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Men, where is your courage .•••••••••.•• Feminism and Soc.ial~.~-~ ..•.••..•.•••.•..

1 2 4 7 8

10 10 14 15

Women and the Law ••.••••.•..•••••••••••

A so~g by Dory Previn ••. ; .•••••••••••••

Women, your body is your own ••••••••..•

A Poem •••.•.•.• iii •••••••••••••••••••••••

Self Help Clinics •..••••..•••.•••••..••

Report on RuS Conference on Women ••.•.. odds andr en:ls ...•.

ArticlCE, letters, criticisms or contributions are welcome.

Please send ·to:-

B. Purcell,

c/o U.C.D. s.~.c. Belfield, Donnybrook .

. t


I a-hall be mu.:ti;,spmkH.tJ and say that, on the who.Le , I cmnsidan men ttm be a OJ:ll.warilly lot" and' women ara pas s Lve.Ly, Ratienit :i:Jn Lt. Men arre RarticuJlarly onwardTyj :iiriJ their" relationships wi,th women , as I have. f ound' jjn my GLwn eXIIer::iJencEE. In i tiallYJ men are. v;e-ry tthcugh tfu± and a grre:EffibLe when they desire:, or ar e. attracted to SOLla woman. This:- ~Illy na tu ra.Il.,

Bu t I have f ound' tha t men are- -w2ry/ tR:c:...t.lies,cs when i tl comea to termina.tting - a relationship. Vamious: me.t hcdst are emp.Ioy ed, of whiah tthe mo:.stt common isthe Ilno e:xplBnattion needed''' me t hcd , s:imply", crommunio.aitian s trcpa , and" itt is:

tt' nan-a: man who wiTIll actually conf'rorrt a- woman, w.i th whom he ha s been .

intimately involved, and ratd.o.nally, if nacinfu.1Iy" tiaLked the problem •

Wha t is: WTong"? I believe the: S8. tua tion a rris es beca usa' men, in

g:en ere ,1 , ame~ lacking in moraL courage. I db not belieV\EE this: tID be Lnher-entt in thee male. s:eJO(, but r eau.Lt s from env i r-omaen ta.I condi tioninii - firrom an eaDLy age boy a arm' no.t, t.augtitt m consider atherg: as< girls area. OnLy by chang tng tthe, aCD.nialL anvd ronmen t. in which children ara ste1!e!IL"ttY.tnedi in this w.ay; can WE£. E(Vi,8'n make any I1ro.gTes~.

Courage: m a word" w.hic..h. i:s~ neanLy, fuldEU'iina.bLE£, as: itJts; meaning- is: punEIly relatLve. itc[ the: s:ituatian and the. ell trhe s htnia.t Icn e. Thera ±is.:. a type::. afi REroDJIH:rIJ.yj' maJie:-<orientta1:te.d couna €fe., which I call , and' which is, not coura ge at a I L, Lt, is: the: ll-s:atJ.d1l1-c.our:ag~ ell "t:l:!tE dare-devil yahco , and. among, game. Qf h La hencul.ean f'e a t s: La the;

f amouss \JIalJiant_ a t.t.ompu to. devoun an entire bcx.tme: mf. whis:key in ona ~" and in We. prnc es a naa:rUly kiJ.ITc himseJl:t'. The EapllJnTatricons of ne.Wi Lands in the and c en turrtea and oil the. s::ruflr sys.tiem andocneans in the;

__ 2::0t1:JlJ con tn ry, are, cnnwen td.ena.Ll.y oons,ridEfl'iecd to be cour agecua ac.t s , Buit Da"sio:a.1ly is: no it all this; effort. undenlain by a, for cenquest , power; r_d_c..hes and .. adventunec ?

Th@ £remada SffiJC" I think, ~ttibi t a a more. autthen tic.., ttYRe: mf onunage , if[ you t.ake; tthe:: wond] to mean ae quality wh i ch enab.Las: erie. t:o :'1eetl a d'iffticu]ti.; mr dang er ous. sc:h.ttuation w:hthQutt f ean , and' p,ur:;e.liy. fox tiha eake CIlf n:c±nci.pJi.a .. The: :hd Emill con I"E g a i ~ iiliait in Iii J:trbclb I ttha m then- 1 em lot he rz 1 ar£¥ g-i van

pniamiiiy. m::vIBn t title s-e:M'. The: her.Qines~ CIlf Edna 01 Brd.en' s "Th~ Love: Obj eccttll, ar-e, tthe:: Elljjfullme: of this' type: of ccur age ; All cf these: wDmeE~:'i'l5I1EEa:.ttE!:d' tto

play! 8.. merri.a L r o.La in their~ society, which was the rural community o.f tthe:· w,est, o.f Ir:eJJand.. They are pa tri.en t.Ly brave- in cd.r-cums t anc es wher-e evexy-

thin g s;eEHns,~ so deso La tee; ttha famiLy a tin~ bec au s'e; of pover-ty , hu sband'a wha beat them fm drunken fits, hand manuaL Labou r , de-:priV'atiana, and+rrcr-e , Yet: the:s~e: wcumen, ®rEm t.haug h ficmonal:., ne:pnes:ent, a typa of' WQIDan found' i.rn many soeietiag:... They a~.e: tthe, eries: who. trr Lumph in ohao.s because tihEr,W arre t ..

