Kathleen Folbigg has been branded Australia’s worst female serial killer but new research into the deaths of her four children, backed by the world’s leading experts, may instead make her Australia’s worst miscarriage of justice.
Backed by genomic testing, a group of eminent scientists have cast doubt on Ms Folbigg’s guilt and her 2003 conviction for the manslaughter of her son Caleb and the murders of her three other children, Patrick, Sarah and Laura. With a new petition, Ms Rego and others on Ms Folbigg’s legal team hope to see her free.
“This case should be of concern to everyone because it establishes that hard scientific facts can be pushed aside in preference of subjective interpretations of circumstantial evidence. That is scary and, frankly, one that every lawyer, every person, should be concerned about. It’s not just about Ms Folbigg,” Ms Rego said.
[T]he word genius is gendered. The word itself evokes images of disheveled men. Everyone knows what Albert Einstein looks like. Do you know what Lise Meitner looks like? Do you even know who she is? She discovered nuclear fission, but it was her male colleague Otto Hahn who received the Nobel Prize for her work.The word genius comes from a sexist heritage. Kant himself thought women were barely human, utterly incapable of rational thought.(So did Aristotle.)For most of history, women have been excluded. Pick up a book on history or philosophy by a best-selling author. How many great female historical figures does it mention? Probably not that many.
I’m not trying to pick on anyone, but my point is pretty clear. The ways we determine someone’s intelligence is riddled with all kinds of subjectivity and bias. Intelligence tests. College admissions…
It’s all bullshit.
Tokyo will feature the most female athletes ever at an Olympics. But the Games do not have a good track record when it comes to gender equality.
The Olympics do not have a good track record when it comes to gender equality. At the end of the 19th century, when it was founded, the modern Olympic movement deliberately excluded women. Games patriarch Baron Pierre de Coubertin argued an Olympiad with women would be:
impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic and improper.
The Tokyo Games will feature the most female athletes at an Olympics, with 48.8% of competitors set to be women.
Noting this is actually shy of 50%, this is nonetheless up from 45% at the 2016 Rio Games and 44.2% at London 2012. At the Tokyo Paralympic Games, 40.5% of athletes will be women, compared to 38.6% at Rio.
To put this into a historical context, at the first modern games in Athens in 1896, women were banned from competing (although there are reports at leaset one woman ran the marathon).
At the 1900 Paris Olympics, women were allowed to compete, but they were only 22 out of 997 competitors. Women were also restricted to a select number of five “ladies” events: tennis, sailing, croquet, equestrian and golf.
Women also make up significant proportions of the IOC organisation, but the numbers remain low at the leadership level. For example:
- IOC membership (recruited by the IOC itself) is 37.5% female
- the IOC executive board is 33.3% female
- women account for 47.8% of the members of the IOC’s commissions, which advise the organisation on specific issues, such as ethics, science and athletes
- more than half (53%) of the IOC’s administrative employees are female.
Some Olympic leaders also have a long way to go in terms of the way they view women and women in sport administration. In February this year, the head of the Tokyo Olympic Organising Committee, Yoshiro Mori, resigned after complaining to a Japanese Olympic Committee meeting that women talk too much.
Albert Einstein is celebrated as perhaps the best physicist of the 20th century, one question about his career remains: How much did his first wife contribute to his groundbreaking science? While nobody has been able to credit her with any specific part of his work, their letters and numerous testimonies presented in the books dedicated to her(1-5) provide substantial evidence on how they collaborated from the time they met in 1896 up to their separation in 1914.
Albert and Mileva were admitted to the physics-mathematics section of the Polytechnic Institute in Zurich (now ETH) in 1896 . . .
By the end of their classes in 1900, Mileva and Albert had similar grades (4.7 and 4.6, respectively) except in applied physics where she got the top mark of 5 but he, only 1. She excelled at experimental work while he did not. But at the oral exam, Professor Minkowski gave 11 out of 12 to the four male students but only 5 to Mileva. Only Albert got his degree.
[N]obody made it clearer than Albert Einstein himself that they collaborated on special relativity when he wrote to Mileva on 27 March 1901: “How happy and proud I will be when the two of us together will have brought our work on relative motion to a victorious conclusion.”
Zarko Marić, a cousin of Mileva’s father, lived in the countryside property where the Einsteins stayed during their visit. He told Krstić how Mileva calculated, wrote and worked with Albert.
Gajin and Zarko Marić also reported hearing from Mileva’s father that during the Einstein’s visit to Novi Sad in 1905, Mileva confided to him: “Before our departure, we finished an important scientific work which will make my husband known around the world.”
Mileva’s brother often hosted gatherings of young intellectuals at his place. During one of these evenings, Albert would have declared: “I need my wife. She solves for me all my mathematical problems”, something Mileva is said to have confirmed.
The first recognition came in 1908. Albert gave unpaid lectures in Bern, then was offered his first academic position in Zurich in 1909. Mileva was still assisting him. Eight pages of Albert’s first lecture notes are in her handwriting. So is a letter drafted in 1910 in reply to Max Planck who had sought Albert’s opinion.
In 1919, she agreed to divorce, with a clause stating that if Albert ever received the Nobel Prize, she would get the money.
The female villain is common, in part, because of the Brothers Grimm.
As the Brothers collected and published fairy tales in the early 19th century, they progressively changed these stories to conform to appropriate morality for children. These alterations included silencing strong female characters and demonising powerful women — ensuring evil behaviour was clearly contrasted with good.
Children’s literature followed suit, with easily understandable divides between the good (and beautiful) and the evil (and ugly). L. Frank Baum’s one-eyed Wicked Witch of the West in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was designated the “bad witch” in sharp contrast to the good witch, and to Dorothy.
The Apology represented a formal acknowledgement that the forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children was based on racist policies that caused unspeakable harm to our communities.
Children were forced off their lands. They were disconnected from their kin, Country, traditional languages and culture.
Today on Sorry Day, 13 years since the Apology, our Elders, families and communities still grieve these losses. And many families are being repeatedly traumatised by contemporary child removal practices. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are nearly 10 times more likely than non-Indigenous children to be in out-of-home care.
What the Elders call for resonates with the concept of responsive regulation. This means that regulators — in this case the child protection authority — need to take into account the cultures, behaviours and environments of the people they are regulating.
Principles of responsive regulation and those developed by the Elders offer a counter-balance to the current formalistic approaches of child protection services, such as mandatory reporting, forensic investigations, court hearings, timelines for termination of parental rights, and the adoption of children in care.
On a boiling hot morning in June 1984, hundreds of women converged on the Museum of Modern Art in New York to protest. MoMA was holding a huge exhibition of recent art and of the 165 artists showing, only 14 were women. The crowd chanted “You don’t have to have a penis to be a genius” and wore suffragette sashes. Among them was the artist Mary Beth Edelson. By that point Edelson, who has died aged 88, had spent 20 years at the forefront of the feminist art movement.
In 1972 she created a collage titled Some Living American Women Artists/Last Supper. Riffing on the Leonardo da Vinci painting, she replaced the faces of the disciples with those of female artists, among them Yoko Ono, Louise Bourgeois and Helen Frankenthaler. In the place of Jesus is Georgia O’Keeffe. The work became a poster, widely distributed and iconic to those fighting misogyny in the art world.
Mary Beth Edelson, artist, born 6 February 1933; died 20 April 2021
During the 1970s, second-wave feminists thoroughly critiqued the relegation of women to childrearing. This left some with a lingering sense that becoming a mother was an old-fashioned or politically regressive choice.
But in fact there is a long tradition of maternal radicalism in Australia. Mothers have been out on the streets, fighting for change, as frequently as they have kept the home fires burning.
The effectiveness of these maternal activists was proven in 1894 when South Australia became the first electorate in the world to give women the vote.
Further evidence of the political power of first-wave feminists came in 1912, when the Commonwealth government approved the Maternity Allowance. This was radical in using government funds to provide state support to mothers as citizens, undercutting the authority of their husbands.
In the 1960s and 1970s, while women’s liberation movement activists such as Merle Thornton, Marcia Langton and Zelda D’Aprano were demanding equal rights for women, middle-class mothers around Australia were quietly rebelling against the medicalisation of pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.
Mothers have a long history of political activism not just in Australia, but around the world.
Chloé Zhao has become only the second female director in the Academy Award’s 93-year history to win Best Director, for her film Nomadland.