As part of a nationwide day of action, more than 1000 people marched on the Victorian parliament on June 8 to fight for state and federal governments to back their claim for increased wages. The Melbourne rally was one of 17 across the country, organised by the Australian Services Union (ASU), which advocates for workers in the female-dominated community services sector. The national day of action comes as a response to Fair Work Australia’s finding that the sector’s workers were not being payed enough, in part, because most of them are women.
Melbourne's largest feminist conference in more than a decade, the Feminist Futures Conference, took place over May 28-29. The conference was organised 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. In the lead-up to the conference, a debate between the radical feminist supporters of Melbourne lecturer Sheila Jeffreys and the sex worker supporters of Elena Jeffreys broke out on the conference blogsite.
The not-guilty verdict in October for a young woman and her partner put on trial for using the drug RU486 to induce an abortion came as a big relief to many. The Cairns jury took less than an hour to deliver long-awaited justice. Now the campaign has turned to smashing the anti-abortion laws that put the Cairns couple on trial in the first place. The case showed the urgent need to decriminalise abortion and realise that the right of women to control their fertility is a fundamental human right.
Save the Children recently released its annual “State of the World’s Mothers” report, which, using a wide range of statistics from 164 countries, ranks the best and worst places on earth to be a mother, a woman and a child.
Child beauty pageants, such as the ones featured on the reality TV show Toddlers and Tiaras, are big business in the United States. The industry is so big that it is expanding overseas. One of the biggest pageant companies, United Royalty plans to stage pageants in all states in Australia. Parents who wish to enter their children in the pageants have to pay $295 just to enter the pageant, plus thousands of dollars on expensive dresses, hairstyles and cosmetics
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