As: I s-ajjd be-f0rJe:, men anc!f WClUUEID" to a vary gTea t e:xjtent, are vict,dims:- of thein EIDvimmmentt and" ccnd Ltd.on Ing, whiah can be c hangedt, We can Lea rm

f'r om eac h cd he r , WGIIle:D can shaw tina it, in f'ac t., trnua ccuna ge fu action

f'orr the:. benefit: of another." ncxtt crailiLo..uanesff, r::eckles sness- err dClLwnniglttt

orn.eJitWJ. 2.1 L. E E N I_ 'Y t'J c, \4 , ,


The present upsurge of the womer, IS' liberation movement throughout the world, has been caused by the social crisis of the system under which we live. In particular,the need to integrate women into industry as a cheap, unskilled labour force has caused a shaking of the family structure to its foundations. This is because the centre pivot of the nuclear family has always been the unpaid-for domestic labour of the mother, in "mf.nd Lnq " hoz husband and rearing her children.

The Women's l-1ovement reflected this cr a sa s through the existence within it of a number of dirferent currents. One of these, the radical feminist positi.on saw the family as the central unit

of e~ploitation and men as the main oppressors. This understanding is the basis of Marion Brady's article on Feminism in Bread and Roses, No.1. :\. second current in the \-mmen's movement, saw the problem as being deeper than this, that women's oppression was caused by the economic system which produced along with the family, unskilled female-only

jobs, a prejudiced educational system, sexist advertising etc. This current saw that the family could only be sm~shed totally in a total reconstitution of society, economically as well as socially, politically and culturally. This is what Trotsky meant by saying that the level of development of a society 'can be gauged by examining its attitudes to women. As a member of this current I think it essential to stress

the importance of the independence of the indepennence of the women's 'Tl.ovement before and after the Socialist Revolution to fight against attempts to reintroduce the family, anti-aboftion laws, and repressive sexual laws as Stalin did in the. 30's in the Soviet Union.

Marian's first point is that the ~1arxist position of warfare between Labour and Capital overlooks the microcosm of capitalism.

i.e. the family, To say that the ultimate struggle is that between capital and lahour is not to say that all struggles of worth are

economic (i. e. bread and butter). On the contrary, capitalism, as the first world economic system, has brought with it a whole way of life based on its production and market principles. These are competi·tion.

creation of false needs, unequal exchange, and quashing of riv~lry.

This ethos is clear in a girl's training in how to 'catch' a man,

to attract him, dispel competitors and finally "nab" him as the

ultimate success.

Regarding the family as a unit of exploitation in which the

father is the oppressor, (i.e. extracts the surplus value of the labour

of the mother.) one must ask what is the relation of the family to production. In feudal society, the family was the basic unit of production and domestic labour was an important part of general labour. With

the advent of industrial capitalism labour was divided into two distinct units--one domestic and one industrial. This division of labour became a sexual one, with the man responsible for producing goods, and the woman responsible for keeping the producer happy and healthy,and

· reproduc~ and rearing future prDducers. Thus the family prDvides a

free service -to. capitalist society which, by virtue of its social necessity would ot.herwise have to be paid:fbr. The ·use.fvaiue of l?e;'bh forms of labour is equal, yet on Ly one form receives an actuai' wage - that which is exchanged on the labDur market. Only labour (or indeed any commodity) which has an exchange-value is cDnsidered legitimate.

It is clear from the above that it is the system as a whole which gains from woman's oppression, her husband is the mere agent of that Dppression. The family exists not so that the husband can extract the surrlus value of bis wtfe's:'1e.bGuribut aBl¥ whoteat the extraction

Df the surplus value Df labDur in the sDciety as a whole can be maintained. This is not to say that the husband in the nuclear family does not

play an oppressive role. On the cDntrary, the slave of industry can

be master in the home and o6ten the resentment of a day's hard slogging at work comes out in grumblings at his wife's meals etc. This role is not one which is chosen or rejected by each individual man, it is a direct product of the social forces which rule him. It is therefore, putting the cart before the hDrse to call for the destruction of rDleplaying per se.

The virtues which Marian cites as 'male' have indeed brought. our envirDnment to the verge Df destruction. Yet these "virtues" of manipulation, aggression, and competition are specific to. capitalist mores

and to the. search fDr "profit... maximisation."

Feminism, if it is to be successful must transcend the boundaries set by its beginnings as a 'social reaction'. To say that society will be"tlifferent from an.ything we have ever had before" because of feminism is not enDugh. We must have a clear understanding of what directiDn the struggle against women's oppressiDn is leading. This means taking up a struggle which effects every part Df Dur lives, in all its different fDrms. It means maintaining Dur independent struggle as an oppressed

sex against sDcial and cultural prejudices, and in redefining Dur sexuality in terms of what we want. It means fighting for ever}' reform which will bring us Dne step forward. It means remembering the wDrds of James CDnnolly, the Irish SDcialist, "The wDrker is the slave of capitalist society, the woman is the slave of that slave."

