I have lived and worked in agriculture my whole life. I understand fully the role of women through Australia’s history. We were brought here to service men, breed workers and keep the house. I am ducking for cover….
But tell me it isn’t true and I will show you example after example of women being used this way.
Its not just our short history that has upset me of late. Rick Steins India has fascinated me. I love spices and anything cooking really. But he was talking about pepper, and happened to mention that pepper was so highly valued that all manner of goods were traded for it, including European women for dancing girls and concubines. In other words, pepper was of more value to them than their daughters.
Most of the women in history that have been given any kudos have been royalty, and even they were treated by their peers as less than their male counterparts.
Henry the 8th – esteemed King, womanizer, philanderer..
Cleopatra – Queen of Egypt, noted for having slept with many famous men..
The difference is that Henry was seen as ‘manly’.
Even in todays society, men are seen as studs, women are sluts.
Can you imagine an all girl band – Like the Bangles – having ‘groupies’ like the boy bands do, and getting away with it?
So what do we do about it?
I’m convinced the ‘I Am Woman Hear Me Roar’ movement didn’t work. In fact all it did was create angry women.
I was brought up believing I could achieve whatever I set my mind to and that I was every bit as good as any male. And I could have and I am! But that advice should have come with a warning lable stating men don’t realize this and you will have to work 10 times harder than they will for the same result. Especially in agriculture!
I have come to the conclusion that the district I grew up in was progressive. We girls were treated no different to the boys at school or on the farms. There were no princesses, everybody rode horses and motorbikes, fenced, got the wood in and learned to cook. At school the boys did sewing, the girls did woodwork. We all played footy in the mud!
When I got out into the real world of agriculture I discovered it was a mans world and fought against it very hard! I have explained before my mental illness and the bearing it had on my work. I was working in shearing sheds as a roustabout, and we all know the (undeserved) reputation they have! And if you didn’t meet the ‘expectations’ of the shearers – a lot of whom were married with children – you were shunned. Shunning didn’t bother me. I was a loner anyway! When I started classing the real problems began though. It takes a certain amount of ego to shear sheep, and most learner shearers start off as a shed hand, shearing a sheep or two for someone during the run. But they detested me and let me know, because I made them do the job they were being paid for. And I know from experience that if I had testicles I wouldn’t have suffered the abuse.
I am sure this not so level playing field will not resolve itself until the men of the world realize what they are doing.
Or when the media – mostly run by men – stops this.
We women of Oz should feel blessed we don’t live in India, where rape of girls and women is an every day occurrence. Or in a country that believes a raped 13yo child has committed adultery and is stoned to death. Or in Yemen, where a quarter of all females are married before they turn 15.
But what can we do? I don’t know. It is getting better. The women of 2013, in most countries, have it much better than women in 1913. I am certain my daughters will have it even easier due the work we are putting in now. Especially in dairy. There seems to be a lot of women leading the way in our industry, which is good to see. I look up to them and aspire to be a leader like them in years to come.
To finish off, I will share with you and ‘enlightening’ couple of comments made to me by someone on twitter last night. I have cut and pasted the words so as to leave the clown anonymous…
@AlisonGermon I’m sorry, you will never be more worth while than a man. Its a basic tenet of conservative ideology. Read your history
They do still exist, though as I said to another tweeter, it may be true for me, but not for my daughters. People like him are going the way of the dinosaur… I hope….