The last 48 hours

Women make the news EN(4)

lets break it down.

Trigger warning discussions around rape, sexual assault and domestic violence.

48 hours ago.Perhaps a bit close to home, I discover I have 12 new semi abusive comments waiting to be authorised attacking this blog and the idea of feminism as a whole.

I have one thing to say to those of you who are stalking this blog to post comments about how outrageous it is that we talk about womens issues,  if you disagree with us DONT READ THIS BLOG! I considered approving your comments so that the women that are part of our movement could see what they have to stand up against but then I realised that it wouldn’t do that it would just make people as angry at your moronic behaviour as I am. But lets be honest its not even as if your reading  our new posts your still going on having a whine about the ‘In Our Own Voice’ campaign that was ran last year.

I almost feel sorry for you- because obviously you have nothing else in your life to do.  Grow up Lads.

36 hours ago– Cleavage Gate

‘I dont think that it is appropriate for her to be showing her cleavage in parliament’julia-gillard-credit-MystifyMe-Concert-Photography-Troy_300

Yea Julia Gillard, our Prime Minister has never been attacked because she is a woman. The menu was not sexist, the questions about her partners sexual orientation defiantly not sexist, comments about her choice to not have children no chance of that being a sexist comment, referring to her as a witch and a bitch well that’s simply part of the job.

Only thing I can be grateful that came out of this interview is that Grace Collier explicitly said her sexist and bigoted comments were not her speaking on behalf of anyone but herself.


24 hours ago. Jill Meaghers murderer will face sentencing tomorrow.

It became evident that Adrian Earnest Bayley would be sentenced this coming Wednesday morning at 9.30 am for the atrocities he brought upon her. I am not going to go anymore into this one because, I dont need a reason, I am just not.

12 hours ago. Arrest made in rape case reported eight years ago.

655256-milneSt Kilda Forward Stephen Milne has been charged with four counts of rape, the first of which was reported in 2004. That’s only an eight year investigation wait nope Victoria police stopped the investigation after 8 weeks, but recent whistle blowers have gone public with the internal police pressure applied to the investigating officers to close the case.


6 hours ago. Nigella’s ‘it was just a play-fight’ husbands shocking behaviour.

Nigella Lawson the famous chef was assaulted by her husband at a cafe who reportedly assaulted her during a lunch at a cafe. Witnesses say they were arguing and he reached across the table and grabbed her throat he said that ‘he didnt apply pressure’ like that makes it any better and that she wasn’t crying because he had her by the throat, but that she didn’t like it when they fought.  You know what I wouldn’t like to fight with a dude who thought it was ok to grab me by the throat.

2hours ago. 

I Decided that I might not read the news anymore it upsets me to much.

1hour ago.

I decided to write this article, and at the end felt the need to add this video to hopefully make you feel better.

It really should

Mikaela Wangmann

NUS Womens Officer 2013



Media for Men?

Hannah Smith is the Women’s Officer at the University of Sydney and the NSW Women’s Officer for NUS.
She studies Government and IR and Gender Studies and as a result is known to use too much Foucault and Connell in everyday conversations.She likes to claim that her lack of cooking skills is in fact a result of her commitment to the feminist cause… but it’s really not.
On May 11th, Julia Gillard spoke about the threat of an Abbott Government for Australian Women at the “Women for Gillard” launch at Trades Hall in Sussex Street, Sydney. What transpired in the media in the days to follow was the most tremendous farce of partiality and journalistic integrity I have seen in my life thus far.Among the articles written about the event, many critcised Julia for playing the “gender card” or the “abortion card”, others criticised her joke about men in blue ties, one telegraph article was outraged that many of the women involved in the event were already labor party members. One of Bolt’s readers accused Gillard of “gender apartheid” and “reverse sexism”. Sunrise- hard-hitting as always- ran a panel segment on the event, featuring David “breastfeeding is gross” Koch and Alan “died of shame” Jones.

First things first, what the hell is a ‘gender card’? Do people really believe Julia Gillard mentioned the threats to abortion rights under an Abbott government to rouse up sympathy from voters? Abortion has never been a vote winner and there is a possibility that Gillard mentioned abortion because it is an important womens issue, and she was at a women’s event. maybe. And can someone please tell me how a complex and vast spectrum of movements, issues, groups and individuals like the women’s movement could be contracted and defined merely as a ‘card’ to be played to win votes?

