Inside and outside the tent: Feminist movements and the unfinished business of ending sex discrimination

This International Women's Day, the Vice-Chancellor and the Gender Institute bring you a panel discussion moderated by Honorary Associate Professor Sally Moyle.

Sex Discrimination was first outlawed in an Australian jurisdiction over 40 years ago, and the federal Sex Discrimination Act is over three decades old. To mark International Women's Day, this year on the theme Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world, a panel of distinguished speakers representing three generations of feminist legal thought will explore how we have progressed towards gender equality over those decades. Have we made real progress towards equality, or merely knocked the harshest edges off the patriarchy? Were feminists right to engage with mainstream policy and law to achieve transformational change? Or did this limit the radical intent of feminism?

Emerita Professor Margaret Thornton is a socio-legal and feminist scholar whose work on the legal academy and the legal profession is internationally recognised. She has published extensively in the area of discrimination and the law. Her book The Liberal Promise (Oxford, 1990) remains the only critical study of discrimination law in Australia. Her book, Dissonance and Distrust (Oxford 1996) is the only study of women in the legal profession in Australia. Margaret also has a particular interest in the impact of the corporatisation of universities on the legal academy. Her scholarship has been acknowledged by election to the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, the invitation to be a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, and the award of an ARC Professorial Fellowship, in additional to international fellowships.

Dr Karen O'Connell (UTS, Sydney) is an expert in discrimination law, particularly sex and disability discrimination, sexual harassment, and biotechnologies of the body, neuroscience and genetics. At UTS, Dr O'Connell is a member of the Law Health Justice Centre and co-founded the Feminist Legal Research Group. With Professor Isabel Karpin she held an ARC grant on The Legal Regulation of Behaviour as a Disability (2015-2019) and continues to work at the intersection of equality laws and the biosciences. She previously worked in human rights law and policy at the Australian Human Rights Commission. In a number of senior roles, she produced national guidelines on sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination. She is on the advisory board of the Berkeley Center for Comparative Equality and Anti-Discrimination Law and is Convenor of their COVID-19 Intersectionality Group.

Radhika Chaudhri is a University Medallist and a PhD candidate at the ANU College of Law. Her research relates to economic forms of domestic violence. In particular, the PhD project investigates the role that equitable doctrines play in responding to transactions entered into through financial abuse. Radhika sits on the ACT Ministerial Advisory Council for Women, where she advises on legal responses to domestic violence. She has worked as an associate to the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia.

Sally Moyle (MODERATOR) is an Honorary Associate Professor at the ANU, associated with the Gender Institute. Sally has had extensive experience in international development policy and practice, and almost twenty years' experience addressing gender issues both domestically and in international development. Most recently, until August 2019, Sally was the Chief Executive Officer at CARE Australia, and, between 2013 and 2016, was the Principal Gender Specialist and Assistant Secretary with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Sally has been in senior executive roles in the Australian Government since 2008, including DFAT, the Office for Women, and working on Indigenous Affairs and in Disability Care in the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. Sally was the Gender Adviser in AusAID between 2006 and 2008.

Fiona Jenkins (CHAIR) has been part of the management team of the ANU Gender Institute since its inception in 2011. She was previously the Convenor of the ANU Gender Institute, between 2013-15, and commenced her second term in this role in July 2019. She is also an Associate Professor in the School of Philosophy at ANU. Her current research includes the ARC funded Discovery project, Gendered Excellence in Social Sciences, which looks at gender via the intersections of equity and ideas of 'excellence' in academic disciplines; and a project which links Judith Butler's philosophical work with wider questions about constitutional and political imaginaries, including the role of gender in these. She has been involved in civil society monitoring of Australia's National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and engages with a wide range of strategies to improve gender equity.

This event will be held in-person in the Manning Clark Hall in the Cultural Centr, Kambri precinct,153 University Avenue, Acton ACT 2601. Registration is essential and guests must show their Eventbrite ticket and check in using the CBR check-in app on arrival.

Date and Times


Room: Manning Clark Hall