Not Any Sheila: A Woman At War

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It shows how the post-war period is too late for women to transform patriarchal gender relations; the foundations for change must be built during conflict. The first part of this book asks how transitions from war to peace and from authoritarian to democratic regimes can be used as opportunities to move beyond the reconstruction of pre-war institutions to real social transformation. It presents an honest accounting of what women lose and gain in wartime and how they organise, as well as an analysis of why they fail to consolidate their gains. It explores the many dimensions of violence against women before, during and after war.

Finally, the contributors consider the relation of the state to society in the aftermath, searching for a vision of the transformed society. The evidence presented in the second part of this book documents the varied nature of war and the many post-war situations, including Haitian and Balkan examples, Asian cases, and experiences in different African conflict zones. The contributors analyse what women endure and what they construct during and after conflict, what obstacles they encounter in their search for autonomy and what bonds of solidarity they create in building peace.

Table of Contents.

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Part I. Overviews of the Themes 1. Part II. Contemporary Experiences 7. Twitter Tweets by ChicagoDistrib. One of the greatest mistakes a woman can make is to believe that merit and hard work will be rewarded. It is more complicated. The law assumes that all human beings have the power to choose how they will live their lives. Society assumes that people are treated on their merits and desserts.

  1. Lespropriazione per pubblica utilità (Sapere diritto) (Italian Edition).
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  5. The Aftermath.

That is why, when one person chooses to drive through a red light, they are punished for it, and when another works for high-profile and self-evidently charitable causes, she will probably receive some kind of award, eventually. But, sometimes, society punishes people who did not have any, or the full range of, choices to make. A teenage car thief condemned to a life of poverty and neglect by his Aboriginality and his nation's racist history didn't have too many other decisions to make.

When someone with real ability does not have the opportunity to use it, the choice made is not really "free", and society is not "fair". Our legal system provides only a framework in which individuals can claim remedies if their rights are infringed. That is all very well for those who can use the framework. Those who cannot use systems that are denied to them in practice, because they are not designed with them in mind, can't claim "rights". They are alienated by the very system that we like to think protects them.

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Middle class children will ask a policemen the way when they get lost, but Aboriginal children simply find another way to get home. Sheila McClemans was a brilliant naval officer and lawyer whose achievements were limited by the ignorance and mediocrity of the sexist and parochial society she graced. She was also a strong, passionate and deeply disciplined woman who would never have suggested, let alone complained of, anything of the kind, and who would probably be distressed that her colleagues and friends might perceive that she had been disadvantaged by the neglect or malice of others.

She seems to have learned from her difficult childhood life never to complain, and to look for support from nobody but herself. Sheila was the kind of woman who made it her business to support and advise other women entering into the legal profession, as she did me, without once mentioning the word "discrimination" or displaying or encouraging the display of frustration or anger at the constraints of the profession she loved. She was the kind of woman lawyer who did not, as I originally did not, support "women's" organisations, such as the formation of the Women Lawyer's Association in Western Australia in the early s.

2. She published her first fiction novel at the age of 81

She believed that the Western Australian Law Society was the proper vehicle for the expression of women's aspirations. She held those views even though it is probably now explicitly recognised that she should have been appointed to the Supreme Court Bench, and was not appointed only because she was a woman. Perhaps she, like me, would eventually have seen that women lawyers do benefit from combining their professional voices.

The practice of law, my careers mistress said when I went to see her about my choices at school, was "not very ladylike".

Sheila McClemans

Had it not been for that line, I might never have taken law seriously. A well-meaning fellow law student took me aside in my first year of law studies and warned me not to go into practice, because I, too, would "lose my femininity", and cited chain-smoking, pioneer practitioner Sheila, "Hard as Nails" McClemans, as a dreadful example not to follow. So I did.

Sheila did not describe herself as a "feminist" because she did not need to. A woman of such high achievements, and who was so conscious of the need to support other women, Sheila was a humanist and a human being, who was fully conscious of the systemic injustice of the community that enfolded her - or at least some aspects of it. She was certainly not backward in claiming for women the right to be treated with respect. Women barristers had been required, until she forced the issue to be re-considered, to robe in the "Ladies" - the lavatories - in the Supreme Court, for instance, because they were excluded from the men-only Robing Room.

She would be delighted, now, at the range of brilliant young women entering into law. She would no doubt be astonished that they should continue to suffer discrimination and block-headed disparagement from the dinosaurs of legal practice, and not yet have taken their place at the pinnacle of the profession.

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  7. Sheila McClemans - Wikipedia.

Though anti-discrimination laws came into effect well and truly after her public working life was over, I have no doubt that Sheila understood at least the justice of the fundamental principles. Anti-discrimination laws are human rights laws. They are meant to protect and promote the rights of all human beings to be treated with respect for their innate dignity as human beings - whatever shape or strength or beauty or colour of their bodies; wherever they were born and whom their parents might have been; whether they have or haven't procreated and the structure of their living arrangements; and whatever they believe.

Sheila Rowbotham - Wikipedia

Sheila McClemans was often denied the respect due to her, though never complained about it. She lived through a time when the law was still described as "an unsuitable profession" for women. Australian courts, those well-known bastions of human rights protection - well, at times they are now - opined that women had never been, and therefore never could be, lawyers: thus, the word "person" in the Legal Practitioners Act did not include women.

WOMAN AT WAR - Trailer

It is timely to write about Sheila's life, not only because of the intense interest in "equality before the law" and the prejudice of some judges affecting women, but because there is a resurgence of culpable blindness.