Lately we’ve heard a air bit about so-called‘gender wars’ between the major parties as they compete to position themselves or election.Te absurd levels o misogyny directed atormer PM Gillard and other women by theCoalition, amplifed through media discourse,are just a taste o what’s to come under anAbbott government. Gillard-the-individual-woman has shown courage and perseverancein withstanding this onslaught. But theattempt to position Gillard as a eminist herorings hollow. Feminism means equality orall women; Gillard represents policies thatmaterially harm large sections o the emalepopulation. On the very day o her celebratedspeech to Parliament in which she slammedAbbott’s countless instances o misogyny,her government axed single parents’ beneft(aer the youngest child turns 8), orcinghundreds o thousands o single mothersonto the unliveable Newstart unemploymentallowance. Similarly, the N Intervention andIncome Management policies are intensely harmul to women, who are oen responsibleor managing household budgets and keepingcommunities together. But these individualpolicies orm part o a larger context. My argument is that another ‘gender war’ o sorts is underway against women, over whichGillard and the media discourse continueto maintain a deaening silence. Genderinequality is accelerating, a key consequenceo what the Zapatistas reer to as the “FourthWorld War”: the ongoing devastation wroughtby neo-liberalism over the past 30-odd years.Contrary to the hype peddled by the Sydney Opera House in their ‘All About Women’event earlier this year, women are not poisedon the verge o becoming “the richer sex”.Te reality is that we gain only 10% o worldincome, own 1% o world property, andyet perorm 2/3 o the world’s work (UNfgures), and this extreme inequality prevailsnot only in the Global South, but right here,within the world’s rich countries. It is nocoincidence that in the supposedly uturisticworld o cyberspace, women’s voices makeup just 15% o the authors o online analysisand commentary (including comment eedson articles), and even on the apparently openWikipedia website (Cohen, 2011).Neo-liberal austerity, intensiying sincethe Global Financial Crisis, has had adisproportionate impact on women, alongspecifcally class lines. Tat is, it has reducedthe economic and social power o multitudeso women, apart rom the most wealthy. Farrom gender being some separate “other”oppression to class, they are entwined. Womenmake up a majority o the labouring classitsel. o oreground class in this way is not todeny the specifc experience o being genderedunder late capitalism. Moreover, to understandsexism as integral to the reproduction o capitalism, as I do, is to open possibilities oremancipation.
Austerity: A Rough Guide
As many readers are aware, the Age o Austerity or neo-liberal capitalism that we liveunder was frst entrenched in the early 1970s.An early step was the Nixon government’sde-linking o the US dollar rom the goldstandard, a move ollowed by other worldcurrencies. From then on, the dollar wasno longer pegged at a set value, backed by material wealth (in this case, gold). At thesame time, investment controls that limitedthe ow o capital across borders were lied.Tis unleashed renzied currency speculationthat continues to destabilise economies to
Women, ‘Gender Wars’ and Refusal:
What Century Is Tis Again?