Yes, I am a feminist and I will be joining the Melbourne “SlutWalk” on May 28, and I hope you will too! And, yes, I still cringe every time I mention the infamous word SlutWalk and my desire of wanting to be there, right in the middle of it. “Slut”, “bitch”, “whore”, “cunt” — how many women have had one or maybe all of the above words hurled at them in a terrorising fit of anger and aggression, at least once in her lifetime? Or maybe the word(s) was uttered silently, barely audible but with no less intent of humiliation, degradation and hurt?
With the federal government blatantly refusing to even utter the words “equal pay”, the need for grassroots initiative and action is vital in achieving these reforms for women workers. Pay Justice Action is a collective focused on campaigning for equal pay for women, as well as demanding the abolition of youth wages and the scrapping of the basics card, which was part of the NT Intervention. See also: Court says yes to equal pay, but fight not over
In a decision handed down on May 16, Fair Work Australia (FWA) acknowledged the gender-based undervaluation of the vital work of social and community sector (SACS) workers. This is a preliminary decision in the historic equal remuneration case led by the Australian Services Union (ASU). The case was launched in March 2010 and followed a successful pay equity case in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) in 2009. See also: Women workers are sick of waiting: equal pay now
Our goal, as socialists, is to raise women (and for that matter, all of humanity) to a level where they are regarded as true human beings. By that I mean, people whose ideas, opinions and desires are worthy of consideration, rather than machines which exist to provide sexual pleasure, offspring, and free/cheap labour in the form of caregiving/housework. Young women face much pressure in our society, in the form of media and pornography, which tell them how they must behave, look and relate to men.
The Feminist Futures Conference is being organised for May 28-29 by the newly formed Melbourne Feminist Collective (MFC): a group of mainly young activists who were inspired by a similar conference they attended in Sydney last year. James Muldoon from the MFC told Green Left Weekly: “We are a non-aligned loose knit group of feminists who are keen to build on the movement’s past successes by focusing on shared goals and strategies for the future. “We are seeking to move beyond the old divisions by focusing on what unites us
The bad news for Ohio’s 350,000 public workers is that a new law bans them from striking — the good news is at least they will no longer risk jail for doing so. A March 30 Reuters article said: “Ohio’s legislature on Wednesday passed a Republican measure to curb the collective bargaining rights of about 350,000 state employees, and Governor John Kasich said he will sign it into law.” The new law will ban unions from striking in support of public workers and limit workers’ ability to collectively bargain.
On March 29, pro-choice protestors gave Melbourne City Council (MCC) a clear message: don’t mess with our free speech rights! Councillor Cathy Oke tabled a bulky tome — nearly 600 statements signed by individuals and organisations, telling the council to uphold the right to protest and stop using local laws against pro-choicers defending the Fertility Control Clinic in East Melbourne against anti-abortion harassment. From the public gallery, placards demanding “Make Melbourne a free speech city!” underscored the message.
For many years, competitions granting prizes have been a successful tool used by marketers to try to promote their cause or business. However, there should be great concern when the prize up for grabs represents sexist ideas and targets women who feel inadequate about their appearance. Last month, Sin City Nightclub on the Gold Coast promoted breast enhancement surgery “worth $10,000” as a competition prize.
The article below is based on a speech by veteran feminist activist Eva Cox to the March 12 Sydney International Women’s Day protest. * * * I wore my 1973 T-shirt to the march today to remind myself of what we were hoping to do. It was printed by Canberra Women’s Liberation for the women who were short-listed for the first ever Prime Ministerial Women’s Adviser’s job with Gough Whitlam. It has the clenched fist women’s symbol on the front and the word superwoman on the back.
Through the eyes of many modern women, it seems difficult to comprehend that not so many decades ago women all around the Western world were fighting for the basic rights and freedoms they so rightly deserved. Amid an ongoing struggle, laws began to change and social ideals began to alter. A new sense of empowerment quickly emerged as women entered the workforce and marked their places in the political arena. Had gender equality finally been won? Or did certain stereotypes of women remain beneath the surface, waiting to be shaped by the norms of modern society and popular culture?