Australia’s next Govenor-General appointed – and a tale of two women.

Some days being a woman is a bitter-sweet experience. The Rudd government has just announced that it has appointed a woman to the role of Governor-General.

Quentin Bryce, a prominent lawyer, academic and women’s activist, will be the first woman to hold the role in its 107-year history. It is a momentous time for the women of our country, an inspirational and accomplished woman has been appointed to one of the highest positions in our nation. In her life she has led the way for women in the legal profession and in her new role she will be a role model for girls and women who aspire to the highest positions in the land.

And yet on the same day, other parts of the media had nothing better to say of our other first lady, Therese Rein, than that her sense of style was lacking, especially when compared to Mme. Sarkozy, the French first lady, and former supermodel. Indeed Mme Sarkozy is also attracting a lot of attention for the nude photos of her being hawked about but why should that surprise us. Isn’t it time that women were valued for things other than their hairstyles and their figures. When a woman is self confident and bright, is a self-made millionaire and an astute business woman who has raised a family and supported her husband’s aspiration to the leadership of the country, what better role model can there be for the modern Australian woman. Is it the hairstyle or what is in that head that really counts? When will the true worth of a woman be at the forefront of opinion rather than the brassy trophy wife that hangs off the arm of so many powerful men.

Women in this country have achieved so much and yet so little. We are surrounded by successful women who constantly get critiqued on how they look rather than how they act, think, work or achieve the things that they do. The media constantly carp on appearance, so much so, that young women suffer eating disorders because all the images of woman that they are presented with, are emaciated stick figure models that they can never hope to be. The women’s movement still has a long way to go if women are truly able to feel free to be themselves.

We are lucky to have these two amazing women among the many, and it is to be hoped that they will be judged by their efforts rather than by their wardrobes. The govenor-general’s attire has never been the topic of the stories written and it is to be hoped that hairstyles and outfits will not be focus of the media reports to come. Australian women deserve better than this superficial scrutiny in the twenty-first century!

~ by abstraktbiblos on Monday, 14 April, 2008.

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