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Babette Francis

A feminist is an evolutionary anachronism, a Darwinian blind alley".

In "A Farewell to Arts" (Quadrant, May 1986) David Stove expressed some trenchant criticisms of feminism, as did D. M. Armstrong in "Commentary" (Quadrant, September 1986). Defenders of contemporary feminism have responded in Letters, Quadrant, July-August 1986 and November 1986. However, the defence of the so-called "women’s movement" is based on shifting sand because, in my view (and the view of many other women) contemporary feminism is an intellectual fraud.

The original meaning of "feminism" was "a belief in theory and practice of equal rights for women" and a "feminist" was an advocate for equal rights for women in spheres conventionally reserved for men. The suffragettes in Britain who agitated for the right to vote were the prototypal feminists. However, since the ‘sixties, "feminism" has come to mean a specific set of methods for achieving equality between the sexes. The most significant belief underlying contemporary feminism is that there are no sex differences; therefore advocacy for equal rights must be extended to advocacy for equal results or outcomes. This article examines some of the impact this ideology has on government policies in the areas of education, social security, maternity, employment and defence.

It should be noted at the outset that since feminism is based on a fallacy, i.e., that there are no sex differences, feminism is inextricably linked with socialism. In order to achieve the unisex utopia which they believe is their right, feminists demand increasing levels of government intervention and control over the day to day workings of the marketplace, the education system and even the interactions between private individuals.



Through their stranglehold on the teacher unions and the education departments of Federal and State Labor governments, feminists impose their unisex ideology on the education system via "non-sexist" and "counter-sexist" programs and resource materials, most of which fly in the face of reality, denigrate motherhood and ignore scientific evidence1a1b. Euphemistic terminology such as "non-sexist guidelines" imposed on textbooks and curricula conceals a massive campaign of thought control and censorship to eliminate the traditional family and traditional values. "Indeed the dismantling of ‘sex roles’ has virtually superseded the transmission of information as the aim of the classroom"2.

Even within the private sector, new "accountability requirements for non-government schools" announced in February 1986 by Federal Education Minister, Senator Ryan, show that independent schools will be obliged to comply with the Minister’s feminist philosophy or risk losing government funding. "The effect of this will be to distract schools from their primary function of ensuring the best possible education for students as they attempt to meet the social and political priorities imposed by the Education Minister."3 The most iniquitous aspect of this is that counter-sexist policies have been proven to be counter-productive. In Victoria, nine years after the adoption of feminist recommendations of the Victorian Committee on Equal Opportunity in Schools, 4 the proportion of female principals and other women holding administrative positions has shown a "devastating decline" since the early 70s5. Any increase in the numbers of girls choosing to study maths, science and technical trades is no more than could have been expected in the normal course of events.

Social Security

Since feminists don’t recognise any differences between males and females, any difference in the results, outcomes or achievements of males and females, and any statistical disparity in the numbers of men and women in various occupations or levels of promotion is interpreted not as a possible reflection of sex differences or the differing choices made by men and women but as a consequence of discrimination or societal conditioning. Here contemporary feminists strike their first dilemma or Fraud No 1: If there are no differences between the sexes, why have societies in all cultures and throughout history "conditioned" boys and girls differently? Feminists do not explain the origins of "social conditioning" although a gallant attempt is made in the New Intern- ationalist6, a journal that has been in the news because of the involvement of some left-wing church agencies in its distribution. In an article on marriage, the New Internationalist says:

"Two vital rules allow the institution of marriage to sever the link between women and her children and create a new link between those children and men. These two rules — common to marriage in every country in the world —are fidelity and inheritance."

Apparently these rules are not part of the natural order because the New Internationalist goes on to say:

"On the contrary female apes and monkeys have now been discovered to occupy a central position in their societies, by alliance with their male and female offspring, and it is females who are the initiators of sex, not males. What is more, a female may initiate intercourse with a variety of males. This makes it possible to venture a hypothesis about what sex might have been like for the early woman in a pre-patriarchal epoch."

While this ingenious speculation may reflect the ambitions of women who want to be apes as distinct from women who want to be women, it does not explain where "patriarchy" came from, if there are no differences between the sexes. However it is an example of feminist hostility to marriage and the traditional family.

