'... those womyn who have been fortunate enough to have been an adult through the 1970's and were able to take an active part in the Women's Liberation Movement, have not only had our lives enriched immeasurably but the feminist revolution undoubtedly saved us.'
International Women's Day Melbourne 1975
National Library of Australia Demonstrations, P75/208, 19/3/75/5
"In Melbourne, Australia, on March 8, 1975, International Women's Day, 1,000 women marched down city streets. Members representing many women's organisations carried banners and shouted slogans. The march was preceded by an all-woman play performed at the City Square."
Women's Liberation shocked, surprised, excited and challenged us. This resurgence of the Women's Movement developed, once again, 'united and representative agitation'. The words were different - activism replaced 'agitation', 'all women' replaced 'woman' but the feeling of women working together for all women, and for a fairer society, was the same.
1...VIBRANT, EXCITING AND DYNAMIC
Jean Taylor: 'The 1970's were a vibrant, exciting and dynamic time. Our consciousnesses were being raised all the time about a whole heap of things. In a sense nothing was sacred. Everything was questioned and challenged. It was not as if we just went to meeting, did our work then went home again.' Women'sWebWomen's Stories,Women's Actions Union of Australian Women and www.womensweb.com.au
We were active, but so were those who wanted to undermine us -
Latrobe St Women's Liberation Centre undated leaflet: What We Say and What We Don't Say - Some Common Misconceptions and Deliberate Misinterpretations About the Women's Liberation Movement -
1. We don't say women have to work in the paid workforce. We do say women should have the option to (so) work - the option to have economic independence. We don't glorify working in the paid workforce as being intrinsically good or better than anything else.
2. We aren't all young, unmarried or students who are free of family or economic responsibilities. We are a cross section of the whole of society ...
3. We don't want to be men. Wedon't want women to oppress men, have power over men, to change places with men.
4. We don't think motherhood is "bad" or "unliberated" ... We defend women's right to have children as strongly as we defend her right not to have them.
5. We don't say every woman has to burn her bra, and besides, bra burning never really happened in the way it was believed to.
6. We don't say you have to be a lesbian to be a women's liberationist. We do believe that a woman's sexuality is her own to express as she wishes.
7. We don't say that things like cooking and sewing are trivial and inferior - Society says they are!' Moore/Danaan papers University of Melbourne
'It's A Girl' - Christmas card from Women's Liberation
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2...WOMEN'S LIBERATION HALFWAY HOUSE
Jean Taylor: 'The first refuges for women and children fleeing from intolerable domestic situations were established by feminist groups in Melbourne and Sydney in the early 1970's. Women and children come to refuges because they have nowhere to go ... 'The catch-cry of our early fervour and publicity campaign was: 'The only places that women have to go are the prisons, the hospitals and the morgue.' from Women'sWebWomen's Stories,Women's Actions Union of AustralianWomen and www.womensweb.com.au
Women's Liberation Halfway House Collective: ' Aims, Structures and Policies, Melbourne 1975 -
'The Halfway House was set up to create a point of contact between the Women's Movement and women in acute, desperate and dangerous situations, so that we as a movement can support other women and make our resources available to them at the time of their crisis or attempted change of lifestyle. We hope that residents can benefit from moral and practical support (immediate and continuing) and that the Movement will develop from the process of mixing theory with practice and from the experience of taking collective action.' Union of Australian Students papers, Melbourne University
- 'Why We Came Together: ... to provide emergency temporary accommodation for women, and if any, their children.
- Why We are Not Another Charity: We feel we can offer unconditional support to women who require it. Too many of the existing charities tend to reinforce the role of woman as "female", ie mother, wife, housekeeper, passive, selfless, dependent. They attempt to put bandages on society, they acknowledge breakdown in the structure of society but neglect to realise that the structure is wrong ... We hope to provide women with the space to start helping themselves ... We are going to try to permit women to take charge of their own affairs, to assess their situation and the society that decrees women must be dependent on men.
- Why We Are Part of the Women's Movement: We share the aims in that we recognise the oppression of women and encourage them to attain their independence and self-identity.
- Who Do We Anticipate Accommodating? ... any woman who requires emergency shelter.' Women's Liberation Newsletter August '74, Ruth Bermann papers, University of Melbourne
Women's Liberation Halfway House Collective: 'Submission to the Domestic Crime Board - Recommendations -
- That police recognize and act upon domestic crime with the severity and responsibility with which they treat non-domestic crime.
_ That police be required to tell battered women of the availablesupport agencies in their community and encourage them to use them.
- That police should be obliged to inform medical practitioners if any assaulted women is in need of attention, that medical practitioners inform police, and both inform women's refuges like Women's Liberation Halfway House.
- That police undergo, as part of their training, a programme that educates them to better understand the position of women in this society, and particularly women who are victims of domestic crime. To be effective, the programme needs the participation of groups like ours, who deal directy and have personal experience of the problems women face.'
The reply ... Letter from the Board of Inquiry Into Allegations Against Members of the Police Force, To Researcher, WLHHC, 23 June 1975 -
Dear Ms, I refer again to the submission which you delivered to me on 13th June 1975. Having examined the document, it is the view of the Counsel assisting the Board of Inquiry that the submission underlines a community problem, not merely one confronting the police in the proper enforcement of the peace and the protection of women as citizens. In the absence of concrete complaints (they were there, names witheld), however, the matters raised in the submission are outside the terms of reference of the Board of Inquiry. Yours faithfully, (John F. Day) Secretary to the Board.' 1974-76 Herstory of the Halfway House - Women's Liberation Halfway House Collective, Melbourne Australia
1974-1976 Herstory of the Halfway House, Women's Liberation Halfway House Collective, Melb. Aust. State Library of Victoria
3...SOCIAL SECURITY DEMONSTRATION
Vashti's Voice: ' Women's Liberation Halfway House: Social Security Demonstration - May 1975 Press Release - 'A Group of women from the Melbourne Women's Liberation Halfway House will be demonstrating at the Department of Social Security, Spring Street, Melbourne at 9.30am Thursday 15th May.
The Halfway House is a temporary refuge for women in distressed circumstances, leaving intolerable domestic circumstances. 'Through the House, we have become aware of the current mismanagement of Social Security benefits' said Ms Di Otto, Halfway House research officer. 'There are inhumane delays for hundreds of people who desperately need the money they are entitled to, in order to survive. The women's demands are: abolition of the waiting period; immediate emergency relief to claimants; regular weekly payments to everyone entitled to them; increased pensions and benefits to adequately support those receiving them; explanation of rights to all claimants; employment of interpreters at social security offices; employment of unemployed people at work in the processing of claims.' Rivka Pile paper, Melbourne University
Halfway House Collective: 'The Women's Liberation Halfway House Collective has uncovered, in the few months that it has been operating, an enormous social problem that has always been there. Social workers have known it to be there because they have been dealing with these desperate women for years. The government departments have known about it. Every week they try to send dozens of women to us. Yet they never bothered to set up emergency accommodation for women. It took women, feminist women, to do that, and now that a Halfway House exists the enormity and thehorror of it all is being revealed.' 1974-76 Herstory of the Halfway House - Women's Liberation Halfway House Collective, Melbourne, Australia
Women Against Poverty and Isolation -
Judy Cassar, Joan King, Rosemarie Gillespie: 'Poverty is a word that is used to put people down as if it had something to do with being inferior ... (but) it is a stark reality that stalks our lives. Isolation is many things to many people. We also see isolation as being excluded from society, stigmatised and victimised and blamed for situations that are beyond our control. We do not choose to be poor or to be locked into the poverty trap. Being cut off from society because your views, religion, race or lifestyle is "different" from what is seen to be the norm is another form of isolation.' Tess Maloney papers University of Melbourne
1974-1976 Herstory of the Halfway House, Women's Liberation Halfway House Collective, Melb. Aust.
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4...WOMEN'S THEATRE GROUP
Scarlet Woman September 1975: 'Getting the Show on the Road - The Women's Theatre Group first emerged in January 1974. It was a collation of women from the Australian Performing Group and some women from the Fitzroy/Carlton Consciousness Raising Group and some of their friends, who decided they wanted to put on a show. The show was 'Women's Weekly Volume 1', a review which centred on women and advertising. It was a supper show (or late show) and ran for two weeks on Friday and Saturday nights in February '74.
