Embracing the F-word: has feminism had its day?

Event status:

Women’s voices are raised – louder than ever before – but are they being fully heard? This thought-provoking panel discussion will consider what needs to happen to affect real change and if feminism has lost its way, or evolved to reflect the changing times. If our mothers and grandmothers struggles still exist today how do we ensure a more equitable future for our daughters?

Thursday 20 September 2018 06:30 pm until Thursday 20 September 2018 08:00 pm (Add to calendar)
Christina Lew
Presented by:
Francis Leach
Type of Event:
Current Student: Undergraduate; Current Student: Postgraduate; Public Lecture
$15 General Admission / $7.50 Students/Concession / Under 18 FOC (accompanied by paying adult)

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Facilitated by MC Francis Leach, our sixth Bold Thinking Series event for 2018 will feature the PM’s Prize for Science 2017 winner Professor Jenny Graves and psychologist Dr Beatrice Alba from La Trobe, along with musician, actor and broadcaster Clare Bowditch and feminist writer and editor Bri Lee.

With the rising tide of modern feminism and in the wake of #MeToo and #TimesUp, this all-female panel of different ages, careers and perspectives will discuss what it is to be a feminist now and then; male privilege and power, gender equality, the gender pay gap, unconscious bias, working in male-dominated industries and the differences between men and women.

The conversation will explore whether women can actively re-shape our world rather than merely participate. It will also consider the rise of digital feminism and if ‘hashtag’ activism has been enough to spark social change or whether more action is needed to ensure gender equality today.

Join us for a provocative discussion in this new age of feminism as seen through the eyes of our expert panel.

In the lead-up to the event, we sat down with La Trobe’s Dr Beatrice Alba and Professor Jenny Graves to hear their thoughts on feminism and how their research impacts this popular yet prickly debate.  Read more on Nest, La Trobe’s content hub for clever thinkers.

This event will be followed by tea and coffee.


Vice Chancellor’s Fellow and Distinguished Professor Jenny Graves AO FFA Professor Jenny Marshall Graves compares genomes of humans and Australian animals to explore how sex works and how it evolved. The work of her group led to the discovery of the SRY gene on the Y chromosome that makes babies male. She uses comparisons of distantly related mammals to explore the origin, function and fate of human sex genes and chromosomes, (in)famously predicting the disappearance of the human Y chromosome.

Jenny studied genetics in Adelaide, then received a PhD in molecular biology from University of California at Berkeley. She lectured at La Trobe University then moved to ANU, where she established the Comparative Genomics unit, and founded and directed a ARC Centre of Excellence. She returned to La Trobe as Distinguished Professor in 2011, and holds honorary positions at ANU, Canberra University and the University of Melbourne. Jenny has produced four books and more than 430 research articles on animal genomes and sex. She has received many honours and awards, including an AO in 2010, and recently the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science (the first woman to win the prize solo). She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and was on the Executive as Foreign Secretary, then Education Secretary. She is 2006 L’Oreal-UNESCO Laureate for Women in Science, and advocates for women in science at the local, national and international level.

Dr Beatrice Alba is a Research Fellow at the School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University. Her PhD in psychology examined individual differences in how people think about social status, and she has published peer-reviewed research in international journals on a range of topics including personality, prejudice and discrimination, and mental health. Beatrice is a regular contributor to The Conversation, where she writes about feminism and evolutionary psychology. She is a passionate and outspoken feminist, who firmly believes that any biological differences between women and men should not be a barrier to gender equality and social justice.

Clare Bowditch is an ARIA Award-winning singer, songwriter, sometimes actor (as Rosanna Harding on the hit Channel 10 show “Offspring”), speaker, writer, creative-business mentor and broadcaster on Melbourne’s ABC radio 774. She’s had Top Ten albums, been named Rolling Stone Woman of the Year (Contribution to Culture), Yen Young Woman of the Year (Music), co-written with Gotye, toured with Leonard Cohen, written for Harpers Bazaar and the Drum, and played in every venue, festival and truck stop in Australia at least two hundred times each. From 2016 to 2017 Clare hosted the Afternoons program on ABC Melbourne taking over from Richard Stubbs.  Currently, Clare is writing and recording her sixth solo album, trying to whittle down the 150 songs she has written since 2012’s “The Winter I Chose Happiness” and also preparing her debut book, both set for release in 2019.

Bri Lee is a freelance writer (The Guardian, Griffith Review, Crikey, etc.) the author of Eggshell Skull, a memoir lifting the lid on sexism and systematic injustice in the Australian legal industry. She is qualified to practice law, but does not, and was the inaugural Kat Muscat Fellow and a 2017 Griffith Review Fellow.


State Library Theatrette

Enter via Entry 3, 179 La Trobe Street, Melbourne

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