One of the consequences of feminist antipathy to marriage has been the advent of the permissive society: alternative lifestyles and no-fault divorce laws. Far from enhancing the status of women, a major consequence of no-fault divorce has been the feminisation of poverty: economic analysis indicates that after divorce, the standard of living of fathers and husbands remains the same or improves, while wives and children slip below the poverty line. Not to be daunted, feminists don’t lobby for policies that will enhance the stability of marriage or even the status of wives (such as income-splitting between spouses) but lobby only for increased career opportunities for women, failing to recognise that in countries such as Australia and the USA where poverty is relative, a single mother supporting children will inevitably fall behind in economic terms compared with a couple who are devoted to each other and to the well-being of their children.

The latest proposal touted by the Hawke government and Dr Bettina Cass of extracting maintenance payments from non-custodial parents through the taxation system is only a partial solution. Most parents can just maintain one family and one household. Following divorce, the same family income has to maintain two households, and if the non-custodial father remarries, a second family. There will still inevitably be a shortfall, and even if the difference is made up by the public purse (which contrary to feminist imagination is not bottomless), supporting mothers will still hover at or just above the poverty line. Inexorably, divorce leads to high taxation, burgeoning bureaucracies and government intervention to support single parents, homeless teenagers and all those for whom intact families formerly provided an effective support system.


Since feminists find it a trifle awkward to explain away the major sex difference, i.e., the fact that women have babies and men do not, the abolition of this "inequality" becomes a primary goal: a great deal of feminist energy is devoted to minimising the "difference". Hence the compulsive feminist drive for abortion on demand, for contraception to be provided to children without the consent of parents and for government-funded child- care centres. Women must become as "impregnable" as men and should not be expected to care for any babies they may bring into the world.

The abortion issue illustrates feminist Fraud No. 2. All the scientific evidence, especially since in vitro fertilisation techniques were developed, indicate that a new human life begins at fertilisation and not at birth. Yet feminists want to be able to dispose of this new life with no more regulation than covers the cutting of toenails. At the same time they claim that to avoid the trauma of abortion, contraceptives should be made freely available, especially to adolescents. But if abortion is of no more consequence than the cutting of toenails, if it is nothing more than the disposal of an unwanted piece of tissue, why is it so traumatic for so many women? After all, one cuts one’s toenails every week — is an abortion different and if so in what way? Feminists have disputed the interpretation of Dr Bernard Nathanson’s film, The Silent Scream which shows how a suction abortion involves the decapitation of the baby in utero. However they have refused to accept his challenge to make their own film:

"If they think they will get pictures of the fetus happily waving and smiling as it goes down the suction tube, they are in for a big surprise7."

Feminist Fraud No. 3 relates to the issue of "choice". Feminists are big on choice — for themselves — but not for others. They demand government-funded child-care centres so they can seek careers while taxpayers foot the bill for the care of their children, but they object to a homemakers’ allowance which would give mothers, especially those in low-income groups, a real choice between caring for their children themselves or seeking careers and using the allowance to pay the cost of child-care fees. Feminists do not want mothers to have such a choice because — as bluntly stated by Simone de Beauvoir (author of The Second Sex) and Elizabeth Reid, Women’s Adviser to Mr Whitlam —"too many women would make the choice to stay home and care for their children". Therefore fiscal, taxation and social security policies must be geared to providing incentives for women to go out to work and leave their children in child-care and should include disincentives for those choosing the vocation of homemaker. Hence the feminist obsession with getting rid of the spouse rebate which is the only financial recognition women receive for homemaking.


It is in the area of employment that feminist hypocrisy on the matter of "choice" is most vividly illustrated. They demand complete freedom of choice to dispose of a baby in utero but deny employers the right to choose their employees. The employers’ right to select and promote must be subject to all kinds of governmental, union and feminist regulation, a plethora of anti-discrimination legislation, quotas, targets and "forward estimates". Such regulation overlooks the fact that the government won’t step in and help the private employer who goes bankrupt or who fails to make a sufficient margin of profit -- and his profitability may be affected by all kinds of imperceptible factors. If a private employer feels more comfortable with a female secretary or a male window-cleaner, why should he not exercise such a choice?