"The objects of the Group shall be the performance, encouragement and promotion of drama, music, art, literature, film production and exhibition, and such other activities within a feminist framework". Rivka Pile papers, University of Melbourne
Peta Tait: 'Melbourne Women's Theatre Group 1974 - 1977
- At least 25 original and highly innovative programs
- Some of the first theatre by Australian women which challenged male dominance
- Successfully communicated a feminist perspective and women's position in society to a diverse audience
- Probably developed one of the first Australian bilingual multicultural productions
- The first show about women workers in factories with 'She'll be Right, Mate'
- The first arts festival to promote women in all areas of the arts - for example 'Out of the Frying Pan (1974), 'Sister's Delight Festival, (1975)
- Some of the first Australian theatre about lesbian relationships, and the radical theatre experiment behind 'Wonder Woman's Revenge (1976), 'The Power Show' (1977), and 'Edges' (1977), which has not been repeated in recent Australian theatre.' Original Women's Theatre, Artmoves 1993 State Library of Victoria
Ponch Hawkes: 'The Women's’ Theatre Group was really the place where I found my first base of power. It just revolutionised the way you thought. You started from a different base point, then you saw everything differently. You put yourself in the place differently. It didn’t make me think all women were great actors or anything, I could still see that some people were much better than others. It didn’t entirely dull my senses. It didn’t make me see that the boys weren’t fabulous at doing the acting thing it just made me look at the way they had control of the organisation and what that meant. Although some other women were powerful within the organization of the Pram it was absolutely a male structure.
In the WTG it wasn’t only the organisation that was totally fascinating but really it was the context of the material that the people were doing. You were going to these consciousness-raising groups and then you were doing this work and people were coming along and telling you that the work had changed their lives and at the same time it was changing yours. I mean ‘Women and Children First’, what a show! I don’t know how I’d feel about it now, but I just remember those exquisite stories and those exquisite screens that Carol Porter had made- I just remember it was like somebody pulling these curtains off you, peeling another layer, and all night it was just this process of like, ‘Oh ___! Of course!’ http://www.pramfactory.com/memoirsfolder/Hawkes-Ponch.html
Robyn Archer interviewed by Fiona Colin and Jeanette Fenelon: 'What I'm doing is subversive rather than militant.' LIP Double Issue Nos 2 & 3 1977 Jenny Tatchell papersUniversity of Melbourne
Leaflet from Sylvie Leber: 'Women's Theatre Group presents 'WOMEN TIMES THREE'. There are few female playwrights. Women have less opportunity to develop their work in theatre, and as their style and subject matter tends to be different, it is less likely to be acceptable. The WTG aims to provide opportunities for women by work shopping and producing their plays. Advertising for scripts produced a considerable response, and from these, three plays were chosen for performance in this season ... WTC is exploring areas of our lives that are just beginning to find public expression.'
Curtain Raiser by Finola Moorhead: A short mime-piece set in a mediaeval abbey. Boss-nun, Trish Crick; Serving-Nun, Kris Wilkinson; Clown, Sylvie Leber.'
String Trio by Jane Brandhurst: A surrealistic study of the destructively interdependent relationships between a mother, her daughter, and the mother's mentally deficient sister. In one act, with five scenes. Alva, Kris Wilkinson; Marie, Nina Bondarenke; Vida, Sylvie Leber.'
Shift by Di King: 'A play in two acts. Three waitresses share a Fitzroy terrace and are visited by the mother of one of them. The theme of this play is choices in lifestyle, sexual expression and identity. Gabby, Trish Crick; Katey, Jane Mullett; Heidi, Nina Bondarenko; Victoria, Finola Moorhead.
Director, Alison Richards; Set Design;Props/Costumes, Susy Potter and members of WTG; Lighting Design/Operators, Linda Aarchen and Annie McKenzie; Poster, Caroline Jay.' Ruth Bermann papers, University of Melbourne
Suzanne Spunner: 'For the past few months some six actors and Alison Richards have been researching and devising 'She'll Be Right, Mate - The Migrant Show'. Using travel posters picturing the delights of sundrenched Australia, ethnic songs and dances, and extended multi-lingual sequences, the show deals with experiences common to all migrants. It begins with the grim reality of inclement in hospitable Australian army camp accommodation, dangerous badly paid jobs and inadequate social services - in short, a grand insular national indifference to the experiences of a new Australian. The show brings out the double jeopardy of working migrant women maintaining home, family and full-time job. The sequence which will probably make most impact - in schools as well as factories - concerns the inevitable conflict between the generations ...'
Jean Bedford: 'At first we wanted to do a show about women in institutions generally, but as we started to research it, we realized we would never fit it all in. Girls in detention homes seemed a good thing to focus on - we could show how early institutionalisation had terrible effects: we could point out the cruelty of the "Exposed to Moral Danger" law and the paternalism showed by magistrates in closed children's courts.'
Australian Women in Music by Therese Radic: 'Australia has produced female composers for as long as it has produced male composers. This even-handedness is not reflected in the traditions from which music sprang, yet the Australian experience is convincing proof that men are not alone in possessing a capacity for creative musical composition.'
Anne Stephen: 'With One Pair of Hands and a Single Mind - the first Australian exhibition of women's work 1907 -
Seventy years ago in Australia specific social, political, economic and cultural factors created a unique historical situation for women. The First Australian Exhibition of Women's Work held in Melbourne in 1907 presents these elements within the framework of a single entity. Given the enormous scale of the exhibition (over 16,000 exhibits), the scope of the activities involved and its contemporary significance (over 250,000 people attended), it is extraordinary that this event has since been "hidden from history" ... Although in the exhibition work was not defined as specifically paid employment (in fact there were large areas which did not relate to capitalist productive relations) this area was seen as most important.' LIP Double Issue Nos 2 & 3 1977 Jenny Tatchell papersUniversity of Melbourne
Glen Tomasetti: 'Go Sane Sisters - in Out of the Frying Pan, Pram Factory May 29 '74' Marie Rowan papers University of Melbourne
The Age Wed 29 June 1983: 'The Pack of Women, Robyn Archer's cabaret collage, opens at the Universal Theatre tonight. People leave the theatre feeling good, the cast members say, even though the show touches on topics like domestic violence, prostitution, pornography and menstruation. The song that generally brings the house down, they say, is a Robyn Archer standard, Menstruation Blues.'
5...THE WOMEN'S ART MOVEMENT
Ailsa O'Connor: Australian Feminist Art History - ... Co-operation, support, accent on process as well as (or instead of) end results, the wish to dispense with hierarchies of power and status, questioning accepted values and structures, the effort to make known women's contribution to Australian Art, the experience of sharing, of close friendship, ... pleasure of learning to laugh at ourselves, and often of pure unadulterated fun - all these shine through the sometimes troubled, even tortured history of the women's art movement.' Vashti 26 Summer 79
Jenny Barwell, Vivienne Binns: 'We believe that a political position is central to art.' LIP Double Issue Nos 2 & 3 1977 Jenny Tatchell papers University of Melbourne archives
Janine Bourke: 'Now that the media has settled into a complacent sexism (broken by the occasional token gesture) ... many people are beginning to wonder whatever happened to the women's movement. It will be through the continued activity of feminists, in this case those who make /write about /research /exhibit art that feminism will not suffer the kind of extinction that it did in the 1920's, that it will grow to encompass and change society and, by extension, art.' LIP Double Issue Nos 2 & 3 1977 Jenny Tatchell papers University of Melbourne archives
Ailsa O'Connor: 'Considering the crimes against women that have gone on so long, no wonder some of the worst offenders are in a blind panic of fear of the feminist upsurge everywhere.' IWD Rome 1979 from Unfinished Work, Megan and Sean O'Connor, Greenhouse 1982 (See Chapter 13 Heading 11 "Where are the Working Class Women?)