But really though, Gender Apartheid? A women’s event is Gender apartheid? That these sorts of comments go by unnoticed is a testament to the undeniable right-wing bias of Australian media outlets. Even Fairfax, who are supposed to be at least somewhat more balanced and fair, called the event an ‘act of a desperate prime minister’.

In a case of bittersweet irony, the very next day, a menu from a liberal party fundraiser was released that poked fun at the Prime Minister’s body type. What more justifcation did we need for a ‘women for gillard’ campaign? a lot apparently. Still today, media outlets bemoan the politically motivated and desperate attempts of the “Women for Gillard” campaign.

I am proud of our Prime Minister. I believe she has worked for Australia consistently and competently, despite the disgusting misogyny levelled against her. I don’t believe that the “Women for Gillard” campaign is a desperate political act- I believe it is a natural next step from a woman and her government who have delivered many historical reforms for the women of Australia. I remember seeing Gillard speak at the UN Women International Women’s Day breakfast earlier this year, where she declared that “If the women’s movement has changed only one life- it’s worth it”.

Australia’s media should be ashamed of their central role in unfairly besmirching the work of a Prime Minister and I hope that all those women out there who are for Gillard stand up and make their voices heard before September 14.

Hannah Smith
University of Sydney Women’s Officer

It’s time! For more women in Government


Politics for to long has been viewed as a ‘men’s game’, but it shouldn’t be. Politicians are our representatives and make decisions on our behalf, they decide how to run our country, what sort of things we need to do, what our money should be spent on, what laws need to be in place to protect us and what needs to be done to support us. So why should half the population be cut out of the discussions that make these decisions. The answer obviously is they shouldn’t,  you need to have a well rounded group of people figuring out what needs to be done now, what can wait and what doesn’t need to be done. You can see by looking at the gender break down of our parliaments that women are still being overlooked, but how do you fix this?

You can have affirmative action and quotas which have both been proved to increase the number of women participating in the decision making process. But I feel that this is almost treating the symptoms of the problems but not the cause- the cause being there is obviously a systemic problem that is preventing women from engaging in preselection processes and managing to get elected.



A study in the US has shown that young men are twice as likely at having considered running for office many times than young women.  While 63% of young women and 43% of young men had never considered a career as an elected official. This is where the problem becomes evident.  What is it that is making young women not consider the idea of running? Particularly when American youth have gender parity in political participation.

Is it that the life of a politician is not overly enticing for young women?

There have been points made before that being an MP is not a desirable job when raising a family and our society still expects that the mother will take a primary role in raising the child as well as leading the charge on the domestic duties due to the large work load, erratic hours, travel and unpredictability.

There is also a legitimate argument to be made that the ‘boys club’ simply does not include women enough for them to rise through the ranks and take on a preselection in winnable seats.

New ideas are coming out saying that as young men grow up they are more likely to have been encouraged to engage in the political process and consider a career as a politician than young women. Which from a young age could incredibly impact on a young persons decision.

Or is it simply that the rusted on old men that have been kicking around since almost the dawn of time are more comfortable with the know, the way things are and its easier for them to train and promote men rather than women.

The same study also said among young men and women who didn’t feel as they’d be qualified to run for election after becoming established in their careers, 23% of young men and 15% of young women still considered the idea of putting their name on a ballot anyway. Which shows that there is something that is making our young women feel unqualified and therefore decide not to run where as young men decide they can simply wing it.

Other studies have shown that women wouldn’t consider running if they had less than a 20% chance of winning where as the odds did not affect whether a man would run or not. Meaning long shot elections favour men because women wont run.

Quentin Bryce is Australia's first female governor-general.And the age old argument that you want to be what you can see could also be playing a part, which I almost hope is the biggest reason for us not having gender parity in our parliaments because we will soon be seeing the first group of young women who the first or second Prime Minister they remember was a woman as well as many of the senior ministers so the idea of a women being powerful in Canberra or in our states wont be this new crazy idea. It will be what they are used to and can view themselves doing.

While I know AA is not fixing the root of the issue directly it is an attempt to deal with the problem and it is working, because of AA we have more women in parliament than ever before and hopefully they can inspire and encourage  young women but also work to fix the barriers that are preventing women form engaging at a more senior level.

