It’s the 14th of February which means it can feel like the entire world is focused on red roses, chocolates and romantic love as the be all and end all for women everywhere.
While there’s something to be said for these things (well, at least, chocolate and love) I got to thinking about a few other things that would genuinely rock my world (and the world of many women).
Forget roses, this is what I’d love on Valentine’s Day.
- An adequately funded response to domestic violence
We are forking out $100 billion (BILLION) on a fleet of submarines and we’re supposed to applaud a $79 million funding package for violence against women?
So far in Oz in 2019:
– 6 women have been violently killed
– police will have dealt with 30,000 DV matters
– 500 women & girls will have been hospitalised with injuries inflicted by their partner.
What other crime would we tolerate with this impact? https://t.co/MIdSLzNFVT
— Georgina Dent (@georgiedent) February 11, 2019
- To never be referred to as “our women”.
Ever. Least of all by a Prime Minister. We aren’t chattels.
If you don’t think this is weird, if you don’t think it suggests some disturbing kind of ownership, ask yourself: could you ever imagine “our women” coming out of the mouth of a female politician? https://t.co/MmbB33GjL8
— Lisa Pryor (@pryorlisa) February 11, 2019
Aretha Franklin sang it best and in 2019 it’s as true as ever. I want women to go to work, to walk the streets, to frequent restaurants, to enter court rooms, parliament, boards rooms, sporting arenas and be greeted with respect.
I don’t just want women not to be harassed or assaulted: I want that to be the absolute baseline. I want women to be viewed and treated as human beings of equal value as a matter of course.
- A solution to climate change
Yep, it’s bold but this is a wishlist afterall. If a solution isn’t possible I’d at least take some leadership and commitment to do what we can to ensure the viability of our planet.
- Reproductive freedom.
Without it women’s rights will never be fully realised.
- Equal pay
Not just because it’s a matter of fairness but because the price of the pay gap compounded over time is unconscionable. Why are women over 50 the fastest growing group of people becoming homeless?
- Leadership beyond ego
Are leaders with integrity and decency really that hard to find? Too many leaders in recent times – in business and in politics – have made these traits seem unattainable. Enough.
- Access to education for all girls
There are more than 130 million girls around the world who are still unable to go to school. Every additional year of primary school increases girls’ eventual wages by 10-20 percent. It also encourages them to marry later and have fewer children, and leaves them less vulnerable to violence.
- Time with friends
In a pair of studies involving nearly 280,000 people, psychologist William Chopik from Michigan State University found that friendships become increasingly important to one’s happiness and health across the lifespan. He found that friendships are a stronger predictor of health and happiness than relationships with family members. “Keeping a few really good friends around can make a world of difference for our health and well-being,” he said. “So, it’s smart to invest in the friendships that make you happiest.”
Women are notoriously time-poor but making time for friendships – regardless of your relationship status – is worthwhile.
- Caring responsibilities shared & valued
Women have carried the burden alone for too long. Children, elderly relatives, cooking, cleaning and laundry are not pursuits, passions or responsibility that exclusively belong to women. As convenient as that idea is, it’s not true. Poverty is the price too many women pay for caring and the sooner individuals, employers and governments realise that needs to change the better.
So, look, I admit that my wish-list is ambitious. It’s certainly more difficult than buying a card and a few roses but I can honestly say that even ticking a few of these items off the list would make a lot of women VERY happy. If Valentine’s Day is about making women happy – as the marketing trope suggests – these things really ought to be considered.