Betty Purcell.


W011bN AI~ D '.;__'HE LAW.

II, 1 C'9t s c.c Ls t i e s a WGLarJ is CI r.s Ld er edt ;.<2 s yrrbc L of 2':eryth~ng passive~ inaggressive, aLd inferior. The wh~le s~ructure of soclety . reinforces this idea by educational, economlC ar.o legalmethods. LAW, lrJ theory is supposed to attain the COF~on good by regul~ting ~he ~ights

... and obliga tions of c i t z ens towa rd one another and the~r ob.l Lga t.I cns to 'the state. In practice, Law is one of the most effectlve lnstruments

by which powerful interists in capitalist systems maintain their dominance

over the exploited sections of society. '

A woman's function is seen as child -bearing ar.d child-rearing but only within the legal and social instit~tion of MARRIAGE. As the CONSTITUTION _states in Article 41 "The state recognises the FAl'iILY as the natural~primary an~ fundamental unit group of Society, and as a r:ora 1 I ns t i t.ut i cn pos.s es ing inaliena ble and imprres s iona ble rig h t.s , antecedent and superior to all positive law". The State also guarantees

to protect the Family as the necessaty basis of social order and as indispensible to the welfare of the Nation and the State. It further

confirms a womans function, by saying that, by her life within the home woman gives to the state a support without which the common good cannot be achieved ar.d therefor the state will endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic neccessity to engage in labour TO THE NEGLECT OF TH1IR .DUTIES·IN THE HONE.

E1vIPLOYHENT is .. thus seen as a s ecor.dar-y activity of women and by women, as a stopgap before marriage and aiter the children have grown up. This attitude ensures for the capitalist a small supply of poorly organised women as a cheap labour force. In Ireland 10% of the work iorceare women as compared with 37% in England, while in USSR all fit women work. Women on average earn 58.81( of a man's wage~ though the ANTI DISCRIMI~A1ION(PAY)ACT provides that women will have to recieve

the same .. pay as men if they· are do i r.g the same work or work of equal value. But if an employer hires only women, he can continue to provide

low wages. that is Lot to say that m€n~s wages are of a high rate. Employers are not banned by law from sex discrimination when advertising for Jobs. By s ec.t.i.on 61 of CONDITIONS OF D/lPLOYHENT ACT 1936, the Ivlinisters

after talks with workers and e~ployers, prohibit fe~ales from doing any .

kind of industrial work. Also women are banned from working on night

shifts by I.L.O. CONVENTIONNO. ~<J1. these so called protective La boun.Law serve to bar women from equal opportunities in employment. Married

women are even more discriminated against. She is usually sacked on marriage or on pregnancy thus ensuring financial dependance on her

husband. the policy of the law was carried to it's logical extreme,

when in 1973 .i n Tflkyo, an aj.p ea L against the practice of forcing women

to retire at:- 50 vJBS lost because "women are physiologically inferior

,to men and a 55 year old woma n ' s~ efficiency is equivalent to that of a

70 year old man". I'h Ls , despite:- the fact that the life ex pec ttancy of ~. woman is 75, andjnan , 75 years. A rec..enit E.E.C· study c or.c.Lud ed that ~~an were. worse paid, d o, far more menial jobs:, are give.n Jies s re:s-pcmaj; ... blll ty_ and ueua Lly ~ave- t.o . pu t up vJi th worse wOJ.'l'kir:g condti trions than men.

For the c apLt.a.l i s t soc.Le ty woman no.t, only pr ovf.d es a cheap l.aboun...f~ but, also. the ma m consumer, both for hers.elf and her family & The Law

fai~s ~ pr otrec t, her. from being manipulated by the uns c nu pu.Lcus, advent:iisjD& med i.a , Ln t o buy shoddy ~ unnecessary goods, on the strength (llf. unt.rue

s.ta temerrta hit Gilt, at her by llillevision, r ad i o., etc .e-

l"larrLage is: a_ status: aymbo.Ii wfuicb also has legal .s ta tus , Lt. is <ron .. sd.d er-edvt.he. mosru Impor t and t:he longest legal cor.t.r-a c t entered intm by a per-aon Y,et wlth the- le.ast. pr-epa ra t Lcn , The cud common la:w nu.Le , _ that

bey a of, n4; and g of:12 could marry, wa s abo l Lshed by the- MARRIAIE ACT Jl<]7r-2', which came Ln tc for.<l.&2 Ls t, Janany', 1975.:~ and the. age limit wa s raised) _ Lo.yeanss. Max.riaga is: also a. prrcper ty s ta tua , egO', a woman who was

