It’s International Women’s Day (IWD) and time to celebrate all things women.
During my university years IWD was part of Blue Stocking Week where women’s officers set up a stream of activities that celebrated womanhood and highlighted the inequities we still experience. To my knowledge Blue Stocking Week is no longer around, perhaps because a new wave of young women felt it was no longer relevant.
Today Adelaide’s branch of the YWCA launched the She Speaks survey. By the end of reading it I felt overall these young women did see a bright future. Of course they acknowledge some battles are still there, we still don’t have equal pay however they are divided over whether the ‘glass ceiling’ still exists.
But what surprised me the most was when asked if ‘young women have fewer barriers to success than the last generation’, 72% believed this was true to some degree. While I may disagree with this statement I have to acknowledge that I am reading the thoughts and opinions of a group of young women ten years younger than me.
They placed Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the top of the list of women they most admired for her achievements. And while her politics will be forever debated, you cannot argue with her achievements for women in politics. Her cabinet has seen the most women in a ministry in Australian political history.
However on a sadder note the survey revealed the media still plays a huge role in how women feel about themselves. How we should look and feel is still being dictated by what we watch, read and hear. Clearly the battle over the media’s portrayal of women is far from over.
Yet there is now evidence in the UK that not only confirms the media’s impact on body image it is evidence that the government must take action.
I really want to celebrate today but I cannot stop thinking about this. We may have a fresh generation of women who believe there are no obstacles in the workplace, yet their confidence is still being impacted by the bombardment of false images.
‘Don’t buy it’, ‘change the channel’, ‘just ignore it’ is the catch cry of many women when this issue is raised on blogs such as mamamia. But let’s be honest we are surrounded by these images consciously and subconsciously.
If only the solution was as simple as get women in there to create change, yet it is women who dominate the fashion industry.