Gender Wars:
The Military, Guns & Women

This course will look at gender relations, guns, violence, war and peace. The links between these issues are as relevant as ever in the context of increasing militarization in the Asia Pacific, the persistence of the nuclear threat, the proliferations of guns, the prevalence of rape as a key aspect of warfare, and the Australian government’s Presidency of the United Nations Security Council.

When: Tuesdays from 20th August 2013, 6.30 – 8pm
Venue: Some Velvet Morning, 123 Queens Pde. Clifton Hill
Format: 45 minute presentation, 45 minute open conversation
Co-ordinators: May Maloney, Sharna de Lacy and Cara Gleeson

week 1

20.8.13

Women and War: The role of gender in political violence
Sara Meger (Melb Uni/Monash Uni)

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week 2

27.8.13

Under the Gun: Small arms, the arms trade and violence against women
Emily K. Maguire (prevention of violence against women specialist) & Ben Murphy (Oxfam)
Today, there are 900 million guns in circulation in the world. Of these, 75% are in the hands of individuals -most of whom are men. Currently all countries in the world import small arms, and many manufacture them, including Australia. Given that Australia now has the same level of gun ownership as it did at the time of the Port Arthur Massacre, have we lost sight of the impact of small arms on our lives in Australia? Does gun ownership have anything to do with social and gender equality? This session looks at the impacts of guns on gender relations, and looks at the international trade in guns as a big business in need of regulation. Emily K Maguire is a specialist in the prevention of violence against women and she will speak about VAW and prevention strategies. Ben Murphy, of Oxfam Australia, has worked in Australia and abroad in civil society negotiations regarding an international Arms Trade Treaty to limit sale and use of guns and small arms between countries.

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week 3

3.9.13

Bombshells: Nuclear disarmament & Australian anti-war movements
Dimity Hawkins (ICAN / Reaching Critical Will), Geraldine Robertson (Women’s Web) & Carol Wigg (MAPW)
The mythology goes, that the Australian national identity was born on the shores of Gallipoli, carved by “rough men”, serving lofty deals of “mateship” and national service, and personal sacrifice. This characterization inherently excludes the stories, people and events of women, indigenous peoples and those opposed to Australian military expeditions in far-flung lands. Another common myth is that of Australian opposition to nuclear weapons, and that we serve as a moderate voice for their abolition in the international scene. In this session, we will seek to unpack these mythologies and shine a light on the role of women in peace and disarmament work in Australia. We will be joined by a panel of experienced women – herstorian Geradline Roberston (women’s web), Dimity Hawiks (co-founder of ICAN, WILPF’s Reaching Critical Will Disarmament program) and Carole Wigg (Medical Practitioners for the Prevention of War). What role have Australian women played in times of war, how have they acted against nuclear arms, and where exactly does the Australian governments rhetoric fall short of its actions?

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week 4

10.9.13

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Why radio and new media are the forefront of the women’s revolution
Juliet Fox (3CR, Melb Uni), Sonia Randhawa (Take Back the Tech)
Though the mainstream media largely ignores the voices, stories and concerns of women, feminists and their allies have shunned these tired old mediums and looked instead to community radio and online spaces to get their message out. In an age of crumbling traditional media empires, the proliferation of new independent medias has become a site of grass roots feminist activism, and movement building. These new spaces can be platforms of empowerment, but also unsafe spaces that facilitate online violence and harassment. To explore this, we are joined by Juliette Fox, Projects Coordinator at 3CR radio, and Sonia Randhawa, from Take Back the Tech! a collaborative campaign to reclaim information and communication technologies to end violence against women.

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week 5

17.9.13

The UN Security Council: What have women got to do with it?
Di Otto (Melb Uni)
This week we will present a panel session with Di Otto (Melb Uni) and Caroline Lambert (Executive Director, YWCA Australia). Di and Caroline will examine the role of the Security Council in relation to issues faced by women around the world, and will reflect on the ways in which women have engaged with the broader UN system – reflecting particularly on advocacy in the context of the Commission on the Status of Women, the Human Rights Treaty System, and on gender mainstreaming within the UN system.

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week 6

24.9.13

The Essential Victim: Leaving women (out) in peace
Erin-Claire Barrow (Young UN Women), Jasmine-Kim Westendorf (La Trobe / MFU), Yasmin Chilmeran (Monash/Middle East researcher)

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One Comment

  1. [...] Some very cool (do people still say cool? Whatever, I do) Melbourne feminists have been doing a little grass roots ed with a local free university, exploring the gendered dynamics of war, guns and how to get jiggy with feminist activism. You can podcast the sessions here. [...]