Fifty years ago, on February 13, 1963, the publication of US writer and activist Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique sparked a new awakening in the thinking of women across North America. Friedan denounced the repression women suffered in the aftermath of World War II, when they were forced out of wartime jobs and convinced to accept the role of keepers of the home. Profiteers of the market launched an unrelenting but subtle propaganda campaign to venerate women as wife and mother. This role, Friedan said, was the “feminine mystique”.
Indian socialist feminist Kavita Krishnan spoke to Green Left TV's Pip Hinman about the new movement against gender violence in India. Kavita is Secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) and has been a leading activists in the campaign that has swept India (and beyond) since the brutal gang rape of a woman student in Delhi in a public bus. The woman, badly injured in the attack, died two weeks later despite being flown to Singapore for treatment. Her male companion, who was also severely assaulted, survived. Six suspects are being tried.
A horrifying 12-minute video of young men in Steubenville, Ohio, joking about the brutal, extended gang rape of a 16-year-old girl last August became international news after it was posted on the Internet on January 2 by the hacker group Anonymous --along with a stream of Twitter and Facebook posts, and photos of the unconscious victim being dragged by her wrists and ankles.
Protesters targeted the offices of federal minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin on January 11. They were angry about federal Labor’s cut to sole-parent incomes and refusal to raise the Newstart Allowance. Sole parent Rose Ljubicic initiated the protest. She organised another protest on December 24 last year, sparked by receiving a government letter telling sole parents to cut up their pension cards on December 31. Macklin told journalists on January 1 that she could live on the Newstart Allowance.
The Socialist Alliance released this statement in solidarity with the international movement against violence against women on January 4. *** The Socialist Alliance stands in solidarity with the growing movement in India fighting violence against women. Progressive forces in that country have braved police brutality and repression, mobilising massive turnouts at protests against gender violence. The wave of protests was sparked by the horrific rape on December 15, and the consequent death, of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi.
The Australian Socialist Alliance released this statement on January 4. *** The Socialist Alliance stands in solidarity with the growing movement in India fighting violence against women. Progressive forces in that country have braved police brutality and repression, mobilising massive turnouts at protests against gender violence. The wave of protests was sparked by the horrific rape on December 15, and the consequent death, of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi.
The statement below was released n December 24, condemning the culture of impunity for rape as well as opposing the death penalty for perpetrators as a solution. It is reprinted from KAFILA.org. See also the article by Kavita Krishnan (a signatory to this statement) on the explosion of protests defending 'a women's right to freedom without fear'. * * *
In the midst of the unspeakable horror of a rape and attempted murder in Delhi [since the article was written, the victim has died in hospital] is a spark of hope that we nurture, cradling it with our hands lest it be snuffed out, helping the spark to grow into a steadier flame – and then spread into a forest fire. A young woman, a 23-year-old student of physiotherapy, boarded a bus in Delhi with a male friend. They were alone on the bus but for a group of men, who began taunting the woman for being out at night with a man.
Alia Amirali is a leading left activist, general secretary of the National Student Federation (Punjab) and a member of the new united left party Awami Workers' Party who will be visiting Australia in January 2013 to be the international guest speaker at the 9th national conference of the Socialist Alliance. She is also a researcher on the Baloch National Movement and a lecturer at Quaid-e-Azam University.
An article published by Socialist Alternative titled “Jill Meagher, Reclaim the Night and the political right” on November 22 said: “The horrible rape and murder of Brunswick woman Jill Meagher has been successfully used by the media and authorities to promote a right wing political agenda.