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Mixed news for feminist issues on IWD

  • 08 March 2019


While I agree with the sentiment that we shouldn't be focusing on women for just one day, International Women's Day is as good a day as any to take stock of where we actually are in terms of current feminist issues and how much we still need to accomplish.

In the plus column, one million Australians were able to take leave because of domestic violences clauses in the workplace contract. The MeToo movement is global and only getting more traction. Year 12 completion and early childhood education has improved for First Australians. Victoria will be the first state to ban SOCE, otherwise known as gay conversion.

But as much as there is progress to celebrate, to take a glance at the news is like a confirmation of our own worst fears about ourselves. Even with an increased social awareness of violence against women, there still seems to be no slowing down of women dying: according to Counting Dead Women, 11 women have already died from violence this year and 69 women died in 2018.

There is still on average one in three women experiencing physical or sexual violence in Australia; those numbers go up if you're queer, disabled and/or Aboriginal.

Each day seems to come with the news that another public figure or institution has abused their power with impunity. It's endemic and disturbing. Yet there are those who will always try to protect the perpetrators and cast doubt on the victims, as though it is somehow more likely that a victim would face the intense scrutiny of the court system or public opinion to lie, as opposed to confronting the reality that the perpetrator is guilty. The extent to which people will go to victim-blame shows how entrenched loyalty to those with institutional power still is.

For Aboriginal women, who experience the double discrimination of both race and gender, the most recent reiteration of the promise to 'close the gap' in February can only ring false when there still isn't a meaningful attempt to listen to the concerns of Aboriginal people.

And while ScoMo makes policies that are questionable in their practical benefits, Aboriginal children are still being taken away from their homes at disproportionate rates and Aboriginal women are the 'fastest growing' prison population.


"Writing this article feels like I'm chipping away at a never ending wall. Each word is painful and I don't feel like my words are really enough. But this IWD, I