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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY The University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council acknowledges the traditional owners of this land (Sydney), the Gadigal people of the Eora nation. We stand on this land today as beneficiaries of an uncompensated and unreconciled dispossession that occurred over 200 years ago. Many of the descendants of those dispossessed live just down the road in abject poverty, and as young people it is important to recognise how this history of dislocation and disenfranchisement has contributed to the inequality we observe in modern society. We acknowledge both our privilege and our obligation to redress the situation as best we can: to remember the mistakes of the past, act on the problems of today, and build a future for everyone who now calls this place home, striving always for genuinely practical and meaningful reconciliation.








Congratulations and Welcome to the University of Sydney. Starting university is a new life chapter. There is no doubt that USYD presents you with a hub of opportunity. You will be able to challenge yourself academically, build friendships, get involved in group assignments, think critically, engage across many varied disciplines, network, socialise, philosophise, sing, dance, act, party, work, get involved in politics, exercise and travel. Each one of you will experience a different journey and that will be largely dependent on the extent to which you actively participate in the opportunities presented to you. In USYD’s most recent annual report there were approximately 19,554 women enrolled as undergraduate students out of a total 34,012 undergraduate students… that is more than 55%! We live in a society where most women have the privilege of undertaking an education. We must make the most of this. Never be afraid to ask questions. Make mistakes. Curiosity fuels learning and stimulates thought provoking discussions. You have a voice use it.

As reps on the SRC we will be running some exciting and interesting projects focusing on a USYD women website, raising awareness about student services, increasing access to sanitary items on campus and running entrepreneurship and mentoring panel events. I would like to thank all the inspiring women who have contributed towards this publication. Your insights, experiences, opinions and innovative endeavours are the heart and soul of what makes the University of Sydney Women community so vibrant and strong. A special thank you to Kate Scott who has been instrumental in designing illustrations throughout the publication including the front cover and the USYD Women 2019 Logo. Gabi Stricker-Phelps and Crystal Xu P.S. We are looking for a TEAM of people who would like to get involved in a project centred around Women at USYD. If you are interested in:

• Women’s issues, experiences, education, health etc… This year we want to build a greater sense of community • Social media • Design within our strong USYD cohort of women because if • Video production we are serious about ending gender inequality in the workforce, we must support one another. The aim of this • Content sourcing and production publication is to shine a light on the women of USYD. • Website programming We explore insights, inspirational stories and experiences • Journalism and writing of active, busy and thoughtful women who have all • And/or are just energetic, enthusiastic and wanting been in your shoes before at the start of their university to get involved journeys. Please email: Gabi on Facebook: USYDwomen2019



I want a 15% discount code on life

Linda Nixon

Bachelor of Economics/ Bachelor of Laws Linda Nixon is a co-founder and current President of the USYD Women in Economics and Business Society. Founded in 2018, the society aims to increase university engagement with female students studying economics, commerce and related fields as well as providing career support and opportunities. Women who are interested in the society can find updates here: www.facebook. com/usydwebs


he gender wage gap in Australia currently stands at 15%. That means that women earn 85c for every $1 earned by a man, or more abstractly, women are only paid to work until 3:57pm in a regular business day - meaning they work 273 hours for free every year. This inequality provides sufficient moral justification for my periodic 2-hour lunch breaks but is more broadly indicative of a failing meritocracy. The gender wage gap, and indeed many forms of gender discrimination, are even worse for women of colour and transgender women. In 2018, the World Economic Forum announced that gender wage parity will be reached in 202 years, or 7 generations from now. However, the human race will probably have relocated to another planet by then, and honestly - who knows what that economy will look like? There are certain reasonable economic explanations for the gender wage gap, but none can be considered in a vacuum, and must be understood as by-products of patriarchal forces that ultimately dictate women’s choices.

Before we can look at the economic rationales behind the gender wage gap, we should bust some myths propagated by the often simplistic media narrative of workplace sexism. The gender wage gap refers to a disparity in wages on average between all men and women who work full-time, as opposed to being the difference between Paul and Paula who sit next to each other. It is generally a reflection of men tending to be: 1) higher up in workforce hierarchies than women, 2) employed in higher-paying USYD WOMEN


industries than women, and 3) when all else is equal, men are paid more than the women sitting next to them (see: our federal parliament). These structural biases are far more interesting to unpack and far more difficult to dismantle than overt discrimination.

Economists (who coincidentally are often middle-class men) argue that the gender wage gap is caused by different work-leisure preferences, risk and negotiation aversion, and women working in less financially lucrative industries. This makes theoretical sense. Women happen to be the ones who disproportionately take time off work to look after their kids and/or ageing parents. Women are less likely to take risks, meaning they will opt for safer contracts (often those without bonuses or commissions, which are often very financially rewarding). Women are also less likely to ask for promotions or negotiate salaries, and are more likely to bear workplace emotional labour in the form of organising presents and parties etc (hardly tasks which point them towards the nearest promotion). These trends are supported by considerable empirical evidence but using them to explain the wage gap demonstrates naivety and a lack of awareness of significant social factors which contribute to the economic decisions of women.

It is not fair, nor is it accurate, to isolate a woman’s economic decisions from the societal obligations she is burdened with. Women do take more time off from their careers to look after their children, but this choice is not made in isolation of the rest of their lives. The social norm is

for women to stop working when they start childbearing, while their partners continue to work full-time. Women who buck the trend are rewarded with shame from other mothers as well as their own families, partners and friends - people who really should be on their side. This norm of women sacrificing careers for children is entirely without reasonable explanation - who says women are better equipped than men to be primary carers? Modern medicine has not yet convinced me that physical childbirth magically equips mothers (but not fathers) with a natural talent at the unglamorous tasks of parenting - changing nappies, attending parent-teacher interviews and driving children to and from after-school activities. The fact that women still undertake these parenting tasks disproportionately is not a reflection of their different work-leisure preferences, but rather of a society which conditions women to believe that their role in the world is, first and foremost, motherhood. Ultimately, young women are led into the assumption that they could have both a career and a rewarding family life - which may explain why more than half of undergraduate students are women. Unfortunately, however, these women do not see a return from their investment in education as they are forced out of work earlier than expected. As Michelle Obama plainly said in December about “having it all” as a woman in this world, “That shit doesn’t work”. At some point, the voice of the patriarchy in the back of our minds (in my case, it coincidentally sounds just like my mother) overrules our protests - we invested in this career and we should be able to stick with it! - and we accept that the life of a high-flying career woman is simply not in our cards. This tragedy repeats itself, woman after

woman, until only 36.7% of full-time employees are female. Until corporations accept that in order to retain the best talent (some of whom are bound to be women), more flexible working practices are essential, women will continue to be forced out of the workforce due to their family obligations.