Statue by Ailsa O'Connor commemorating the first woman settler in Melbourne, Mary Gilbert
Treasury Gardens, Melbourne
6...REEL WOMEN Women in Film
Lorna Scarles: 'Feminism, in its concern to change the identity of woman, needs to deeply concern itself in this field (film), as well as the related image making TV industry and journalism.' Women's Workshop Films Review Refractory Girl March 1975
The Age 25/11/83: 'There are no talking heads in For Love or Money (Longford South Yarra). This superbly edited feminist history uses many forms of material - including engravings, photographs, newsreels, advertisements, TV commercials and clips from feature films - in the journey from the arrival of white settlers in Australia to the election of the Hawke Government.' Jo Phillips papers, Melbourne University
7..RADIO AND OTHER MEDIA
Leaflet: 'A unique program in Australian broadcasting will start on International Women's Day (March 8 1975) on ABVC Radio 2. It is the Coming Out, Ready or Not show, a program made entirely by women, though intended for all listeners. It is being made by the Australian Women's Broadcasting Co-Operative, an organisation set up with the ABC to give all female staff the opportunity to learn the techniques of broadcasting. The Co-operative has had an overwhelming response from people who might otherwise have found themselves "jammed behind a typewriter", without an opportunity of developing their talent.
ABC production secretary Roberta Meilleur has written and sings the theme song ... The first show is a magazine style program with Gillian Waite. Melbourne Alex Butler talks to a woman on a factory picket line - what does it take to come out and refuse to be sacked? In another segment Kate Miller and Janet Bell cover International Women's Year activities - Is one year enough? What are women doing with it? The second program, The Heroines, is a dramatised radio feature by Eve Gray on Miles Franklin's heroines - young women ahead of their time ...' Marie Rowan papers University of Melbourne
Media Watch July '79: 'Images of women now projected by the media breed notions that women are usually incompetant, inferior, pretty and petty. We want journalists, broadcasters, sub editora and media executives to portray women as they are, recognising the complexity of their lives and personalities ...
Media Watch is produced by a group of journalists and broadcasters who aim to raise and discuss issues in news reporting.' Marie Rowan papers University of Melbourne
Women's Liberation Newsletter Dec '82: 'Women's Liberation Radio Group is a collection of radio workers who make various Women's Liberation programmes at (radio station) 3CR ... Radio can reach women inaccessible to other media ... We would like to be an information, support and reference network for women involved in radio as well as sharing information, skills and resources with women in general.' Marie Rowan papers University of Melbourne
Women's Liberation Newsletter Jan/Feb '75: Flo Kennedy on -
Motherhood: 'Being a mother is a noble status, right? So, why does it change when you put "unwed" or "welfare" in front of it?'
Oppression: 'If you've been hit a lot, you tend to stay sore for a while. Trying to help an oppressed person is like trying to put your arm around somebody with sunburn.'
Herself: 'My parents gave us a fantastic sense of security and worth. By the time the bigots got around to telling us we were nobody, we already knew we were somebody.'
Women Who Like Things the Way They Are: 'Women who say they are contented
just having a nice husband and two beautiful children - fine; I'm glad. Of course I always wonder what happens if one of the children isn't beautiful ... and if housework is so rewarding why don't men do it too? But this movement isn't about getting some woman to leave her husband. It is about social justice.'
Tactics: 'You don't cure malaria by getting into bed with the malaria patient, and you don't cure poverty by going to live in a ghetto. You ... put pressure on people who've got the cure.'
WE HAVE NO LEADERS WE WANT NO LEADERS
Melbourne Women's Collective: Mavis Robertson -
'It does not follow that a revolution which changes the economic basis of society in a socialist direction will guarantee women's liberation. Women believe that they must organise against their specific oppression in the course of revolutionary struggle against capital and maintain a continuity of struggle until sexism is defeated ... Women are the creatures of an organised tyranny of men as workers are creatures of an organised tyranny of idlers. Both the oppressed classes, women and the immediate producers, must understand that their emancipation will come from themselves. Women will find allies in the better sort of men as labourers are finding allies among the philosophies of artists and poets. But the one has nothing to hope from men as a whole, and the other has nothing to hope from the middle class as a whole.'
The Female Eunuch: Germaine Greer -
'Women must learn their own history because they have a history which will give them pride in their daughters ... Courageous women brought us out of total bondage to our present improved position. We must not forsake them but learn from them and allow them to join the cause one more. (p304) ... The surest guide to the correctness of the path that women take is joy in the struggle. Revolution is the festival of the oppressed.' Ruth Bermann papers, University of Melbourne
(Women's Liberation) Anti Festival of Light and Mary Whitehouse campaign -
Lesbian Newsletter July '78: 'Mary Whitehouse, as representative of the Festival of Light, will be in Australia from the 1st to the 24th September. She will be in Victoria, mainly Melbourne, on the 15th 16th and 17th ... The program of the tour backed by the Festival of Light will focus on three main issues -
1. Exploitation of children by pornography and homosexuality.
2. The place of blasphemy in the 20th century. This will include issues of abscenity and censorship.
3. Year of the Child - the Rights of Children.
The first issue will focus attacks on homosexuality, the second will involve her successful blasphemy case against Gay News in England and the third will allow Festival of Light and its associate Right to Life a focus of attack on women's rights to abortion and control of their own bodies.
Support the Fight Against the Right! ... It is important that we begin organising now. The Festival of Light are organised, they have been planning the tour from the beginning of the year ... A successful campaign will need to be as broadly based as possible ... sexist attacks on Mary Whitehouse and arguments appealing to basic human rights are not the way to conduct a successful campaign ... We also have to counter their misinformation with facts. The theme of the Geelong visit appears to be "child care not child abuse" and so it will be made to seem that anyone not supporting Mary Whitehouse/Festival of Light supports child abuse ...
To avoid any sexist attacks on Mary Whitehouse it should be kept firmly in mind that she is only a representative of an organisation, namely Festival of Light and its associate Right to Life and it is the policies of these organisations, not the person Mary Whitehouse, that we are attacking.' Moore/Danaan papers University of Melbourne
Marilyn Wise: 'Child Care Centres - When ascertaining the right of women to choose whether or not to have children, we must not forget the large numbers of women who want the right to have children without penalty, without being relegated to the traditional subordinate and ancillary role motherhood has become. At present, then, the raising of children is the responsibility of each competitive, isolated family, regardless of whether society provides the jobs or financial assistance necessary to do this. Parents should not have to endure the tremendous strains imposed on them, especially women, in trying to provide for the physical and emotional well-being of their children. Nor should children have to depend on the limited resources of isolated families and of individual women. Society as a whole should bear the responsibility of providing the best possible environment for the development of all children.
In modern urbanised society, a system of free child-care centres, financed by the government but controlled by those who use them would appear to be the most equitable and practicable way to implement this goal. ... The training of children of an early age in a social situation can help break down the competitiveness, selfishness, prejudice and authoritarian outlook which the structure of the patriarchal family system helps to promote.
Action for Adequate Child Care
A Report on the Consultation
held at Richmond Town Hall Wed May 13 1970' Bon Hull papers, Melbourne University
Yvonne Smith: 'First Child Care demonstration in Melbourne in the City Square held on 25 February. Women brought their children and demanded free child care. The Community Controlled Child Care organisation grew out of the early period of the Women's Liberation Movement.' page 29 Taking Time
The Sun Saturday, February 26 1972: 'Militant for Mum - Marion Harper is a militant, blue eyed blonde and she's only eight years old. Last night she carried a placard almost as big as herself around the city square. Marion may be only eight, but she has some definite ideas on day and after school care centres. She knows what she's talking about because her mother, Jan, works, so she and her two sisters are cared for after school by a woman who cleans the house. "At a centre with lots of other kids there would be more things to do, better things than watching television all afternoon," said Marion.
