Here is my submission concerning the development of an International Gender Equality Strategy. Oh, and DFAT = the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This version was completed on 13 September 2023.
DFAT advises that it has invited public submissions in order to hear from people and organisations, and to inform the priorities for the proposed Gender Equality Strategy. Thank you for providing this opportunity for me to do just that.
DFAT suggests that four main questions to be considered when preparing a submission are:
- What are international gender equality priorities?
- What are the most effective approaches for achieving gender equality globally?
- How can Australia best support efforts to achieve gender equality internationally?
- What should the government/ DFAT consider when developing the new international gender equality strategy?
I think I’ll focus on point 4. I note too your assertion that the Government is committed to being a global leader on gender equality, and that the new International Strategy is intended to recognise gender equality as being central to Australia’s foreign policy, international development, humanitarian action, trade and security efforts.
To support this commitment, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) advises that it intends to develop a new International Gender Equality Strategy, in order to:
- guide Australia’s actions to protect and promote the human rights of all women and girls*.
- align with the commitments to gender equality made in the region by the Pacific Islands Forum, ASEAN and APEC. It will reflect global commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals, for example, on gender equality, climate change and human rights.
- identify the opportunities for Australia, our region and our world for stability, security, prosperity and safety in achieving gender equality and the full and equal participation of all in our societies.
And as for the human rights of ‘all men and boys’*? Are they not human or simply not important? This seems rather reminiscent of another federal agency I wrote to recently. Now who were they? (Reference: https://www.fighting4fair.com/uncategorized/inquiry-into-australias-human-rights-framework-2023/)
“The new International Strategy will reflect the Government’s commitment to achieve gender equality in Australia’s forthcoming first National Strategy to Achieve Gender Equality, the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children* 2022-2032, and Australia’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2021-31” … “DFAT will also draw on the views and priorities shared in public submissions provided to inform Australia’s International Development Policy and Southeast Asia Economic Strategy.”
And as for a national plan to end violence against men and boys*? Sound of crickets (Reference: https://www.fighting4fair.com/uncategorized/on-the-recent-increase-in-violent-crime-carried-out-by-women-and-girls/)
Just by way of background, the latest DFAT annual report that is available online is 2021-22. This shows that the percentage of ongoing staff in that department who are female is approx. 60%, which is consistent with the Australian federal public service overall. And no need to stress, some agencies have been further out of balance. Take WGEA for example (Reference: https://www.fighting4fair.com/uncategorized/weve-set-a-target-of-having-10-of-our-senior-management-team-female-by-2017/)
I shall begin by considering a central facet of this exercise, this being the notion of ‘gender equality’.
“Gender equality is when people of all genders have equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities. Everyone is affected by gender inequality – women, men, trans and gender diverse people, children and families. It impacts people of all ages and backgrounds.” (Source: https://www.vic.gov.au/gender-equality-what-it-and-why-do-we-need-it)
This definition of the term, as with most others, implies that an equivalent amount of attention might be expected to be given to, for example, men and boys in the community. And yet one thing that quickly strikes a reader of related reports and media releases is the almost complete lack of attention given to men and boys and the issues faced by them. DFAT’s reports are no exception.
To consider an example of this, let’s look at one particular item within the DFAT website. It’s entitled ‘Australia’s international support for gender equality’. The term ‘man’ features once in this report, and ‘boy’ not at all. In stark contrast ‘woman’ features 121 times and ‘girl’ 19 times. Thus men and boys, and their myriad issues and perspectives appear to be ‘missing in action’.
It is consequently quite farcical to suggest that this, or the plethora of documents like it, demonstrate genuine commitment to gender equality. What it does do, is to reflect a prevailing reality of a marked gender preference towards women. This preference is actively sought after by followers and devotees of feminist ideology. And they do not tolerate alternative views.
Some source material regarding feminism and its propensity to stifle debate regarding alternative perspectives on gender now follows:
Unfortunately this marked gender imbalance in favour of women/girls is also reflected in the amount of funding support provided for gender-related issues and initiatives in both the Australian domestic and international arenas. This issue is discussed in the following items compiled by me:
#GenderEqualityWhenItSuits: A submission to the Review of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012
Is the pronounced influence of feminist doctrine appropriate in Australia’s dealings with other countries?
I would suggest that ‘no’, it is certainly not. Regardless of how one feels about the validity and usefulness of feminist beliefs in Australia, foreign countries are different places. Feminism has never been raised as an issue within the Australian political system – and subsequently adopted as a matter of policy. It is merely something that a small minority of Australians believe to have merit, and who push strongly for greater and greater female privilege to occur.
Other countries have different histories and different cultures and deserve respect, and to be allowed to make their own choices with regard to gender issues in the absence of carrots or sticks applied by the Australian government acting on behalf of the feminist lobby.
Feminists aiming to strengthen their foothold in Thailand
‘Feminists and Yellow Fever’ by Willard Losinger https://sexualobjectification.blogspot.com/2014/09/feminists-versus-yellow-fever.html
And on a closing note:
Please do better.
The current situation is, at best, an embarrassment. And yet another printed report from the government, even one laden with woke buzzwords and abundant pictures of assertive women, won’t get us there.