Ed’s August Note

21 / 08 / 2014

G’day Good Sheilas Readers,

Wow, and what a month!  At the Victorian Women’s Trust (publisher of Sheilas), we’ve had a particularly hectic few weeks:

– hosting our annual Trust Friends Get-Together, which took the form of a great debate, that ‘there is a crisis of trust in Australian politics’, and featured a swag of Sheilas contributors – Karen Pickering, Amy Gray, Clementine Ford, ‘Bonza Sheila’ Nelly Thomas, along with the Australia Institute’s Richard Denniss, and barrister David Yarrow (who generously donated his time filling in for Tim Dunlop, who was unexpectedly sick – thank you, Dave!). Despite the freezing wet Winter snap conditions that descended on Melbourne, it was a terrific night with many laughs.

– launching Rosie, a new website for girls and young women that links them with critical information and services relevant to their lives – all themed around respect – respect for your body and mind, respect in your relationships, respect at work, and respect for the world around you. Check out this important web-resource here and share it with the young women in your life!  Rosie also features in our ‘Keeping it Reel’ photo section this month, with an image by Breeana Dunbar for Rosie’s Photo Project, encouraging participants to send in their best ‘Rosie the Riveter’ style selfie, with some great prizes to be won. Check it out HERE!

– also at the Trust this month, we have launched the Monster Climate Change Petition, which aims to collect as many signatures as possible (with a nod to the good suffrage women Monster petitioners of the 1890s) to lobby the federal House of Representatives to get serious about climate change in reducing our carbon emissions. In this edition of Sheilas, writer and academic Judy Brett and the VWT’s Executive Director Mary Crooks AO provide a piece on how the project came together – how a meeting of the two of them with historian (and Stella prize winner) Clare Wright, and the VWT’s Dur-e Dara, started a conversation that has led us to where we are at – check it out HERE. We hope Sheilas readers will help us spread the word … and pens to paper!

Joining more Sheilas dots, our resident artist Judy Horacek this month provides us with a classic cartoon in line with the Monster Climate Change Petition. Judy has also generously donated two limited edition screen print images for our monster petitioners. Stay tuned for details on how to win one of these prizes. In the meantime, get petitioning (hint, hint!). And check out Judy’s cartoon HERE.

In other Sheilas news, Emily Lee-Ack returns with a rundown on the realities of shared parenting after a recent survey revealed that while a majority of women view childcare as a government responsibility, a majority of men still see it as an individual or private responsibility. CLICK HERE to read the article.

In Polly Ticks this month, while catching public transport, Sheilas Editor Sarah Capper (yes, me) looks at Smokin’ Joe Hockey’s budget selling skills, or lack of them, in light of his recent comments defending the fuel excise re-introduction by claiming that the “poorest people either don’t have cars or actually don’t drive very far”. Read the ARTICLE HERE.

Over at Bonza Sheila, Ruby Hamad is Sydney based writer who has been on Sheilas’ “wishlist” for some time. We’re delighted to feature her as our August ‘Bonza Sheila’, where we ask about her writing, her feminism and her faith. CLICK HERE to read the interview.

The Girls On Film Festival kicks off mid-September, so what better way to celebrate Culture Club this month by having the Festival’s Director Karen Pickering provide Sheilas readers with an armchair ride through the Festival program. Make sure you book your seat to the Festival, and I dare say we’ll see you there!  Check out Pickering’s Picks HERE.

Finally, in First Person this August, Regular Sheilas contributor Amy Gray discloses her own battles with depression and suicide in the spirit of ending society’s ‘quarantine’ around one of the biggest health issues we face: mental health. Following the untimely death of comedian and actor Robin Williams, Amy argues it is time to end that quarantine. A trigger warning to readers – the piece contains graphic content about suicide and depression. It’s an emotionally raw piece, but one we think important and timely to share. Click here to read this month’s ‘First Person’.

To end, and with a nod back to our Rosie Respect Photo Project, we’ve been having some fun with our best ‘Rosie the Riveter’ impersonations around the VWT Office. I’ll leave you with this snap of Jasper, who is very ‘helpful’ with Sheilas edition writing with a spot under my desk – or as Edith Wharton once observed, “my little dog – a heartbeat at my feet”. Thank you, Jasper! We think he snaps a fine ‘Rosie the Riveter’ pose! Be sure to send us in yours.

Sarah Capper, Sheilas Editor, sheilas@vwt.org.au

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