The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

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Feminism Has Failed, not really, however, it will be debated tomorrow night

Posted by Rhiana Whitson on September 21, 2010

Don’t miss this event!

Tomorrow night! 6.30pm!

Feminism Has Failed

part of the Wheeler Centre’s Intelligence Squared debate series…

Featuring:

Author of The Feminist Denial Monica Dux, ABC journo Jennifer Byrne, journo Gay Alcorn and a few guys also…

I’ve gotta run, however, here’s what the Wheeler Centre has to say about tomorrow nights event…

After generations of effort, women still bear a disproportionate burden of domestic labour. Women are under-represented in the senior ranks of politics, business and the professions.

Women continue to be denied equal pay for equal work.

Perhaps more troubling still is the fact that the basic structures of power and influence bear the cultural marks of masculinity. In all significant ways, it remains a man’s world.

However, it could be argued that If feminism has failed, then it is because it has failed to mobilise women and that female acquiescence rather than male determination has preserved the status quo.

Or should feminists be celebrating a deeper victory in which a new generation of young men and women take equality for granted thanks to feminists who ushered in a deeper concern for justice – irrespective of gender?

Want more info? Check our Clem’s great interview with Monica Dux and Zora Simic posted here on TDC way back in 2008…

When?

Tomorrow night 6.30 – 8.30pm

Where?

Melbourne Town Hall

90-120 Swanston Street
Melbourne
Victoria 3000

Tix are  $20 full and $12 conc.

and are available online

Posted in Dawn Chorus Library, Interviews, Politics, reproductive rights, sex, Uncategorized, women we love, Women's Health | 2 Comments »

The Twenty-Eighth Down Under Feminists Carnival

Posted by caitlinate on September 4, 2010

Oh my gawd, hi everyone. So this is the first time I’ve done a blog carnival and I put my hand up for it 6 months ago not realising that this was going to be like the busiest two or three weeks I would be having all year. So! There is no theme and things might be organised a little incoherently but I hope I’ve done a good job and you like…

WELCOME to the 28th Down Under Feminists Carnival!

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Announcements, Blog Watch, body image, domestic violence, Family, glbt, Interviews, law, Media Watch, music, Politics, porn, Relationships, reproductive rights, sex, Trans, violence against women, women we love, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

Women we love: Emily Maguire

Posted by Nic Heath on August 20, 2010

Writer and feminist Emily Maguire is the author of Princesses & Pornstars (2008), reworked for a young adult audience as Your Skirt’s Too Short: Sex, Power & Choice (2010), as well as novels Smoke in the Room (2009), The Gospel According to Luke (2006) and Taming the Beast (2004).

One of the most prominent feminist voices in the Australian media landscape today, Emily has written articles and essays on sex, religion and culture that have been published in newspapers and journals including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Financial Review, The Age, The Monthly and the Observer.

In an interview on Radio National’s Book Show recently I heard Emily say that despite people regularly decrying the death of feminism, she thought it was doing really well. ‘I think the issue is that feminism doesn’t look like it used to look,’ she said. ‘It’s everywhere…there isn’t one monolithic movement’. Interest piqued, I wanted to hear more about her feminism, so I asked Emily about her fiction, writing for a young audience and of course, about the healthy state of feminism today.

 ***

How and when did you become a feminist?

My feminism emerged over a period of a decade or more. As a teenager I thought feminism was great, but over. By my early twenties I’d realised that our society was soaking in sexism and misogyny and I began to search for answers as to why that was so. Feminist writers helped me to understand why things were they way they were and gave me ideas about what I could do about them. I suppose I started to call myself a feminist in my mid-twenties.

I became an active feminist – meaning I began to speak and write about it – when I realised that I wasn’t the only one to have reached adulthood without being exposed to feminist ideas. So many people in the generation above mine (as well as those of my generation lucky enough to have been schooled in feminism at uni or home) think that it’s all been said, but there are many of us who more or less missed the 2nd and 3rd waves. Ideas and ways of thinking that some think of as elemental or tired are brand new and exciting to many others.