The theories of choice of risk aversion and negotiation aversion are similarly misleading. Whether or not it is true that women are born more risk averse - to my knowledge, we are lacking sufficient evidence on the gambling habits of newborns to know for sure - I would argue it is far more likely that risk aversion, much like holding our keys in our hands on the walk home and repressing the urge to bring up feminism at family dinners, is a learned trait of women rather than a natural one. Men will also typically apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the necessary qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100%. Risk aversion may be due to an increased awareness of women of their family members relying on them. Or, it could be an acknowledgement of what we already know - that a woman in the workforce is more vulnerable than a man.

Similarly, I’m willing to wager (despite my quite feminine dislike of risk) that a large part of why women don’t negotiate for higher salaries is due to the inner voices (again, mine sounds just like my mother) warning us against being bossy, aggressive, or overbearing. This voice leads us to fear that negotiation will cause us to lose the job offer in the first place - a concern that men do not have. It’s a classic zero-sum game, with an important caveat - that women always lose. One of the biggest factors in the



wage gap is that women work disproportionately in lower-paying industries. Traditionally carer industries such as nursing, teaching and childcare employ more of our women than the high-paying finance, engineering, or IT. This disparity being rationalised as a “choice” is surely ridiculous - women have a place in the world and that place is more than just caring for others. However, the casual misogyny which resides in pubs, classrooms and on the streets, which is strengthened whenever a woman is told to “get back in the kitchen” or “settle down, it’s just a joke,” pushes women away from male-dominated industries. Even before we are subject to those comments, girls in schools are pushed away from STEM subjects and towards humanities through the (mostly) subconscious behaviours of their teachers, parents and the media. Internalised misogyny gives girls a handicap before they even get to consciously making career decisions. Without prevalent female role models in boys’ club industries, and without affirmative action to help women get past hiring biases in the first place, these stereotypes of men’s industries and women’s industries will only continue, with strong consequences for disparity between the genders.

Altogether, referring to the factors which lead to the gender wage gap as “economic decisions” made by women is overly simplistic and potentially harmful, as it negates the importance of social changes which could narrow the gap. What woman would ever choose to earn 15c less than the men in her life? While a 15% discount on my groceries might almost compensate for my lower earnings, it won’t nearly make up for the overall disadvantage of being born a woman. But it’s not a bad place to start.


B. Political, Economic and Social Sciences


WORDS. Scroll through the comments on any article remotely related to advancing “women’s rights” in the modern age, and you’ll find all kinds of men – and women - professing that the Western world has no need for feminism anymore. Those same people argue that the difficulties of women in the 21st Century hold nothing to the problems of first-wave feminists - suffragettes who, in the early 1900s, had to fight for our right to vote. I tend to be inclined to think that Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the British suffragette movement, and my family’s matriarch, would disagree. Feminism was never a wave. Rather, it is an ever-building movement. It is where we, the women of today, have the capacity to build on the achievements of our foremothers to make the world a better place.

Suffrage is not as old as we might think. Within our mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers lifetimes, they faced not being able to exercise the very core principle of democracy – the right to vote and stand for office. Feminism never did live and die with their fight for suffrage. Where the balance of power tips out of our favour, the need for the social, political and economic equality of the sexes survives: In our boardrooms: where we are paid less for equal amounts of work and have credit taken for our ideas. In our Parliaments: where our female politicians are slandered for what they wear, who they’re married to and whether they have children. In our homes: where on average, one Australian woman is murdered per week by her current or former partner.



In our classrooms, doctors’ offices’, street corners and pubs. In crowded trains home, supermarkets and across social media. In each inch of advertising, and throughout the cultural undercurrents that support everyday sexism. We must acknowledge the fact that we live in a world that was created, and is still so-often shaped, by men. Emmeline, in her Freedom or Death speech, stated that ‘as long as women consent to be unjustly governed, they will be’. And so, I make this my call-to-arms. Feminism is needed now, more than ever. You, are privileged well beyond having the right to vote. You have your own unique voice.

Utilise and emphasise it. Stand proudly on the shoulders of the women who have come before you. Be militant each in your own way. Engage in politics – in any form. Go out and vote. Question, and demand answers, from policymakers. Contest elections. Attend protests and rallies. Make noise and demand to be heard. Because, if feminism were ever a “wave”, it would be something akin to a tsunami. You have the support – and power - of centuries of feminists behind you. Use it. We have a long way to go.



“Julie Bishop announcing her resignation as the first female Foreign Minister (By Alex Ellinghausen, Sydney Morning Herald)� INSIGHT

Gender Quotas?



ebated globally with varying opinions and perspectives, a question of the gender quota has been a key element of Australia’s political debate in 2019 thus far. With upcoming state and federal elections, and the defection and resigning of some senior females in our Government, our attention has once again been brought to consider an implementation of gender quotas, whether that be in our politicalf parties, our parliament, and for the private sector. Gender quotas are the most efficient and effective way of changing the number of females on a company board, in business leadership, in a political party, in parliament, and wherever else a gender quota may be imposed. Such quotas are implemented and enforced with the intention to correct existing discrimination and unconscious bias, and more broadly to compensate for historical inequality. We can see that quotas are well-intentioned, as they aim to eradicate the closed and established male networks that tend to reinforce unconscious gender bias. A quota to break this system therefore expands the candidate pool to more women and creates a greater awareness of diversity. Companies that have enforced quotas, such as Norwegian companies that had to comply with a 40% female representation on boards, report improvements in decision making and board governance. The hope is also that women on boards can mentor other women to encourage them to seek higher leadership positions.



