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Don’t host your International Women’s Day event at a men-only club like the LNP

International Women’s Day — it’s a day to celebrate women, our achievements, our contributions to society and the long way women have come in securing rights and equality. So why in the heck has the government organised their International Women’s Day celebrations at a men-only club?

I’m going to try for a second to see the positive in this whole situation. Like, for example, we could look at this and say, “That’s great that an all-men establishment is opening its doors to celebrate and include women. Good on them for loosening the belt on discrimination for just one day, so both male and female members of parliament can celebrate International Women’s Day together.”

But my first reaction, unfortunately, isn’t a positive one and leaves me wondering why in the heck the Liberal Party decided it would be a good idea to host a function in celebration of women in a place that clearly is stuck in some 1950s time warp where women are forbidden from certain circles and establishments.

The International Women’s Day celebrations will be hosted at exclusive club, Tattersalls, in Brisbane on Friday.

“Nearly half of the LNP’s 14,000 members are women and this event aims to discuss and promote the involvement of more women in politics at all levels,” a spokesperson for the LNP said.

“The venue was chosen simply on the basis of availability, price and flexibility in a CBD location.

“LNP Women appreciate the efforts of Tattersall’s Club in accommodating their function at short notice.”

The worrying thing is that politics already attracts so few women to the profession, with less than 30 per cent of politicians in Australia being women, according to Australian Parliament House’s report on the representation of women in Australian parliament. Actions like this only perpetuate the boys club mentality.

Parliamentary speaker, Fiona Simpson, who will be attending the event, told News Ltd that she was “less troubled by openly male-only clubs or openly women-only gyms than by areas of society that have a veneer of equality but which hide structural impediments or unconscious bias that block women from opportunities.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott seems to think there’s nothing wrong with the idea, either. Actually, he uses some very colourful vocabulary to give the celebrations a wordy pat on the back.

“Good on the Liberal National Party, smashing the glass ceiling yet again. I say congratulations and thank God that bastion of old-fashioned chauvinism has finally collapsed like the walls of Jericho at the trumpet cry of the Liberal National Party.”

I’m inclined to agree that, yes, this could have been a sweeping gesture of eradicating the glass ceiling from a domain where that needs to happen. But the very fact the LNP organised the event at Tattersalls “on the basis of availability, price and flexibility”, and not because of the important message it sends about equality and gender, is enough of a reason to assume this is another example of the government being out of touch with the public.

What do you think about the International Women’s Day celebrations being held at Tattersalls? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

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