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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 3519

INTERNATIONAL W9MEN'S YEAR - PRIORITIES AND CONSIDERATIONS

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Whitlam, Gough

Period of Service: 05/12/1972 to 11/11/1975

More information about Whitlam, Gough on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 04/12/1974

Release Type: Statement in Parliament

Transcript ID: 3519

INTERNATIONAL WOMENTS YEAR:
Priorities and Considerations
Statement prepared for the information
of the Parliament and tabled by the
Honorable E. G. Whitlam, M. P.,
Prime Minister.
4 December 1974

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S YEAR
It is a basic human right that neither women nor
men should be excluded in law or in fact from the political,
social, economic or cultural life of their country.
This Government has long recognised that
discrimination against women is incompatible with human
dignity and the well-being of society.
For the first time in the history of Australia,
a national government has made a conscious.-and genuine attempt
to overcome the decades of neglect from which womnen have
suffered, to give to women and to men the ability to freely
choose that way of life best suited to them individually.
International Women's Year 1975 will provide an
opportunity to stand back and assess what has already been
achieved a4 well as enabling the initiation of further
programs based on a deep commitment to -these basic human
rights.
Background On 18 December 1972 the United Nations General
Assembly adopted the following resolution ( 3010 ( XXVII))
proclaiming 1975 as International Women's Year:

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The General Assembly,
Considering that twenty-five years have elapsed
since the first session of the Commission on the Status
of Women was held at Lake Success, New York, from 10 to
24 February 1947, and that this is a period which makes
it possible to take stock of the positive results obtained,
Bearing in mind the aims and principles of the
Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination against
Women, adopted by the General Assembly in resolution
2263 ( XXII) of 7 November 1967,
Recognizing the effectiveness of. the work done by
the Commission on the Status of Women in the twenty-five
years since its establishment, and the important
contribution which women have made to the social,
political, economic and cultural life of their countries,
Considering that it is necessary to strengthen
universal recognition of the principle of the equality
of men and women, de jure and de facto, and that both
legal and social measures have to be taken by Member
States which have not yet done so to ensure the
implementation of women's rights,
Recalling that its resolution 2626 ( XXV) of 24
October 1970, containing the International Development
Strategy for the Second United Nations Development
Decade, includes among the goals and objectives of

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the Decade the encouragement of the full integration
of women in the total development effort,
Drawing attention to the general objectives and
minimum targets to be attained in the course of the*
Second United Nations Development Decade, as defined
by the Commission on the Status of Women and adopted
by the General Assembly in its resolution 2716 ( XXV)
of 15 December 1970,
Considering that, with those ends in view, the
proclamation of an international women's year would
serve to intensify the action required to advance the
status of women,
1. Proclaims the year 1975 International Women's Year;
2. Decides to devote this year to intensified action:
To promote equality between men and women;
To ensure the full integration of women in the
total development effort, especially by emphasizing
women's responsibility and important role in economic,
social and cultural development at the national, regional
and international levels, particularly during the Second
United Nations Development Decade;
1( c) To recognize the importance of women's increasing
contribution to the development of friendly relations and
co-operation among States and to the strengthening of
world peace;

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3. Invites all Member States and all interested
organizations to take steps to ensure the full
realization of the rights of women and their advancement
on the basis of the Declaration on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women;
4. Inr1A" iite Govelrnmnsta have * not y et'doie so
to ratify as soon as possible Convention ( No. 100)
concerning Equal Remuneration for Men and Women Workers
for Work of Equal Value, adopted by the International
Labour Organisation in 1951;
Requests the Secretary-General to prepare, in
consultation with Member States, specialized agencies
and . interested non-governmental organizations, within
the limits of existing resources, a draft programme for
the International Women's Year and to submit it to the
Commission on the Status of Women at its twenty-fifth
session in 1974.0
This resolution stresses the need to promote
equality between women and men and to ensure the full
integration of women in the total development effort. it
invites member governments and interested organisations to
take steps to ensure that appropriate measures be taken to
abolish sexually discriminatory laws, customs and practices;
to educato public opinion; to eradicate prejudiced ideas
concerning the inferiority of women; to ensure equal access
to education and equality of opportunity and earnings in the
workforce.

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The Australian Prime Minister, in a statement to
mark International Women's Day on 8 March 1974, announced
that the Government was preparing an official program for
International Women's Year. The Prime Minister paid tribute
to the work of women's groups throughout Australia in seeking
to use International Women's Day and International Women's
Year to draw attention to the achievements of women and to
the need for continued efforts to remove discrimination
against women. On 24 July 1974 the Prime Minister announced in
the House of Representatives that a National Advisory Committee
would be established composed of individuals from the community
whose differing backgrounds could assist the Government in
the formulation of a program for the year. He went on to say
that the Government had already established a Secretariat
withii, the Department of the Special Minister of State an.
that an Interdepartmental Advisory Committee would b ior d
whose task it would be to develop and co-ordinate the activitico3
of government departments and agencies.
The Prime Minister himself has taken ministerial
responsihility foK the year, assisted by tne Special Miris-er
of State in his role as Minister Assisting tne PL_
In the same statement the Prime Minister also
announced that the Premiers of each State had been approached
and that he confidently expected that both state and local
governments would be glad to participate in this program. ./ 6

6
In the Budget Speech on 17 September 1974 the
Treasurer announced that two million dollars had been set
aside for International Women's Year activities in the
financial year 1974-75.
National Advisory Committee
The members of the National Advisory Committee for
International Women's Year were announced on 11 September 1974.
They were selected to ensure a blend and balance
between skills and interests in the total group. The Prime
Minister invited on to this Committee individuals with
differing backgrounds, differing experiences and differing
expertise rather than using the more traditional method of
seeking a representative from different organisations or
sections of the community. The hope was that by bringing
together people with practical experience the gap between
understanding a problem and finding ways of lessening it could
begin to be bridged.
Ms Elizabeth Reid, the Prime Minister's Adviser on
matters relating to the welfare of women, was appointed
convener of the Committee; its other members are:
Ms Shirley Castley child welfare officer in Tasmania
Mr Barry Egan trade unionist
Ms Irene Greenwood lifetime fighter for women's rights
in Western Australia
Ms Ruby Hammond member of various South Australian
aboriginal committees ./ 7

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Ms Jeanette Hungerford
Ms Caroline Jones
Mr James Oswin
Ms Maria Pozos
Ms Ruth Ross
Ms Diana Waite
Mrs Margaret Whitlam Queensland occupational therapist
extensive media experience
Secretary, Department of the Media
active amongst migrant women in
Victoria physiotherapist, active in many
voluntary and women's groups in
the Wollongong area
experience in problems of women in
remote areasi particularly the North
West of Australia
journalist and former social worker.
It is not the role of the National Advisory Committee
to impose upon the women of Australia a predetermined program.
It is their hope that all women in Australia will speak out
their ' h'ughts, their needs, their worries, their hopes and
their dreams for the future. It will be the women o lustialia,
be they Aboriginal or newcomers, young or old, English speaking
or non English speaking, married or unmarried and so on, who
will determine Australia's program for this year.
In his speech at the inaugural meeting of the National
Advisory Committee 11 September 1974, the Prime L said:
" One of the regular and often unnoticed
activities of the United Nations is its designation
of International Years for the purpose of drawing
attention to matters of human significance. For

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instance, in the past decade there have been
proclaimed such years as
International Co-operation Year ( 1965)
International Year for Human Rights ( 1968)
International Education Year ( 1970)
International Year to Combat Racism and
Racial Discrimination ( 1971)
World Population Year ( 1974)
In the past, in Australia, these Years have
been celebrated within the community through the
activities of various organisations,. but rarely
have governments taken these Years seriously
enough to plan far-reaching and imaginative programs
aimed at achieving the objectives of the Year.
* My Government has decided that there is much
more that can be done, at a national level, to
assist and co-ordinate the celebration of these
Years. The struggle for universal human rights is
a protracted and perhaps an unending struggle.
International Women's Year is considered to be
especially important in that the Government is
determined that its actions and philosophies
adopted in the international forum be matched
with those pursued at home. In the United Nations,
Australia is becoming known as an outspoken
contender for basic human rights. We acknowledge a / 9