With this theory in mind, there have been calls for gender quotas in our political parties, with the core position being that parliament is meant to be a representation of society, and therefore should be 50% female and 50% male in order to accurately represent our demographics. Many Members of Parliament, media figures, and the public are calling for gender quotas, as Australia has fallen from its peak of 15th in the world for female parliamentary representation in 1997 under the Howard Government to 50th in the world today. The current Coalition Government comprises of 16% women in the House of Representatives, which is 12 out of 74 MPs, and current preselection results for the upcoming elections are also skewed with a vast male majority. Evidently there need to be drastic changes in our female parliamentary representation – but are quotas the only answer? Quotas may be the quickest fix to the problem, however there are questions of its effectiveness and its contradictions with certain key principles upon which our democracy is founded. The first of these principles is that as a liberal democracy, we are committed to meritocracy. It is unmeritocratic to consider someone differently because of their gender, and can often be seen as condescending, patronising and tokenistic, as it takes the focus away from the female’s qualifications and experience. We do not need a solution that plays on identity politics, with a potential for further micro-quotas. However, assuming that we have a perfect meritocracy now would imply that males dominate political parties, parliaments and boards simply because they’re superior candidates to women. This is obviously false, as we know that women are equal in their capabilities to males. Therefore improving female representation without imposing a quota relies on a commitment to improving the functioning of a society aiming to be a perfect meritocracy, which it is not yet. There are historical reasons for current imbalances, mainly the past’s discrimination against women being involved in politics and business leadership, meaning that today we are slowly balancing out. We don’t need the help of quotas to engineer this change, as whilst quotas may change the number of women in leadership, they are ineffective in altering an organisation’s

culture and the structural barriers that women face. In 2007 Norway introduced 40% female representation on all boards, however twelve years on, this quota hasn’t changed pay disparity or underrepresentation in the lower levels of the companies. This indicates that while quotas fix an image problem, they don’t address underlying discrimination and cannot enforce a change in attitude regarding the value of women in the workforce. With the efficacy and desirability of quotas being questionable, we need to turn to alternatives that focus on working to create a truly meritocratic society that revolves around the philosophy of equality of opportunity, rather than an engineered equality of outcome. Companies and organisations need to address the issues and barriers that prevent women from putting their hands up through initiatives such as needs-based support, substantiative targets, targeted recruiting, mentorship and sponsorship amongst other alternatives. Whilst a 50/50 gender representation in political parties and parliament is desirable, the claims that a party or parliament that isn’t 50/50 is undemocratic as it doesn’t truly reflect societal demographics assumes that only women can represent women, placing the burden on women to act upon gender equality, when in reality the support of both genders is needed to enact genuine change. Similar to the argument of improving the meritocracy to consequentially achieve equality for women, contemporary political examples demonstrate that party democratic reform, without gender as part of the equation, has consequentially improved female parliamentary representation. The UK Conservative Party has demonstrated this with their party reforms in recent years, and initiatives designed to produce the best possible candidate, which has seen a greater representation of women in the party. In 2005, the Conservatives began trialling primaries, rather than plebiscites, for their party members that would run for parliament. Party-supporters voting in primaries tend to produce better candidates than the membership-only plebiscite voting, and far better than the Australian Liberal Party preselection style. The supporting public voting on the best possible candidate saw the number of female MPs increase from 8% of the Conservatives after the 2005 General Election, to 16% in 2010, to 21% in the most recent election in 2017. At the same USYD WOMEN


time, under David Cameron’s leadership, the party started using a database filled with potential candidates that were being identified and mentored by the party leadership in order to produce the best candidates in the primaries. Whilst the Conservative Party is evidently still far away from 50% female representation, they evidently achieved significant change without compromising the democratic value of a meritocracy. Reforming our political parties to using primaries is part of improving our meritocratic system to produce the best possible candidate, which evidently produces more qualified and talented women. Enacting this change would be a significant step in improving female parliamentary representation, and is just one of the many changes that can be implemented to improve gender representation. This is by no means an exhaustive analysis of all possible advantages and disadvantages of imposing a gender quota, however highlights some of the pertinent issues. Being opposed to gender quotas doesn’t make one opposed to increasing female representation. Rather, it is a belief in the inherent value and capability of women without a helping hand. It is a belief in creating a truly meritocratic society that would employ, promote, and celebrate women in all fields.


We Need to Talk – Period

KindNecessities is a student-run not-for-profit with a dual focus in providing refugee women with female sanitary products as well as breaking down the taboo surrounding menstrual health. Here’s why talk isn’t cheap. USYD students on the KindNecessities Executive also include Jeanne Shu, Aalia Siddiqui, Mrithika Shankarla, Ewan Uncles, Jaspar McCahon and Sian Pannach.




