minute from your busy schedule to deliver a message to those who need to hear from you. One email could change our future. Send your letter directly to the PM and the Minister today.

Mr Abbott, lift your game!


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Leadership & Management
Lecturer / Non-Executive Director

Gender & Inclusion
Policy Advisor / Researcher

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