About

Smash That Ceiling is a blog I put together, specifically for an assessment task for a journalism subject; JOUR111 in my first semester of my first year at the University of Wollongong.

I chose to specifically focus on; Women’s Issues and the Illawarra.

I interviewed three experts in Women’s issues who worked at the University of Wollongong.

*Dr. Pauline Lysaght-She is known for her research on women returning to study and Howard Gardiner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory.

*Professor Mary Barrett-She is known for her research on women in business.

*Professor Rebecca Albury-She is known for her research on the Women’s Health Movement, in particular; reproductive health and policy.

During my research, I came across the Wollongong Saints, the first women’s AFL team in Wollongong and the Illawarra. They were established and joined the Sydney Women’s Australian Football League (SWAFL) this year. I interviewed the team manager; Dawn Giffin whilst watching them play the Balmain Dockers on Saturday May 22nd 2010 and I also attended their training session on the following Monday night.

I also came across the Maternity Coalition and the Illawarra Birth Choices during my research. The Illawarra Birth Choices is a support network for expectant and new mothers, as well as families, who aim at supporting women’s birth choices, as well as providing educational tools to help women make informed decisions. The Maternity Coalition is an umbrella organisation with state and town branches, the Illawarra Birth Choices included.

I chose this particular theme for my blog as I have always been interested in women’s issues across the board-health, sport and business.

I found my experience of interviewing, researching and gathering news; nerve racking, challenging but overall thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking.

N.B. I first created this blog three years ago on WordPress, however due to personal struggles last year, I took the blog down. However I have decided to upload this blog on to this WordPress site.

Citations

Links

GENERAL:

www.wollongong.nsw.gov.au: Wollongong City Council website

www.health.gov.au: Department of Health and Ageing website

www.illawarramercury.com.au: The Illawarra Mercury Newspaper website

www.uow.edu.au: The University of Wollongong’s website

 

BIRTH CHOICES:

www.illawarra.birthchoices.info: The Illawarra Birth Choices official website

www.maternitycoalition.org.au: The Maternity Coalition official website

 

 BUSINESS:

www.iwib.com.au: This is the Illawarra Women in Business website. I had contacted founders; Delyse Del Turco and Glenda Papac for an interview and they were unavailable. They started the Illawarra Women in Business which was initially four women sharing business ideas in monthly meetings and events. “It has grown to become the largest networking group for women in the Illawarra.” (Quoting from the website)

                                                              

SPORT:

www.sportingpulse.com: This website leads to the AFL Illawarra Juniors and Illawarra Youth Girls website.

www.wollongongsaints.com: The Wollongong Saints official website.

www.swafl.org: The Sydney Women’s AFL official website.

A Man’s Perspective

I interviewed six of my very brave male friends; Simon, Sean, Luke, Vince, Andrew and George. I asked them questions about women’s issues and relationships.

1. IS SEX OR FRIENDSHIP MORE IMPORTANT IN A RELATIONSHIP?

ALL: Friendship

2.  THERE WAS A UK SURVEY WHERE 56% OF PEOPLE BELIEVED THAT WOMEN SHOULD TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY FOR BEING RAPED IF THEY FOR EXAMPLE ACCEPT A DRINK, ARE DRESSING PROVOCATIVELY, BEING FLIRTATEOUS, ETC. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT WOMEN SHOULD TAKE RESPONSBILITY FOR BEING RAPED?

SIMON: No.

ANDREW: Provocation is no grounds for assault in any shape or form.

SIMON: They’re not provoking them.

ANDREW: If a woman is dressing provocatively, it’s not her fault that she’s been raped.

SEAN: There is a boundary all the time, unless she is the one pushing it on, than she should have no responsibility.

LUKE:  I think the men have to possess a certain amount of self-control, if a woman is dressing provocatively, that’s fine, she has a right to do that if she wants to do and men have to respect that.

GEORGE: I think rape is purely the responsibility of the perpetrator and not the person who’s being raped, at no time is a woman ever responsible, if she says no, that’s it.

ANDREW: If at any time no is said, a woman has no responsibility beyond that point.

 

3.  THERE HAS BEEN AN EGGTIMER TEST THAT IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR WOMEN. IT’S A BLOOD TEST WHERE THE ANTI-MULLERIAN HORMONE IS MEASURED WITH A STATISTICAL VALUE AND IT GIVES A NUMBER OF HOW MANY EGGS A WOMAN HAS LEFT. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT DESPITE WHERE WOMEN ARE IN THEIR CAREERS, NO MATTER HOW HIGH UP THEY ARE, THAT THEY SHOULD SETTLE DOWN AND HAVE CHILDREN AT SOME POINT?

ALL: It’s their choice.

 

4. DO YOU THINK WOMEN SHOULD TAKE THE EGGTIMER TEST?

SEAN: I think they should take it, if they think they want to have children. They might change their mind later on, but if they are not interested.

SIMON: It’s up to them, they shouldn’t feel pressured.

GEORGE: Why wouldn’t they want to know?

LUKE: If a woman wants to have children and she’s interested in knowing if she physically can have children, than she should take the test, if not, then don’t.

ANDREW: If it’s covered by Medicare, I say do it (it’s not covered by Medicare).

GEORGE: It depends on what information they want and can get out of it.

 

5.  DO YOU BELIEVE WOMAN SHOULD RECEIVE EQUAL PAY? DESPITE WOMEN’S LIBERATION PROTESTS YEARS AGO AND MOST WOMEN IN MOST COMPANIES ARE RECEIVING EQUAL PAY, THERE ARE STILL SOME INSTANCES WHERE WOMEN ARE NOT RECEIVING EQUAL PAY.

SEAN: If it’s still happening it’s not right.

ANDREW: Equal pay is good.

GEORGE: Wouldn’t you negotiate? Isn’t it regulated by the government?

 

6.  WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE “COUGAR” CONCEPT (OLDER WOMEN DATING YOUNGER MEN)?

VINCE: It’s hot.

SEAN: It could work, if they like it.

SIMON: It varies for every individual

ANDREW: If the guy’s ok with it, I wouldn’t personally go for a cougar.

ALL: Yeah, If the guy’s ok with it.

 

7. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT WOMEN NEED MORE HELP IN ESCAPING FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

ALL: Yes

SIMON: There are cases where women abuse their husbands.

ANDREW: Men don’t usually get physically abused, they get mentally abused.

