Feminist Ecologies in Australia Symposium

The symposium was opened with Welcome to County by Wurundjeri Elder Diane Kerr.

Professor Germaine Greer's public keynote lecture entitled ‘Mother? Nature?' discussed how, throughout much of the world, women suffer the effects of environmental degradation more acutely than men due to women’s dependence on the land to generate income and for the nourishment of their families.

Aunty Diane Kerr, Wurundjeri Elder (Ganun Willam Balak)

She described her experiences rehabilitating a rainforest she purchased in the Numinbah Valley in Queensland in 2002 and reminded us of the important contributions made by female botanists and scientists who have altered how we understand the complex biological interactions of all life forms on this planet. Professor Greer gave great insight into how we can all contribute to making Australia sustainable in the twenty-first century in the face of a changing climate. It was an inspirational lecture delivered with the passion, erudition and conviction for which Professor Greer is so well known.

'Feminist Ecologies in Australia' symposium was held the following day at The University of Melbourne with keynote addresses from Associate Professor Linda Williams (RMIT) and Professor Alison Bartlett (University of Western Australia) as well as papers from pre-eminent scholars in the environmental humanities including Professor Kate Rigby (Monash University) and Professor Robyn Eckersley (University of Melbourne).

The huge variety of speakers who took part in the symposium brought to life the extraordinary legacy of Australian ecofeminist philosophers, theorists, activists, poets, writers, visual artists and performers and their impact on shaping the environmental humanities globally.

Professor Denise Varney, Mr Philip Kent, Professor Germaine Greer, Ms Margaret Jackson ACSome of the feminist ecological perspectives discussed in the papers included the Pine Gap women's anti-nuclear and anti-war protests in 1983, Australian women activists who were instrumental in the successful 'World Park' Antarctica Campaign, Australia's major mining towns and their increased levels of domestic violence against women and female economic hardship, Judith Wright's poetry, Elizabeth Jolley's fiction, the performances of Jill Orr and even a performance of a contemporary field recording of birds in a local urban environment. The day was a great success with a lot of lively discussion amongst both the presenters and the symposium attendees. We were very honoured to have one of the protestors from the famed Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp (1981-2000) amongst our attendees!

This program was supported by the Macgeorge Bequest, the University Library and the School of Culture and Communication.

For more information please visit the University Library Germaine Greer Archive web page.