Saturday, October 24, 2015

Yes, I am a Feminist

and why wouldn't I be? Despite the false propaganda we often see this does not mean I'm not anti-men but I do believe in equality. Don't you?

This is why I'm a feminist:

I'm old enough to remember what it was like be paid substantially less than my male colleagues who were doing exactly the same work - and having it explained to me by a man that I didn't need the same income because I'd have a husband to support me. I wasn't married at the time or even thinking about it and it didn't occur to him that sometimes husbands die leaving widows and children.

I'm old enough to remember when as a teacher, had I married, I would have had to resign my permanent position and become temporary staff having to reapply for my position every year - and, unlike married men, not being paid during school holidays.

I'm old enough to remember that when I went to buy my first car I couldn't take out a loan without having a man to act as my guarantor in case I defaulted. I was a full time teacher, bonded - and therefore obliged - to work for the Education Department for three years. My guarantor only had to prove he was employed.

I'm old enough to remember that when a work colleague was divorced she was refused loans by all the major banks when she wanted to buy a small place for her and her daughter to live in. A small profession based credit union finally agreed but by then she had spent months trying to find them a permanent home. She was a permanent senior public servant.

I'm old enough to remember when women had to resign from their jobs when they became pregnant and there was no such thing as maternity leave.

I'm old enough to remember when a woman could study law and get her degree but, unless she was lucky enough to have a close contact - a father or uncle most likely - who was prepared to take her on to do her articles, she could never practise.

I'm old enough to remember being told that women didn't have the mind set to be doctors, lawyers or engineers so we should set our sights on work more suited to our capabilities - like typists, secretaries, teachers, librarians and nurses.

I'm old enough to remember seeing many of the girls my age leave school to start work at fourteen - the legal age to leave school at the time - and many more leave at the end of the following year because it was a waste of time educating girls.

I'm old enough to remember being asked why I wanted to go to university when I was only going to go and get married.

So, yes, I am a feminist as everyone - men and women - should be. In my lifetime there have been many gains but there is still a long way to go. Even in the developed world women are still often paid at a lower rate than men, they often lose career position when they have children - many have to leave work to care for their children due to inadequate child care availability - and there is hidden discrimination despite attempts to legislate to prevent it. In the Third World the position of women is much worse.

I want to see a world where every girl growing up today enjoys the same oportunities as her male counterparts and it truly frightens me to hear young women saying they are not feminists. Things have changed a great deal since I was a young women but those gains remain under threat and we all need to be vigilant so we don't go backwards.

This is why I am a feminist and I make no apologies for it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Another Froggy Tale

I've known there were three or four different kinds of frogs living in my back yard for a long time. The most obvious were the motorbike frogs that I posted about a few days ago - and they are the most plentiful, too. It's not uncommon to see four or five sunning themselves on the edge of the lily pond.

Another is the green slender tree frog. These are very pretty creatures as you can see from this link and we find them occasionally in the grapevines or among the bananas - we have a small grove of these in the vegie garden. There used to be more before our back fence neighbours cleared their block completely and built a house that takes up almost the whole space but once we get some planting established along the fence we're hoping they'll return in greater numbers.

Then there is the moaning frog - very aptly named as you can tell from the recording which calls mostly when the first of the winter rain begins - but one has been a mystery. It's very vocal and going out into the garden on a Spring or summer evening is all but deafening what with a noisy and very loud mass cicada chorus (sorry, I couldn't find a recording of our local cicadas but believe me they are loud) interspersed with the mystery frog calling equally loudly.

It turns out that this mystery caller may be a quacking frog. It's sometimes called a quacking froglet - and if, like me, you thought a froglet was that stage immediately after a tadpole loses its tail and is a small immature adult you will be surprised to find out that its actual meaning is a frog species which doesn't go through the tadpole stage at all although apparently this frog is not a genuine froglet because it does in fact produce tiny tadpoles. Confused? So am I. Quacking frog habitat covers much of the South West but is limited on the Swan Coastal plain to some scattered wetlands and I suspect, that attracted by our ponds, it - as far as I can tell there's only one male calling - has come here from the wetlands that we have within a few minutes walk. Here's information about the quacking frog including a recording which certainly sounds like what we hear but since I've never seen it, I can't be absolutely sure.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Motorbike Frogs

We have a number of these living in our garden, some in the lily pond and several others that have set up home among dense plants or in the saucers under pots. While they like to sun themselves on the edge of the pond during the day they come out mainly at night and when we had a dog she would go and investigate any that were wandering around. You've never heard anything like a motorbike frog screaming. Curdles your blood I can tell you.

Usually though they just make this characteristic sound which is supposedly somewhat like a revving motorbike. One of our males is desperately in search of a female and he calls not only in the evening but also whenever the sprinklers are on and randomly at any time during the day. We usually get some tadpoles in the pond so there must be at least one female around but despite the mesh covering the pond not many survive to froglet stage. Given how many frogs we have in the garden, though, there must be at least two or three who reach adulthood every year with the excess wandering off in search other homes.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

It's Getting Warmer

and the bobtails are out.

This handsome fellow is one of the family of bobtail goannas (actually skinks) who live in our garden and is a young adult about 30 cms in length. From this visitor to our back veranda who is used to coming across people who wish him no harm you would have no idea of the reason for their other common name of blue tongues. If he didn't know you and was startled, though, you'd be greeted by a wide open cerise mouth with a vivid blue tongue followed by hissing if the threat did not go. With its relatively large head this can be extremely disconcerting and only a few minutes ago we heard our neighbour rescuing one from her frantic dogs.

They are generally placid creatures - they may bite if threatened (and who could blame them) but they are not venomous - and do a lot of good by eating snails, crickets, beetles and other small creatures in the garden and - apart from some having a fondness for strawberry flowers and fruit as they are omnivores and do eat some vegetation - do no harm.

Like all reptiles they need warmth to raise their body temperature and now the days are getting hotter they are on the move from their winter shelters among the leaf litter, in logs or under rocks. They don't hibernate as such as they come out to bask on warm, sunny days even in mid winter.

They are live bearers and form lasting monogamous breeding pairs - they can live as long as twenty years - with the off-spring staying close to their parents for several months and even after this they stay in close proximity as part of a related group. Sadly the death rate among the young is high due to predation by dogs, cats and birds.

They have other common names apart from bobtails such as blue-tongues (for obvious reasons), sleepy lizards, shinglebacks (due to their rough scaled skins) and stumpy tailed lizards but their scientific name is Tiliqua rugosa.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Doing a Bit of Reading

I've just been doing a reread of some of my books and among them was The Dagger of Dresnia by my fellow Egoboo WA member, Satima Flavell. It really is a good read and the sequel will be coming out next year. If you get a chance do have a look. It's available as a paperback from various booksellers including and as well as an e-book.