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Dr Muriel Newman

The feminist agenda three decades on

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10 December 05

The feminist agenda three decades on

Last month, when the public furore erupted over an airline policy that bans men from sitting next to unaccompanied children, I wondered whether the feminists were celebrating. A few years ago, the mere suggestion that a man on a plane could be a likely child molester, would have been greeted with derision. Now, however, not only has the concept been taken seriously by the airlines, but some public servants – including the Commissioner for Children – have said it’s a good idea.

Stuart Birks, Director of the Centre for Public Policy Evaluation at Massey University, explores the emergence of this worrying trend towards the denigration of men, in our guest opinion piece in this week’s NZCPD Forum (click here to view).

The unfortunate situation we are in today can be traced back to the agenda set in place by radical feminists some thirty years ago. While the key objective of most of the women who have enthusiastically joined the women’s liberation movement has been equality for women, the movement appears to have been taken over by those who want to pursue a socialist agenda.

A booklet entitled A Strategy for Women’s Liberation produced in 1974, explains:

“The socialist who is not a Feminist lacks breadth. The Feminist who is not a Socialist is lacking in strategy. To the narrow-minded Socialist who says: ‘Socialism is a working class movement for the freedom of the working class, with woman as woman we have nothing to do,’ the far-sighted Feminist will reply: ‘the Socialist movement is the only means whereby woman as woman can obtain real freedom. Therefore I must work for it.’

The booklet outlined the rationale behind the feminist movement:

“The oppression of women began with the origin of the patriarchal family, private property and the state. Anthropological evidence has shown that in the primitive communal society, women held a respected and important position. The basic economic unit was the maternal gens or clan, in which the family as we know it did not exist. In this clan, goods were shared among members equally. Women played an important role in the providing of food and shelter and were not tied to individual men economically, nor was there any compulsion to remain with one sexual partner.”

“With the development of an economic surplus and the individual accumulation of this surplus as private property, the clan system gave way to the setting up of separate households. This was the beginning of class society and the patriarchal family. Women became isolated from communal activity, and monogamy for the wife was strictly enforced to ensure legitimate heirs.”

“Today, the nuclear family unit remains as the basic economic cell of class society and women continue to be isolated in individual households, dependent on individual men for economic survival. The family also serves to perpetuate capitalist rule by inculcating in children the values of the private property system.”

Radical feminists believed that the only way to achieve true equality for women was through liberating them from the bonds of husband and family. Further, they could see that if women were freed from the traditional requirement to remain loyal to one partner, the whole system of private property rights – which relies on the creation of legitimate heirs and is a fundamental tenet of a democratic free market economy – would ultimately collapse.

The Labour Government of the day embraced these feminist goals and introduced the Domestic Purposes Benefit as a vehicle for change.

The effect of the DPB was to pay women to separate from their husbands and partners. It paid them more money to have more children, and it didn’t matter how many different fathers were involved. In fact, it was not even necessary for the woman to name a father on a child’s birth certificate.

The DPB also encouraged single women to have children on their own, to the extent that the number of women now receiving the benefit who have never married, has eclipsed the number of women who were married but separated. This shows that rather than helping women to adjust from failed marriages, the DPB has created single-parent families.

Further, as the DPB has caused parenting and inheritance lines to become increasingly blurred, men have been prevented from using modern DNA technology to establish paternity – unless the mother agrees. But the consequence of placing all of the power and control in the hands of the mother is a continuing erosion of the fundamental rights of fatherhood.

Thirty years on, with state funding what was essentially a radical feminist agenda, the family unit has been significantly undermined, transforming society in a way that is putting our children at risk.

Throughout the ages, the nuclear family has traditionally been the safest environment in which to raise children. Yet, with the DPB effectively incentivising family breakdown, child abuse and neglect have escalated to the point where it is estimated that almost 50,000 children will be referred to our child welfare service this year alone. With literally tens of thousands of children now living in dangerous family situations, governments have clearly sacrificed the safety and wellbeing of children in order to satisfy the on-going demands of radical feminists.

