Thursday, 30 May 2019

A Difficult Path Forward: Life Under the Coalition for Women


Last weekend, many of us watched in horror as Australia signed up for three more years under a Liberal Coalition government. The groups of people who will be negatively impacted by the continuation of this government's policies are numerous. They include refugees, people of colour, those who depend on a healthy environment (which would be most of us), and not least of all, women and other gender minorities.


On a micro scale, Liberal governance is poor for women's representation. The past three years have seen women’s representation in parliament take a major backslide, particularly within the Liberal government itself. The Liberals have recently seen a wave of high-profile women abandoning the party for greener pastures. In a shock resignation, Kelly O’Dwyer stepped down just prior to the election, citing the workplace was not conducive to life as a mother. Former foreign minister Julie Bishop also stepped down, ostensibly after being passed over during the Liberal leadership spill in favour of Scott Morrison. Finally, Julia Banks left the party to become an independent, after dealing with bullying from other (male) members of the Liberal Party, who she refused to directly name. What she did say, was even more damning. On an episode of Q&A, Ms. Banks said “it was an entrenched culture of anti-women within the Liberal Party which I had experienced since my preselection in 2015.”

Of the male MPs rumoured to be the source of the bullying during the leadership spill (Greg Hunt, Tony Abbott, and Peter Dutton), only Abbott faced any serious repercussions before, during or after the election. He lost his long-held seat of Warringah to Independent Zali Steggall. Dutton and Hunt retained their seats.

This treatment of women is not a good look for the coalition, in which there are more male MPs named Andrew than female MPs, full stop. Conversely, Labor campaigned on the promise that a Shorten-elected government would be gender-balanced with an equal number of male and female MPs. Now, with the coalition back in place, it seems we’ll be waiting on that statistic for some time.

Adding to what had already been a disappointing election was the coalition’s choice of a new leader in the face of Bill Shorten’s departure. The title went not to his Deputy Leader, Tanya Plibersek, as many had assumed it would, but instead to Anthony Albanese. The popular and well-respected Plibersek gave no official reason for bowing out of the race, save for the rather cryptic declaration “now is not my time.”

Plidersek’s statement brings to mind the familiar question: “if not me, who? If not now, when?” Australia has been facing this problem for twenty years now. The rest of the world is quickly outpacing us. For some perspective, in 1999, Australia ranked 15th globally in terms of female representation in parliament. In 2018, we ranked 50th. 2019 shows no sign of that downward trend improving anytime soon, with only a negligible rise in representation across the board.

On a macro scale, the election was bad news for Australian women in a myriad of ways. Inequality among the rich and poor continues to be a major issue in Australia, with single women over 55 now the fastest growing group of homeless and disadvantaged people in the country. Homeless women are forced to rely on the Newstart system largely due to the breakdown of relationships, domestic violence situations, unemployment, and underemployment in regional areas.

This system remains woefully underfunded, with those on the allowance made to survive on just $40 a day. The Australian Council of Social Service has advised a minimum additional allowance of just $10 a day. However, this pay hike has been flatly rejected by the Coalition, who insist the Newstart payment of $280 per week is adequate. This figure, which has barely budged for more than 25 years, has a variety of knock-on effects. They include a higher number of single mothers with children in poverty and more women staying in domestic violence situations, particularly in regional communities with lack of access to additional services.

Meanwhile, working mothers have little to look forward to under the Coalition, with childcare costs prohibiting many from returning to the workplace. Figures from this year suggest a woman typically faces a loss of 90% of her wage for each extra day she uses childcare. In many cases, women can wind up actually paying more to go to work than they would to stay home as primary carers. As a result, many women wind up staying out of work until their children are in school, resulting in a net loss in career advancement opportunities and increased financial dependence on their partners. It’s little wonder, then, that these women find themselves with no other option than the Newstart allowance if their relationships happen to break down.

