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The Parenting Shock

 

By Clementine Ford

Without a doubt, one of the biggest challenges faced by people who believe themselves to be in an equal relationship comes from the choice to turn your partnership into a familyship. If I’ve learned anything in my first year as a parent, it’s that resentment is a well that can always hold more liquid but will never fully drain.

This is especially true for the heterosexual partnerships that already suffer under the gender gap that sees men perform significantly less domestic labour than their female partners. The mental load borne by such women was depicted brilliantly by the French artist Emma in her comic, “You should’ve asked”. In it, Emma explores the expectations that women become the ‘household managers’ for men who may be happy to perform household tasks, but who require delegation from their wives or girlfriends to be prompted into action.

These are the same men who genuinely love and adore their children, but who still ask their partners what they should feed them for lunch. The men who know when their favourite football team will play, but not when their child’s next vaccinations are due.

These men aren’t bad people, nor are they probably aware of how uneven the workload is in their family. If you were to ask them, they’d probably say the balance was more or less equal, “give or take”. But this is because they haven’t been conditioned from the outset to absorb the kind of boring, repetitive mental labour that is considered not just the domain of women but an area of our special expertise. It spawns from the same conditioning that sees women, as journalist Tracey Spicer calls it, acting as “the glue in men’s conversations”. In this framework, women don’t lead – we facilitate. So it is that we facilitate the smooth running of a household, whether or not we want to or are even particularly good at it.

(For the benefit of people who resist engaging with statistical realities, of course there are outliers to this. Yes, there are men who are the primary parents. Yes, there are men who do more housework. Yes, there are men who get their kids off to school or childcare, who handle the doctor appointments and the shopping, who are the first to get up in the middle of the night to comfort a crying baby. But they are not the statistical norm. Additionally, the exceedingly low expectations we have of men when it comes to domesticity and child rearing means they are valorised for being hands on dads in public while women doing the same are barely tolerated.)

There are other influences at play here, and that some of them are assisted by women. In a recent piece in the Guardian outlining her postnatal depression, the writer Cerys Howell criticised what she (and others) have referred to as the ‘cult of motherhood’. In the depths of her depression, Howell deleted all of the smartphone baby apps that have arisen as part of the online motherhood village, recognising that the vast majority of them “assume mum-exclusive care”. Howell observed that fathers in these communities were only mentioned “as a sub-section, like a type of buggy”. It seems to me that women in Anglo, often middle class communities seem determined to prove our competency as highly skilled Professional Mothers, the modern, ‘empowered’ version of the 1950s housewife who can suddenly do and have it all but with less easy access to gin and valium.

This fits into the theory ‘instinctive’ child rearing and domestic management are in the miniscule realm of things women are allowed to boast about being good at, because it suits patriarchal order for us to aspire to greatness within this unpaid and grossly underappreciated skill-set. Men may be best at running the world, but women are best at running the house – or at least, this is what we are supposed to satisfy ourselves with.

When you combine this with the element of competition – that is, the endless competition women are constantly forced into with one another, the one that plays out in the Mummy Wars, the media critiques and the irritating persistence of querying whether or not we can really “have it all” – the situation compounds further.

I don’t have a solution for this problem, because it’s something I’m working through myself along with everyone else. In a way, I’m still getting over the shock that comes from having this previously equal dynamic disturbed – and I have a partner who co-parents his child well and has never shied away from nappies, bath time or a crying baby. But I’ve heard it said that there are three distinct times at which a woman might become a feminist: when she enters the workforce, if she has a baby and when she is suddenly considered old in the eyes of other people.

I was already a feminist, but becoming a parent took that feminism, fortified it and clad it in iron. If only it didn’t feel like such a daily battle.

Clementine Ford is an Australian feminist writer, broadcaster and public speaker. She has a regular column in Daily Life. You can follow her on Twitter at @clementine_ford.

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    Schoolyard antics

    By Deirdre Fidge

    During primary school, we had a new student enrol who was blind in one eye. Everyone learnt this rather quickly as the school had rearranged certain playground equipment and marked all the wooden poles around the grounds with streaks of bright yellow paint.

    I’m sure some children were intrigued, but my memory of this period is that it took most of us roughly three seconds to notice these changes before continuing with important lunchtime business such as swapping Roll-Ups for Dunkaroos or waving at our friend sidelined on the shady benches (No Hat, No Play).

