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For feminist columnist Clementine 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.
Both Ford and Summers have been described as feminist voices of their respective generations. In this conversation – as part of our HEY GIRL series – the pair will 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?
Dr Anne Summers AO is a best-selling author, journalist and thought-leader with a long career in politics, the media, business and the non-government sector in Australia, Europe and the United States. She is author of nine books, including the classic Damned Whores and God's Police, Ducks on the Pond, The Lost Mother, and The Misogyny Factor.
Clementine Ford is a Melbourne-based writer, speaker and feminist thinker. She is a columnist for Fairfax’s Daily Life and is a regular contributor to the Age and Sydney Morning Herald. Through her twice-weekly columns for Daily Life, Clementine explores issues of gender inequality and pop culture. Fight Like a Girl is her first book.
It’s possible Beyonce called it a little early when she declared, Who run the world? Girls! But if girls don’t (yet) rule the whole planet, they will at least rule the Wheeler Centre for one week in October. HEY GIRL examines the experience of girlhood through a feminist lens – from race, identity and sexuality to development and mental health, the role of social media, to the representation of girls in fiction and more broadly in the media.
What defines girlhood and how is that changing? How do experiences and representations of girlhood vary? Join us to explore the challenges that girls continue to face and let’s hatch some plans to kick those obstacles to the kerb.