The Sydney Opera House has announced a packed program for its ninth annual All About Women festival. Taking place on Sunday March 7 – the day before International Women’s Day – this year’s event stretches across a series of talks, panels, screenings and workshops, using an intersectional feminist lens to examine a range of topics impacting the lives of modern women.
“After a year when the world changed, the role of women in society, politics and culture continues to evolve in interesting and powerful ways,” says festival director Dr Edwina Throsby. “We’ve seen the distinction between the public and the private spheres collapse, female world leaders thrive and traditionally feminised areas like home, family and community be emphasised like never before. This year, All About Women will provide the space for us to come together to talk, think and be reminded of how much better things are when we’re not alone.”
The 2021 festival has curated an impressive line-up of writers, activists and change-makers from across the globe.
Isabel Allende, author of novels The House of the Spirits and City of the Beasts, will be in attendance to discuss her upcoming memoir Soul of a Woman. The book looks at how feminism got to where it is in 2020 and what’s been achieved, while examining the work that’s still to be done in the future. Fellow memoirist Caitlin Moran will be talking about her book More than a Woman, the follow-up to 2011’s lauded How to be a Woman – a decade on, Moran’s attention has turned to her shifting relationship with her own body and a creeping sense of invisibility in the world at large.
Looking outward are Koa Beck, former Jezebel editor-in-chief and US author of White Feminism: From the Suffragettes to Influencers and Who They Leave Behind, and Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project and author of Everyday Sexism and Men Who Hate Women. Both women’s work explores how ideas of feminism have filtered through wider culture. They’ll survey how the media has changed the way we speak about assault, human rights and inequality, as well as the influence of the internet on men’s views of women and themselves.
In 2021, organisers are also interested in what goes unseen and unexplored. Queer sex worker and writer Tilly Lawless will join Scarlet Alliance CEO Jules Kim to highlight the misunderstandings and challenges of the sex-work industry while talking about the ways in which the pandemic has had far-reaching impacts on those work within it.
Technology and the internet are also prominent themes this year, with researcher and professor Kate Crawford and award-winning tech journalist Rae Johnston teaming up for a conversation that looks at how artificial intelligence and data systems will in the future shape our connection to power and identity. Elsewhere, The Indigo Project founder Mary Hoang and author and noise expert Christine Jackman will discuss ways to carve out your own wellbeing in this Covid-defined era of uncertainty and doom scrolling, and TV presenter, author and podcaster Flex Mami will drop by the Opera House to record a special live episode of her show Flex’s Semi-Factual History Lessons.
On the visual arts side, writer and film curator Kate Jinx returns to present a series of screenings and panels toasting Australia’s feminist history and the changing face of the movement overseas. The day will also feature plenty of workshops ranging from mindfulness to zine making and basket weaving.
For more information about the All About Women 2021 festival, see here.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with the Sydney Opera House.