9
that we have a continuing obligation to do all
in our power to promote respect for human rights.
To my mind, the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights is one of the most significant and
enlightened achievements of the United Nations,
and it is from this fundamental commitment to
the dignity of people that 1975 was unanimously
proclaimed on 18 December 1972 by the United
Nations General Assembly to be International
Women's Year.
It is worth considering the fact that it
was thought necessary to nominate a year for all
nations to make a concentrated effort towards
ensuring that women enjoy the dignity of basic
i,. iman rights, that they are integrated into
society and that there is a recognition of the
importance of their contribution to society.
It is worth considering this fact because
it is a sobering thought that women throughout
L. world have to be granted an uptirtunity to
be heard. The formation of a National Advisory Committee,
and this its inaugural meeting, is an insurance ./ 1o

10
that Australia will face the responsibility that
this year places upon us.
It is my hope that you will be able to
marshall, co-ordinate and encourage the dedication,
energy and enthusiasm of organisations and
women within the community, and that in addition
you will provide a national direction to this
activity so that 1975 is not only a year of
significance in itself but that it will have
made a lasting contribution towards reducing the
prejudices and lack of opportunity from which
women suffer. It is also my hope that this year
will ensure a lasting recognition of the great
contribution that women have made, and continue
to make, to Australian society.
Government legislation can only achieve so
much and I shall not pretend to you that any
Government can achieve immediately for Australian
women the revolution required to allow them to
ievelop fully as individuals.
For instance it must be said that, even if
we were to remove all ti> inequalities of opportunity
and of status, it still would not be enough. We
have to attack the social inequalities/ the hidden S./ 11

11
and usually unarticulated assumptions which
affect women not only in employment but in the
whole range of their opportunities in life.
This is not just a matter for governments
and for action by governments it is a matter
of changing community attitudes and uprooting
community prejudices, and in so far as this
requires a re-education of the commuInity then
clearly governments alone cannot be expected to
do the whole job.
You are probably aware of what we have done.
One of the purposes of the Human Rights Bill was
to permit Australia to ratify the Convention on
the Political Rights of Women, which was adopted
by the United Nations in 1952 and came into foice
in July 1954. Australia is not a party to the
Convention on the Political Rights of Women as
there is still legislation in two States, South
Australia and Tasmania, that does not yet fully
conform with the requirements of that Convention.
The Convention provides that women shall be
entitled to hold public office at Australian and
State level on equal terms with men, without any
discrimination. Action has already been taken
to amend Australian legislation relating to the ./ 12

12
Public Service to remove provisions that offend
against this Convention. It is expected that
Australia will ratify or accede to that Convention
after these defects have been overcome, either
as a result of the proposed Human Rights Act or
by the enactment of specific legislation on the
subject.* My Government has already established a
National Committee on Discrimination in Employment
and Occupation. Other actions taken by the
Government in the area of women's employment
include: Successful intervention in December
1972 in proceedings before the
Australian Conciliation and Arbitration
Commission to have established the
principle of equal pay for work of
equal Value. Consultations with
State Governments have led to most
States agreeing to this principle.
The two governments are now amending the legislation.
Australia, therefore, will deposit an instrument
of accession to the Convention on the Political
Rights of Women with the United Nations on the
December 1974, the 26th anniversary of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In Geneva
on the same day Australia will ratify the International
Labour Organization Convention No. 100,
The Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951. ./ 13

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The provision of training opportunities
for women wishing to enter or re-enter
the labour force after a period of
domestic responsibility.
This coming year will also see the beginning
of the implementation of the Government's new
program for the care and education of young children.
In no other country in the world has such an
ambitious program been attempted. This program
recognises the need for educational, health and
welfare components in child care; it recognises
the need for these same services for children
whether they be looked after at home or elsewhere.
It will break down the traditional distinctions
between occasional care and regular care, between
Are-school education and child minding. All
children whether they be looked after at home or
elsewhere will have access to local centres designed
to take care of their educational, health,
psychological and other needs. The implementation
of this program will place Australia amongst those
c, ntries most genuinely concerned with welfare of
the young. Furthermore, the Schools Commission has
established a committee to look into the relation / 14

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between social change and the education of women
and girls. Recommendations from this committee
will be included in the report to be presented
to Parliament in the course of next year. Its
terms of reference are far-reaching and its task
a difficult one, for not only must it pinpoint
those areas of education within which women are
disadvantaged, but it must also make specific
recommendations for future action.
Many other Government departments have
programs planned for the coming year.
In the field of women's health, the first,
and basic, initiative taken by the Government has
been the establishment of the Leichhardt Women's
Community Health Centre in Sydney. The aim of'
this centre is to meet a need expressed by women
for a health service staffed by women directed
solely towards the special health needs of women.
This is a significant initiative of a completely
new dimension deriving directly from the Australian
Government's broad policy perspectives and the
Community Health Program will be actively developed
to give it priority. 4

