Feminist Review

, Volume 89, Issue 1, pp 55–72 | Cite as

feminism, policy and women's safety during Australia's ‘war on terror’

  • Ruth Phillips


The main argument in this article is that the Australian government in power from 1996 to November 2007 failed women's domestic security by denying the central policy role of women's organizations in the struggle against domestic violence and by successfully expunging public debate on gender issues in Australian governance, while participating in the ‘war on terror’ to guard national security. In bringing together a discussion about the war on terror and the importance of feminism for women's security, key issues about feminism, race and gender are considered. This article also explores the prevalence of violence against women and the social implications of the lack of leadership in public debate about the gendered nature of violence against women. Under the Australian government led by Prime Minister John Howard that gained power in 1996 and was defeated in 2007, women's organizations lost financial support and women's policy infrastructure was decimated. Violence against women, however, continued to increase, reaffirming women's place in Australian society as insecure and dangerous. After more than 30 years of struggle to maintain domestic violence and sexual assault as serious social policy problems, provide services, support and advocacy for women who are victims of violence and assault, women's organizations are coming to terms with a society where there is a blindness to the role of gender in violence against women.


domestic security feminism policy governance domestic violence and sexual assault women's organizations 


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Copyright information

© Feminist Review Ltd 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth Phillips

There are no affiliations available

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