Australian Femocrats and the StateHester Eisenstein
Is a "woman-friendly" state possible? Can women achieve full social citizenship? At a time when backlash against people of color, women, and the poor is accelerating, this account of the experiences of Australian feminists is illuminating: Australian feminists succeeded in making women's issues like child care and domestic violence part of the main stream political agenda. Inside Agitators is the first full-length study of the Australian femocrats published in the United States.
Hester Eisenstein (herself a former femocrat) chronicles the efforts of a cohort of women, feminist bureaucrats, who changed the gender landscapefrom the initial invitation to enter government by Labor in 1973 to the rise of neo-liberalism and the contemporary attack on the public sector. Connecting the femocrats to specifically Australian features of political culture and political economy, this book analyzes the implicit political theory of the femocrats. Eisenstein addresses the issues of strategies for social change, class, race and racism, sexuality and sexual politics, "gendered" experience, and accountability to the women's movement.
This important study explores the possibilities and limits of the contemporary attempt by the women's movement to constitute women as a "gender interest," and to use state power as an instrument for social change.