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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
  • 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


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



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