Last Sunday my bestie and I travelled to Sydney Opera House to All About Women. We were running late due to a late night gig I had the night before and a very temperamental sat nav, so we missed our first show and had some lunch and a rest, enjoying our special holiday. We realised, lying on our beds at 3:45pm that our 4:30pm show was actually at 4pm. So, we power-walked the normally 20 minute stroll and got to the Sydney Opera House at 4:10pm. The staff were lovely, and as long as we waited until the introduction was over, we were allowed to make our way to the second row and the remaining, easily reachable seats in a sold-out house.
The talk we saw was ‘Suffragettes to Social Media – waves of feminism’. Four speakers including Barbara Caine, Anne Summers, Rebecca Walker and Nakkiah Lui spoke about the changing face of feminism and the shift from political to social struggles. We left feeling determined and empowered and with a deep need to be more politically and socially involved in the movement regardless of the dangers we perceive are lurking out there. The women who’ve come before us risked social ridicule, torture and even death to bring us to the space we are in now. And there is still so much to do.
I (a white, middle-class, Australian, cis, straight woman) often find it difficult to navigate intersectionality in a meaningful way (that is not just lip service). It is a learning curve for me to understand how I can use my privilege and power in a constructive way to help empower all women (and all people). Rebecca Walker and Nakkiah Lui offered some excellent, simple advice which I have taken to heart: be a better ally. And that means asking “how can I help?” (and actually listening to the answer), and using my privilege to be supportively visible for everyone who doesn’t have the power I have. So that is the challenge I’m setting myself between now (International Women’s Day 2018) and IWD19.
I spent the weekend with my closest friend, discussing and learning about feminism. I spent the next few days dissecting and debriefing with other incredible women, cursing the patriarchy, and figuring out our next steps. And today I celebrate all the women who’ve led me to this place of solidarity and future possibilities. Happy International Women’s Day to all of you!
Love & solidarity