This has been a most enlightening subject, I have sought to expand on the numerous links and recommended readings and have learnt so much. I have a very long list of books to read in the summer, going to start with "The Subject of Liberty" by Nancy Hirschmann.... maybe I am a feminist after all! Thanks JA.

Just when I thought I had nothing left to say I found this from Steve Jobs.

And as a person of Middle Eastern descent I am so glad to see on Yahoo that Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan is taking a lead role in showing the world how women should be treated. See here where the queen asks, “What are you doing to empower women in your community?” On that note it’s also a good opportunity to look at the enormous progress that’s being made across the entire Arab world when it comes to the treatment of women. For example, consider what happens to a teenage girl who refuses to marry her father’s elderly business partner. In the old days she’d get some serious punishment. Now she only gets this.

1. Rape victims no longer abandoned by families and set on fire. Just abandoned by families.
2. Genital mutilation now confined to outer labia.
3. Age of consent raised from six to eight. (Seven with permission of parents.)
4. Full head scarves optional on “casual Friday.”
5. Women allowed to drive, as long as a man is behind the wheel, steering and using the pedals.
6. Forced sex remains a punishable offense, but women involved face shorter sentences.
7. Beatings for talking back to husband now restricted to arms and legs. And torso. And head.
8. Women who speak to men to whom they are not related are no longer shot, only jailed. (Except in cases where they are jailed and then shot.)
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Obstetric Fistula
Obstetric fistula is a condition caused by obstructed labour and results in a rupture in the birth canal. Sufferers are usually young women and many have had numerous childbirths. The rupture causes incontinence, skin infections and kidney damage. The more severe cases result in nerve damage affecting the feet (walking becomes impossible), bladder rupture and death.
The sad fact is that these are preventable. Education in family planning and treatment of fistulas is the 5th Millennium Development goal of WHO.
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Dr Catherine Hamlin has worked tirelessly for the fistula repair clinics in Addis Abba and Ethiopia and despite recent internal management problems her fundraising continues strong in Australia. While they don’t accept volunteers in the foreign countries (unless you are surgeon) they do accept fundraising help here. (Catherine aims to provide employment in the areas of her clinics and if volunteers are involved there are no jobs for the locals.)
Have a look at the new blog, maybe the scarfs would make a wonderful Christmas present!

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Recent comments by American politicians have been difficult to comprehend.
Representative Todd Akin, the United States Senate candidate in Missouri defended his opposition to abortion under any circumstance by claiming that it was virtually impossible to become pregnant from a “legitimate” rape.
This was followed by a comment from senate candidate from Indiana, Richard Mourdock, who caused a national stir when he defended his across-the-board opposition to abortion by saying that a pregnancy caused by rape “is something that God intended to happen.”
(New York Times, Talk About a Way With Words, GAIL COLLINS
Published: October 26, 2012)
These are men who are campaigning to run one of the leading first world countries, imposing their religious beliefs to extraordinary lengths. Where do we go from here?
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My role in the Operating Theatres of the Women’s Hospital has been a steep learning curve. From extremely overweight young women having babies to women in remote areas ignoring an increasingly large abdomen because it’s too difficult to get to a doctor.
The Women’s Health longitudinal Health Study has fascinated me for some time, watching the progress and seeing that only some of the numerous health messages are getting through.
I worked in Paediatric Disabilities and palliative care for 10 years, this was stressful and heartbreaking but all I could do was make their lives as pain free and enjoyable as possible. In Women’s Health I can make a difference.

When I first spoke to the Oncology team about what could be done to stop the women needing them at all they said “Education, Education, Education”. As time has gone by I realised that this needs to be "appropriate" education and access. I spoke to many and enrolled in Public Health, from this I need to then complete a Grad Cert in Rural and Remote Nursing (unless I can figure out how to combine the 2) and then head off to meet these women and hopefully make a difference.
That’s the plan anyway. Thankfully I have a supportive husband.

The RBWH Sexual Assault Service has been improved, the staff have been increased and help is now available 24 hours a day. The Sexual Assault Response Team provides help to men and women over the age of 14 who have been assaulted, to be eligible you don’t need to have made a police report, live in Queensland or have attended the emergency department.
They can be contacted on 3646 5207
Donations of toiletries and new clothes can be made through the RBWH Foundation.

Reclaim the Night, Friday 26th October 2012.

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Lesbian Love

My upbringing in a strict Catholic family, in a Catholic school and a Catholic community has had a profound affect on my life. Although I no longer declare myself a member of the Catholic church I still count myself as Catholic.
Maybe naivety maybe it was because of secrecy but when I was growing up there were no open homosexual couples in my town. In fact when my Dads foster sister arrived back in town after 10 years with her girlfriend it was quite shocking. Now, there is still prejudice but not so many closed doors.

I have cared for many infants of same sex couples, and contrary to my fathers’ belief they do not have 2 heads. The couples I met had planned their families very well, have everything a child could possibly want, loving parents, nice home, comfortable lifestyle yet they will never be the children of married parents. That is sad, that is something we as a society should be ashamed of.

