Australia’s first female Prime Minister has come and gone, and while we may congratulate ourselves on achieving this milestone, can we call it a success, and anticipate the next female leader soon? Whatever you think of the ‘misogyny’ debate in Australian politics, there’s no denying that public commentary shows that at some level we were unable to look past the fact that our Prime Minister was a woman.
While women in the West are working more, earning more and outpacing men in education, life at the top in most fields is still a male affair, and women in the developing world face all of this and the challenges of poverty, inequality and human rights abuses. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, women around the world hold a mere 20% of powerful political positions and in Australia, key corporate boards have only 15.8% women members. We’ve come a long way, while the situation for women continues to improve, few of them reach the top. Is it simply a hangover from less progressive generations, or is there something more fundamental that makes us uneasy with women in power?
Chair: Julia Baird is a journalist, TV personality, and author of Media Tarts: How the Australian Press Frames Female Politicians. She is currently working on a biography of Queen Victoria.
Arlie Hochschild is a professor emerita of sociology at University of California, Berkeley. She is author of several books, including The Outsourced Life: Intimate Life in Market Times and The Managed Heart: The Commercialization of Human Feeling.
Hanna Rosin is an Israeli-American journalist. She is a senior editor at The Atlantic and editor and founder of DoubleX, Slate’s women’s section. Her latest book is the best-selling The End of Men and the Rise of Women.
Vandana Shiva holds a PhD in physics, but is best known as an environmental, and anti-globalisation activist and as a leading figure of ‘ecofeminism.’ Shiva is based in India and is the author of over twenty books, including Staying Alive and Biopiracy. She is a former recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize.
Anne Summers PhD AO is a writer and columnist, is best known as a leading feminist, editor and publisher. She was formerly Australia's First Assistant Secretary of the Office of the Status of Women
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