women's liberation

Swiss women and a major Swiss union held a national day of action on June 14 for wage equality for women and for a minimum wage of US$4000 a month for all workers.

The minimum wage that the union and women are seeking would be the equivalent of $48,000 a year. The minimum wage is now $3000 a month, which was won in the 1980s.

Switzerland has one of the highest costs of living in the world.

About 500 people took part in a June 11 march to demand an end to victim blaming in sexual assault. This was followed by a screening of the film War Zone in the Adelaide Activist Centre. About 30 people attended.

The film screening was jointly hosted by the Socialist Alliance and the Femment Feminist Collective. It was followed by a discussion on the politics of Slutwalk and the future of feminism.

From the discussion the South Australian Feminist Collective (SAFC) was founded. All in attendance joined the contact list.

SlutWalk has become a global phenomenon since Canadian policeman Constable Michael Sanguinett told a campus safety meeting “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised”.

Big SlutWalk rallies have retaliated against this victim-blaming that police, courts, and governments perpetuate.

People have protested in Canada, Mexico, London, Amsterdam, the US, London and Australia. Homemade placards denouncing sexual violence, supporting consensual sex and rejecting victim blaming were displayed at all the rallies.

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

Pages

Subscribe to women's liberation