    The schoolyard changes made sense to us. It made sense that the school would make adjustments given that child’s needs. It made sense because the only alternative was to exclude him from enrolling or put his safety at risk, and put him in the ‘other’ category. I have no memories of any protests or of anyone remarking that all this was for ‘only’ one child. Yet as an adult, it’s an argument I hear frequently.

    When change of any kind is proposed and the benefit is not aimed at the majority, sometimes people who are part of that majority go a bit weird. They go a bit funny; a bit loud. A bit like a threatened bird.

    Some people react by spouting questionable statistics such as “[X] people only make up 2% of the population, why should we do this?” We see these comments time and time again applied to a range of populations – people with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, LGBTQIA folk, just to name a few. “Only 0.9% of our country is [X], who cares?”

    This argument is unsettling and frustrating because it isn’t really an argument. It is simply a call for things to remain the same and for the existing power structures to remain in place. It is not an argument in defence of anything other than pigheadedness and ignorance that not even a young child would display.

    https://twitter.com/OfftheMonster/status/889929479937818625

    Often, human beings are simply referred to as a “vocal minority”, a fun label you may see more of in the lead up to the Marriage Equality postal vote this November. Certain conservative groups enjoy dismissing the queer community as essentially small but chatty. We just can’t stop gabbing about boring things like equal rights and prejudice; I guess the Q doesn’t stand for quiet does it, ho ho!

    But this “only X%” catch cry keeps popping up regardless of the true statistics (the Human Rights Commission estimates Australians with diverse sexual orientation or gender make up 11% of our population, but also highlights that many LGBTQA people hide their identities due to fear of violence or discrimination). I know that reading comments on articles about marriage equality is not the best idea when I’m feeling fragile, but I had some time to kill between sticking my face in blender and watching Mark Latham’s Outsiders. And I saw it again and again: “only 1%.” “Vocal minority.”

    The numbers aren’t the issue with this argument anyway. Even if it was just one person – one very lonely and presumably confused queer person – why wouldn’t we want them to feel safe and accepted in the same way that we feel safe and accepted?

    When you repeatedly tell someone they don’t matter, they start to believe it. When you actively uphold structures and systems in place that discriminate and oppress, people start believing they deserve poor treatment. Their health suffers significantly. This is such fundamental ‘treat others as you want to be treated’ Basic Human Decency 101 but people seem to have forgotten how they might have responded to someone different to them as a child.

    My mind keeps bringing me back to thoughts of children, and how prejudice is a learned behaviour, because we know the anti-Marriage Equality groups use children as a target for their fear-mongering. My mind imagines queer young people watching paid advertisements describing them in the most horrid of ways. My mind recalls working with young people who were scared to come out, and remembers that LGBTQI youth are five times more likely to attempt suicide.

    But sometimes my mind will spring me back to a fond memory of my own childhood, like remembering the pride I felt in my school when everyone celebrated that new student. Maybe my mind reminds me of these moments as a survival process against the fear of the present; a way to feel a moment of softness, and as a reminder that we weren’t always this hateful.

    Deirdre Fidge is a Melbourne-based comedian, writer and social worker. You can follow her on twitter at @figgled.

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      Queen Vic newsletter – Issue #19

      September 2017

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        Queen Vic newsletter – Issue #18

        July 2017

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          Getting the help you really need when you need it

          A new, free online tool, Gather My Crew was launched at the QVWC last week. It has been designed to help people through times of crisis by linking them to their support networks. It helps those who are having difficult times ask for the help they need and it makes it easy for their friends, family, colleagues and networks to provide practical support.

          When a crisis hits, normal life gets turned upside down, and coordinating offers to help into practical support can be overwhelming.

          Psychologist Dr Susan Palmer experienced this firsthand when a friend was dealing with health issues. A mother of primary school age twins, she faced a six-week period of being bed-ridden. Her solution to managing the day-to-day was for her partner to take time off work. But with no holiday or sick pay, this would have left them in severe financial distress, creating long-term consequences way beyond the outcomes of surgery.

          Once Susan realised her friend needed help, she offered to co-ordinate it. And while there were many friends and colleagues who offered to help, it took hours to coordinate and manage them to get the help delivered when, where and how it was needed. It became a gargantuan organisational task.

          Realising that this was a day-to-day reality for many people experiencing crisis and those who wanted to help them, Susan drew on her clinical knowledge and developed Gather My Crew, a free online platform linking people in crisis with their support networks in a coordinated and manageable way.

          Karen McIvor, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in September last year, was the first official user of Gather My Crew. She’s been a single mother since her husband passed away from cancer five years ago.

          Karen said that Gather My Crew helped her keep life as normal as possible for her children while she was going through chemotherapy.

          “I’m lucky to be surrounded by a network of wonderful friends and a lot of school parents wanted to help, but they didn’t really know what to do. I found it difficult to ask for help and express exactly what I needed. Getting a meal on the table each night was really important, but it was more than just a meal roster. I needed help getting my boys to and from school and sporting activities as well as general household chores. Things I simply couldn’t do because I was so sick from chemotherapy,” said Karen.

          Gather My Crew allowed Karen to schedule in her needs from bed and then her crew of 30 helpers could pick when it fit in with their busy schedules.

          “The tool did all the hard work for me and all of a sudden I had a full calendar,” said Karen.

          Gather My Crew guides people in crisis through the process of asking for the help they require with a list of common needs and inviting friends, family and colleagues via email to be part of their support ‘crew’. The crew then logs onto Gather My Crew and picks the tasks that fit within their schedules.

          For more information visit www.gathermycrew.org

          Gather My Crew is a not for profit organisation that relies on the support of generous pro bono providers, corporate partners, donations and philanthropic funding. It has recently received a grant from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.

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            Digilantism: when women refuse to play nice

            By Amy Gray

            Back in the day, I had in-laws who were confounded by my love of having a barney over women’s rights and the troubling realisation I didn’t consider men supreme. They’d whisper to friends and family “Amy is a career woman”. It was a polite euphemism to hide the real obscenity they saw: I was a feminist.

            This goes to the heart of conditional non-liberation: it’s ok to have some views, but to go full liberation is messy melodrama. “She’s taking it too far” – something else I would hear from people who I thought didn’t take it far enough.

            This was on display when I attended a secret symposium about Cyberhate organised by academics Drs Emma Kate and Nicole Vincent. The event paired academics with people who live through constant cyberhate – online abuse which is often gendered, racial and ableist, among others – to talk through the issues and find actions that could create lasting change. To describe the event as a life-changing conversation is an understatement.

            Digilantism was a running theme: a word to describes a spectrum of behaviour spanning from Reddit’s failed attempts to locate the Boston Marathon bombers to feminists fighting against the voluminous and organised online attacks.

            In one group after everyone agreed that online abuse has real physical effects on the abused, a person softly decried digilantism. They used a feminist as an example, a person who repeatedly displays the abuse they receive and acts on it, contact abuser’s employers and deliberately not hiding the abusers’ names. The group member’s assessment was that this was a step too far.

            They need to think this through.

            This is something that is often encountered within feminism, because it is a collective action and personal realisation that takes time to develop. A growing awareness of inequality that matures as more experiences lived, reflections considered, resources are read and actions made. The person who discovered feminism however many years ago isn’t the same as the feminist sitting next to you today.

            That’s because hopefully people realise that what they might consider ‘gut instinct’ is actually social conditioning. The reaction that something is ‘just wrong’ without reflection is often dangerous or illusory. Women as the main breadwinners: not wrong. Women breastfeeding in restaurants, parliament or anywhere they goddamn choose: not wrong. Making sure feminist spaces are more inclusive: not wrong.

            But these are all gut reactions people have without fully thinking through the issue and spotting the social rules with which we’ve been raised – to be an activist is to continually reassess everything society tells you is normal and natural, only to find it’s neither.

            Is a feminist taking it too far or have we not examined our internal sexism enough, especially the part where women are expected to play nice?

            Because Feminist digilantism is a reaction against the sexism that refuses to protect us. Digilantism is a damning judgement against abusers and a society that wilfully refuses to protect the abused.

            As someone who lives first and second hand through cyberhate: it’s pretty hard to go too far in the face of abuse. Digilantism is often a series of dead ends: the ISPs who won’t take down defamatory hate sites they host; or the police who don’t understand cyberhate and won’t investigate; or the social media platforms that barely moderate because online abuse adds to their profitable traffic.

            But for a society that refuses to take our abuse seriously, we’ve still built something – our tenacity that sees feminists support one another during hate campaigns, hold symposiums that treat cyberhate as a serious issue of academic research or build resources like Crash Override.

            Feminist digilantism is built on the reasonable notion women can and will fight back when society fails them. Worse than that: women will get loud and angry. Unless you’re relying on silence, there’s no polite way to react against death and rape threats. Society has relied on people quietly accepting abuse to remind them of their reduced importance to those in power.

            As activists, this is the moment of opportunity – the gurgle in your stomach that something is troubling is the moment to explore your reaction to see what you’re really up against.

            So, are we fighting abuse or the women who refuse to play nice in a game that hates them?

             

             

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              There is power in a Union

              By Nayuka Gorrie

              For a long time I didn’t feel so good about unions but not because I was conservative.

              My Mum was a police officer with the Queensland Police Service from 2002 until 2012. Only a few years into her time as a police officer, Chris Hurley killed Mulrunji Doomagee except we aren’t allowed to say that so maybe I’ll just say Doomadgee died in the same room as Hurley.

              There is a line I remember reading about his death that will stay with me until my own. They said that his liver was pretty much cleaved in two. Now, as we know, police officers are protected when they kill (black) people in custody. Hurley was the only person who went to court for killing a black person and he was found not guilty. He then appealed the coroner’s report stating that Hurley had killed Doomadgee.

              It was an interesting time to be a black cop then. What stuck with me was the Queensland Police Union’s response to Doomadgee’s death. They completely and wholeheartedly supported Hurley. This always seemed interesting – the choice to protect someone who killed instead of the person actually killed.

              The police were initially established as a way to control the native population. To help protect “landowners”. This history informs our relationship with the police now. It shouldn’t be surprising or shocking that we are the most incarcerated people on the planet.

              The Union protecting Hurley was neither brave nor just. Hurley would always have been protected. All police forces and services have interpersonal and structural methods for protecting those who kill people while on duty. They make sure their stories stack up, they call people who make internal complaints ‘dogs’. On at least one occasion they tried to make my black mother work at the black protests against deaths in custody, which in my mind is some bizarre psychological torture. With the Queensland Police Service backing him, Hurley was always going to be fine and certainly didn’t need a union to protect him.

              I recently shared the above at a conference organised by the ACTU. Like I told them, it was weird that I was there. Since the age of 14 I’d felt weird about unions but also, as you may have gathered, I am cynical and spend most of my time anxious and depressed. I didn’t consider myself the best person to talk about the future. I often wonder if our species is worth saving and I am currently writing a book about why we should lean in to the apocalypse.

              But I also have worked in the last seven years with young blackfellas. I am an Aunty. I plan on having children. I guess on some level I have a biological imperative to make the world better for the little bloodsuckers yet to be born. I have a vested interest in making the world better/not as shit.

              I don’t think the world can get better without a stronger union movement and yet I don’t think any sustainable movement can be strong if it isn’t intersectional. What is intersectionality? Kimberle Crenshaw pioneered the term intersectional feminism and its theory, which is essentially about how different oppressions are compounded with the intersection with another. For example, for many black women, the racism we experience is often gendered.

              To me, intersectionality in movements is thinking about the people who get left behind and, as we try to shift the world to a fairer and more equitable place, we need to organise with them. Our shift to make the world better cannot replicate the structures that got us into this mess in the first place.

              Climate justice is a good example of this. We are a country that distances ourselves with climate change through space and time, assuming it’s a problem that affects other countries and will impact us in the future. Try telling that to the mob whose seasons are already changing or are already feeling the encroaching ocean. The way climate change is being fought is often with First Nations people as an after-thought.

              Around the world and in our own country coal-fired power stations are being shut down as they become economically unviable. On Gunai/Kurnai country Hazelwood Station was shut down by its French owned company with little thought of what would happen to those workers. We need unions to back a safe and just climate future.

              Unions, employers and governments need to prepare workers and communities for that future. As we make the necessary shift to renewable energy we need to consider exactly how we go about that shift. How the land required to go about that shift is acquired. There is no point in any movement that replicates colonisation.

              We need movements to not wait until something is trendy before it is backed. We need to get angry, hideously angry. The anger can’t and shouldn’t be pretty. The anger shouldn’t be Kendall Jenner in a Pepsi ad. When has the sanitisation and corporatisation of struggle served anyone well?

              When have the master’s tools ever dismantled the house?

              Nayuka is a Gunai/Kurnai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta woman working in the youth sector. Nayuka writes about black politics and feminism. She tweets at @nayukagorrie.