GEORGE: Men are more likely to assault a woman, than the other way around.

SEAN: Men don’t seem to talk about it as much.

 

8.  I READ THIS ARTICLE WHERE WOMEN PROPOSE TO THEIR BOYFRIENDS AND GIVE THEM MENGAGEMENT RINGS, IF YOUR GIRLFRIEND GOT ON ONE KNEE AND PROPOSED, WOULD WEAR IT?

SEAN: Tradition doesn’t matter anymore.

ANDREW: No, it doesn’t. I never thought of it, I thought it was a woman’s dream to have their man propose to them?

SEAN: I’d wear it, why not?

LUKE: Yeah, you’re getting married.

 

9.  YOUR THOUGHTS ON GAY RIGHTS? DO YOU BELIEVE THAT GAYS SHOULD BE ABLE TO CLAIM BENEFITS AND HAVE LEGALLY RECOGNISED MARRIAGES AND ADOPT CHILDREN, ETC?

ALL: Yes.

ANDREW: I think the religions should make up their own rule but I think a binding contract marriage, it should be allowed.  Outside of their religion, if they want to get married and declare that they are Christian, they should be able to do that, but if the church doesn’t want to do that, that’s within the church’s rights as well.

 

10.  WOULD YOU TRY ONLINE DATING? 

ALL: No.

a) Why not?

GEORGE: You never know what you’re going to get.

LUKE: To split yourself up into the categories; likes, interests, am I compatible with this person? It just seems mechanical.

GEORGE: The compatibility part of it is odd because you’re only basing it on their looks and what they choose to write. You don’t really know if you’re compatible at all until you go on the date.

ANDREW: A relationship has got to have time to grow, develop, you’ve got to spend time with the person and I don’t think internet dating allows you to do that.

SIMON: There are cases where people have met on the internet and have ended up getting married.

 

11.  CAN A WOMAN BE TOO SKINNY?

ALL: Definitely.

LUKE: They look unhealthy.

 

12.  DO YOU THINK WOMEN ARE HYPERCRITICAL ABOUT THEIR OWN BODIES?

ALL: Yes.

LUKE: Some women are, I know women who aren’t.

SIMON: It’s an individual thing.

 

a) CAN SOME WOMEN BE TOO CONFIDENT?

 SEAN: It’s not something you should boast about.

GEORGE: There are a lot of levels of attraction. There are some women who are gorgeous and know it, but if gorgeous women have a nice attitude to go with it, than it’s a plus.

SIMON: There are some people who are good looking who develop a total ignorance about people who are as not as good looking as they are.

SEAN: If they know, it’s ok, but if they exploit that, it’s different.

 

13.  ARE MEN TOO CRITICAL OF THEIR OWN BODIES? DO YOU COMPARE EACH OTHER’S BODIES?

SEAN: Yeah.

ANDREW: If I like a girl and she’s with another guy, I kind of compare myself to him and think what does he have that I don’t? The first place to start is looks.

GEORGE: I don’t think guys think in that kind of way.

ANDREW: If I notice myself getting a bit chubbier, I go for runs and bike ridings.

 

14.  WHAT WOULD BE YOUR MOST FAVOURITE PART OF A WOMAN’S BODY?

SEAN: Teeth, their smiles.

SIMON: Face.

GEORGE: Smile.

ANDREW: Hair.

GEORGE: I like to see girls that are happy, if they are smiling and have a good attitude.

 

a)  HOW THEY ARE PERSONALITY WISE WOULD EFFECT HOW YOU SEE THEM PHYSICALLY OR LOOKS WISE?

SIMON: If someone looks sad they don’t look as good if they were happy.

SEAN: Even if they put so much effort into their make-up and hair and clothes.

GEORGE: Their mood affects their face the most. Happy people are much more attractive than unhappy people.

 

15.  WOULD YOU CONSIDER GETTING PLASTIC SURGERY? FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN YOU GET OLDER.

ALL: No.

SEAN: Unless you’re the kind of person who enjoys changing how you look, that would be an extremist case of that though.

 

16.  WHAT IF WOMEN GOT IT? WOULD YOU GO FOR A WOMAN WHERE IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT THEY HAD PLASTIC SURGERY?

ANDREW: No, because then they’re too plastic.

VINCE: They’re like Barbies, too fake.

ANDREW: When you see that it’s fake, you’re wondering “What else are they hiding?” “What else is fake?”

SEAN: Some people get surgery because they broke their nose or something.

GEORGE: I don’t think there is anything more unattractive than plastic surgeon boobs. Fake is fake.

 

17.  IF YOUR GIRLFRIEND WANTED TO GET PLASTIC SURGERY, WOULD APPROVE OF IT OR BE SUPPORTIVE OR WOULD YOU BE AGAINST IT?

SIMON: I’d try and discourage her.

SEAN: I would try and discourage her.

LUKE: I’d say “don’t do it for me, but if you want it, if it’s going to make you happier or more confident, that might be the way to go.”

ANDREW: Discourage her in a positive way.

 

a)  IF SHE SAID SHE WAS DOING IT FOR YOU WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

SEAN: I would discourage her.

LUKE: I would say “No, you do not need to do that.”

GEORGE: We’re already with them

SEAN: Why would they need to do that?

VINCE: Why?

GEORGE: If we’re with them, we’re happy with them.

 

18.   SHOULD WOMEN PUT SO MUCH EFFORT INTO THEIR APPEARANCE? EG. HAIR, MAKE-UP, CLOTHES, ETC.

SIMON: I think it gets a bit overboard

SEAN: Sometimes

SIMON: I remember girls wearing make-up to school and it got a little competitive and when it gets competitive, then it’s getting a bit over-the-top.

LUKE: Sometimes it backfires.

SIMON: You can see it caking it up.

LUKE: You can always see the line between the face and the neck.

 

a)  SO ARE YOU MORE FOR THE NATURAL LOOK OVER THE MAKE-UP?

SEAN: Make-up’s good, but no theatrical-like; it doesn’t work in real life.

ANDREW: There’s a fine line

GEORGE: Being prepped and making yourself look pretty is good, but there’s a fine line.

ANDREW: To me, when someone has caked it on, they’re trying to cover something up, but when someone just puts application on they are happy with their looks and more confident with themselves.

GEORGE: But they can do what they want.

 

b) SO WHAT WOULD BE YOUR FINE LINE BETWEEN TOO MUCH AND JUST RIGHT?

SEAN: Just getting out of bed and going. Just so they’re happy with how they look.

ANDREW: Girls know better than we do.

GEORGE: It would depend on the girl too. It’s all individual, how much a single individual needs make up, and it depends on what they want to bring out, what features are enhanced, what they do with their face.

LUKE: I suppose the main reason is so they can go out into their day, into the world, feeling good about themselves and how much make-up that requires is up to them.

 

c) WOULD YOU PREFER MAKE-UP OR A NATURAL LOOK IF YOU SAW A GIRL?

ANDREW: It depends.

GEORGE: I like make-up

SIMON: As long as it’s not over-the-top

LUKE: Yeah, not caked on.

 

19.   WHY DO MEN TAKE THEIR TIME TO CALL A GIRL? IS IT FOR AN EGO BOOST OR TRYING TO BE SMOOTH?

ANDREW: It’s trying to be smooth

SIMON: I think it’s an ego boost on many occasions.

GEORGE: With a lot of girls, if you respond too quickly or too eagerly it scares them away, very quickly. A lot of guys prefer to take their time. Some girls generally like to be pursued or not get things to easily, if they get things too easily, it’s easier for them to give up on it.

ANDREW: Keep them guessing.

GEORGE: Not necessarily guessing, but you’ve got to keep the level of anticipation there, I think ladies like a little bit of a challenge and it’s way better to respond three days on than 30 seconds after you’ve dropped them off. Because they’ll be like “What the hell, this guy is weird!”

 

a)  WHAT WOULD BE THE GOLDEN RULE? HOW MANY DAYS WOULD YOU GIVE IT?

ANDREW: It depends. I’d text back probably the next day.

GEORGE: The night after.

ANDREW: I’d do it in the afternoon. Because then if they ask “Why so late?” I would say “I didn’t want to interrupt your day.”

GEORGE: You always know how well it went by how they respond to your question.

SEAN: If they don’t respond at all.

VINCE: Or if they’re just not interested.

GEORGE: If they respond, it’s good.

 

b)  WHY TEXT AND NOT CALL?

SEAN: It’s less invasive.

ANDREW: In this day and age, a call is a little bit weird, if I got a call from a woman the next day I’d be wondering “why is she calling me up? I’d probably be better off being texted” People feel a bit more comfortable with text, it’s a little bit less interpersonal, but it gives you leisure time to respond as well.

VINCE: It gives you time to think about what you want to say.

ANDREW: It gives you time to confer with your mates and you don’t get to do that when you’re on the phone.

 

c)  DO YOU GET YOUR MATES TO HELP YOU, TRYING TO WRITE SOMETHING NICE OR SMOOTH?

ANDREW: With my mates at the time, I would ask “What do you think I should write?” I would get a group consensus. Doesn’t mean I take their advice, but I ask for their advice all the time that I don’t take.

GEORGE: There’s nothing worse than taking your mate’s words instead of your own.

ANDREW: You get group consensus and make it your own words.

SEAN: I confer after I’ve sent the text.

ANDREW: You’d say “She said this, I’m thinking of saying this, what do you reckon?”

 

20.   IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOUR MATES TO APPROVE OR LIKE YOUR GIRLFRIEND?

ALL: No

SEAN: They don’t need to like her

GEORGE: Who cares if they like her?

LUKE: It’s not them.

GEORGE: What do they have to do with him liking her?

 

21.   ABORTION IS ONLY LEGAL IF IT PRESERVES THE PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH OF THE MOTHER. DO YOU BELIEVE ABORTION SHOULD BE MADE LEGAL IN AUSTRALIA?

SEAN: Yes.

SIMON: I think it should be made legal if they have personal objections to killing the foetus, than they’re not going to do it, but it should be up to them.

SEAN: It’s such a daunting thing, being pregnant and having a baby. I think a lot of people, who do not want to go through with it is more of a nervous reaction rather than a decision. Right at the start, they think “I’m not ready and I can’t go through this.”

GEORGE: With abortion there’s a lot of guilt associated with it, guilt that you don’t hear about, like 10, 15 and 20 years later. There’s a lot more research that needs to be done on that mental anguish. In some cases it sometimes might be better to have the child and then do with it what you will. That guilt could ruin lives.

ANDREW: But at the same time, having the child could ruin lives as well.

SIMON: It kind of comes down to whether the woman thinks it’s a being or a foetus.

ANDREW: It’s up to both parents, if one of them is not ready. For example, if the mother doesn’t want the child and the father does, and I know that’s a weird situation, I think the father has the right to the child as well even though he isn’t the one carrying it.

GEORGE: A lot of people argue that it’s not the property of the father.

ANDREW: But he procreated it.

GEORGE: It’s still a woman’s body and her right to carry it or not.

LUKE: I don’t think you could put into “Abortion’s good” or “Abortion’s bad” It has to be dealt with case-by-case.

SEAN: I think if it’s freely available, there should be compulsory counselling before it to make sure they’re making the right decision.

 

22.   DO YOUR PARENTS NEED TO APPROVE OF YOUR GIRLFRIEND?

ALL: No

ANDREW: It depends. I don’t have a great relationship with my parents, but if my parents didn’t like her it would make it a lot harder. At the same time I don’t think she should change because my parents don’t approve, I think I should change. I wouldn’t want to go to a Christmas dinner, have an excellent time and leave and know in my head that my parents don’t like her or don’t approve. I would hate to do that. To me it would be more of a double cross on my partner than on anyone else, because I know they would be thinking that and I wouldn’t be able to tell her that.

SIMON: It wouldn’t bother me what my parents thought.

 

23. IS IT OK FOR A GIRLFRIEND TO HANG OUT WITH AN EX?

SEAN: I guess so.

VINCE: If you’re alright with it.

SIMON: It’s hard to put that into a category it would be more case-to-case.

GEORGE: It’s highly not advisable.

ANDREW: I think it should be allowed, if I had a girlfriend that wanted to see an ex-boyfriend, I wouldn’t like it, but I wouldn’t be able to stop it.

GEORGE: What if she travelled to see him, say for a day and then asked you “What if I stay at his house tonight?”

ANDREW: That would be different.

VINCE: That’s just weird.

 

a) WOULD YOU TRUST HER ENOUGH TO HAVE SELF-CONTROL?

ANDREW: If it was a two week long relationship, I would be more sceptical than I would be if it was a four year relationship and if she went out with the ex for say, two months, I would be a lot more at ease, if we were in a four year relationship than if it was a month.

GEORGE: There’s always a level of trust there. But there was emotions and intimacy there that could come flooding back.

It’s not that you don’t trust her; there are two sides of the coin. The girl’s like “you’ve got to trust me.” But why put your guy through that.

SEAN: Why does she want to go and see him by herself?

 

b) HAVE YOU EVER TESTED A GIRLFRIEND IN ANY WAY TO MAKE SURE SHE WANTED TO BE WITH YOU?

GEORGE: I wouldn’t know how.

SEAN: Why would you do that?

GEORGE: I would respect her enough not to do that.

ANDREW: A guy knows when he’s being tested as well

GEORGE: It’s very hurtful.

 

24.   DO YOU PREFER FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS OR A RELATIONSHIP?

ALL: A relationship

GEORGE: A lot of things can go wrong with friends with benefits.

 

25.  DO YOU BELIEVE ONCE A CHEATER, ALWAYS A CHEATER?

LUKE: Yes

GEORGE: Yes

VINCE: Yes

ANDREW: Not necessarily

VINCE: You should always have control

ANDREW: A one-off thing I could understand

SIMON: No.

VINCE: I couldn’t

LUKE: I couldn’t.

GEORGE: I couldn’t.

ANDREW: If she cheated on me that would be different. If she cheated on another guy and than two years later, goes out with me, than I wouldn’t suspect her of cheating on me. It depends I guess.

GEORGE: There’s always going to be an issue of trust and trust is everything in a relationship, if you can’t trust your partner, where’s the line, where’s the limit of your trust? It’s individual with the guy on what level of trust he’s willing to give, and a lot of maturity comes into play with different levels of trust. If a relationship is younger than one year, there isn’t a lot of maturity there.

 

26.  IS CHIVALRY DEAD?

ANDREW: Chivalry is dead and women killed it.

LUKE: You should always be a gentleman

VINCE: I reckon it’s cool.

SEAN: You don’t do it in the interest of impressing someone you do it anyway.

GEORGE: There are a lot of women who get annoyed by it

GEORGE: All guys always want to be chivalrous and want to open doors for women.

ANDREW: I don’t think its chivalry; I think its manners now.

 

a)  ARE YOU ALL FOR CHIVALRY?

ALL: Yes.

 

b) WOULD YOU PREFER IT IF WOMEN LIKED THE CHIVALRY?

SEAN: Yeah, take it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wollongong’s first women’s AFL team established

Article Written: Saturday May 29th 2010

Aspiring female football players in the Illawarra have been given the chance to shine with the establishment of the first women’s AFL team in Wollongong.

The establishment of the Wollongong Saints comes a year after the launch of the Illawarra Youth Girls Competition, which was highly successful.

The Saints consists of players who vary in age and experience and who come from different walks of life-some travelling from Kiama to play each week, some who are students at the University of Wollongong and some who have backgrounds in other sports.

The Saints are playing in the Sydney Women’s Australian Football League (SWAFL), they have played seven rounds, recording one win, defeating the Macquarie University Warriors; 6.15.51 to 5.3.33 at Mahoney Park in round 6.

Rick Joyce, who is well known for his coaching abilities, as well as assistant coaching secondary school teams at a national level, was appointed the Saints coach.

Despite having only won one game in the season so far, Wollongong Saints have a lot of potential. I saw this for myself when I attended their round 7 home game against the Balmain Dockers at Oval 3 at the University of Wollongong last Saturday, although they didn’t score, their talents and passions shone through. Saint Player; Anne Byrne also made her debut.

I also attended their training session at the oval on the following Monday night.

The Saints team manager; Dawn Giffin, spoke to me during that game.

“One of our benchmarks is, ‘As long as we get a point; that’s good, if the game is close, that’s better, if we win; that’s amazing!”

The Saints played against the Western Wolves on Saturday.

New scheme could secure indemnity insurance for midwives but could also jeopardise home births

Article written: Unknown date.

The recent findings in the Maternity Services Review could jeopardise the legality of midwives and wipe out the option of planned home births.

The 2009 Maternity Services Review, led by Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer, Rosemary Bryant, emphasizes on the need for expectant mothers to have continuity of care throughout their pregnancies, better maternity services and support, and more educational tools to be able to make an informed decision about how they want to birth.

However the review also acknowledged that midwives are employed by a private or public hospital and does not need, nor do they have access to their own Professional Indemnity Insurance, despite the fact that Indemnity Insurance has been available to midwives in the past.

The review also stated that issue of professional indemnity is an issue associated with registration and it also a part of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, which comes into effect on July 1st 2010. A part of this scheme is that health professionals, including midwives must have Indemnity Insurance as a condition of their registration.

I spoke to Sonia Gregson, with the Illawarra Birth Choices about the issue.

“We have members who are due in July and still don’t what this means for their midwife or their ability to birth at home,”

“The Maternity Services Review covered a lot of ground. Privately practicing midwives have not been able to get Indemnity Insurance,”

“Last year’s fight was that home birth was going to become illegal because they have said ‘If midwives don’t have Indemnity Insurance they won’t be able to register.” Therefore they will be an unregistered midwife and unregistered midwives attending births are illegal,”

“We have been through that fight and they (the government), realised it was wrong and they are trying to make changes, but we still haven’t secured Indemnity Insurance for privately practicing midwives.”

Sisters inspired to make birth choices better

Article Written: Saturday May 29th 2010

Sisters, Sonia Gregson and Lisa Metcalfe have been inspired by their families, friends and their own birth experiences to make birth experiences and choices better for women everywhere.

Sonia, who has been with the Illawarra Birth Choices for five years, says that her older sister, Lisa, who is the president of the Maternity Coalition, inspired her to help women benefit from their birthing experiences.

“My sister is absolutely amazing, she is the president of the Maternity Coalition and she is constantly campaigning for better birth choices for women non-stop,”

“She gives countless hours of her time and she is an inspiration,”

“She has a 12 year old boy, he was born in hospital. She didn’t have a pleasant experience and her other three children were born at home,”

“She chose to educate herself after that disappointing birth experience and went on to inform women that you could have a good birth experience.”

Sonia also tells of the benefits of hiring a midwife and choosing to have a planned homebirth.

