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feminist news round-up 20.01.13

Anti-Discrimination laws support churches

The Federal Government’s draft Human Rights and Anti Discrimination Bill sees Australian religious institutions retain the right to discriminate against those they deem out of line with their values. This may include the right to refuse employment to gay and lesbians, single mothers, and those living out of wedlock. The bill has copped criticism from human rights activists, lawyers and commentators, who have been fighting to remove such protections. Australian religious figures insist they have a right to create environments free of those who compromise their values.

Chinese bank gives cash to wives

China Merchants Bank has offended consumers with a service allowing a man’s income to be automatically transferred to his wife’s account for saving. An advertising campaign depicts a young Chinese couple using the service, which moves funds from the husband’s accounts into his wife’s automatically so that they may save for a house. Chinese tradition has held that women manage their husband and family’s finances, but this mindset is changing with the nation’s rapid development.

40 years of Roe vs. Wade

The upcoming 40th anniversary of the case that afforded US women the right to abortion has prompted vigorous criticism in pro-life circles this week. In a period of reflection on the state of abortion law across the country, a Pew Research Centre study claims a majority of Americans do not want the landmark case overturned, while more than 50% of Americans under 30 have no knowledge of the legal precedent at all. The anniversary has given pro-life groups cause to reflect on what they view as the successful restrictions on the availability of abortion in America.

Women bishop controversy continues

The chairman of the Church of England’s House of Laity has remained in his position despite a no-confidence vote brought this week. Dr. Philip Giddings spoke out against the consecration of women bishops last year, a move that caused criticism within the Church of England. While Dr. Giddings survives in the role, he reportedly says he is praying for the ‘temperature to be lowered’ in further conversations on the issue. In 2012 the Church voted on an amendment to legislation that would allow women to become bishops, but it failed at the last post when it fell short in the House of laity by six votes.

Howard Stern likens watching ‘Girls’ to rape

Golden Globe winner Lena Dunham is schooled in copping criticism, but it was radio personality Howard Stern that set a new bar of insults last week. In an enthusiastic riff on radio he claimed watching Girls was like rape, and expressed surprise at ‘the little fat chick’s’ insistence of writing sex scenes for herself in the show. Dunham joked on Letterman that Stern’s words about how hard it is for fat chicks to ‘get anything going’ should be engraved on her tombstone. In apology, Stern said, ‘It makes me feel bad, and I think she’s getting the impression that I somehow think she’s just a talentless little fat chick.’

Also on Lip this week

Beyonce on feminism in GQ
Lesbian couple responds to homophobic letter from cafe owner

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