Marion was one of the 250 parents and children who demonstrated in the City Square last night for free day-care facilities for all children. They want the centres to be paid for by the Government but locally controlled. The women, many carrying babies and small children, invited passers-by to join their cause. A spokesman for the group. Ms Winsome McCaughey, said that in January 1970 33% of (married?) Victorian women of the age likely to have pre-school children went to work. Another 61% of separated, divorced and widowed women in this age bracket worked. "That's more than 100,000 children but there are only 4,500 places in the day-care centres" she said.' Women's Liberation archives, University of Melbourne
10..COMMUNITY CHILD CARE ACTION GROUP
Barbara Wishart: The Prime Minister, Parliament House, Canberra - 'Sir, There is an urgent need for government sponsored, free, day-care centres open to all children. Until these centres are established the government must allow the fees paid by working parents for child-care as a tax deduction. yours etc.' Women's Liberation postcard, about 1973 Melbourne University
Thelma Prior: 'Fibremakers Child Care Holiday Centre from Fibremakers Mothers' Committee - The working mother faces a variety of problems, the worry of maintaining job and family, worrying about the whereabouts of the children after they leave school, coping with increased marital strains and the fear of dismissal if she is obliged to take time off the job for family reasons. Each school holiday period brings with it cause for anxiety to the mother for the safety of her children while she works ... We would like to highlight ... the urgent need for Holiday Care Centres from 7.00 am to 5.00 pm situated in the factory municipality catering for age groups from five years to fifteen years.' Union of Australian Women 1974 booklet State Library of Victoria
Sharon Callaghan: 'Herstory of Melbourne's first work based child care project set to go, but temporarily threatened by the Federal Government (Fraser Gang Report) proposed sale or lease of the Coburg Clothing Factory, the chief service users, while still waiting funding approval.' University of Melbourne
Melbourne University archives
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11..1977 ABORIGINAL CHILD CARE AGENCY
Mollie Dyer: 'We need special facilities for Aboriginal women, especially as they are producing the children. While the state keeps on taking the children away from us, placing them into white care or institutions, the system is just reproducing itself. The Aboriginal Child Care Agency is trying to stop this vicious cycle'. Rivka Pile papers, University of Melbourne
Vashti's Voice Summer/Autumn: 1978 Bringing the Children Back - 'Mollie Dyer, a Victorian Aboriginal woman (daughter of Marge ret Tucker) has spent 80-90 hours a week over the past two years reclaiming Aboriginal children from the State. Her aim is to bring these children back into their own communities. clips from feature films - in the journey from the arrival of white settlers in Australia to the election of the Hawke Government.' Jo Phillips papers, University of Melbourne
Vashti's Voice Spring '75: 'National Child Care Conference 3 - 4 September 1977 Melbourne University Union
"If men got pregnant then abortion would be a sacrament", and the same attitude would apply right through to child care! Women are people yet a mother's right as an individual is usually subordinated because adequate child care is not available ... We believe that every child has the right to an equal opportunity for full development and that every mother has the right to the work of her choice and to the development of her potential. Comprehensive child care must be available to parents as a right.' Australian Union of Students Women's Dept.' Renee Romeril papers, University of Melbourne
Lesbian Mothers and Custody Rights: 'One obvious area of law where lesbians are oppressed is in relation to obtaining custody of their children. Lesbian mothers fighting for the custody of their children discover that the "welfare of the child" ... is defined not in who will give the child the most love and support, but in terms of where she/he will be provided with the most "normal" environment ... Things are only going to change if we expose such myths and if lesbian mothers continue to have the courage to fight custody battles on their terms. And if anyone tells you the law doesn't oppress lesbians - don't believe them.' Lesbian Newsletter July '78 Moore/Danaan papers University of Melbourne
13..1979 INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE "CON" or child (IYC)
Vashti Winter 1979: 'International Year of the Child has been pushed as a great non-political event. All you have to do is care for kids, and then everything will be just fine. With projects ranging from poster competitions to a special IYC stamps, the government committees and the media are taking no risks of raising troublesome issues. But IYC is actually very political. Just look at who's on the committees. The Catholic Women's League and the Right to Life Association are represented. But other groups who do not fit into the family mould, such as Parents Without Partners, are not ...
In this IWY we have two choices. We can ignore the real situation which exists for children an allow all the bullshit about the glories of childhood to be spread. Or, we can start to take some action to show the cynical destructiveness of the sham called IYC and start to do something about changing the oppressive conditions which exist. Campaign Against Repression is planning an anti-IYC demonstration just before the budget.' University of Melbourne archives
14..1981 WILL CHILDREN'S SERVICES SURVIVE?
Jill Reichstein, Janet Elefmiotis, Trudy Wise: 'The Federal Children's Services Programme is under threat for two reasons: 1. It may be handed over to the states 2. It is being starved of money.
If the Federal Children's Services Program goes All This Will Be Lost -
GOING - about 40,000 children are catered for in one year in school holiday programs
GOING - 3,600 children participating in after school programs
GOING - 3,000 children cared for in child care centres
GOING - 5,200 in neighbourhood children's centres
GOING - 56,000 children attending sessional pre-schools
GOING - 10,500 children benefiting
from family support services such as financial counselling, family aides and emergency accommodation
GOING - many adolescent children assisted with services such as emergency youth refuges.
What will we gain? NO CHILDREN'S SERVICES This programme was developed in 1972 by the Federal Government because of the failure of the State Government to provide these services. ... We Need Your Support!' Vashti Spring '81
15..VICTORIAN CHILDCARE ACTION GROUP RALLY
Gaylene Seadon: 'Childcare - Everyone's Business - The question we must ask is "is childcare a universally accessible community service or a welfare service available only to those who deserve it? Are we heading towards a situation where child care will cease to be a community based program, accountable to the parents who use it? Will parents who use childcare have to fulfil DSS criteria, becoming accountable to a large, inflexible and impersonal structure that has no scope to cater for a variety of individual circumstances and needs?"
The Victorian Childcare Action Group recently held a rally in the city which was attended by approximately 1000 people. One parent speaker stated that "Government politicians have been sitting in Canberra mulling over why they are losing the women's vote. But without child care there's no equal opportunity, there's no social justice for women - these are just empty words. ... The childcare issue, whether it be wages, accessibility, quality or affordability must be taken up by all. In order for women to claim their right to a job, training or education, child care is essential. The feminist movement argued years ago that childcare wasn't just a women's issue. The fight has become more immediate and we must force the government to meet our demands. Support your local childcare centre and family day care scheme! Join the Victorian Childcare Action Group!" Poverty Action Worker, CSMC'. from Victorian Women's Liberation Newsletter No 5 May 1989
Leaflet: 'June '83 National Childcare Conference - "Child Care is a Political Issue".
The National Association of Community based Child Care (NACBCC) was formed in Melbourne in June 1982. The Association advocates and actively works for the development of community based children's services across Australia, which are -
- available to those who need and want to use them
- controlled by the families using the services
- cater for the actual child care of families wishing to use them
- locally planned
- relevant to the cultural background of the user
- located within the neighbourhood where people live and work
- fair and adequate in employment matters
- non sexist and multicultural.' Barb Friday papers, University of Melbourne
Women's Liberation archives Melbourne University
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16..FEMINIST REFUGE ACTION GROUP Petition Protesting lack of funding for incest services. See Appendix 1 Papers
Carole Wilson SLV rp000118
17..WOMEN BEHIND BARS
Vashti: 'I was in Fairlea Prison with three other women for contempt of court. We were sentenced there for three days after a demonstration against conscription which took place outside the Carlton Court ... Before women can be liberated the prisons have to go, and the society that puts women into prison has to go with it ... it isn't just what happened in Fairlea that is bad, but why it happens that is terrifying. We all have to know why there are prisons and who they serve, and what we can do.' Zelda D'Aprano papers University of Melbourne
Fairlea Women's Prison Demonstration -
Lot's Wife March 17 1980: 'On Sunday March 16 there was a demonstration outside Fairlea Women's Prison - organized by Women Behind Bars ... Leslie Leonard (Sonny) Curll's governorship of Fairlea had been marked by increased use of solitary confinement and generally repressive measures against the inmates. In a leaflet Women Behind Bars refers to Curll as an ... officer whose appointment can only be seen as a clear indication of the repressive intent of Fairlea's administration'. Rivka Pile papers, Melbourne University
Women's Liberation Newsletter August 1980: 'We call on YOU to help us repeal laws against Moral Danger, Governor's Pleasure and Prostitution. Come to our next meeting.' Karen Bird papers, University of Melbourne
Carol Wilson SLV rp000139
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Women's Liberation Newsletter: 'Before women can be liberated the prisons have to go, and the society that puts women into prisons has to go with it. We all know why there are prisons and who they serve and what we can do.'
