Beyond babies and briefcases: Work for women and men in 21st century Australia

Catherine Fox; Dr Anne Summers AO; Meraiah Foley

8th Nov 2012 4:30pm-6:30pm The Darlington Centre Restaurant, The University of Sydney

The harried mum in a business suit - baby in one arm, briefcase in the other - has become the poster child of the work-life juggle. But what does it really mean to combine a successful career and an involved family life in 2012? And where is the man in this picture?

In June 2012 Anne-Marie Slaughter, the former Dean of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson-School of Public and International Affairs and a senior Washington-based bureaucrat for two years, published a piece in The Atlantic called 'Why Women Still Can't Have it All'. The article, which argued in part that feminisim had sold women a fiction by telling them that it was possible to have a brilliant career and a fulfilling home life, touched off an impassioned debate about families, the modern workplace and what it means to 'have it all'.

Forty years have passed since the feminist revolution promised equality for women in a man's world. Yet women in Australia are still poorly represented in the highest ranks of most universities and careers, still do two-thirds of all household chores, and must work an extra 64 days a year to earn the same as their male colleagues. On the flip-side, recent research suggests that many young fathers would prefer to work a compressed work week, but very few do.

Has the promise of equality failed, or do we need a new revolution?

Our speakers, three prominent journalists and feminists, take on the issues from an Australian perspective. Can women have it all? What does 'having it all' mean today, and should women - or anyone - even try?


RSVP by Thursday 1 November, 2012
Ingrid Wright


Catherine FoxCatherine Fox

Catherine is a Deputy Director of AFR Boss magazine and writes a weekly column, 'Corporate Woman', for the Australian Financial Review. She joined the AFR in 1989 and has held a variety of positions. Catherine is an author of several books including The F word - How we learnt to swear by feminism with Jane Caro, which was published in 2008. Her latest book, 7 Myths about Women and Work was published in August 2012. Her journalism has won several awards, and she is a regular speaker at seminars and conferences around the country. She is a member of several advisory bodies, and in early 2012 was appointed to the Defence Force Gender Equality Advisory Board. Catherine has a BA Communications (UTS) and MA Hons (UNSW) and lives in Sydney with her husband and three daughters.

Anne SummersDr Anne Summers AO

Anne 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 an author of several books, including the classic Damned Whores and God's Police, first published in 1975, Ducks on the Pond, her autobiography in 1999, The End of Equality, (2003), On Luck (2008) and her most recent book The Lost Mother published in 2009 by Melbourne University Press. She writes regularly for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Sunday Age, The Australian Financial Review and The Monthly.

Meraiah FoleyMeraiah Foley

Meraiah is a journalist and researcher who has covered Australia and the Asia Pacific region for some of the world's most recognised news organisations, including The Associated Press, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. Her reporting has covered political unrest in Fiji, nuclear tensions in South Korea, and nearly every variety of natural disaster in Thailand, New Zealand, Australia and the Solomon Islands. But these assignments have all paled against the challenge of bouncing a colicky baby on one knee while scrambling to file a front page story for a six o'clock deadline. She is now a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, examining the motivations and experiences of women who start their own businesses after becoming mothers.