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A World of Difference: Decolonising Feminism

Nearly 20 years ago, Aileen Moreton-Robinson’s pioneering work Talkin’ Up to the White Woman took a sledgehammer to the idea of a unified sisterhood serving the common good of all women. It was Australia’s first ever analysis of feminism from an Indigenous woman’s standpoint. So, how far have we come?

It’s a problem faced by women everywhere: against a backdrop of racism and colonial privilege, unexamined whiteness and systemic oppression, a dominant representation of feminism has prevailed. How do we un-whitewash our feminism? 

Hosted by Jamila Rizvi.

This event will be Auslan interpreted.


$25 and $20 concession, plus a one-off $4.00 transaction fee


Melbourne Town Hall



Aileen Moreton-Robinson

'I’m often seen as being incredibly aggressive, but what I want to say to people is that my grandfather and grandmother raised me and said, 'When you stop fighting, you are truly colonised".'

From the beginning of her career, Aileen Moreton-Robinson has shaped the way we think about feminism and race in Australia. A Goenpul woman of the Quandamooka people (Moreton Bay), she is Australia’s first Indigenous Distinguished Professor and is Professor of Indigenous Research at the Queensland University of Technology. She is the founding President of the Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association (ACRAWSA). Her 2000 book, Talkin' Up to the White Woman, was the first published work in Australia to engage feminism from an Indigenous woman’s standpoint.

Fatima Bhutto

'Millions of women suffer but they also struggle, they resist and fight. Pakistan is a harsh country, an unfair country, but it also produces women with extraordinary spirit.'

Fatima Bhutto was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and grew up in Syria and Pakistan. She is the author of six books of fiction and non-fiction. Her debut novel, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon, was longlisted for the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction. Songs of Blood and Sword, the memoir she wrote about the life and assassination of her father, Murtaza Bhutto, was published to great acclaim. Her most recent book is New Kings of The World, a lively look at the forces that are challenging America’s cultural dominance of the world.

Jamila Rizvi

‘Being a feminist is about more than a cute slogan on a t-shirt, it’s about more than your own personal identity. It’s about being part of and contributing to an ongoing movement.’

Jamila is Editor-at-Large of Future Women and a weekly columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age. She has published two best-selling books Not Just Lucky and The Motherhood. Rizvi is also a regular commentator on The Project, Today, The Drum, Q&A, and an occasional host on ABC Radio Melbourne. She previously worked in politics for the Rudd and Gillard Governments, advising on issues including media, women, childcare, and employment. Rizvi is an Ambassador for CARE Australia and board member of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival.

Intan Paramaditha

‘Identifying myself as a feminist writer is still important and still a political stance, but I need to be constantly aware of the implications, power relations, and more importantly, the responsibility that comes with it.’

Intan Paramaditha is a fiction writer and an academic. She holds a PhD from New York University and teaches Media and Film Studies at Macquarie University, Sydney. She is the author of a short story collection, Apple and Knife, and her upcoming novel, Gentayangan (The Wandering), received a PEN Translates Award from English PEN and PEN/Heim Translation Fund from PEN America.

Ruby Hamad

‘That the voices of Women of Colour are getting louder and more influential is a testament less to the accommodations made by the dominant white culture and more to their own grit in a society that implicitly – and sometimes explicitly – wants them to fail.’

Ruby Hamad is an author and PhD candidate in media studies and post-colonial studies at UNSW, where she is researching media criticism and coverage of Arabs and the Middle East. In 2018, Hamad’s Guardian article – ‘How White Women Use Strategic Tears to Silence Women of Colour’  – became a global flash point for debate around feminism’s intersection with racial and colonial oppression. Her new book is White Tears/Brown Scars.