Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I've been complaining a lot lately about dressing my daughter in pink. I've been arguing that it's limiting, it's narrow, it's only one way of being a girl. The more I think about it, the more I see it's about more than just performing femininity. It's about how women and men still do not have equal access to opportunity in this country.

It's not as if my daughter has any obvious disadvantages. She's rich - by world standards - fed, loved, clothed. She has two parents, seven grandparents and doting aunts and uncles. She's healthy, breastfed, no allergies (yet). She's living in one of the world's most developed and prosperous nations. No war, no famine, no violence, no sickness. Just wealth, comfort and security.

It's not enough. It only seems like enough when you compare it to what so many girls in the world don't have. But does the fact that so many girls are suffering make it okay that my daughter will grow up in an Australia in which inequalities still exist? Yes, it's better than many places. Yes, it's better than it was. But does that mean it's good enough?

This report shows that women in Australia still earn less than men, and the gap is widening, not getting smaller. More than a third of women in this report said that they had experienced physical or sexual violence from a partner. Less money, less power, less freedom, fewer opportunities and more chances of being a victim. This is not what my mother wanted for me and this is not what I want for my daughter.

Little girls get dressed (and choose to dress) in pink to mark out their difference from little boys. But if that difference means my little girl is going to grow up in a world where her genetics are a handicap, forget it. She's a person first, with all the rights every person in the world should have, and that's what I want to remind people when they see her. That it's just not enough to give us pink tutus. Girls and women everywhere deserve much, much more.