A note made from Germain Greer’s speech

Yesterday evening I attended a 2015 Hadyn Ellis Distinguished Lecture – “Women & Power: the Lessons of the 20th Century” made by Professor Germain Greer.  There was no picture and recording that I can share as Professor Greer did not like it. I respected it.

As a woman myself, I probably haven’t done anything particularly to seek equal opportunities for women in education and employment, like the feminists did. I assume that in the theater there were few people like me who didn’t know her feminism influence and her arguable viewpoint on transgender people. But obviously in the theater there were few people like me who is a Chinese and grew up and largely educated in China where women had equal vote right to men in 1949 (the same time when P.R.China was established).

May be because of the recent Paris attacks, the security and safety of the event was overwhelmed: security staff and policemen were around the venue, two times of ticket checking, one bag checking, and security staff stood in front of the theater watching the audience.

About 10 protesters again Professor Greer (mainly about her previous statement on transgender people) were outside of the venue. They were quiet and had clear message boards in hand.

The theater was almost full and the Vice-Chancellor started the event.

Professor Greer had both intellectual rigour and a sense of humour. Mostly sarcasm! I couldn’t understand all her jokes because I lack of knowledge about Western history and culture. She talked about the issues such as women vote, unequal pay and opportunities between women and men, “unskilled” from low payment, abortion, and sex-selective abortion. She encouraged women to endeavour to gain power for themselves but have fun in it. Those issues are closely related to women, however, she didn’t talk these issues without showing evidences. She didn’t try to convince you to believe her without having your own different opinions. It’s the free speech and the open critical face-to-face dialogue that influence people. I was thinking if a strong but clear viewpoint was stated by an ordinary person, probably no media would care much or think twice. If it was made by famous people like Professor Greer, it would call a lot of attention and bring up debates, which is a good thing. Why can’t we talk and learn from each other?

There are some viewpoints below that made me think more (they are not quite her own sentences).

  • What do women vote for? What do you think the vote accomplishes?
  • Equality is not enough.
  • Abortion and not allowing abortion, which is good or right for women?  (Not talking about what the law says, there are a lot of individual circumstances here! It’s case by case! Only people who are in the situation know it the best, however they are too busy of thinking between keeping or losing the baby to think of this issue.)
  • Women are not supporting each other enough, at least are not as much as men do to support each other.
  • It’s not the economic status that women need to seek, it’s the power that matters.

I was thinking about why I didn’t do as much as the feminists did?

Recalling my own experience, I was brought up in a family that girls are as good as boys though the culture at the time was that boys are better than girls. My parents/teachers didn’t say I shouldn’t do so and so because I was a girl. I studied in the same classroom with boys and went to university by passing the same exams. We had 1/4 female students in the subject and male classmates were nice to us. I worked in a core team in a company and I was the only woman in the team. I did the same job to male colleagues and we had the same payment. Companies encouraged young women to work in the IT positions. So in China I didn’t experience too unequal treatments because of my gender. Here I do not deny that it definitely had/has unequal treatments between women and men in life. I also don’t deny that in the same working area men in general get paid higher than women. For me it’s more about the inequality between the rich and the poor and the different opportunities from individual to individual. I wish I understand more of the issues if I didn’t experience it myself.

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