Opening Address - The International Drive to Achieve Gender Equality and the Elimination of Gender-based Violence against Women and Girls

Date: Tuesday, 10 February 2015
Time: 2.30 pm – 2.55 pm
Location: UNSW Law Theatre G04
Chair: Jan Breckenridge, Associate Professor, Arts & Social Sciences, and Co-convenor, Gendered Violence Research Network, UNSW
Speaker(s): Anne Edwards AO, Emeritus Professor, and Chair, ANROWS (Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety)

We are all too well aware of the seriousness, pervasiveness, and apparent intractability of gender-based violence against women and girls in all countries of the world. Our media constantly report on particularly horrific instances whether in armed conflicts, in terrorist raids, in specific cultural groups or localised settings, or in everyday life and in private homes. The UN Commission on the Status of Women has produced a comprehensive and authoritative analysis of the historical and structural causes of gender-based violence and discrimination and an ambitious program of actions for governments and for civil society to counter such violence. What can we learn from this and how is Australia tackling this complex and deep-rooted phenomenon?

Professor Anne Edwards has spent her career in universities, first in England and then in Australia. She held the position of Vice-Chancellor of Flinders University in Adelaide from January 2001 to December 2007, following a period as Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Previously she was at Monash University in Melbourne for many years. Professor Edwards is a sociologist and has authored a number of journal articles, research papers, reports and conference papers and has produced three books. Her research interests cover social policy, the state, power and social control, social inequality, gender and women’s issues, ageing and youth and she has been a consultant in the human services sector. She has worked in various capacities to advance the interests of women – within universities, as a Foundation Trustee of the South Australian Women’s Trust, and as Co-Convenor of the South Australian Premier’s Council for Women. Professor Edwards is currently the inaugural Chair of Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) established in 2013 as the National Centre of Excellence to reduce violence against women and their children. Professor Edwards holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and a PhD in sociology from the University of London and is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.