March 2016 may officially be Women's History Month but here at Tusk we know that every day is women's history day. Right? Obviously. So here's a quick run-down of a few things that have got me feeling pretty good rn. And we need good rn cos between the Trumps and the Kiwimeters I'm liable to feelings of immense irk-ness. But I'm sitting here in my camo top and my pink nail polish and well, I think we got this...
1. Four Waves of Feminism: The Ongoing Conversations in Aotearoa New Zealand's Art and Art Histories, The Dowse Art Museum, April 8 2016.
Now this has me reeeaaalllly fizzing. I was pretty sad to have missed out on Otago University's Making Women Visible conference in early February but this more than makes up for it. The line-up of speakers reads like a veritable who's who of people Nina wants to fan-girl all over and I CAN'T WAIT to hear (and maybe engage in) some important kōrero on "the lineage and current state of feminist art and curatorial practices in Aotearoa New Zealand." And it's free.
2. Twitter and feminism
It might not be a surprise that we at Tusk LOVE twitter. We love it for many reasons, primarily that it gives us an opportunity to converse, debate, and share our opinions like wildfire. And it helps us stay woke about a whole lot of things. There are so, so, so many people and organisations out there working extremely hard to change the conversation, to shake the system, to disrupt the status qou and, honestly, a lot of that happens on twitter. Honorable mentions include: Sassy Little Hobbit, Media Diversified, Courtney Johnston, Puawai Cairns, Lizzie Marvelly, Lana Lopesi, The Emazonian, and Hend Amry. Among many.
3. Courtney Johnston's Aotearoa New Zealand feminist art timeline
Anyone who knows Courtney knows that she is not just a thinker, but a doer. I, like a lot of people I suspect, use Twitter as a way to bemoan, ahem I mean draw attention to, things that irk, irritate and downright enrage me. Well, it seems that if something enrages Courtney, she actually does something about it. Like, when she saw the seeming invisibility of feminist art history online she went about creating the beginnings of an Aotearoa NZ feminist art timeline on Wikipedia.
4. Earlier this week I attended the New Zealand Defence Force's annual Women's Development Forum. With the rather vague subheading 'Celebrating the Past and Embracing the Future,' I was unsure of what awaiting me at my arrival Base Ohakea, near Palmerston North. Would I have to salute? Would all of the people in their pressed uniforms and shiny medals be confused about why a bunch of museumy types were in attendance? Most importantly, could I live without wifi for three days? What I found was a rather large bunch of women (and men) who seemed to be pretty much human, like me, getting stuck into some frank conversations about feminism, gender equality, inclusion and diversity in the workforce. Not so scary. And pretty important. And what I also found was some pretty boss-ass women speakers from Solicitor Generals, to feminist academics, to start-up founders. It was both surprising and encouraging.
This little gem popped up on my Facebook timeline today via friend and PledgeMe founder Anna Guenther. Cultivate is a women only New Zealand business mentoring programme that 'supports early to mid career women to navigate the modern workplace, in particular the structures that make it harder for women to access equal opportunities and equal pay.' The programme's main purpose is to pair women mentors and mentees, but the site also gets pretty real about challenges women face in the workplace. In one testimonial Cultivate's founder, Jessica Venning-Bryan, writes of when she first realised at the age of 18 that workplaces could be different for women:
"It was lunchtime. A customer walked into the trade area of the store. “What can I do for you?” I asked. “A pie and a blow job would be good thanks.” His heaving gut and paint-speckled 50-something-year-old chin wobbled as he laughed at his own joke. I let out an awkward, bewildered, embarrassed giggle while my colleagues smirked. In that moment – that horrible, humiliating moment – I realised that work would be different for me because I am a woman. "
It's this kind of brutal honesty we need. We have come a long way but the fight ain't over.
And on that cheery note, here's the epic Peaches to see you into your weekend like...