When I say I travel a lot I mean a round trip to the office is 130 kilometres. Not far for many remote women but for others it is a substantial distance to travel. The road is not all sealed and I share it with grain & stock trucks, local agricultural traffic and plenty of local fauna.
Now at home, some days I miss the travelling, it was a time to chat with friends and family via my hands-free kit or listen to an audiobook, decompress after a taxing day or just catch up on what is happening with the world via ABC National.
The travel broke my day between professional me and family/farmer me. The travel was my chance to clear my head, relax and recentre. Where have these two hours a day gone?
I wonder if many of you have experienced this same phenomenon now that home is also your workplace?
Communications have moved quickly to virtual platforms. This is very welcome as a rural woman I have often been the participant forgotten as I am on the dial-in rather than attending a meeting face to face. Now city folk are having to manage the technology hurdles rural people have been battling for years as we all log on. For work, for social, for health and for family. In rural Australia technology for many of us has always been a big challenge. Are we on the best internet and phone plans? Do we have data, is it stable? I have invested in the best Satellite plan available and still experience the frustration of buffering, dropouts and sometimes no signal at all! If I am on a Zoom with you but you can’t see me it is not because I haven’t brushed my hair, it is because the vision and sound do not sync and I am conscious of a limited data allowance!
As I notice many others do not turn on their videos I know I am not alone in frustration with connectivity.
I also worry about the people I can not see. I worry that they may be a victim of something more sinister. Something that is hurting people all over the world. Domestic Violence.
Violence and abuse of women can take many forms, financial, emotional, sexual, and physical and we can’t always ‘see’ the hurt. #stayhome plays into the perpetrator’s hands and reduces options for victims to be able to seek assistance. In rural Australia, I worry about the impact of #stayhome on women that have limited or no access to police, hospitals and speciality women’s services due to their geographical locations.
In isolation, no one hears the screams and no one will come to the rescue.
So next time you are hosting a virtual meeting and not everyone turns on their video perhaps you could check to ensure it is only technology they are a victim of.