You’ve written three fiction books, with the latest, Smoke in the Room, published in October last year. Do you consciously work feminist themes into your fiction?

No. I am very wary of infecting my characters with my political views or of writing fiction with a ‘message’ in mind. However, I think that noticing is key to writing fiction; what a particular novelist notices about the world around them will inevitably make it into their fiction. So of course the way I view the world is coloured by my feminism (among other things) and my writing is influenced by the things I notice and the way I think about those things. Some people might call the creation of complicated, flawed, vibrant female characters feminist; I call it realistic.

What motivated the decision to publish Your Skirt’s Too Short, a revised young adult edition of your non-fiction work Princesses and Pornstars? What changes did you make to the original text?

I originally wrote Princesses and Pornstars out of frustration. I was sick of seeing and hearing sexism and antiquated gender stereotypes day after day, while at the same time hearing that we’re a post-feminist society and sexism is no longer a problem.

I also was terribly sick of the way teenage girls and young women were being constantly berated and shamed by media hype over ‘raunch culture’ and I was annoyed that many of those who claimed to be on the side of young people, who claimed to want to empower girls, were themselves perpetuating gender stereotypes, telling girls they’re princesses and talking about them like they’re delicate flowers who must be kept pure and protected.

My objective was to tackle the gender-coloured issues facing young people – porn, raunch, sex, romance, body image – in a non-academic way, a way that engaged with the culture that young people are immersed in rather than looked down on it. I also thought it was important to write the book through a personal lens, because I didn’t want to be placing myself above it all, speaking as an authority. I wanted to be speaking as someone who is still/or has in the past struggled with all this stuff.

After Princesses and Pornstars was released I started to hear from a lot of readers who were quite a bit younger than the audience I’d imagined when I was writing the book. In light of this, I – and my publisher – decided that a revised edition, especially for those teens was worth doing. So Your Skirt’s Too Short was born.

Some of the changes are simple updates – we’ve had a change of government since P&P was released and so I needed to update most of the information on legislation and policy. I also updated a lot of the pop culture references not only to be more current, but to be more relevant to younger teens rather than women in their early 20s. The tone is different in some places, too: I’m speaking to teenagers rather than about them. There’s also a new section on ‘sexting’ and a chapter about bitching, bullying and the idea that women are our own worst enemies (which is something I hear a lot).

In September you are appearing on a Melbourne Writer’s Festival panel looking at four feminist classics – A Room of One’s Own, The Second Sex, The Female Eunuch and The Beauty Myth. What do these books mean to you?

The Beauty Myth  blew my body-hating, self-loathing teenage mind. It had genuinely never occurred to me that anything other than vanity was behind the beauty rituals and obsessions of every woman and girl I knew.  A Room of One’s Own was incredibly important to me. I used to think I couldn’t be a writer because I was a high-school drop out with no contacts and no clue about how the literary world worked. I thought there was a correct way to go about it and if I didn’t know it I couldn’t do it. Woolf inspired me to ‘write all kinds of books hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast,’ and to ‘dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream.’ I didn’t read The Female Eunuch until a few years ago. I was delighted that a book I’d expected to be dry and academic was so chaotic and emotional. It inspired me to be braver in my writing.

Australia is in the midst of a federal election campaign that has been fixated on gender, without too much discussion of policy. What do you think are the big issues affecting women that we should be talking about in this election campaign?

Pay equity is a big issue as, depressingly, Australia is going backwards on this. Paid parental leave and access to quality, affordable child care continue to be important. We should also be talking a lot more about the poverty suffered by older women who don’t have sufficient superannuation or retirement funds to live on thanks to all those years spent in unpaid caring work.

Of course, these are only the explicitly gender-related issues. Women make up half of the population and are responsible for a great deal of the care of another huge proportion of the population. It’s hard to think of a policy area that does not affect the lives of women.

What are your greatest concerns for young women today? What do you think feminism can offer them?

