Not so long ago, the ABC’s Q&A turned the tables for a bit of self-examination: why, the show’s producers asked, don’t we have more women on the panel? Trying to understand the show’s gender trouble, series producer Amanda Collinge cited women’s reluctance to put themselves forward compared to men’s self-promotion, the trolling and online harassment of women who do join the show, and the … Read More I don’t mean to be personal
First published by the Sydney Morning Herald, 24 May 2016 There’s a scene from an early episode of Girls where the editor of Hannah’s e-book presses her to write about her most personal, shocking and sexual stories to make her book more compelling. “Did your hymen grow back?” her editor complains after reading a draft of Hannah’s too-tame exploits. I thought about this scene again recently while reading about … Read More Our insatiable appetite for women’s tragic stories
First published by Women’s Agenda, 12 January 2016 Betty Friedan. Gloria Steinem. Germaine Greer. Anne Summers. Naomi Wolf. Susan Faludi. What do these women all have in common – apart from writing some of the key texts of 20th century feminism, that is? They were all, of course, at one time or another journalists. There’s a bitter-sweet irony to the drama that has ensnared Samantha … Read More The twinned story of journalism and feminism
First published by Women’s Agenda, 8 December 2015 At this time of year school communities across the country are assembling to hand out prizes and hear end of year speeches from departing school captains and leaders. They will also be welcoming the newly elected students who will take on leadership roles from the first day of school next year. Six years ago, on my … Read More Gender equality: are schools leading girls down the wrong path ?
First published by Daily Review, 24 September 2015 Another Monday night, another hour thrashing out the issues de jour: gay marriage, IVF, the privatisation of public assets*, all delivered with cleverly scripted lines. No, I’m not referring to Q&A: I’ve tried watching that program lately, but I usually end up passing out on the couch, thankful I’m not poor flu-afflicted Simon Sheikh, slamming my head down … Read More House Husbands: less mad men, more dad men
First published by Women’s Agenda and Crikey, 27-28 May 2015 When Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey announced an end to two sets of maternity leave payments for “double dipping” mothers, it almost seemed wise to stay quiet. Abbott and his ministers appeared to be doing a good job of burying their new policy themselves. There was their seemingly ill-advised language (mothers were “frauds” and … Read More The worst thing about the PPL backflip is that voters love it
First published by the Sydney Morning Herald, 7 May 2015 As the government prepares to announce its plans to reform childcare subsidies for working families, it was interesting to see how the issue of children appeared to be impacting on one of the parties it will be negotiating with to get its changes through the Senate. When Christine Milne announced she was standing down as Greens leader, she said: “I … Read More Goodbye Christine Milne, and another female leader