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Where is the equality?

By Tracie Aylmer

Australian society has turned into a very strange animal.

Women make up approximately 50% (or thereabouts) of the population, but appearances dictate something entirely different.

In recent history, men are congratulated for their successes, no matter how big or small. Any failures are ignored, or relegated as lessons. Women’s successes, on the other hand, are ignored. We are even treated as failures, or our work is stolen from us by men who then crow on about their ‘successes’.

Yet we are still around half the population!

One example of this was highlighted by Benjamin Schiff, a German scholar who wrote Building the International Criminal Court. He noted that the one thing holding the Court back in relation to gender based crimes were male dominated or Western countries. Our own Western based country has been noted as holding gender based crimes back! Women-dominated NGOs came to the rescue, and gender based crimes were eventually added to the Rome Convention as a crime against humanity.

It’s like the whole of Australian society is looking for some kind of white knight in shining armour, based upon fairy tale books or the Disney channel!

This whole concept is not just dragging concepts of women down. It’s dragging all of Australian society down. It is prevalent in every area of society, and particularly can relate to domestic violence and perceptions of men. Men are actually losing out on this perception that they must be strong and emotionless, rather than human and individualistic.

On a personal level, I have lived an extraordinary life, and have done some pretty extraordinary things. I decided long ago that I should never hold true to other people’s barriers.

I therefore wrote the first submission to the International Criminal Court, which received a letter of confirmation in May 2014. I am the first Australian to have received confirmation about a possible situation of Australia. In addition, the ICC emailed another letter to me in January 2015, stating that they were going to analyse Australia’s situation.

This is a massive achievement, yet at the time I didn’t want to ‘blow my own trumpet’. I have done something that – in addition to possibly being of great benefit to others in the future – should have received congratulations from myself as well as from others. Instead, I became uncomfortable with acknowledgement of my own success. I have gone further than anyone else in Australia, and recently given advice to others on how to be successful, yet I couldn’t even enjoy my own success.

In July 2014 I started becoming very concerned with what the government could have done to me. I had emailed the ICC with the Immigration Department manuals and guidelines, initially drafted by Labor and dramatically amended by the LNP. I then met Thomas Drake (NSA whistleblower) who called me brave and told me to get as much public interest as I could obtain, solely in order to protect me. I hadn’t wanted the media attention, but felt I needed the protection. So, as per Thomas Drake’s advice, I went to the media. I gave them my submission and the 73 attachments to show them what I had done. I was told that because I wasn’t famous, they weren’t going to write about me.

That’s one hell of a catch 22! How was I going to receive the media attention in order to protect myself, particularly when I just wanted to get on with the work of ensuring that the ICC would start at least looking at the work to consider analysis?

This male dominated society wasn’t too happy at thinking that a woman could complete the work!

In any case, I now have enough public interest to be comfortable. I didn’t need a lot – just enough to ensure that nothing untoward happened.

Other women have also done incredible things. As two examples, Gillian Triggs and Rosie Batty are two phenomenal women who have done great work in their fields. I look up to both women as shooting stars. Yet, on occasion, men and some of the public have been known to denigrate them.

Why are some men (not all) so scared of women who shine? Aren’t we all individuals? Shouldn’t we all be known (and grateful) for our successes? Aren’t we all in this together?

As a friend told me, men wouldn’t be around without the women giving birth to them. They should become aware of this, and give it the respect it deserves.

11 comments

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  1. Pingback: Where is the equality? – » The Australian Independent Media Network | SUSAN'S SPACE

  2. Carol Taylor

    Tracie, perhaps it’s not just about some men being “scared of women who shine”, but it’s some people being scared of anyone who is different themselves “who shine” – see also the reactions of some people not just to women who achieve but those of a different race or different sexual orientation who shine. Perhaps this has an impact on their own feelings of worth, that they do not possess similar abilities to achieve, and therefore must denigrate those who do, based on which ever aspect is “different”.

  3. townsvilleblog

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-17/almost-600-companies-did-not-pay-tax-in-2013-14/7036324 this is the big picture, these grubs are not only getting away with paying workers less than they are worth, particularly women but they pay little or no tax, no wonder governments say they can’t afford this or that, they are not collecting the available revenue in taxation, there should be a 20% floor on gross income for every company in Australia, big or small.

  4. wam

    perhaps keeping Aust down is appropriate to the rule of man. It is difficult not to blame the victims in this case. Men and the majority of women “know” men like empty and the rabbott represent the strength of politics and are frightened women like mirabella and cash will gain power and rule like men. I cannot articulate but I married an admirable women who spent her working life plugging holes made by men. She was regularly consulted by men in position of authority well above the senior school Principal level and by many outside the education sphere. She is against positive action because of the number of times she was ‘a token’ and I was thought the ‘high flyer’ of the family.
    In real terms she is so good that she was used by the men especially those ‘peter’s principlers’ and never recognised by these men. When the top turned over the new men soon jumped over the office women for advice. qed bye bye my darling into early retirement when these women hit the top.
    Sadly until religion accepts women as being as capable as men women will only be accepted as one of the rabbott’s ‘exceptional’.
    ps Is it only pigs or do women agree with their male tag of ‘unclean’?