“If you employ the services of a midwife, you will see that midwife, that midwife will not only know your physical health, she will know your mental health, she will know how prepared you are at home, she will know what your relationship is like with your husband, you will have a relationship with this person and you will be educated by this person,”

“That continuity of care is the golden standard in care for women and their birth choices, and that should be available for all women, all women deserve that.”

The Illawarra Birth Choices was established in 2004, after a home birth support group was established in the Illawarra in the 90’s. Despite having a core group of only ten mothers, members have increased over the last few months and years.

They have also hosted events that prove beneficial and educating to mothers such as the screening of “The Business of Being Born” which was produced by Ricki Lake and also the screening of “A Breech in the System,” which was a woman’s story about giving birth to a breech baby vaginally.

They also have guest speakers at their meetings who vary from local counsellors who talk about post-natal depression to yoga teachers and nutritionists.

Illawarra Birth Choices is a supportive network that provides unconditional support to new and expectant mothers and is highly spoken of and recommended.

More information for monthly meetings and upcoming events can be found at their website, www.illawarra.birthchoices.info.

 

 

Sonia Gregson

Sonia Gregson has been living in Helensburgh for the last four years, both of her children; Riley and Vera were born in her home and she said that she had “fabulous experiences.” She wrote about Vera’s birth experience and it had it published in a birthing magazine and she has been with the Illawarra Birth Choices for the last five years.

I interviewed her in her home in Helensburgh on Wednesday May 26th 2010. I emailed my interview questions prior to the interview and she forwarded the questions on to her sister; Lisa Metcalfe, who is the president of the Maternity Coalition. Lisa’s responses to my interview questions are in the transcript after Sonia’s responses.

 

1. I understand that the Illawarra Birth Choices are a part of the National Maternity Coalition and aims at providing support for expectant and new mothers. When was the Birth Choices established? And was providing bigger and maybe even alternative and better services the inspiration behind the establishment?

There’s two parts to that. The Maternity Coalition is a much larger consumer organisation. They call themselves; Australia’s national maternity consumer organisation. For the purposes of insurance and being under a much more, broader organisation, Illawarra Birth Choices, who started out as a support network for mothers basically. We’ve started to become more connected with the Maternity Coalition and we link a lot of our fundraising through them because they’ve got more of an established set up such as a president and a financial controller, etc.

The Maternity Coalition was established in 1991. The Illawarra branch of the Maternity Coalition was established in 2002, Illawarra Birth Choices was established in 2004 and before that there has been a home birth support group in the Illawarra since the 90’s, we’ve just been making things a bit more formal and proactive. We are trying to provide support for families.

We are not just open to those who want to home birth we are open to anyone in the Illawarra who want to be educated in their birth choices, pre-natal care, parenting styles, breastfeeding. There is the breastfeeding association that meets in the Illawarra, but Illawarra Birth Choices wants to be seen as a support group for families. A lot of our members are home birth friendly, either they have had a home birth or are considering a home birth but we also have members who have had hospital births and caesareans.

Some women don’t find out about their birth choices until they are pregnant. Some women do research well in advance, but some say to themselves; “I don’t want to worry about it, until I am actually pregnant” and that leaves you with less than nine months to work out how you want to birth, who you want to birth with, the process of birth, a lot of education to absorb in let’s say seven months, because a lot of women don’t find out they’re pregnant until a couple of months into their pregnancy and if it’s planned they might know straight away. And we want to assist, not only with the changes in the services that are available here in the Illawarra. We have the midwifery group practice, which is a practice that runs up at Wollongong Hospital which provides one-to-one care with a known midwife right throughout your pregnancy. You see an obstetrician at the beginning of your pregnancy to confirm that you are suitable for the program because they have quite stringent requirements that you need to meet. That program is very successful at Wollongong Hospital and they have a huge waiting list because women would like to see another woman, a midwife because they would like to have that continuity of care throughout their entire pregnancy and labour, which is a fantastic model of care.

People in the Illawarra Birth Choices have been absolutely essential and they have been consumers on various boards and are going to meeting to ensure that the program is up and running and is as successful as it is now. There is now a publicly funded home birth program running out of Wollongong Hospital.

We regularly meet with Sharon Bird, our federal member; we met with her just last week, making sure that the changes that are made suit the women in the Illawarra.

The inspiration behind it is that people wanted to have a network of women that could come and talk to and feel supported and who support their birth choices. Your birth choices, it’s a very personal thing and at Illawarra Birth Choices we make sure people know we support women no matter what their choices are, if they choose to birth at a hospital, we absolutely support that, if they choose to birth at home, we absolutely support that. That’s what it comes down to; women and their choices and having that support, not only in a familiar and friendly group but also in the wider community and the government.

2. Do you believe midwives get enough money and credit for what they do?

I can only speak personally, because I don’t know exactly what all midwives earn, I have two children and they were both born at home. I paid my private practice midwife, $3,500 per birth. Fees do increase, but the fee includes pre-natal, labour and post-natal care. That is a lot of care for a small amount of money, I received so much from my midwife and my personal belief, they could charge more but in terms of midwives who are employed by a hospital, I don’t know their rates of pay.

In terms of their credit, I don’t think they get enough credit. Every new child born into the world has to be carried by a mother but the amazing bond that you have with your midwife is fantastic.

As I was saying I got a lot from my midwife because she came to visit me in my home, so we became friends, you actually do establish a friendship with your midwife, anyone who works in a hospital and a caring role would say that they don’t get enough credit and I would agree with them. Because it’s a huge role, it’s such a momentous occasion in anyone’s life, whether it’s your first child or say, your eighth child whatever it may be, every birth is different and every birth is amazing.

There are a lot of pats on the back that they deserve.

3. What improvements do you believe should/must be made to local and national maternity services?

It’s about women’s choices being supported, so if someone like myself chooses to birth at home, I would consider myself to be a reasonably educated person, I didn’t make that choice without taking certain things into consideration and this was not a decision I made lightly, I had my family and husband’s support. But choosing to birth at home is not always supported. What you often find is that the first reaction from people is they say “You’re brave.”  This was an educated choice that I made.

The change that needs to occur is all women, equal rights, and equal choices. I have always had health insurance, but I did have to pay my midwife the $3,500 out-of-pocket, there is no rebate for any of that care, whether it be through Medicare or private health insurance, they are a few insurance companies that will give you a small amount back but at the end of the day, choosing to birth at home is not a supported choice.

