If ever there was a moment to pause and reflect on the state of gender equality, it would be 2018. Marking 125 years since women gained the right to vote in New Zealand, a new exhibition at the Auckland War Memorial Museum entitled Are We There Yet? is proving to assess not only how far we’ve come in that time, but also ask the question of how far we have to go.
In an era that’s being defined by Trump, The Pussyhat Project, Weinsteinery, #TimesUp and so much more, the fight to close the gap and to change ingrained societal codes is being talked about in any and every forum. Terms such as ‘feminism’ and ’empowerment’ are on everyone’s lips, with plenty of online fodder and real-life circumstances examining what they really mean. In this exhibition, however, the past is juxtaposed against the present in a way that brilliantly illustrates the successes and speed-bumps of the fight for equality so far.
Covering off equal pay, reproductive rights, gendered violence, online trolling, legal rights and body image, there’s nothing that’s not up for discussion, or rather interrogation. Rarely shown photographs and content depicting Women’s Suffrage legends — from Kate Sheppard to Meri Te Tai Mangakahia — will be displayed alongside footage from ground-breaking marches, posters and publications from the museum’s archives. There will also be a short-film made especially for the exhibition by renowned filmmaker Gaylene Preston.
In our minds, this carefully curated look down memory lane couldn’t be more pertinent. Heralding the historic plight of women from all walks of life, you’ll no doubt leave reflecting on life as you know it, pondering about the current state of gender affairs in our very our own backyard. With room to share your thoughts afterwards, we suggest you woke-up and head along to it.
Are We There Yet? is showing at the Auckland War Memorial Museum until 31st October.