IIjiLted1tt rje:.c.eiV'sd £&5:0 necant.Ly in a breac.b of promise: action. It is when women ar.e t.ra pped in the Lns td tm td on of marriage that. t:he whip hand <n.f the law! CGlIleS' down heav Las.t • At common law a wife is: one: of the cha t.t al.a , i.e., I1n<lI:pe-cntY.; of her., In the. ac t.Lon fon crriminal c onver sa td.on ,

a, husband may, sue his w,ifa' s. Loven, though trhe; wife. ccns.en t.ed to the: adultery, on the grounds that women t.he:ms:elvesi cannot be sued as' the.w ana Lncapab.Le of gdv, their consent. A husband can sue. anyone who tnjune.s hils wife: r.esu Lt.Lng in Los s of cor.scr t ium i "e, .. her soc Le ty, and s ervd.ces ,

butt a w.ifa has not got a s.imilar r Lgh t., By law a huaband and wife ar e. <n.n&:, whiah. has worked out to mean that the. one is the:. husband. This entaiLff

not only tha t s he take on his name, but tha t the husband cnu Id' do wha it he. Liked with her prcpe r ty (this wa.s, legally a boJ.ished by Na.rrie.d Women '5 Status Act 19537" but in actual fact he. still ex er'c Lse s: c.on t ro.I, ever. it in many cases , eg"" he may sell the ma tr-Lmcnf.s L home. wi:,thout her. knowledge:

on ccn sen t , if ha. alone ha s signed for it, though she may have providad3 money; forr iit:). A w.ife has autho.rity to. con tr-ac t, for the supply. of

neces sa ry goods but they must be, suitable acc.ording to. the cond t t.Lcn rn shi-ch, he. cho.o.s:es~ hits~ wife: shall liVIa, which means he. can fGlrro..e han tn l:ii.VI.e the' Lcue s t Lev al, wi thou t her having any legal r-emedy to he1Lp hen , IShe also is no t, entitled to the. ownership of any money" she has: g:aWEd from the hODS ekeeping money , A wife ha s a domic.i.Iie mf d ependanny on ltelr husband, which means that he can divorce har in England- whhle she ia- tn

Ine:Itand, on the fiction that sme is in EngJLand.. .

The: aW3ila.billity, cf many rights of ciJtiZlens.:hip is dapend"Ewt con a

I1 e--.r son I s domiciJJe, eg-o , the rd ght, ita vc.t,s , to ho Ld pub.l i.c. o.ffice, and teDnec...eivR w~llfiane.

'I'he natura or. a wifac'g: wa.rk was. defined by the. Italian Co.nst::iJ.mtiLamaJi Count as '~'Was:hing clothe..s and dishes, and cooking like the work of a maiCFu, and her. value, f'or. as sese.tng damages arising out of a car accident., was. £2..8Q Re~ day, yet. the Lawy er s would be the r i.r-s t t.o pr.o ties t if women wene I1aid fon the.. wonk they do in the.. home every· day.,

MaLe to. enact laws c cn t r-ac eptdv ea ana in ef.fect controlling the reproductive pncc.e s s.e s of. women, thu-S! ensunfrig that many women will, r.emaan strangulJated by their horne. and family, But EVl.Effl .in countrie.s: where contraceptives' ane legaL, their. eupp.ld.ea ane cont.naLl.ed strictly, eg 0, in JaI1an, erie. of the mcs t s ex and cap Ltia.Idia t; ccun trdes.- The. Ministen of' H..ealtn the-ne: admitted that the gover nmen t. did thiJs: bec aus e- the birth rate is falling, whLch will mean a Labour shor tage in T~~:next generation, which CDi' co.ursewould threaten the' SUlmlY.i of fr.~y ava i Lab.Le cheap Labour. fmr the Capi ta.Lf.s t.s,

r' .

~. 'I'he. Family; may. be, likened :lin capj.ta.Lt s t society as a company" which

ha.s·:-ehildr_en as; ±nves tments wtth the- mana ging d irec tor trying tm ensure:. a geed r e turrn for the as s e t s inv·estad". 'Ar: ~lustrrati'?Il oi'.t~is atti~uda a s the law's rigid demarcation between legltJ.mat.e .and ~.hlldren. ThE '3Jaw1'S'·jl:lstif.icatio.n f.or this was' stated by the. R<l1y:.a~ CommlsS:lon on Ma-rriage 1956, "Legitimat.i.on wcu.Ld result in a blur:-in~ ~f moraL.valu~ff in the- :Ru~lic mind. It is a. powerful deterrent to J.IIJ.c J. t nela tlooshl.p:s'Which ill nemcwed" would Lead to d Ls asrt r ou s- r-esn.Lt.s fo.r the status of

marartag e." 0< The neal neaacn is: tel tr a father, from having an "

lIi:JlJ.jegiti:matal"child succ ead tlm. his pnoper ty , Sa the mo.ther is left with the. l1I'!" of adoption or raising the child herself.

