Australian IWD projects; second highest in the world.

March 8th, 2007

The International Women’s Day website has a feature where you can search events that celebrate women, by country. The UK has 130, the US has 63 and Australia is advertising 108 events. Here are just five:

Time: 07:00am – 09:00am
Event: Brisbane IWD UNIFEM Breakfast
About: Our Guest Speaker is Malalai Joya, a 28 year old Parliamentarian from Afghanistan. This event will support violence against women projects in the Pacific Region. Cost: $45, concession $35.
Venue: Brisbane Convention Exhibition Centre, South Brisbane, 4101
Organisation: UNIFEM: The women’s fund at the United Nations. It provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programs and strategies to foster women’s empowerment and gender equality. Placing the advancement of women’s human rights at the centre of all of its efforts, UNIFEM focuses its activities on four strategic areas: (1) reducing feminised poverty, (2) ending violence against women, (3) reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS among women and girls, and (4) achieving gender equality in democratic governance in times of peace as well as war.

Time: 09:00am – 15:30pm
Event: Women’s Business – It’s our Business
About: A celebration of International Women’s Day within an Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander perspective. Working towards healthier women in our Indigenous community which acknowledges mind, body and spirit.
Venue: Millwell Road, Maroochydore
Organisation: Indigenous Health Program: Aims to increase the number of research projects developed in partnership with the aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people and to increase the number of aboriginal and Torres Strait islander postgraduate students and researchers working on these projects.

Time: 20:00 – 22:00, 8 & 9 March production
Event: The Vagina Monologues
About: Bathurst Action Against Sexual Assault, Bathurst Theatre Company and Central West Women’s Health Centre present Eve Ensler’s award winning play, The Vagina Monologues. For tickets and information call 6333 6161.
Venue: Bathurst Memorial Entertainement Centre, William Street, Bathurst, NSW, 2795
Organisation: BAASA, Bathurst Theatre Company and CWWHC: All proceeds to local services to help end violence against women and girls.

Time: 10:00am
Event: WWILDS IWD 2007 Picnic Brunch
About: A Picnic to celebrate IWD, meet at Roma Street parklands by the lake near the Allee Bridge Lookout
Venue: Roma Street Parklands, 1 Parkland Boulevard, Brisbane, Queensland, 4000
Organisation: WWild: A Sexual Violence Prevention Service is a feminist organisation which recognises women’s position in society. We are a service that works alongside Women with Intellectual and Learning Disabilities in the area of Sexual Violence Prevention.

Time: 10:00am – 18:00pm
Event: International Women’s Day
About: The microphone is open to all women all day. At Ceremony of water & flowers for the women who have died. Including victims of war. Federal politics. The effect of being abused by clergy. State & Religion effect on women, the challenge today. Financial security for older women etc.,
Venue: 3 Lyons Street., Rye, Victoria, 3941
Organisation: Women’s Resource Centre: Celebrating our 25th anniversary. Feminist organisation. Financially independent.

Now perhaps Australian women do organise more events that every other country other than the UK,
OR, Australian women enjoy greater computer and internet access and skill,
OR, Australian women naturally gather and celebrate and this is one of the many ways they do it,
OR, Australian women are financially more independent and have more disposable income,
OR, Australian women are surrounded by more sympathetic and supportive men,
OR, Australian women think and act more globally,

We are just feisty, formidable, phabulous, feminists, and women such as us, occupy a greater proportion of the Australian population.

Today we celebrate.
Tomorrow we will continue to change the world!

Update: Still such a long way to go, when a girl can’t speak of her own body parts without punishment.


Image from here

Gleefully celebrating a powerful woman

February 26th, 2007

As news of the ABC’s former journalist Maxine McKew running against HoWARd in his seat of Bennelong filtered through the media I became very excited. At the very least, I thought that this should help to make the time between now and the federal election very interesting.

Upon further reflection, I realised what was invigorating to me. It is what Maxine represents. She’s an intelligent, powerful and formidable woman. I am hopeful that it is this woman who unnerves and perhaps finally unseats, the equally intelligent, powerful and formidable John HoWARd.

It’s a delight for me to see the PM visibly rattled. That it has been done by a presence of a powerful woman is just so delicious. It is so satisfying as HoWARd is as dismissive of women and their potential as he is of all minority groups and a minority group is how he sees women.

In responding to questions about Maxine’s new career, the PM did not display his usual dismissive, paternalistic tone and looked genuinely uncomfortable in discussing future campaigning against Ms Maxine McKew.

I’m sure HoWARd’s advisers have already abandoned a ‘dirtytricks’ campaign against what the ABC has dubbed the Max Factor, as she will have more than enough dirt on this current lot of dirty politicians to provide her with immunity.

This should be interesting and will keep me grinning during the times that HoWARd is particularly insufferable.


