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Christians for Biblical Equality

 

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Arguments for the submission of wives in marriage

In August Dr Peter Jensen, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, expressed his earnest wish to have a serious conversation on a subject of great importance. Writing in the National Times (29 August 2012) about men, women and marriage he declared that, “[m]arriage really matters. Thank God we are talking about it.”
Most would agree that it does matter - in fact marriage rates have been stable or rising for years. But many disagree passionately with the views put by Dr Jensen about the submission of wives in marriage. Aware of this, Dr Jensen implored us to engage in a productive conversation with him on the issue. He observed, with noted exasperation, to ABC host Waleed Aly, “I’ve asked for a respectful conversation on this [debate]” (RN Drive 30/08/2012). So let’s explore what Dr Jensen wants to say about women in marriage without a presumption that it prejudices women.

Renewing Lost Vows

In his opinion piece in the National Times Dr Jensen defended a proposal to revise the Anglican wedding vows. One revision – to be considered by the Sydney Anglican Diocese’s governing body (the Synod) in October – means the bride could promise to “submit” to her husband (in the Sydney Diocesan order of service). The word “submit” would replace an archaic term, “obey”, carried down from the 1662 Prayer Book, and which has, by most accounts, fallen into disuse. Dr Jensen appeared in a range of media interviews such as ABC Radio National Drive, 7.30 Report and Q & A to explain the proposal and how it is consistent with equality.

There are several reasons why the change is significant. First, it reflects a doctrine called ‘male headship’, whereby men are attributed to have authority over women, at least in the home and church, although in some cases in all spheres of life. The doctrine is experiencing a mini-revival among some Reformed Protestant traditions, led by Americans such as Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill church, Seattle) and John Piper. The doctrine has particular resonance in the Sydney Diocese, where women are not accepted as priests or Bishops. As the 7.30 Report showed, some young Sydney Anglicans are so committed to the ideals of male headship they have already incorporated ‘submit’ into their wedding vows before its official adoption by the Anglican Synod. The mooted change is also significant since it symbolically reiterates an approach to gender in the culture and language of the nation’s largest and most influential Anglican Diocese. As a sideline, though relevant to recent debate over the Marriage Act, it is worth noting that the Sydney Anglican changes receive a tacit legal endorsement in civil law since the Marriage Act recognises the use of authorised religious services. That is, Australian civil law would be tacitly recognising the submission of wives to husbands. 1

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The ‘War of the Roses’

It goes without saying that there is a fraught and tense history over relations between the sexes, including in marriage, and in particular regarding women’s equality. Equality for women has been, and remains, of deep concern not only in Western societies but the world over. In Australia today there are ongoing debates about the reduction of sexual discrimination and violence against women, redressing unequal remuneration in workplaces, increasing women’s representation in politics and business, and reducing gender bias against women in the media. 2

Yet in many non-Western countries, particularly those with a more traditional culture of male headship, these concerns are greatly amplified. For example in 1989 the Nobel-prize winning economist, Amartya Sen wrote a seminal essay that showed some 100 million girls and women are missing from the global population due to discriminatory practices. The world’s largest Christian aid and development agency, World Vision, concurs with the urgent need to address women’s inequality. In the introduction to a 2009 report on development it quoted former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan as follows,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[S]tudy after study has taught us that there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women. No other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity, to reduce infant and maternal mortality…No other policy is as powerful in increasing the chances of education for the next generation. And I would also venture that no policy is more important in preventing conflict… 3

Egalitarian…or Not?

It is against this backdrop that Dr Jensen entered the public stage on the role of women in marriage. Rather confusingly, Dr Jensen expressed somewhat inconsistent views at points. For example, he voiced sharp criticism of sexual egalitarianism in one interview, stating,

I think over the last three or four decades a certain egalitarianism has crept into society and the way people think. I understand that’s the reigning philosophy. I just happen to think it’s wrong and unhelpful… (7.30 Report)

And yet elsewhere he embraced egalitarianism,

Well I’m fully in favour of egalitarianism – as you heard – that is to say the equality of men and women, their supreme preciousness in the sight of God without distinction. (RN Drive)

At the outset of this same interview, the host Waleed Aly, was left confused as to Dr Jensen’s position. Mr Aly began by succinctly stating the main ideas of the National Times article, to which Dr Jensen added, (Jensen)

We are human beings, we’re all made in the image of God, all equal in his sight. We need to state that loud so that we’re not misunderstood. When I’ve said that – then I’d say what you’ve just said [referring to Aly’s summary of Dr Jensen’s view].

