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Australian Feminist Movement - Essay Example

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Feminism has been defined as " advocacy of equal rights and opportunities for women, especially the extension of their activities into social and political life.( the Macquarie Dictionary) It is very clear from this definition that women have been denied equality in the society and also in politics.
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Australian Feminist Movement
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Download file to see previous pages These works denounced marriage as slavery for women.
Feminism started in America as a revolution. The Seneca Falls convention held in 1848 is considered a milestone in the history of the Feminist Movement. It put forth the demand for women's rights which included right for equal pay, right for property, right for divorcing the husband, right for taking guardianship of the children etc. the most important in this agenda was womens' right to vote. This was a declaration of demanding equality without sexual discrimination.
Their voice slowly started getting people's attention. When the 19th amendment was made in the American Constitution to give women the right to vote, it looked like they had finally won the battle. On 14th December, 1961, the President's Commision was set up by the then President John F. Kennedy to review the status of women. Its purpose was to review the status of women and remove the obstacles that prevented women from enjoying equal status in the society. This Commission was aimed to combat the customs, notions and other factors prevalent in the society that were hindrance for the women.
So the movement that was building up quietly in the 50's, gained momentum and became more visible and more audible. The 60's were the era of demonstrations, marches and processions. This time it saw the participation of school and college girls as well.
Status in Australia
Feminism has its presence in Australia also. Although Australia has always been conceived as a true democratic state with total egalitarian attitude.(Summers, Anne, 1994, Dmaned whores and God's Police, p.103) But the feminist movement in Australia has been raising the issue to provide the Australian women equal access to power. This movement started in the nineteenth century and its prime focus was to get the women their right to vote and also an equal opportunity to participate in the political activities and help them come to power. ( Oldfield, A., Woman Suffrage in Australia: A gift or a Struggle. 1992)
Australian women got their right to vote much after the American women. In fact their neighboring country New Zealand got their right to vote before them. This gave them the status of citizens finally.(Summers, Anne 1994, Ibid, p.405) But even then the Aboriginal women were not given the same status. It was only in 1967 that they also got the right to vote.(Brenner,J.1996, p.20)
1960 was the beginning of the second wave of Australian Feminist movement. This was focused on the legal and social equality. Although women had got their right to vote but practically they were still considered the "second sex". They faced discrimination at the workplace and often got exploited. At home also they did not have equal status as men. They had no control over their sexual and reproductive lives.
This second wave had some achievements as they succeeded in getting equal wages for the women. They also got the discrimination based on marital status eliminated from the work place.
Simultaneously there was another movement coming up which was for the rights of the marginalized groups. This movement wanted equality for people regardless of their country of origin or their color or race or their sexual preferences like being gay or lesbian. The feminists got a ground as patriarchy, against which they were ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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