18..WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES FEMINIST COLLECTIVE
Lesbian News Feb/Mar '83: 'To educate, act as a resource, through radio 3CR reach an awareness about interpersonal and political issues that shape our lives.' Jenny Pausacker papers, University of Melbourne
Disability Resource Centre (DRC) newsletter Nov 1983: 'On Sunday June 25th the Women with Disabilities Feminist Collective in conjunction with the DRC held a public meeting to discuss: 'The Role of Beauty Quests: Their Relationship to Fundraising'. ... The overwhelming feeling of the meeting was that the holding of beauty quests such as the Miss Victoria Quest and on a national level the Miss Australia Quest by the Spastic Society was an inappropriate way of raising funds for the provision of services to people with disabilities. It was felt that beauty quests established and maintained concepts of beauty and the idea of what an "acceptable person" is, to the detriment of disabled people's acceptance in the community. .... Representatives of the working party are still meeting with the Spastic Society to negotiate the cancellation of all further beauty quests.' Jan Telstro (Gladys), papers University of Melbourne
Melbourne University Women's Liberation archives
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19..WOMEN AGAINST RAPE The Rape Song s ee Appendix 1 Papers
Leaflet: 'Women Against Rape ... is a group of Melbourne women who got angry about the fact that it is always women who seemed to be blamed for rape - because they were out late, wore short skirts, hitch-hiked, lived alone, didn't bolt and bar all their doors and windows, trusted a man, or some other such thing.
We were worried about the fact that, with everyone talking this way, women started to blame themselves if they were raped. We also thought it was unfair that we spend so much time being frightened - on the streets, at home at night, or if we happen to be alone anywhere. We decided to set up the RAPE CRISIS CENTRE.' Renee Romeril papers, University of Melbourne
See Appendix 1 for the constitution
Jean Taylor: 'Collectives like Women Against Rape (WAR), for example, were extremely important in the 1970's. Collective members would go with women to hospitals and courts and doctors for support when they wanted us to. Women were supported whatever decision they made - whether to report it to the cops or not.' Women'sWeb Women's Stories, Women's Actions pub UAW and www.womensweb.com.au
Leaflet: 'Rape is a violent assault - Rape is an attack on all women: 'We should not forget that rape is a violent assault - the greatest violation of self short of homicide - that the rapists are men and the victims women, children and sometimes other men. Rape is not the just dessert of any woman who dresses sexually, goes out at night, or who lives alone. Women do not cause rape by becoming more independent.' from the Jo Phillips papers, Melbourne University
Lesley Stern: 'Rape - the end of every wolf whistle'.
Germaine Greer: 'Seduction is a four letter word'.
Judy Power & Judi Willis: 'Put men on trial for rape, not women'.
'WAR ON RAPE' - Women Against Rape booklet 'This book is dedicated to the victims of rape, everywhere, and to the strength and courage shown by these women under attack.
Kathie Sarachild: "There are many reasons you may not want to read this book.
- You have never been raped
- You know it could never happen to you
- If it did you know you could resist
- You would rather not think about being raped
- You, or a friend, has been raped
and you would rather forget it.
These are the very reasons you should read this book.
No woman can ignore the problem, whether she has been raped or not. There is a curfew on women in this country ... A convicted rapist interviewed on television explained it this way: 'There are two sorts of women who get raped. One is the sort who is really gullible, you have to take advantage of women like that. The other is the sort who thinks she is as good as men, and you have to put her in her place. And if you can't find either sort, then you'll rape anyway.
How to avoid rape:
- Don't go out without clothes - that encourages men
- Don't go out with clothes - any clothes encourage some men
- Don't go out alone at night - that encourages men
- Don't go out alone anytime - any situation encourages some men
- Don't go out with a female friend - some men are encouraged by numbers
- Don't go out with a male friend - some male friends are capable of rape, or the rapist may assault your friend before starting on you
- Don't stay at home - intruders and relatives are both potential rapists
- Avoid childhood - some rapists are turned on by the very young
- Avoid old age - some rapists inflict themselves on aged women
- Don't have neighbours - these often rape women
- Don't have a father, grandfather, uncle or brother - these are relatives who most often rape young women
- Don't marry - rape is legal within marriage
To be quite sure - don't exist!' University of Melbourne
Women's Liberation Newsletter: Bride Bashing "A new drug on the market can heal bruises, even in severe cases where the injury has gone through to the bone. The unnamed doctor being interviewed by David Elias said he has prescribed the drug about 100 times over the last 2 years, but only because of his work with battered brides." Thanks to Molly Hadfield, who sent in the following item she spotted in the Herald on 11/1/'75 University of Melbourne
Vashti's Voice: 'But You Have Got This Nice New Law -
In July 1975 the Attorney-General asked the Law Reform Commissioner, Mr Justice Smith, to investigate and advise whether amendments could be made in relation to court procedures and the laws of evidence affecting rape trials. Early in 1976 a working paper was published which included anti-women sentiments and an unflinching belief that women tell lies and are neurotic, psychopathic and hysterical, and continually fantasize rape. There were approximately five pages devoted to the victim and her plight and twenty pages about the dangers of false accusation, the relevance of the victim's sexual experience and the numerous rights of the accused -
Justice Smith: 'it is part of the traditional wisdom of mankind that in relation to sexual offences there is a special danger of unfounded accusations and wrongful accusations'. Justice Smith then goes on to say on page 13 that: 'the woman, if she chooses to do so, can plausibly allege that she was raped, and can without difficulty fabricate apparent confirmation, such as torn clothing, bruising, or other minor injuries, and overturned furniture'. And so it goes on through the working paper.' p.10 Vashti's Voice
Carmel Shute: 'Dear Sisters, Do some men still want to burn us at the stake? Until today, I would have argued that misogyny in the 20th century takes fundamentally different forms than it did in the 15th to 17th centuries when an estimated 7-9 million women were burnt as witches. However, an incident today has convinced me that some men still see themselves as the conscious torchbearers of this ancient tradition.
This afternoon I was walking down Little Bourke St carrying a big bag of books when a man wearing a cowboy hat grabbed me. Gripping my diaphragm and leering into my face he asked "Whatyer doing?" With my free hand I thumped him on the arm (quite hard, I'm pleased to say) and he let me go. He walked to the other side of the road and then started shouting "You f...... s... You ought to be burned at the stake!" He created quite a commotion but needless to say the passersby did naught but stare.
Like all women, I am fairly "used to" sexual harassment on the street but I am still reeling from the latest attack. Leers, sexual remarks and invitations; and threats of rape are regrettably commonplace but threats of immolation? Is this a new trend? It's all very well for me to joke afterwards ... but I really find this incident very disturbing. I would be interested to know if your readers had views on the "state" of sexual harassment these days. Yours in sisterhood ...' Women's Liberation Newsletter Dec '82 University of Melbourne
21..WAA ATTACK ON FEMINIST ANTI-RAPE CAMPAIGN
The feminist magazine Rouge argued: 'The Women's Action Alliance (WAA) uses the (feminist) rape campaign to attack sexual "promiscuity" and deny the concepts of "any man can be a rapist/any woman can be raped." It continued: "Anne Black's letter (Age Oct 15 '79) in some respects won feminist sympathy because it apparently came out in favour of self-defence against rapists and against sexual exploitation of women. However, this letter must be exposed. She writes -
1. Women who do not fight back are not really raped because to women "rape is worse than murder." "Surely, if we are raped, we will fight back."
2. "Sexual exploitation" is redefined ... Ms Black makes no difference between sexual intercourse and rape! (She said) "If women did not 'concede' to any sexual acts, then we wouldn't be raped" - we have no right to sexuality!