Those who do manage to stay in work don’t get off easy either. The cuts to penalty rates disproportionately affect women, with the sectors impacted the most (retail and hospitality) staffed mainly by women. Women are also more likely to work part-time, often due to primary carer commitments. So, they will face a “double-barrelled effect”, according to economist Dr. Jim Stanford at The Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work. Dr. Stanford suggests, “Both of those factors contribute to the gap in earnings between men and women in the sector, and they confirm that the cut in penalty rates would have a focused impact on women's earnings.”

So, whether you’re an aspiring female politician, a woman in the workforce, a mother, or just a woman who cares about equal representation, life under the Coalition is set to become more difficult for the next three years. A reality which many, particularly the most disadvantaged among us, will struggle to endure.


By: Siri Williams 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of the Sydney Feminists. Our Blogger and Tumblr serve as platforms for a diverse array of women to put forth their ideas and explore topics. To learn more about the philosophy behind TSF’s Blogger/ Tumblr, please read our statement here: https://www.sydneyfeminists.org/a

Thursday, 23 May 2019

STEMinist - Brave


Try Googling women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). You will find articles upon articles about how and why women are underrepresented in STEM. You might also find some articles on female role models, statistics of women in various STEM fields and the rate at which they drop out of higher education, discrimination in the workplace, and so on. The next chapter of this discussion would logically be a conversation about encouraging little girls to pursue STEM fields.

Some people continue to argue that girls just aren’t interested in science and maths. This is a myth scientists have busted repeatedly. Statistics from various journal articles prove that girls and boys show equal interest in science and maths in elementary/primary school. Research also shows that girls’ performance in such subjects matches boys up until biases take over. Similar numbers dismiss the myth that girls are “bad at maths”. The most heartbreaking part of this myth pertains to the fact that most girls just don’t think they’re clever enough to pursue a STEM career.


Table 1: The reasons men and women in US colleges drop out of Calculus (Ellis, Fosdick and Rasmussen, 2016)

There are plenty of steps we can take at an early school level to ensure plenty of exposure and encouragement for girls to pursue STEM fields. We can combat stereotypes early, both at school and at home, to reduce chances of bias influencing budding STEM majors. We can encourage girls’ participation in special programs that focus on introducing them to STEM, such as Girls Who Code. We can provide more female role models and mentors for inspiration and guidance.

While these are all wonderful steps to take, they are incomplete without one additional important step: instilling courage in little girls.

There is a major deficit in what I call “failure training” in girls – something that boys are exposed to significantly more. Boys are encouraged to aim high, kick hard, put all their might into something knowing they may fall and hurt themselves. Girls, on the other hand, are taught to avoid taking risks. Boys eat dirt. Girls play with butterflies.

This basic difference in childhood attitudes towards life’s hurdles leaks into adulthood. It’s hard enough being the only girl in my physics class; do I have to raise my hand and make a fool of myself in front of all these boys who already think I’m less than them? Oh, I’ve been there. I was the type of little girl that cried at the first sight of blood and got sent home from karate class for being too “delicate” with my movements. But I changed abruptly when my dad forced me into community soccer in sixth grade. I had just moved to an American campus in Saudi Arabia and had to learn how to continue to be Indian in a time when only assimilation was acceptable. I was terrible at it, but sports significantly impacted my confidence level at a time when to be “different” meant to be brave.


Image 1: Me in my first soccer team at age 12

There are plenty of ways we can encourage little girls around us to be brave. An important step is allowing them to be imperfect. We can set an example by acknowledging our mistakes and failures and trying again. Let them do things themselves if they can instead of doing it for them. 

Another way to inspire braveness is to constantly expose girls to new hobbies and activities by participating in them too. This way, they learn to get out of their comfort zones and be okay with not knowing what they’re doing at first. I have found, even as an adult, that being around animals, playing sports, and learning to love being outdoors are three fantastic ways of learning courage and confidence.

