March4Justice marches have made a big impact

Photo from AFP

Contributed by Joe Montero

Tens of thousands attended the women’s March4Justice rallies across Australia yesterday. They came out to demand an end to violence perpetrated against women. The issue has brought unity across the political spectrum.

In Canberra, a petition with some 70,000 signatures was handed to the government.

Photo by Justin Migamanus: Taking in the petition in Canberra

It had a big impact on Australia and landed Prime Minster Scott Morrison in even more trouble. So he should be.

Political life has been going downhill for him, key ministers, and his government since the allegations about rape first emerged with the speaking out of former staffer Brittany Higgins. Other cases of rape and abuse have emerged since then.

The nation’s focus has been on the toxic culture in the corridors of power, and the failure of the government to properly respond to the situation.

Focus on the mistreatment of women is a good thing. It shows the need to do something about it. That Morrison’s standing in the polls have taken a pounding in the polls is also a good thing. Political leaders should pay a price for their failures.

Even more important, is that the matter is galvanising Australian society in the direction of change.

Marches took place in cities and towns in every part of Australia

Video from The Guardian

Community anger has risen. Australia now wants far more to be done to address issues of sexism, misogyny, dangerous workplace cultures and lack of equality in politics and the community at large. Words not matched by deed are not enough.

Thousands of people joined in the the March4Justice rallies

Video from the ABCNews

Change means a major societal transformation, to where men, and women as well, no longer regard one of the sexes as second rate and unworthy of respect. There is more to this. We live in a society where human beings are regarded by those in power as resources to exploit and where this ideology is constantly nurtured.

This is where the connection between the treatment of women, different treatment according to class, colour and ethnicity come together. It all rests on power being in the hands of a few, who use division to augment their own power and wealth, at the expense of everyone else.

The Prime Minister and his government represent those who old power, and it is perfectly natural that they share the same outlook. The inadequate response to the history of mistreatment of women at Parliament House and outside is no surprise.

The timeline of a misogynistic government

Video from Reclaim the News

Righting the wrong involves much more than taking on some politicians. Attention must be paid to the structures through society that enable it. But this is not possible without transforming our own attitudes.

For men, there is no excuse for treating women as inferior or personal possessions. For women, it is to believe that they are equal and deserve to be treated accordingly.

Nor is it just about the glass ceiling. Breaking it and doing no more, merely allows a few women to come into the ranks of those exercising power over others.

Liberation lies in the genders fighting together for a better world where the imbalance of power between the few and the many is addressed.

A major barrier today is that most men are not free either. They may be paid more at work, for instance. They are still stripped of power at work, and often their dignity. Rising insecurity about the future vis a reality. Home is often a cauldron of debt, frustration, and falling self-worth suffers a beating.  This creates the perfect storm for abuse and violence.

Everything rests on an ideology of greed, turning a blind eye to the needs of others, and finding fulfilment in the possession of things, It infects the whole of society and it must go.

The March4Justice rallies added to the important role the women’s movement has played over the years. It called on genders to work together to achieve equality and justice. It put forward the principles of respect, do no harm, and the taking on of rights and responsibilities, along the line of caring about the wellbeing of others.

This is a sharp contrast to the attitude of the Prime Minster and his government.

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