Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 21, September 6, 1976.



There seems to be no doubt that women in New Zealand are stirring. Preoccupation with women's rights and "women's lib", even if only expressed as opposition, is intense. 'International Women's Year' has been the cry of every "threatened" male for the last twelve months. Two and a half thousand women attended the United Women's Convention in June, and hundred of others were turned away. Most encouraging of all has been the emergence of a few radical groups, radical in either a purely feminist way (defining men as the primary problem) or in a socialist feminist way

In spite of these signs of hope, however, the outlook is pessimistic. The official women's movement excludes large sections of women, notably those of the working class. Their particular problems and contributions therefore go unnoticed. Those groups which are organized get very little in the way of practical support by government and the rest of society they are forever struggling for funds and recognition.

Even more important, the large and powerful groups in the current movement, and the overwhelming majority, do not have 'feminist' aims and attitudes. Consciously or unconsciously they are working against the liberation of women in our society. The conservative organisations are in open support of traditional female roles, [unclear: set ng] women primarily in terms of wives and mothers. The liberal groups, by their issue-orientation, lack of vision and inconsistency, condemn women to a similar role with perhaps a few minor concessions. As yet the appeal of the radical element is limited, and its membership small. As a result, its ideology and idea's is swamped by the general views of the movement.

We feel strongly that there is:

"an urgent need for the New Zealand feminist movement to see itself as distinct and separate from the reforming zeal of the women who desire to better the lot of other women while maintaining them in the same basic role structure." [15]

The possibility of a new movement guided by feminist and socialist principles and working for the widest liberation of the female sex seems unlikely under the present set-up. Indeed, until the separation of pro-woman and feminist groups occurs, piece-meal, short-term and minor reforms can be the only expectations of the women's movement.