The Sydney Opera House has announced its All About Women program for 2015, which organisers hope will address some of the most pressing issues for women in our current climate.
All About Women curator Ann Mossop told Women’s Agenda the program aims to reflect the issues facing women in Australia as well as inspire the community to think more deeply about each of these issues.
The first of these is domestic and family violence. Rosie Batty, a Victorian woman who lost her son to family violence last February and is now the Victorian Australian of the Year, is speaking about her experience at next year’s All About Women. Mossop told Women’s Agenda she hopes this part of the program will help to open up a conversation about domestic and family violence that is often kept quiet in Australia.
“Family violence is something we do not speak about very much in Australia. It is very hard to talk about, and often our reaction to the terrible stories we hear about domestic and family violence is that we don’t want to think about it, but I think hearing Rosie speak will make a lot of people think twice about that instinct,” she said.
“Domestic violence is something we try to bury and forget about, but it is an incredibly serious problem and, when you look at the statistics you see it is extraordinarily significant. Every week in Australia, a woman is killed by an intimate partner. When you look at broader family violence, the problem is even more serious.”
Mossop said having both Rosie Batty and Helen Garner discuss stories of domestic and family violence will help the audience engage with the issue on a deeper level than they might have otherwise.
The program will also tackle the issue of #gamergate, and misogyny in gaming more broadly. Anita Sarkeesian, a member of the gaming community who this year has received an onslaught of sexist attacks through the #gamergate phenomenon. This year, the attacks became so bad that Sarkeesian had to cancel a talk she was due to give after the host university received a threat of a mass shooting in response to her talk.
“We’ve seen online misogyny go berserk this year and it is so important that we talk about the issue, both with people who are involved in the gaming world and those who aren’t,” Mossop said.
The program will also address questions raised this year about what it means to be a feminist: “This year we have heard a lot of confusing and depressing conversations, particularly for younger women, about who is a feminist, who isn’t a feminist and what is it anyway?” Mossop said.
“So this year we’ve organised a panel to show that there are as many different ways of being a feminist as there are people.”
The panel includes Roxane Gay, Germaine Greer, Anita Sarkeesian, Kate Bolick, Tara Moss and Clementine Ford.
Mossop’s aim for All About Women every year is to bring together people with a broad range of interests and perspectives: “We are always trying to get a diversity of voices and a diversity of topics, and use them to capture contemporary issues and things that matter to people in the current climate.”
Women’s Agenda readers can purchase priority tickets for All About Women this Friday December 12, before tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday the 15th. Visit this website to buy priority tickets.