Here, as part of Melbourne's IQ2 Debate Series, six very passionate feminists, including one male, go head to head.
After generations of effort, it's still very much a man's world. Women continue to bear a disproportionate burden of domestic labor, are under-represented in the senior ranks of politics, business and the professions, and they're still often denied equal pay for equal work.
But do women really only have themselves to blame? Is it female acquiescence that has prolonged male domination rather than macho-suppressive tendencies? Or should we be taking a different perspective altogether and instead be celebrating a wider victory, where concerns for equality have less to do with gender and are more driven by a concern for justice for all?
Regardless of the competing arguments, one thing both sides agreed on: there's much more work to be done.
Gay Alcorn began her career in Queensland, and joined The Sunday Age before its launch in 1989. She went on to become The Age's Washington correspondent from 1999-2002, where she covered both the 2000 presidential election and the September 11 terrorist attacks. She has won three Walkley Awards. Alcorn is currently the editor for The Sunday Age.
Jennifer Byrne has 26 years experience in television, radio and print journalism. Over the years she has interviewed many world leaders for television programs such as "60 Minutes", "7.30 Report" and "Lateline". She is currently presenter of the "First Tuesday Book Club" on ABC TV.
Monica Dux is a Melbourne writer. She studied and taught history at the University of Melbourne, and was the Founding Editor of the interdisciplinary journal Traffic. She is a regular contributor to The Age and has published widely on women's issues. In 2008 she co-authored the book The Great Feminist Denial. She is currently working on a book about modern motherhood.
Virginia Haussegger is an award winning journalist, author and social commentator. Her outspoken views on women and their place in contemporary society have been widely debated in the Australian media, in public forums and on talkback radio. She currently presents the nightly news for the ABC in Canberra.
Dr. Simon Longstaff is Executive Director of St. James Ethics Centre. Simon spent five years studying and working as a member of Magdalene College, Cambridge. Having won scholarships to study at Cambridge, he read for the degrees of Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy. He was inaugural President of The Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics and is a Director of a number of companies. He is a Fellow of the World Economic Forum and a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Foreign Policy Association, based in New York.
Stephen Mayne is a Walkley Award winning journalist who for almost 10 years worked as a reporter, business editor, gossip columnist and chief of staff for a variety of Australian newspapers. Mayne launched www.crikey.com.au in February 2000, then sold it in 2005 but remains a Crikey contributor. Mayne has been an active campaigner for more women on public company boards over the past year, raising the issue several times at AGMs and in the media.
Wendy McCarthy has been an educator, advocate and commentator in Australian public life and company director for the past forty years. Her corporate advisory practice McCarthy Mentoring specializes in providing mentors to major corporations and the public sector and assisting these organizations with issues around diversity and women's leadership. She was a founding member and co-convenor of the Women's Electoral Lobby in 1972. She is currently a member of many boards, is Chair of McGrath Estate Agents and Chair Accreditation Advisory Board of the Advertising Federation.
Australian journalist Gay Alcorn claims that feminism has failed to influence pop culture. Alcorn describes the unrealistic expectations for women today explaining that, "no longer do women have to be young and beautiful when they are young, but they have to be young and beautiful when they are old."