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You could argue that there’s never been a better time to be a girl in Australia. Girls are outperforming boys at school, they can now aspire to play AFL football and this year a female student was selected for the first time to compete for Australia at the coding Olympics.
But studies are showing rises in the levels of stress and anxiety among girls in the developed world. Pressures that are often especially intense for girls – relating to body image, bullying, objectification or sex, for example – are amplified in a teenage world that increasingly revolves around social media.
How can we support girls to stare down these challenges? As part of our HEY GIRL series, we’re devoting a whole Question Time session to the topic of raising girls. Got questions about girls’ education, friendship, sexual health, role models or the unique challenges facing girls from diverse backgrounds? The Question Time format is one hour of pure audience Q&A, moderated by Madeleine Morris, so bring your question along and put it to our panel.
Madeleine Morris is a Melbourne-based reporter for ABC television’s 7.30. She was formerly a presenter for the BBC in London and reported from dozens of countries before returning to her native Australia. She is the author of Guilt-Free Bottle-Feeding: Why Your Formula-Fed Baby Can Grow Up To Be Happy, Healthy and Smart, published by Finch.
Nelly Thomas has been described as one of Australia’s most natural comedians. An award-winning performer, she was listed as one of Australia’s 'most innovative thinkers' in the Age's The Zone and was featured on the ABC’s Big Ideas: The Smartest Stuff on TV, Radio and Online.
Dr Chi Watts is commissioner of the Victorian Multicultural Commission, lecturer at the College of Health and Biomedicine, and leads the Bachelor of Health Science at Victoria University. Dr Watts is a public health expert. Her expertise includes: migrant and refugee health, women’s health, social inclusion, chronic disease prevention and management, health promotion, strategic planning and health policy. Mimmie has published in international journals and is a reviewer and editor in public health related journals.
Anna Barnes is an award-winning playwright and author. Her book Girl! The Ultimate Guide To Being You (Penguin, 2012) was named one of the 2013 Eva Pownall Notable Books by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. She regularly speaks to girls at schools about various topics, from how to make your own media to self esteem. She was host to Tavi Gevinson (USA) for the 2013 Melbourne Writers Festival's Rookie Day.
In 2013, she was awarded Sydney Theatre Company’s Patrick White Playwrighting Award. Her plays and monologues have been performed around Australia. In 2015, her play MinusOneSister opened at Griffin Theatre, produced by Stories Like These.
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.
When you think ‘question time’, perhaps you picture rowdy politicians cussing each other out. But in our regular series, we’re putting the dignity back into proceedings … along with a generous amount of time. It’s one full hour of pure Q&A between you, our audience, moderator Madeleine Morris, and a…