Article 4'1- ill the Constitution states. "The State pledges itsalf tID guar-d with spec.La L cane t.he institution of Marriage an which t~(i. ftami1Y-, is founded and t o pr-c.t ec t it against attack. No law shall be; enacte.d: prov i.d Lng for the. gr-an t of a dissolution of marri:agall.. Since.. tihe fami]y is the traditional instrument for the IIreservatton and transmission of

property it is f ear-ed that to. allow d i.vonc;e might' t.his f' ,

But- meneEl~ :gro.vidlng divGlT_ce is· not- the. answer - the National Organisation tID imnr:ove support enforcement in the U.S. fround t.ha t 'Wi thin one. y ean IDfl

d Lwrrc e. on ly 30% mil men had complied w,ith alimony r-equf.r ement.a , while the majortty;. had- no t paid at all. But eve-n the "r emed Les-" shor-t, (]_£r d-iv:ona.e nullity and divQra.~ a mensa et thmnm ara Darely use..d ba~use of the pDcohibitive- cos tr cf a Cour t; action (appr-cxdms t.ely, £1.,2.00).. The' a.haa~e:s:tt me thcd is a s epar a t.iDn deed, but t.his requires the- a g r'eemen t cnfi par-t, and often the husband I s: cons en t is difficult to. obtain. A deserted- wife may obtain ma Lnt.enancrr und'sn an Act G.f L88fu. Butt if she a.ommi t s: adultery ar if she is g Lven t.Q live- on she has no. lagaill nenady., One of the mos t bruta 1 f'a.LLunes. of the Law is in nc t, pro..Vii:d:tng pratffi1_tian tio, ba wihfe_s~, and of' tihem are t-oo afraid tm :iin:irti_aite' criminal Ilr(]..a.eedings for as sau.Lt.v-s Lnc a it will pr-obab Iy r eau.Lt ±1a

neprd sa La aften he g et s ou t of jail, that is if he- gets there at. a.l L,

The Social WeLfare Laws 'aLso discriminate ag-ainst women tto benefit: trhe Lnequ I table na ture of society. An unemployed pe r s on c.i f t.hey, dQ_ no.t, qualify" far ur.emp l oymen t berief Lt., may reoiewE:. unemp Loymen t, assistance iff he. is ma.].LEI:!:, but in the case af' a,. single woman she must have a. d ependan tt

on have ~.2 :Dnsurance, ccn t.r Lbu t.Lons., A d e aer t.ed wife must wait 3 months: before. haing f'c.n an allowance of a pi ttanc.e. of £7 ~30 with £2.40 ner ch LLd ; In Erigil.and the Child Poverty Action Group found that many women wer o. being deprived, of their: benefits because. they wane living withJ a man. The social security spies were instructed that a sexuaL rathe.n

tihan a financial rse.La td onshf.p was: sufficient tro prove that sne, was. denendilEilt. en the: man. Thus. the rna lie: nu Ler s saek tm Lay down a Jie g a.L cnd e mi mor-a Id try far: 'Women 'WhiLe. allowing. men muc h mer-e. :Ereedom. This, illus.--tr.a:tt:.ea thte Iiang bha trhs; capitalist s~s,tEml willI gill tm cu.t mff benefits. while condonrng. tihe. .fa e.ti, trha t: 5% (llwn 75% of: t:ha w;ealLttt.

But rnanywill be, blinded by the 'gavernments: promt s es cf r.efo.rm in tthis aJ:'jaa., og, , equal ]_:lay measures', the-in t:rod uc-t i cn of unmarried mo.t.her-s and' pr:i.soners wives: e Iil.owenc es , the setting up of a'Law Rafo.nm_.CQ.mmis.s:icm

ectn:.." and itt may yet ac c ept; the. ,de:manjd.s Cilf such pr easur e grou:gs: as- AIM, ADAPT, Cherish, Care, Fllac, .. But nefCllrm~within tihe- pres.-ent status qwn are enough. They, may ex:h:iiEDJ\~ t he. emanc Lpe td.on of 'Women but Cl.mrta:itn_]y;7 no.t; their Lfber e t.tcn , For t h i s , -e.-he pne s en t capitalist s-ystem must gm

and wi th it· the laws tha t benef L ted the male pr:p_erty, owners. A s QC ial:tis it r-eVlolution shou.l d Lnc Lud e. a cuLtural revolution, by which men and women ana. freed from their stereotyped roles: and their enslavement tn the. institucttion of marriage and the production oS affspring~ The world La al.ready cv er-popu La ted and the Lso.l a ted nuclear f arn i Ly cannot therefore. sur-v tvc '"

I[ WalT/eos WeQ!\. /I ( ,S\uQQt( of ftPRfl.)


~l{95QStecl IOplcSfoR. SQIl)"ilGKS al-..SO

l.uQQCOfl')Q. ..

coilract : Womeos LIBe.RfiTIOQ CYRcuf UCD. SRC.

l ~ ".


, 'J)ut;J.,.il1 t{.

OuR. WQQKLy Me:ITJNG-S tuKE pi... ACEON \.A.(e.DNESDRY t'o~ RRTSjCCMMERCE BLecK 1 PM - AL.l... WOlY\ EN \NElcat"'E::.


, ~ ,",

., ~',.~ .. . '.' .'


When A Man Wants A Woman

when a man wants a woman he says it's a compliment

he says he's only trying to capture her to claim her

to tame her

when he wants everything of her her. soul her love

her .life forever and more he says

he's persuading her he says

he's pursuing her

but when a woman wants a man he says she's threatening him he says she" s only trying

to trap pim, ,

to tr~ him .

r._ .:: I.'. :i"

to -.,c·hain. him', ' . .,

'." • ~_ -, -; ") I ", '";" .'

wheI?- -she wqn.ts -anything of· him

a.look a:todch - .

a.moment of his time·

he says

shes demanding he swears

she's destroying him

'. :

why is it

when a man wants a woman he's called a hunter1

but when a woman wants a man she's called a predator?

