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All About Women 2021 line-up announcement

Sydney – Wednesday 20 January, 2021. The Sydney Opera House today announced a program of talks, panels, film screenings, contemporary art, Q&As and workshops to be presented at its ninth annual All About Women festival, held on Sunday 7 March ahead of International Women’s Day.

All About Women 2021 features a line-up of outstanding international and Australian thinkers and storytellers in an inclusive forum that empowers the female-identifying and non-binary members of Sydney Opera House’s community in a celebration of feminism for everyone. Livestream tickets will also be available to select events, for audiences to livestream or watch on-demand from across Australia and around the world. Through an intersectional feminist lens, speakers will discuss the latest thinking on the power structures that limit the female experience, including identity, sexuality, technology, entrenched inequalities, resilience, feminist futures, sex work, mindfulness, history and cinema.

Sydney Opera House Head of Talks & Ideas and All About Women Festival Director, Dr Edwina Throsby, says: “Over the past year, the world has changed and the role of women in society, politics and culture has evolved in unexpected and powerful ways. We’ve seen the distinction between the public and the private spheres collapse, female world leaders emerge and thrive, and traditionally feminised areas like home, family and community be emphasised like never before. In 2021, the All About Women festival will provide a space for us to come together to talk, think, and be reminded of how things are better when we’re not alone.”

All About Women 2021 will feature speakers from Australia and around the world, with international guests appearing live via video link. The line-up includes:

  • Legendary writer and lifelong feminist Isabel Allende, known for bestselling novels The House of the Spirits and City of the Beasts, will discuss her 2021 memoir The Soul of a Woman, which maps her role in the feminist movement across continents, cultures, and centuries;
  • Caitlin Moran’s 2011 memoir How to Be A Woman covered masturbation, abusive relationships, and abortion. Ten years later in More Than a Woman, the British columnist turns her eye to the exasperations of middle-age. Parenthood, the seduction of botox, saggy bits – everything is up for discussion, most of all, the gendered and invisible labour of household chores;
  • Koa Beck, US author of White Feminism: From the Suffragettes to Influencers and Who They Leave Behind, and former editor-in-chief of Jezebel, executive editor of, senior features editor at and co-host of “The #MeToo Memos” on WNYC’s The Takeaway. Beck will discuss how the ideology of white feminism seeks individual power over community wellbeing - and how we can shake things up;
  • Laura Bates, UK author of Everyday Sexism and Men Who Hate Women, and founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, examines the proliferation of extremist misogynistic online communities that are radicalising boys and men with deadly consequences;
  • Leading researcher and professor Kate Crawford studies the social implications of data systems and examines how Artificial Intelligence is built upon subtle systems of power that can reproduce racist, misogynist and ableist judgements. Crawford will examine how machine classification entrenches inequality, in a conversation with multi-award-winning tech journalist Rae Johnston;
  • Sex work and feminism have long had a troubled relationship. Sex worker and writer Tilly Lawless, in conversation with CEO of the Scarlet Alliance, Jules Kim, and community sector and trans sex worker Chantell Martin, will consider the complexities of a frequently misunderstood industry – from emotional and physical labour, economic realities, and the fight to protect sex workers' rights in the age of COVID to the profession’s place within the women's movement;
  • Psychologist and founder of The Indigo Project Mary Hoang and journalist and author Christine Jackman will help audiences build a toolbox for mental wellbeing to cope with danger, doomscrolling, restrictions and uncertainty in a COVID-normal world; and
  • Entrepreneur, TV presenter, author and podcaster FlexMami (A.K.A. Lillian Ahenkan) will record a podcast of her popular Spotify Original podcast Flex's Semi-Factual History Lessons, live from the Sydney Opera House. Flex delivers history lessons that your school curriculum never could. No textbook necessary.

All About Women in Film returns to the Opera House Studio in 2021. Writer and film curator at MIFF and Golden Age Cinema, Kate Jinx, will present a program of panels, Q&As and screenings, including:

  • Brazen Hussies, the 2020 documentary directed by Catherine Dwyer about the heroes of the Women’s Liberation Movement who reignited Australia's feminist revolution in the 1960s and 70s, and;
  • Coded Bias, a documentary by American director Shalini Kantayya that explores the discoveries of MIT researcher and founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, Joy Buolamwini, about the overwhelming bias of facial recognition software and AI.

The inaugural All About Women in Film: Streaming Program will feature a compelling selection of documentaries made by women filmmakers. Curated by Kate Jinx, the premiere program will feature works by artists, archivists, storytellers and history makers who create our culture, uncovering lost figures and celebrating emerging voices. The program includes feature films, Brazen Hussies and Coded Bias, along with short documentaries from Australian filmmakers including Kate BlackmoreSarinah MasukorDiana Baker Smith & Verónica Tello, and will be available to watch online for two weeks, from Sunday 7 March.

All About Women will feature hands-on workshops in zine-making, basket weaving and mindfulness:

  • The artist behind this year's All About Women illustrations, Kim Siew, will lead a Zine Fun-damentals workshop. With a history in counterculture, punk, and the Riot Grrrl scene, zines are an incredible and inexpensive way to share art, writing and drawings without having to gain anyone's approval;
  • “Ngumpie" in Barkindtji means "Beautiful". Contemporary weaver and proud Barkindtji, Yorta Yorta woman Tegan Murdock finds healing and connection to culture in her art. Join Tegan and her mum, Margaret Murray, for a special, cross-generational Ngumpie Basket Weaving workshop; and
  • Funeral for 2020: Guided Sound Journey is a contemporary sound bath experience designed to let go of 2020, and imagine a better future. Led by the Indigo Project's Mary Hoang and Richard Lucano the workshop combines modern psychology and mindfulness in a unique, immersive, musical listening experience.

Korean artist Chan Sook Choi’s FOR GOTT EN is a rumination on trauma, resistance and survival. The artist recorded oral histories of Japanese and Korean women transformed by World War II, particularly ‘comfort women’, and took their portraits. A selection of these works will be shown for the first time in Australia in a free outdoor exhibition.

Conversations with Feminists returns in 2021, involving the entire All About Women community in a free conversation of the issues facing feminists today between a rotating group of festival attendees, speakers, and prominent Sydneysiders.

For media information, please contact:

Julia Barnes
Senior Communications Manager
0402 678 589