patriarchy blog 2

When we discuss gender equality we tend to focus on the female perspective; how women are still underrepresented in decision making roles within the workforce and are still on the trailing side of the gender pay gap. However we don’t often mention the male perspective and what men are doing to minimise patriarchy values within our society.

This is a mistake as examining the male perspective, is just as important in achieving gender equality. After all equality cannot be created without ensuring both genders have a voice and the same stake in society.

One individual that acknowledges this and is doing his bit to end patriarchy is Australian Comedian Graeme Bowman. Lucia Osborne-Crowley from ‘Womens Agenda’ reports on his efforts below:

For Bowman, watching his wife Jennifer go from being a stay-at-home mum to a Masters student, then a Masters graduate and then an artist, was profound. His perception of her empowerment and the struggles she faced along the way made him realise for the first time just how damaging the patriarchy is to society.

Bowman started seeing evidence of this everywhere, and understood why fighting for women’s participation and gender equality is so important.

“No matter what I saw or read about, I just kept coming back to this idea – the idea that the patriarchal system is the fundamental problem at the root of so many things,” Bowden claimed.

So Bowman decided to do something about it. He founded and created an online community called ‘Wise Women Will Save the World’, which aims to empower and support women and encourage the open and sensitive discussion of issues important to women and girls.

More recently Bowman has also decided to take on patriarchy through satire. Along with his wife Jennifer and his son Thomas, Bowman (with Bowman in the picture above) has created a satirical comedy show for the Melbourne Comedy Festival called Patriarchy – Where Would We Be Without You?

The show looks at the contradictions and dangers of a persistent patriarchal system, as well as the damage it inflicts upon those it excludes. It aims to use comedy and laughter to break through peoples’ assumptions and make them understand the true danger of patriarchy – something he says is best achieved through creative and artistic mechanisms of storytelling, rather than statistics or graphs.

“Highly creative and artistic pursuits are the ones with the ability to connect head with heart and make people understand,” Bowman said.

Bowman describes this head-heart connection as an “ah-ha moment”.

“We won’t advance the plot by repeating the same statistics. You have to turn those statistics into stories, and bring them to life, before you have any chance of getting people to connect with them. If we want to cut through we need to present these messages in a different way – we are doing it by forcing people to let their guard down, by making them laugh.”

Bowman said even the traditional methods of communication he is subverting are a product of the patriarchy.

To find out more about ‘Patriarchy – Where would we be without you?’  and how you can book tickets, click here.

To find out more about ‘Wise Women Will Save the World’ and contribute to the discussion on gender equality click here.

To read the full article in Women’s Agenda, click here: