In conversation Wendy McCarthy

Wendy McCarthy, one of Australia's most influential women, will be in conversation with Virginia Hausseger on Wendy's new book, Don't Be Too Polite, Girls, a personal and political memoir about life, love, family and politics - as experienced by Wendy over eight decades.

Educator and activist, Wendy McCarthy has made her mark on Australia in many extraordinary ways. For more than 50 years, she has been on the leading edge of feminism and corporate and public life in this country and her trailblazing advocacy and leadership have made her a widely respected and revered figure. Wendy is a woman who shaped her times as much as she was shaped by them, and now, at 80 years of age, she shares her remarkable life and achievements, and the lessons she learned - and taught us all.

From sheltered country schoolgirl to relentless campaigner for abortion and contraception, from passionate teacher to lifelong advocate for education, to smashing that glass ceiling again and again and showing the way to subsequent generations of women, Wendy has championed change across the public, private and community sectors - in education, family planning, human rights, public health, overseas aid and development, conservation, heritage, media and the Arts.

This inspiring and enlightening memoir is filled with cautionary tales and insider stories about being female in Australia - as well as a few helpful survival tips. Above all, it encourages the reader to find her own voice and listen to it.

"Wendy McCarthy has always been a woman of action who will not accept inequality or injustice. She has been and remains a powerful advocate for change in Australia, forcing us to question what is right so we can advance our social agenda". The Hon. Julia Gillard AC

Wendy McCarthy AO began her career as a secondary school teacher. She moved out of the classroom into public life in 1968 and since then has worked for change across the public, private and community sectors, in education, family planning, human rights, public health, overseas aid and development, conservation, heritage, media and the Arts. Wendy has a long track record of advocating, campaigning and fundraising for women's issues in public life and has held many significant leadership roles in key national and international bodies.

Virginia Haussegger AM, a passionate women's advocate and journalist, is the former Chair and Founding Director of the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation, at the University of Canberra, where she is an Adjunct Professor. She is the host of BroadTalk, a podcast about women, power and leadership. And Guest Curator of the forthcoming exhibition, Australian Women Changemakers, at MoAD

Kim Rubenstein, Professor and Director (Academic) of the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation at the University of Canberra will give the vote of thanks.

This event is in association with Harry Hartog Bookshop. Books will be available for purchase on the evening in the Cultural Centre foyer. Pre-event book signings will be available from 5.30pm, and available again after the event.

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  • podcast will be made available after the event.