"Affirmative Action" is a mechanism for the preferential hiring and/or promotion of women while maintaining the pretence that employees are selected on merit. Commonwealth Employment Program (CEP) grants have been given to local councils on the basis that selection of employees is on a 50/50 male/female basis. This has created considerable difficulties in areas where the jobs involve manual labor, such as the Jobs On Local Roads (JOLOR) projects. It is a common sight for motorists driving along JOLOR sites to observe the men doing the hard work — digging and shovelling while the occasional female (it has proved impossible to get a 50/50 mix — there simply aren’t enough women who want to dig ditches) holds the STOP/GO sign. 

The worst feature of such programs is that they are presented to the public as if they were "equal opportunity" programs when they are patently aimed at "equal outcomes" regardless of the merits and abilities of job applicants. Bad enough as such obfuscation is in government projects, it is even worse when inflicted on private employers, and here we come to feminist Fraud No. 4: the dishonesty of the claim that affirmative action programs which involve targets, goals and timetables are consistent with the merit principle. The best analysis of this issue is provided by Dr Gabriel Moens in his monograph: Affirmative Action: The New Discrimination, 8 published by the Centre for Independent Studies, Sydney.

Dr Moens argues that "soft" affirmative action programs such as the elimination of artificial barriers to employment or promotion, improvement in selection and recruitment practices and new training procedures open to all employees, conform to the ideal of equality of opportunity. "Hard" affirmative action programs, on the other hand, which through the setting of targets or goals seek proportional representation of women and minority groups, conform to the ideal of equality of result. They are inconsistent with the principle of hiring by merit and their most serious consequence, especially in academia, is loss of excellence. Excellence in a university is incompatible with the selection or promotion of applicants who are good enough as distinct from those who are the best for the job. 

It is argued often that the most innocent form of preferential hiring is ceteris paribus discrimination, which involves giving preference to a female or minority applicant if she or he is equally well qualified as a male applicant This type of preferential hiring is based on the assumption that it is possible for two applicants to be equally well qualified. However in jobs where there is no ceiling on the ideas of excellence and competence, it is not possible or desirable to define the functions an appointee may be expected to perform. In these circumstances a tie between two equally well qualified applicants is not likely to happen frequently. Therefore, even if every tie involved a female or minority applicant (which is highly improbable) a ceteris paribus preferential hiring policy would not produce a statistically significant increase in the employment of women and minority academics... The only way in which a ceteris paribus positive discrimination for women policy could produce a statistically significant "balancing" of female academic staffing is if there is a subtle shift to thinking of advertisements for academic staff as involving functionally exhaustive characterisations of the positions. While this would appear to those outside the academic community to be preservation of the merit principle, for only those who satisfied the description of the position would be appointed, it would in fact amount to a radical departure from the merit principle for it would no longer entail the selection of the person whose degree of competence and excellence in relation to the qualities and responsibilities to do with teaching and research specified in the position description was the highest of those who applied. (p66)

It is not irrelevant that several government advertisements have appeared in Australia inviting applications from persons "regardless of sex, race, ethnic background, physical or mental impairment". (Emphasis added).

Dr Moens claims that affirmative action programs which involve the setting of targets is a smokescreen behind which preferential hiring takes place, thus shifting the burden of discrimination to a new group:

"The practice ends up by creating new classes of victims by lifting the burden from past group discrimination (women and minorities) to a new group — white Anglo-Saxon males."

Complaints of this kind are already surfacing with a regional paper in New South Wales carrying a report of a man who claimed he cannot get a job because he is "a white Australian male who is not disabled". Like the Stalinist argument that a whole generation of Soviet peasants had to suffer to make life better for future generations, arguments for social reforms which require one generation, social group or sex to suffer for the sake of another are fraught with danger.

Dr Moens also points out that affirmative action does not help the truly needy or disadvantaged because the members of the minority group or women who benefit from such programs are likely to come from the top of the minority or female population whereas those white males who miss out as a consequence of preferential hiring are likely to come from the bottom of the white male distribution of the population.

