Alice Ansara The CWA and the F Word

The CWA and the F Word

Andrew McLellan, 6th November 2019
Print
The Country Women’s Association is at the heart of rural traditional values, so when a young, urban feminist comes knocking on their door, will there be a place for her in the organisation?

Find out as Alice Ansara gives us a personal insight into a woman’s place in a small country town.

Produced by Alice Ansara of 2EAR, Eurobodalla.
Supervising production by Sharon Davis.
 
Broadcasting this on your station? Email crn@cbaa.org.au for audio and cue sheets.
Alice Ansara The CWA and the F Word

Ingredients:

  • 1 urban feminist – gently kneaded
  • A generous dollop of rural isolation
  • 2 preschool children – vegemite covered if desired
  • A generous amount of slice baking
  • Lashings of pink crochet
  • An explosive mix of politics – whipped

Method:

  1. Preheat your small country town to a moderate temperature.
  2. Dice your feminist into small cubes and mix together with rural isolation in a large bowl – do not over stir.  
  3. Gently fold in preschool children and crumbly lemon slice.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes and insert a crochet needle to test readiness. Decorate with pink crochet icing and soft peaks of whipped politics.
  5. A delicious treat for the whole family.

Alice Ansara The CWA and the F Word

I relocated to rural Victoria from the big nitty gritty of Sydney when I moved in with my partner several years ago.

I had long harboured fantasies of becoming a rural housewife and this was my chance to try it out. I even bought myself a copy of the Country Women’s Association Cook Book – its tag-line ‘Seventy years in the kitchen’ really had me hot under the apron!

But what I found was that I lacked the aptitude to develop the skills needed to be a good housewife.

My terrible tasting meals were never on time for my ‘husband’, housework, is a bore when done day in day out, and there’s only so many hours you can spend on YouTube tutorials for domestic chores (although THIS one on how to fold a fitted sheet is one of my favourites – still bringing it out as my party trick).

So I made sure I had stints of paid work to take me away from all that and for a couple of years, flew back and forth to the big smoke and the comfort of my old girl gang.

Then I got pregnant and on the day I had my first child, I found myself completely and utterly trapped in the small country town we lived in and the most isolating year of my life.

When our second child was born we moved to an even more remote country town in regional NSW.  But this time I decided I would never become as isolated as I had been before. I joined the community radio station, 2EAR FM and started a show called In the Ladies Lounge. It’s a weekly program featuring female-led music and interviews with interesting women from the area. With this show I embraced my feminist up-bringing.

One of my first broadcasts I did a whole segment on menstruation songs.

It also featured an interview with a local woman who made reusable cloth sanitary pads.

This might have been pushing the envelope a bit too much for someone new to a small country town – but that’s how I was raised – to speak up about women’s issues wherever I went.

At the same time, I also looked around for a women’s organisation to join and found that my new town had a branch of the Country Women’s Association. I couldn’t have been more delighted – this time round I was going to learn those traditional domestic skills – and make friends while I was at it.

At the same time, I got the opportunity to make a feature for the CBAA National Features & Documentary Series. My 25 minute program, The CWA and the F-Word is the yarn that got woven together from there.

- Alice Ansara

Links
Acknowledgments and thanks
  • Primarily my mum – not just for enduring being put into this story but for the endless hours of babysitting she did to make this program remotely possible for me to finish. A gazillion thanks, Ma.
  • My mentor, Sharon Davis – brilliant and inspiring.
  • My community radio station 2EARfm – especially Kathy Shields and Tony Jaggers.
  • The CMTO – Giordana and Hannah – bloody legends!
  • Andrew at the CRN and CBAA
  • The Moruya branch of the CWA – thanks for letting me be a member and push a microphone into people’s faces. I look forward to baking more and better slices with you all.

This piece was made for the 2019 CBAA National Features & Documentary Series, a showcase of work by new and emerging Australian community radio producers, with training and mentoring provided by the Community and Media Training Organisation. The opinions expressed in National Features & Documentary Series content are those of the individual producers or their interviewees, and not necessarily shared by the CBAA or CMTO.

Produced with the assistance of the Department of Communications and the Arts via the Community Broadcasting Foundation.

Facebook comments

Related

Article

Now available to listen online and broadcasting on Australian community radio stations is the sixth instalment of CBAA’s National Features and Documentary Series, an annual showcase of new work by Australian community radio producers.

Article

Do you have an ear out for insights on issues that affect Australians in the bush? This new weekly piece could be just the thing your station is after.

Article

CBAA Conference Keynote Speaker Wendy Bacon's address was an incredibly inspiring look at her own experience of the impact of community media and ideas for the future.