I celebrate women of influence because normalising normal isn’t abnormal.
Being a married heterosexual male with two daughters, it’s no stretch identifying such women, who influence nearly every move I make. Sometimes they wonder why I need to be influenced at all, which goes to the crux of this column.
And I do empty the compost bin, and I do try to be more handy, and I am working to defuse the self-serving patriarchy. But small steps are the pattern of progress, just like my efforts to become handy. Rome was not built in a day, nor the shower cubicle retiled.
But Lord Varys from Game of Thrones put it well when he said with a horticultural flourish that “patience is the key to influence, and influence takes hold like a weed.”
Sisters have been doing it for themselves forever, even if men don’t notice, but their influence has struggled to proliferate in the face of grubs. A quick look at gender equity through history reveals mighty trees obscured in a cock forest.
The Suffragettes knew only too well that behind every great man often stood a greater woman, because great women weren’t allowed to stand in front of men, for Parliament at least, until the turn of the 20th century. Saudi Arabia measures such progress in terms of who’s allowed to drive the car.
You hope time’s are a changing, but when a US president legislates against breast feeding and facilitates a Hand Maiden’s assault on Roe v Wade, you wonder if they are not changing back.
A brave girl in Pakistan declares women have a right to an education, and the Taliban shoot her in the head. It’s pretty basic.
Honour killings remain commonplace worldwide and women are murdered in Australia on a weekly basis by men who claim to love them. Patience clearly wears thin with this kind of “love”. It’s a matter of survival.
Enlightened influence is hard fought, and once earned must be defended, by both men and women.
Writing about women of influence isn’t about tokenism, it’s about balance.
I celebrate the influence of women in my life, who have more control over their bodies, their careers and who empties the compost bin than at any time in the history of our household.
And I celebrate the influence of women beyond the domicile, like NZ prime minister Jacinda Ardern who is just the second sitting female leader in history to have a baby in office – largely because the majority of sitting male leaders have been incapable of reproducing anything but rhetoric when it comes to work place reform. Women deserve the chance to stuff things up just as much as men when it comes to politics.
And in light of the World Cup, I celebrate the Aussie women’s soccer team who are ranked heaps higher than the underachieving men but still travel to their World Cup by economy, while the guys go business.
It’s not a level playing field yet, but the rollers are out. Anyone who opposes that kind of influence needs to be weeded out.