Student women’s conference debates way forward

Photo: Sistersinside.com.au

Network of Women Students of Australia is an annual feminist student conference. This years conference was held in Newcastle from July 14-18 with the theme “intersections”. Eighty students attended.

Mish from sex-worker peak body Scarlet Alliance spoke about trans and sex worker rights. Rachel Evans spoke on behalf of Socialist Alliance about the same-sex marriage campaign.

A highlight was the presentation by Debbie Kilroy from feminist prisoners’ rights group Sisters Inside. Kilroy, imprisoned in her early life and currently a lawyer, explained how the poor are criminalised and corporate interests profit from locking them up.

She is part of an international prison abolitionist campaign and is organising a conference in Sydney for 2011 with US activist and former political prisoner Angela Davis.

Other speakers included academic Sharon Walsh against domestic violence; service provider Bronwyn Harris spoke on abortion rights; Wiradjuri woman Fleur Magick on cultural birthing; mental health worker Ros Singleton on combating injustice in the mental health system and Honi Zakaria on misconceptions about women in Islam.