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We talk of equal rights yet we exclude a large section of our community.
I am not going to be hypocritical and say I fully accept and understand homosexuality (I will always have a Catholic heart) yet I completely accept people’s right to make decisions about their own life.

the marriage of Del Martin, 87, and Phyllis Lyon, 83, at San Francisco City Hall, 2008
the marriage of Del Martin, 87, and Phyllis Lyon, 83, at San Francisco City Hall, 2008

They were together 50 years, fought hard for gay rights but sadly Del died shortly after their wedding.

Have a cup of Tea, a Bex and a good lie down.

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In Australia, this has become associated with the housewife’s drug addiction.
It’s not a subject to be taken lightly. It’s the respectable drug addiction, no hiding in the alley’s of wearing long sleeves to hide behind. Not selling the family jewels to finance but walking into a shop and paying. The addictions lie in drugs containing codeine but also the cold meds and laxatives. These products are no longer available in general view in the pharmacies and most require labeling.

In Ireland you can only buy 12 paracetamol tablets in a box and you can only buy one box at a time even in a supermarket. This has managed to bring the realization of addiction to many who never realized it was a problem and often never considered it.
Recent restrictions in Australia regarding the dispensing of cold and flu medications to children have to be good, tackling any kind of drug remedies at any age, making it not the norm HAS to be good.

Alcohol addiction is not new: this You tube video says it all. The honest talking is great, they all talk of the family history. There is hope. (sorry couldn't get the direct link to work but you can try double clicking on the photo below!!)

I was made to attend “Alteen” when I was younger with my sisters. We knew this then, 30+ years ago, yet my sister is an alcoholic and it is looking like her daughter is following in her footsteps (posts her quests on FB!!!).

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Weeks 9&10

Rest In Peace
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Week 8
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Indigenous Women

I was disappointed to that the indigenous lecture was cancelled this week. It’s an area I want to know more about and understand.
I thought of the indigenous women I have met since arriving in Australia and what they have taught me. Colleen who encouraged my appreciation of indigenous art, Michelle who taught me about the family unit, Helen who taught me of values and caring for the dying but no one has had more influence on my life than a little girl called “Anna”.

Anna has come into my life quite recently and I hope is here to stay. She has been through, and is still going through, a lot with the family court. She has watched her mother get stoned and watched her father cry as the courts make judgments that affect her life. She smiles constantly and eats!! Boy does she eat!

She’s very shy and very loving when you get to know her. I love being with her.
On Saturday we had a girls evening out at South Bank to watch the laser show, a large group of mothers and daughters and Anna.
The picnic was followed by singing children's songs while all the older girls tried to remember the songs to sing with the toddlers and the mothers finished what they forgot, it was so much fun.
As the show begun Anna and I were lying on the grass watching the lights when she asked me was I her family. “Would you like me to be your family?” I asked. “Yes” she said.

After the show I told her Dad what she had asked much to his amusement. Her Dad’s amazing, his sister and mother are amazing, and the court system “protecting family values” is a load of claptrap!!!! He has permanent custody for now but lives with the constant threat that she will be taken from him by the courts or her mother.

That night as she shouted “Bye, Aunty” made me so proud. Anna is 3 years old.

Week 7

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Domestic Violence
A harrowing subject. A frightening thought. I would like to share a snippet of an unpublished story.


“She lies in bed and hears the “tap tap” of the effort to get the key in the door.

She sees her big sister hide her head under her pillow, both waiting. She sneaks up and gently closes the door of the younger children’s bedroom noting that they were cuddled in the same bed as she does so. Her sister removes weapons from the hall. Picture frames, shoes, anything moveable. Nothing left. She quietly goes to open the door, hoping against hope she can avoid the onslaught that was inevitable.

The bursting open of the bedroom door followed by the screaming and the beating had begun and would continue for sometime. She and her sister try to step between her parents but they are bigger and stronger and angrier. It doesn’t work. The beating continues like it seems forever.

Eventually, exhausted it stops. Nothing resolved. Nothing done. Her sister helps her mother to bed and gives her a sleeping tablet. She wipes the blood of her drunken father and lays him on the couch. Nothing fixed. Looks like she may have broken his nose this time as she places an ice pack on his face and makes him drink water.

The sisters clean the blood of the walls and check on the younger ones. Still huddled together. Nothing’s changed. As they wearily make their way back to bed they know the day will soon come. Next day they go to school as usual. Tired and weary. Nothing’s changed. Nothing’s happened.” Mairead (14)

Week 6

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There has been 2 “shout out” issues over the past few weeks. Right time to have a baby and having it all. We talked briefly about a 5 year plan, I thought I would share mine for my 20's
At 20
Qualify (graduate)
Meet a husband
Move to America
Buy a flat with Jackie (sister)
At 25
Do post grad
Get a good job
Have 3 more babies
Move to America
Did they all happen? of course not, life happened, my husband happened and changed my priorities completley,
Do I regret anything not happening? Not really. Moved to Australia instead of America and didn't have my 3 more babies (would have had to get a bigger car and we couldn't afford it)
My current 5 year plan has 2 years left, for the first time it is on track but last week I added learn to ride a motorbike!