WAA consistently opposes the political implications of rape, reducing it to a simple "if we didn't have pornography, we wouldn't have rape" type of argument. This ignores the power position of men and women, it makes rape the isolated acts of sexually frenzied men.' Response to the October 1978 WAA Women's Issues Report to the National Civic Council Women's Liberation archives, University of Melbourne
22..LAWS ON PROSTITUTION
Jenny Bacon: 'The laws on prostitution are laws on property, forbidding women to sell something which can only belong to men, and prohibiting owners of brothels making profit out of other men's property. Of course, the client escapes all this ... ' Vashti 76-7 Summer
"The WLM has been approached with a request for a comment
on the articles appearing in the local papers on PAN AM's book Low Life
and I am attaching a statement from May Scheidt:
"Our attitude towards prostitution is clear cut. We advocate the repeal of all laws against prostitution. This does not mean we are in favour of prostitution which exploits women, nor does it mean we want prostitution legalized.
Legalizing prostitution results in the grossest degradation of women while legally sanctioning the abuse of women." WLM Melbourne, May, Alva, Kath, Molly, Ky, Bernice
St Kilda Women's Liberation Group No 5: 'The alternative to ILLEGAL prostitution is not LEGAL prostitution: "All laws on prostitution should be repealed".
Every argument in favour of legalising prostitution presupposes that in order to cure our male problems and crimes, women are to be used as the victims, and that male needs are paramount. To give legal sanction to prostitution means accepting the buying and selling of a human being. We will be giving in to the hands of authority that which should be a matter of personal responsibility.
- Who will decide who is a prostitute to be kept clean and free from disease?
Will the men who use prostitutes have to be licensed, or be regularly checked for VD?
- Who is going to admit being a prostitute? You? Your wife? or daughter? By dividing women into "good" women and "bad" women we downgrade some of our sisters in order to upgrade others.
Marriage supposedly offers a woman economic
security in exchange for the use of her body. Piecework versus the contract? Prostitution will not be eliminated until there is sexual equality and society accepts that neither sex may exploit the other.' Bon Hull papers, Melbourne University
23..1979 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY (IWD)
The theme was international -
Sun 9/3/1979: 'Shooting as Iranian Women Protest, Tehran, Thursday AAP - Iran's revolutionary forces today fired into the air to disperse about 15,000 women protesting outside Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan's office on International Women's Day. Witnesses said thousands of women scattered in panic as volleys of gunfire rang out, but no injuries were reported. The demonstrators had marched to Mr Bazargan's office through heavy snow, shouting "death to dictatorship" to protest against the increasingly strict Islamic character being given to the Iranian revolution. They declared they would not wear the black Moslem Chador (cloak or veil) imposed on female civil servants by religious leader Ayatollah Khomeiny.' Zelda D'Aprano papers, State Library of Victoria
24..ANTI-ANZAC DAY DEMONSTRATION (Women Against Rape)
During this period Women Against Rape were also challenging Anzac Day and asking why rape in war was not remembered.
Women's Liberation leaflet: 'women walk against war women walk against war women walk against war women walk against war women walk against war women walk against war
Wednesday, 24th April 6pm at the Anzac Shrine
On this evening we are walking away from the shrine
in opposition to the things that are celebrated on the day that is called ANZAC DAY
meet at the shrine's northern steps by Anzac Avenue
walk to the Town Hall plaza for singing, street theatre, exhibition, and speakers
ALL WOMEN WELCOME
Women do this because war is the belief that violence solves things
Women walk away from the shrine because the shrine speaks mostly of men
Women walk away from the shrine because men killed women in its wars and
they are not mourned on this day
Women walk away from the shrine because men raped women in its wars and
they are not mourned on this day
Women are against violence because it savages their minds and their bodies
Men go to war to protect what they own
Men beat their women to punish what they own
Men rape women to make them their own
Women demonsrate in a non violent action against a violent history made by men and
celebrated by a nation on ANZAC DAY. Private papers
WAR Press Release Wednesday April 25 1979: 'Australian women are angry because today, as on past ANZAC days, the celebrations have concentrated on glorification of the role men play in wartime and have totally ignored the fact that in war, as in peace, women have always born the brunt of male violence.
The 'heroic' soldiers remembered today not only killed men, women and children in wars started by male politicians, they also raped thousands of women. That particular war on women continues today and shows no signs of abating. When will this society recognize the oppression of women, and in particular the threat of male violence which daily confronts us? During this year's ANZAC day ceremonies, representatives of Melbourne Women Against Rape collective will be remembering the women raped in wars and intend to lay a wreath in their memory on the Shrine.
Postscript: Women Against Rape Collective - Women from WAR attended the ANZAC Day March wearing black robes with 'REMEMBER WOMEN RAPED IN WAR' painted in bright red letters. On arriving at the shrine we were spotted by a rather anxious looking policeman who hurriedly went for assistance, bring back with him another policeman and an Army Brigadier. The Brigadier, after some gentle persuasion, 'agreed' to let two women lay our wreath at the shrine steps. We were, of course, escorted by the Brigadier. The wreath was made out of crepe paper in the shape of a women's symbol and bearing the suffragette colours of white, green and purple. (Thanks, Judy and Judi for your assistance with making the flowers.)' University of Melbourne
University of Melbourne archives
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25..1980 ANTI WOMAN GROUPS INTERVENE (IWD)
Women's Liberation Newsletter: 'Speaking Rights of the 'Right' -
Motion passed by the IWD March Committee, and given consensus support by the Women's Liberation General Meeting: 17 February 1980: 'That individuals representing the Right to Life Association (RtoL), Women's Action Alliance (WAA), Women Who Want to be Women (WWWW), or with similar views, will not be given speaking rights (ie any platform to put their views) at the International Women's Day demonstration because they oppose an equal role for women at work, in the family and in the community, the right of women to control their lives and their bodies, through to rights for lesbians, abortion, women's refuges and childcare.' Women's Liberation archives, University of Melbourne
Judy's Punch: 'The Anti-Feminists - For feminists, IWD has been a struggle for our liberation. We oppose the participation of groups such as WAA because their aims are directly opposed to the liberation of women.
The WAA and its offshoot, WWWW, have been establishes specifically to sabotage the work of the Women's Liberation Movement. Simply because these groups claim to represent women does not legitimise the conservative and often reactionary politics they uphold. Their strategy is one of defusing the Women's Liberation Movement and destroying the gains made by feminists. For example -
1. By establishing a "pregnancy aid" centre, a few doors down from the Fertility Control Centre, to harass and prevent women from seeking abortion, contraception or sterilization advice. (Right to Life Association)
2. Sponsoring a "Women and the Family Conference" to reinforce the Right to Life Association's traditional and oppressive role of women as merely wives and mothers. (Women's Action Alliance)
3. Organising a "Total Child Care Conference" which hysterically attacked homosexuals as "child molesters", and promoted family child care in opposition to community child care. (Festival of Light)
4. Establishing a women's bureau in Australia's largest union, the Shop Assistant's Union, to, in their own words, "wreck progressive work by women in unions" (Conference of the National Civic Council, Victoria 1978). This meant that the union now supports "homemakers' allowance", and opposes community based child care.
These few examples indicate the basic opposition of these groups to the liberation of women. As feminists we must organise against such opposition, but forcibly preventing these groups from distributing leaflets at the IWD rally is not the way to fight political attacks. Any group has the right to produce and distribute its own material.
If members of right-wing groups such as WAA, WWWW, the Right to Life Association or the Festival of Light are present at this International Women's Day rally, their participation should be clearly distinguished as a counter-demonstration which opposes the historical origins and the present aims of International Women's Day. Authorised by: Lesley Podesta, Amanda Biles, Dominica Whelan, Karina Veal, Penny Farrer, Duggie Silins, Rigmor Berg, Isabells Martinas, Sue Russell, Jennifer Lee, Joanna Rea.
Women's Liberation Newsletter August 1980: 'Anti-women groups intervene in International Women's Day (IWD) planning - The first meeting of the feminist-convened IWD committee was held on Wednesday 30 July with long time activist Marj Oke in the chair. Publicity had mysteriously found its way into the Age, against the express wish of the organisers, and the result was the attendance of women from 'Women Who Want to be Women (WWWW') and other anti-woman groups.' Karen Bird papers, Melbourne University This didn't stop feminist women.
