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I am a 46 y.o. single woman who has worked most of my life for myself. I found in the early 70's great difficulty in many circles. Happily I can now say that Australia is very much a different place, we have equal opportunity laws, particularly in employment, more women are protected by many new laws - anti discrimination laws have been active for years. If a woman wants an abortion she can have one in gov't supported clinics that are all over the country. We think it is entirely up to the woman alone or with her partner to decide on which avenue to go; counselling is part of all the agencies, either pro or anti abortion. If a single woman chooses to keep her baby she is entitled to a pension and child support, subsidized housing and for all citizens free health care, regardless of income.

I am glad that I live in a country that has women's issues very much in the front politically. We have compulsory voting, which is not so bad, we get what we deserve - after all, we voted them in. I would love to email with other women on many issues, is this a possibility? I have the distinction of being the first person to open drug free rehabilation in the Commonwealth Territories of Australia and 25 years later they are functioning very nicely - Robin

Thanks for your note and for telling us what life is like in Australia. I'm envious!!! It's true most countries are more advanced in terms of treatment/respect of women than the U.S. I guess it's because in the U.S. the power difference--between those in power (i.e. men) and those that have less power (women and people of color)--is greater than in most other countries where there is "less to gain" from being in power. The U.S. is also further behind in offering basic life necessities like child care and health care. Although we have a ways to go, we have made so many gains, too.

I was in Australia this summer, visiting Aboriginal people--south of Ayers Rock; in Arnhem Land and Cape York Peninsula. You have a beautiful and varied country and the first people there are so connected to the land; to each other and to their history. It was inspiring---and sad to know that others are trying to deprive them of that.

Thanks for writing and for giving us examples of what to work toward.


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