gender neutral

In response to a comment following her article entitled "Canberra gene pool needs a shake up" in The Australian, journalist Janet Albrechtsen claims the Australian Constitution is "gender neutral".

Ms Albrechtsen can't have it both ways. Either the Constitution is gendered, that is, it applies to women and men either equitably or discriminately, or it is ungendered, applying exclusively to one gender only or to asexual objects. Parroting the trite oxymoron, gender neutral, is hardly conducive to informed discussion.

More poignantly, the Constitution is about the behaviour of people not the behaviour of money or men as Ms Albrechtsen appears to purport.

Certainly, at Federation, as a document enacted and applied exclusively by men, the Constitution was gender neutral. However, with the inclusion of women in Parliament and the Courts, the interpretation of the Constitution has become gendered. A variety of women's opinions sanctioned by the Constitution has come to vie with a variety of men's opinions.

The outcome, in the absence of constitutional reform to accommodate women's legislatures, is the inclusion of women as proxy males under the Victorian era custom of their status as property of men.

Contrary to Ms Albrechtsen's view, women's minds matter.

The solution to maintain the integrity of a Constitution wrongfully and unintelligibly considered gender neutral is the provision of women's and men's legislatures presided over by an executive of elders accompanied by courts of women's and men's jurisdiction.

In it's present form, the Australian Constitution is far from gender neutral.

Whatever its merits in the misogynous climate of Federation, it has become a blatantly sexist document, the fodder of fools, that denies women such as Ms Albrechtsen an intelligence in their own right.

Ms Albrechtsen does no service to her sisters in claiming otherwise.

22 March, 2007