This is exactly how I feel about gender-labelled August. A real love-hate relationship, with mixed and conflicted thoughts and feelings:

LOVE IT

  • Yes, we STILL need to raise consciousness about gender inequality in all areas of society and life, all over the world. This is not just an opportunity but a necessity, as disparity and inequality are pervasive and persistent. Like plaque. Movable, but only with vigour.
  • Yes, when the communities of women get together in the many forums that appear in August, the collective energy and creative capacity that is generated is hugely valuable.
  • Yes, more women have an opportunity to step onto platforms to discuss the ‘issues’ as well as to show their shining successes and achievements. Including myself, for which I remain very appreciative. Thank you.

HATE IT

  • Why are these opportunities not available all the time? Why the special effort in just one month of the year?
  • When the inevitable calls and requests for appearances and presentations (radio, published media, conferences, discussion groups, etc) escalate dramatically just before and during August, I feel like everyone got the memo: ‘hey, let’s find us some women to put on show’! A little like prize heifers.
  • From September (and until next August) the pace and volume of discourse will slow and grow quieter. Because it’s no longer women’s spotlight, and there’s something else to pay attention to.

 

I have no smart statement to end this opinion piece. Only that the lights need to keep shining brightly all year round on these issues.