Women in Law Awards
The annual Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards are now open for submissions. The awards recognise ‘the achievements of women who have challenged, influenced or changed the practice of law in Australia’ — across the legal sector including lawyers, students, academics and support staff. The Diversity Firm of the Year category recognises firms that have committed to the inclusion of women across their operations. ‘The winners will represent high achievers from the legal sector, from the most senior to the stars of tomorrow.’ Winners are to be announced at a gala black tie event at the Sofitel Melbourne on 27 October 2016. Nominations may be made via the Women in Law Awards website — https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/womeninlaw.
Feminism Chinese Style
In March 2016 China passed its first national legislation criminalising domestic violence. For at least 10 years, supporters fought hard to get this law passed in response to a reported 25 per cent of Chinese women experiencing domestic violence but with only 40 000 to 50 000 complaints being registered annually. (Chen Tingting, ‘China’s First Law Against Domestic Violence’ — http://asiafoundation.org/2016/01/20/chinas-first-law-against-domestic-violence-its-no-longer-a-private-matter/.) China has also relaxed its one-child policy to allow all families to have two children. Unfortunately many women are too poor to have two children. China’s record on equality for women has been patchy with five young feminist activists arrested and bailed in March 2015. The criminal charges against them for planning an anti-sexual harassment protest ahead of International Women’s Day have still not been dropped. In early 2016 the women’s advocacy group Beijing Zhongze Women’s Legal Counseling and Service Centre was closed by authorities without explanation.
Women invade IR
K&L Gates partner Christa Lenard has told Lawyers Weekly (1 August 2016) the number of women working in Industrial Relations in the legal profession and generally has recently increased. Lenard noted IR was traditionally a male-dominated area but its juridification has made it more of a legal discipline, and women with law degrees are choosing IR as an alternative to traditional legal practice. Lenard says IR ‘is a great field for somebody with a law degree because you can cut your teeth on so many interesting issues…’. Lenard is also quoted as saying women bring different skill sets to IR which employers want.
The brother of Qandeel Baloch murdered her with drugs and strangling and has sought to justify his actions as being an honour killing for which he has no regrets. Qandeel was a social media star who posted risqué messages to try to change ‘the typical mindset’ of people in Pakistan. Qandeel, whose real name was Fauzia Azeem faced frequent misogynist abuse and death threats but refused to be cowed by them. Qandeel’s supporters have called for legislation to prevent the killings and to stop families from being able to ‘forgive’ the killer. More than 500 people, nearly all of them women, die in Pakistan each year from killings carried out by family members for bringing ‘shame’ on them. Qandeel had told her followers, ‘As women we must stand up for ourselves. As women we must stand up for each other’ (17 July 2016, Sydney Morning Herald). See also Honour Killings by Region on the Honour Based Violence Awareness Network — http://hbv-awareness.com/regions/.
ANN ARKIE, MAY HEMM and KAY OSS are feminist lawyers