Feminism and women’s rights

When the shoe won't fit: transgenderism's sticking points

I have two good friends who are mums with small boys who like wearing nail polish and dresses, as much as they like playing with toy bulldozers and aeroplanes. One is three years old, one five. They identify with girl cartoon and Disney characters as much as boy ones. The three-year-old really wants to be Elsa from Frozen. …

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"An alibi for voyeurism": sexual politics at the Wellington City Gallery

Last year, Te Papa museum exhibited one of my favourite Aotearoa artworks. It was part of a small show, with an understated title that did not capture its punch: Two Artists. Emily Karaka’s unabashed anti-colonial paintings about Bastion Point, and advancing Ngai Tai land claims hung alongside Shona Rapira Davies’ terracotta Nga Morehu. Nga Morehu must be one …

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Some johns are policemen: on sexual violence, reporting, and legalising prostitution

On May 26, Amnesty International released a policy on prostitution, advocating for the global decriminalisation of prostitution worldwide, framing it as “sex work”. Pimps are legitimate business managers; johns their clients. Over 600 leading feminist, human rights and anti-trafficking organizations that recognise prostitution a form of violence and exploitation, have challenged Amnesty International. Rachel Moran, a …

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On rape culture, and why I wear a whistle

This piece is written in response to Amnesty International’s just released policy on prostitution, a recent piece on “sex work” published on The Wireless, a courageous woman in Stanford, and for women everywhere.   In recent weeks many of us read the courageous, devastating letter a Standford woman wrote and read in court to the rapist who attacked …

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Why the New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective shouldn't get the first and final say on prostitution

As a rule, trade unions take their industries for granted. We’re not likely to see the president of a miners’ union speak out about fossil fuel extraction because of its connection to climate change, colonisation, or exploitation. Unions exist to advocate and educate workers: they’re invaluable, but they aren’t per se objective. It would be irresponsible …

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I want free self defense classes offered to all women in New Zealand. And I want White Ribbon to pay for them.

White Ribbon is an organisation that owes a great debt to women. White Ribbon is a group of men who recognise that male violence is epidemic, and have come together to take responsibility for and to do something about it. Multiple White Ribbon ambassadors have promoted or perpetrated violence against women before themselves, or still do – either at …

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Submission on the TPPA – Request for assessment of the likely impacts on women

Committee Secretariat Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Parliament Buildings Private Bag Wellington 10 March 2016   Submission to Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee International Treaty Examination of the Trans-Pacific Partnership We (Pala Molisa and Renee Gerlich) are making this submission to the above committee as individuals. We request that MFAT, or a Ministry facilitated …

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White Ribbon: why I won’t wear one

Earlier this year, on February 6, hundreds of protesters gathered at an “anti-misogyny” demonstration held in Wellington’s Glover Park. It was Waitangi Day, but the park had been that night’s planned meeting spot for local followers of Return of Kings, an online network of “neomasculinists” lead by U.S.-based Daryush Valizadeh. Valizadeh wishes, among other things, to …

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Why Wellington Needs a Safehouse for Women Leaving Prostitution

This article was co-written with Dr. Pala Molisa.   In 2003, New Zealand passed the Prostitution Reform Act, which decriminalized prostitution. In doing so, a new set of public policies was created that extended to sex workers the provision of social services, access to healthcare, and recognition of employment rights that historically had been denied …

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