(Aly) Hang on, but aren’t they contradictory?

It seems that ‘equality’ isn’t always equally clear in public discussion of equality. In his round of media appearances Dr Jensen responded to the confusion with several arguments. He sought to elucidate how he maintains equality while advocating a view that is seen by most as being essentially unequal. Four of those arguments may be put briefly as follows:

  1. The equal burden argument. That is, the wedding vows lay an equal (if not heavier) burden on the husband as on the wife. Thus there is no inequality – at least against wives.
  2. The definitional argument. The negative connotations of ‘submission’ are negated on account of its theological ideals.
  3. The biological argument. Biological differences between the sexes indicate the inherently different roles men and women should have in marriage. Such inherent differences allow for no negative inference in regards to sexual equality.
  4. The voluntary will argument. Risk of exploitation or coercion is removed or at least minimized because individuals freely choose to make such promises.

Before examining each of these contentions it is useful to recap the basic hurdles facing Dr Jensen’s position.

A Brief History of Equality and Discrimination

Western society’s contemporary egalitarian attitudes have arisen during more than two centuries of social change. It has taken place against a tradition of a serious disadvantage against women. Part of redressing this meant arriving at an analysis of what discriminatory treatment constitutes. Discrimination on the basis of sex can be said to have three key elements:

  1. Evidence of unfavourable treatment
    [occurs in]
  2. comparable circumstances (similar situation)
    [and is based upon]
  3. the sex of the person [ie. a fixed attribute]

A typical case of discrimination could occur where a person seeks to lease a house. The person is equally qualified as other applicants but finds they are constantly denied a lease. The circumstances are similar (eg. qualifications, qualities, application). The actual reason why the application constantly fails is the person’s sex. In other words, discrimination is treating someone unfavourably due to a characteristic such as sex (or other ‘protected grounds’, ie. attributes).

4At first, Western society applied this analysis of discrimination to class, especially the slave / master tradition. Thereafter the same reasoning was applied to race and to sex. For example, in the case of the right to vote, suffrage first crossed class divisions, then racial, and finally, sex barriers. With each stage of the expansion of suffrage, objections were mounted that appear remarkably similar to those made by proponents of traditional gender roles. For instance, both slaves and women were said to be ‘by nature’ dependent, and thus lacking in capacity for the independence of mind required of voting. The serious responsibility of voting was said to lie beyond groups of people on account of their class or race or sex. Yet suffrage opponents also often claimed that they held the best interests of women at heart. This anti-suffragist claimed to be defending women when he wrote,

Let not our fair sex conclude that I wish to see them deprived of their rights. Let them rather consider that female reserve and delicacy are incompatible with the duties of a free elector, that a female politician is often subject to ridicule, and they will recognize in this writer a sincere Friend to the Ladies. (quoted in S. Coontz, Marriage, a History, p154)

However genuinely felt, the contradictions in such sentiments were eventually rejected by society as it became evident that they amounted to nothing more than sexual discrimination.

Early 19th century Britain would, by most accounts, be characterised as a Christian society with a culture of male-headship. Yet its laws enshrined marital discrimination against women under the so-called ‘head and master’ or coverture legal regime. These laws meant that upon entering marriage a woman lost her legal identity; that women had extremely limited physical protection from abuse (including marital rape); no right to their own interests, including to children born into the marriage; nor any claim to assets brought into the union, or even those contributed during the marriage. Bringing equality to bear merely upon the formal legal regime took enormous effort over long periods. For instance, marital rape wasn’t recognised as a crime under Australian law until 1976.

This kind of background explains why so many perceive male headship as leading society back to an era of disadvantage for women. So what evidence or analysis did Dr Jensen offer in order to show that re-affirming submission in marriage would not revive this legacy from the past? The four arguments earlier noted are explored in more detail following. 5

1. The Equal Burden Argument

One of the major points made by Dr Jensen to show that was not disparaging equality was that both partners equally share burdens of responsibility (or the husband even bears greater responsibility). So the bridal vow of submission is matched by a corresponding obligation on the groom, who must,

…undertake to act towards his wife as Christ has loved the church…This is not an invitation to bossiness, let alone abuse. (7.30 Report).