hen I was about seven, I remember going on holidays with my family, finding my mum’s pads in our suitcase and, perplexed, I asked her why she brought nappies when there were no babies. Instead of explaining what periods were, that I would go through it as well and that they were a normal part of being a woman, she shushed me and hid them again. As women, society places the onus on us to conceal an integral part of our natural biology, and shames us when a crack of its reality is exposed. Even prior to writing this article, I visited several magazines for exemplars and inspiration, and after reading a several (very general) articles, decided to conduct a more targeted search. Funnily enough, if you search “period” on the New Yorker website, what comes up is a cartoon titled “Things that Should Come with Trial Periods”, as well as articles on archaeology, horror movies and the FBI. Whilst all these are no doubt informative and delightful reads, it is disconcerting that a biological occurrence-turned-social issue which affects half the world’s population is ignored and deemed inappropriate to talk about. But the question remains: why is something so natural still considered an issue? Not only is the existence of the taboo rather degrading in perpetuating the notion

of women as ‘clean’ and ‘pure’ objects, but it also proves detrimental to girls who are afraid to seek help if something is wrong or if there are abnormalities in their menstrual cycle. This can lead to a late diagnosis (despite being previously treatable) of issues such as endometriosis. Further, taboos prevent us from talking about things that ultimately need to be talked about, and subsequently result in ignorance towards the existence of issues that truly matter. I believe this is the case for many of us, even in progressive environments such as USYD, regarding the menstrual health of refugee women. Whilst in Australia we are lucky enough to celebrate the lifting of the tampon tax and the recognition of these items as a “necessity”, the same cannot be said for the international sphere, where menstrual products, classed as “luxuries”, are only accessible using UN allowance intended for food and water. Consequently, millions of women and girls resort to using old rags, pieces of old mattresses, garbage and even moss as pads, placing them at high risk to illnesses and infections. We believe that women should not have to choose between providing their families with food and water, and accessing safe products and resources to combat their monthly menstruation. KindNecessities seeks to rectify this through our two-pronged approach – looking into and beyond the local context here in Australia, but also



towards those forced to flee their homes due to conflict. Over this past year, KindNecessities has recruited a new and young team of directors and volunteers, with a number of events and campaigns being continued to enable our mission. These include a school visit to Blacktown Girls High School, a second-hand stall at the Glebe Markets, and an online campaign promoting environmentally sustainable alternatives to disposable pads. In the new year, we’re looking forward to our first Youth Action Summit, which centres around the desire to connect passionate young people with avenues through which they can work collectively to create change. Whilst increasing political and social awareness in schools, universities and workplaces is a fantastic sign, what often still remains unclear for young people, even to those with strong and passionate views, is how best to act on these beliefs. The Youth Action Summit will act as a conduit for engaged young people and established groups and movements, featuring a plethora of political groups, NGOs, not-for-profits, collectives and activist groups present, as well as speeches, panel and workshops. As young people, we are often criticised for apathy, frivolity and ruining almost every industry – but we believe that our dynamism and progressiveness are integral in pushing forward society and

its values. The intended focus of this article was supposed to be the experiences of USYD women within KindNecessities, but I truly think it extends broader than this; namely, to the broader experiences of women experiencing life at USYD, women in broader society and the engagement of the general public in a conversation that has been silent for too long. It is about understanding, empathising and creating a movement where women are supporting women, and males are better understanding the females in their lives. It is about realising the taboo that forces you to hide your pad on the way to the bathroom, or having someone snigger at a red stain; it is the same one that renders millions without the simple necessities needed that are not a luxury. That is why KindNecessities is so special to me, and I am so glad to be part of an organisation with values so close to my heart. For three dollars, you can provide a woman with a safe period through the packs that we provide, which include reusable pads, liners, underwear, an information chart and cleaning products, all of which will last up to three years. If you have a spare three dollars and resonate with our cause, please – take the time to head over to our website and show your support. We’d love for you

to join our family and stay updated on our events and initiatives through our Facebook and Instagram (@kindnecessities), and if you have any queries or are interested in partnering with us, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Whether it’s directly to us or just between your friends and family at uni, home or online, we urge you to get the conversation going, to start challenging those norms and help break down the harmful taboos that surround menstrual health – for you, the women that immediately surround you and for women globally.







e live in a land of opportunity. If you’re reading this, it probably means you’re blessed enough to be able to receive tertiary education. If you’re a female university student reading this, you are the beneficiary of years of feminist activism promoting equality of the sexes and the right for all people to have an education. This history which underpins our position of privilege today is often taken for granted. Feminism has made strides in this country. In 1902, women received the right to vote (unfortunately to the exclusion of indigenous women). Not long before, there was a prominent opinion that women were not intellectually capable of engaging in politics. The assertion continues to baffle me, as a woman majoring in politics, who religiously follows the news cycle. Thankfully, the positive trajectory for women’s rights continued. During the First and Second World War, women had an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to contribute just as much as their male counterparts to the workforce as winning the war depended just as much on the Home Front as the troops overseas. This precipitated into an evolution of culture, facilitated by seminal texts like The Female Eunuch, which have allowed women to transcend the 1950s housewife stereotype, and to become fellow self-determining individuals alongside men. These feats, along with countless more contributions made by the feminist movement, have meant Australian women are in a position far more preferable than in the past.

If we reduce feminism to its simplistic definition, equality of the sexes, it demands of us that we empower women to choose the life they lead. It’s about giving us choices instead of having a life prescribed; the classic ‘equality of opportunity’, but not ‘equality of outcome’.

ma concerning full time motherhood, originating from its history as the only option in life for women for decades. Consequently, motherhood is errantly framed as a life of bondage rather than of choice. I argue that there needs to be a resurgence of support for stay-at-home mums. They are the unsung heroes. For them, there are no Linkedin updates, or accolades. Generally, it is a life of humility, sacrifice, and the laborious project of raising often ungrateful children into upright citizens. We often (and justifiably) celebrate figures like Julia Gillard and Julie Bishop for their lives of service. Being a stay-at-home mum is just as much a life of service, except they go largely unnoticed.