And radical it is. Back in 1974, feminist leaders warned: “With its thrust against the family institution, the women’s liberation movement is profoundly revolutionary”.

These women put in place a well-organised plan of action some thirty years ago (click here to view details of their policy programme). The changes have been introduced incrementally and they are now well on the way to achieving their key goal which is the replacement of the traditional patriarchal family.

This weeks poll. This week’s poll asks: Do you think the feminist movement has gone too far? If yes, what should be done? To take part in our online poll

Clarification- NZCPD has been contacted by lawyers acting for Kay Goodger. They have advised their client has expressed concern that a quote extracted from a booklet entitled A Strategy for Women’s Liberation produced in 1974…

“The socialist who is not a Feminist lacks breadth. The Feminist who is not a Socialist is lacking in strategy. To the narrow-minded Socialist who says: ‘Socialism is a working class movement for the freedom of the working class, with woman as woman we have nothing to do,’ the far-sighted Feminist will reply: ‘the Socialist movement is the only means whereby woman as woman can obtain real freedom. Therefore I must work for it.’

… could be read as being attributed to Ms Goodger. The words were not Ms Goodger’s – she was reporting the quote. We have amended the text of the article to reflect the position with greater clarity.

The NZCPD did not imply or mean to imply Ms Goodger has used or is able to use her position in the public service to pursue a personal agenda.

Why I fight in the father’s rights movement – Bevan Berg

If I said “I have protested outside a Judges house” you would take a step back and reconsider your association with me, I am sure. I have and for good reason which I will explain later.

On one particular protest an older women passing by asked why we were protesting in a suburban street. Our reply of course: we were protesting against the family court. To which she replied, “well if you had to go to court you must have done something wrong.”

This is a perfectly acceptable middle NZ value, but here is what people are not seeing.

I will give three examples of situations I have come across.

1. A father asked for evidence he had to be produced in the family court to support his case. His solicitor would only represent him if he did not present that evidence.

2. A father facing criminal proceedings for breach of a protection order (the breach was arriving at the mother’ s place to collect the child for access when she had changed her mind – no violence). He was refused legal aid unless he pleaded guilty.

3. A father who had developed cancer and was recovering from major surgery, suffered a further blow when his brother committed suicide. He was called into an administrative review, where the officious officer would offer him no assistance at all.

He said to me “I reached breaking point andsat there and sobbed uncontrollably in front of him”

In the first example I am talking about the Family Court, in the second example I am talking about the criminal justice system, and the third example I am talking about IRD child support.

When we talk about the feminist agenda we are talking about a regime that has hidden its foot soldiers in the noblest of places. The judiciary, the police, the legal profession, and government. They are positions of trust, and respect, and it is in our need for a secure society that we believe in them.

How easily we are fooled. This is happening in our country now – I with many others fight it on a daily basis, but the general public doesn’t see the cause only the consequences. The child neglect, gender violence, family breakdown, the valueless society.

It is only when enough people say no, will we overcome the clutches of self righteous indignation.

Much of this nonsense is driven and funded by the UN and its various fellow travellers.

Women should be forced to name fathers of their children or be ineligible for the DPB. Fathers must have access to DNA of their children with or without the permission of the children’s mothers. We have to stop the constant vilifying and demonising of all men which has led to the almost disappearance of men as teachers, early childhood carers etc and which, at least, gave fatherless children some contact with men. Let’s get some balance into society!

Return to the Moral codes and status of the human beings set down thousand of years ago, which give controlled social interaction, and protection for both sexes. These codes are found in all major religious practices, ie Islam.

But men havenow become too afraid. And quite honestly I personally dont blame them – if I was male I would be too scared to look at a child let alone help them if no one else was around, just for the sheer fact of What would people think.

The statistical data of woman as a perpetrator of domestic violence needs to be recognised in social policy.

It would be interesting to know what the airlines policies are concerning contact with unaccompanied children by male stewards or male airline employees ?

