THE SISTERS' SONG coming in January 2018 from Allen and Unwin. Sign up to be the first to know. x Louise

Liverpool-fans-hold-up-a-banner-about-the-death-of-Margaret-Thatcher

I’m bristling and I’ve been bristling for a while now. They labelled Julia Gillard one during the mining tax rallies, and now, on her death, they’re calling Margaret Thatcher the same.

Why are women in positions of power labelled ‘witches’?

These two women are from opposite ends of the political spectrum, from different generations, and governing on opposite sides of the world and in different centuries. What they have in common are their intelligence and their political ambitions, and that they both rose to the top of their respective country’s governments.

Oh, and they’re both ‘witches’.

Why is that? Is it because they’re not at home sweeping with their brooms so they must be using them to fly? Or is it because they survived their attempted drownings? Yes, the witch trial puns are intended as, sadly, I think we’re no further advanced than the Middle Ages when it comes to women in power.

imagesI don’t agree with Margaret Thatcher’s politics in any way, but I can’t abide dancing on someone’s grave either. I also remember when she became Britain’s first ever female Prime Minister, and the awe and respect that I, as a teenage girl, felt for her. She showed a generation of us that we could do and be anything we want, that being a woman would not hold us back, and that we were equal to men in any sphere, on any stage. At the time, I couldn’t wait to suit up and match it with the men.

I’ve since learned it’s not as simple as that, but I still believe it is just as natural for a woman to be intelligent and confident and have ambition as it is a man. We can lead and do it well.

I’m tired of watching the vilification of women who live outside of the sweet or sexy or nice stereotype. I’m sick of offensive comments about their appearance, of the disgusting names they’re called, and of their crude lampooning.

And I really can’t stomach hearing women being labelled ‘witches’.

 

Across the oceans, a daughter and a son farewell their mother,

while crowds turn on her casket and sing of bells and dead witches.

Across the oceans, baby girls form mounds in cemeteries,

while their brothers live at home with their mothers.

Across the oceans, daughters are sold to entertain snakes,

for the night or for life, so their family can feed.

Across the oceans, an adulterous woman is stoned,

while her partner returns home to his wife.

And here, across oceans of politics, a woman dares fly alone,

while Middle Aged bulls in suits charge,

scorning her empty womb,

and shouting for her to be ditched.

While we, her sisters, watch in silence,

lest the same be said of us.

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'The Sisters' Song' is coming in January 2018.


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