Articles on Gender

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Torah Bright is one of many Australian women competing in the Winter Olympics and challenging perceptions about women in sport. AAP Image/Julian Smith

Australian women show the way to equality at the Winter Olympics

The London 2012 Summer Olympic Games were declared the “women’s games” – with female participation in all sports and every nation represented by at least one female athlete. Although the Sochi 2014 Winter…
Muscular women such as Serena Williams issue a challenge to received ideas about femininity. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Why do we find muscular women wildly perplexing?

We don’t see many muscular women in popular culture – and the display of much heavier and obviously stronger female bodies can be overwhelming or shocking. Professional tennis playing sisters Serena and…
Lupita Nyong'o and Alfre Woodard star in Steve McQueen’s new biopic. Chris Pizzello/AP

A life more terrible: the women of 12 Years a Slave

The United States was in the middle of a civil war 150 years ago and, while Abraham Lincoln had just issued the emancipation proclamation, it would still be another 18 months until freedom finally came…
Programming: blue for boy, pink for girl. ntr23

Are men better wired to read maps or is it a tired cliché?

The headlines The Guardian: Male and female brains wired differently, scans reveal The Atlantic: Male and female brains really are built differently The Independent: The hardwired difference between male…
Role reversal: evolution is not the only way to explain gender differences. Linh Do

Women act like men when they switch seats at speed dating

On a TV show or in a movie, if a guy and a girl are at a party and one approaches the other to strike up a conversation, chances are that it was the guy who approached the girl. That is because we have…
EasyJet boss Carolyn McCall is one of few women at the top of UK business. Steve Parsons/PA

The evidence is clear: firms do better with women on board

In the UK, women make up just just 17.3% of FTSE 100 companies’ board members. This puts the UK 5th in the world behind Norway, Sweden, Finland and France. Things are certainly improving: 44% of new appointments…
The binary categories of male and female don’t align with the reality that sex and gender may be fluid. Keoni Cabral

Beyond male and female: time for a non-specific sex category

Earlier this month the High Court indicated it was prepared to hear a legal case that tests the ability of intersex Australians to be legally recognised as being neither male or female. The High Court…
An excerpt from Alison Bechdel’s comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For (1985). Wikimedia

What the Bechdel test doesn’t tell us about women on film

Four cinemas in Sweden recently pledged to rate films based on whether they pass what is known as the “Bechdel test,” a means of evaluating gender bias in film, named after American graphic artist Alison…
Women who take time off research to have children face funding obstacles when returning to the workforce. Cia de Foto

Six steps to fairer funding for female scientists

A glass ceiling remains in place for female medical research scientists in Australia. Although approximately 50% of PhD students and postdoctoral scientists are female, males run the majority of research…
Emotional fallout: undervalued, paid less and under pressure to look good. Christine Cassis

Women suffer more from mental illness but it suits us to ignore it

Martin Baggaley pulled no punches last week in his assessment of the dire state of mental health. The Medical Director of the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust said the system was in crisis, inefficient…
Gender justice: women take more prominent roles on ICC than other courts. ICC-CPI

Justice for women depends on International Criminal Court

The African Union will hold a summit from October 11-13 to consider a mass withdrawal of the 34 African member states of the International Criminal Court (ICC). This would be in response to the trials…
A twerking, tongue-poking Miley Cyrus at the Video Music Awards in Brooklyn earlier this year. Does the pop singer represent third wave feminism? EPA/Jason Szenes

Miley Cyrus, Sinéad O’Connor and the future of feminism

Since her tongue-poking and “twerk”-filled performance at the American Video Music Awards, Miley Cyrus has been the subject of intense media discussion. This has only magnified in the past week, after…
Prissy girls and macho boys. jodigreen

Violence against women starts with school stereotypes

Gender-based violence is a deeply embedded problem in many societies and cultures. Despite this, efforts to challenge it are rarely seen at a primary school level. There is a perception that children aged…
Liberal politician Sophie Mirabella, who is likely to lose her Victorian seat of Indi, has been subjected to the misogyny that continues to pervade Australian politics. AAP/Alan Porritt

Mirabella and gender: vicious attacks show nothing’s changed

Hard-faced. I’m looking at that phrase and wondering exactly what it means. Of course, I know what it means when it’s applied to men. They are heroic, they’ve seen things that those of us who are more…
Many of the issues women face are the result of the broken work patterns that stem from juggling work and child rearing. Image from shutterstock.com

Applying a gender lens to the 2013 election campaign

Most Australians are aware of the Coalition’s signature policy on paid parental leave. But how are the parties addressing the other issues that concern Australian women in this election? A recent survey…
Tony Abbott may have subconsciously revived the gender debate in Australian politics when he asked if Kevin Rudd ever ‘shuts up’ in last night’s debate. AAP/Alan Porritt

Don’t these guys ever shut up? How Tony Abbott reignited the gender debate without realising it

Opposition leader Tony Abbott seems to have done the job. Some judges reckon the Oxford boxing blue endured nothing worse than a split decision points loss. Others credit him with delivering a “knockout…
What do the various responses to Tony Abbott’s ‘sex appeal’ comment say about the role of gender in politics? AAP/Alan Porritt

She’s got it: responses to Tony Abbott’s ‘sex appeal’ comments

Since opposition leader Tony Abbott’s self-described “daggy dad” comments about Liberal candidate Fiona Scott’s sex appeal, gender issues have re-emerged in Australian politics. Labor frontbenchers claim…
The Christian Democratic Party has claimed that Mum & Dad taxpayers are getting a bad deal.

FactCheck: do same-sex couples earn 29% more?

“Same sex couples earn 29% more money than male-female couples. Mum and Dad taxpayers are the most oppressed Australians in our economy. Christian Democrats will change that.” – Fred Nile - Official Christian…

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