Labor accused of ‘erasing women’ after funding non-gendered cervical cancer campaign

Critics argue that the controversial campaign's language erases women and alienates key groups.

Labor accused of ‘erasing women’ after funding non-gendered cervical cancer campaign
A screenshot from the campaign.
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The Federal Government has allocated millions of dollars to a new cervical cancer campaign, sparking controversy over its use of non-gendered language.

Concerns have been raised by the Opposition about the $3.3 million funding awarded to ACON, a community organisation whose campaign phrases like “people with a cervix” and “front hole” instead of “vagina.

A 2023 awareness video produced by ACON omits the word “women” entirely, featuring an actor stating:

“If you have a cervix, the test can save your life.”

Federal Liberal Senator Claire Chandler criticised the language as unclear and offensive to women, questioning the government’s support for what she called a “radical ideology.”

“Questions need to be asked about why the government is paying taxpayer money hand-over-fist to this organisation to push their radical ideology that, quite frankly, is insulting to women and wildly out of step with what Australians would expect from our federal departments, particularly our federal health departments,” Senator Chandler said. “It’s really disappointing to see the federal government choosing to give money to a group that it knows is erasing what it means to be a woman.”

Cervical cancer remains the fourth most common cancer among women globally, with the World Health Organisation reporting about 660,000 new cases in 2022.

In Australia, the disease claims over 200 lives annually, with more than 70% of cervical cancers occurring in women who have never been screened or are not up-to-date with screening.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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