- Occupation Anti-nuclear group, Feminist organisation, Peace organisation
Women Against Nuclear Energy (WANE) was formed as a result of a growing feminist concern about, and a desire for action on, uranium and nuclear power issues. WANE’s objectives included educating and activating women as citizens rather than as mothers and carers. The exclusion of males was felt to better enable this, providing women with an environment free from the constraints of sexism that were felt to be inherent in the hierarchical structure of other anti-nuclear groups.
WANE aimed to work with women’s groups in unions against uranium. The group also supported investigation into finding alternative energy sources. WANE believed the implications of a solar future were inherent in feminist theory (for example, people before profits). WANE maintained strong links to Campaign Against Nuclear Energy (CANE) and helped organise Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament (WAND).
WANE’s objectives included the education and activation of women, beyond appealing to them as mothers and carers. The exclusion of males was felt to better enable this, providing women with an environment free from the constraints of sexism that were felt to be inherent in the hierarchical structure of other anti-nuclear groups.
WANE aimed to work with women’s groups in unions and to give support to their actions against uranium mining; work with migrant women to spread information; promote alternative energy sources and provide extensive anti-nuclear resources, such as books, slides, films nights, seminars, and group discussions with guest speakers. WANE sought to offer women an environment and the skills to develop confidence in public speaking, so that women could then promote their anti-nuclear message to other women within the community. The group also sought to develop and promote the feminist perspective within Campaign Against Nuclear Energy (CANE) with which they retained close ties, and sought to overcome the sexism that in part motivated the establishment of WANE.
WANE was borne from a conflict that arose in 1980, when the trade union movement had organised an anti-uranium march on the same day as International Women’s Day. For the members of WANE, this conflict emphasised the need for independent mobilisation against nuclear energy, and to gain the support of the women within the trade union movement for the anti-uranium movement.
WANE evolved in to an action group that, while sharing many of the same members, were not formally affiliated with CANE. WANE members felt that it was important to retain their relationship with both groups in order to ensure that CANE operated in a non-sexist manner.
WANE members sought to self educate, in order to better educate others, particularly other women’s groups, and women that were otherwise isolated within the community. There was particular emphasis on issues such as low-level radiation, the nuclear fuel cycle, the ethics of nuclear power, direct action and civil disobedience. WANE believed the implications of a solar future were inherent in feminist theory (for example, people before profits).
The group publicised themselves via Women’s Liberation Newsletters, radio (5MMM), the Women’s Art Movement, the Women’s Resource Centre, as well as producing a newsletter for its members.
WANE held dances and film nights to raise money, and supported the Sound Women’s Peace Camp in Cockburn Sound in Western Australia, and the Pine Gap Peace Camp. WANE also helped organise Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament (WAND).
Some of the women involved include Connie Frazer, Mary Nettle, Liz Bluff, Sue Maywald, Brenda Rayner, Jan Phadke, Jill Chapman, Dee Neagle, Margaret Lee, Stephanie Goss, Vickey Page, Heriette Riis Jorgenson, Doris Horvath, Heather Crosby, Maria Zadoroznyj, Nadine Williams, as well as many others.