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I decided to ask family and friends through the best research tool available “Facebook” I asked all the Mums do you feel guilty about working, do you regret working when your kids were little? Are you prepared to go without luxuries and only have 1 income? What would you have done/ do if you could be a stay at home Mum? Has your partner ever wanted you to stay at home or does he want to? Do you regret leaving your career for those who have?
I got 4 instant replies. All from Mums in their early 40’s, 3 with young children and 1 with adult children. The comments from the adults Mum, were “I felt guilty at the time and missed out on a lot but wouldn’t change a thing now, luxuries too important.”
While the others regret their need to work and one was crying as she was writing because she couldn’t get the day off to pick her daughter up the first day at school.
One family has moved here for a better life, hubby got a job in the mines and they are all moving to Mt Isa, another has applied for a visa and the plan is that she won’t work when they get here. She believes that the only way she can accept that she doesn’t have to work is to change her lifestyle completely and reevaluate her priorities.
I wanted to be a “stay at Home Mom” I want the life of my mother baking cakes and cleaning windows. I did Tuck shop and school reading but I missed my sons’ first steps.
I love my kids and yes my hubby is just as involved in their lives as I am, much more that either of our fathers were.
I don’t want it all. But I do want to stop feeling guilty for abandoning my kids.

A very annoying thing happens in my house regularly that I thought I would share!
When I am going to be late I precook the dinner so they all just have to heat it up, last night I got home and some stew was still in the pot on the stove.
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Incase I wanted any!
.......I’m B ##*!! Vegetarian!!!!

week 5
ooops, i missed a week.

Terms associated with abortion have been widely used in nursing circles and have been how many nurses cope with the situation. Medical vs Social terminations.
Medical is heartbreaking for the client her family and the staff involved but when we cry we are not seen as judgmental or discriminatory. Medical also allows us to excuse it in our conscious catholic minds.

Social terminations to my mind is different. I would never judge anyone who chooses this route and have supported women (young and mature) who travelled from Ireland to England where they are legal. It's not for me and not something I could imagine doing.

Dr Carol Portman is one of my hero’s, what she has done for Womens’ Health rights in Brisbane should be acknowledged and never underestimated. She has stood back in QHealth for now, not sure if its exasperation or exhaustion. I can only hope that she will receive the acknowledgement she deserves and that she continues her battle. One day I hope to support her.
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Dr Carol Portman
Dr Carol Portman

Abortion amendments pass Qld Parliament

Nikole Jacobi
Updated Thu Sep 3, 2009 2:58pm AEST
The Queensland Parliament has passed amendments to the state's criminal code that will protect doctors who perform medical procedures, including drug-induced abortions.

Week 3
I heard the most amazing woman speak on Conversation hour with Richard Fidler on ABC (august 7th 2012)
Faiza El Higzi is originally from Sudan, she speaks of her life and how she has caused problems for herself with her strong opinions. She is very well educated and had to leave Sudan when she stuck up for a woman on the street yet following September 11 she met discrimination and comments walking in the street as did her 12-year-old daughter.

She spoke so well and so honestly, it was very enjoyable and very insightful.

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week 2

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Womens amazing bodies celebrating the best of what is ours. Do we need to change it? Do we need to be darker or lighter to be beautiful?
We have the most amazing lives and need to celebrate it.
We are educated with opinions, a working brain and a voice.

Sure things go wrong but we can bounce back we are resilient. Women can multitask (a controversy even within the tute group). But this means we can meet the expectations of ourselves and others (family and friends). We can cook the dinner and do the ironing, we can study and listen to the radio, we can do well at uni and have a social life!

We have a complex body that needs attention when well or ill. Be aware of it, know when something is not right, don’t get dismissed as premenstrual or “hysteric”Being aware of our bodies, as a woman is essential, promoting or health and living our lives.

Who has heard of GAIN? Who knows what they represent?
What about their awareness day on September 10th?
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Week 1
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Week 1

A new term for me this week is “Gender Fluidity” and this is what I investigated without realizing I was a contributor, or rather my husband was but same thing!!
When we married all I wanted was kids and a home, making cakes and finger painting….that didn’t happen.

Our adventurous selves brought many changes and travels in ours and our children’s lives with lots of stresses but sooo much fun.

My closest friends are “stay at home” Mums. Often I was jealous of them yet the confidence I see in my daughter and my sons’ ability to cook and clean compared to their children astounds me. My lovely husband takes pride in an ironed shirt, knowing the kid’s sports details and what we need for the weekly shop, he makes me proud.

We have our roles but they merge together so well my friends are jealous of me!

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Gender fluidity conveys a wider, more flexible range of gender expression, with interests and behaviors that may even change from day to day.
Gender fluid children do not feel confined by restrictive boundaries of stereotypical expectations of girls or boys. In other words, a child may feel they are a girl some days and a boy on others, or possibly feel that neither term describes them accurately”


As for feminism……….the jury is still out!