Melbourne University Women's Liberation archives
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26..RECLAIM THE NIGHT
Women Against Rape: '1978 Reclaim the Night March - It was fantastic how many (500) women turned up at the Reclaim the Night rally last Friday, Nov 16, especially considering the conservative mood of recent times. We had expected the march to wind down about 9.30 pm. Instead, ... (there was still) a terrific generation of spirit and high energy level. Women chanted themselves hoarse and wanted to go all night.' Tess Maloney papers University of Melbourne
Vashti Summer '79: ' Do you feel safe in the streets at night?
RECLAIM THE NIGHT
Women are never free from violence, from the threat of rape, from cat-calls and leers. Rape is an act of violence against women. Pornography glorifies this violence. Pornography violates women. We are seen as objects of male desire, to be used and abused, to tie up and slice up. Pornography feeds rape fantasies.
WOMEN, RECLAIM THE NIGHT
As a woman, how good do you feel walking past a sex-shop? How safe walking the streets at night. Walk together to take back the night, as women have in cities all over the world, because in every sense none of us can walk alone. Walking together we are proclaiming to the rapists and pornographers and woman batterers that their days are numbered and our time has come.
WOMEN, RECLAIM THE NIGHT
'Rally in the Mall outside the GPO 8pm Friday 6th November. Bring your own placards, sparklers and candles. Women's Street Theatre.'
WOMEN, RECLAIM THE NIGHT
'Women, Every Night Should be Ours - Come and Reclaim it.' Women Against Rape, University of Melbourne
1980 - MARCH Friday 24 March 1980 Speakers included Joan Coxsedge, Mary Owen.
Women's Liberation Newsletter: 'Judy Power, speaking as a women's liberationist, began by saying: "We are all victims of male violence. All of us. We are surrounded by violence and contempt for women. We are bombarded with it every day of our lives. On TV we're shown as passive victims and sex objects. In newspapers we're used for decoration and light relief. In magazines, and that includes women's magazines, there's the glorification of sexy, passive women. In all advertising our bodies are used to sell everything from cars to chocolate bars. In the pornography shops which glorify rape and show us actually enjoying rape and humiliation ... well!
In our cars and on our bikes, men yell and toot us to try to get us to pull over or run us off the road. In trams and on railway stations, at the bus stop and the tramstop, some men harass us and other men allow it to happen ... In police stations and doctor's surgeries and lawyer's offices, some men will take advantage of their position of power to put sexual pressure on us ... In our home we can never be completely safe, either from the men we live with ... or from the men who may break in." Melbourne University archives
Di Fruin: 'YES MEANS YES, NO MEANS NO, HOWEVER WE DRESS, WHEREVER WE GO'. 'EVERY NIGHT SHOULD BE OURS - COME AND RECLAIM IT' Rivka Pile papers Melbourne University archives
Women Against Male Violence Collective: 'The responsibility for male violence must be seen to rest firmly on males, not on their female victims ... It's essential that we move beyond our conditioned passivity.' Lesbian Newsletter April '80 University of Melbourne
Dr Jocelynne Scutt: 'It was in 1988 that women around Australia once more joined nationally (and this time, internationally - New Zealand was in it too) to hold 'Reclaim the Night' rallies and march exultantly through Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and elsewhere ... to demand and to celebrate women's assertion that the streets are ours, too, to walk in, to live in, to dance, skip, run in, not to be raped and harassed in, or abused or derided.' p.252 Jocelynne A Scutt The Sexual Gerrymander Spinifex 1994
University of Melbourne archives
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27..1981 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
Lesbian Newsletter No 29 Jan '80: 'IWD 1981 Workshop Discussions - The Women and Labour Conference discussion group is organising a day of workshop discussions as part of the International Women's Day activities. These will be held Sunday 8th March at the Women's Building, 113 Rosslyn Street West Melbourne, 10.30am to 5.00pm.
The workshop-discussions will examine the current experiences of women in the economic crisis. A number of issues will be discussed including: women and unemployment, women and poverty, domestic violence, and childcare. These workshops will consider the conditions of women in all age groups, Aboriginal women, migrant women, married women, students, and women in paid employment.
Childcare is available. The $2 charge covers tea/coffee/childcare/rental. Contact Maree Gladwin, Jocelyn Clarke, Rae Walker, Pat Gowland.' Jenny Tatchell papers University of Melbourne
IWD had as its themes -
- Women in economic crisis
- Women and unemployment
- Women under economic stress
- Domestic violence
- Women's labour and its effects on their health.
Women's Liberation archives Melbourne University
28..1982 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY (IWD)
Jenny Rimmer: ' ... women from Canberra send the following message to the Melbourne women of the World Bike Ride for Peace, Disarmament and a Nuclear Free Future:
"Solidarity to women who wish to see government funds and the earth's resources directed to human support rather than human destruction! We welcome, as the saying goes, the day that health, education and childcare are fully funded whilst the Admirals have to hold a laming ton drive or stall to buy their next submarine. We also remember Karen Silkwood, murdered by imperialist warmongers.
Equality of the sexes will bring peace, the end of capitalism, and end to the rape of the earth ... so let's take the toys from the boys!" Private papers
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Vashti's Voice July 1973: 'It always seems to me that when women apply for "male" jobs, the only subject which concerns everyone is TOILETS. Women-Toilets must be a sort of word-association-link in the minds of employers and some union men!' Melbourne University archives
29..1983 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
Lesbian Newsletter Feb.Mar.'83: 'The Wimmin's Liberation Group will celebrate IWD on March 8th by having 24 hours of non-stop wimmins radio on 3CR ...
Review: 'Leave it up to the women to break the drought! - With clothes plastered to bodies, over 500 women made it to the Treasury Gardens after marching through city streets under what was the heaviest spit from the clouds above that Melbourne has seen in ages. The rally and march were organised in a short space of time thanks to the initiative of a small group of women. Various speakers spoke at the rally on topics such as Childcare, the International Year of the Lesbian, Young Women, Unionism and Disabled Women ... (performers were) the "Greta Garbo's" ... "3CR Live to Air Concert" etc. At the Kingston Hotel were Judy Small and "Synergy" (perhaps you are familiar with their recording "Union Maid"! Jenny Tatchell papers University of Melbourne
30..WAR AGAINST VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Women's Liberation Newsletter: 'War Against Violence Against Women' -
We are not the Festival of Light; We are not prudes; and we are not against sexuality, but we oppose violence against women and those aspects of our society which promote/condone violence against women. Women should not be intimidated just walking alone in the streets. Yet women are never free from the threat of violence and rape, cat-calls and leers, especially at night.