Finally, teach girls that it is okay to think and do things differently. The examples my parents set when we moved to Saudi Arabia helped me stand up to people who proclaimed that I’d forget my mother tongue and lose my tolerance for spicy food within a year of being around Americanized kids. This part is the most important piece of the puzzle, especially for the coming generations that will someday grow up to close the gap in representation in STEM fields.

Marie Maynard Daly, the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry in the United States, aptly said, “Courage is a habit, a virtue … you learn courage by couraging.” Bravery is not intrinsic. We have to encourage our little girls to practice it in daily life. And this is only possible if we teach them how to fail, and then get up and try again. For now, it’s going to take a lot of courage to be one of the few women in classes and face discrimination and taboos in STEM fields on a daily basis. We have to let them get hurt early and help them see that scars are something to be proud of because they are a reminder of resilience.

Let your little girl be a princess if she wants to; princesses can be warriors too!



Image 2: Possibly the cutest princess warrior I could find on the internet

By: Shreyasi Mukerji



Source for the table:
Ellis, J., Fosdick, B. and Rasmussen, C. (2016). Women 1.5 Times More Likely to Leave STEM Pipeline after Calculus Compared to Men: Lack of Mathematical Confidence a Potential Culprit. PLOS One, [online] 11(7). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4943602/ [Accessed 21 May 2019].

For those who are interested in Girls Who Code:
https://girlswhocode.com/

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of the Sydney Feminists. Our Blogger and Tumblr serve as platforms for a diverse array of women to put forth their ideas and explore topics. To learn more about the philosophy behind TSF’s Blogger/ Tumblr, please read our statement here: https://www.sydneyfeminists.org/a

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Dorothy Hill: Australian Geologist




Scientist Dorothy Hill was was hugely influential in Australian geology. She was a crucial part in the first major studies of the Great Barrier Reef and was the first woman to become a professor at an Australian university. A lot of her work took place at the University of Queensland (UQ). The Engineering and Science Library there was named in her honour.



Hill was born on September 10th, 1907, to Robert Sampson Hill and Sarah Jane Kington. She was the third oldest of seven children and grew up near Brisbane. Hill excelled in school and had ambitions of becoming a medical researcher when she was older. Teachers noted her natural intelligence and drive. Brisbane Girls’ Grammar School, Hill was awarded the Phyllis Hobbs Memorial Prize for English and History.

As high school came to an end, Hill contemplated what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. The only medical degrees offered in Australia at the time were in Sydney and Melbourne. Her parents always supported her education, but there simply wasn’t enough money to send her to either city. Fortunately, Hill gained a scholarship at the University of Queensland and enrolled in a Chemistry degree.

However, Hill found Chemistry bland and instead gravitated towards Geology. A lot of her interest in the subject was largely thanks to an inspiring professor, H. C. Richards. The two clicked from the start, and Richards soon became Hill’s mentor. In 1928, Hill graduated with First Class Honours and a Gold Medal for Outstanding Merit. Her first published science paper was on coral formations in the Brisbane Valley. She spent a few days collecting samples near Mundubbera on horseback and roughing it in a tent.

Hill also had an interest in sport and competed in several competitions. She enjoyed athletics (with a special fondness for hurdles) and played hockey in university. Hill was even a member of the Queensland Women’s Hockey Team at one stage. Even in her later years, she was still passionate about sport and served as president for a variety of student sporting organisations.

After completing her undergrad at UQ, Hill won another scholarship and moved to the United Kingdom to undertake her post-graduate studies. She worked in the Geology department at the University of Cambridge. During her time there, Hill was successful in identifying and cataloguing many new coral species found in Scotland.

After seven years of living overseas, a position opened at UQ and, Hill returned to Australia. She balanced her time between teaching lectures, her own geological investigations, and other science work for the CSIRO (the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation). Hill was an integral part of the geology team at UQ, who all worked under Richards. She was meticulous and dedicated. In 1941, the annual report stated the entire department collected 2,157 specimens to Hill’s 1,002.

