In six decades of life as a woman, I’ve seen countless expressions of patriarchy. From the family favouritism shown to my brothers, to the societal and workplace inequities of single parenthood, and now the creeping social oblivion of female middle age.
I’ve studied and worked in the male dominated professions of accounting and law, and held my own.
I have espoused feminist values since my teenage years, and spent the later part of my working life advocating for, counselling and supporting women, particularly women suffering family violence.
I have always been acutely aware of the prejudices and social injustices facing women, and spoken up accordingly. And until now, I have been fortunate enough to escape any direct attack on my womanhood or my feminist ideas.
This year, I enrolled in a masters program at UTas and joined the UTas Women’s Collective, with the innocent, but apparently naïve, aim of meeting and engaging with other female students of a feminist bent. And, for the first time, I have been subjected to overt ageist and sexist discrimination and abuse and denunciation of my feminist ideals, at the hands of other ‘women identifying persons’.
After a rather unpleasant exchange on the group’s Facebook page, it became evident the collective is not as inclusive as it claims. It began when I noticed some disagreement between members about the group’s priorities, and made the mistake of asking why the interests of transgender and queer collective members needed to be given preference.
The response was courteous enough to begin with, but …