life balance, Suffrage, Uncategorized, Women

Does your favourite movie pass the Bechdel test?

(Bechdel_test_origin)(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bechdel_test)

I heard about the Bechdel Test on ABC radio National the other day and I struggled to think of a single recent film that met the criteria: A film that has two women in it… who talk to each other… about something other than men.

Maybe Thelma & Louise and that was a few years ago and look what happened to them!? (and come to think about it, they talked rather a lot about men (Brad Pitt, rotten husbands…)

What would be on your list that meets the criteria and let’s face it, it’s quite a low benchmark!

Some Swedish movie theatres are basing their film choices on this test… what a great idea! These films might tell women’s stories. Even better idea!

Let me know!

Australia, Suffrage, Uncategorized, Women in Business

After Margaret Thatcher: No Turning Back

margaret thatcher

I read with some sadness of the death of Margaret Thatcher at the ripe old age of 87. What a good innings she had even if her last few years were troubled by dementia. I also read with interest the comments that she was ‘unique’, ‘one of a kind’ and therefore unlikely to be replicated. Is it to early to say I beg to differ?

One of the surprising things about women in positions of power is that … well, when we get there we often do very well. This seems surprising to some parts of the community who show considerable consternation when a woman is appointed to a tough top job. What? A women? At the head of a government (or company, or department) making brave decisions? Must be a one-off. She must be unique. But she wasn’t and she’s not – at least in terms of women who know what they are doing and what they want.

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I am forming a theory that what’s really scary (for some) about women in positions of authority, for example female prime ministers, is that they actually do a very good job. Now that’s not to say they don’t make unpopular decisions or that they don’t break their word (just like their male counterparts) but they are strong-willed, determined, often very good leaders and highly resilient. And there are more and more of them and that is what is making some of our (XY chromosome) community extremely nervous. Clever, well placed women are often very, very efficient and very, very much here to stay.

Some examples: Angela Merkel: Ms Merkel, at 58, is a German politician who has been the Chancellor of Germany since 2005, and the Leader of the Christian Democratic Union since 2000. She is the first woman to hold either office. Big boots to fill I’d say. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angela_Merkel
Hillary Clinton
And what about Hilary Clinton? Once she got out from under the ‘First lady’ tag, did she take up knitting ? She did not. She was the 67th United States Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, under President Barack Obama and a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. And closer to home, we cannot ignore our own Prime Minister. Love or hate her political leanings (or anyone else’s), becoming the first woman Prime Minister of Australia is no small feat and she was the Leader of the Australian Labor Party from 2010. She is the first woman to hold either office.

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And away from the pollies: Oprah. She's known just by her first name: that's a very good start and for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show "The Oprah Winfrey Show" which was the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011. She has been ranked the richest African-American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and was for a time the world's only black billionaire. She is also, according to some assessments, the most influential woman in the world.[There are so many more who were inventors, scientists, doctors… It was a woman who invented Liquid Paper, Bette Nesmith Graham; Lady Mary Wortley Montagu created the first smallpox vaccine; Rosalind Franklin played a pivotal role in mapping out the double helix of DNA in the 1950s; Helen Greiner cofounded iRobot-a packbot that dismantles explosives (source: http://lifestyle.allwomenstalk.com/things-women-invented-first/) Randice-Lisa Altschul invented the world's first disposable cell phone and who can forget Marie Curie who discovered radium and furthered x-ray technology.

“To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say, you turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning” – Speech at Conservative Party conference, 1980.

Of those who believe that a successful, powerful woman must be an aberration,get ready for a shock. It is time to accept that strong women are and will increasingly be appointed to positions of power all over the world. And to paraphrase the Baroness, there’s no turning away from that.

Australia, Uncategorized, Women in Business

Dont ask permission (or forgiveness)!

It’s International Women’s Day and I’m mad. No not that sort of mad… I’m assertive, vexed, inquisitive, willing to put the elephant in the corner on to the top of the table and point at it in an annoying way. In a word, I’m being unashamedly Woman and I’m not asking permision or forgiveness.

Sadly, there are so many women in the world who do not have the strength, financial capacity or forum to fight for their rights safely. Australian women have so much of that and yet…  two examples of it today of a sort of unspoken need to have men’s approval of our wants and needs: At an international women’s day breakfast, the (50:50 male female panel) discussed why women were ‘different’ how we can deliver a ‘softer’ side to the boardroom….! Am I in 1952? I heard a senior officer (male) from the Australian army talk on the radio about how he was going to Washington for IWD to talk about getting more women into the Australian armed forces. Was it only me who noticed the irony of the Australian Army NOT sending a women on this mission

“The strength of a woman is not measured by the impact that all her hardships in life have had on her; but by the extent of her refusal to allow those hardships to dictate her and who she becomes.” 
―    C. JoyBell C.

We’ve made huge strides forward; we’ve made change happen. But it is time – now more than ever – to take off the gloves and push in to spaces where we are not wanted, where we will be deliberately provacative by our mere presence and we stand and face what ever is thrown at us.

I wish all women a happy and inspiring International Women’s Day. Be proud of everything you and we have done and everything we will do. With or without permission.