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.
Also by Tracie Aylmer: