In 1963, a senior Australian government official, A R Taysom, deliberated on the wisdom of deploying women as trade representatives. “Such an appointee would not stay young and attractive for ever [because a] spinster lady can, and very often does, turn into something of a battleaxe with the passing years [whereas] a man usually mellows.” On International Women’s Day 2012, such primitive views are worth recalling; but what has happened to modern feminism? Why is it so bereft of its political, indeed socialist roots, that any woman who “achieves” within an immoral system is to be admired?
Perth-based women's health doctor Kamala Emanuel has hit out at the "dangerous implications" of a "foetal homicide" law proposed by the Western Australian state government. The law if passed would, for the first time, recognise an "unborn baby" as a human life. The stated intent of the law would be to be create legal sanctions against people who assault a pregnant woman. People could face life imprisonment under these laws -- "the same as a murder charge" – if an "unborn baby" dies. The law would also apply in situations where a foetus was hurt due to negligent driving.
Colectivo Mujer and the Addison Road Gallery in Marrickville, Sydney invite you to “Latinas: Our Origins, Our Voices”. This cultural event will celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8. Colectivo Mujer is a group of women from Latin America and elsewhere who strongly identify with our cultures that recognise the contribution of women and men to ever-evolving feminisms.
In an historic decision, Fair Work Australia (FWA) awarded pay rises of 19-41% to 150,000 mostly female workers in the social and community services sector (SACS) on February 1. It was the most important equal pay case since equal pay for work of equal value was formally recognised in 1972. The decision awards an extra 4% rise in loadings, designed to recognise impediments to bargaining in the industry. Workers will also be entitled to any wage review by FWA each year. The pay rises are effective from December 1, to be phased in over eight years.
A Perth educator, author and long-time activist, Mary (Mairi) McKenzie, died on New Year's Eve at the age of 94. Mary discovered early what life was like in a society with little welfare and few rights for workers and the unemployed. At the age of 10, she lost her mother to tuberculosis, making her effectively the mother figure for her seven younger siblings. At the age of 13 she left school to undertake their full-time care.
In early November, a Twitter hashtag called #mencallmethings was set up, under which women bloggers can post the sexist, misogynistic and often threatening comments they receive. Tigerbeatdown.com’s Sady Doyle started the tag after becoming angry and disillusioned with the huge amount of sexist hate mail she and other female bloggers had received. Doyle saw the need to publicly challenge this culture of silencing women bloggers.
Hundreds of people marched on November 12 in Hobart’s “Slutwalk” to protest violence against women and to reject the idea that victims of sexual violence are somehow responsible for the assaults against them because of what they wear.
It has become a cliche in mainstream media and political discourse that feminism is no longer necessary in society. However many ordinary women disagree. Green Left Weekly asked members of the newly formed Feminist Collective of South Australia about feminism’s relevance today. Emma Gray-Starcevic said: “Women still earn on average 17% less than men in Australia, and are under-represented in a huge number of jobs, especially in industries such as law, business and politics — jobs synonymous with high wages and powerful positions.