The media abuses women's sexuality so that we are seen merely as vessels to gratify male desires. We are not seen as having individual personalities of our own. This perpetuates an atmosphere wherein abuse of women is made easier since we are all taught that women are less than human. Battered women, violent pornography, cat-calls, rape, cannot be separated. They are all part of the process of the intimidateion of women. Women should be free of fear wherever we are, free to wear what we please, free to express our own sexuality and not a male fantasy, free to walk the streets at any time of day ... WOMEN ... RECLAIM THE NIGHT!' Robyn Martin papers University of Melbourne
Lesbian Health Day Conference Melbourne University Archives DS 00177
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31..1983 WOMEN REFUSED PERMISSION ON ANZAC DAY
Philippa Hawker: 'The Melbourne City Council has refused permission for a group of women to hold a march on Anzac Day to protest against the rape and murder of women in war. ... The marchers come from several women's groups. An organizer, Ms Liz Doweling, said the group still planned to meet at the corner of Domain Street and Domain Road, South Yarra at 11am on Monday and approach the shrine in the opposite direction from the official march. The women plan to lay their own wreath at the Shrine in the shape of the female symbol. They will dress in black and carry colourful banners.' The Age Saturday 23 April 1983
The Age (undated) 'Seven Arrested in Melbourne: Police tore down banners, including one saying 'Lest We Forget' as soon as about 150 women tried to march ... Mr Bruce Ruxton, (President of the State branch of the RSL) described the women as "rabble rousers" and probably "communist inspired!' "If one looked at them, I wonder how rape would be possible" he said.' Women Against Rape papers University of Melbourne
32..1984 'IN MEMORY OF ALL WOMEN IN ALL COUNTRIES RAPED IN ALL WARS'
CRAC Monash: 'A group of Melbourne women - the anti-ANZAC day collective - is demanding the abolition of ANZAC day and its replacement with a public holiday on International Women's Day. In past years groups have tried to march, generally apart from the official procession. The protesters have often laid wreaths to commemorate women raped in war. "We're not asking to participate," a member of the collective, Dr Adrian Howe, said yesterday. "A women's march or wreath laying would lead to women being co-opted into a misogynist tradition", she said. "We're not against the right of people to mourn. But we don't have to turn mourning into a public spectacle that glorifies male violence against women", she said. ... "It equates nationhood with manhood. It is a so-called national tradition which silences women and perpetuates violence against them.' Women's Liberation papers, Melbourne University
The Age 25/4/'84: '... Last year seven women faced charges including sexual assault, offensive behaviour, resisting arrest and hindering police ... Women will meet at the floral clock in St Kilda Road at 10.30am today. They will carry a banner reading, "Abolish ANZAC day - no more silence about male violence". A collective member said she expected about 100 women to take part.' Women's Liberation papers, Melbourne University
33..1985 SEXIST ADVERTISING BY VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT
Women's Liberation Newsletter May 1985: 'Sexist Advertising by the Victorian Government - Rivka Pile has sent the following letter to Mr Cain as Minister for Women's Affairs - she suggested we write individual letters based on our information.
"Dear Sir, My friends and I wish to draw to your attention an advertisement being promoted on television by the Victorian Tourist Commission - "Melbourne, you haven't seen it all". One section shows yachts on the Bay, then (full screen) the bikini clad buttocks of two young women, while the voice-over sings "I saw some broad-beamed beauties on St Kilda beach". A later section focuses on swinging breasts - T shirt covered, but well defined.
As witnessed by the remainder of the advertisement we have a beautiful city with much to be seen, but what type of tourist are we trying to attract? Do we need suggestive advertisements which embarrass women?"
34..1986 ANTI-ANZAC DAY DEMONSTRATION
Women's Liberation Newsletter No. 3/86: 'So, on Anzac Day women once again said NO to the RSL and NO to the Anzac myths. We rallied at the Boer War Memorial (making the relevant connections, of course), got caught in the rain while speakers spoke on issues of oppression and of struggles happening ...
We marched up St Kilda Rd, singing and chanting until we were confronted with a line of police that we couldn't avoid. We were still about 100 metres away from the parade where diggers were still marching. Within seconds of stopping we were surrounded by police and media. We continued singing and chanting. A few women spoke and the platform was opened up for more women to have their say. As a woman began to address the crowd of gathering onlookers, two men jumped up on the truck and started laying into her. A few women moved in to give aid to her, and the men started dragging her off the truck. At this time the uniformed police moved in and grabbed another of the women and carried her away.
As the first woman was dragged away it became apparent that the men who had originally attacked her were actually plain clothed cops. They had been hurling abuse seconds before they attacked ... We continued to chant. As we did so quite a few of the onlookers yelled insults at us but NONE of them were even warned by police (surprise, surprise). Later we found out that the police had attacked the woman speaker because she allegedly used 'obscene' language. ... Women WILL continue to demonstrate on Anzac Day, we will not be deterred by police provocation, until it is ABOLISHED.'
35..1987 'WOMEN DEMONSTRATE ON ANZAC DAY'
Anti Anzac Day Collective: ''Women protest at Anzac Day against militarism, male glorification of war and institutionalised mourning. Women are angry that women are raped and mutilated in war and so-called 'peace'. That attitude that women are the property of 'the enemy' or should be available to men because they have been fighting is no different to women being viewed as property and bashed in the home or in the street. Some women view their presence as a broader protest against male violence and the daily war waged against women. Some women protest specifically at Anzac Day against imperialistic wars, some protest against the exploitation of women's labour during and after the war and the continuing exploitation of women's unpaid domestic labour and low wage 'women's work'.
Women protest because Anzac Day is more than a day about war, it is a symbolic day representing male power and the mythology maintains and encourages the readiness of people to fight for nationalistic profit orientated wars.' State Library of Victoria
Adrian Howe: 'The emphasis, then, in these direct action challenges to the Anzac Day mythology has been on the universal experience of women in war. Instead of focusing on the nationhood (manhood) myth enshrined in the Anzac Day tradition, women participating in Anzac Day marches have sought to reclaim the day as a day of mourning, and, at the same time, to broaden the meaning of Anzac Day to include women of all nations who have suffered in war. The lyrics of Judy Small's song 'Lest we forget', which is usually sung during these marches, provides the fuller context of suffering in wartime: "It's not only men in uniform who pay the price of war. / It is also the countless children burnt alive in napalm's fire, / The dead civilians lying tangled in the wire / And women raped and shattered to the core. / Lest we forget." Joy Damousi and Marilyn Lake ed Gender and War Anzac Mythology and the Feminist Challenge CUB 1995
University of Melbourne archives
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36..AUSTRALIAN FEMINIST BOOK FORTNIGHT
The Australian Feminist Book Fortnight (AFBF) was held on 1-17 September 1989 -
Kate Veitch: 'The aim of the AFBF is to highlight and celebrate the strengths, challenges and concerns expressed in contemporary women's writing.'
Speaker at the Launch - Dale Spender
Editors - Susan Hawthorne, Jenny Lee, Michele Grossman, Michele Nayman, Janine Burke, Susan Hancock.
Poets - Judith Rodriguez, Connie Barber, Barbara Giles, Irina Panda.
Documenting Literature - Helen Elliot, Hazel Rowley, Virginia Blaine.
Drama - Sandra Shotlander.
Women's Studies - Hilary McPhee.' Sabine Fernheicher papers University of Melbourne
Jean Taylor: 'It wasn't until the 1980's that these services became consolidated and, often, funded. Or took off independently, such as:
- Women's Refuge Referrals Service;
- Women's Health Resource Collective and
- Healthsharing Women which amalgamated and later became
- Women's Health Victoria;
- Domestic Violence and Incest Resource Centre;
- Women's Information Support and Housing in the North (WISHIN);
- Women's Legal Resource Group (WLRG);
- Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA) House; and
- Women's Information and Referral Exchange (WIRE)
Even though some collectives folded, there were still unfunded activist collectives such as Women for Survival and the Queen Victoria Women's Centre Campaign. And other women's groups such as the Union of Australian Women (UAW), Women's Electoral Lobby (WEL) and Council for Single Mothers and Their Children (CSMC) were still going. Jean Taylor, from Women's Web Women's Stories, Women's Actions Union of Australian Women and www.womensweb.com.au
38..SUPPORT FOR OTHER MOVEMENTS
Women's Liberation supports other Movements, such as Environmental and Aboriginal Land Rights -
Women's liberation Newsletter November 1981: 'Christina Frankland, who with Sandra Onus waged court battles against the aluminium company Alcoa, has been forced to leave the town of Portland where she lived. Vandals have wrecked her home and she and her 14 year old daughter have been abused in the streets. Eight other families, involving about fifty people, had also been forced to leave because of the continued harassment. Christina has had her dog poisoned, her household items stolen, trees on her land chopped down and cars have tried to run her down. She said there had always been discrimination in Portland but it had worsened since the land rights battle.
Christina and Sandra have won a High Court ruling which overturned an earlier Supreme Court decision which now allows them to seek an injunction against Alcoa to stop work on their Portland smelter site. The court ruled that they have a special interest under the Archeological and Aboriginal Relics Preservation Act which makes it an offence to damage a relic. The site Alcoa chose for its smelter is a sacred site for the Guntiji-mari tribe and contains many relics. Alcoa have already ruined some of it and have destroyed a heath in which flora and fauna found nowhere else lived.' Karen Bird, University of Melbourne
In the next chapter we look at the broader women's movement.
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