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Time for a rethink W.E.L. urged



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NEWS RELEASE The Hon Wendy Fatin MP Minister for Local Government

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women

EMGARGOED UNTIL 11.30 AM SUNDAY 10 MARCH 1991

TIME FOR A RETHINK W.E.L. URGED

Women need to rethink the way they secure political change, according to the Hon Wendy Fatin, Minister Assisting the PM for the Status of Women.

Speaking at the WEL International Women's Day conference in Perth, Ms Fatin said that legislative change and government policy was only part of the equation to improve the status of women.

"My feeling is that the women's movement in Australia is about to undergo a very critical change," Ms Fatin said.

She urged women's lobby groups like WEL to place continuing emphasis on the need to help women feel in control of their lives.

"This is particularly important when we develop strategies to stop domestic violence, child sexual abuse and sexual harassment," she said.

Ms Fatin also stressed the need for women's lobby groups to constantly re-evaluate what they were doing in the light of feminist theory and to recognise that women as well as men would have to change if entrenched attitudes were to be

altered.

"We must better understand the extent to which society's structures are put in place to achieve male-oriented goals - the way that society's values are ranked to reflect male values and to devalue female ones," Ms Fatin told delegates.

"We have to take on new ground - listen to the ecofeminists, the feminist theologians, the women's resistance groups in South America."

Ms Fatin encouraged delegates to take the opportunity to celebrate WEL's 20th anniversary next year by engaging in some frank discussion and analysis about women's position in society.

Contact: Liz Jakubowski (H) (02) 307 554 (W) (06) 277 7240 9 March 1991

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