My concerns vary depending on the particular young women we’re talking about. Even if I limit my answer to concerns for young women in Australia, there’s no one answer. Domestic and sexual violence, lack of educational opportunities, inadequate access to healthcare (including reproductive healthcare), workplace harassment or discrimination – I could go on and each concern I mentioned would be relevant to some young women and not at all to others because gender injustice and inequity are compounded by other inequities and because sexism has many different manifestations.

I think of feminism as a super-flexible, multi-function tool. Whether you’re concerned about pay inequality or reproductive rights or domestic violence or one of a thousand other issues, there’s this amazing body of work created by feminist academics, writers and activists that can help explain the causes of the problem and suggest ways to solve it.

Looking at raunch culture, what needs to change to counter its spread?

I think the term ‘raunch culture’ has been misused and abused so much that it’s become almost meaningless. I mean, I’ve seen it used in relation to everything from children’s beauty pageants to footballer’s gang-bangs. If you’re using it in it’s original sense – as coined and defined by way Ariel Levy in Female Chauvinist Pigs  –  then I think its spread has already been countered, in large part thanks to the conversation begun by that book. Really, if you take a look at media and social commentary over the past decade you’ll see that, increasingly, overtly sexual women (whether that overt sexuality is authentic or faked) are far more likely to be shamed and stigmatised than celebrated.

In an interview on The Book Show on Radio National recently you spoke of how healthy feminism is today, despite detractors claiming otherwise. What signs of health do you see?

Well, to start right here, the feminist blogosphere is populated by a wonderfully diverse, argumentative, generous, creative, activist and ever-increasing number of feminists. Then there are the thousands of people who buy and discuss (in real world or online discussion groups) any one of the many popular feminist books that have been published in the past few years. (Just off the top of my head: Female Chauvinist Pigs, King Kong Theory by Virginie Despentes, The Feminist Denial by Monica Dux and Zora Simic, Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti, Living Dolls by Natasha Walter, Bodies by Susie Orbach.)

Then there are all the feminist women and men working in the community, in social services, in academia, in politics and in the corporate world. (The anti-feminists’ nightmare has come true – feminists really are everywhere!) Many of these feminists were in attendance at this year’s F Conference in Sydney which was a sold out event. Over 400 feminists from every walk of life spent a weekend engaging in discussions and workshops on everything from indigenous women’s knowledge to sex work.

What writing projects are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a new novel. Right now, it’s a glorious, shining, amorphous thing that I adore but can’t describe. I may be able to talk about it once  I’m on to the third, fourth or fifteenth draft and no longer besotted.

***

Emily Maguire is set to revisit four classic feminist texts at Melbourne Writer’s Festival in From Woolf to Wolf, with Sophie Cunningham and Monica Dux, and hosted by Jo Case.

You can also catch Emily at MWF discussing young people and the media with SBS’s James West and editor of The Monthly Ben Naperstek.

Check here for dates and tickets.

Posted in Books, events, women we love | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Julia Gillard Is Australia’s New Prime Minister

Posted by Clem Bastow on June 24, 2010

We’ll write more once the fallout from the spill has settled and we’ve had time to gather our thoughts, but – regardless of how it happened – Australia now has its first female Prime Minister. From The Age:

Julia Gillard has become Australia’s first female prime minister after Kevin Rudd stood aside at the last minute before this morning’s historic leadership ballot.

Ms Gillard was unelected unopposed, making her the nation’s 27th prime minister and its first female leader. She has chosen Treasurer Wayne Swan to be her Deputy Prime Minister.

Ms Gillard had the numbers – reportedly 74 of the 112 caucus votes – and the majority support of the party.

Yes, it would be nice – in an ideal world – for our first female Prime Minister to have been voted in by the public rather than a secretive party ballot, but Kevin Rudd has ended up a disappointment (not to mention certain election promises, like same-sex marriage, that evaporated completely) while Gillard has worked hard behind the scenes and will no doubt reinvigorate the party and government.

But quietly, we’re thrilled and moved that our first female PM will be sworn in by our first female Governor General, no matter how it happened.

Posted in Announcements, Media Watch, Politics, women we love | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Women We Love: Judith Wright

Posted by Nic Heath on June 3, 2010

“I wither and you break from me;
yet though you dance in living light
I am the earth, I am the root,
I am the stem that fed the fruit,
the link that joins you to the night.”