               

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                Queen Vic newsletter – Issue #17

                June 2017

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                  Women of Colour are Superheroes Too

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                  By Yen-Rong Wong

                  DC’s film Wonder Woman has been released, highly anticipated since DC announced it was in the works about a year ago. From all accounts, it seems to be doing quite well. I’ve seen photographs of mothers and daughters of all ages dressing up as Wonder Woman, getting involved in a culture that sometimes can seem reserved for ‘nerdy white boys’.

                  It may have been this stereotype that pushed me away from comic books and superheroes in my childhood. It really should have been my cup of tea – I gobbled up fantasy novels like there was no tomorrow, and there was a while when I entertained the idea of having superpowers, even though my rational brain knew I probably couldn’t fly or move things with my mind. Now I’m a little older, and have become increasingly invested in many things superhero-related.

                  I recently visited the Marvel exhibit at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, where costumes and props from all of the Marvel films are on display. While I admired the intricacy of the costume and set designs, and enjoyed seeing collections of comic books on display, I also came to realise why I probably didn’t like superheroes when I was younger. It was because I was unable to see myself in any of them – and even now, it seems as though we still have a fair way to go.

                  While it is true that there are more women involved in and fronting shows about superheroes (see Jessica Jones, Agent Carter, Supergirl, to name a few) – they all white women. The word “woman” seems to only mean “white woman” – ethnically diverse women have to deal with the pleasure of having their ethnicity slapped on for good measure. The issue also goes far beyond physical representation. The way in which women of colour are portrayed or discussed in such shows – as sidekicks, followers, damsels in distress, or the “exotic” seductress – is problematic. Women of colour are more than just flat stereotypes and they deserve more than the lip service that seems to be paid to ethnic minorities in the name of “diversity”.

                  Such a phrase has, in some instances, become almost tokenistic. Progress in this area is slow even though it has been proven, time and time again, that shows starring women (and people) of colour do quite well. Marvel’s Agents of Shield stars a bunch of women of colour, the most prominent being Melinda May, played by all round badass Ming-Na Wen, and Daisy Johnson, who eventually becomes Quake. Daisy is played by Chloe Bennet (born as Chloe Wang), who readily admits that once she changed her last name to something more “Western”, she started booking more jobs.

                  On the flip side, Marvel also came under intense criticism for casting Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One in Doctor Strange, a character who originally hails from the Himalayas. When Swinton commented on the controversy, she lauded the director for “[deciding] to reimagine the Ancient One as a woman. People shouting loud and proud about needing more diversity in Hollywood cinema have got us right behind them.” This is all well and good, but feminism is intersectional – it has to be. Surely it would not have been a terrible shock to the system for the Ancient One to have been Asian and a woman?

                  There are those who claim that films with people of colour as leads (let alone women of colour) would do poorly at the box office – and yet this has been disproven, time and time again. Jordan Peele’s satirical horror film, Get Out, has raked in US $241 million, blowing its US $4.5 million budget out of the water. In contrast, Matt Damon’s film, The Great Wall, which is set in China and plays right into the white saviour myth, was a relative flop at the box office. Additionally, the 2017 Hollywood Diversity Report, conducted by the Bunche Centre, offers more quantitative evidence that “increasingly diverse audiences prefer diverse film and television content”. The report also found that “films with relatively diverse casts enjoyed the highest median global box office receipts and the highest median return on investment.” The evidence is there, if you bother to look for it. A film with a woman of colour superhero will sell.

                  Interestingly, comic books themselves have become more ethnically diverse, with characters like Lunella Lafayette (Moon Girl), and the reintroduction of Iron Man as a young black girl. I can only hope this trend continues, and spreads to similar representations on screen. Marvel has recently announced that they will be making Captain Marvel, a film based on the comic book series, Ms Marvel. The current Ms Marvel series, written by G. Willow Wilson, a Muslim woman, features Kamala Khan, a teenage Muslim Pakistani American girl. I hope Marvel will see it fit to cast Ms Marvel in this iteration.

                  It will be another step towards telling girls and women of colour around the world that they, too, can be superheroes.

                  Yen-Rong is a Brisbane based writer, and the founding editor of Pencilled In, a magazine dedicated to showcasing the work of Asian Australian artists. Her work has been published in The Guardian, The Lifted Brow, Catalogue Magazine, and Djed Press. You can read more of her words at inexorablist.com.

                   

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                    Saving up for the cost of womanhood

                     

                     

                     

                     

                     

                     

                     

                     

                     

                     

                     

                    By Amy Gray

                    Last month’s article “The Cost of Womanhood” by Jane Gilmore resonated with our readers and spread like wildfire across social media.

