Blue Mountains Women’s Health and Resource Centre – click here
10 March 2014
As usual, she (who for the purpose of this report wants to be called Helen) enters the kitchen at 7 am to prepare the kids’ breakfast and cut their lunches. She greets the three boys with her usual cheery “Morning” and gets the usual grunt in unison, “Whatever”. Their eyes stay glued to their iphones.
They don’t notice that today she is not wearing her usual black business suit. She is wearing a short pink skirt, knee-high white boots and instead of her briefcase, has a large bag stuffed with pink balloons and streamers – and a tape recorder.
The boys blithely collect their lunches – not a word – no eye contact – and head off to catch the school bus. One returns to say, “Dad has slashed your tyres again.”
The Intervention Order she has taken out against her ex is a useless piece of paper, she muses.
Being a single, unprotected, unappreciated mother is tough.
She makes a cup of coffee and skims through Saturday’s paper, taking time to read about that day being International Women’s Day, which she well knew and still plans to celebrate, even though it is now Monday.
She calls a cab to take her to work for just a half day. Her hours have been cut back. She had applied for an in-house promotion for the top job but was beaten by a younger, less qualified and less experienced male.
And now the bank is foreclosing on her for unmet mortgage payments.
She arrives at work where she is the only female. At the sight of her outfit – as she expects – she gets cat-calls and uncouth remarks, most notably from the boss who says “What are you doing after work sweetie, making a bit of extra money on the side, or should I say on your back. Must say you were pretty good at the Christmas party, but you were too drunk to remember.”
She gets on with her usual work until her early knock-off time. Then she starts adorning the office with those pink balloons and streamers, happily chanting ‘Happy International Women’s Day.”
The boss is outraged and demands she take them down.
In recent months she has overheard him boast about his extra marital affairs and has used a concealed voice recorder. Today she has used it to record his uncouth comment. She produces the recorder and plays it to him. She then picks up her phone to call his wife.
The boss is a lather of sweat and pleads with her to reconsider. She puts the phone down and says, “Only if you give me my rightful job … your job”
He agrees on the basis she does not say a word to his wife. She agrees – with a smirk – then demands a bribe of $10,000 – just enough to bring her mortgage payments up to date.
With that accomplished, and a personal cheque for $10,000 in her pocket, she leaves the office and heads for the bank – the one that is threatening to foreclose – still with a good supply of balloons and streamers. She is planning a party. After all, there’s no law against having a party in a bank – is there?
The police will surely say, “Nothing we can do about it” which is all they are capable of saying in her experience. Unless she has a witness, but violent ex’s are too smart for that.
Once inside the bank, she sets about decorating the branch with balloons and steamers, whilst chanting over and over: “Happy International Women’s Day, Mr Manager.”
She then takes out her CD player and Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman blares. (YouTube)
She then goes to her chosen teller (who for the purpose of this report wants to be called Stella) to deposit the cheque. Stella is the wife of Helen’s boss and notices the name of the drawer. Stella looks shocked and then without a word – as per the agreement with her former boss – Helen hands over the tape recorder, which happens to contain proof that Helen’s ex- husband, who happens to be the bank manager, took advantage of the inebriated Stella at the bank’s Christmas party.
Within one hour, Stella has taken the voice recording to the HR manager, who happens to be a woman, at head office. The manager is summarily dismissed and Stella is appointed manager. Helen’s foreclosure proceedings are annulled.
The now-ex-manager had foolishly called the police in response to Helen’s revelry. The police officers, who happen to be women, say simply, “ Nothing we can do about it. There’s no law against having a party in a bank.”
Helen asserts that he has slashed her tyres for the fourth time, to which he – now a dribbling mess – replies, “I’ve only done it three times.” He is arrested.
Stella, now back at the branch, accompanies Helen entertaining the bank patrons with a rousing rendition of I Am Woman, which is posted on social media and goes viral.
Next morning, as usual, she (Helen) enters the kitchen at 7am to prepare the kids’ breakfast and cut their lunches. She greets the three boys with her usual cheery “Morning” and gets the unusual exclamation in unison, “Mum, you’re a legend”. Their eyes stay glued to their iPhones – in disbelief – and admiration.
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY … FIGHT FOR THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE YOUR OWN FUTURE.
Saturday 8 March 2014
‘International Women’s Day marchers take to the streets of Sydney’
~ Coverage of IWD with explanation of ‘Zoe’s Law’
Saturday 8 March 2014
‘Dancing on the glass ceiling on International Women’s Day’
~ Opinion piece by Suzy Freeman-Greene