The ABC is celebrating International Women’s Day tomorrow with a baffling stunt - they’re replacing their male on-air employees with women.
In short, women - who already shoulder more paid and domestic work every week than men - will have to work even harder than usual.
The gesture is supposed to promote female voices on the national broadcaster. Both ABC TV and Radio will serve up “special content through the day" in order to "explore the need for change and gender equality” across all its channels, according to a media release.
Here’s an idea. Enough with the special content and patronising leg-ups.
While it’ll be great to hear all-female voices presenting news or only female artists on Triple J, it’s all largely meaningless.
What women actually want and need is equal pay. Affordable childcare. And to have men take on an equal share of paid and domestic duties.
This gimmick doesn’t shine a light on any of those issues.
Ironically, the rest of the world is marking International Women’s Day this year with a global women's strike.
The organisers of the Women’s March that followed the inauguration of President Donald Trump in January is holding a ‘Day Without A Woman’, where women will halt all paid and domestic work, to highlight just how stuffed the world would be without our input.
That’s a gesture with real grunt. The world would - and hopefully will - grind to a halt without women working and running households.
In Australia, full-time working women spend an average 25 hours doing housework per week, in addition to 36.4 hours of full time work.
Whereas men spend just 15 hours doing housework in addition to 40 hours paid employment.
So women are already working an extra 6.4 more hours - in and outside the home - each week than men.
Yet to celebrate, the ABC has decided to work its women even harder.
Male ABC employees will still be required to work tomorrow, a spokesman from the broadcaster told The Daily Telegraph. They’ll simply be undertaking ‘other tasks.’
Will the ABC be offering free childcare for the extra women who’ll be coming to work, or the extra hours women will be putting in to cover their male counterparts’ tasks?
Will there be creches set up at the Ultimo offices?
Will the men still be receiving a full salary for their day of stuffing around doing not very much?
Couldn’t the ABC bosses send them home to scrub some toilets and wrangle the kids’ after-school sports instead?
Women everywhere are tired of gimmicks and token gestures. Even Labor MP Ann Aly said she felt the ABC’s move was empty, according to the Daily Telegraph.
We don’t need any more coloured ribbons or special days. We simply want societal change and governmental policies that support both men and women to achieve real equality and quality of life.
Good luck for tomorrow, ABC women. Sounds like you have a long day ahead of you.