The stories that enrage and sustain us.
 
rage \ respite
edition 14
the stories that enrage and sustain us.
rage
This week, the world mourned for the women of Texas as an almost 50-year-old, vital piece of legislation was torn up; Roe v Wade, the monumental ruling that protected a woman's right to choose. Overnight, the right to safe and legal abortion beyond six weeks was taken away, resulting in traumatic, instant consequences.

The overturning of Roe v Wade in Texas sets a terrifying precedent for the undoing of gender progress around the world. Increasingly, the presence and prominence of religious ideology in the US and at home is meddling with policies; predictably, policies that benefit people who aren't eligible to be a man of the cloth.

The new law in Texas is also punitive to workers, with an insidious whistleblowing platform set up to report any medical professional, ride-share driver or other who supports the facilitation of an abortion. This means that an Uber driver could be fined a minimum of $10,000 for, consciously or not, driving someone to their abortion.

Naturally, as it goes in 2021, the whistleblowing site
has been inundated by fake reports from TikTokers and activists, decrying the stripping of rights. Some have reported the state of Texas itself for building highways that allow people to drive to their abortion, others have reported the Governor of Texas for getting multiple abortions, and many have just submitted Shrek memes, aiming to crash the site.

Following backlash, the site's host, GoDaddy, de-platformed the whistleblowing portal; but predictably, it has
found a new home with Epik, a website host known for supporting neo-Nazis. Since then, violations of terms of services mean the whistleblowing service has been deactivated, for now.

The new law in Texas now means that the jail term for an illegal abortion is longer than the jail term for rape. As many online cried, once this critical imbalance is met, you know right wing lawmakers are waging a war on women and people who seek abortions.

At home this week we also saw misogyny and the patriarchy take centre stage at the Federal Government's National Summit on Women's Safety; an opportunity for grandstanding following a horrific year for women in the Australian parliament and beyond.

Scott Morrison apparently thought it was appropriate for him to take the keynote slot, spending 45 minutes mansplaining how hard it is to be a woman, to a summit full of women. "Some men think they own women"
he decried, failing to acknowledge how appallingly his own government treats women. From alleged rapist, Christian Porter, still holding high office and the Prime Minister giving his mate the benefit of the doubt, to the refusal to swiftly investigate who in the Prime Minister's Office knew about Brittany Higgins' alleged rape at Parliament House.

The PM proclaimed how crucial it was to listen to the stories of survivors of assault, but Australian of the Year, Grace Tame, had already disclosed that she was the only person at the government's roundtable on women's safety with lived experience of sexual assault. Predictably, Higgins wasn't invited. This pontification comes from a man who couldn't find the time to
read the letter at the centre of the allegation against Porter. The Morrison government has no interest in hearing women's stories, in fact, they evidently see them as an annoyance.

In a man's world, it is rare that there are good weeks for women. And as religious ideology continues to seep into government, archaic, patriarchal policies are returning to the fore. As long as women and non-binary people aren't at the table, law changes and discussions about us will continue to be happen, without us.

respite
The five day work week has been a core tenet of capitalism for generations. Workers spend the majority of their lives generating value for those at the top, taking insignificant breaks to allow their bodies and minds to recuperate, allowing them to stay on the wheel for years to come. It's a lucrative cycle for big employers. For employees, the formula is broken.

Countries around the world are challenging this structure, citing declining community health and wellbeing as the cause for change. Successful trials in Iceland, New Zealand and Japan have resulted in governments and corporations adopting a compressed four day work week.

Trials have seen increased productivity, happiness and job satisfaction. In Iceland, trials were so successful that more than 90% of the workforce there now operates on reduced or flexible working arrangements, for the same pay at full time work. In Japan, a trial at Microsoft with similar arrangements saw productivity rise by 40%. 

Following in the trend,
Scotland announced this week a trial of their own, supported by the nation's government. Workers will have their hours reduced by 20%, but won't suffer a drop in pay. To support businesses and workers to make the transition, the Scottish National Party has established a £10 million fund, and see this as a key way to tackle community mental health and unemployment.

This new trial comes in the wake of a
groundbreaking report, which found that converting the UK's workforce to a four day work week would shrink the country's carbon footprint by 127m tonnes. A reduction in energy usage and commutes would lead to emissions reductions of over 20% - the equivalent to taking every car in the UK off the road and a major step forward in meeting the UK's Paris agreement targets.

As workforces buckle under the pressure of increasing workloads, constant optimisations, unpredictable market fluctuations and unavoidable daily stressors, the case for the four day work week has never been stronger. Leaders are starting to take note.

ritual
As an avid news reader, a global crisis and a desire for laws to change so I can travel home equals an unhealthy addiction to the Guardian Live Feed. Every update, every quoted politician, every state's case numbers cross my eyes, and my mind, every minute of every day. Weekdays and weekends blur, and there is literally, no respite.

So recently I've been having news-free weekends, to give my mind a chance to switch off and reset. To read a book without the distraction of Twitter, watch a movie without also refreshing the news. It feels good, I recommend it. There's a whole community of others who are doing it too.
This newsletter is created on the stolen lands of the Gadigal and Bidjigal people of the Eora nation. I pay my respects to their elders past and present. Sovereignty was never ceded.
I'm Georgia Gibson, a freelance content strategist and writer working with impact-driven clients.
You can visit my website or follow me on Insta for more.

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Clovelly, Clovelly, NSW, 2031, Australia