Lately the feminist movement in Australia has been concerned with women in the workforce. Supporting women who enter the workforce is fantastic. Notably, there are exciting new horizons for women interested in STEM subjects. This is worthy of celebration, and has consumed a lot of air time. That being said, there seems to be an inverse relationship between the growing support for women who pursue careers I consider my own mother while writing and dwindling respect for women who this article. My mother is one of the most strong, intelligent and self-determing choose full-time motherhood. people I know. And she decided to put Is it just me who has noticed a growing her teaching career on hold to raise my disdain for motherhood? More spe- brother and I. As a mother, there are no cifically, ‘stay at home mums’? These prospects of promotion, nor is there an women are often met with the well- income. But she was able to devote her-intentioned but slightly condescen- self wholly to us, which was often met ding comment “must be nice [to stay at with gross ingratitude. Nevertheless, home]”, as if the life of a full-time mum both my brother and I look back on our could be reduced to laying down on the childhood fondly, as we were driven to couch reading The Australian Women’s soccer practice, karate, violin lessons, Weekly. While there’s been a great po- swimming practice and guitar lessons sitive emphasis on working women, fe- to name a few. On a hard day, walking minists should be careful not to conflate home from the school bus with tears in feminism and careerism. Some women my eyes, I always knew mum would be endeavour to become CEOs, and some waiting for me; someone that would liswomen endeavour to become full-time ten patiently to my troubles and give me mothers. But neither ambition should advice. The extent of the time she gave us was only possible due to the huge sabe degraded or considered less valid. Unfortunately, there seems to be a stig- crifice she made by postponing her career. The path she chose in life was one of service and should not be the subject of disdain. My mum will never be on the front of TIME magazine, but she is also worthy of celebration. As women, we ought to build each other up, not tear each other down. Whether it’s just work or just motherhood or both combined, we all need to support each other’s endeavours. We can’t just be uplifting one type of woman, but all women. That is the true mark of feminism.





Am I Pretty Yet? By Devina Maurice Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws I deserve more than a love that returns In fact, I dream of one that lingers. A love for the thrum of a heart That splutters, quickens, dances within my chest Plants seeds along the curves of each rib And soaks my limbs until they bloom around my lungs. A love that transcends flesh and bone And pours sunlight through my veins like honey That trickles and dribbles like gentle rain Rumbles like rolling thunder nestled in a grey sky. A love that fears and desires without waning That blossoms into blood and into art Quivers and bleeds like wine stains among clouds And finds home in the warmest folds of my skin. Because before I am pretty, I am everything but and more.






A Mythology of Sin – Female Sexuality in the Catholic Faith Bible, Pope Gregory interpreted them as literal representations of the seven deadly sins. Unsurprisingly, medieval thinkers emphasised the sins of lust and sexual looseness. They assumed Mary’s sins to be sexual as, according to Professor Danielle C. Dubois, “all feminine sin was expressed sexually” in medieval Europe. Thus, Mary Magdalene was cast as a reformed prostitute. In reality, contemporary theologians suggest that her ‘demonic possession’ in fact indicates a violent chronic nervous disorder.

By Madeleine Gandhi

BA/LLB (European Studies)

Mary Magdalene’s legacy is not her own. We know very little about the real Mary Magdalene. We know she came from Magdala, a village on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. She was the most trusted companion of Jesus and the first to witness his resurrection. Hell, she was probably his financial backer. She is heralded as the ‘apostle to apostles’ and considered the most popular female saint, after the Virgin Mary. However, medieval painters and theologians preferred to emphasise her alleged history of sex work. Mary’s image as the ‘penitent prostitute’ was fashioned to uphold the Catholic Church’s lessons on redemption and female sexuality as sin – an omnipresent warning of the evils of female seduction. The truth of the Magdalen’s real persona was obscured by Pope Gregory the Great. In a medieval sermon, Pope Gregory conflated three women from the New Testament: Mary of Magdala who Jesus freed from “seven demons” (Luke 8:2); the unnamed “sinful woman” who bathed Christ’s feet with her tears (Luke 7:37–50); and Mary of Bethany, the contemplative sister of Lazarus and Martha. Although the nature of Mary’s “seven demons” is not indicated in the 15

This image of Mary Magdalene as a ‘penitent prostitute’ demonised female sexuality. As one of the most prominent conversion tales in the Bible, her popular image displaces sexual sin onto women and presents feminine sexuality as “the greatest evil.” This paradigm is sustained in other works of medieval literature, like the legend of Mary of Egypt. In Sophronius’s seventhcentury Greek text, Mary is a prostitute who does not accept payment and is condemned for enticing men into sin. Her male partners were blameless. Feminist critic Elizabeth Cady Stanton denounces biblical stories that teach that “woman brought sin and death into the world.” Biblical tales were used to legitimise gender roles and power structures in medieval society. Through misrepresenting the image of Mary Magdalene, the early Church Fathers cemented a reminder of female sinfulness in the Church and wielded the Bible as a tool to oppress women. However, Mary Magdalene also symbolises female empowerment and agency. Her privileged position at the right hand of Christ is undeniable. The other disciples were jealous when Jesus kissed Mary on the mouth, asking, “Why do you love her more than all of us?” (Philip 35, 36 40). Christ replied that he loves her most because she is not blinded by the light. Her eminence confused the art world. Male painters in the 16th century depicted her as a half-being covered in fur (pictured). Baffled by her elevated status, they regarded this woman as some inexplicable beast. USYD WOMEN


Perhaps we find a more fitting tribute in ‘L’Eglise de Madeleine’, the Parisian church honouring the Magdalen from which ‘Madeleine’ derives. Not so. The Church’s celebration of Mary’s devotion did not extend to the everyday woman. Female churchgoers were banned from the choir until Chopin requested Mozart’s Requiem be played at his funeral in 1849. The arrangement required soprano female voices. So, the church relented and permitted women to sing… from behind a black curtain. The irony could not be clearer. Surely, no other patriarchal misuse of Mary Magdalene’s legacy can compete? Enter, the Magdalene Laundries. These asylums functioned as penitentiary work houses for ‘fallen women’. As the Toronto Laundries neatly stated in 1858, they aimed to “[eliminate] prostitution by rehabilitating prostitutes.” In reality, these women were unmarried mothers involuntarily committed by their family or the Church. They laboured for their lifetimes in hazardous, solitary, overcrowded and often abusive conditions. A mass grave of 155 corpses was discovered in Dublin in 1993, three years before the final asylum closed. Australia was no exception – merely 22km from the USYD campus, the Parramatta Girls Home closed as recently as 1974. It took years to correct the misuse of Mary Magdalene’s name. The Catholic Church officially overruled Pope Gregory’s interpretation in 1969. In 2001, the Irish government recognized the Magdalene Laundries as abusive institutions, offering a formal apology and a $82 million compensation scheme. Today, the Magdalen’s enigmatic image – a simultaneously repentant prostitute, celibate nun, revered saint and empowered mystic – continues to intrigue society. Recent popular culture like The Da Vinci Code (2003) have bolstered her popularity and encouraged feminists to re-write the narrative. Is this a step towards a divine narrative for women in the Church? Or are we better served by arenas like astrology? Regardless, millennial women are determined to revitalise spirituality. In my eyes, Mary Magdalene should be our patron saint.


