Last week, much like the rest of the world, UC celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD) with a special In Conversation event hosted by the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation Director, Virginia Haussegger, followed by a morning tea to gather the community.
The day also marked the first anniversary of Ms Haussegger’s brainchild and by-product of the Foundation, BroadAgenda – “a blog for broads, blokes, brawn & brain.”
In a BroadAgenda post at the end of 2017, the year was reflected on by noting some big achievements, including: publishing the work of 112 contributors from across ten nations, reaching a total of 1.57 million Twitter impressions, and featuring interviews with the likes of Malaysia’s Human Rights Commissioner.
In an interview with Curieux the day before the blog was launched, Ms Haussegger said that she was motivated to set up the BroadAgenda after meeting academics at UC.
“I found myself sitting in a meeting looking around a table thinking there are twenty great stories here, why isn’t the world hearing about them,” Ms Haussegger said.
BroadAgenda began before the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation, an initiative by the University of Canberra’s Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, had officially launched in September 2017. The Foundation aims to achieve gender equality in leadership roles in government and the public sector by 2030.
Editor of BroadAgenda, Dr Pia Rowe, said that a project that she’s particularly proud of and thinks represents the important work of the blog is their series of articles, Meet the Male Feminist. This series included interviews with influential men such as a Finnish MP and Australian journalist, Mark Kenny.
“We managed to get this cross-section of different viewpoints of how men who are absolutely a vital part of the public debate at the moment, who are in positions of power, view these issues,” said Dr Rowe.
The anniversary of BroadAgenda was spent at a campus morning tea to celebrate IWD and this year’s theme, #PressForProgress, on March 8. Dr Rowe said it was great to see the support and enthusiasm from everyone who came.
“It shows that everyone is reflecting about these issues at the moment. It’s not just a niche thing that we are talking about amongst ourselves, it’s actually something that people are publicly debating, and people want to celebrate that.”
Although the event did engage students, a student voice in BroadAgenda is something Dr Rowe said they could definitely do more of.
“In a roundabout way, we want to make sure [students] have a better future in terms of these issues. That’s a work in progress,” Dr Rowe said.
As for the year ahead, Dr Rowe said with ambition and a laugh, they want to do more of everything.
“We want to be engaging the mainstream – this is the heart of what we do. We are here to make sure the debate is loud, and we are raising the voices of those who have been silenced before.”
Dr Rowe noted that although she feels change is upon us and that people are tired with the way things haven’t progressed, the gender dialogue comes with the risk of backlash.
“I want to make abundantly clear is that this isn’t about making sure that women are somehow more prevalent than men. This is about equality for all.”
“My goal is to keep pushing this gender equality agenda out there in public to keep the debate going because we will not achieve any change unless we keep pushing for it. This is the challenge we are engaging in,” Dr Rowe said.
Images provided by BroadAgenda.