Last week I met the CEO of a major international airline at a social function.He said they have no policy prohibiting men being seated next to unaccompanied children and consider such a policy to be sheer lunacy. He also said they are picking up a lot of new business from former Air NZ Qantas travellers who do not now wish to do business with airlines that automatically assumes they [or their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers] are a danger to children. He was sure other airlines were also getting business from travellers boycotting Air NZ Qantas.

More men should forsake their hedonistic existence, exercise self leadership, leadership in their families and get actively involved in groups and organisations that will influence the minds and hearts of youth (particularly boys) who will re-shape future society. Decent men also need to make it a priority to get informed and start to speak out in any forum they can.

Feminists should leave the family alone andchannel their energyinto more productive/constructive modes of social change- the elimination of the glass ceiling, international women’s rights movementsand soon.

Aussie Family Courts now require shared custody of children as first option. This should happen here ASAP.

Cut off funding to politically inspired research and to subject ALL such work to proper academic scrutiny. If any work is found to have not been done properly or as described, then those researchers should be made to repay the original grant out of their pockets and should additionally be barred from receiving any more govt grants for any research at least 10 years.

How sad that women cannot take pride in their place in the societal set-up as the nurturers and carers of their families including their men; I hate to tell you this but it actually works very well. Most men support the concept of equality irrespective of gender. The feminist movement denies equality of natural justice to men.

More publicity needs to be given to the feminist agenda and the detrimental effects it is having on our society through public forums such as letters to editors, talk back radio and the like so that more NZers are aware of the situation.

Remove all financial incentives for women to become solo parents. No benefit to be payable to women who will not or cannot correctly identify the father of their child. Restore equality for men with regard to taking care/having access to children in the case of marriage breakup. Make discrimination on the basis of sex illegal (such as the recent airline seating scandal). To label all men as paedophiles or rapists is no different to claiming all women are prostitutes. Encourage men back into the classrooms as teachers and role models in equal proportion to women.

It is a real shamewhen male contractors get second looks at schools -I won’t even walk alone in school grounds without a escort. The male teacher at one kindergarden I know refuses to be on his own. There is nothing to do but leave, whenwhite, educated, skilled males are not wanted in this country.

It does not matter how far any movement goes – it does matter how we as a society cope or respond to that movement. In the case of radical feminism, which is outdated and perpetuated by an embittered few, society’s reaction should be to ignore them and look forward for the good of all.

A huge mistake at university was to introduce (female) gender studies as these types of departments allow the festering of feministideals.The upward movement of women through business, education, administration, sport is well documented, studied and reported through the normal channels of academia without special departments.

DPB should be a hand up not a hand out. Flat rate…No increase dollars because of numbers of children. Time limits of benefit, no renewal of term if another child produced when original one goes to school. Shared parenting and custody for estranged couples, no assumption that mother is better parent.

DNA proof of paternity before Liable parent contribution is extracted from father. No discrimination between women and men on aircraft.

Scrap Ministry of Womens Affairs (or, although not my preference, introduce a Ministry of Mens Affairs to try to balance things up).

Abolish theDPB to teenagers and make the families responsible for them again (provide hostels if they are rejected by their family). Doing that would encourage families to take more interest in their children.

The DPB should be restricted to women who (a)name the father of their child (b) have been married for not less than 5 years (c) have been through a marriage guidance counselling session (d)are over the age of 25 years. Exceptions to this rule would be women whose husbands had met with an untimely death or a severely violent relationship creating a dangerous and irreconsilable relationship. If this sounds a bit tough, well it needs to be tough. There is no good reason why decent, law abiding, hard working kiwi’s should be liable for the upkeep of the issue of an enlessly proliferating, criminal underclass. Generously supporting such an underclass is one of the reasons we have burgeoning criminality and irresponsibility.

As a single professional never married,childless woman I applaude the feminist movement for breaking down the traditional patriarchal family. They have paved the way for me to have freedom and choice that my mother never had.

