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OPINION: What is it like being a woman in Albany in 2017?

Talitha WolfeAlbany Advertiser

As I sat at my desk listening to feminist flavour of Sampa the Great and perusing the #GirlsToTheFront articles that filled my newsfeed, my editor called on me to write an opinion piece on the topic of the day - International Women’s Day.

“What is it like being a woman in Albany in 2017?” he asked.

Super.

This is exactly what I want to be doing - I sarcastically thought - expressing my thoughts on job options, safety and issues affecting my gender, rather than finding stories of genuine gender disparity in the community.

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For those who know me, I am a staunch feminist but it is beginning to get tiring explaining why we still need to be fighting for equal rights in 2017.

The thing about gender inequality is it’s not always glaringly obvious which is what makes its hard to address.

It’s the snide comments about the length of my hair and the clothes I chose to wear.

It’s the not-so-subtle leering at my breasts and body as I walk down the street.

It’s the cat-calls and wolf whistles, and its other women telling me I should be thankful – ‘at least someone is showing you attention.’

It’s being told I can’t walk home by myself at night, let alone travel the world solo.

But it’s also the fear that they might be right – I’m only 5’3 after all.

It’s being told that it’s unladylike to smoke, that I shouldn’t drink too much and God forbid, be single and still have sex.

It is men thinking they have a right to your body and that you are a prude/snob/uptight slut if you don’t let them have your way with you – even if said man was your partner.

It’s being told I have to wear a skirt or a dress because I’m a girl.

It’s been happening for as long as I can remember.

I continued browsing the internet and, as was expected, a select few male counterparts were aggressively pounding their keyboard, furiously typing about the audacity of woman demanding equality – I mean we shouldn’t leave the kitchen, right?

But the issue is women, on average, earn 24 per cent less than their male counterparts in WA.

We are under-represented politics, and are over-represented in poverty, domestic violence and sexual assault figures.

International Women’s Day and the feminism movement isn’t to spark female supremacy or to abolish male rights.

It’s not to vilify men or to blame them for atrocities women have faced.

Today is about shining a light on the issues faced by women all around the world and create discussion about what can be done to instigate parity.

Beside, men get their day on November 19.

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