Editorial: The Good Fight

24 February 2017 Amy Hetherington

Editorial: The Good Fight

Here at The Big Issue we have a special reason to celebrate International Women’s Day this 8 March – with this edition, our Women’s Subscription Enterprise (WSE) has achieved two significant milestones. The program has now employed 150 women since the first shift in October 2010. Collectively, WSE women have dispatched half a million magazine subscriptions around the country. 

End to end, this trail of mags may only reach 135km (not to the moon and back as I’d hoped!), but it’s made an immeasurable difference to many women. Additionally, the increase in subscriptions has run parallel to an increase in vendor income from street sales.

We’re often asked, why women? The Big Issue is sold around Australia by hundreds of remarkable people, most of whom are men. WSE offers homeless and disadvantaged women an alternative to selling The Big Issue on the streets, where they may feel more vulnerable. Especially those caring for children or fleeing family violence, which remains the largest single cause of homelessness in Australia.

It’s one of many reasons why International Women’s Day remains vital more than a century since it began; it’s a reminder of what’s been achieved, and what still needs to be done to resolve gender parity in the home, the workplace and the streets. Progress for women’s rights is a win for human rights.

It’s why we’ve focused on Meryl Streep this edition (p16). Up for her 20th Oscars nod this week, not only is Streep a truly great actor, she’s also an active human rights campaigner; most recently making headlines by calling out a certain president’s discriminatory behaviour in her Golden Globes speech.

In this edition we also look at feminism, front-and-centre in public discourse once more: the Women’s March attracted five million people worldwide; digital activism is providing a new platform for women’s voices; celebrities like Beyoncé, Emma Watson and Miley Cyrus are proudly proclaiming themselves feminists; women’s footy is on the telly (p32); feminist slogan T-shirts have even stormed the catwalks at fashion week; and, locally, Clementine Ford’s best-selling book Fight Like a Girl was voted book of the year by viewers of ABC TV’s The Book Club. As Ford writes (‘Generation F’, p18), this is The Feminist Reawakening We Had to Have.

Amy Hetherington, Editor

This editorial first appeared in Ed#531. To read all about the things mentioned, grab a copy of The Big Issue from your vendor today!