I am lucky enough to have had some amazing role models through student politics, party politics and through politics in general who have inspired me to strive and fight and not take no for an answer or let any of the boys push me around and for that I am more grateful than I can express and I can only hope that soon my experience of have political women as role models will be the norm and evey young woman will have these people to look up to.


You can find the study(Girls just want to not run) here

You can find a video talking about the gender political ambition gap  and girls just want to not run here

Mikaela Wangmann

National Womens Officer 2013 

Bonus, Box, or Benefits?


In my stumbling around the internet I came across an article that explained the ‘baby box’ offered in Finland. It is claimed to be the policy that has helped Finland dramatically reduce their infant fatality rates.

The box which is offered to all mothers who go to prenatal care in the first four months of their pregnancy are provided with the box which can double as a crib and has all of the necessities for when you take your baby home. What has been provided in the box has changed since its introduction but currently it includes a mattress in the bottom of the box (so it can be used as a crib), nappies, clothes(in ‘unisex colours and patterns’), bra pads, snow suits, hats, mittens, booties, towels, wash cloths, nail scissors, toothbrush, hair brush, nappy cream, teething toys, a picture book, sheets, sleeping bag and blankets. Dummies and bottles have been removed to promote breast-feeding and they have returned to cloth nappies for environmental reasons. The box that is trying to ensure that no mater what the child’s family’s financial position is like they all have the same, equal start to life seems to be a huge hit in Finland. It has become a right of passage when you are having a child to get the box, which for many is the first tangible thing they have for their child.


The benefits of the policy surrounding this baby box aren’t just what the mother is pulling out of the box but the fact that it has ensured that women are receiving the pre natal care that they require, by having it so that to get the box a pregnant woman must access prenatal care in the first four months of the pregnancy have ensured that any problems are picked up early and can be cared and planned for.  While the box is available for free to the women by the government they have to choose whether or not to get the box or some money to help pay for the things the child will need the over whelming response is to take the box rather than the cash.

Which has be thinking, with the federal government removing the baby bonus in favor of family tax benefits could introducing a box like the one they have in Finland be a viable policy option?

You could provided expectant mothers who are accessing prenatal care an option of taking a baby box which provides many of the necessities for the babies first few weeks or access to additional family tax benefits. I think that an introduction of a baby box could be a great start to helping a generation of children have an equal start out in life.

You can find our more about the Baby Box here

You can find our more  about the change in baby bonus and family tax benefits here and here

Mikaela Wangmann

National Womens Officer 2013

Sport of Gentlemen, and Women.


236148-canberra-unitedSo I just finished my glass of wine to celebrate New South Wales winning the first game of the State of Origin and it has me thinking; the packed stadium, the great athletes, the huge pay checks and sponsorship deals and the fact that this kind of thing only happens with men’s sport. There is actually no Womens sports events that compare to the scale of the State of Origin, and I do not accept the premise that there are no women in any sport that are as good as the men who play rugby.


I also have been known to enjoy the odd soccer game in my time as well. I’ve been to A league games and been amazed at the number of people who attend the games, even though soccer is not a sport that has always had huge followings in Australia. But I also watch the W league, which my first gripe starts with the fact that the Men’s football league is called the A, and the women’s the W. While the Womens games are played at small local size fields. But it doesn’t end there the male players are paid well enough that it is their career and the women hold down other jobs or study at University because they aren’t paid enough for it to be their living.


My hometown of Broken Hill a few years ago started a women’s AFL league and it has been a huge success, they have several teams and it is quite competitive. Although it reminded me of when I was younger and still living there where I played cricket until I was twelve and I was told I couldn’t play on the boys team anymore and that there was no women’s hard ball team. I was really unhappy about the fact that I was pushed out of the team that I had played in for several years simply because I was a girl.


