CSotD: International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day, though you wouldn’t know it by looking through American cartoons. Ah well, don’t feel bad: I didn’t see any among the British cartoons, either. Which doesn’t mean there weren’t any, but, if there were, they were hiding very well.

Meanwhile, Fiona Katauskas explains why it isn’t a bigger deal in Australia. Her example is politically specific, but the attitude rings true worldwide.

I think maybe Aussie women have dug out of a deeper hole than Americans in the past half century. A friend of mine was working down there in the early 70s and told us of the fellows at work — and they were all fellows — deciding to go have a beer after hours. He said he’d be right along, just had to call his wife to let her know he’d be late.

He said the others were completely puzzled. It wasn’t even that they thought he was whipped. They honestly couldn’t understand why he had to call her and tell her anything.

Americans were a step or two above that: We at least knew when we were being MCPs.

Judging by Cathy Wilcox’s salute to the day, Australian women have caught up with the Yanks. Her roundup of women’s status seems familiar enough, including the fact that, to name national heads of state, she had to go overseas, though Australia did have one female PM, Julia Gillard, a decade or so ago.

Which puts them ahead of us, and read on.

They’re also head of us in their national legislature: Australia’s ranks 33rd worldwide, with 38.4% women in the lower house and 56.6 in the upper house, while the US is at #71, with 28.6% in the House and 25% in the Senate. Which puts the Aussies well above us, but neither of us has much to brag about.

This map isn’t interactive as seen here, but if you go to the original site, you can play around and find all sorts of stats on women in government.

The Kiwis have a 50/50 split in their unicameral legislature that puts them #4 in the world, and a now-former female head of state, Jacinda Ardern, who impressed the world. In posting his cartoon, Rod Emmerson shared the untraceable quote, “Here’s to strong women. May we know them, may we raise them, may we be them.”

Not that New Zealand put all those women into its parliament without a conscious attempt to achieve fairness, if not specifically to achieve gender parity.

Still, for all its imperfections, their legislature is actually at 60-59 with women in the numerical lead, and that 60th member is Maori, justifying the chin tattoo (moko kauae) on Emmerson’s cartoon.

Elsewhere in the world, things are more fraught, and Brazilian cartoonist Thiago Lucas depicts a woman seeking the rose in a world of thorns.

While Gabor Papai, cartooning from Hungary, accuses hardcore Muslim governments of maintaining their power by repressing their women and focusing on military development.

Iranian cartoonist Kourosh offers a more optimistic vision on the day, suggesting that conservative imams are losing power in his country more quickly than they are able to take power by suppressing women’s education.


While from Turkey, Ahmad Rahma suggests that March 8 is only one day in the year, and that the spotlight will, at midnight, revert to the male default.

It’s an attitude mirrored by Cuban Miguel Morales Madrigal, who goes a step further by suggesting that the day barely acknowledges, much less elevates, the role of women.

We can hardly leave on such a depressing note, so here’s Brazil’s Rucke Souza with an upbeat look at where at least some women are finding themselves this International Women’s Day.

To which I will add that I have worked for more women than men, and the ones who were at the very top of the chain were easier to deal with, but no less in charge, than the men in similar positions. It makes me laugh at Souza’s cartoon because they didn’t crack the whip, or, at least, you never saw them crack it.

They were more apt to listen to the conversation around the table and say, “Well, then …” and tell everyone how it was going to be, without inviting further debate but without cracking a whip.

A leader is best when people barely know that he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worst when they despise him. Fail to honor people, They fail to honor you. But of a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aims fulfilled, they will all say, “We did this ourselves.”

I don’t know how pronouns translate from Chinese, but my experience is that Lao Tzu was describing both of the women publishers for whom I worked.

And speaking of women who say “Well, then …” and do not invite further debate …

3 thoughts on “CSotD: International Women’s Day

  1. In the 30+ years I worked in the same school, our WORST principal was a woman; elevated, I’m sure, not because of her competence or management skills, but because of her gender. Nine years of hell.

  2. Okay, not on topic. But please stop with the constant requests to subscribe by email. I have your page open automatically every day in my browser. I don’t need another reminder clogging up my way to busy email

    1. Easy to shut off, but the X gets hidden behind the ^Top button. However, you don’t have to hit it exactly. And we think it’s better than a block in the middle of the screen which many websites have.

Comments are closed.