: Sit Down Girlie

Sit Down Girlie

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The journal's most popular column is ‘Sit down Girlie’ which presents snippets on legal issues from a feminist viewpoint — with a touch of humour. Acknowledgments are due to a certain Registrar of the Family Court of Australia for the title of this column. A solicitor who was appearing before him was waiting patiently for her male colleague to finish addressing the JR. Assuming he had completed his submission, she rose to her feet — prematurely it appears — and the JR roared ‘Sit down girlie’!

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Girlie goes around the world

Freda Morrow

One small step…

Allowing women in Saudi Arabia to vote in municipal elections from 2015 is a small step forward, however Saudi women have a long way to go before their basic human rights are recognised and protected by law. As Ida Lichter notes (The Australian, 12 October 2011) they legally are unable to drive a car or have a coffee in public with a male. A Saudi woman has recently been sentenced to 10 lashes for driving and only a Royal edict reversed this sentence. King Abdullah has introduced some reforms including that Saudi women can travel abroad and stay in hotels without the permission of a male guardian provided the local police are informed. Some women have also been admitted to educational institutions and have roles in government.

(2011) 36(4) AltLJ 278

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Girlie finds some similarities between the brothel and the bench

Isa Waughnout, Crystal See-Ling and Di Versity

‘Get Thee to a Nunnery’

Are legal brothels ever safe? Caroline Norma (The Age, 13 July 2011) doesn’t think so. She points out that there are data available for violence against women in street prostitution but not for those who are assaulted in licensed brothels. A woman in Melbourne working in a licensed brothel plans to sue her employers after she was threatened by a client with a gun because she refused to have unprotected sex with him. Caroline Norma criticises Consumer Affairs Victoria for promoting the view that prostitution can be a safe and viable employment option for women working in licensed premises. She prefers the Swedish approach which criminalises prostitution and mandates public and police education programs and empirical research.

(2011) 36(3) AltLJ 201

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Girlie gets on the scent of more than roses

Katya Kockoff

Violence against Women

Another International Women’s Day comes and goes and some things improve for women but others do not. Until women have equal political representation, violence against women and children will not be taken seriously and while sanctions for these crimes, including those inflicted by the state, remain unenforceable, women will not be free to participate equally in society with men.

In Afghanistan, for example, a 2009 law banning violence against women has failed to stop public beatings of women for ‘crimes’ such as eloping or adultery. In addition the ‘hospital of cries’ has admitted over 90 cases of self immolation by women unable to obtain justice in the context of domestic violence. The hospital gets its name from the cries of pain from its patients. (The Australian, 8 March 2011)

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 126

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Girlie plods through the cesspool of sex, marriage, crime, taxes and witchcraft

Omay Gawd

Where’s dad?

In February 2011 the Australian Institute of Family Studies (‘AIFS’) released a study into shared care arrangements involving 10 000 parents who had been separated on average for 15 months and involved children aged up to 17 (Patricia Karvelas, The Australian, 1 February 2011). The study follows the 2006 changes to the family law system encouraging greater involvement of both parents in their children’s lives after separation and a 30 per cent increase in shared care orders. The study examined parents before they reached the courts and found children in separated families still spend much more time with their mother than their father. One of the authors, Ruth Weston, said in judicially-determined cases, where the number of contact hours were specified, shared care had increased from four per cent in the two years before the 2006 reforms to 34 per cent in the second half of 2008. But, explained Ms Weston, the study revealed about 80 per cent of children spent most nights of the year with their mother and a third never stayed overnight with their father. AIFS director Alan Hayes said that, although children spent more time with their mother than their father following a break-up, most parents in the study believed the arrangements worked well. The study finds 11 per cent of children never see their father and 23 per cent see their father only during the daytime. Child support agency data showed that, from June 2003 to June 2008, the proportion of new cases where shared care was awarded rose from 9 to 17 per cent.

(2011) 36(1) AltLJ 59

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