I had a great start to my day with the Sydney Business Chicks Breakfast. Over 500 women and some brave men congregated at The Westin at 7am (a feat given the early start and the near-zero temperature.)
Our guests this morning were Jane Caro (author, Gruen Transfer panelist, media personality) and Catherine Fox (deputy editor AFRBoss, author and columnist for the Financial Review.)
Our speakers co-authored a book called The F Word: How we Learned to Swear by Feminism, and this morning they took the stage at Business Chicks to share the story of their friendship and their experiences in the workplace; as wives; as daughters; and as mothers.
I’ve got to admit I’ve always been a bit scared of the word feminism. But I’m not now.
I’ve always associated the word feminism with people like Germaine Greer, and had images of women burning their bras every time it comes up (as I mentioned in the Good Weekend a little while ago.)
This morning Jane and Catherine were able to paint a much more accurate and aspirational view of what it means to be a feminist. Being a feminist doesn’t mean you must put down men, or think you’re superior to them. Being a feminist doesn’t mean you have to cut off your hair and only wear pants. Being a feminist doesn’t mean you must lose your femininity in anyway.
What it does mean is putting yourself out there, and having a voice when it comes to equality for women, whether that’s equality in the home or in the workplace. It’s about speaking out about fairness in unpaid work and expecting your partner to contribute equally around the home, and if you have kids, with the parenting too. It’s about continuing the conversation in relation to paid work and the gender pay gaps that are still (surprisingly) so prevalent in Australia.
Jane talked about one of her pet hates being when women start sentences with “I’m not a feminist, but….” She encouraged the audience to change our languaging to be proud of wanting to be equal. From here on in, she said, a good way to start a sentence is “I am a feminist, and…”
And from now on, I won’t be one little bit scared of trying it!