Reid, Elizabeth: Maintaining the rage (Whitlam and women)

Reid, Elizabeth

Maintaining the rage: address to Vintage Reds, Canberra, 16 June 2015‘, Vintage Reds

Elizabeth Reid was the first women’s adviser to an Australian prime minister, appointed by Gough Whitlam in 1973. There is more about her here and here. Her speech to the Vintage Reds group set the context of the status of women in the early 1970s, described the Women’s Liberation Movement of the day and the achievements of the Whitlam Government in relation to women and more broadly. Reid then asked where we are at now.

Sexism continues to form the unarticulated bedrock of our work and play.  The belief that a woman’s place is in the home caring for children and that men are the breadwinners still pervades our society.  It is manifest, for example, in the extent to which mothers who go to work are penalised …

We must struggle not only to name the gendered and other unacceptable dysfunctionalities in our society, for this in itself leads only to rage.  We must struggle to find the language and frameworks to analyse them and find the entry points for change so that our enthusiasm and activism can find the pathways to the changes we wish to see.

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