  5. Phil

    I take your points about the imbalance in gender equity Tracie. I congratulate you on your courage in standing up to powerful forces in your work as a an international criminal lawyer. I followed the link to your article asking if the Australian government had links to atrocities overseas – that opened a veritable pandora’s box revealing the huge number of countries in Africa where more than 150 Australian mining companies operate under lax or non existent labour and safety laws. I discovered that the Australian government uses our taxes to promote these miners and that since 2004 more than 380 deaths have occured at Australian company mine sites or at off-site skirmishes relating to Australian mine operations. The linked video report titled Fatal Attraction: Australian mining in Africa, is graphic, horrifying and paints a picture of corporate greed, criminal exploitation and inhumanity at an almost unimaginable scale.

    Your 2015 submission to the UN stating emphatically that Australia’s application to be appointed to the UN Security Council must be rejected, was a most revealing submission containing as it did, extensive live links to organisations and reports linking Australian mining interests in atrocities in Africa and showing the Australian government involvement in supporting the Australian mining companies.

    Juxtapose the Australian mining activities in virtually lawless Africa with the Australian government campaign to crush our labour unions who represent the sole remaining safety net for workplace safety. This begs the question, has the Australian neoliberal government got it’s eyes firmly set on establishing an equivalent of the African mine site scenarios for our own onshore mining and construction industries?

    The Fatal Attraction video reveals so graphically the rank duplicity of Australian business interests as they ruthlessly exploit African nations of their resources and wealth, leaving behind dead bodies, grieving families, pauperism, and desolate, destroyed environs.

    Now this morning we wake to news of a massive leak of data from an international law firm revealing the breadth of tax avoidance and wealth accumulation that is crippling national economies. Our prime minster has his grubby tentacles in this nefarious system of offshore tax havens – is he going to act to shut down the exploitation game? No way, he’s a beneficiary.

    Thanks again Tracie for a most illuminating ride through this sordid Australian corporate/government ‘game’

    Gender equality now!!

  6. Möbius Ecko

    Our prime minster has his grubby tentacles in this nefarious system of offshore tax havens – is he going to act to shut down the exploitation game? No way, he’s a beneficiary.

    Turnbull has or still invests in a vulture fund whose aim is to bankrupt small nations so they can profit out of the massive deficits and sell off of resources, infrastructure and services.

  7. ImagiNation

    Dare I say men are not scared of women, they are petrified of women. If one were to examine the biological properties of the female reproductive system and sexual capabilities in a purely physical sense, i.e. without learned emotions, one would quickly discover women are by far sexually superior to men in every possible way. Although this fact is hidden from society (especially from men), subconsciously men are aware of this and have acted accordingly throughout history with the suppression of women.
    But you cannot blame men for their ignorance, for example generations women have had magazines like Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Day, Cleo, Cosmo ect. ect, ect. filled with articles on love, sex, relationships, health, beauty and such while men have had Playboy and the like. Perhaps one of the many reasons this knowledge is taboo and suppressed is the repercussions. How many times has it been said by both sexes, ‘If only I knew.’

  8. Carol Taylor

    ImagiNation, I do note that the more that women agitate for a fairer workplace, the more the conservative elements especially in the media ramp up the stereotypes. We have Woman’s Day, Cleo, Cosmo espousing that life’s goal is to wear a frilly apron, work full time and please your man with every 1950’s method at your disposal. In the meanwhile we have Playboy telling men to take and give little back, a reinforcement of their supposed superiority. Neither set of stereotypes is the formula for a successful society but combined keeps a woman ‘in her place’.

  9. ImagiNation

    Carol I agree with you 100% but please understand i was using that merely to emphasise a point.

  10. Backyard Bob

    Tim Jones is on the phone, something about an “honourable mention” …

  11. Deanna Jones

    Rosie Batty is doing wonderful work around the issue of family violence but it does put me in mind of a second wave quote by Gloria Steinem: “Each new generation of women have had to reinvent the wheel”

    The first ever women’s refuge in the country was opened in the 1950s when the late great Bessie Guthrie opened her Glebe home up to women and children who were escaping violence. Bessie Guthrie also shone a light on the hideous ‘child welfare’ practices of the day, of incarcerating children in places like Parramatta Girls Training School and the Hay Gaol. Both highly significant achievements, among many others, yet who knows her name?

    It is that “culture of forgetting” that Keating spoke of in the Redfern speech. Dale Spender wrote about this in “Women of ideas and what men have done to them”. I fear that the systemic erasure of women’s achievements will be the same for Rosie Batty and Gillian Triggs.

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