The analogy of a groom’s obligation of sacrificial love with a bride’s submission to her husband’s authority relies upon a comparison of like with like. However they do not appear to be analogous in any respect. For instance, ‘male headship’ is a structured form of relationship, based on fixed sex roles. But in what sense is ‘self-sacrificial love’ similarly structural? Sacrifice is a form of behaviour, or perhaps an attitude, rather than a relationship structure. Although a marriage partner may behave ‘submissively’, that is not the meaning of Dr Jensen’s proposal, for it entails that submission is permanently obliged by one sex to the other. It is that husbands and wives have a ‘pattern’ of authority to follow in their marriage.

Second, it was not clear that the promises are reciprocal either, as seems implied. For instance Dr Jensen referred to distinctive responsibilities of each spouse. The husband has “certain” responsibilities, the wife different yet complementary ones:

…in marriage terms…each party has responsibility but a man in committing himself to marriage takes a certain responsibility...(RN Drive)

Dr Jensen outlined his view that marriage should consist of different, yet reciprocal, commitments,

Since [the promises] unite not simply two people but a man and a woman - two different bodies for whom marriage holds different consequences, needs, expectations and emotions - the promises can express these differences, and traditionally have done so. (National Times)

But male headship is not clearly reciprocal. For while a wife promises submission and the husband promises sacrificial love, a wife also vows to love her husband. And if the wife vows to love, what is the husband reciprocating that the wife is not? Unless, perhaps, the wife’s vow to love is not selfless or sacrificial like the husband’s. But Dr Jensen nowhere indicated how or where the wife’s love is not sacrificial by nature. And how could we assess whether the duty of sacrificial love is ‘more onerous’ than submission? Is the comparison merely an idea floating on a cloud?

When it comes to lived experience, the disjunction between the vows emerges further. For example, the practical risks are tangibly different when comparing marital ‘sacrificial love’ with marital authority. As already seen, the historical record of the abuse of male authority in marriage is stark. But what corresponding history of abuse and disadvantage exists on account of ‘sacrificial love’? Dr Jensen offered no studies that suggest that sacrificial love exposes husbands to risks of harm, abuse or neglect in marriage. Is it even conceivable that sacrificial love could lead to abuse or harm?

The defence Dr Jensen sought to make with this argument was the claim that wives are not dis-favoured. For since husbands have an equally burdensome albeit different, duty, wives are not disadvantaged. But the claim fails because the two duties are not alike in kind, nor reciprocal, nor share comparable experiences in the experience and history of marriage. In practice, the real burden falls unequally on the partner who is at greater risk of disempowerment. The issue of negative relational power, however, was one that Dr Jensen sought to disarm with his second argument.

2. The Definitional Argument

Words often have contested meanings and a word at the centre of this discussion, ‘submission’ is no exception. Dr Jensen stressed that for him its content bears no relation to connotations of domination or exploitation. He clarified the meaning of a husband as ‘head’ of his wife in this way,

…I think it is appropriate so long as we take the point you’ve already made, namely that it’s [the husband’s authority] modelled on Jesus Christ - and remember that his version of leadership is service…(RN Drive, my italics)

Central to understanding Dr Jensen’s point is that ‘submission’ is essentially defined by Christ-like humility and selfless service. Hence the very notion that a putative power imbalance could exist by virtue of a wife submitting to her husband was deemed inadmissible by definition. Dr Jensen emphasised on Q & A that,

Can I say I utterly abominate the whole idea of domestic violence…properly understood my view is saying that no man could ever do that, really he is to behave toward his wife as Jesus did towards the church, in other words laying down his life for his wife.

No one would deny that the aspiration for husbands to love selflessly isn’t noble. But if an average man is granted inevitable authority over his wife, might not temptation arise? Institutions are often designed to accommodate, not the most virtuous, but the average, the weak and the flawed. So for instance marriage aims to uphold the virtue of monogamy, which is often regarded as a demanding standard. But at least monogamy commits both parties on equal terms. On Dr Jensen’s account, husbands vow to act “as Jesus did towards the church”. This seems to be an extraordinarily demanding vow. How many husbands can fulfil such a promise to imitate the Son of God? It also seems as abstract as it is demanding. By contrast, submission is readily more comprehensible, both in theory and practice. The long social history of submission makes marital expectations much more concrete for a wife than a husband.

