Edwina Bartholomew: Prime Minister, we all have a responsibility to protect our girls
Edwina Bartholomew: Prime Minister, we all have a responsibility to protect our girls

PM, we all have a responsibility to protect our girls

I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore, and I know too much to go back and pretend.

Helen Reddy wrote those lyrics in 1971, 50 years ago.

The song became the feminist movement's anthem as women fought for equal pay for equal work and an end to sexual harassment and discrimination.

Sound familiar? On Monday, in Canberra, and across the country, thousands of women shouted those words once more.

Will our daughters be doing the same in 50 years' time?

All signs are literally pointing to yes. The placards read, "Same fight. Different century" and "I'm marching for my granddaughter so she doesn't have to".

So what now? This certainly feels like a watershed moment for women.

As a founding member of the movement in Canberra said this week, "It feels like a tidal wave of rage is sweeping the land".

 

Commentators who dismiss the protests as a "woke rebellion" underestimate the anger.

For all the people, women and men, who turned up to protests this week, there were plenty more at home shaking their heads over how the government has mishandled allegations of rape against Attorney-General, Christian Porter and the treatment of young staffer, Brittany Higgins.

"I speak to you today out of necessity," Brittany told the crowd outside Parliament House in Canberra.

"We are all here today not because we want to be here - because we have to be here."

I hope for my daughter's sake we won't have to be here again, not to the same degree.

While women rallied here in Australia, in the UK they were doing the same.

Sarah Everard's death, allegedly at the hands of a police officer, shocked the nation but people were further enraged by the police response.

 

The advice given to women in the London suburb of Clapham was to "be careful and not go out alone".

We've heard the same archaic response from authorities here before. When will things change?

When will a schoolgirl be able to join a debating team and not have to worry? Take a job at Parliament House and not have to worry? Walk home from work and not have to worry?

Another placard this week had the words "Protect your daughters" crossed out and replaced with "Educate your sons".

As parents, and that includes you, Scott Morrison, we all have a responsibility to protect the next generation. Otherwise we will be singing the same song for the next 50 years.

Originally published as Edwina: PM, we all have a responsibility to protect our girls


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