First Year BurnOut 2019 #tipsandtricksforsurvivngfirstyear AMY MISFUD Bachelor oF Arts and Advanced Studies (Media and Communications)

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o you’re finally free and think that you can tackle the world. Well University is a different world, my friends. And its main components are last minute efforts, early morning train rides and various forms of caffiene. It’s commonplace to think that everyone around you knows a lot more than you, which can lead you down a spiral of self doubt, a lack of effort in Uni work, threatening deadlines and an omnipresent fear of ‘the failed assignment’, thus inciting: First Year Burnout. Below are some tips on how to beat the cycle.

Schedule. Timetabling is everything. If you want a head start then you need to ensure you’re making the most of your time. I dropped maths in year 10 but here’s a little equation for you: EFFICIENCY = AS MANY CLASSES AS POSSIBLE / AS LITTLE TIME AS POSSIBLE. If you schedule yourself two days of just classes and tutes, the rest can go towards working, study and free time. Yes, long days can be tiring, but nothing beats the feeling of coming home and knowing you can spend the rest of your week however you like. Time out. Uni is overwhelming, there’s no doubt about it. However, the burnout cycle can be avoided by designating yourself a set amount of time to chill out without feeling guilty about it. Whether you choose to spend this time napping, having a bath or catching up on youtube is up to you, but make sure it’s not interrupted. By scheduling this time after working or study etc, you’ll be feeding the brain’s reward centre and have something to look forward to each week. Once chill time is over, however hard it may be, it’s important to get back to work to keep your brain convinced that you’ve got your shit together ;)



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Prioritise. If you have one assignment due at the end of this week, and another due next week, do the former one first. Things such as readings may be low on your priority list but find a way to make sure they get done. This could mean doing your readings on the train home every week to give you a head start for the following lecture or put an alarm on your phone every Friday at 4pm to answer discussion posts on Canvas. Without prioritising, the little things can pile up and create a whole new headache. Plus getting the smaller tasks out of the way will keep you from feeling overwhelmed when it comes time for bigger priorities like assignments.

“Don’t bite off more than you can chew unless you’re sure you can digest it. Don’t be that person messaging everyone at 11:54pm saying you didn’t know the assignment was due in 5 minutes. Deadlines. This one is a doozy. Deadlines keep us Don’t be worried if you think everyone’s accountable but are also the biggest form of stress ahead.” for a Uni student. From readings to enrolment, all

the way up to final exams, we always find a way to do it all at the last minute. My biggest tip for deadlines is to trick yourself. Make a new deadline for yourself a week earlier than it actually is. If you do this for all your assignments, then eventually it becomes second nature to believe that it’s real. I used this method all of my first year, and though I did still have some last-minute efforts, the majority of the work was already done by the time everyone else was stressing about starting their assignments! This also gives you a week to edit and ask your tutors questions. Or to do it all over again if you realise you misread the question...


Routine. Avoiding First Year Burnout comes down to sticking to a routine as much as possible, so you don’t get a build-up of overdue work and incite a mental breakdown. I don’t mean waking up at 4am like Casey Neistat would have you do, but by having designated times for certain activities and limiting them to a certain number of hours, you can plan your ideal week which will turn into an ideal month and eventually an ideal First Year. Set easy times for the little bits and pieces like answering upcoming tute questions while you’re on the loo. You’d be surprised how much you can achieve on there. Final thoughts and tips: Wherever possible, watch lectures online at 2x speed. Don’t bite off more than you can chew unless you’re sure you can digest it. Don’t be that person messaging everyone at 11:54pm saying you didn’t know the assignment was due in 5 minutes. Don’t be worried if you think everyone’s ahead - they’re probably just better at lying than you.






Driving female-led change

Despite the efforts of many, gender is still a massive issue across almost all industries. In the startup world, less than 2% of venture funding globally is going to women and while women are now visible at all levels of successful organisations, they are still strongly underrepresented at the top. In the US, statistics show that although women make up 44% of the S&P 500 workforce overall, they only account for 25% of executive and senior roles, 20% of organization board members, and 6% of CEOs. But new initiatives, new businesses and a new mindset from young women across the world is starting to drive meaningful change. Sydney School of Entrepreneurship (SSE), based in Ultimo, is committed to giving driven young women (and men) the opportunity to decide their own destiny and help create change in whatever field they’re in. Founded in 2017, SSE has an even gender balance of students and has welcomed students from all 11 universities in NSW and TAFE NSW. They come together from a diverse range of backgrounds, disciplines and locations to learn from

inspiring entrepreneurs and educators, meet like-minded people and challenge their thinking in a dynamic and interactive environment. Even for those not thinking about starting their own business, SSE offers skills, connections and confidence that are not only attractive to future employers but can help students take control of their future. SSE hosts a range of activities on top of its units, that showcase some of the amazing women already shifting the conversation around the world. Last year, SSE hosted Pocket Sun, the founder of the first female-led millennial venture capital fund SoGal Ventures, and the NSW Minister for Women Tanya Davies. Here’s a quote from another SSE speaker, SheEO founder, Vicki Saunders (pictured left).