Furthermore, although Dr Jensen suggested that no husband who holds his view could ever act abusively, research suggests otherwise. Relationships where power is concentrated in one partner are well known for raising risks of various forms of abuse and relationship dysfunction. For example, a major American study, Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family surveyed a nationally representative group of 2143 American couples. It found strong evidence that violence and dominant marital power are linked,

When we examined what proportion of the family decisions were shared by the husband and wife we found a rather dramatic relationship between how often decisions are shared and the likelihood of violence…The highest risk of family violence occurs…where decision-making is concentrated in the hands of one person. (Behind Closed Doors: Violence In The American Family 2006, p196-7)

6 Although such findings are well-known across the family studies fields (medical, sociological and related disciplines) Dr Jensen didn’t interact with any such research.

Perhaps, however, Dr Jensen would say that although such relationships are of the form that he commends, they do not represent the substance. If this point is made strongly, it creates a circular argument. For if all abusive forms of male headship are disqualified from a discussion about the possible benefits and drawbacks of a view, there can be no debate about male headship. Nevertheless, a softer version of the reasoning might be that Christian marriages grounded on Christian values do not exercise power in such exploitative ways. Yet this too falls foul of studies in the field. For instance, in one leading Christian journal an extensive literature survey on domestic abuse and patriarchy showed that domestic violence against wives is prevalent among religious families. While it also acknowledged that the ‘soft patriarchy’ version of male headship, as found in Western contexts, is qualitatively different from traditional patterns of male headship common in other societies (and the past), the author pointed out that male headship ideals pose problems for addressing domestic violence:

…the conservative evangelical emphasis…on the validity of male headship makes it very difficult for conservatives to acknowledge the prevalence of domestic violence and its connection with male headship…It is not enough for complementarians [those who advocate male headship] to say they are against all abuse, unless they are willing to acknowledge the particular virulence of male abuse. (‘Patriarchy and Domestic Violence’, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 50/3 [September 2007], p592)

Another Christian journal, Social Work & Christianity, underlines these concerns. It reported the results of a Seventh Day Adventist church study which found that 58% of abused wives were held back from moving out of abusive marriages specifically due to a belief in the husband as head of the household. (“Religious Belief Based Barriers for Adventist Women in Domestic Violence Relationships”, Winter 2009, 36/4). More studies could be added, including Australian research by Sydney University psychologist, Dr Alan Craddock. (for instance, “Attitudinal and structural differences between satisfied and dissatisfied married and cohabiting couples”, Australian Journal of Psychology 50 (1998), 83-88.)

However unpalatable it may be for some on account of doctrinal commitments, there is strong and widespread evidence that concentrated marital power presents risks (regardless of gender). In such contexts male headship teaching can create additional difficulties for women facing domestic violence. From a theological angle it may also be added that the sinful human nature would make Dr Jensen alert to the propensity for the abuse of authority. The risks to women of concentrated marital power need more attention than a simple injunction for husbands to behave like Christ. After all, if husbands really were like Christ, there wouldn’t be a debate.

3. The Biological Argument

As part of his case Dr Jensen pointed to the biological differences between the sexes. But he also moved, without clear explanation, from that observation to inferring certain sex-based marital roles. For example, in the context of saying that husbands are ‘appropriately’ head of their wives, Dr Jensen noted,

It’s fairly obvious to most observers that there are differences between men and women, that the human race needs both, but there are differences, that Wimbledon is still played with a men’s division and a woman’s division, etc., etc., and that in the most intimate and important of human relations, namely marriage, women bring something to it that men don’t, and vice versa. [ie. a husband as ‘head’ in the marriage] (RN Drive)

It’s not at all “obvious” that biologically-based differences are relevant to non-physical capacities such as leadership. Nor did Dr Jensen offer theoretical or evidential reasons for how physical characteristics relate to non-physical capacities. While Wimbledon has sex-based divisions for a sport where physical size and strength are germane, that provides no logical basis for the division of marital roles in areas like leadership or supportiveness, or anything similar. The claim that physical differences indicate non-physical capacities was not demonstrated.

The ethical problem with assigning roles like ‘leader’, ‘nurturer’, or ‘carer’ (to list some common gender types) based on a fixed attribute like sex, is that it denies a class of persons the equal recognition of their capacities, experience and aspirations. That is what appears inherently unjust and unfavourable, particularly to women, who have been denied equal treatment for so long. Drawing links from the biology of sex to the social construction of gender needs more explanation and justification.

4. The Voluntary Will Argument

Another of Dr Jensen’s arguments was an appeal to free will. Few dispute that individuals should have freedom to choose how they structure their most intimate relationships. But at the same time an individual doesn’t make decisions in a social vacuum. We belong to a community and culture. There is enormous moral and spiritual weight behind a respected leader giving his imprimatur to a particular marital structure. Dr Jensen spared little in excoriating the mainstream view on egalitarian marriage. He deemed it ‘wrong’, ‘unhelpful’, ‘individualistic’ and a product of a ‘reigning [worldly / ungodly] philosophy’. Dr Jensen also targeted the male ego when he pointedly remarked that,

I believe it’s right for a woman if she chooses to, to say ‘I submit to that’ in the sense that, I recognise it, I respect it and I’m going to give you space in our marriage to be a man. (Q & A)

A potentially loaded implication drawn from this statement is that un-submissive wives might be failing to let their husbands be real men. While on Q & A, Dr Jensen’s co-panellist Anna Krien, pointed out the influence of such words, “…you have great influence. And your words do have power.”

As powerful as words may be, pressure also comes from many other sources, such as institutional systems. Archbishop Jensen presides over a Diocese with (an informal) policy that denies ordination to candidates who take a different position on the role of women (a position known as ‘biblical egalitarianism’, which otherwise shares similar theological views). The Diocese does not recognise the authority of visiting female bishops. Sydney churches are strongly encouraged to adhere to the official view on gender relations, meaning that women are discouraged from preaching or even leading home-based bible groups where men would be under their ‘authority’. Diocesan-led conferences, programmes and institutions heavily promote these policies. The Diocese is largely run by male networks. One leading female Sydney Anglican, Narelle Jarrett, worried over the lack of women in formal (paid) leadership. In an article entitled, ‘The power of networks, the power of men’ she wrote,

I have observed that there is a vast difference between men and women in the way in which men are able to use their networks to pursue appointments, [and] uncover possibilities [in ministry]. (Southern Cross newspaper, October 1, 2009)

Many pressures and social forces affect young, committed Sydney Anglicans in such an environment. The appeal to the freedom of such couples – and women in particular – to make ‘free’ decisions may be more rhetorical than admitted.

*****

A Revealing Analogy

Four key arguments mounted by Dr Jensen in defence of the contention that male headship in marriage is compatible with equality have been reviewed. The arguments remain unconvincing and unsatisfactory. Despite this it is worth exploring one further way Dr Jensen sought to explain his case. It was an analogy given in some detail in his interview on RN Drive. The analogy highlighted the way ‘authority’ was tacitly exchanged between the presenter, Waleed Aly, and the interviewee, Dr Jensen:

(Jensen) A moment ago you said to me, ‘stop asking me questions, I’m asking you questions.’

(Aly) Well, it wasn’t that simple – but yes.

(Jensen) Well you did, really, and fair enough, because I was breaking the rules: Peter, keep to the rules. Does that make you superior to me?

(Aly) I’m not sure that the analogy is entirely the same. The point is that -

(Jensen) Well you have authority on this programme and you’ve pulled your authority and I’ve submitted.

(Aly) So then are you articulating that vision of marriage, that it is about male authority?

(Jensen) I’ll put it differently. If I say the word ‘responsibility’ rather than the word ‘authority’ it gets more to the heart of what we’re talking about…you have a responsibility for this programme to not let it go off the rails and that’s why you quite rightly asked me to stop doing what I was doing and get back to the point. And you were right, because you have that responsibility, ie. that authority. What we’re saying in marriage terms is that each party has responsibility but a man in committing himself to marriage takes a certain responsibility for the marriage and the wife recognises that responsibility.

In order to assess the analogy, it is worth recapping the idea of inequality previously sketched. It consists of unfavourable treatment in a comparable situation separated by ‘protected’ grounds (eg. sex). The analogy between authority in marriage and the kind exchanged in a radio interview did little to disarm objections to Dr Jensen’s view. In fact it should have intensified them.

The first two elements of inequality are unfavourable treatment in comparable situations. But in the example how was Dr Jensen suffering dis-favour by ceding authority in an interview? Unless being under authority is always unfavourable (a view that Dr Jensen no doubt rejects) the comparison with relations between the sexes was invalid. Gendered authority in a life-long social institution such as marriage is manifestly different from a temporary, task-oriented area like that of a radio interview. The interview was not analogous with sex-based marital roles in terms of treatment or situation.