During World War II, Hill enlisted in the Woman’s Royal Australian Navy Service. She worked in cyphering and coding. Her training took place in Sydney and Adelaide. She eventually became a Third Officer and had many responsibilities in Operations. The Navy took up 80 to 90 hours of her week, but she continued her geology work where possible.




Archaeocyathids. Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeocyatha

In the late 1940s, Hill made some important discoveries about Archaeocyatha fossils (extinct sea ‘cups’) that were unearthed in Antarctica. Most of the early work on the fossils was carried out by Russian scientists, and she knew enough of the language to make her own conclusions.
Hill used techniques she had perfected from her coral work to create  3D images of the organisms. Over the years, she continued to be involved in Archaeocyatha findings. hill wrote many scientific papers on the creatures, including a detailed history volume that was published in 1972.

Hill was also a part of the Great Barrier Reef Committee, which carried out the first true scientific explorations of the reef. She generated interest in the venture and raised money for the project. From 1945-1955, Hill was the organisation’s secretary and helped establish the research outpost on Heron Island.

Between 1971 and 1972, Hill was President of the Professorial Board at the University of Queensland Q before retiring. For the next 15 years, though, she walked every day from her home to the university’s library to continue her work. Her daily walks kept her fit, and her kindness was famous throughout the campus. Hill died on April 23rd, 1997.

During her life, Hill published over 100 science papers. The Dorothy Hill Medal has been awarded to Australian female researchers in the Earth Sciences since 2002. The Research Vessel D Hill was named in her honour. In 2018, Google debuted a caricature of Hill on her birthday. Hill’s contributions to Australian geology, palaeontology and stratigraphy have been unparalleled by anyone else in the country’s history.





By: Matthew J. Healy

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of the Sydney Feminists. Our Blogger and Tumblr serve as platforms for a diverse array of women to put forth their ideas and explore topics. To learn more about the philosophy behind TSF’s Blogger/ Tumblr, please read our statement here: https://www.sydneyfeminists.org/a



Thursday, 9 May 2019

Why I Love Divorce (and You Should, Too)


Before anyone assumes I’m a man-loathing, unromantic based on what I thought was a mildly amusing title, I would like to preface this piece by stating I do hope to be married someday. One day, I want to look at someone and think “gee, I could wake up next to you forever”. It’s not even a question. I’m a hopeless romantic at heart, and I look forward to finding the man or woman I get to make happy (and sometimes miserable) for the rest of my life. This article has nothing to do with hating marriage, and everything to do with recognising divorce as an important component of women’s liberation.

Printer Paper Cut With Orange Scissor

Image Description: Photo of a marriage certificate being cut in half by a pair of orange scissors. There is also an orange rose laid out on the marriage certificate, which is cut in half as well. The head of the rose is on the right half and the stem is on the left. A loose leaf is also on the right, while a loose petal is on the left. The certificate is set against a plain white table. 

Our divorce rates are actually lower today than they were 30-40 years ago when divorce rates reached their peak. This increase can easily be attributed to the introduction of the Family Law Act 1975, (FLA) which allowed separated couples access to what’s known as a No-Fault Divorce. As the name indicates, a No-Fault Divorce means a couple can end their marriage without having to demonstrate how the other party was at fault for the breakdown of the relationship. This act repealed the Matrimonial Causes Act 1961, which required a spouse to be found either guilty or innocent of crimes such as adultery, cruelty, and desertion. If one failed to adequately prove their case, the judge would decline the request for a divorce. If a spouse was successful in proving the other to be at fault, the consequences could strip the person at fault of custody rights and financial security.

