Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sideways To The Top

So tonight I went to the book launch of Sideways To The Top. I haven't read the book, but it is described as ' a unique, thought-provoking book that addresses these questions along with other longstanding assumptions about women. It chronicles the experiences of 11 women leaders — some of whom are Australian icons — who challenged the status quo and took alternative career pathways to the top. ' You can read more about it here: www.melbournebooks.com.au/sideways-to-the-top.html

So here's the thing. The panel members were smart and articulate and they reflected on being a woman and having a career and stuff. Some of them mentioned how their kids inspired them - others talked about having a balanced approach. Some talked about starting a business in a nurturing kind of environment. I can't really remember any of the other key points because instead of being shades of grey, it was kinda shades of beige.

The conversation then turned to the audience and observations were made about gender stereotypes and it was all about mums being mums and losing out on careers and the horror that young men today were still reinforcing that 1950's housewife thing. 

Well - that aint the view of the dudes I know. I don't know who these women hang out with, but I for one am surrounded professionally and socially by men who partner with their partners, men who co-parent, men who are the primary carer and men who solo parent. I'm proud to have wonderful friendships with men who don't propagate the stereotypes these women have assumed. And on behalf of these men I'm totally outraged. I am also outraged on behalf of all their partners and also for the women who have made their own choices (gasp - some of whom have chosen to stay at home).

Yes I'm simplifying this, but really...big...massive...yawn. Maybe I just hang around different people, or maybe I'm not bitter from the inequality in my past - I don't know, but either way this sort of stuff makes me livid. Middle class, white women who themselves go on to generalise and marginalise themselves all the while complaining that they are stereotyped and marginalised. Sure there is still inequality and my word our recent political history kind of highlights that. Yes there should be better paternity leave entitlements for men and men should be supported to make the choices they want to when it comes to parenting. But maybe collectively, we can reflect on how to make improvements and stop the wallowing and the generalised stereotypes, because hey...that seems ( I don't know) a little hypercritical. 

I bet the book is much better than all this and I know as a feminist there is much I can learn from other women, just as I can from men too. 

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