On International Women’s Day next year, some of the world’s most celebrated feminist thinkers will gather at Sydney Opera House for the eighth instalment of All About Women. Next year’s festival will adopt an intersectional feminist perspective to tackle a range of issues facing women in the post-Me Too era – everything from ageing and beauty to sexuality, sobriety, justice and representation in the media and tech industries. A band of incredible women from a broad range of backgrounds, with a variety of experiences behind them, will appear.
Topping the list is Chanel Miller, the American writer and artist who spoke out about her sexual assault, kicking off a conversation about how cases like hers are treated on college campuses and the court system in the US. Also expect appearances from writers including author, comedian, New York Times columnist and producer of TV show Shrill Lindy West; Jung Chang, author of Wild Swans, which recounts the lives of herself, her mother and her grandmother in a changing China; Iranian-American journalist Azadeh Moaveni, author of Guest House for Young Widows, the story of 13 young women who joined Islamic State; and Darcey Steinke, whose memoir, Flash Count Diary, explores menopause and how it transforms desire.
Princeton University astrophysics professor Jo Dunkley will discuss dark matter, changes in the nature of outer space and how women have contributed to the field of astronomy. Sanam Maher, author of A Woman Like Her: The short life of Qandeel Baloch, a book that explores the “honour” killing of Baloch, a Pakistani social-media star and feminist activist, will chat with Jess Hill, whose book See What You Made Me Do digs into Australia’s domestic violence crisis.
Cognitive neuroscientist Gina Rippon, author of Gendered Brain: The new neuroscience that shatters the myth of the female brain, will also appear, debunking outdated science about the differences between male and female brains. Journalist and writer Jill Stark, broadcaster Yumi Stynes and rural advocate Shanna Whan will discuss why women are increasingly “sober curious”. And an all-Indigenous panel featuring artist and curator Paola Balla, poet and playwright Kirli Saunders, community advocate Amelia Kunoth-Monks and Kunoth-Monks’s grandmother, actor and activist Rosalie Kunoth-Monks will discuss the cultural knowledge and traditions passed through matrilineal lines in First Nations communities.
Also appearing are author Bri Lee (Eggshell Skull, Beauty); “appearance activist” and author Carly Findlay; Amber Jackson and Kerryn Higgins, who both lived in a female-only countercultural community in northern NSW in the 1970s; Tea Uglow, creative director of Google’s Creative Lab in Sydney; and Ukrainian-Australian artist Stanislava Pinchuk, aka Miso.
It’s not all words, though. There’ll be workshops on African head-wrapping, essential oils and digital life-drawing. An All About Women-edition of monthly event Generation Women will address the topic “How I became a feminist”. Plus, an interactive digital exhibition will tell childhood kitchen stories of eight LGBTQI+ people, and the Conversations with Feminists forum returns, with a rotating three-hour panel of festival attendees, speakers and well-known Sydneysiders examining the state of feminism today.
All About Women will be held at the Sydney Opera House on March 8, 2020. General public tickets go on sale 9am Friday December 6 here