Screenshot of the Kyogle CWA Evening Branch in a meeting with guest speaker Clementine Ford.
Screenshot of the Kyogle CWA Evening Branch in a meeting with guest speaker Clementine Ford.

CWA zooms into guest speaker Clementine Ford

LIKE many other groups the Kyogle CWA is having its monthly meetings online using Zoom.

And president Odette Nettleton wanted to do something different to engage members.

"We realised that we could invite anyone to speak at our meeting now that we're on Zoom, and it meant they were more likely to attend," Ms Nettleton said.

"So I got in touch with Clementine on Twitter and asked her if she would attend and she said yes."

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Feminist author Clementine Ford, based in Melbourne, talked to the meeting about relationships, parenting and the division of labour between men and women especially during the lockdown.

Author of Fight Like A Girl and Boys Will Be Boys discussed the gender issues while feeding her son dinner urging him to eat his broccoli with the lure of a chocolate doughnut.

Ford laughed about her parenting.

This group of women though were empathetic and understood the struggle to balance work and family.

"For couples in heterosexual pairing, the division of labour has been bought into stark reality during isolation," Ford said.

"In my view women work a lot to avoid confrontation."

Feminist author Clementine Ford.
Feminist author Clementine Ford.

Australia has come a long way in feminism in the public sphere, Ford said, but in the private, domestic space, we go back to "square one."

"Birth parents are on a steep learning curve in the first few months," she said.

Ford didn't only put the responsibility of shared parenting and household chores on men, but also women.

"There is a lack of will to force a man to step up," she said.

"Women think its easier if they do it themselves."

The discussion turned to paternity policies in countries like Sweden where both genders can take parental leave and they are paid 80% of their income.

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"I'm in a lot of online mothers' groups," Ford said.

"I hear the endless repetition of disappointments."

"Swathes of men are getting away with doing nothing.".

During the pandemic women didn't want to rock the boat and would "deal with it later", Ford told the meeting.

We need to choose an example and put a value on ourselves, Ford said.

"I had all theses dreams and now I get to be a maid."

The way women are raised is part of the problem, she said.

"We've had ourselves diminished by a promise we've had all our life and we're told the worst thing that could happen is to wind up alone," Ford said.

"What breaks my heart is all the things we put up with and the emotional labour we perform to try and make things nice for our families," she said.

Gender equality, she said, will make for better relationships.

JOIN THE CWA

The Country Women's Association of Australia is the largest women's organisation in Australia with 44,000 members across 1855 branches.

Any women interested in joining Kyogle CWA can go to their Facebook page, or call Odette on 0418 620 834

 

CWA Kyogle Evening branch members. PIC: SUSANNA FREYMARK
CWA Kyogle Evening branch members. PIC: SUSANNA FREYMARK


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