While I was reminiscing over my dabble in sports and contemplating how crappy it is that women athletes are still overlooked I came to a realization and that is that women’s sports are at the stage that men’s sports were in the 70’s. Back when AFL players were garbage men so they could stay fit, and cricketers were all poor because they had to take three months off every year to travel. I have to admit I have my moments of enjoying watching the big games, when the State of Origin rolls around (and this year I can watch the blues win for the first time in years) and when Melbourne Victory play Adelaide United and I can hassle United supporters. I also have made an effort to watch women’s sports, I really can get around Canberra United they are a great team, and the Adelaide Thunderbirds who I am tipping to win this year. However you know I actually really enjoy watching the women’s leagues, they are great athletes and when they are paid on par with male athletes they will only get better because they will have more time to put into the game.


So I am happy that the gap is closing and sure that the gap will completely close shortly. I can only hope that it doesn’t take as long for women to be paid enough to make a decent career out of it as it did for men.


Mikaela Wangmann

National Women’s Officer 2013

10 out of 40, ‘aint bad? Wait.

i need feminism because

I was talking with a friend of mine recently who spoke to me about how he thought that it really was bad how women were treated in the past but was super glad that they weren’t treated so bad anymore.


While I know he had the best of intentions and was not being malicious, he was merely ignorant and the discussion frustrated me. I spent a significant period of time explaining all the inequalities to him but the one that he could not get his head around was that we value men and their achievements significantly more than we celebrate those of women. I tried to come up with several examples that I thought he could relate to a really understand. I ran through a few examples and he couldn’t see what I meant, then as we got the bill for out coffees and we jostled over who would pay I realized the perfect example of sexism in our society.


Of the forty people who have been featured on Australian money only 10 have been women, while I acknowledge that it is better than I though it would be its still bullshit! Money which is one of the things that we value most in our society, and having your face brandished across it is one of the greatest honors that can be bestowed features thirty men and ten women. Thirty to ten. TEN.


So this is basically saying that of the forty most noteworthy people  printed on our money only ten were women. Yea because I am super sure that there have defiantly not been more cool, inspiring, hardworking or just generally boss women who could have been chosen.


This disregard of Womens achievement really bugged me, but at least I finally got my message across. Feminism win. It is little victories like this, explaining and recruitment to the cause that is what has kept our movement strong for so many years, and what we need to do to keep it strong and continue to progress. So I guess the moral of the story is don’t back away from these discussions and don’t give up if you can’t win someone over immediately keep pushing because we can never have to many feminists. And really- everyone who believes that women and men should be treated equally is a feminist.

Mikaela Wangmann

National Women’s Officer 2013

NOWSA 2013




Amy is in her second year as one of the Wom*n’s Officers at the University of Melbourne Student Union and a former NUS State Branch Women’s Officer. 

An Arts student majoring in Spanish & criminology, contrary to her parents’ concern, she does not intend to work in a Mexican prison upon graduating (though, really, a job would be great. Anywhere. Preferably not earning 83c to every dollar a dude earns.)

She’s a feminist who is frequently angry, but not an “angry feminist” per se, and should probably stop saying “yolo” when changing lanes because her passengers find it quite disconcerting.

So NOWSA is coming up.


NOWSA- the Network of Women Students Australia- is a conference that happens every July that is open to all students who identify or have experienced oppression as women.

It’s in the same month as NUS’ Education Conference (“EdCon”- Adelaide – July 10-12), Queer Collaborations (“QC”-  Sydney – July 8-14) and Students of Sustainability (“SoS”, Launceston July 4-9). July is chockablock with activism, probably because winter’s the best time to let the fire rage within you (and also it’s when we don’t have class and aren’t going to the beach). They’re always organised by student collectives, have groups of students who are passionate about the same stuff and often have different ideas about how to get it done. It means a trip away, a free t-shirt, a bar tab at times, meeting awesome people and talking about stuff that interests you and learning heaps about stuff you didn’t even realise there was to know. Call me a hack, but I freaking love conferences.


So I’m really excited to be organising NOWSA this year with my co-Wom*n’s Officer Mercedes and our collective. That is, when I’m not losing my shit about spreadsheets (n.b. without spreadsheets there is chaos, I have a lot of feelings about this.)


NOWSA is an opportunity for networking and skills-sharing among women grassroots student activists. Even though activists look dramatically different now to which ever “heyday” we’re told was around before us; meeting other women, sharing stories, having debates and planning campaigns in person are still important.


The feminist movement, and the student movement, can get really caught up in semantics and feels. For the most part, talking about experiences, interrogating privilege, and addressing problematic language is really important on an academic and emotional level. Questioning the status quo, not being silent about our own oppression or that of others, are feminist acts. Radical acts.

