Margaret Thatcher, George W Bush and even anti-abortion lobbyists have been linked to modern day feminism, and this year’s Sydney Writers Festival will find out why that is.
To discuss if the term is too easily applied, the festival has called upon a list of influential women.
Writers Kathy Lette, Tara Moss, Catherine Deveny, Emily Maguire and Julia Baird will make up the panel ‘The Feminist Supremacy’ on Saturday at Sydney Town Hall.
Artistic Director for the Sydney Writer’s Festival, Chip Rolley, said: “I am particularly proud of the line-up for this event.
It will be a fun and feisty night and I know a lot of women and men who are looking forward to it.”
“I recall a couple of months ago there was a great debate raging on Twitter and in the blogosphere about whether you could be pro-life and be a feminist. For year’s the women’s movement was plagued by
people who would say, ‘I’m not a feminist, but here we had women fighting for the right to the label,” Mr Rolley said.
“It seemed the perfect time for the festival to ask, if feminism is all the rage, why on earth do women still earn only 87 cents to a man’s dollar?”
The panel is among the controversial topics being discussed at over 300 events.
Running from May 14-20, the Festival will focus on the line between public and private.
Emily Maguire, who’s writings on women’s issues earned her the 2007 Edna Ryan Award, is looking forward to the frank and fearless discussion that will arise on the night.
“I’ll take any opportunity to speak about feminism and women’s rights,” she said.
“Although feminism has been enormously successful, overturning millennia of oppression and injustice was always going to be a huge job and so there’s still heaps more to do.”
She believes there has been a resurgence in feminist activity in the few years.
“A common criticism of second and third wave feminism is that they’re movements mostly concerned with white, middle class, highly educated, straight women,” she said.
“Many of those working in the movement today have taken those criticisms to heart and make a real effort to ensure the voices of all kinds of people are heard. As a result, the feminist movement has become more inclusive and diverse than it has ever been before, making it far stronger and more representative.
Ms Maguire’s 2008 novel, ‘Princesses and Pornstars: Sex, Power, Identity’, shows how the treatment of young women as fragile can be just as damaging as their exposure to pornography and raunch culture.
“Feminism is constantly building on its successes, correcting its mistakes and adjusting to new contexts,” she said.