I am afraid we, as a society, have come a long way down a one-way street and we are all to blame ; after all we have voted in an openly feminist-controlled government three times.

The end game of the feminist movement should be equal rights not special rights. for example the promoting of women into male professions like medicine should stop at equal access, not quotas and worse still even when there is over representation continuing to behave as if there is not.

Equality – yes – for all including men. Example – cancer detection. Repeal 12 weeks paid maternity leave. User pays – no freebees. Cut DPB by 30% and offer this 30% to business to hire solo parents part time.

Replace the DPB with simple unemployment benefit. There shoud be no extra because they have kids – they should work like the rest of us.

I could comment, BUT any comment a male makes would be seen as either sexest, anti feminist, politically incorrect or I would be a male chauvinist.

More males should be encouraged to become teachers in our schools, both primary and secondary – primary particulary.

Socialism is a religion that is being pedalled in schools, universities, teacher training colleges etc etc. We need more independent learning institutions where truth, justice and integrity replace political correctness, socialism is shown up for what it is, and men in particular, along with real women, are trained in leadership.

Most definitely, this is the singularly greatest cause of many of our problems today and has far reaching affects. This path will ultimately be self-destructing on us as a nation.

A complete overhaul of the benefit system, in particular DPB. If a woman goes on the DPB it should be limited to the number of children she has at the time. If she chooses to have more children whilst on the benefit she and the child’s father provide that support. Alternatively, there are couples who are desperate to adopt babies and the babies are not available because the DPB provides a more lucrative lifestyle option for the birth mother. I was adopted and having met my birth family I certainly can say without doubt that I had a wonderful loving child-hood provided by my adopted parents that my birth siblings missed out on. We need more loving couples as parents.

People in power with media attention should stop all this PC crap and speak out strongly against it. Looks to me as all males in the beehive are wimps.

Just get rid of the DPB and PC, also make fathers responsible for the children they create.

Name fathers and don’t pay for additional children after the first unless in a permannet relationship when DPB shouldn’t be necessary. Give men the same rights as women in health as well rather than just let them die early. We now live in a matriarchal society and men have no rights apart from being sperm donors.

Light is a good steriliser: media exposure of lies e.g greater exposure of family court proceedings; jounalists – male and female – who are prepared to dig up truth rather than assume that the propaganda is right; articles on the motives, progress and current standings and career placements of the feminists who helped to establish the feminist manifesto in the first place.

Dismantle the present day DPB system, and make people more accountable for their situation and actions. Bring Fathers back into the Family equation.

Get rid of our feminist Labour Govt would be a good start. Bring back some good old fashioned morals and standards by elevating the role of the family and the importance of the father. I believe most thinking people in NZ want this.

Aussie Family Courts now require shared custody of children as first option. This should happen here ASAP.

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Extract from a submission to the 1974 Parliamentary Select Committee on Women’s Rights by the Social Action League.

What must be done?

A policy programme for removing discrimination against women should include the following measures as initial, essential steps:

(1) Full legal, political and social equality for women.

There must be no discrimination whatever on the basis of sex, in any sphere of social life. Provision must be made for women to take legal action against any instance of discrimination without incurring financial loss.

(2) The right of women to control their own reproductive lives.

Women must be given the sole right to choose whether or not to prevent or terminate pregnancy, with no government interference.

(a) Government restrictions on abortion and contraception must be


(b) Every woman who decides to end her pregnancy or to be sterilised must be guaranteed the right to have that decision carried out under the best medical conditions and at no cost. There must be no coercion of women to have sterilisation operations as a pre-condition for granting abortion.

(c) Birth control information and devices must be free and widely disseminated. The government should promote and finance more research on improved methods of birth control as a priority since present-day methods are not satisfactory for everyone.

(d) Factual sex education, including information on birth control, should be integrated into the education system at all levels, and should be readily accessible to the community at large through government-financed clinics. The government should initiate a public education campaign to overcome ignorance, fears and illusions about contraception.

(3) An end to coercive family laws.

