The 2013 All About Women festival. Photo: Prudence Upton
Following its inaugural success last year, the program for the 2014 All About Women festival has promised a day of “lively conversation, celebrating what matters most to women.”
Storming the Sydney Opera House on Sunday March 30, the festival will embrace parenting, politics and every topic in between, with guests speaking on the ideas, issues and passions that are important to women today.
“Women want to talk about all sorts of things – they have a huge, broad appetite,” the festival’s curator, Ann Mossop, says. “We’re not looking at a single theme; we are reflecting the diversity of women’s interests with all sorts of ideas and speakers.”
Audience members during the 2013 All About Women festival. Photo: Prudence Upton
“The festival will reach beyond the fundamentals,” Mossop explains. “We have so much to offer here in Australia but the world’s a much bigger place so we have also brought in speakers from overseas to add to the diversity.”
The international line-up includes award-winning author of All Joy & No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting, Jennifer Senior, and the creator of the comic strip Dykes To Watch Out For, Alison Bechdel, who flagged sexism in popular culture with the now famous Bechdel Test.
Joining them, Daniel Bergner, author of What do Women Want? Adventures of the Science of Female Desire will share his extensive research, while journalist Mona Eltahawy is the authority on modern Egypt and the country’s struggle over women’s rights.
Among the many panel sessions, Mossop predicts plenty of lively debate during a discussion on women in the media and popular culture, led by panellists Bechdel and Jane Caro, among others.
“It continues to be such a hot topic, and it is something that matters to everyone so I expect it to draw a crowd,” she says. “The panellists will discuss how women are portrayed, and why there are still so few women at the forefront of news making.”
While Mossop says the festival doesn’t peddle an agenda, she concedes there is a message to be read into the event’s chosen title:
“We are acknowledging that in public life, particularly where new ideas are being debated, where conversations are happening, it’s still a place where women are not strongly represented, so this is our way of rectifying that, it’s our contribution.”
Mossop says the enthusiasm of the women (and men) who lead and attend these discussions is contagious.
“The best moment for me last year was seeing people storming the building before the sessions had even begun…There is so much interest and enthusiasm for this type of thing – it’s inspiring, and exciting.”
View the full program here.
Daily Life is a partner of All About Women.