From ‘Woman to Child’ (1949), by Judith Wright

Judith Wright (1915-2000) was an acclaimed Australian poet also known for her environmental activism and as a campaigner for Aboriginal rights. I recently read Wright’s memoir Half A Lifetime and was captivated by her independence and the determination of her younger self to forge her own way.

Wright was born in Armidale in 1915. She attended New England Girl’s School and later studied at Sydney University. Wright left Sydney and spent the middle years of the Second World War in NewEngland before moving to Brisbane in 1943 where she found work at the University of Queensland. In 1946 Wright’s first book of poetry, The Moving Image, was published. In 1950 Wright moved to Mount Tambourine with her future husband Jack McKinney, and that same year Wright gave birth to their daughter Meredith. Jack McKinney died in 1966 and Wright lived in Braidwood, NSW until her death in 2000.

Wright was born 95 years ago on May 31, and to mark the day I have asked Sydney University’s Dr Brigid Rooney to answer a few questions about the legacy of this remarkable, unconventional poet, and particularly about Judith Wright’s relevance to women today.

What was remarkable about Judith Wright?

Judith Wright was remarkable, first and foremost, for the brilliance of her poetry – publication of her first two volumes, The Moving Image (1946) and Woman to Man (1949), met with almost instant acclaim, and many Australians (of various generations) encountered several striking poems from these early works when we were at school – such as ‘South of My Days’ (1945) and ‘Woman to Man’ (1946). She continued to produce remarkable poetry beyond these first collections, but they are perhaps less widely known, although increasingly some of the later poems and collections have become iconic for environmentalists and Indigenous groups – such as ‘Eroded Hills’ (1951), ‘At Cooloolah’ (1954) and ‘Two Dreamtimes’ (1973). Indeed her collection, The Two Fires (1955), was inspiration for a festival of arts and activism (established in 2005) in the NSW town of Braidwood where Wright lived during the last decades of her life. But she also offered an example of someone for whom the values relayed in her poetry seemed to fuse entirely with the choices and commitments she made in both her personal and her public life. She became a tireless campaigner for Indigenous and environmental causes, and – although she worked largely behind the scenes, writing letters, administering committees, lobbying politicians and so on – hers was also an influential voice for these causes in Australian public life, partly by virtue of the respect and admiration engendered by her poetry. Her poetry and public roles were reciprocal and mutually reinforcing.

What does Wright’s poetry offer a feminist analysis? What are the feminist themes that run through Wright’s work?

Some of my answer to this is contained in my response to your last question. I have many favourites among her poems. Wright’s poetry offers a powerful exploration of experiences that pertain particularly to the female body and female-oriented experiences of ‘time’ and of life cycles – of death and birth, of pregnancy, and desire, and the interconnections and rhythms of these processes or states. Her very acute observation of the natural world – of the land, of its plants and animals, its birdlife, of the seasons and the elements – is often mediated by this gendered experience. She moves from enclosed, intense, private and individual experiences, through symbolism, outwards toward that which touches the universal human condition. Her voice is captivating, magnetic, yet her versifying is often quite traditional, looking back to her favourite poetic models – the Romantics in particular, like Blake, Keats and Shelley, yet also to some of the modernists, like Yeats and Eliot. These male literary progenitors provided a poetic framework, but what she does with this framework is to convert and transform it to express a woman’s experience. Later she experimented with other poetic forms, from other cultures, from Japan and elsewhere, and they sit alongside these Anglo, often patriarchal models, quietly interrogating a world that operates too rationally and mechanistically to divide body from spirit, human from nature, and so on. From a feminist point of view, Wright’s work is both productive and ambivalent, an occasion for reflecting on the relationship – or tension – between traditional poetic forms or modes and her distinctive qualities of voice, imagery and thought.

What was the relationship between Wright and second wave feminism?

