Feminism

At just 16 years old, Malala Yusufzai is the youngest person to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. When the Pakistani teenager was shot in her head by Taliban gunmen because she spoke out about her right to education, it sent shock waves around the world. The Western media took notice. Her attack was used as an excuse by Western media and governments to justify the invasion of Afghanistan. Malala is a courageous young woman, whose brave example in the face of barbaric violence is being used to justify the barbaric military violence associated with the occupation of Afghanistan.
About 150 people walked through Perth on November 16 to call for an end to blaming victims of sexual assault, in the city's third annual SlutWalk. Initiated in response to comments made by a Canadian police officer that women should avoid looking like sluts if they don't want to be raped, SlutWalk continues to attract global support.
On the same day that Tasmania decriminalised abortion, the New South Wales parliament took a big step backwards for women’s rights. The Legislative Assembly voted 63 to 26 for a bill aimed at giving 20-week-old foetuses the same legal rights as human beings.
A national day of action against rape drew thousands of protesters onto the streets across New Zealand on November 16. Outrage continues to grow at revelations police were aware of an Auckland “rape gang”, which posted videos boasting of their exploits on social media, for at least two years, but did nothing.
Debate on a dangerous bill that seeks to redefine when life begins was again suspended in the New South Wales Parliament on November 14. The Crimes Amendment (Zoe's law) (No 2) bill, introduced in August, will be debated again in the legislative assembly on November 21. Doubts remain as to whether it will be voted on then, or deferred to next year.
Recently, an organised criminal group called “Roastbusters” were exposed as a gang-rape organisation who targeted intoxicated and underage girls, then publicly shamed them online. The police knew about this group’s action since 2011 but failed to stop them. Police claimed they were powerless to act because none of the girls who were raped are “brave enough” to lay a formal complaint. It has since transpired that four complaints were ignored.
Your 14-year-old daughter is dumped on your freezing front lawn in a state of chemically induced incoherence with her shoes off and frost stuck in her hair. She tells you she was raped. You hear her 13-year-old best friend was also raped that same night. Your daughter is then bullied as a tape of the incident passes around her high school. You wait for the indictments and some semblance of justice, but one of the accused is a football star from one of the area's most prominent and politically connected families.

Just what questions can you be asked when you apply for a job? According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald on October 12, global energy company Chevron asks some intrusive reproductive health questions of women applicants in its recruitment process. Questions include whether an applicant has been sterilised, their pregnancy history, how many abortions and stillbirths they have had, the number of “normal” children they have and any birth defects their children may have.

Controversial private member’s bill “Zoe’s law”, which aims to give legal rights to foetuses, was again set aside in the NSW Legislative Assembly on October 31. Only a few MPs turned up to the third second-reading debate; four spoke against and three spoke for it. Those against were: Andrew McDonald (ALP Macquarie Fields); Leslie Williams (Nationals Port Macquarie); Jamie Parker (Greens Balmain) and John Williams (Nationals Murray Darling).
Recently, Mamamia editor Mia Freedman wrote a blog post railing against Kim Kardashian. While by no means do I hold Kardashian up as a demonstration of feminism, I think that Freedman has this wrong, very wrong. From the title “Are you a mother or a porn star?”, which degrades the ability of women who work in the porn industry to be effective parents, Freedman projects some extremely backward views on motherhood, sexuality and body image.
NSW MPs supporting a Liberal MP's private members bill to recognise crime or harm against a foetus — dubbed “Zoe’s law” — have tried to avoid any connection between it and their reactionary anti-choice backers. But on October 24, Katrina Hodginson, National MP for Burrinjuck, publicly thanked Margaret Tighe, national president of Right to Life Australia, for her encouragement. After declaring her support for the bill, Hodginson said she believed that there was a need for more laws “from the victim’s perspective”.
Women and men took to the street in Brunswick for Melbourne's Reclaim the Night rally and march on October 19, to demand an end to victim blaming and violence against women. Speakers included Yorta Yorta woman Monica Morgan, chairperson of Elizabeth Hoffman House, Poppy Jacob from Hollaback Melbourne, an organisation dedicated to ending the street harassment of women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer individuals, Rose Ljubicic from the Council of Single Mothers and their Children, and Jane Green, a sex worker activist from the Vixen Collective.