What’s Current: Australia’s first anti-prostitution conference set to take place this weekend

World's Oldest Oppression conference

Australia’s first national gathering of sex trade survivors is happening this weekend in Melbourne: “The World’s Oldest Oppression” will take place at RMIT University on April 9 & 10, 2016. Prompted by the publication of Prostitution Narratives, a book edited by Dr Caroline Norma and Melinda Tankard Reist, participants will hear from sex trade survivors and abolitionist activists, including Rachel Moran and Julie Bindel.

After public outcry, Canada’s Brandon University halts contracts requiring sexual assault victims to keep silent. President of the University says that using contracts in this way is a “not uncommon tool… to encourage students to avoid conflict.” This practice came to light in the wake of cases, such as a Brock University student who was told to stay quiet after a professor tried to kiss and fondle her in his office. Brock claimed they had to protect the professor’s “privacy rights.”

Hey, it turns out that women aren’t crazy for wanting to vote female candidates into office!

“A large body of research has been devoted to answering a fundamental question: Do women substantively represent women more effectively than men do? In hundreds of studies examining large data sets of roll call votes, bill sponsorship, laws enacted and other measures the answer is clear. ‘Across time, office, and political parties,’ political scientist Beth Reingold writes in a comprehensive review, ‘women, more often than men, take the lead on women’s issues, no matter how such issues are defined.’”

Caroline Criado-Perez: “I realize I’d been sold a lie about women.” Author of Do It Like a Woman describes the internalized misogyny that causes women to try to define themselves as “not your average woman.” She writes:

“I wanted to write the book that I wished someone had given to me when I was growing up. The book that said: you don’t have to be a man. The book that said women are not the trivial, petty, over-emotional creatures you’ve been led to believe. They are as varied and inspiring and brave and intelligent as men. They are as politically aware and they are as capable.

The experience was an amazing one. I got to immerse myself for months in the worlds of women like Felicity Aston, who pushes her body to the absolute limits of physical endurance… Women like Ruchira Gupta, who gave up her secure and successful career as a journalist to work with trafficked women in India. It is impossible to spend time in the company of such women and not come away inspired.”

A year after the UK implements “shared parental leave,” Glosswitch asks: “Has it made any difference?” A recent study finds that out of 200 employers interviewed, 40 per cent reported that not a single male employee had taken advantage of his right to shared leave.

Susan Cox

Susan Cox is a feminist writer and academic living in the United States. She teaches in Philosophy.