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feminist news round-up 14.10.12

Gillard makes awesome speech while single parents get raw deal

Earlier this week, lip reported on Julia Gillard’s speech which in fifteen minutes thoroughly took down Tony Abbott and labelled him a hypocrite for suggesting that she was being misogynistic because she wanted to leave the Peter Slipper affair to the courts. While mainstream journalists condemned Gillard for going over-the-top and for failing to adequately denounce Slipper, people seemed to react well to it on social media and certainly in international press (with Jezebel calling our lady PM ‘a badass motherfucker’).

While all this was being publically ruminated upon, a bill passed this week which meant that sole parents (mostly single mothers) will receive lower welfare payments to the tune of around $55 per week. It’s a stark juxtaposition between talk of feminism and policies which further impoverish many women and their families.

Malala Yousafzai shot by Taliban

Pakistani Malala Yousafzai gained fame when for being highly critical of the Taliban’s ban on girls’ education in the Swat valley, and blogging about her views and about the atrocities of militias controlling the valley. At age 14 she cultivated a smart and powerful brand of feminist activism. This week, she was shot in the head for her views on a school bus in the Swat valley by a member of the Taliban. She was given intensive care and has since been airlifted to post-surgery care. The Pakistan government has spoken out against this distressing crime and authorities have offered a reward of more than $100,000 for the capture of her attackers. For more information on Yousafzai’s activism, read “My conversations with Malala Yousafzai, the girl who stood up to the Taliban”.

The sexist remarks keep coming

Last week, Alan Jones got into serious trouble for saying that Julia Gillard’s recently deceased father ‘died of shame’. He was further lambasted for his sexist and racist public comments. The ALP connected these comments to the Liberal Party and Tony Abbott, quite valid given that the comments were made at a Young Liberal Party function by a member of the Liberal Party. This week, the tides may have turned. At the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union dinner earlier this week, a comedian speaking at the event made a sexist, crude remark about Tony Abbott’s female Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin. ALP frontbencher and Trade Minister Craig Emerson left the dinner shortly after the comments were made, but failed to confirm whether he in fact walked out because of the comments. Julia Gillard has since called the union to say the remarks were inappropriate and Wayne Swan, who was due to talk after the comedian, did not leave the event.

American tax-payers still funding abstinence-only education

Due to a deal struck up earlier by the Obama administration with conservative legislators, US federal funding will be given for another year to abstinence-only education programmes. Obama has spoken out against such programmes but given the tight situation he’s in to legislate with a government full of conservative representatives, $5 million worth of federal grants were just awarded to 9 different organisations that promote abstinence. This is also despite the fact that abstinence-only education has been proven to be ineffectual.

The day of the girl child

The first-ever International Day of the Girl Child declared by the United Nations was celebrated on Thursday. It called for an end to child marriage and more education to girls as a way to free them from forced marriage. You can read more at the UN News Centre.

(Image source)

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