Wom*news #11: News Round Up

By Laura Howden

Issue #11 of our zine will be out in the forthcoming weeks. In a cool coincidence, this is our 111th post! :)

Political Parlay

— In response to the results of the federal election Greens leader, Christine Milne, maintains her party had an “extraordinary” result —  picking up 8.4 per cent of the primary vote nationally and securing 10 seats in the senate.

These results were part of a larger swing against the Greens of 3.4%, however Senator Milne was quick to place the results in context. “What I’d think is extraordinary here is that the Greens said that we would be judged at this election by whether or not we could hold our seats in the course of a conservative tide coming in across the country. We have.”

—  Late on Thursday the 12th September, the Australian Electoral Commission placed independent Cathy McGowan ahead of the sitting member Sophie Mirabella by 1144 votes, in the Liberal frontbencher’s Victorian seat of Indi.

In what has been dubbed a “pre-emptive” move, MP Mirabella has now displaced herself from the frontbench. She has been a contentious figure in Australian politics, earning criticism for her hard-faced comments on muslim women, the stolen generation and asylum seekers – but has been acknowledged as a women of academic brilliance during her time studying law at Melbourne University, preceding her career.
— Closer to home and the elections for the University of Queensland’s Student Union have officially wrapped up, with the broad left coalition ticket Reform taking 7267 votes. Lift, in second place, gained 4830 votes and trailing in at third was the incumbent party, Fresh, with 3714 votes.

This signals a shift away from the previously conservative tenure of the Fresh body, which has long been affiliated with the on-campus Young Liberal club. Reform’s Vice Presidents of Gender and Sexuality, Kathryn Cramp and Lotte Scheel, are both active members of the UQ Women’s Collective and will be working closely with collective members to affiliate the club and gain funds for a (much welcomed!) renovation of the Women’s Room.

Trending On…

  • — A recent stunt in one of Amsterdam’s so called “red light” districts, organised by advertising agency Duval Guillaume in support of Stop the Traffik (an organisation raising awareness and funds to stop human trafficking), has gained great popularity on social media. The co-ordinated dance routine conducted by several women in lingerie, at first gained whistles and applause from bystanders. That is, until the music stopped and a message was projected on a screen above the house, raising awareness of women who are promised dance careers in Europe only to end up being sold into prostitution.

According to the campaign’s webpage“[tourists] often see the prostitutes as a kind of entertainment… every day hundreds of ‘windowshoppers’ from all over the world take a stroll on the Amsterdam canals…”

 — An excellent article on feministing.com has made the rounds on Facebook, responding to the recent and now infamous “twerking incident” by Miley Cyrus at the VMA music awards. The following excerpt is one of the most apt summaries so far of what was so uncomfortable about Ms. Cyrus’ performance (that has nothing to do with slut or body shaming, as has been unfortunately perpetuated in recent media coverage):

“…our dialogue about twerking reflects a larger system of cultural appropriation, commodification, and sometimes exploitation that has resulted in the birth of “ratchet culture.” Ratchet has become the umbrella term for all things associated with the linguistic, stylistic, and cultural practices, witnessed or otherwise, of poor people; specifically poor people of color…”

Jolly Good Sports

— A manifesto has been published as campaigners increase their efforts to reintroduce a women’s Tour de France, with the document calling for a women’s event (last held in 2009) to be run concurrently with the men’s race from 2014 onwards.

More than 93,000 have signed a petition created by the group of women leading the charge to reinstate the women’s tour, including cyclist and writer Kathryn Bertine, World Ironman champion Chrissie Wellington, and cyclists Marianne Vos and Emma Pooley. The petition has since been sent to the International Cycling Union (UCI) and Tour de France owners, Amaury Sport Organisation.

— Women’s Sporting in Australia is still very much “the underdog” in terms of media coverage, according to a recent article by ambassador for the Sydney Uni Flames basketball team, Michelle Bridges. She laments that the lack of coverage is not in any way due to a durth of national female talent, but rather a culture that continues to devalue women in the world of atheletics. Her message for Australian parents and media? Ensure young women have equal opportunities and support to become involved in a variety of sporting fields.

Ms. Bridges brings her point home by noting several prominent women’s teams and atheletes: “the Australian women’s cricket team, the Southern Stars, have recently been playing in the UK…  Ellyse Perry, who plays both soccer and cricket for her country… hurdler Sally Pearson… tennis star Sam Stosur and cyclist Anna Meares.
Author Unknown. 2013. ‘STOP THE TRAFFIK Turns Job Fair Visitors Into Red Light District Prostitutes.’ Retrieved from http://www.stopthetraffik.org/press/article/42-stop-the-traffik-turns-job-fair-visitors-into-red-light-district-prostitutes

BBC News. 2013. ‘Women’s Tour de France Campaigners Publish Manifesto.’ Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/24062998

Bowen, S. 2013. ‘Let’s get ratchet! Check your privilege at the door.’ Retrieved from http://feministing.com/2013/03/28/lets-get-ratchet-check-your-privilege-at-the-door/.

Bridges, M. 2013. ‘The Woeful Status of Female Sport in Australia.’ Retrieved from http://www.roxbydownssun.com.au/story/1765295/the-woeful-status-of-female-sport-in-australia/?cs=1251

Hall, B. 2013. ‘Christine Milne Heralds Extraordinary Result For Greens Despite Fall in Vote.’ Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/christine-milne-heralds-extraordinary-result-for-greens-despite-fall-in-vote-20130908-2tdll.html#ixzz2euuUgB4O

Murphy, D. 2013. ‘Ciao Bella: Sophie prepares to exit stage right.’ Retrieved from



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