“ Every institution, every structure, every

company we see is designed by men for men. What would it look like if we designed a system that worked for both of us? ”



Want to get involved and challenge yourself? Sydney School of Entrepreneurship is offering three units in the first half of 2019 and applications are open now. SSE units teach you the entrepreneurial mindset, skills, connections and confidence you need to thrive in whatever career you want to pursue. Taught online and face-to-face (with a four-day intensive on SSE campus in Ultimo), you’ll be working hands-on and in small groups to exchange ideas, complete projects and learn by doing. And there are no fees for NSW university or TAFE NSW students when studying as a co-curricular activity. If you’re excited to meet like-minded students from around the state and take control of your future career, visit https://sse.

Innovation for Value Creation and Growth

Commences online 18 February 2019 On campus experience from 8-11 March 2019 Think creatively, find your competitive advantage and grow a customer-led business with a difference

Structuring for Success

Commences online 4 March 2019 On-campus experience from 12-15 April 2019 Capture value, explore and build a business model to support any venture


Commences online 22 April 2019 On-campus experience from 10-13 May 2019 Embrace novelty, become comfortable with uncertainty

In the next few pages, we’ve profiled some of our SSE alumni who are already applying the mindset and skills they learned at SSE.



Andrea Gonzales

Bachelor of Biomedical Engineering (Mechatronics)



Take the initiative this summer How will our career pathway look like in 15 years from now? According to a Deloitte report, millennials are expected to change careers an average of 11.5 times, which seems to complicate the long-term career planning. Thus, for the next graduate generation, our focus should be more on adaptability, leadership skills and lifelong learning skills rather than only in the knowledge. In my opinion, leadership is based on a team-mindset, in which the key for continuous growth and innovation is based on the understanding, connectivity and collaboration with the community. Sydney is ranked among the top 20 entrepreneurship ecosystems globally, and top 10 in local connectedness which is based on the sense of community, local relationships and collisions between community members. We live in such a privileged environment in which from an early career stage, students can connect and actively collaborate with startups and the local entrepreneurship community. This past year, I have immersed in the Sydney entrepreneurship community through different events, courses and conferences in the University and as cocurricular activities. Among the extracurricular activities, I took The Navigator Unit last semester at the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship (SSE). SSE is a global industry awarded non-for-profit organisation in partnership with all 11 NSW universities and TAFE NSW. SSE partnered universities students, including The University of Sydney’s, have access to entrepreneurship units for curricular or co-curricular options, being no fees for the later option. My experience in The Navigator was amazing, not only because of the deeper knowledge about entrepreneurship ecosystems but also for the welcoming and encouraging community at SSE. Picture this, 50+ local and international university students from different career backgrounds and from all over New South Wales collaborating over 2 intensive weekend sessions spread in a 10 weeks’ timeframe to learn more about our entrepreneurship ecosystems, identify key community members and brainstorm development strategies to our ecosystems through practical workshops and team-based projects.

“Entrepreneurship mindset

and skillset development should be considered an important component of our professional development process”

From my perspective, entrepreneurship mindset and skillset development should be considered an important component of our professional development process. Even if the graduate career pathway leads to the corporate sector, many companies across the industry are seeking for innovation mindset employees, who are not afraid of change, vigilant of innovation trends and eager to create and improve products and services with a Lean-Agile mindset. I highly encourage you to take the initiative this summer if you haven’t done it already, to choose a field or topic you are passionate and curious about, learn the new skillset, connect to the local community and get a mentor in your industry. There are plenty of online resources, some free online courses are available at EdX and Coursera, and at affordable prices at Udemy and other MOOCs providers. Get connected to the community, plenty of workshops and networking events are posted regularly in the Eventbrite and Meetup websites, Incubate at Sydney University, and startup hubs as Fishburners and Sydney Startup Hub. The University runs mentoring programs, for the Engineering students, FEIT runs peer and industry mentoring programs, or why not reaching out to someone in your network whose career pathway you respect and admire?



Crystal Xu (Zifan) Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Law



“SSE is the perfect starting point for the journeys of all young entrepreneurs. The invaluable mindset and sikkset obtained through the course will be assets for all SSE graduates.” My first bite from the entrepreneurial bug came during a startup pitch competition; Sydney Genesis Startup Incubator Program, a cross-faculty start-up program at the University of Sydney Business School that promotes entrepreneurship and innovation. After a few months of interactive workshops, mentoring, pitching and networking events, I and other eight university girls created the prototype video for travelns which currently has 3270 pageviews. Travelns is a platform which aims to match travellers with their prefect holiday plan in accordance with their preferences. By analysing the behaviour of customers on social media, the platform analyses and recommends travel inspirations based on their interests. Before starting travelns, I saw entrepreneurship as merely a way to enrich my university experiences and do things with friends together. However, through the programs, being innovative and entrepreneurial has become a part of my lifestyle. After some catch-ups with other successful entrepreneurs in the travelling industry, both in Australia and China, I realised that I needed to be more organised and gain more professional knowledge about entrepreneurship.

When the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship (SSE) was launched, a coordinator of the Genesis program encouraged me to apply for The Navigator unit. The SSE

“ A great opportunity to network and get support from some truly inspirational people ”

is an unprecedented collaboration between 11 universities across NSW with the mission to “drive next generation entrepreneurship, making opportunities accessible to any student entrepreneur in NSW”. I am so impressed by the learning experience at SSE. During two business trips, I visited various innovation hubs and start-ups, including a freelancer and CBA innovation hub. Moreover, I developed a deep understanding of the entrepreneurship ecosystem and practiced my pitch skills with more than 50 student entrepreneurs during the faceto-face intensives at the SSE. I believe that SSE is the perfect starting point for the journeys of all young entrepreneurs. The invaluable mindset and skillset obtained through the course will be assets for all SSE graduates in later life.







The Network of Women is a collaboration of students from the University of Sydney who seek to be involved in an energising environment that facilitates growth and empowers women to pursue and achieve their business aspirations. The mission of NOW is to empower female students through facilitating inter-disciplinary networking, professional development and expansion of corporate networks. Through networking events, workshops and publications, NOW aspires to be a platform from which women can pursue their business and leadership aspirations.