. It· "',"

. ".J:

.. ,_:.


Despite the fact that women always do better in second level examinations they never make up more than one third'of the university student population.

" ,

Seven out of every ten women who attend univ;ers~ty enter

the faculties of Arts and Social Science whereas_only four out of ten men do.


For women to control their own fertility by demanding free abortion and contraception, questions the entire functions of the fathercentred family and places a whole new perspective on womans role within it as a source of unpaid labour and producer of children. The fostering of the family by the state and its refusal to undertake the functions of that institution has led to greater physical, economic and psychological dependance on the husband by forcing women to accept their role within

the family in continuous fear of suffering unwanted pregnancy_ Capitalist male-dominated society excuseS womanslack of social equality and opportunity by moulding her economic and social role around her biological role as producer of children for the future labour fOl';'ce. Its blatant refus<ll to allow her any control over the determination of her own bodily functions

has meant a distorted emphasis on marriage as the only means of gaining social acceptability and childbearing has become womans s.ubsti tute for

career satisfaction.

, . ~ .

The growth and consolidation of Capitalism necessitated the fostering of the patriarchal family by the state with all legal, social economic and sexual rights vested in the father in order to procure the establishment of property rights. Woman was to remain a virgin until marriage when she could respectably provide a male heir to the property of the father. This because of political expediency various theories were elaborated about the "natural" inferiority of women. Platonic theory was based on the presupposition that women were naturally weaker than men, Malthusians howled about population control. Yet Church and State defended the fathers absolute right and Contraception and Abortion were only to become illegal when they dictated it was so.

The whole question of abortion and contraception in Ireland has been shrouded in taboo and superstition. The overwhelmipg influence of the Catholic Church has been used as a political ploy by politicians of all parties afraid to face up to the magnitude of these demands.and their wider implications for women. Women in Ireland suffer from the illusion that

they are being protected Protected from what or whom? Those legislating

for us are priests of patriarchal religions living in celebacy, doctors and politicians concerned mainly with their own power and status. They dictate that woman should suffer the distortion of her body for nine months, the pain of childbearing and accept full responsability for the upbringing of the child by remaining in the home. Society has chosen to deprive her of her freedom to choose wheather she wishes to become pregnant, prevent pregnancy

or terminate it. It dictates that her biological role sh~uld take precedence over her humanity and womanhood.

The emotive arguments thundered out against contraception and abortion in the pulpit and on the political platform are strongly indicative of the cruciality of these issues to the whole question of woma~s liberation. The inability of those who oppose these demands to argue in other than mQl';'ali~tic terms is a tribute to the success of religious indoctrination a~dt~e ability of capitalist male-dominated society to inculcate

hitherto unshakable, bourgeois values. The rule of the father within

the family situation has developed into institutionalised social, political ~ and sexual domination.

. '.) ~ .

Only when free abortion and contraception on demand are granted can women assert their sexuality. Continuous fear of pregnancy from intercourse has resulted in its suppres'sibn, thus the myth of the passive female and frigidity. Male sexual dominance associated with virility is motivated by a real fear of female sexuality and knowledge of the fact that women have greater sexual capacities than men. Man can only control woman for as long as she allows him to control her body. The sadistic pleasure derived

by man from the knowledge that the power to make a woman pregnant resides in his _penis is ample evidQnce that female self assertion, socially, politically and economically can only stem from female sexual self-determination.

Carol Lo~th.~

UCD TRAVEL, G 005 arts block, belfield


,r '

Flights to New York £109 return,

European Flights - ..

Trains from London to almost every where in Europe,

Flights to Australia Fnd~the Far East, USA Visas,

World wide' insurance, International Student Cards, CIE Travelsave stamps,

Information on jobs in Europe and USA

Also "Abbey" tickets at student rate.


Call in any time during office hours and Saturday mornings between 10.00 and 12.30, also Tuesday and Wednesday evenings betwe~r 6.00 and 8.00 p.m.

.' ' .~,



Sa Synge St.

for friendly helpful advise on Contraception, or Contact the SRC office for condoms and spermicides

·.J i ;,


., .'



Marian Stenning

f1y brother played football, I watched,

My brother went hunting I wa:ited.

I was taken to a dance and waited,

for him to ask me to dance.

I stood still, while he kissed me, I lay still,

while he entered me.

All my life, I've been, standing and staring, watching and waiting,

while they ate my soul away.

:.: ;

. '. ;., ~ ..

S~lf-help clinics

- i~ .••

R~sina Auberting

Until recently, and incredible as it obviously is, that most female of all female attributes, the vagina, has been the preserve, shrouded in mystery, of the male dominated medical profession. And then came self-held clinics.

Starting with a speculum, a lamp an~ a mirror, woman came to know her own cervix and thus avoided many worries, not to mention costly and disturbing visits to the gynaecologists.