Dr Moens says the questions of whether justice should be done for individuals or groups is a key issue often neglected in the affirmative action debate:

If the whole concept has been developed in individual terms, how do we provide justice for the group? And if we provide justice for the group, let us say, a quota (target or goal) which determines that so many jobs must go to members of the group — then do we not by that token deprive individuals of other groups not included of the right to be treated and considered as individuals, independently of any group characteristics?"

Dr Moens’ monograph is particularly relevant to the Affirmative Action (Equal Employment Opportunity for Women) Bill which was passed by the federal Parliament in 1986. Note the example of feminist Fraud No. 4 in the very title of this Bill – it is not aimed at equal opportunity for women but at the preferential hiring of women.

Comparable Worth

Since most feminist policies are based on intellectual fraud — the most significant being the non-admission of sex differences — the policies cannot succeed. When feminists fail to achieve their ends, they do not admit error but escalate their demands. As abortion-on-demand, permissive divorce laws, taxpayer-funded child care centres, non-sexist education, sex-discrimination legislation, and affirmative action programs have failed to produce the egalitarian unisex utopia of their fantasies, feminists simply tighten the screws. Their latest escalation is for what is known as "Comparable Worth" in wage fixing.

 Comparable Worth is based on feminist Fraud No. 5 the claim that women in Australia only earn 67 cents compared to every dollar earned by men because women are "locked" into a narrow range of "stereotyped" jobs which are then systematically undervalued because they are done by women. The fallacy in this circular argument is obvious:

— if comfortable indoor jobs which do not involve heavy lifting were paid the same as dirty, outdoor manual labour, everyone would flock to receptionists’ jobs and no one would want to be plumbers. The 67 cents in the dollar compares average female earnings to average male earnings, ignoring factors such as voluntary overtime, the fact that women choose jobs that combine with their homemaking role, and that they often reject promotions if it involves out-of-town transfers.

Using the nurses’ pay claim, feminists in the ACTU brought a test case before the Australian Arbitration Commission. On February 18, 1986, the Arbitration Commission rejected the broad concept of Comparable Worth while granting the special nature of the nurses’ pay claim. The decision was hailed as a victory both by the Confederation of Australian Industry and the ACTU. Director of the CA1, Mr David Nolan, claimed employers had won their biggest victory since the election of the Federal Labor Government. The ACTU’s Advocate, Ms Jenny Acton, denied that the ACTU had tried to promote international theories of Comparable Worth. However before employers become too euphoric, it is worth noting that what Ms Acton was saying after the case now is not precisely what Ms Acton was saying in 1985. In an article in the Sun (1/10/85) Ms Acton was quoted as saying:

"Hopefully what we can do with the Comparable Worth, equal pay for work of equal value test case and anything that arises from it is to help narrow that (wage) gap so that you do limit it to factors such as the number of women who want to work part-time, so that the average differential comes down to choice factors as opposed to what might be called discriminatory factors against women."

Ms Acton’s statement in October 1985 and comments by the feminist Council of Action for Equal Pay in February 1986 suggest there will be a continuing push by unions and feminists for the doctrine of Comparable Worth to be adopted in Australian wage fixation. Immediately after the Arbitration Commission’s decision on February 18, Ms Barbara Jennings, spokeswoman for the Council of Action for Equal Pay described the decision as "a disaster" and said the Commission had not sought to resolve the problem that "women on average received only 67% of average male earnings".

In a letter to The Age, February 21, 1986, Kate McNeill, also of the Council of Action for Equal Pay, wrote that the "women of Australia were the losers" in that "the Commission had failed to recognise the systematic undervaluing of women’s work". She also claimed that "Comparable Worth" was not a fanciful notion, as argued by Greg Smith for the Confederation of Australian Industry, but was a quantitative method used to assess the value of work performed by women workers in the USA and other countries.

Feminist in Australia have few original ideas — most of their thinking appears to emanate from the National Organisation for Women (the US equivalent of Women’s Electoral Lobby) and is sired by Ms magazine. It is therefore necessary to clarify the situation in regard to Comparable Worth in the USA. Apart from one Washington State decision — since overturned in the Federal Court of Appeal — Comparable Worth legislation has been losing steadily in the state legislatures and also in the courts. In 1985 it lost or lapsed in Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Illinios, Indiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas.