(a) De facto marriage should be considered to have the same status, legally and socially, as marriage by legal contract, with no discrimination against either partner or their children.

(b) An end must be made to laws given a husband rights over his wife’s body, condoning actions, which among unmarried people would be termed “assault” or even “rape”. The concept of “conjugal rights” must be abolished.

(c) Divorce should be automatically available at the request of either partner. There should be a state provision for economic welfare and job training for the divorced woman. Women’s lack of economic independence militates against their seeking divorce, even though they may urgently desire it.

(d) The concept of “illegitimacy” should be abolished, not only in word, but in deed. All forms of discrimination against unmarried mothers or their children must be outlawed.

(e) The rearing, social welfare and education of children should become the responsibility of society, rather than the individual parents, upon whose limited resources all the burdens presently fall. All laws enforcing individual ownership of children should be abolished.

(f) Women should not be required to make known their marital status

(by using “Miss” or “Mrs”) in all situations (official forms, etc) when the same information is not required for men. “Ms” should be universally accepted.

(g) All discrimination against homosexual men and women should be outlawed. In particular, the anti-homosexual laws should be repealed.

(h) All laws victimising prostitutes should be abolished.

(4) Full economic independence for women

(a) Immediate implementation of equal pay for equal work. Industries whose profitability depends on the super-exploitation of women should be nationalised. The minimum wage for women should be raised to the level of that for men.

(b) Discrimination against women in any trade, profession, job category, apprenticeship or training programme must be ended.

(c) All women who want to work should be guaranteed jobs at union wages. To counter unemployment, no workers should be laid off, but rather the hours of all should be reduced, with no loss in wages. This will help bring an end to the practice of treating women as a reserve army of labour, to be pushed in and out of the workforce in accordance with the current state of the economy. Both women and men have a right to work and earn an independent livelihood.

(d) There should be preferential hiring, training and job upgrading for women in order to overcome the effects of decades of systematic discrimination against them.

(e) Paid maternity leave of 12 weeks with no loss of job or seniority should be available.

(f) Paid work leaves in order to care for sick children should be given to men and women alike.

(g) Compensation at union rates throughout periods of unemployment should be paid to all women and men, including young people who cannot find a place in the workforce. This unemployment compensation should be available regardless of marital status and has to be protected against inflation by automatic cost-of-living increases.

(h) Beneficial protective legislation (providing special working conditions to woken) should be extended to cover men, in order to provide better working conditions for both men and women and prevent the use of protective legislation to discriminate against women.

(i) Women and men of all ages should be able to freely obtain re-training and education in all subjects.

(5) Equality in education.

Equal educational opportunities must be established in order to combat the education and conditioning that reduces women to an inferior, second-sex status.

(a) Special education courses and programmes should be set up to encourage women to enter traditionally male-dominated fields.

(b) All pressures on women to prepare themselves for so-called “women’s work”, such as homemaking, secretarial work, nursing and teaching must be ended. All sexual bias should be eliminated from vocational guidance.

(c) The government should legislate an end to the portrayal in textbooks and the mass media of women as sex objects and stupid, weak, emotionally dependent creatures. High schools and universities should establish courses to teach the true history of women’s struggles against their oppression, both in New Zealand and internationally. Physical education courses should encourage women to develop their strength and be proud of their athletic abilities. Women should be encouraged to learn self-defence.

(d) There should be no expulsion of pregnant students or unwed mothers from school or any training course.

(6) Freedom from domestic slavery.

(a) The government should provide the finance for free child-care centres, open to all children from early infancy for 24 hours a day. These should be available to everyone, regardless of the parent’s income or marital status, and the child-care policies should be decided by those who use the centres.

(b) The government should systematically develop low-cost, high-quality social services such as take-home-food and cafeteria services available to all, and collective laundry facilities.

(c) The government should greatly step up its allocations to housing development, in order to ensure adequate housing for all. Legislation should be passed to ensure that no rents exceed 10 percent of a tenant’s income, and discrimination by landlords against single women or women with children should be outlawed.