As Australia assesses the vote for its first female prime minister, Intelligence Squared tackles its most controversial debate yet: Has feminism failed?
After generations of effort, women still bear a disproportionate burden of domestic labour. Women are under-represented in the senior ranks of politics, business and the professions. If the minority government doesn’t hold, Julia Gillard’s prime ministership may be the shortest in our history. What role did her gender play at the ballot box? Statistics show women continue to be denied equal pay for equal work and young women are less likely to identify as feminists than their mothers. What does this say about feminism? Has it failed to mobilise and inspire? Or should feminists be celebrating a deeper victory in which a new generation of young men and women take equality for granted?
Intelligence Squared is a provocative and informative series of live debates on hot-button issues, offering a sometimes fiery, often controversial and always entertaining forum for healthy argument. The format is the traditional Oxford-style debate, with one side proposing and the other opposing a sharply framed motion. Three speakers argue on each side of the motion. After the formal rguments, the debate is thrown open to the floor for moderated questions. The live audience votes both before and after hearing the arguments, so each debate has a clear measure of how far people have actually been swayed.
Intelligence Squared in Melbourne is a project of the St James Ethics Centre and the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas.
More about the speakers: Virginia Haussegger is a journalist, author and social commentator. Her writing includes a seminal article on feminism and childlessness, and the book Wonder Woman: the myth of “having it all” She currently presents News on ABC TV, Canberra.
Gay Alcorn is a Walkley award-winning journalist who joined The Age in 1989. She was Washington correspondent from 1999-2002 and was appointed editor of The Sunday Age in 2008.
Stephen Mayne is a Walkley award-winning journalist, shareholder activist and founder of Crikey and the Mayne Report. He has also run as an independent in State and Federal elections.
Jennifer Byrne has 26 years experience in television, radio and print journalism and over this time, has interviewed many world leaders, international thinkers and writers. She is currently presenter of the First Tuesday Book Club on ABC TV.
Monica Dux is a Melbourne writer. She has published widely on women’s issues and co-authored the book The Great Feminist Denial. She is currently working on a book about modern motherhood.
Wendy McCarthy was a founding member and co-convenor of the Women’s Electoral Lobby in 1972. She has been an educator, advocate and social commentator, and a company director for the past forty years.
Debate date: 22 September 2010 http://tinyurl.com/333mmfq