Image from here

Mrs Peter Debnam (WHO?) wins wet t-shirt competition

January 20th, 2007

Today about a dozen protesters held up placards and shouted out during a press conference given by Mr Debnam at Nepean Hospital in Penrith. Mr Debnam later said the protesters had pushed Mrs Debnam, Opposition health spokeswoman Jillian Skinner and Liberal Penrith candidate Tricia Hitchen out of the way. It seems that NSW opposition leader Mr Peter Debnam (WHO?) has not come to grips with what is involved in being a public figure, the rights of peaceful protesters in a democracy, what to expect when voters are unhappy at threatened job-cuts, what constitutes manhandling and that expecting special treatment of his wife, or women in general, is not only naive, but patronising.

He said wet paint from a protest placard had marked his wife’s t-shirt when she was pushed.

“Morris you can send your union thugs to follow me around the state during the entire election campaign – I’ve got no problems with that, I won’t be intimidated by them – but you make sure your Labor thugs stay away from my wife and stay away from my team, especially the female members of my team.”Peter Debnam

Reporters at the press conference said they did not observe the protesters pushing anyone.

Newsflash Debnam. Paternalism occupies a redundant timeline. Women can and will defend themselves. Women can and will be assertive and demand their place. Women do not need you to protect them purely because of their gender and your perception of what that entails.

I’m not expecting any women in the NSW opposition to be seen as much more than fluff by WHO?


Wo! Magazine’s Kathy Fox meets Suki Lombard…

December 16th, 2006

Recently, Kathy Fox interviewed me and my perspective on feminist blogging.
Check out the Wo! Magazine site and I highly recommend browsing the back issues.

Suki Lombard of ‘Suki has an Opinion’ says: “Blogging gives me the widest possible audience, enormous flexibility and a 21st century place to house my feminism. It’s a matter of convenience and time management.”

“Gender will not define interesting,” says Lombard who posts on topical issues and encourages feminists wanting to promote their blogs to “Write well. Be a crowd of one. Celebrate your uniqueness.” To promote the feminist blogosphere, Lombard recommends the monthly Carnival of Feminists. The online ‘carnival’ showcases the finest international feminist ideas and writing, while networking through cross-linkage of blog posts and different bloggers.

“This is great way to distill international feminist blogging,” says Lombard. “Perhaps that’s the point of the internet, there are no boundaries.”


Image from here

P-Go…the new Pru Goward

October 4th, 2006

It was 1984 when my mother excitedly announced to her young, naive daughter that she no longer has to tolerate her boss hovering way too close behind her at the filing cabinet, in the lift or at her desk. It seemed my mother and many women like her were very pleased that legislation was finally in place that protected her from unwanted sexual attention.

That decision created a major shift in the way in which women in particular, have been protected from sexual harassment in the workplace. The legislation also provided for Ms Pam O’Neill to be appointed the first Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner (FSDC). The FDSC utilises the The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 which gives effect to Australia’s obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and certain aspects of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 156.

“Its [the FSDC] major objectives are to promote equality between men and women, eliminate discrimination on the basis of sex, marital status or pregnancy and, with respect to dismissals, family responsibilities, and eliminate sexual harassment at work, in educational institutions, in the provision of goods and services, in the provision of accommodation and the delivery of Commonwealth programs.” HREOC

Pru Goward is the sixth FSDC. She has a secondary role of Commissioner Responsible for Age Discrimination (CRAD) following the introduction of the Age Discrimination Act in 2004. In this role Pru undertakes educational activities to promote the law which aims to reduce barriers faced by younger and mature age people in public areas of life including employment.

Our current FSDC/CRAD is now the Liberal candidate for Goulburn, NSW. Since that time her previous statements that showed her to be critical of WorkChoices legislation for the group of people she used to represent have been toned down to be significantly less critical and I can’t believe that we put up with this. How do we tolerate this when women of all ages (who represent a large proportion of casual and part-time workers) and the younger and older workers are the most vulnerable and disadvantaged under the WorkChoices legislation.

Pru’s position has moved from this

“the spread of AWAs will inevitably mean that the present system of employer funded paid maternity leave will disappear. This is because employer provided paid maternity leave, in the absence of a national government funded scheme, has been provided by Australian employers as part of negotiated enterprise agreements or, less often, as part of awards. This will not be possible where there are not collective agreements, which explains why so few AWAs have paid maternity leave. Either the government will need to replace employer funded paid leave with a national government funded scheme or we will be back in the nightmare of low fertility and or of women dropping out of the work force at a time when the country needs them most. HREOC’s chief concerns about the [WorkChoices] bill relate to its impact on the protection of workers with family responsibilities, on pay equity between men and women and on the protection of employees in vulnerable and lower skilled positions in the Australian labour market.”

to this

“My concerns had not been supported by any evidence. I did have concerns, but I also have always argued that greater flexibility in working arrangements is what has enabled more women to work. The big take-off in female participation rates in Australia was the early 1990s, when part-time work became widely available. In other words, workplace flexibilities are good for job creation and women particularly have taken advantage of them.”

Pru has offered to quit her role as FSDC/CRAD, however it seems that she is not required to. I disagree. I don’t believe she can rebuild her credibility to any point of relevance after what can only be seen as a shameless, unprincipled, mercenary bid for the advancement of her own political career.

P-Go…Principles Gone!