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Feminist News Round-up 04.03.12

Even More Defence Force Sexism

The Australian Defence Force has seemed to appear in this column more weeks than not. Yet another disappointing example of the sexism rife in the Defence Force was brought to light this week. In this case, the ABC has been given access to a private facebook group of over 1000 former and serving members of the Defence Force. The comments therein racist, sexist, derogatory and crude. It has been many months since the first evidence of sexism in the Defence Force has been made available for public viewing, and yet this behaviour is still happening.

Saudi Arabia Breaks ‘Olympic Spirit’

Saudi Arabia has opted not to bring any female teams to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Organisers are now urging this nation to reform this policy and has called the abstention ‘unOlympic’ and not within the ‘Olympic Spirit’. In 2009, Saudia Arabia closed off the availability of gyms to women and introduced new laws regarding dress which renders physical activity particularly difficult. Saudi opponents to allowing women play sports at an Olympic level suggest that it will lead to promiscuity, and to them mingling with men and people from other families. Go figure.

But is the inclusion of women and a lack of sexism really part of the ‘Olympic Spirit’? (see below)

More Worries About the Boxing Skirt

All the way back in November I reported that in the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) has proposed that female boxers should wear miniskirts. This matter has taken a recent turn. 2012 is an exciting year for female boxes, as it is the first time they are entitled to compete in the Olympic Games. Unfortunately, the AIBA still wants women to wear skirts, despite that many really would rather not, or at least be given an option.

Women’s sporting uniforms at the Olympic Games have been the stuff of controversy before. Hoyden About Town demonstrates this with pictures.

Unlimited Eggs

New research from the Vincent Centre of Reproductive Biologists in the US has hinted that every woman has an unlimited source of human eggs throughout her reproductive years. This completely undermines the commonly held belief that women only have a limited, non-renewable supply. It’s all very sciency, so I’ll let the these guys explain it, but the findings may be used to help improve women’s fertility. Biologically speaking, this could give many women more reproductive options, particularly if they would like to have children later in life.

Unborn Babies Given New Recognition in Laws

This week in Western Australia, the state Attorney General, Christian Porter, has proposed foetal homicide laws. In this legislation, causing the death of an unborn child can be viewed as akin to murder. This is not meant to apply for abortions, but rather to cases where expectant mothers have been brutally assaulted or otherwise offended against (for example, if an unborn child is killed in a drink driving accident), causing miscarriage or death to the unborn. Under current law, there are no specific provisions which allow judges to consider the death of an unborn child when sentencing offenders. The offence would carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Similar laws have already been introduced in Queensland.

Unsurprisingly, this proposal has reignited pro-life claims that if the life of a foetus is protected in one setting (i.e. criminality) but not in other contexts (such as if the pregnant woman chooses an abortion) then these laws are inconsistent. On the one hand, the life of a child is protected from conception and on the other it isn’t. However, if a government wants to protect women and their rights both to abort a baby and to carry it to full term (whatever it is they choose), then it isn’t inconsistent at all. Nonetheless, there are persistent fears that foetal homicide laws may damage women’s ability to have an abortion. What are your thoughts on this one?

Divorce Gene?

A study from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute has identified a female ‘divorce gene’. Apparently its presence renders a woman less likely to get married and more likely to have troubled relationships. While potentially slightly interesting, we could probably put this story (and the fact that no such gene has been ‘discovered’ in males) in the category ‘examples of genetic science being sexist’.

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