CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Institute of Feminist Studies?

Apr 11, 1994

The appointment of Mrs Marie Coleman as Acting Director of the Institute of Family Studies furnishes an eloquent illustration of the kind of Institute the Federal Government is promoting. Long-time feminist Senator Rosemary Crowley, the Government Minister for the Family, has appointed two other long-time feminists to top posts at the AIFS: Ms Moira Rayner was appointed Deputy Director, while Ms Marie Coleman was appointed acting director, pending a permanent appointment to the position. Both of these women have a well-known history of involvement in feminist causes. Ms Coleman’s feminist credentials feature prominently in the feminist account of the rise of the femocracy, Sisters in Suits.

Ms Rayner has for quite some time been an outspoken proponent of affirmative action. She has also been appointed by the AIFS to head a national project to fight child abuse. Given Ms Rayner’s view that spanking should be made illegal, her appointment might create some interesting developments in this area. Parents beware.

Established in 1980 by the Federal Government, the Institute has long been suspected of promoting every type of family structure except the traditional family. On a regular basis it comes out with studies informing us that there is nothing wrong with child care, that divorce does not hurt children, and that single parenting is just as healthy for children as being raised in a two-parent family. The feminist version of things seems to be the line most heard from the AIFS.

The Institute’s long-standing Director, Dr Don Edgar, resigned last December, but he still runs a politically correct line. He recently criticised the new book by Dr Penelope Leach, claiming it was “the most inconsistent, guilt-producing book you could possibly imagine.” The reason? Because Dr Leach thinks daycare harms children.

But the real issue of course is why has the government not appointed family experts to head up the AIFS? Why did it instead appoint two leading feminists? The answer, it seems, is clear. The government is not interested in promoting the family, but it is very much interested in buying off the militant feminist lobby. The government should stop playing games with the public, and rename the $4 million a year tax payer funded Institute the Institute for Feminist Studies, for that is what it is really about.

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