HOW TO BE A GOOD 'BAD FEMINIST' THIS INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
5 March 2020 | What does it mean to be a “bad” feminist when you work in the field of gender equality? That’s the question girls’ education not-for-profit One Girl and feminist tech company She’s a Crowd are asking this International Women’s Day.
Together they explore how internalised sexism shows up in their day-to-day work — both in the women and girls they speak with and in their own actions and subconscious bias. They examine how even feminists aren’t immune from seeing the world through a patriarchal lens; how a movement created for the purpose of equality often sees its own members judging each other for not being upstanding members of the club, and how that in itself is a reflection of the perfection demanded of all women in a patriarchal society.
The piece explores the more extreme examples of women turning against each other, such as with the latest controversy surrounding Bettina Arndt, through to the more subtle ways internalised bias can manifest, both in Australia and overseas. One Girl International Program’s Director Erica Berthelsen shares a story of meeting a woman in Sierra Leone who fundamentally believes all women are lazy — despite the fact that she wakes up before sunrise every day to fetch water, make breakfast for her children, and care for her extended family members, all before beginning her day of gruelling physical labour and often unpaid work.
Founder and CEO of She’s a Crowd, Zoe Condliffe, reflects back on being a young woman sitting on an International Women’s Day panel and having her reproductive choices discussed by a male audience member and the only male panel member; and then later being approached by a group of women who urged her get pregnant first and then focus on her career. Together, they explore how women often believe that in order to be the boss, they need to adopt male characteristics of leadership and squash their own natural instincts.
This International Women’s Day, women who advocate for the rights of women and girls every day reflect honestly on what it’s like to be a “bad” feminist in an industry where you’re expected to uphold the standard — the myths women internalise and tell each other as gospel, the complexity of subconscious bias as a result of centuries of inequality, and what we can all do to facilitate more space for women and girls to be the centre of their own narrative.
The piece can be found at www.onegirl.org.au/blog/badfeminist and may be published in its entirety with full credits to the authors and the organisations they represent.
WE HAVE A PROBLEM ON OUR HANDS…
• Over 130 million girls around the world are denied an education simply because they were born a girl.
• Sierra Leone and Uganda are two of the most challenging places in the world to be born a girl: almost 50% of female youth in Sierra Leone are illiterate, up to 40% of girls in Sierra Leone and Uganda are forced into child marriage and 3 in 5 girls in Sierra Leone don’t attend school.
• Worldwide, 14 million girls under the age of 18 will be forced into marriage this year. That’s 38,000 today or 13 girls in the last 30 seconds.
• In sub-saharan Africa only 1 in 5 girls will make it to high school.
• A girl born in Sierra Leone is more likely to be sexually assaulted than she is to attend high school.
BUT WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE IT!
• For every year a girl stays in school, her income will increase by 10-25%
• An educated woman’s children are 50% more likely to live past the age of five.
• An educated girl will marry when she’s ready and have a smaller, healthier family.
• For every dollar she earns, she will invest 90% of it back into her family.
For more more information or to request an interview, contact One Girl Communications Director, Méabh Friel on 03 9913 4818 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
About One Girl:
One Girl is an Australian not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting girls without access to education in two of the worst places in the world to be born a girl: Uganda and Sierra Leone. One Girl raises funds and awareness through national campaigns like Do It In A Dress to provide thousands of girls and young women with access to education.
Since 2009, One Girl has worked with well-established local organisations to reach more than 32,000 women and girls with access to high-quality education programs.
About Do It In A Dress
Do It In A Dress is an annual fundraising campaign organised by Australian not-for-profit, One Girl.
Do It In A Dress is about putting on a school dress, having some fun, and standing up for every girl’s right to an education. Through this campaign, participants raise money to support One Girl’s education programs in Sierra Leone and Uganda. To date, Do It In A Dress has successfully raised over $2.8 million dollars, which has helped changed the lives of girls across Sierra Leone and Uganda.