Gi-eater participation by women at il levels
of health care planning, delivery and administration
is being actively promoted and this policy is
providing women with increasing opportuuiities cf
influencing the direction which health care i
taking in the community.
In the field of Aboriginal health, Aboriginal
women arc being involved to an increasing degree
in the delivery of health care to their own people.
The initiative of my Government which may
have the most far-reaching consequences is the
establishment of a Royal Commission into Human
Relationships. It is the task of this Commission
to investigate the stresses that society places
" non relationships between people, in what ways
inadequate housing, insufficient money, too many
or too few children, the vajlabilJty or otherwise
of contracentive counselling and the adequacy of
medical care affect people and their r&.~ t[ on
This Commission has been asked to present regular
i. ' Prim reports and hence will also c: Q'-ibute to
the success of the coming year.
We must however acknowledge that the inequality
of women's position in society is deeply embedded not
just in the institutions but also in the psychology / 16
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of the society. In this respect those women's
organisations are correct which say that the first
and fundamental step towards freedom is awareness
by women themselves of their real inequality, of
the extent of their social, political, economic
and cultural discrimination and deprivation.
I have mentioned the general responsibility
that the National Advisory Committee has for
developing themes and programs for the year which
will be of benefit to all women in Australia,
whatever their education, their cultural background,
their economic status, their occupation, their
beliefs or their way of life. In so doing you
also have the opportunity to tackle this basic
problem of embedded attitudes, not only by
encouraging the growth of community activity in
areas affecting women but also by giving a
significant boost to the level of cwareness amongst
women and men of the extent of these problems.
It is for this reason and because of our
coimmitment to, change in this area tnai my
Government is determined that sufficient time
and funds be availo j] to achieve these ends
and it is also for this reason that much time
and thought went into the membership of the
National Advisory Committee. We wanted, and we / 17

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have, a group of people whose unique expertise
and experience is deeply grounded in their
understanding of and demonstrated commitment to
Australian women, their present and their future."
Objectives In light of this brief the National Advisory
Committee at this inaugural meeting formulated the overall
objectives of International Women's Year for Australia as:
We live in a changing society and women are now
being offered a unique opportunity to contribute
to influencing the course of the changes which are
taking place, the ultimate goal being a society
based on the dignity of women, men and children.
A framework was developed to be followed in Australia during
1975 and, hopefully, beyond. It involves a three part approach:
Change of attitudes
Institutional changes may no-be beneficial
unless based on real and thorough-going
attitudinal changes in the society. This
involves not only the way men see women but
also how women see themselves. Clearly there
is a need for an educative process of some
considerable dimension directed towards
examining and reassessing the beliefs that
society holds about the capacities,* potential ./ 18

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and life patterns of women and giLis. As
well as directing attention to adults there
needs to be a special and concerted approach
to the attitude formation of children and
young people.
( ii) Areas of discrimination and suffering
There needs to be an identification of areas
of discrimination against women in our society
and a concerted attempt to solve the problems
this creates or at least point the direction
which possible solutions may take. Moreover
there needs to be a recognition of the special
problems facing women as women and a sympathetic
and enlightened attempt to overcome them. For
women to take their place in society on a basis
* of dignity and equality as human beings w6 must
remove discriminations made against them
of their traditional sex/ propertv function
Moreo7er we must go beyond this to recognise
the special needs of women with a view to meeting
these needs and overcoming the I-. icEps, thereb.
enabling a full and free opr..-Hni. ty for
individual expression.
( iii) Creative aspects
The year is seen not merely as designed to
overcome disabilities but also as emphasising
and giving opportunity to the creative aspects / 19

19
of women in
human race.
be a joyous
which bring their uniqueness within the
It is intended that the year
one and that celebrations occur
out these aspects.
The Program Within this framework the Committee is seeking
during 1975 to have initiated and encouraged activities such
as the continued establishment of a network of
community centres to respond to women's problems
and encourtahgee ir activities
and encourage their activities
health, rehabilitation, crisis
e. g. health, peri-natal, etc.
Sshelter/ refuge
crisis counselling
post-rape assistance
( ii) developmental/ creative
containing for example
collections ( books, magazines, documents,
films, videotapes etc.)
. study facilities ( reaair.. rooms, audiovisual
equipment)
Sfacili: ies for meetings and discussion gri.-
workshops creche
Sreferral service on legal matters, employment
and other social problems

