What happens when you bring together some of the world’s most provocative female minds in one room? Take Nobel Peace Prize winner and Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and author and former sex worker Brooke Magnanti, for example, or throw in blogger Clementine Ford and author Liza Mundy, whose recent book The Richer Sex asserts that women will soon become families’ major breadwinners, and you are guaranteed some fiery debate.
This is exactly what Sydney Opera House head of programming Ann Mossop hopes will result from All About Women, a festival of ideas surrounding some of the most pressing issues of the day, with a particular focus on women. The one-day festival is the brainchild of Louise Herron, the Opera House’s first female CEO and follows the success of the 2012 think tank The F Word, featuring Germaine Greer and Naomi Wolf.
“We were trying to include people who have something to say across a range of areas, so it’s not all about politics or parenting but quite diverse,” says Mossop.
The festival, which is likely to become an annual event, includes panel debates such as Men Can’t Be Feminists (including Gretel Killeen and Hamish Macdonald), and Free & Equal: What it Really Means (single tickets sold out), helmed by campaigner and best-selling Infidel author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who will also speak on the panel for M is for Misogyny with Gbowee and Magnanti.
“These kind of days don’t have a concrete outcome, where all of a sudden the world has changed, but it’s about general ideas, giving women and men the opportunity to focus on these ideas for a day,” says Mossop. “It gets people motivated about doing things in the world and in their own lives. It’s also going to be a lot of fun.”
All About Women will be held at the Sydney Opera House on April 7. For a full list of speakers and to buy tickets visit: allaboutwomen.sydneyoperahouse.com.