It’s about making that a supported choice and birthing education is another area that I think needs to improve. We educated our children in school about sex education and then it stops, there’s nothing to talk about what happens afterwards and I completely understand that it would be too early to talk about it anyway, but there is a time in people’s lives, where it’s beneficial before they get pregnant to know what happens instead of walking into the GP’s office and asking for a blood test because they think they are pregnant and then the GP asking you what hospital you want to birth at. It’s a matter of actually saying, these are your choices.

We need hospitals. The hospital has a strict policy in place that they have to follow. If your baby’s heart rate increases or if you’re not dilating quickly enough, there is eventually intervention.

There are definitely improvements that can be made. Locally we have already had some improvements occur, the midwifery group practice is so popular that there aren’t enough midwives on the rotation to keep up with the demand, but there is still the requirements you need to meet, such as; having a certain amount of ultrasounds, having certain tests done and if you had a caesarean previously, you would not be suitable.

4. You had a screening at the University of Wollongong, “A Breech in the System”, was that a success? What did that involve?

It was a huge success. There was a lady who wanted to document her experience of trying to have a vaginal birth in a hospital with a breech baby (feet first). Most hospitals don’t support giving birth to a breech baby. We decided to screen this as an educational tool and also to have a panel discussion following. We had some wonderful local people attend and became a part of our panel. To put an event like this together, because we are volunteer mums, we had to organise advertising, tickets, pay for the right to screen the film, arranging a venue, finding panel members, someone to co-ordinate the technology and we are so proud of the way it turned out. We had midwifery students go to the screening.  We have had successful screenings in the past. We had Ricki Lake’s “The Business of Being Born”, that was successful as well and that coincided with Ricki coming out to Australia, which was last year. She’s a woman that has had a hospital experience that she didn’t enjoy so she decided that she would home birth with the next child which is often how people come to home birth, they perhaps have a difficult or traumatic experience in a hospital and decide that something must be better and turn to home birth.

5. Are the number of mothers at the monthly meetings and events increasing over the years?

We have a great number of mums who come to our monthly meetings, we are definitely increasing. We have a core group of about ten of us, but we have been getting new members in the last few months, just this year we have changed venues. We are now at a local community hall; Russell Vale Hall, which we have to pay for, so we fundraised to pay for that hall. We are completely self-funded. We sell “I was born at home” T-Shirts, to try and raise money, but we have to buy and print the T-Shirts.

We’ve got a really nice, local group of people who come along and we share birth stories, this year we’ve had a fantastic amount of guest speakers. We had a local counsellor talk about post-natal depression, a nutritionist talk about pregnancy and breast-feeding and nutrition. We’ve had a yoga teacher come and teach yoga for pregnancy and post-pregnancy. We try to have really interesting speakers, discussions and meetings and then we try and get through the business part of the meetings, and also to share birth stories and enjoy each other’s company. It’s information sharing as well as guest speakers.

The monthly meetings are held at Russell Vale Hall on the third Monday of every month.

6. Are there any plans to expand the organisation?

We’re certainly not planning to expand the group and become a larger organisation. We are already under the umbrella of the Maternity Coalition, so we just want to try and provide education and support to local families and also do our bit on a local level by keeping up our contact with Sharon Bird.

7. Have you had any feedback/comments from mothers in regard to the organisation and its services? Positive and/or negative?

We do get lovely feedback from mums in regards to the birth choices group and what we provide. We haven’t had any negative feedback. Just recently, we had a lady who had met a couple of our members through our local church and she decided to come along to a couple of meetings, she had already had children and decided to have a home birth, her first home birth through Wollongong Hospital. We also have a birth pool for hire, that’s another one of our fundraising options; she hired that pool from us. She sent us a text saying what an amazing experience she had with her home birth, it was wonderful and how thankful she was that she discovered our group and the support that we had given her and that was just last week.  And that is the thanks that you do get from this.

It is impossible to take the emotional side out of the birth debate, because pregnant women have a life growing inside them, the amazing experience of becoming a mother is of course going to affect you emotionally, it changes you.

8. Do you believe the government is doing enough to help expectant and new mothers?

Yes and no. I know they do try to make sure there are educational and support groups. When you do fall pregnant, the conversation you do have is with a close friend, family member or a GP.

A lot of GP’s, perhaps don’t know or are uncomfortable with all the birth choices, home birth is still not a supported choice, it comes down to all of those choices and that education are freely available to women at the moment, I would have to say, that this has to start with GP’s. And the government could step in and tell GP to inform women of these choices.

A woman is going to respect their doctor and we do respect our doctors and we do have a good relationship with them. We want to do the best for our bodies and babies; you don’t make choices to put yourself or your baby in danger. It’s about making educated and informed choices.

Once you become a part of the medical system, you see your obstetrician and have ultrasounds; you will fall into their set down policy and procedure of how things should go. What it says on a piece of paper, while it’s good to have things written down in case something does go wrong, but we’re not all round pegs that are going to fit into the small round hole. Every person is different and will birth differently. If they need to follow their procedure in order to stay safe, you will find yourself being influenced by their policy and procedure and that will mean intervention. I don’t mean to sound negative, but women need to be aware of that, because once you go down that path, it’s hard to get off that path.

That being said, some women do prefer that and are happy with that.

There are people out there who will need a caesarean, we need them, thank God we invented them, but they are not needed as much as we use them.

There’s always more that the government could do such as; making sure that all women feel supported whether that be financially, physically, and mentally.

9. What do you think the effect of the Maternity Services Review will have on midwives and expectant mothers?

Currently things are still up in the air, we have member who are due in July and still don’t know what that means for their midwife or their ability to birth at home. The Maternity Services Review covered a lot of ground. Privately practicing midwives have not been able to get Public Indemnity Insurance. Last year’s fight was that home birth was going to become illegal because they have said “If midwives don’t have Public Indemnity Insurance they won’t be able to register.” And therefore they will be an unregistered midwife and unregistered midwives attending births are illegal.

We have been through that fight and obviously they (the Government) realised that it was wrong and they are trying to make changes, but we are still in a similar boat, we still haven’t secured Indemnity Insurance, PPI for privately practicing midwives.

There is a framework that has been released that actually explains what midwives will have to do, because what they initially wanted them to do was work in collaboration, they had to have a collaborative arrangement. Because we were trying to get some Medicare benefits with home birth choices and midwife choices, so if you were having pre-natal care with a midwife, you could claim that with Medicare. So in order for that to happen, midwives had to have a collaborative arrangement with medical practitioners, which meant doctors. Therefore doctors would gain a veto and would be making the decisions a midwife would normally be making.