                    It also prompted a lot of questions, like this letter we received from Zoe via our Facebook page.

                    Hi, I just read the article on your page about ‘john and mary’, that showed the economic circumstances of a man and a woman through their lives. I am a 17 year old completing yr 12 at the moment, and a proud feminist, yet one planning on going into the low-paying area of social work and who plans to have kids one day. That article/story has made me feel rather hopeless, what can I do to avoid that situation? Do I need to ensure that I can be completely financially independent for my whole life? Do I need to not have children? To go into a higher paying job? It’s easy to feel financially doomed as a millennial, and though i work two jobs and am better off than many of my peers, my future seems bleak in that department. Any advice?

                    This is something every feminist comes across in their struggle for equality – what can be done?

                    QVWC contributor and editor Amy Gray shared a lengthy reply to Zoe. We want to share this with you, a reminder that for every problem a feminist finds, there is often a solution.

                    Hi Zoe,

                    Thank you so much for your message. I’m glad the story moved you but am sorry you’re feeling bad about it.

                    You are not without hope and it sounds excellent you want to help others with social work. Things are hard as a millennial and even harder trying to pay off Uni but there is still a path.

                    At the heart of QVWC is the mission to help women empower themselves economically. Part of that means becoming financially literate (you can get training for that and we will have some events coming up if you’re in Melbourne) and learning how to budget and manage your finances through to saving, responsible consumption, taxes, investments, etc.

                    But the other part is realising how gender discrimination plays out financially. You’re on that path now thanks to Jane’s excellent article and once you know how discrimination works, it’s easier to resist or plan around.

                    Thinking about Mary, how would she have done it differently? Central to this would be Mary deciding her economic stability was one she should shore up independently or negotiate with John to maintain greater autonomy.

                    Perhaps she could have insisted John reduce his hours at work because child rearing should not be the sole job of women. It’s the same with house chores, still overwhelmingly done by women, even when men are at-home caregivers.

                    She could have insisted on going back to work full time to ensure her own career progression, or gone back part time and studied to give herself professional development, leading to promotions and higher pay (and thus superannuation). She could have developed her career into one that wasn’t subject to gendered economic penalty (i.e. admin is often considered a woman’s job and therefore not highly paid). She could have pushed for higher pay earlier on, something that statistically women find difficult, often due to cultural conditioning lest they be considered “bossy” or “demanding”.

                    She could have increased her superannuation contributions (there are ways to do this before tax – accountants and financial consultants can help) or even looked for work at places that offer salary packaging (often non-profits) or higher super contributions (universities are one place but there are others).

                    She could have saved a nest egg and invested it elsewhere. This is largely dependent on access to disposable income, which is an intersection of privilege that some don’t have, but still, every cent saved into a nest egg is a cent saved that can grab a scrap of interest.

                    Many women are also developing what is known as a “fuck off fund” where they save anywhere from $2,000 and up so they always have access to emergency funds so they don’t have to endure abuse at home or unhappy jobs.

                    Mary could have refused to quit her job and insisted that childcare was a joint expense between her and John (often it is assumed childcare is the mother’s expense). The unexpected loss from resigning to look after children full time is the loss of superannuation contributions and professional development that could lead to higher paying, secure and absorbing work.

                    If childcare is too high a cost for John’s taste, then how much will he pay her to stay at home? A wage Mary can use to invest in her superannuation or other investments or savings funds. It’s a radical idea but so is the idea a woman earning money is too great an expense to the family.

                    Home ownership is another thing – perhaps John and Mary could have held onto their flat and used it as collateral to move into a smaller second home, giving them an investment that would pay itself off before becoming an option for Mary’s accommodation when the divorce happened.

                    But central to all of this is Mary considering her needs as well as her family’s and deeming them equally important. Women often submit themselves as less important – therefore the unpaid work – than their husband, which comes at a financial cost.

                    This is then an area that can be open to abuse – financial abuse is part of the spectrum of relationship abuse. We’re sharing an article tomorrow with a link to resources that can help.

                    The main thing to realise is that you are important. Your past, your present and your future is just as important as a man’s. So, your choices are important, as is your comfort and economic safety.

                    Hopefully you’ve liked the QVWC page and have signed up for the newsletters. Keep on reading and get skilled up on how to look after yourself as you embark on your social work career and help look after others. But don’t be depressed about it all. You’ve got someone amazing in your corner: you.

                    Best of luck.

                    Amy Gray

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