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sponsoring of research projects, e. g.:
male/ female stereotypes
* effect of current education system and
texts on children
* effect of literary stereotypes on the
development of women's self image
* reflection in language of male perspectives
( ii) the isolation of women
( iii) victimology, including rape situations
( iv) formal and informal barriers to women's full
participation in existing socio-political
institutions e. g. political parties, churches, local
government, etc.
undertaking an education program aimed at en,
men and women
e. g. films, including TV films
" radio programs
" pamphlets/ booklets
" lectures
convening woJ--shops, seiginars, conf-renceF znuA
discussion groups covering regions beyond the
capital cities ./ 21

21
festivals/ cultural activities focussing on women
e. g. . special celebrations for International
Women's Day in 1975
* sponsoring festivals, exhibitions and
performances
* sponsoring theatre productions
* sponsoring festivals
International -hosting of a U. N. inter-regional seminar entitled
The Communication of Attitudes: Women, the Arts
and the Media
-development of strategies for the integration
of women into international plans for economic
development
Activities Consistent with the principles accepted by the
United Nations for International Women's Year it was also
decided that Australia adopt its own symbol embodying its
particular objectives.
The Committee has sought the views of a wide range
of individuals and organisations. Letters pointing out the
importance of the year and calling for suggestions for themes
and activities were sent to all women's groups, both young and
old, ethnic organisations, professional organisations, ./ 22

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educational institutions, trade unions, business organisations,
art galleries, music schools, and so on.
The initial response to the public. sing of
International Women's Year has been a steady tiickle, fast
turning into a flood, of submissions requesting funds or
correspondence seeking information on closing dates or the
sorts of projects to be funded. The costed submissions so
far received total around $ 3.5 million, but the bulk of
submissions are still to come or to be costed.
Many of the submissions received are for projects
that fall within the responsibility of existing government
departments or other institutions. It is not a proper
function of the National Advisory Committee to be an alternative
funding agency for projects which the responsible departments
or a:, ncies do not wish to handle or which fall through e
bureaucratic grid because the nature of the project
clearly within the province ) f any one department of
Alternative funding will only push women's problems into th'.
cracks and spaces between existing departrf ts and institr
, c would be far better and have much more far-reaching
conse,.-" nces to attempt to change the d ides of peop
within these institntions rather than to byao,
is a way of attempting to ensure that our ob3)-ivw.: coI.-
after 1975. / 23 A

23
The National Advisory Committee will act as a focus
for the demands that are coming in from women all over
Australia, channel these demands into the appropriate
departments, argue the need, the facts and the pro's and
con's with the departments and act as a catalyst for action.
Simultaneously, it can perform an educative role for the
women or groups who have sent in submissions by, for example,
informing them which government departments and authorities,
state and local governments or other institutions have the
responsibility for their projects and of progress and impedimehts.
Unless women gain political education and expertise
their ability to bring about the changes they want will not
be increased. This latter must be an important task for the
Year. * The sorts of projects which lie within the
responsibility of existing institutions are, for exa-iD!-. ld
care centres, women's health centres, women's refuges,, iamily
planning clinics, sex education programs, retraining schemes,
legal aid, distressed housing, adult education, English
1 t. iguage courses, rape crisis centres, intc. Lpreters for nc
Engl*-h speaking people, town planninr-, pensions, consumre>
standards, counselling centres, sport, voca-L..
and so on. Such projects must be an integral part of any
government planning if governments are to respond to the ./ 24