Significantly, the US Commission on Civil Rights in a June 1985 report rejected the doctrine of Comparable Worth9. This report is worth studying as it will have continuing relevance in Australia where feminists will no doubt bring one "test case" after another in an attempt to bridge the so-called "wage gap". The report found that the wage gap between female and male earnings in America results, at least in significant part, from a variety of things having nothing to do with discrimination by employers, including job expectations resulting from socialisation beginning in the home, educational choices of women who anticipate performing child-bearing and child-rearing functions in the family and who wish to prepare for participation in the labor-force in a manner that accommodates the performance of these functions, the desire of a number of women to work in the kinds of jobs that accommodate their family roles and the intermittency of women’s labor force participation.

The US Civil Rights Commission recommended that the Federal civil rights enforcement agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, reject Comparable Worth and rely instead on the principle of equal pay for equal work and that the Justice Department resist Comparable Worth doctrine in appropriate litigation. The Commission also recommended that Congress not adopt legislation that would establish Comparable Worth doctrine in the settling of wages in the Federal or private sector.

In an article in Policy Review entitled: "Shall I Compare Thee to a Plumber’s Pay?10, Phyllis Schlafly, President of Eagle Forum says:

"Opponents of Comparable Worth, in Congress as in California, have successfully punctured the principal myth which has given momentum to the concept: the notion that women are paid only 59% of what men are paid. The 59 cents (67 cents in Australia) figure is the average wage of all working women compared to the average wage of all working men. That tells you as much about sex discrimination as the statistic that the average temperature in the USA is 66 degrees tells you about whether to wear a coat in Chicago today."

Comparable Worth opponents have presented massive evidence from academic research to prove that the pay differential between all men and all women is not due to discrimination but to a variety of other factors. For example, women in full-time employment work an average of 36 hours per week, while men work an average of 44 hours per week. The average woman has been on her present job only half as long as the average man, and she is 11 times more apt to leave...

Many studies in the USA have shown that the earnings of women who are not married and who have no children are comparable or higher than those of men with equivalent qualifications. The "wage gap" is due to biology, not employers’ discrimination. Instead of whingeing about the undervaluing of women’s work, the energies of the Council of Action for Equal Pay could more constructively be directed towards obtaining financial recognition and status for the work done by women in their homemaking role, a role which is more undervalued than any other.


Since the implementation of feminist policies requires a high degree of thought control, political indoctrination, bureaucratic interference and government intervention, feminism is antipathetic to democracies such as the USA and the UK. Feminists hate free societies because in them sex differences are obvious and the unisex utopia unattainable. It is far easier to enforce ideology in totalitarian States such as the People’s Republic of China during the Cultural Revolution and the regime of the Red Guards when everyone wore padded blue pyjama suits and it was difficult to tell the girls from the boys.

Consequently, there is a natural alliance of feminism with Marxism and the "peace" movement which is instinctively sympathetic to the latest party line emerging from Moscow, Hanoi or Managua. Very few people believe in communism any more, hence the peace movement relies heavily on feminist energy, feminist time (supported of course by Social Security pensions) and feminist bodies to provide the "personpower" for peace marches, anti-uranium demonstrations and sit-ins outside US bases. Add to this the natural feminist proclivity to regard the raison d’ être of defence forces not as the defence of a country against aggressors but rather as yet another employment mechanism for "equalising" society in terms of the numbers of men and women in various job categories and levels of promotion, and it can be seen just how pernicious is the impact of feminism on the defence of a democracy. Feminism is inimical to freedom, and the greater the influence of feminists on a country’s government, the less will be the will and capacity of that country to defend itself.


Feminist Fraud No. 6, undoubtedly the biggest fraud of all, is to argue at one and the same time that there are no sex differences, but that the presence of more women in positions of power and decision-making will produce a more caring society. If women are no more caring or nurturing than men, how can a society ruled by women be any different from society at present? Is Great Britain under Margaret Thatcher a more caring society? And if women are more caring and nurturant than men, doesn’t this explain why women choose the caring vocations of mothering, homemaking, teaching and nursing, of working with people rather than machinery or abstract ideas, the so-called "stereotyped roles" which feminists so much detest? While excoriating Christian fundamentalists for their rejection of Darwinian evolution, feminists do not follow through to the logical conclusion: if the theory of evolution is valid, then natural selection must work in favour of strong, powerful men and nurturant, motherly women. A feminist is an evolutionary anachronism, a Darwinian blind alley.