A few months ago a woman from the London '-based self-help clinic, Nancy McKeith, enlightened many Irish woman when she gave an excellent lecture in Trinity on self-help and self-help clinics. She showed us a

speculum, which is a gynaecological device that holds open the walls of the vagina to facilitate examination, showed u~_h~~ to insert it and where to hold the mirror for easy self examination.

Then, with the aid of colour.' ,slides, taken at the clinics, she explained what the examination is; likely to reveal - anything from menstruation to

. pregnancy, from minor infection to venereal disease, all easily recognisable through colourtiob, chancres etc.

For example, if regular examination of the cervix shows a change to softer, darker or reddish hue, and the os (the eye like opening of the cervix) is enlarged, you will know you're pregnant at a time when regular laboratory tests would not yet have detected the pregnancy.

Speculums come in two sizes, according to the size of the vagina. Doctors

male chauvinists that they are, refer to the smaller speculum as the 'virgin speculum', the assumption being that ~ale penetration is a necessary prerequisite for larger speculum ••• "which is a bit like judging the size of a persons throat by the amount of food that person eats",commented Nancy as she showed a

slide of a woman who'd already had three children being examined with a

'virgin speculum'. One wonders how many painful examinations the woman

might already have gone through when being examined with a larger speculum

by a dotor aware only of the fact that a mother of three is no virgin.

" '

We were also introduced to period extraction, and to our amazement learnt , that the' 'period' those ~ometimes painful, always unpleasant few days every month, just dont have to be put up with anymore.

: '.'.:"

The device used for period extraction consists of a small bottle to which two tubes are attached. l At the end of one t.ube is a syringe: at tn.e end

of the other is akarmancannula -.small enough to be easily inserted into the

~erus. - Pumping the ~yringe cauaes a suction that draws materiAl out of the uterus. This cou Ld be used by any woman to end per period as soon

as it begins, or to terminate pregnancy,: thus making all forms of birth control

unnecessary. Menstrual extraction has been practised by many United States

doctors long before abortion was legalised.

Tilted cervixes, and we were shown one on the screeng are very common and not necessarily a sign of gynaecologic~l.disorder. It is perfectly no_pnal for a cervix to move. around and at times find-itself in a tilted position,

--"which'means that the os can not be seen during examination. And yet how many women were told by ·their doctor that they have a tilted cervix, and given no eXJ?lanation whatsoever of what ,that meantr . and left to go home with an unnecessary worry on top of the already existing ones?

There is no doubt that a woman who examines hereself regularly can detect changes at the earliest possible moment which would allow for curative treatment that most advanced stages of a disease rule out. Women could also be trAined to take pap tests and screen themselves for V.D. and thus receive care when unable to afford routine check-ups.

They could easily learn to diagnose vaginal infections. One of the most ~ommon, :lZeast infection , can ~very effectively be cured with yoghurt - but how many doctors , after charging an exorbitant sum of money for a

ten minute examination,' would dare send you home to cure yourself with a t"',

'; '

few pence worth of youghurt? He's more likely to write you a prescription:

for some' costly medicine; in order to make you feel that you did'nt wastEyour

time or your money, whan in fact you did. I ,.

Incidently, one of the founders of the first self-help clinics in the u.s.

was prosecuted for illegal practice of medicine, in that she had prescribed - youghart in her clinic as a cure for yeast infection. The case was dismissed

. when she argued that what she'd done was just like suggesting aspirin to a -,:friend with a headache. Breast examination should· be· every woman's regular practice. Abnormal lumps could be an early sign of cancer. Should a woman find that she has breast cancer the self-help clinics would make available to her a list of surgeons who do not simply believe that "the more you cut, the

·Illore you cure" - that is to say, they will not automatically do a radical .masetomy (removal of the entire breast and the surrounding chain of lymph nodes, cutting away the muscles of the chest and sometimes those of the arms). Such sympathetic surgeons practice simple masectomy - removal of only the breast or part of it, which, when followed by radiation treatment, has proven as effective as radical masectomy. Too often a woman who learns that she has breast cancer is rushed into hospital for surgery and is denied choice of procedure. Radical

masectomy is still the most commonly surgical of treatment, though proven not be necessary. As Nancy pointed out, should it be testicles that are diseased, would total removal be as widely practised?

Self-help clinics, she pointed out, are'nt setting themselves up as major schools of medicine. Their function is essentially simple. They allow woman to explore and acquaint herself with the functions of her own body. After teaching her how to detect and determine these functions, or malfunctions, the clinic

is content to have removed themystery and send the woman home with no more hang ups about her vagina than she has about her throat.

That might not seem to be a great achievement but it is a frightening fact that most women at the lecture were having their first look at a vagina, never mind their first lecture on it. All that's needed to start a clinic, apart from

a speculum, a mirror and a lamp, is a place in which to meet - anyones flat would do, Nancy would gladly provide basic training. Her address if you wish

to contact her, is

Nancy McKeith,

5 Leighton Road, London N.W. 5.

This article was originally intended for one of the daily papers. It was shown to their medical correspondent, as all articles connected with medicine must be. T~e medical correspondent is, need I say, a male and a doctor. He criticised it on several supposed matter of facts.