In summary, Wright was a very sympathetic supporter of feminism, and spoke from her position as a woman and as a feminist sympathiser. She did not become deeply or personally involved in activist forms of feminist campaigning. She was much in demand as a speaker, however, at literary and other public events, and she canvassed her views on the topic of women and writing, for example, at an Australian Society of Women Writers’ Biennial Conference in 1980.
 
In Half a Lifetime, Wright relates her bitterness at realising the different destinies open to boys and girls and yet as an adult she devoted herself to environmental and indigenous causes, particularly after she stopped writing poetry. Do you have any idea why she didn’t invest herself in the feminist movement?

This is a tough one and my thoughts on this come from my overall impression of Wright’s life choices and her writing. I think that her lesser engagement with feminism, despite her obvious sympathy with feminist goals, was partly to do with her generational position and experience, and partly to do with her own personality, inclinations and orientation towards others. Wright was a fiercely independent and strong-minded woman, yet in some ways typical of a generation of Australian women (if not also of other white, middle class women in other first world nations) whose careers fell between the two public surges of activism associated with first and second wave feminism. For this generation, youth and maturity encompassed two world wars and the Depression, and they had to negotiate separately and individually the complexities these circumstances brought for women around social destiny and career path. Judith Wright, as the fifth generation descendant of a white pioneering family, however, was also born into a privileged landed class. This circumstance imbued her with a double sense, of closeness to the land, and an increasingly acute awareness of the illegitimacy of white belonging, its basis in the historic dispossession of Aboriginal people. So care for the land and redressing the wrongs done to Aboriginal people were understandably her sustained and driving commitments and top priorities.

I also think that, for Wright, a more vigorously activist approach to feminism would not have been completely congenial, in personal and emotional terms. She was dutiful towards and bonded with a number of men in her life, yet also perfectly capable of standing up for herself and for her views. It seems to me that, in the earlier part of her life at least, she enjoyed loving connections with often mature, older men, either within her own family (father and brothers), or role models and life partners. She had deep, loving and lifelong friendships with a number of women of course, including her daughter, Meredith. Her first life partner and later husband, Jack McKinney, a World War One veteran and self-taught philosopher, was very much her senior in age. His philosophical orientation and passion attracted her. She took on and championed his in some ways eccentric intellectual endeavours, and his ideas entered her poetry. Her poems engage seriously and deeply with McKinney’s ideas, giving them a life and longevity that they might not otherwise have achieved on their own. It is clear from their letters that Judith and Jack enjoyed a profoundly loving relationship. After his death, and at a time when she had assumed both governmental and activist roles in the areas you mention, she developed another very close relationship and intellectual partnership with one of Australia’s most senior and influential public servants, H. C. ‘Nugget’ Coombs – knowledge of their relationship was long confined to themselves and a small inner circle but more recently, belatedly, has been revealed in the public domain. None of this ever precluded Wright’s interest in and sympathy for feminism, but I think that these orientations and positions militated against her making a very strong investment in the feminist movement as such.

What is her legacy to Australian women today?

I think Wright’s poetry, which conveys a woman’s perspective without being ‘feminine’ in a simple, domesticated sense, is perhaps her greatest legacy. It’s a legacy made more powerful and resonant through the energy with which she also contributed to and advanced those twin public causes – of caring for the environment and dealing with the ongoing impact of Australia’s colonial past and present. Her poetry – not just her miraculous early poetry but right through to the work of her maturity and older age – conveys the wisdom and experience of life, of birth, of love, and of the self in dialogue with the other. It possesses extraordinary lyrical power, a vivid clarity and an emotional truth that surely means it will continue to be loved by women (and by men), young and old, for a long time to come. Wright’s poetry is a legacy for all, but I suspect it holds a particular power for women. She has inspired innumerable younger women – especially poets and others – through her writing and her activism. I think women often pass their appreciation of Wright on to other women, to their daughters, and even to their sons. Inseparable from this legacy is the evidence of her active commitment to making the world a better place for both women and men, and for present and future generations. At times she expressed pessimism, in the face of the threats to humanity and to the natural world that she apprehended all around, and in some of her thinking in these areas she was ahead of her time. But her response to these threats was not to withdraw, but to engage and act, and this example might also be her legacy.

