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Moving to a gender-equal world

What are the pathways to cultural change? How do we initiate, nurture, but most importantly, entrench cultural change?

Dr Michael Spence, leading gender equality advocate Elizabeth Broderick and ABC journalist Sarah Ferguson share insights into how society can successfully embed cultural change into our daily lives and workplaces.

In the last two years, women and men across the world have united to forge a new path to a gender-equal world. The high-profile rise of movements such as #metoo and Time's Up has punctuated global protests against sexual violence. In January this year millions of women in India joined hands to form an extraordinary 619-kilometre wall of protest to champion gender equality in that country.

These large-scale actions initiate cultural change on a large scale, and are incredibly powerful, but how can we each play our part in achieving sustained cultural change? What is the process for getting to that point?

Hear from the University's 25th Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence, a Male Champion of Change; Elizabeth Broderick AO, Independent Expert on the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on Discrimination Against Women; and celebrated ABC journalist Sarah Ferguson as they discuss these fundamental questions and look ahead to the future. 

Elizabeth, Michael and Sarah will share key learnings gleaned from their extensive experience and their insights into the most important factors in cultural change movements, and the positive impact for individuals, organisations and society.

This event was held on Wednesday 27 March, 2019 at the University of Sydney.

The speakers

In 2008 Dr Michael Spence was appointed the 25th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney. An alumnus of the University of Sydney, Michael graduated with first-class honours in English, Italian and law. His other languages include Chinese and Korean.

Michael lectured in law at the University and worked for the Australian Copyright Council before leaving Australia and establishing himself at the University of Oxford, where he obtained a Doctor of Philosophy and a Postgraduate Diploma in Theology. 

Michael is recognised internationally as a leader in the field of intellectual property theory. His work includes articles and books on both intellectual property law and the law of obligations, with a critical focus on suggested ethical and economic justifications of the existing regimes.

Elizabeth Broderick has brought together captains of industry, sport, governments and Defence Force chiefs to address gender inequality in Australia and beyond.

As Australia’s longest serving sex discrimination commissioner (2007-15), Elizabeth worked tirelessly to break down structural and social barriers faced by women and men, and to promote gender equality.

Her review into the treatment of women in the Australian Defence Force led to sweeping cultural reforms. She established and convenes the globally recognised ‘Male Champions of Change’ strategy, enlisting a ‘who’s who’ of powerful male leaders to tackle workplace gender inequality. She is a powerful and influential voice in the struggle for gender equality, enlisting both women and men as agents of change.

Elizabeth was appointed by the United Nations in Geneva as a UN Special Rapporteur and Independent Expert on Discrimination against Women.

In 2016 Elizabeth was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia and was named 2016 NSW Australian of the Year. 

Sarah Ferguson is one of Australia’s most respected journalists and was recently appointed China Bureau Chief at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Sarah worked for British, French and US broadcasters while living in France and the US before moving to Australia.

In Australia she worked as a researcher, producer and reporter for SBS, Channel 9 and ABC’s Four Corners. Sarah has won multiple Walkley Awards including the Gold Walkley in 2011, four Logies, the Queensland Literary Award and the George Munster Award.

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