His major points were:

"Vaginas are so elastic in what they can accommodat.e that no matter what size .the speculum used, it cannot cause pain". To which I replied: .!. have a .vagina and I say that anything inserted into a womanas vagina when she is tense as is the case during examination, will hurt: the larger it is, the greater

the pain. When will men stop dictating to us their expert opinion on what feels like to be a woman?

"Unlike breasts, testicles produce hormones, which Lsvwhy their removal is a

step which is taken only when absolutely necessary". ' The obvious deduction from this being: sinc~ the removal of breasts doesnt impair the general functioning

of the,.. body , their removal is a step taken whether abso.Lut.e Ly necessary or NOT

Which'.:whatI claim in the article. '


"Unfair to suggest that radical masectomy is what all (most) doctors want, since all moves are being made towards less radical treatlnent". Surveys carried out in hospitals prove beyond, doubt that radical masectomy is in no way the best treatment for breast cancer I (although still the most widly used) ,

In fact the re .. ecurance of cancer is less frequent when simple' surgery was

used. (see "Vaginal Politics" by Ellen Frankfort chapt 12) Bearing this in

mind one does'nt talk about "all moves being made towards less radical treatment" one insures that radical masectomy is carried qut only when absolutely necessary.

"Period extraction is not widely practised because there is still doubt about its safety" True? ~nd that goes for many medical innovation: but women using

this method in self help clin;j.cs know the risk taken, unlike the average woman experimented upon in hospitals who's left in ignor~nce. And why dont doctors show the same concern for the pill, which is the most commonly available form

6f contraception even though 'it's safety is far from having been established? Could it be because further research on contraception might find it easier to develop a safe form of contraception for men than for men?

Having replied to these pOints plus a few more of about the same "depth" I was asked _ to rewrite the ,article: which is to say that I was aked not to write anything that might lessen women's dependence on the self-centred, insensitige and authoritarian m(ile.members of the medical profession. UUGGHH:


, .. ,',- ~

, .'




International Womens year was officially opened on Friday January 31st with Mic~ael O'Leary demonstrating his concern for women by doleing out free sherry to the V.I.P. \'lomen of Ireland. The ,Minister however has r~fused to finance the year (although the architectsreceived £30,000 to finance their year) I which can only clearly. demonstrate .that the .struggle of womep is irrelevant to the government of this country. The'womens group here inU~C.D. picketed the reception and were almost

totally ignored both by the press and many of the attendants.


attitude I presume being that women must be silent, as one women saiq to me "there are more subtle ways of getting what you want,";

This attitude also prevailed at the seminar of the first

and second of February.

Liam Cosgrave opened the .seminar (a.lman who

voted against contraception in the Dail) and other prominent speakers (a joke) included none other than Michael O'Le~ry' pick Burke, Sean

McBride et. etc. (thare'y were also some women speakers)

All these men

were well received because (1) they made no contraversial or worthwhile statements and (2) they only reinforced what was already in the minds" of many of the women present that women a~,e:doing fine, equal paY,will Y.

i; ," l'

come', . but no radical change is needed.

I am not attacking these women (the majority of whom were middle-class and over 50) I just want to emphasise the fact that

their idea of Feminism is not radical enough.

There were discussions

over the weekend on United Nations Conventions, on Peace on Education however no discussion on contraception' iaboz t.Lcn , the family, the

working mother.

Issues which effect every women in out country,

issues which hit at the roots of womens problems; issues which if openly discussed would rock the establishment.

These issues were not raised at the congress because

the women there were afraid of the implications involved.

It would mean

for them a questioning of their values and '::'heir way of life.



Burkes spoof on the spiritual aspects of edu.cation was applauded loudly

but a young Feminist on the rostrum demanding a womans right to control her own body was ignored. Women in this country must realise that the time for lying low has ended, technology has advanced and so must women, the time is ripe for change. This ch~nge will come about only through action and by action. I mean highlighting the problems and struggles of women. With this in view, the Womens group here in U.C.D. has decided to call for more intimate discussions on issues like contraception among womens groups in the country. Women must annihalate fear and reintroduce action in their lives, and only then will we start on the road to freedom.



Friday 3Ist. Mr. MacHale addressing a body of protesters about at least 40% of whom were women •.•.. "Gentlemen, you have made your pOint .••• "

American researcher discussing the effects of the pill on libido. itA lot of women don't have these orgasms you read about anyway ••.• Ii (t-Joman' sWay)

Line from pop song currently in the charts praising the qualities of a now grown up "Sweetheart". "You're still my favourite toy .....

Sam Peckinpah to actress who did'nt want to playa certain scene ..• "Rape turns some MEN on .... "

Headlines, evening paper Saturday Ist.

morning paper Monday 3rd. "Wanted


Male Telephonist".


Sunday, R.D.S. Minister for Education replying to question from woman on contraceptive issue ..•.• "How many children have you, dear ?"

"Every Irish housewife's dream •.•.• an Anco kitchen •••• "

"Well known leader of the t<10mans Movement, Gay Byrne ..•. II Times, Saturday.


"The concept of a students union offers the student the direct democratic

involvement she or he seeks .•• " (Student Action Group, Student Union Proposals)