One of the reasons I chose to home birth is I could have the most wonderful in-home care without having to go and sit in a doctor’s surgery, whether that was my GP, and there would be sick people there in that surgery, and I’m not sick, I’m pregnant with a new baby. And I didn’t want to have to expose myself or my baby to the germs. I didn’t want to catch a cold. All of my ultrasounds and care was done in the comfort of my own home.

Pregnancy is a wellness not an illness. We often look at it from the wrong angle, we look at it from a medical point of view and see it as dangerous and yes there can be, but there doesn’t always have to be.

LISA METCALFE’S RESPONSE TO INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

1. I understand that the Illawarra Birth Choices are a part of the National Maternity Coalition and aims at providing support for expectant and new mothers. When was the Birth Choices established? And was providing bigger and maybe even alternative and better services the inspiration behind the establishment?

Maintaining birthing services and preventing the closing of birthing services, for example Shell Harbour. Promoting normal child bearing and informed choices and continuity of care as it has the best outcomes for mum and baby. Achieve a new model of care for up to 360 mums a year. The Midwifery Group Practice can cater for up to 360 mums a year, not enough change done but we’re getting there.

2. Do you believe that midwives get enough money and credit for what they do?

Hospital staffs are paid okay. The ratio of staff to patient is the highest in any hospital setting as babies don’t count as patients. Midwives have about double the workload of most nursing staff on post-natal wards and birthing suites. Private practicing midwives are a different story as their pay varies, some based on expertise, some based on woman’s ability to pay. Midwives do it for the love of the profession. More recognition for the high level of autonomy midwives need to be clinically skilled. For example, pick up when things deviate from normal, front line in an emergency.

3. What improvements do you believe should/must be made to local and national maternity services?

Equitable access to continuity of care with a known midwife of choice, not dictated by ability to pay, you still need to pay the gap for private midwifery even if Medicare rebate is available. Not restricted by place of birth, complexities around home birth and lack of Private Indemnity Insurance, midwifery care is not available everywhere, it is medically dominated in many parts of Australia and difficult to reform the whole system from sickness to a wellness model. Pregnancy is a physiological process of change and development, not a disease.

9. What do you think the effect of the Maternity Services Review will have on midwives and expectant mothers?

Depends on how far the reform goes in the hospital system. It provides a starting point to build on.

 

 

 

 

Rebecca Albury

Rebecca Albury has been with the University of Wollongong since 1984, she is an Associate Professor in the School of History and Politics.

She is the chair of the Excellence, Diversity and Innovation in Teaching Subcommittee (EDITS) of the University Education Committee.

She is known for her research on the women’s health movement and in particular on reproductive health and policy.

She has had several publications which include;

The Politics of Reproductions: Beyond the Slogans, Sydney, Allen & Unwin, 1999

-‘Reproductive Rights and Technologies’ in Australian Feminism: A Companion edited by B. Caine, M Gatens, E. Graham, J. Larbalestier, S. Watson and E. Webby, Melbourne, Oxford University Press, 1998.

‘Challenges to Commonsense: Debates about the Status of Human Embryos Outside Women’s Bodies’, Journal of Australian Studies, Number 59, 1998 pp. 129-38.

I interviewed Rebecca on Thursday May 20th 2010 and she told me how a lifetime of support from those around her has inspired her into the field that she is so passionate about today.

“I come from a family where women are respected and admired. Where education for women was very important,”

“I went to a girl’s high school where the teachers were all women and they promoted the notion where women needed to care of themselves and intelligent women need to support and find ways to feed their intelligence,”

“I graduated from high school in 1964 and it was in the time of women’s liberation and these ideas made sense,”

“I was primed by family and teachers, I lived in a university community from the early 70’s and I was involved in various ways in the women’s movement, particularly in health and reproduction,”

“I came to Australia in the early 70’s and that’s where I looked for friends and activities, I am a political scientist and I have shifted to working on Australian Domestic Policy,”

“I was given tools to understand political activism and I’ve been able to combine a scholarship and the political activism, I have found it invigorating and exciting because I’ve been able to make a difference in government policy,”

“I’ve been able to provide support for women and children in the community by the volunteer work; I was once on the National Bioethics Consultant Committee looking at reproductive technology and what policies will be made about this,”

“But that’s not to say that nothing has gone wrong in my life.”

Rebecca is also on the community board of management at the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre.

 

1. In Australia, Abortion is only legal if it preserves the physical and mental health of the mother. Do you believe abortion should be made legal and freely available? Do you think that would be better for women in the long run?

That’s what the law says in some states, since the late 60’s the mental and physical health has been expanded to mean economic and career well-being in the sense. There seems to be an interesting contradiction in the way is abortion is available in Australia. Since the late 1960’s the various jurisdictions in Australia have been moving towards the feminist goal of access to abortion. This has happened through common law interpretations, it’s happened through the way that was then called Medibank and now called Medicare was set up with funding for early trimester abortion, items were just put into the benefits schedule under the grounds that there was no common law against it.

The states were moving in this regulatory rather than criminal direction, if the operation was legal under state law and provided for the ordinary regular health system than it should be funded. Since the mid-70’s there has been a situation where one hand, some states have taken the letter of the law to mean that there could be some cases of people being arrested, mainly doctors.

What has happened over that time that hundreds of thousands of young and middle aged women have been able to get abortions and they have been able to get a rebate from Medicare. It’s not available everywhere, because of a variety of reasons. People who live in distant country areas they have to travel, young women are sometimes embarrassed to go to a local doctor so they are willing to travel to protect their privacy because abortion is talked about in the press in a stigmatising way.

It frightens people who don’t know the details to use the one side of that contradictory tension in tort. On the other hand, I would prefer that abortion get off the crimes act. It’s not appropriate on the crimes act anymore, because it’s safe, it’s certainly safer for women than continuing the pregnancy or performing the abortion themselves, it may not be a good choice for lots of people but we have lots of things that are legal that are not good choices for example smoking and pubs and cubs that are open late at night, over drinking, etc. The moral argument about it being immoral doesn’t seem to cut it as to why it’s still on the crime acts.

South Australia did some law reform in 1971, Western Australia did some law reform in the 90’s, most recently Victoria took it off the crimes act in 2008, there’s talk in New South Wales, but for a variety for reasons I don’t think it will happen with the current Labor Party.