24
needs of the community as a whcle. They require a colmmitment
to ongoing funding running costs and the like. This is a
commitment that the National Advisory Committee is not in a
position to give. Its direct funding must primarily be
restricted either to once only funding or to commitments that
can be fulfilled within its life span.
Women must be given more freedom within their
chosen life patterns and more freedom in choosing alternative
life patterns. They are at present bound in networks of
limitations affecting their whole lives, bound by the range
of possibilities open to them, by their immediate situations.
The funds which are available to the National Advisory Committee
must go towards activities that will help re-form or form anew
the way things are in such a way as to re-affirm basic human
values: sensitivity to people's needs, thoughtfulness, space
and t. ra-e to develop one's potential, support and encourag( ent
rather than competition. Our primary purpose must bE 1-o c
attitudes, to give the world little shove in the righdirection.
Some Considerations The question the lives of wi-. LA. women and how
many will be eased by a project must be the
asked. As choices will h-a~ re to be made between proposals
are certain considerations which must be taken into account:
that in the course of the year we must reach
most if not all women either through projects
potentially of benefit to all women or through

projects which specifically relate to
areas of distress, suffering or discrimination
that no group of women should advance or gain
benefits at the expense of any other women or
group of women
that the proposal must be able to be implemented
in the present social, political and economic
climate
Not only those sectors of society which are
articulate that is, able to write submissions, approach
governments, etc. should benefit by the Year.
There are further considerations which are also
important: that the proposal must increase the possibilities
of individual change and growth
( ii) that it must help women to gain self reliance,
self confidence, self pride ai. d independence
( iii) that wherever possible and relevant it should
increase women's knowledge of the structure of
the existing institutions and increase their
political awareness ./ 26

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( iv) that whilst it is important to build a women's
culture this should encompass and be accessible
to all.
However, there must be an awareness that not all
proposals, no matter how initially attractive, will be to the
benefit of women or indeed of society in general. Thus, for
example, the fight for protective legislation for women:
although this legislation in the short term may have been
beneficial, in the long term it has worked to the disadvantage
of women in the workforce and ensured the continuation of
unequal employment opportunities. These, in turn, have ensured
the continuing existence of low paid, low status jobs which
inevitably become women's jobs.
Hence, each proposal must be carefully considered,
the aavantages argued and the harmful effects weighed. At
the same time, it must also be recognised that differ"-t wo n
or groups of women will have different ways of working to
achieve our objectives.
There is, however, another important consideration.
Whatev-. life women choose for themselves it is essential
that the value of this life be neither undermined rt,, vorlooked.
It is essential that women have a sense of self pride and of
independence. Government handouts or " gifts" do not necessarily
instil this. Thus funding should be on a percentage basis, / 27

27
with, wherever possible, the rest of the funds obtained from
other institutions or raised by the women themselves. The
former will bring other authorities to recognise the needs of
women and accept responsibility for them. These activities
can also increase women's confidence in their ability to
achieve the changes they want and provide opportunities to
develop new skills and gain more knowledge.
The Committee intends to concentrate on funding
projects which will change people's attitudes, force them to
question and re-think their assumptions, beliefs, prejudices..
and opinions about women, their " proper" roles and their
capacities and force them to become aware of their attitudes
and responses.
Priorities trhere are certain areas which affect or potentially
affect every girl and woman in our society, whatever brr
education, her cultural background, her economic status, her
beliefs, her occupation or her way of life. These are:
health and welfare
child care
* education work creativity general community attitudes ./ 28

28
There are many projects which fall under the first
five which are the responsibility of existing government
departments or instrumentalities. However ( with the possible
exception of child care, for which a totally integrated and
all-embracing $ 75 million initial program is under way) there
are many other important projects for which International
Women's Year funds could be used and which would help people
gain more information about existing services or programs,
would help women to gain the self-confidence, information and
knowledge necessary to lessen areas of distress, discrimination
or suffering. Some or all of these projects, e. g. the provision
of extensive support services for migrant women, will, hopefully,
as they educate the community, begin to challenge the accepted
attitudes and myths which are prevalent in our society. Not
only the projects funded by International Women's Year will
have this impact. Those projects which are the resl sib ty
of existing Government departments, once integrated within
their administrative responsibility, will provide the broad
base of support, self-confidence and security which, in the
past, has been largely lacking for women, and without which
any specific moves aimed at attitudinal change ( such as
International Womer's Year) would fail.
In many instances, projects will fall within more
than one of the areas singled out above. Further, specifying
these areas is not meant to exclude any other area of need that
is known to exist or which comes to light in the course of our
activities. / 29