But we are disempowered if we spend a week talking about eating disorders and sexual assault without taking the next step and skilling ourselves up to be activists and empowered individuals. Always thinking about the problems can be exhausting; you can become catatonic with caring and give up because it’s all too hard so why bother.

It’s also worth thinking about how much of a privilege it is to sit around for a week talking about how fucked everything is and not do anything about it.


So the focus of this year’s NOWSA is practical activist skills, because we all know what the problem we’re talking about is: patriarchy. So how are we going to smash it?


In the mornings we will have seriously impressive women as key note speakers, and in the afternoons workshops including but not at all limited to: event organising (like flashmobs and rallies), financial planning for independence, creative writing and subversive theatre, Blue Stocking Week, Muslim Feminism, (Dis)ability and Sexuality, Intersectionality, Experiences of Iranian Women Postgrads, How to be a Good Trans* Ally, How to be a Supportive Friend in a Crisis (mainly focusing on sexual assault), How to Plan a Campaign, How to critically engage with media, how to use the media for your campaigning, and heaps of stuff about unionism and your rights at work.


NOWSA will be a four-day conference, with a theme for each day:

Women & SocietyWomen & Wellbeing, Women in Culture/Media & Women in the Workplace.


We’re updating the website as speakers confirm:

If you want to run a workshops or know of someone you think would be great please get in contact with


On the final day (Thursday July 18) there will be a conference floor where resolutions will be passed for NOWSA 2014. There will be an opportunity for campus collectives to bid to host the next NOWSA and voted on by conference floor. (If noone bids NOWSA doesn’t happen again. Just sayin’)


So come, it’ll be great. Check out the website for more info and email with any questions.


Registrations are now open:


In sisterhood,


Amy Jenkins.

University of Melbourne Student Union Wom*n’s Officer 2013



Your Group of 8 law degree: now featuring rape culture


Trigger warning for discussions of rape and sexual assault.



 Louise hails from Queensland and Studies at the University of Queensland. She is the NUS Queensland State Environment Officer. She is a collector of tee-shirts and missing memories. However she is yet to learn how to vacate a shopping trolley without falling over. 

My law lecturer made a rape joke while delivering a lecture to hundreds of students. Most of the
students laughed. That concerned me. But, I was equally concerned about the statistical certainty
that some of the students who laughed must have themselves been survivors of sexual assault.
When a well-respected professor from a sandstone university jokes about rape, he sends the
message that rape is a laughing matter. His voice is more powerful than most. His job is to teach us
about legal and ethical standards. By virtue of his position as a legal academic and student mentor,
this man had a responsibility to counteract rape culture, not perpetuate it.

My lecturer might not realise it, but his ‘joke’ has serious consequences. If rape is a laughing matter,
then committing rape is not serious. If rape is a laughing matter, then it is not worth reporting.
Thoughtless one-liners entrench frightening attitudes as easily as they win cheap laughs.

Statistics from this department’s Talk About It survey indicate that 1 in 10 respondents experienced
sexual assault while at university. The survey also found that, while 92% of respondents felt safe
on campus during the day, the number who felt safe on campus at night decreased to 24%. At my
university, the main campus is huge and surrounded by the Brisbane River, residential colleges,
and expanses of playing fields. In addition, there is a lack of security guards and the major bus and
ferry stops are on the edge of campus, surrounded by forested areas. It’s not difficult to understand
why students feel unsafe on campus at night. There’s absolutely no reason for the classroom to be
another unsafe space.

Aside from disgusting jokes, this course came with a trigger warning (of sorts). The lecturer warned
us that we’d be studying serious offences, such as sexual crimes and murder, in graphic detail. It
was impossible to pass the course without covering that content. He warned us, but no further
consideration was given to the matter. Students had the choice to sit through potentially triggering
lectures, or skip a lot of content and fail the course. It is ridiculous that some students would have to
relive their sexual assault in order to complete their law degree.