Brigid Rooney
27 May 2010

Many thanks to Dr Brigid Rooney for both her time and her wonderful response.

Posted in Interviews, women we love | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Women We Love: Rachel Power

Posted by hannahcolman on May 14, 2009

Rachel Power with Griffin and Freya

Rachel Power with Griffin and Freya

Melbourne-based writer and editor Rachel Power has had her finger in an assortment of pies over the years – she’s worked as a court artist for television news, designed album covers and taught life-drawing. And she’s done plenty of writing – as a freelance journalist, a biographer (she wrote Alison Rehfisch: A Life for Art), a contributor to The Age Cheap Eats Guide, and as chief reporter for the Australian Education Union Newsletter. She’s certainly come a long way from her cadetship at The Canberra Times, where she spent a lot of time trying to draw coherent answers from teenage guitarists for her column Band Scene.

In August last year, Red Dog Books published Rachel’s second book, The Divided Heart: Art and Motherhood – a collection of interviews with Australian artists including singer Clare Bowditch, expat actress Rachel Griffiths, filmmaker Sarah Watt and author Nicki Gemmell. In the book, Rachel asks these women about their choice to have children and the ramifications of motherhood for their art. Rachel’s journalistic aptitude is apparent as she teases out her subjects’ unflinchingly honest opinions on the delicate balance between art and motherhood. The Divided Heart is book ended with Rachel’s own experiences – she shares with us the strains of cosseting her creative instinct while being mother to Freya, 4 and Griffin, 7.

Here, she chats with The Dawn Chorus about the artist/mother dichotomy, the debate about the inherent inequalities between men and women, and the likelihood of her domestically-themed reincarnation.

* * *

The Dawn Chorus: How long did it take to write The Divided Heart?

Rachel Power: I think about four years.

TDC: There’s a huge amount of work in it…

RP: That was in no way four years full-time! I mean… I might have written two or three nights a week, largely between 10pm and 1am. And I had [Freya] during that time, so there would have been whole months when I wasn’t doing anything at all. And also I spent a good year trying to get it published.

TDC: At what point in the process of writing the book did you actually start looking for a publisher?

RP: I think I’d done a selection of interviews – maybe five – before I had a publisher. Because I wanted to get a good sample of interviews together, and have a clear idea of what I was doing. And I already had two arts grants to do it as well. And I got a fellowship from Varuna, the writers’ house, so I felt like there was interest in the idea. Every time I approached a woman and asked her if I could do an interview on that theme, I’d get these ‘Thank God!’ reactions… you know… ‘I’ve never had the scope for talking about this before!’ And I realised it was really meaningful to these women, it was a huge question in their lives, how they were going be both [artist and mother], and the implications of children for their career and vice versa. So it was no small theme and I think it’s got all sorts of implications for the nature of art and the nature of women’s lives and the choices that women are forced to make. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in art, Celebrity, Dawn Chorus Library, Family, Interviews, Parenting & Family, women we love | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Helen Clark’s New Job

Posted by caitlinate on April 2, 2009

Yesterday, Helen Clark was confirmed as the new administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This is generally regarded as the third most senior role within the UN. The UNDP is overseen by a committee consisting of the heads of all the UN funds, programmes and departments – the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) – and Clark is now the chairperson of this group.

In case you didn’t know, Helen Clark is the ex-Prime Minister of New Zealand (voted out of office last year after three terms). Although this isn’t a post about the success of an Australian woman I think a bit of regional focus never goes astray, particularly when we’re talking about someone who has done some pretty amazing things. Clark may have her faults and whilst I am critical of some of the policies and practices of the Clark government (such as those to do with Maori issues), I still have some pretty heavy duty respect for her.

Under her watch progressive laws in relation to Civil Unions were enacted (Clark thinks “legal marriage is unnecessary”), paid parental leave was introduced, as was the Property (Relationships) Act, giving rights to defacto couples, not just those in state recognised unions or marriages. The Education Act was amended to make sex education compulsory and involve content that dealt with homosexuality. Prostitution was decriminalised forcing police ‘best practices’ to change from registration and prosecution to protection and allowing sex workers to operate under regulated employment and health and safety standards – all whilst maintaining a distinction between voluntary and involuntary prostitution! New Zealand is internationall recognised as having one of the best systems in relation to prostitution laws (though I still personally champion the Swedish version over all others).

