The Wheeler Centre
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HEY GIRL: Fighting Like a Girl in the 21st Century
Both Clementine Ford and Anne Summers have been described as feminist voices of their respective generations. In this conversation – as part of our HEY GIRL series – the pair focus on the notion of girlhood and discuss how experiences in their early lives shaped their ideas around feminism. How has the feminist fight changed? Has progress stagnated or are we in a moment of renewed feminist vigour and optimism? And what kind of future awaits Australian girls?
For Ford, the phrase ‘fight like a girl’ is one that girls should embrace. It means ‘to be strong’, Ford has declared, and ‘to know that you matter’. She’s even gone so far as to name her debut book – part memoir, part polemic – Fight Like a Girl. The book is about battlegrounds for girls and women in Australia in the 21st century. How have these battlegrounds shifted since second wave feminism?
There aren’t too many people in Australia more qualified to address that question than Anne Summers. The author of eight books, including the 1975 classic, Damned Whores and God’s Police, she’s a legend of Australian feminism. As a writer, activist and head of the Office of the Status of Women during the Hawke era – her influence through media and public policy is immeasurable.