TH E U N IV E RSI T Y O F SYD MEMBERSHIP IS FREE! To sign up visit: or find us on Facebook: University of Sydney Network of Women



C on n e c t | C o mp el | Co l l ec t iv e



Empowering Girls Through Entrepreneurship



Be unique forever.

“Jewellery can deliver power to your heart and help you realize how unique you are” Said by Xiaoyu Jin (Kimmy) who is the founder of Olyeu jewellery and a student councillor at the University of Sydney Student Representatives Council. In 2017, she and her partner founded a fashion jewellery brand – Olyeu, with the aim of sharing the life attitude through fashion jewellery.



Founding Olyeu seems like destiny to her life. She went to the boarding school for the primary study, the school regulates that every student must organize theirselves in daily life. But she wanted to make simple life more creative. Hence, using different jewelleries to match clothes became the most enjoyable thing for her. After studying aboard, she met her partner - Skyler who has the same attitude toward jewellery and fashion. They believe that jewellery not only can inspire the everyday wearing, but it can also show the personality and the attitude.

They have various opinions on the same fashion style as they are from slightly different culture background. It makes everything more interesting as they will discuss the understanding fashion trend and what philosophy fashion can bring to life. During the summer vacation, Kimmy was invited to visit the handmade studio that was found by Skyler’s father since 2009. She found that behind the gorgeous jewellery is the persistence of the artisan spirit. Those experience encouraged her to found a fashion jewellery brand in Sydney where brings her inspiration and passion.

Why Found Olyeu? USYD WOMEN


I n 2017, she found a

fashion jewellery brand named Olyeu which means ‘only you’, as she believes that uniqueness is a quality that forever exists inside of every girl. She is expecting to inspire customers through creativity and life attitude with desire of creating 100% handmade quality jewellery. Olyeu products are designed for daily look that reflects an appreciation for the passion of life, it wishes that every girl can find the unique part and be brave to be themselves.

Olyeu intelligent vending machine As an internet jeweller y brand, Olyeu hopes to provide the best shopping experience for customers with their orig inal aspiration. The limitation of shopping online is that the customers cannot tr y the product immediately. While operating the physical stores requires higher fix costs. Olyeu is trying to explore a new way to eliminate the limitations of both physical and online stores. Therefore, they design and create the Olyeu jeweller y vending machine. It is based on updating the traditional vending machine by chang ing the exterior and payment function. they will apply the Augmented Reality (AR) technolog y in intelligent screen that can pr ovide a free tr y-on service for customers before purchasing. It allows the customers experience whether the jewellery suits them without physical try-on. Olyeu wish to start a new way of shopping style that would enhance pleasure during shopping. Kimmy expects that the clicks-and-mortar business model can combine the fashion and technolog y together to creating more value to the customer.



Gender Disparity in the Australian Music Industry By Ruby J



GENDER DISPARITY IN THE AUSTRALIAN MUSIC INDUSTRY - WHY WE NEED TO STOP DWELLING ON THE PROBLEM AND INSPIRE CONFIDENCE AND PERSEVERANCE TO FIX IT I wrote 2,500 words about the problem and layered it with numbers- only one in five registered APRA AMCOS song writers are women, less than 5% of producers in Australia are women and so on. As a newbie to this competitive and cut-throat world, I was frightened off by these numbers. This is where our problem As a budding producer/DJ and singer, I have felt discouraged from the second I stepped into the music lies. Young enthusiastic musicians of any gender are often told how low their rates of success are. Faced industry. Semester 2 of Year 1 of my Contemporary with judgement from family and friends that they Music degree at the Conservatorium, I was asked to are pursuing such a risky career with no certainty of write an essay about gender inequality and given a paper “Skipping a Beat: Assessing The State of Gender a job or stable income, they can often be scared away from what can be an amazing career path filled with Equality In The Australian Music Industry” published by Sydney University’s Associate Professor Rae passion and enjoyment. Cooper which was riddled with alarming statistics Female musicians are then bombarded with extremeoutlining how women are underrepresented in the ly disheartening figures that lead them to believe their music industry. chances of success are far lower than they already Ruby J is a Sydney-based DJ producer and singer-songwriter, who has been running her business in in the music industry for years. She is keen on sharing her experiences of working in the Australian industry.



thought. That’s enough to frighten even the most ambitious away. I believe this is why less women pursue music as a career, particularly behind the scenes in jobs such as sound engineering and production. 50% of all music students are female so there is absolutely no lack of talent to go around. In order to help bring the statistics up to where they should be, we need to stop talking about the problem and start working harder to fix it before it’s too late and bright musicians stop following their dreams. It is unfair that young musicians are thrown these issues with no solution in sight. It is time that artists are encouraged and supported in any way possible so that they have every chance of succeeding and being able to share their music with the world. Artists should push to display perseverance and determination, to ensure that they stick with it through the hard times. With the right nurturing and support in place, as well as some self confidence, these statistics should fix themselves and the music industry will naturally become more inclusive and equal to all. Through my short time in the industry, I have been fortunate enough to connect with some inspiring and empowering established musicians who have guided

me into positive thinking and a willingness to ignore the odds. I wrote and produced my first single myself and felt proud to share it to the world even if it’s not the most perfect work. I am so grateful that I have amazing support around me that allows me to pursue my passion fearlessly. I learned persistence trying to book my first DJ gig when I was constantly pushed aside until I kicked up enough fuss to finally get a set. I learnt the challenges of working with others when know-it-all ‘experts’ tried to take over my own projects because they seem to know better. I am determined and I always speak up for myself, which we need more people to do. We have to support each other and make sure that we stick up for ourselves and others wherever we can. When the going gets tough, know that great things will happen for you if you stick with it and power through. It’s up to this generation to be brave and persevere to make the music industry a better place. Buy those tickets, download that track, anything you can to help your fellow artists. Self-confidence and self-empowerment is the way forwards. You are gifted, you are talented, trust yourself and it will bring success. Find Ruby J tracks on Soundcloud ruby-j-106711841 and Instagram @rubyjmusic



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