Even way back in 1989 Clark was busy, successfully introducing a legal amendment enabling female minors to have abortions with full confidentiality and without parental consent. The following year she achieved the repeal of the law forbidding access and instruction in contraceptives to under 16s. She is publicly quoted as saying:

“I’ve always believed that in the end it is a woman’s right, in line with her own conscience, to determine whether or not she has an abortion and you know that’s the view I will hold until I go to the grave.”

How often do we hear that in mainstream Australian politics??!?!

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Politics, women we love | 4 Comments »

100 Years of Victorian Women Voting

Posted by mscate on March 26, 2009

BOOK LAUNCH and PARTY

‘Women Working Together: Suffrage and Onwards’ presented by Women’s Web

5.30 to 7.30

Tuesday 31st March

320 Latrobe Street Melbourne

This event celebrates 100 years from when the Adult Suffrage Act 1908 became law, and the date Victorian women could vote for the first time in State elections

Speakers:

-:- Judy Small, songster of ‘Mothers, Daughters, Wives’ fame,

-:- Zelda D’Aprano, who chained herself up to the Arbitration Court in 1969 to demonstrate our need for equal pay
-:- Moira Rayner, ‘feminist extraordinaire’, discussing the enemies of the Women’s Movement.

There will be Devonshire Tea and more. Join a room full of feminists celebrating 100 years of the Women’s Movement in Victoria – and how it keeps overcoming the forces that try to destroy it!. Will you be one of us? Let us know at Women’s Web so we know how many scones to bake!

Check out the website for a history lesson with a difference!

 www.womensweb.com.au

Posted in events, Politics, The Way We Were, Uncategorized, women we love | Leave a Comment »

Anna Bligh Becomes Australia’s First Elected Female Premier

Posted by Clem Bastow on March 22, 2009

A brief and celebratory note this morning: Anna Bligh has won the Queensland state election to become this country’s first ever elected female Premier!

She said that although the prospect of becoming the first elected female premier had not motivated her in the campaign, she was aware of the historical significance of her win.

“I grew up in a time when people regarded (Queensland) as backward,” she said. “Who would have thought we would be the first state in Australia to elect a female premier.”

Ms Bligh is a very inspiring woman – the Australian Story episode of last year, No Man’s Land, is well worth checking out for the details of her rise through student politics to the “big time”, as well as her passionate commitment to women’s rights and feminism. To have broken the drought, so to speak, and have Bligh the woman to claim this historic victory just makes it that little bit sweeter.

Posted in Media Watch, Politics, Weekend Love-In, women we love | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Challenges against Pink…

Posted by mscate on February 24, 2009

280I was excited to read about Pink Stinks, a campaign created by a couple of woman in the UK  which aims  aims to counteract the slurry of media obsession on women who are ‘famous’, ‘thin’ ‘rich’ or ‘married to famous men’, by celebrating those women that we see as inspirational, important, ground-breaking and motivating.

The campaign includes a media watch, websites for young women and their parents respectively and an extensive list of positive role models for young women across a diverse range of life areas (modelling and acting thankfully excluded).
PinkStinks posits a variety of stats which highlight he need for positive media role models for young women, in particular that

44% (of girls questioned) admit they can name more WAGS [wives and girlfriends of professional footballers] than female politicians.
Girlguides survey 2008 (I can’t remember the Guides ever doing surveys when I was involved, interesting…”

And also this charmer:


A poll of people under 25 found the Amy Winehouse was the ultimate Heroine, with Pete Doherty voted second most popular male hero.
Sky.com Poll

 It’s an encouraging effort and I’ll certainly keep reader’s posted.

Posted in Blog Watch, body image, Media Watch, Parenting & Family, Tuesday Morning Inspiration, Uncategorized, women we love | 4 Comments »

 
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