There were many benefits to the introduction of such laws. A great deal of those benefits further empowered women. They made it easier to leave an abusive marriage, as women no longer had to compile evidence or seek permission from the very partner that was a danger to their safety. It also saw a decline in women taking their own lives, with a noted 20% decrease in female suicide rates following the introduction of the FLA. While statistics for domestic violence and intimate femicide did not exist in Australia in the 1970s, the introduction of similar laws in the USA showed a drastic reduction in reported rates of domestic violence.  

The children of separated couples also benefited from these laws, since they no longer had to witness their parents tearing each other to shreds to establish legal grounds for divorce. That’s not to say this kind of violence doesn’t still happen, but it’s most likely not occurring as a result of trying to have a divorce granted. The compulsion to lie or fabricate evidence to establish fault was also diminished, as there was no longer incentive to do so outside of being a generally unpleasant human being.

That’s not to say the FLA isn’t without its share of faults. One particularly concerning element of the FLA reads as follows:

An application for a divorce order in relation to a marriage shall not, without the leave of the court granted under subsection (1C), be filed within the period of 2 years after the date of the marriage unless there is filed with the application a certificate:
                     (a)  stating that the parties to the marriage have considered a reconciliation with the assistance of a specified person, who is:
                              (i)  a family counsellor; or
                             (ii)  if the court is the Family Court, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia or the Family Court of a State—an individual or an organisation nominated for the parties by a family consultant; or
                            (iii)  if the court is not the Family Court, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia or the Family Court of a State—an individual or an organisation nominated for the parties by an appropriately qualified officer of the court; and
                     (b)  signed by that person or on behalf of that organisation, as the case may be.

In simple terms, if a couple seeks divorce less than 2 years after their marriage, they are required to show they have attempted to make their marriage work by consulting a family counsellor. While this is not necessarily a bad thing in all cases, there are instances in which this requirement can be emotionally damaging for the parties involved.

Midsection of Woman Making Heart Shape With Hands

Image Description: Close up photo of the torso of a person wearing a wedding dress with lace embellishments. The person wearing the dress is making a heart out of their hands just in front of their belly button. Another person, wearing a black tux, has their arms wrapped around the person with the wedding dress's waist. They are making a bigger heart with their hands around the other person's hands. The background is mostly white with a strip of blurred, green grass on the right. 

For instance, a friend of mine split from her husband approximately five months after they married. Her reasons for this seperation were hardly frivolous. Aside from him being a generally toxic and emotionally abusive presence in her life, three days after they got married, he demanded she consent to an open marriage. He also declared he would not compromise, and that her choices were to either go along with this proposed new lifestyle or leave. This is not to say an open marriage is a bad thing, either. However, these were not the terms my friend signed up for when she agreed to marry him.

The obligations this section of the FLA placed on my friend meant she would either have to put work into salvaging a relationship she had never wanted to end in the first place, or remain married to him until the required period of time elapsed. The very thought of going through the counselling process caused her such distress and anxiety she ended up making no moves to file for divorce until the two years had ended.

Despite certain flaws of the FLA, it is clear the law as a whole represents a positive step towards the reduction of prolonged domestic violence scenarios. It is further evidence of our society’s movement towards gender equality. That said, even though increased accessibility to divorce has many observable advantages, the nature of such laws has come into question for a variety of reasons.

An article published on popular online feminist blog Jezebel in 2010, argued such laws had the potential to financially disadvantage women in the USA. It suggested these laws were particularly harmful to those with lower levels of education, lower earning ability, or women who had not been in the workforce for some time due to their spouse being the sole income earner. The author, Katy Kelleher, points out that without the ability to establish fault in divorce, the potential exists for the woman to lose access to payments that were previously available to her.

The usual arguments that such laws violate the sanctity of marriage (with no word on how domestic violence posits a similar violation of the marriage agreement) are also prominent in such discussions, though the value of their input is questionable. The core of this argument seems to be the institution of marriage is crumbling under ever-increasing rates of divorce.