The third element of inequality is protected grounds. Here too the analogy failed. For example, the host, Waleed Aly could have swapped places with Dr Jensen, were Dr Jensen a trained ABC studio host (and nothing in principle disqualifies him from being so). Thus no ‘protected grounds’ (or immutable characteristic) of either Dr Jensen or Waleed Aly prevented an in-principle exchange of authority. But this is totally different from the model of marriage outlined by Dr Jensen. Marital authority (or ‘leadership’ / ‘responsibility’ in the language preferred by Dr Jensen) cannot be exchanged or shared: it is fixed by gender. Regardless of a wife’s particular qualities, her leadership, wisdom, experience, maturity - in the context of the marital relationship the wife is inherently incapable of taking equal responsibility with her husband.
The logic of the analogy gives rise to disturbing implications. It suggests that immutable characteristics are a valid basis on which to permit the exercise of capacities such as authority - capacities which are otherwise normally assigned by the specific abilities, passions and experiences of an individual. Using the principle in the analogy, one could argue that because Aly is dark-skinned, only he has the capacity to exercise authority in radio interviews. Thus the analogy not only failed to establish grounds for equality in relationships, it actually provided a rationale for inequality.

Conclusion

It should be stressed that Dr Jensen and advocates of male headship in general, do not wish to disadvantage women, nor condone the negative outcomes engendered by sexist behaviours. Dr Jensen stated unequivocally,

Can I say I utterly abominate the whole idea of domestic violence…Now is my view contributing to that [domestic violence]? I trust not, because properly understood my view is saying that no man could ever do that [commit violence against his wife]…(Q & A)

It is important to observe that studies into causes of domestic violence against women do not show a necessary connection with male headship. Furthermore, teaching on male headship that brings into focus respectful, caring and selfless qualities in marital relationships can countervail – to an extent – the risks associated with male headship. Nonetheless, research is clear that male headship is more frequently associated with violence than egalitarian marital relationships. The significance of this point is evident when intimate partner violence is recognised as the leading contributor to death, disability and illness for women aged 15 – 44 years (The health costs of violence: measuring the burden of disease caused by intimate partner violence, VicHealth: Melbourne, 2004). In the context of such a major issue, an honest acknowledgment of all risk factors is essential.

So what did Dr Jensen ask for when he referred to being “properly understood”? Surely he wished to be respectfully heard. Yet in the foregoing exploration of his arguments it is unclear whether Dr Jensen has heard others. Despite four arguments designed to reconcile male headship with the equality of women, Dr Jensen has left us with many loose ends. There were puzzles like how asymmetric marital duties involving power produce balance and equality. There were questions about how merely redefining a word like ‘submission’ practically resolves the well-documented risks of marital structures with concentrated power. There were leaps of logic, such as how we derive abstract human capacities from physical characteristics. The main analogy Dr Jensen employed to explain his case was also at odds with the basic tenets of equality, as understood for centuries. That being the case, what alternative would he propose? And how can Dr Jensen’s analysis shed light on the historical experience of unequal power relations between the sexes? Entering the public domain to defend a policy associated with deleterious risks for women surely assumes an onus of proof. If Dr Jensen expects to be heard with respect, questions such as those raised here need better answers than those he has offered.

Angus McLeay

Oct, 2012

 

References

1. The media items cited in this article are: “Men and women are different and so should be their wedding vows”, The National Times, 29 Aug, 2012; ABC RN Drive with Waleed Aly, “Opinion: the bridal vows” 29 Aug, 2012; The 7.30 Report (ABC TV), “Proposed wedding vows submit questions to church,” 29 Aug, 2012; Q & A (ABC TV), “Seek and ye shall submit” Monday 10 September, 2012. Transcripts are my own.
2. The text for this famous sign originated from a United Nations report on women in 1980.
3. World Vision Australia, “Refocusing Rhetoric into Action – Investing in women: why it matters”, 2009.
4. Vida Goldstein was an extraordinary champion of women’s suffragacy: a businesswoman, politician, community activist and speaker par excellence. She was the first woman in the British Empire to nominate for Parliament. ABC RN Hindsight tells some of her story in, “Standing for her convictions: the campaigns of Vida Goldstein”, Hindsight, 22 Feb, 2009.
5. The Bulletin cover is taken from M. Sawyer, “Women’s work is never done: The pursuit of equality and the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act” in Sex Discrimination in Uncertain Times, ed. M. Thornton (ANU Press: Canberra, 2010), p77.
6. This image, and similar ones, are found in, Every woman’s book of love and marriage and family life (Icon Books: Cambridge, 2003 [original edition 1940]).

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