Feminism

On November 18, 2001, Laura Bush gave her first radio address urging worldwide condemnation of the treatment of women in Afghanistan. She stated that the “fight against terrorism is also a fight for the rights and dignity of women”. The plight of women and children in Afghanistan, the then-US First Lady said, was “a matter of deliberate human cruelty, carried out by those who seek to intimidate and control”.
Several hundred people gathered in Greeves Street, St Kilda, on August 8 for a candlelit vigil for local street sex worker Tracy Connelly, who was murdered in the street on July 21. The vigil was a chance for her family, friends and, importantly, her community to honour her as well as protest against violence against women. The vigil was held outside the St Kilda Gatehouse, a drop-in centre and community resource for street sex workers. 
The United States has led the world in deregulation of the financial sector, the economy and social services on the basis of “the market rules”. This facilitated the great financial crisis from 2007 onwards with devastating impacts on the welfare of the majority of citizens globally. Yet when it comes to US women’s right to control their own fertility, just the reverse has taken place. Increasing regulation has become the norm undermining the reality of individual choice.
Scarlet Alliance released this statement on July 19 *** Recent murders and violent attacks on sex workers have sparked an unprecedented wave of international action calling for an end to discrimination and criminalisation of sex workers. Scarlet Alliance, an Australian sex-worker association, along with our members and allies in Australia, joined the international protests in memoriam of sex workers Jasmine in Sweden and Dora in Turkey, murdered within one day of each other.
The Socialism 2013 conference took place in Chicago from over 27-30, organised by the International Socialist Organization (ISO). The conference has been going for more than two decades, bringing together activists to exchange and debate ideas. A highlight was the session with investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has been publishing the leaks of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The feature talk was the first detailed speech Greenwald had given on his Earth-shaking work with Snowden ― who remains on the run from US authorities.
Just hours after pro-choice advocates and lawmakers defeated a bill that would have shut down nearly all abortion clinics in Texas, Gov. Rick Perry announced he is reviving the bill by calling another special session of the legislature on July 1. "I am calling the legislature back into session because too much important work remains undone for the people of Texas," Perry said.
Women are facing a global health epidemic according to the World Health Organization (WHO). A report by WHO released on June 20 has found one in three women worldwide has experienced physical or sexual violence. While acknowledging that violence against women is nothing new, the report says the situation is a “fundamental violation of women’s human rights”.

Julia Gillard was greeted by a vibrant protest by students, unionists and Aboriginal activists when she spoke in Fremantle on June 12.

There are two different visions for paid parental leave (PPL) — one put forward by the federal Labor government and the other by Liberal leader Tony Abbott. Abbott’s proposal is seemingly not supported by industry or sections of the Coalition. It would provide 26 weeks’ full salary to mothers earning up to $150,000 a year. Partners could opt to be primary carer if they accept payment according to the mother’s replacement wage of up to $75,000.

Liberal Premier Colin Barnett has proposed reforms to license and register some forms of sex work. And again people are referring to the bill as “legalisation” and “partial decriminalisation” when it is not. It’s deeply concerning when big party politicians and mainstream journalists do not understand the proposed sex-work laws, and describe them as the opposite of what they are. Most Western Australians seem unaware that Barnett’s proposed bill is unnecessary, perpetuates stigma towards sex workers and will result in worse working conditions.

Australian politicians often describe India as “the world’s biggest democracy”. The reality is somewhat different. I found this out when I attended the ninth congress of the Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist (CPI-ML) from April 2-7. Two CPI-ML members were killed in the lead-up to the congress.

Moreland Council is proposing to install more CCTV cameras in response to concerns about safety after the murder of Jill Meagher last year. The expansion of CCTV cameras, already a civil liberties concern, would do little to make women safer on the streets at night.