Certificate of Divorce Paper Beside Black Ballpoint Pen

Image Description: Photo of a blank divorce certificate in a black frame. The words "Certificate of Divorce" are written in fancy, cursive writing along the top. It is lying on a plain, white table. To the right of the divorce certificate is a black pen with gold embellishments and a notary stamp. They are lying on the table, angled towards the certificate. 

This outrage is ultimately unfounded. The reality of the situation is quite the opposite. After the initial spike in divorce rates following the introduction of the FLA, instances of divorce in Australia gradually reduced. The peak of Australia’s rates of divorce was in 1976, at 4.9 per thousand. In comparison, between 2007-2011 the rate per 1000 hovered around 2.2 and 2.3. When comparing Australia’s rates of divorce to other countries, Australia doesn’t make the list of top 10 countries with the highest divorce rate. We’re not even in the top 20.

The number of couples who choose to get married hasn’t declined in line with divorce either. If anything, marriage rates have been steadily increasing for the last decade. Interestingly, the age at which people are getting married is also increasing. Perhaps it’s just people are taking their time and making smarter choices?

Though we are generally aware of the inequalities our mothers suffered, it’s difficult for the younger among us to fully comprehend what it is like to not have the legal right to equal pay (the legislation for which was passed in 1969), access to safe refuge from an abusive spouse (Australia’s first women’s shelter was opened in 1974or even a government body chronicling instances of domestic violence. These are rights we have thankfully never had to go without.

But the reality is our mothers, grandmothers and the generations before them often stayed in bad marriages because they had no other options. If they left, they risked being alienated from their social networks, their children’s reputations, and the ability to financially take care of themselves.

I remember asking my great grandmother what my great grandfather was like. He died before I was born, and nobody would ever talk about him. She never said a word beyond the fact that his mother hated her and thought her son could do better. So, I tried asking my grandfather what his father was like. He didn’t say anything beyond “he was my dad”. It was only after my great-grandmother passed away that I learned how she had suffered at his hand. I found myself wondering why nobody helped her and instead held their silence, despite knowing what kind of person he was. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? I have the luxury of asking these questions, the luxury of wondering how my great-grandmother endured staying with someone she so desperately feared and despised.

So, I suppose the main reason I love divorce is that, to me, it represents women gaining access to autonomy over their lives. In conjunction with ongoing steps to bolster women’s earning ability, these divorce laws allow women the freedom to live their own life without having to attach themselves financially to a suitable gentleman, and later realise he is a monster.

Close-up of Padlocks Hanging on Heart Shape

Image Description: Photo of a black, heart-shaped lock attached to a thick, metal wire. The lock has "love" printed in the middle in white, bold, cursive writing. The background is blurred out. It is mostly yellow with some black shapes in the middle. 

I will openly acknowledge lasting relationships take work. They require compromise, humility, and acceptance. These attributes are absolutely ones we all should be willing to offer our partners. I do not believe that means one should be obligated to withstand a hell inflicted on them by their spouse. In my opinion, easier access to divorce is one of the biggest tools women have added to their arsenal to empower themselves in the last century.

By: Roxie Gray

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of the Sydney Feminists. Our Blogger and Tumblr serve as platforms for a diverse array of women to put forth their ideas and explore topics. To learn more about the philosophy behind TSF’s Blogger/ Tumblr, please read our statement here: https://www.sydneyfeminists.org/a

Thursday, 2 May 2019

MeToo: Stories From The Australian Movement - Book Review




“#MeToo: Stories From the Australian Movement” is the must-read, women tell-declaration against sexual exploitation every woman should own. This powerful collection, edited by Natalie Kon-Yu, Christie Nieman, Maggie Scott, and Miriam Sved offers a variety of articulate and gripping accounts of sexual abuse against women. Ranging from short stories to poems, “#MeToo” effortlessly blends the voices of multicultural Australian women from numerous walks of life.


