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Women’s movement legacies in Australia. Marian Sawer, ANU Protest, dissent and activism symposium Victoria University of Wellington 16 October 2010. http://cass.anu.edu.au/research_projects/mawm. Mapping the Australian Women’s Movement. Three components

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Women s movement legacies in australia

Women’s movement legacies in Australia

Marian Sawer, ANU

Protest, dissent and activism symposium

Victoria University of Wellington

16 October 2010



Mapping the australian women s movement
Mapping the Australian Women’s Movement

  • Three components

    — protest event database and analysis 1970- 2005

    – longitudinal institutional mapping 1970- 2005

    — online discursive legacy


Multiple repertoires 1972
Multiple repertoires, 1972

  • WEL ‘outsider’ strategy - demonstrations and ‘demands’

  • At the same time as ‘insider’ strategy - submission to Tariff Inquiry, arguing for removal sales tax from contraceptives


Multiple repertoires 1976
Multiple repertoires, 1976

  • Direct action to unlock the cage

  • WEL submission on structure of women’s policy machinery (‘wheel’ model) implemented in Australian govt


Multiple repertoires 1979 iwd march sydney
Multiple repertoires 1979: IWD marchSydney

  • Protest events continue

  • Health cover for legal, safe abortion

  • WEL also forum shopping, institution-building in different jurisdictions


Multiple repertoires high court september 2001
Multiple repertoires, High Court September, 2001

  • WEL defending access of single women to IVF, inside and outside High Court of Australia




Trajectories
Trajectories

  • Protest events peak beginning 1980s

    • Institution building peaks 1970s but continues into 1990s, in different states — women’s services

    — women’s policy units, intergovt bodes

    —cultural spaces

    • Vocational institution-building continues in 21st century


Cultural spaces
Cultural spaces

  • Feminist presses (1980s: Sybylla, Redress, Sisters Publishing; 1990s: Spinifex)

  • Feminist bookshops (from 1974, now only 1)

  • Feminist journals (eg Refractory Girl 1972-2000)

  • Newspaper ‘women’s pages’ (eg. Age 1966-97)

  • Radio (eg, Coming Out Show, ABC, 1975-98)

  • Film(eg, Women’s Film Fund/Program 1976-99)

  • Online blogs, e-Lists


Can institutions sustain movement goals
Can institutions sustain movement goals?

  • Exogenous influences on women’s services

    — collectives give way to hybrids (accountability)

    — professionalisation

    — deradicalisation of language

    — competitive tendering


Can institutions sustain movement goals 2
Can institutions sustain movement goals? 2

  • Endogenous influences on women’s services

    —Professionalisation & individualisation:

    experts & clients rather than democratic service delivery

    —Loss of institutional, political memory

    —Generational shifts:

    querying relevance feminist organisational models

    BUT…


Institutional persistence 1976 2010 http www rapecrisis org au index htm
Institutional persistence 1976-2010http://www.rapecrisis.org.au/index.htm

Sexual assault counselling for women & children
Community education & training
24 hour crisis support and advocacy 


Can institutions sustain movement goals 3
Can institutions sustain movement goals (3)

  • Women’s policy agencies

    —Effects of NPM

    —outcomes not processes, product format

    —‘evidence-based’ policy + market research

    —Idea of agency capture (see public choice)

    — resistance to disaggregated analysis

    — ‘Mainstreaming’ 1990s


Changing discursive context
Changing discursive context

  • Rise of populism and public choice

    — ‘special interests’; ‘rent-seeking’

    — agency capture

    — conspiracy against public

    — redistribution at expense of ordinary taxpayers

    • Discursive shifts more important than partisan changes


State ngo relations
State/NGO relations

  • From operational funding of advocacy organisations to strengthen weak voices

    project funding (in a/c govt priorities)

    competitive tendering, excluding political functions

    'silencing dissent’ – gag clauses and threats to charitable status


Precarious nature institutional legacies
Precarious nature institutional legacies

  • Institutional innovation threatened both by

    —surrounding institutional norms

    —changing discursive contexts

    —endogenous shifts, lifecycle, generational

    • Adaptation may make it difficult but not impossible to pursue movement goals


Discursive legacies online
Discursive legacies online

• Feminist blogs

— eg http://hoydenabouttown.com

links to off-line actions such as rallies for abortion rights 9 Oct 2010

— Down Under Feminist Carnival http://downunderfeministscarnival.wordpress.com/

• Social networking

— Twitter, Facebook build stronger connections, draw attention to contentious issues, events


Blogosphere

http://downunderfeministscarnival.wordpress.com/

Down Under Feminists' Carnival

Call for Submissions: Thirtieth Edition at Fat Lot

of Good, 5 November 2010


Redheads no other match
Redheads ‘no other match’

  • Pam Debenham

    – Canberra artist, limited edn, August 2010




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