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feminist news round-up 01.07.12


Facebook Names First Woman to Board

This week Sheryl Sandberg has become the first woman on Facebook’s board of directors. Sandberg has been the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook since 2008 when she left her job at Google. Before Facebook became a stock listed company, there were calls for them to add a female board member to the mix. This announcement has not detailed whether or not Sandberg’s appointment was made to address gender concerns. Regardless, Sandberg is experienced and is an obvious choice. CEO Mark Zukerberg has said, ‘Her understanding of our mission and long-term opportunity, and her experience both at Facebook and on public company boards makes her a natural fit for our board.’

Curtsy kept alive

This week, Britain’s Sunday Telegraph outlined the royal updated Order of Precedence. Under the rules, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, must curtsy to Princess Anne, princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and the Queen’s cousin Princess Alexandra. However when William is present the act is not necessary. She is forced to curtsy to the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla at all times. Yeah, pretty archaic but what do you expect from a family which made all its money from reinforcing a bizarre and arbitrary form of feudalism?

Gender Studies Facing Axe at La Trobe

This week La Trobe University in Melbourne has announced serious cuts to their humanities faculty, the prime victim being gender, sexuality and diversity studies. The university is proposing to stop enrolling students in the program from 2013, according to a document sent to staff last week. It said the university would cut 45 jobs as it struggles to overcome a $4.36 million budget shortfall in the faculty. This is despite that the course is fairly popular with students, with over 200 enrolling in their first year. The La Trobe humanities faculty is also fairly well regarded within Australia.

The existence of gender studies and similar programmes at universities has been the subject of some controversy. In a way, as some argue, confining one’s intellectual debates to gender might relegate proponents of the discipline. Indeed, some people advise that feminists attempt to avoid talking about feminism all the time and inject the spirit of feminism in other debates. However, the discipline of gender and diversity studies does important work in describing and analysing the realities of many whom other disciplines have traditionally ignored.

Dads Get Some Leave

The government’s paid parental leave scheme has been amended to allow new dads to get two weeks of paid leave in addition to the 18 weeks of paid leave afforded to mothers. The bill, which narrowly passed through the Lower House, will allow fathers to be paid at the national minimum wage for each weekday during the fortnight taken off to spend with their child after birth or adoption and will also apply to same-sex couples.

Girls Prefer Games

Young girls today are more interested in computer games than dolls. In fact, electronic toys have jumped from fifth most popular play thing in the 1980s to the toy of choice for the 21st century kid, a study found. However, construction toys still cling to second spot, with 18 per cent of children naming them as their favourite. Dolls take third place, with 16 per cent, the study of 2,000 people found.

Best Not To Know

This years’ Great Australian Sex Census (yes, it’s a thing) revealed that 44 per cent of people admit to cheating in a relationship. Moreover, as The Age reports, surprisingly large proportions of people spy on their spouse – anything from checking their phone for flirty texts to hiring a private investigator – if they suspect cheating. But actually, some psychologists point out that we may be better off if we don’t snoop around. Dr Seth Myers says in Psychology Today, ‘When someone reaches the point of secretly accessing their partner’s voicemails, texts, and emails due to suspicions of infidelity, all has been lost in the relationship — regardless of whether the cheatee’s investigation proves guilt or innocence. When someone starts breaking into his partner’s phone, the cheatee reduces himself or herself to desperate actions and often ends up engaging in the same kind of inappropriate behaviour that the cheater engaged in to begin with.’

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