Security, terrorism and defence think tanksWriting in the Sydney Morning Herald on the absence of women from Australia's international security, terrorism and defence think tanks, Professor Stephanie Fahey, director of the Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific, Sydney University and chairwoman of the National Committee of Women in International Security Australia, highlights the difference women bring to discussions.
"Women can enliven discussions in conflict management, foreign policy and peace building, just as they have in many other debates."
"Groups of women subscribe less readily than men to the myth of the efficiency of violence; women tend to expose the "underbelly of war" by focusing on basic needs such as food and health security; they tend to be preoccupied with the bigger picture - the consequences - while some men maintain personal agendas of power. Initiatives powered by women usually emphasise inclusion, participation, consensus building, dialogue and sustainable elements crucial in international security."
Professor Fahey explains that "[n]ot many would argue that women should be excluded because they are women, although some still argue that women have nothing to contribute because their perspectives and policy recommendations are indistinguishable from those of men and so it is unnecessary to include them or, even worse, what women have to contribute is inferior and therefore should not be entertained".
Women's perspectives and policy recommendations are considered indistinguishable from those of men from an organisational perspective, in the absence of women's and men's legislatures and jurisdictions, in both the Parliament of Australia and at Common and Statute law.
If women bring a different approach to discussions where is the women's legislature and the women's jurisdiction alongside the men's?
The mixed-up women's and men's business of the Parliament and Courts, the business Professor Fahey suggests should be brought to Australia's international security, terrorism and defence think tanks, offers a veneer of equality but essentially scrambles and diminishes both women's and men's contributions.
With an Australian Republic looming, the nation's obsolete think tanks and the criticism of their absence of women highlight the reforms required to adopt a rational organisational approach to women and men.