Image Description: Image of the front cover of "#MeToo: Stories from the Australian Movement." The background is a pale cream color. At the top of the image the words "Stories from the Australian Movement" are written in bold, black lettering. Beneath this, there is a quote from Tracey Spicer in smaller black lettering which reads "An extremely important anthology." Along the right side, written from the bottom to the top, are the names of the editors in purple, bold lettering. The rest of the cover is taken up by the word #MeToo in large, bold, all capital letters. Each letter is outlined in all the colors of the rainbow. Image Source: https://www.panmacmillan.com.au/9781760785000/

In this compilation, mothers, business executives, sports sensations and models sing a song of resistance against unjust acts of sexual misconduct like an estrogen-charged missile. The work presents readers a rich variety of works, including Eleanor Jackson’s ‘On Not Taking to Germaine Greer’, Liz Hall-Downs’ poem ‘safe’ and Nicole Hayes’ personal essay ‘My Place’. These works illustrate how social exclusion and female exploitation occur across many cultural backgrounds in Australia.

When reflecting on the accounts in this literary work, the efforts of writer and editor Natalie Kon-Yu were a definite highlight. Kon-Yu’s personal reflection ‘The Beheld’ demonstrates the toxic actions an individual can take due to micro-aggressive moments of gender discrimination. This account’s potency stems from the succinct and potent nature of Kon-Yu’s writing style. By vividly describing moments where she felt objectified by commentary on her appearance and was rendered nothing more than a mere spectacle, Kon-Yu successfully recreates the all too relatable experience of commentary distorting perceptions of the self. 

This visceral account goes to great lengths to describe the feelings an individual experiences when faced with issues similar to body dysmorphia and anorexia. It also highlights the moments that sparked and perpetuated such harmful behaviour. This chapter sheds light on how beauty standards, unwarranted comments and constant critiques of women’s physical form results in them feeling pressure to wage war against their natural form to fit a predetermined unforgiving mould. The intensely personal account demonstrates the power of vulnerability, which is what makes this particular excerpt especially commendable.

Alongside Kung-Yu’s piece, Eugenia Flynn’s chapter ‘This Place’ is another exceptional part of this collection. Flynn’s work shows how minorities such as Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders are susceptible to discrimination because of the white patriarchal powers which dominate core Australian Institutions. This chapter unpacks the systemic ways Aboriginal women have been abused. Additionally, Flynn demonstrates the consequences of one culture imposing their perspectives on another, without consideration of the other culture's own perspectives.

By touching on discriminatory experiences specifically impacting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, this chapter provides valuable insight into discrimination many readers of would never experience. By questioning white patriarchy as well as white feminism, Flynn sheds light on a relevant, compelling and distinctly Australian aspect of the MeToo movement that should be discussed more.

The blend of different genres in this collection is not the only positive aspect of this work. Another great part of this piece is the remediation of a discussion popularised and perpetuated online. Through this act of remediation, the reader is given the luxury of access to accounts of Australian women without having to engage in lengthy and draining conversations. By changing the traditional way people interact with the contentious social media sweep of the MeToo movement, we can observe the issues at a slower rate that allows for easier processing.



Image Description: Photo of a collage laid out on what appears to be a paper mache background. The collage is made up of individual letters cut out from magazines. It reads #MeToo.

In an era plagued by media and feverish discourse regarding whatever is trending, it is vital to take a more in-depth look at issues. “#MeToo” creates space for a wide array of accounts regarding sexual abuse without the back and forth discourse seen on social media. In this way, we’re given unapologetically beautiful content. "#MeToo: Stories from the Australian Movement" successfully captures the manner in which the #MeToo movement impacted Australian women from all walks of life in distinct yet related ways.

By: Liliana Occhiuto

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of the Sydney Feminists. Our Blogger and Tumblr serve as platforms for a diverse array of women to put forth their ideas and explore topics. To learn more about the philosophy behind TSF’s Blogger/ Tumblr, please read our statement here: https://www.sydneyfeminists.org/a

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