There are significant obstacles to changing the culture of a traditional, conservative, school in one of
Australia’s oldest universities. It might seem pretentious to say so on an NUS blog, but meaningful
change can only come from the students. Instead of laughing at his rape joke, this lecturer’s students
(including me) need to call him out on it. He’d tell me that ignorance of the law is no excuse when
the cops are bundling me in to the paddy wagon (‘oh officer, I had no idea it was illegal to stand
in the middle of Brunswick St drinking out of a bottle of Passion Pop’). I have to let him know that
we’re not studying criminal law to learn about serious offences in an abstract sense. His comments
endorse the idea that rape, the most serious of crimes, is no big deal. I have to tell him that
flippantness and ignorance are no excuse when it comes to rape culture.


Louise Scarce

NUS Queensland Sate Environment Officer

Gender Studies is under attack. Again.

578027_10151573655576081_482668496_nIt wasn’t to long ago that the convosation around the importance of Gender Studies was completely focused on La Trobe University who faced significant backlash in 2012 when they decided to axe the Gender Studies Major quoting a lack of interest as the reason. The University of Wollongong has also cut Gender Studies as a major, and their Women’s Department have been looking into running free lectures around Gender Studies so students can continue to engage. And now the University of Queensland has decided to follow in their footsteps.

This is a huge issue as not simply because a reduction in courses and subjects that students have to choose from is a detriment to their education by lack of breadth but also because it awkwardly reflects a lot of what is taught in these courses. To be honest I can’t think of better way to mirror the content of these courses about how women have been undervalued and had to fight for every freedom we enjoy today but also show the distance we still have to go than by cutting them.


It is sad to see that these universities have not noticed that Melbourne University also cut their Gender Studies department in 2008 and have realised they made the wrong decision and have reinstated it this year. I guess we can only hope that La Trobe University, the University of Queensland  and Wollongong will realise this and decide to reinstate the departments. Although I wouldn’t hold my breath. So if this is something that you want to do something about please sign this Education Department petition to Universities Australia and Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) to do something to preserve Gender Studies in Australia.

You can sign the petition here

Mikaela Wangmann

National Women’s Officer 2013

Rape culture- It’s alive and well.


Steubenville_Rape_Protest_ap_img_0Trigger Warning this post is about rape and rape culture.

Please don’t be confused by the political correct masses in society, that say that it isn’t ok to make jokes about rape and rape culture actually being dismantled.

Unfortunately this is not simply going to be a rant about the repulsive treatment of rape survivors in the media recently, although I might talk about it a bit.

Nor is this going to be about the facebook status that so many people post saying rape is never funny only to have people post rape jokes in the comments section which get more ‘likes’ than the original status.

It is however going to be about a website and its ad pop up. I am not going to say the actual page because the last thing I want is to get more visitors for them and their filth.  It was a youtube style website dedicated to rape footage, they claim to offer videos of forced sex, teen rape, and gay rape all 100% legit. AND you can submit your own videos!!

Although what’s almost worse than the fact that this website was A POP UP AD! Is the fact that when I googled it to find some website where normal people spoke about how disgusting it is that this website existed instead I found more. There are heaps of these websites.

I really just can’t understand what kind of filth of humanity not only thinks that it is ok to sexually assault and rape people but then to film it and put it online. As if they hadn’t put their victim through enough already.

As I mentioned before though, this is unfortunately not exclusive to the internet asshats, it is also all through international media.

The treatment of the 16 year old Steubenville rape victim in the media was an atrocity when she had already been through enough.

This is outright victim blaming. She has ruined their lives huh? So what did they do to her? And I am sure that the demonization of the victim is absolutely the way to fix the problem, because you know those poor guys have had a rough time.

All this has done is made the young women in this situation out to be the bad guy, it would have made her worse about what happened and herself.  And it is completely bloody wrong.

The only plus side of this whole situation in Steubenville is that there were then large rallies out the front of the courthouse this provides me with some hope for humanity.

All this whole thing has made me want to do, aside from get an internet filter for my computer (anyone with children feel free to recommend one for me) is to punch every one of these people in the face. Numerous times. Knock some sense into their heads. Or the hope that as this came out more people released that victim blaming still happens, and the impact that it has on the women who have to face it on top of what they already are, and that they will make an effort to end victim blaming.

you can find support services in your state here

you can find national support services here


Sorry for the second angry rant in a row. I promise the next one wont be.

Mikaela Wangmann

National Women’s Officer 2013