29
These areas have been singled out in orderto
give direction to our initial decisions on activities and
funding. It is our belief that when interpreted broadly
education as a life long process; health as including the
problems of isolation and breakdown of attitudes of women
to their bodies and doctors to women; work including that
done at home as well as in the paid workforce that these
are the areas that affect, at some time in their life, all
women. Obviously there must be priorities within these
areas and certain activities will be funded initially. The
considerations which will guide these decisions have been
set out above. Projects funded must not only be in line
with our objectives but, whenever appropriate, must ensure
that every effort is made to involve or reach all the
immedi. ateiy relevant sectors of the community and, where
appropriate, must maximise the possibility of contir ' ng
and increasing benefits arising out of it. This latter can
be achieved, for example, by including in the project the
teaching of the skills necessary for this to occur or by
recording successful projects in such a way that other groups
can ñ;. arn from the experience and carry the project out
elsewhere. The former point about involvemet nt
because there are many people in our society who whilst bei; iv
interested may be reluctant to participate because of, for
example, the unfamiliarity of the surroundings, feeling of
inadequacy particularly where skills are involved, lack of
self confidence, a disparity between the languages, culture,

30
socio-economic levels, etc., of the organisers and the
community or many other factors.
As well as the specific community assumptions and
attitudes which lie behind and aggravate many of the problems
in these areas there are also more general community attitudes
which show up in the way women are spoken about or ignored,
depicted in comic strips, advertisements and books, omitted
from history and other areas of research, stifled in their
creative potential, encouraged to be dependent or irresponsible,
assumed to be unreliable in the paid workforce or assumed to
have an easy life at home.
These attitudes too must be challenged and re-examined.
To do this properly there is a need to have much more information,
facts and statistics available and to stimulate much more
research not just into the gaps in our knowledge but also into
the determinants and consequences of changes in wome ' s st . us
and roles. There will be a publicity campaign and in this as
in all activities for the year every care must be taken about
the , L rs used. To claim that the money spent on educating
girls is waL; ted if they only become receptioi. t
on the awfulness of housework is to insult and humiliate c] us.-
women who are receptionists or who earn a living by cleaning
up the messes of other human beings. To argue that all women
should be in the workforce is not only to turn a blind eye to
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31-
the problems and suspect values of the present workforce but
is to induce feelings of guilt and inadequacy in those women
who may have chosen to ( and are able to) live a different
life style. To keep on and on about the exhaustion, the
frustration and the limitations of being at home with young
children may merely increase these feelings without offering
any solution: to offer congratulations on doing a highly
skilled, complex and, at times, impossibly difficult job may
begin to place value on a task which up until now has been
both economically and socially undervalued.
Funding The $ 2 million which has been set aside for the
1974/ 75 financial year is to be spent in the following ways:
direct funding of groups or individuals
financing of special activities by departments
administrative costs and the costs of those
activities which the Committee itself organises
and carries out.
Since the main thrust of our activities is towards
attitudinal change ' ere will be significant expenkv.~ Lrc -) r
such things as a newsletter, a research task force, publicity,
the convening of conferences, workshops, seminars, the
employment of consultants and of community catalysts. / 32

32-
Whilst the setting of a closing date or dates might
make the administrative burden easier, it is clearly preferable
that submissions be able to continue to come in as needs arise
or are recognised and also that submissions be not hastily
written or ill-conceived because of the stricture of an early
closing date. Moreover continual funding allows the reviewing
of priorities and decisions in the light of experience as the
year progresses. It will also enable submissions not originally
funded because of a lower priority to be later reconsidered.
In summary then the strategy for funding will becontinuous
funding with initial funding being
according to priorities in the areas outlined
above
( ii) continuous review of priorities and contin~ ous
assessment of the worthwhileness of funded
activities
( iii) reassessment of submissions in light of ( ii).
This strategy enables immediate funding, particulr',
of p. _-sals requiring early attention, t,. d also allows. i
progressive receipt1k examination and decisio. is u
There is a need to ensure proper stewardship of
Government monies. There is also a need to ensure the
technical competence of an applicant to receive a grant and
to ensure that any project funded is carried out in the best

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possible way. Hence it i: proposed that ai-seriously
considered applicants be interviewed by CommiLLee members,
members of the Secretariat or other appropriate persons.
Conclusion The above are the priorities and considerations
which will guide the Government's activities and decisions
during the coming year.
The program which will arise out of them will
inevitably reflect our concern that each member of our
society be allowed the freedom necessary to develop within
and participate in that society.

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