Four times we can use the Gender Avenger


Clementine Ford

Imagine if there was a tool you could use instead to highlight the visual reality of gender inequality in public life?

Imagine if there was a tool you could use instead to highlight the visual reality of gender inequality in public life? Photo: Luke Liable

Picture it. Every single conversation you've ever had with a douchebro and his brother about how the world isn't inherently sexist anymore and how it's merit, not gender, that contributes to the presence of expertise. Why, more opportunities would become available to women if they were just better at stuff! Like science or sports or being a man!

By this stage, you're probably fantasising about ripping that douchebro's head off with the power of a viciously applied thigh vice and/or your own teeth. But why break a sweat? Imagine if there was a tool you could use instead to highlight the visual reality of gender inequality in public life? A tool that wasn't, in fact, also a chainsaw but an actual centre of information and statistical evidence?

Reader, look no further! That tool is available to you RIGHT NOW!

Yes, the aptly named group GenderAvenger has developed an app which allows users to create pie charts demonstrating gender inequality across a broad range of, well, anything. Those images can then be shared online to shame organisations for failing to address the very real problem of gender disparity.


The group was founded by Gina Glantz in 2012 after an all male Congressional hearing was held to discuss the issue of birth control and health insurance - an issue which very much affects women. After an image depicting the hearing began circulating online to incredulous members of the broader community, GenderAvenger was born.

GenderAvengers are invited to create their own charts based on women's representation in public life, whether it be in government, media or culture. But what else could we use GenderAvenger for? Here are just some ideas.

1. Charting the difference in numbers of men and women who take a day off work to stay at home with sick children

Parenting is hard. And it's mostly hard because women are still expected to do the vast majority of it. Be honest, how many times have you heard men say they have to leave work early to get the kids from school, or they can't come in today because little Lando-Messiah has got a sniffle? I'm going to guess that's a pretty rare occurrence.

On the other hand, mothers are always giving shit up for their kids. Like fulfilling careers or private toilet time or that bottle and a half of wine they used to drink at night before literature on breastfeeding told them it was 'bad'. Unpaid labour is pretty much the only thing women are considered to be good at, and it's about time that shit was shut down.

2. Calculating how many male authors are considered 'geniuses' when they write about domesticity and how many female authors are compared unfavourably to a bag of rotting turnips

By the time Elizabeth Gilbert published the runaway bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, she had already published three books about the wild lives of male pioneers. In the introduction to Committed, the book she wrote immediately after EPL, she wrote, "Back then, I was often told that I write like a man. Now, I'm not entirely sure what writing 'like a man' even means, but I do believe it is generally intended as a compliment...[After EPL was published] I suddenly found myself - after a decade spent writing exclusively about men and maleness - being referred to as a chick-lit author. Again, I'm not entirely sure what 'chick-lit' means, but I'm pretty certain it's never intended as a compliment."

When women write about matters of the heart, domesticity or even sex, they are branded as irrelevant and boring - a sad, pathetic person attempting to make it in the big leagues of Real Literature. When men write about the same thing, they are deemed daring and brave. They author the Great American Novels, and get assigned to college English curriculums.

For that matter, this app would be really good for current school students to compare the representation of men and women on their reading lists. Now, I'm just a little ole girl so I ain't too good at maths - but I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest it's pretty unbalanced.

3. Compare the numbers of men and women who appear on talkback radio

Once upon a time, Judith Lucy and Kaz Cooke hosted a radio show together. Their third panelist was Peter Hellier, which was pretty revolutionary. It's a widely accepted science fact that men needed to outnumber women in public life, otherwise the Hellmouth will open and the world will be sucked into a neverending vortex of chaos, pain and shrill nagging. So the producers took a real risk with putting these three on together, knowing that the entire fate of the universe was in their hands.

Sadly, it was not to last. The producers were sorry. They didn't want it to come to this, but the listeners had spoken. And what they'd said roughly translated to, 'Women are rubbish and we don't want to listen to them and besides, we can't tell the difference between Judith Lucy and Kaz Cooke's voices and that makes us feel like they must be one GIANT woman and that is very scary to us.'

Now, anyone who's ever heard Judith Lucy speak will know she sounds like a drain laughing backwards - but in a good way. There is no conceivable way you could confuse her for sounding like anyone else. But women, you see, all sound exactly the same - shit. And no one wants to hear them speaking about whatever it is women are speaking about. FACT.

Or at least, these things are facts if you have no better justification for the fact that you're a sexist pig with an acorn for a brain.

4. Checking out the disparity of gender in our Federal Cabinet

Oh wait, I've done that one for us already.

Go forth and chart, my fellow angry, bitter, sallow faced witch-fiends! And to all the MRAs gearing up to fleck spittle my way and talk nonsense about 'merit' and 'worth', I only have this to show you.