I think abortion needs to be regulated under the health acts so that, for example bad practitioners can be de-registered, not because they are doing abortions but because they are bad practitioner and are dangerous, it would be the same thing if a doctor was doing tonsillectomies and children were bleeding to death, you would want to stop them from doing tonsillectomies, it would be the same thing if a doctor was doing abortions that were injuring women.

I have a women’s centred view on this, I trust women to make sensible decisions for themselves, I think that community and government as a whole needs to support women’s decision, that if a woman decides to continue with a pregnancy need supporting mother’s benefits and baby bonuses and they shouldn’t be discriminated against if they don’t have husbands, they should be helped to take care of their babies. On the other hand, if a woman decides to terminate a pregnancy, she should not be ashamed or stigmatised and it should be rebated by Medicare.

2. Women have been fighting for equal pay for years, although it is almost equal, there are still some instances where women are still being paid less than men. Do you believe this issue will ever be resolved?

I think it will be a continuing issue and for two reasons; the nature of work and what some people call the male dominated culture of work. What needs to happen is a vast culture change of the nature of work that recognises that paid work is one part, but only one part of people’s live and not their full identity and that people remain themselves with their responsibilities and when they are at paid work and that they don’t become tools of the sense of their employer and therefore need to be treated with respect and understanding of that and this will improve work for men and women.

In Australia, in some jobs and industries are gender-segregated, for example mining and forestry is heavily male dominated and the values of that are of a particular model of masculinity. What keeps it male? Because of the sense of dirty, dangerous work is seen as masculine. But let’s think of other dangerous and dirty work such as nursing and child care. You have little children under your responsibility and they are not thinking of safety, there are exploring the world. It is dirty there is poo, wee, germs, some children have Hep C because they got from their parents at birth so it’s dangerous and there is also a danger with lifting the children but that is seen as women’s work, it’s seen as less well paid as it is part of the nature of women to be caring for children and what we are seeing here is masculinity and femininity at play in the divisions of the work and the notion of the naturalness of it.

Those notions of masculinity and femininity draw people into different kinds of work and help determine the way the pay is set. The culture of work, understanding of work values are deeply set by notions of gender. There is legislation for equal pay, it is better than it was.

When once women got 66% of male pay it’s up in the 80’s now.

3.  I recently read an article where a UK survey revealed that 56% of people believed that a woman should take responsibility for being raped (for example if they accept a drink or are kissing someone, dressing provocatively, etc) Is this shocking to you at all? And do you believe there should be more help available for women?

I’m saddened by it, but I’m not shocked because of the attitudes out there. I’m of the opinion, that yes there needs to be support for women but there also needs to be ways not just single lessons or centres that victims can go, but there also needs to be a society wide re-workings of the meanings of masculinity and femininity. The thing that has always struck me is that with the gender stereotypes it is seen as good thing for men to not take no for an answer. For example if a man is a salesman selling cars and the shopper says “this one is too expensive” and rather than taking no for an answer, the salesman tries to sweeten the deal, either trading in something or reducing the price. To try and not take no for an answer, that is a part of the nature of masculinity. There is a sense of demanding respect and needing yes. What happens then you are talking about sex and she says no? Guys have to take no for answer, whether it is about sex or back in childhood when they are bullying or asking for money, they have to take no for an answer. Most men are not like this, they do take no for an answer or they may ask if this is alright. This needs to be brought out, how to be a man? Take no for answer, respect your girlfriend.

What is the image of the woman? The image of the woman is compliant, anything for a quiet life, doing what he wants, if you love him, you make him the centre of your world. The tension on each side, the tension for the men is taking no for an answer, for women it’s the embarrassment of making a fuss. What would happen? What would people say if she’s starting shouting in the club if a guy is making a move on her long after she said no? She not he would be the object of ridicule. Why were you dancing in that provocative way if you weren’t willing to go the whole way? It’s a fun way to dance and this is a fashionable dress, this was not for him.

All of these understandings need to be explored in childhood, with groups of boys and groups of girls. There is no simple solution.

4. There has been talk of an “eggtimer” test, a blood test which measures the Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) and this test basically shows how many eggs a woman has left by measuring the hormone level in the blood sample and comparing it with a statistical value. It’s $65 and not covered by Medicare. Do you believe women should be encouraged to take this test? Do you believe it will have positive and/or negative effects?

I think the question of fertility is beyond a test. For a woman to discover that she didn’t have many eggs when she was not in a relationship or when she had just been offered a fantastic opportunity overseas and learning this might make her drop everything and have a baby is unrealistic. Young women need to know that fertility is not automatic, it is more than just how many eggs you have, the question is “are you in a space to have and raise children now?”

There is this kind of fantasy of “when I’m ready, this is how it will be” well, for thousands of years across millions of women, “really ready”, is a meaningless statement. Babies come, planned or unplanned and women welcome them and take care of them, they raise them working or staying at home, in poverty and in wealth and the notion that somehow there could be a way of planning and that we’ll find a perfect time and a question of negotiating that.

I feel that the eggtimer is being sold as something that it can all be planned and organised.

I can understand with a woman in her late 30’s maybe early 40’s who is started in a new relationship and if she thinks it’s going okay and he think it’s going okay and they wouldn’t mind having children she might like to know if they should throw away the contraception and trying for the baby whilst they are getting to know each other so that instead of getting to know the person and being totally okay with and then having the baby, maybe there might not be time for it because what if that took two years and then it might be so hard to get pregnant that she didn’t. Why not try now?

The choices that women make about reproduction are not going to be enhanced by knowing how many eggs they have left.

5.  Do you believe that women’s/feminism issues or issues between the sexes will ever be resolved? 

They’ll be different issues, whatever happens, I can imagine a world in which gender didn’t matter, and it’s very hard to imagine that happening in the lifetime of anyone now living because of the complexity of it. If one is working on this, politically or socially or within personal relationships on equality, it’s the case of picking the places that seems important and working on those in a variety of ways are necessary at the time and seeing where that goes.

When you change something now, it changes the bigger picture. It doesn’t necessarily get to the underlying issues and solving these issues or trying to solve these issues exposes new problems. I’m not being negative. It’s not a tick and flick thing even if it took a long time to make the tick. It’s a mode of living and new issues will appear. I guess it is about what the level of goal is. Is it reducing crime statistics? A narrow goal or is it promoting equality and showing how inequality operates and showing new problems.