Monday, 19 September 2011

Don't mention the day

Yesterday's Sunday Star-Times had a great article by Anthony Hubbard, "The blokes are back in charge", pointing out that women still don't have anything like equal representation in political power and have in fact lost ground. But strangely he didn't once mention that today marks the 118th aniversary of New Zealand women winning the vote.
               Not that I expected any of the national media to notice this. Even Kathryn Ryan this morning seems to be ignoring it completely. With no apparent sense of irony, she's hosting a discussion by "two elder statesmen of NZ politics", Michael Cullen and Jim Bolger, on "how MMP really works and its future in New Zealand". No doubt they were going to talk approvingly at some point about how it has increased the number of women MPs. (For a neat video showing its impact, go here.)             
                Ridiculous dream of the month: a new national holiday marking Suffrage Day, with events all over the country celebrating how much progress NZ has made each year in terms of gender equality and looking at how we can do better still. Nothing like the WC, of course, and no government funding. We know our place.
                Hubbard did point out that the WC is the ultimate blokefest. I'd missed the astonishing incident where the Prime Minister of Australia was ordered off the leaders' bus and told to travel on the spouses' bus, but it did seem to sum up very neatly where we've got to: now and then a woman gets to be leader, but she's never allowed to forget that she's out of place, and it will be a very long time before another one is able to make it that far.

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