In biological terms, there is nothing that identifies a maladaptive pattern so quickly as a below-replacement level of reproduction; an immediate consequence of feminism is what appears to be an irreversible decline in the birth rate. Nations pursue feminist policies at their peril.

To do US feminists justice, many of them have publicly repudiated the ideas they once held: Betty Friedan now talks of the importance of the family, Judy Goldsmith (former president of NOW) deplores the feminisation of poverty due to easy divorce laws, and Susan Brownmiller, author of Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, laments the effects of sexual liberation and the feminist adoption of the lesbian cause: "We tried to make people proud of who they were" says Brownmiller, "...but then the sadomasochists came out of the closet and became proud of themselves"11. Unfortunately, Australian feminists, always a few years behind the American sisterhood, have not seen the light yet and attempt to bulldoze through State and Federal Labor governments, policies which have a proven record of failure.

Because contemporary feminism is based on false premises, it is extremely wasteful of scarce resources. However, the most destructive aspect of feminism is that it promotes hostility between the sexes and an anti-baby, anti-child mentality among women. This is something that no community can afford — it is inimical to the survival of a society. Nevertheless, the present Labor government while frantically searching around for cost cutting measures in other areas of the Budget, seems to regard feminist programs as sacrosanct. The Office of the Status of Women and all its offshoots in Federal and State departments, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, the State Equal Opportunity Boards, the National Women’s Consultative Committee, and the new "Director of Affirmative Action" could all be abolished and many would rejoice. One hopes that the federal Opposition will have the courage to operate with accurate surgery on the cancer of feminism and all its metastases which are rotting the fabric and the economic basis of our nation.

A decision in 1986 by the Victorian Equal Opportunity Board12 should give feminists – always so enthusiastic about anti-discrimination legislation – some food for thought. The Board found that the feminist Women’s Information and Referral Exchange (WIRE) had discriminated against Mrs Prue Oldham, a Committee member of Endeavour Forum, in expelling her because she opposed the imposition of Affirmative Action on small businesses. The Board also found that opposition to Affirmative Action was not necessarily inconsistent with belief in equal opportunity and the elimination of discrimination, and ordered WIRE to reinstate Mrs Oldham. Feminists have been hoist with their own petard.



a. Francis, Babette: Minority Report, Victorian Committee on Equal Opportunity

in Schools, Premier’s Department, Melbourne 1977.

b. Francis, Babette: "Equal Opportunity: the Anti-Sexist Mythology", Quadrant,

April 1979.

2. Levin, Michael: "Feminism & Thought Control", Commentary, June


3. The Age, Melbourne, November 9,1985. 

4. Majority Report, Victorian Committee on Equal Opportunity in Schools,

Premier’s Department, Melbourne, 1977.

5. News Weekly, March 5,1986.

5. New Internationalist is published in Australia by a company formed with the support of Asia Partnership for Human Development, Australian Catholic Relief, Australian Council of Churches and Community Aid Abroad.

Subsequent to the publication of "Feminism: The Six Frauds",Australian Catholic Relief severed its links with the New Internationalist

6. The Silent Scream, video produced and narrated by Dr Bernard N. Nathanson,


7. Moens, Gabriel: Affirmative Action: The New Discrimination, published by The

Centre for Independent Studies, Sydney, 1985.

8. COMPARABLE WORTH: Report of the US Civil Rights Commission, June


9. Schlafly, Phyllis: "Shall I Compare Thee to a Plumber’s Pay": Policy Review,

Winter 1985.

10. D’Souza, Dinesh: "Feminism’s Counter-revolt": The Washington Post, Jan.

26, 1986.

11. Victorian Equal Opportunity Board: DECISION: Prudence Oldham,

COMPLAINANT and Women’s Information and Referral Exchange,

RESPONDENT: Melbourne, March 14, 1986.



Member Organisation, World Council for Life and Family

NGO in Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC of the UN