The face of the nation? Exploring gender equality in international affairs

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and against a background of cascading crises, a rise in right-wing misogyny and anti-women’s-rights backlash, and archaic institutions moving at a glacial pace, women and gender-diverse people remain frequently sidelined, undervalued, and overlooked in international affairs. Despite some progress, international affairs has a gender problem and remains one of the worst-performing sectors of the state.

The Face of the Nation, the new award-winning book from Dr Elise Stephenson, Deputy Director of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at ANU, shines a spotlight on these issues. In the book, Dr Stephenson traces the evolution of inequalities in international affairs and interrogating why women and gender diverse folk still remain underrepresented in this field.

The book features in-depth interviews with almost 80 global leaders, including with Australia’s first female foreign minister, and Chancellor of the Australian National University, The Hon Julie Bishop.

Join us to hear Julie Bishop and Elise Stephenson discuss the lack of gender representation and diversity in international affairs, reflect on the barriers to participation and consider how best to advance change for this in conversation event, facilitated by Professor Susan Harris-Rimmer.

The event will be followed by a reception with drinks, light canapes and the opportunity for networking.

Thank you to the Trawalla Foundation and Women's Leadership Institute Australia for their generous support of this event.

About the speakers

The Hon Julie Bishop is Chancellor of the Australian National University, appointed in 2020. Ms Bishop served as Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2013 until 2018. She was the first female to hold the role as well as the first female Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, serving for 11 years.

In a political career spanning over 20 years, Julie also served as Minister for Education, Science and Training, Minister for Women’s Issues and Minister for Ageing.

Dr Elise Stephenson is the Deputy Director of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at the Australian National University. 2022 Fulbright Scholar and Overall Outstanding Young Alumnus for 2020, Dr Stephenson is a multi-award-winning gender researcher with an entrepreneurial background, whose work focuses on intervening at critical junctures to ensure equality in ‘frontier’ international affairs and grand challenges.

Dr Stephenson has studied women’s leadership and gender relations in Australia over the last 30+ years, spanning across diplomacy, defence, national security, policing, and intelligence.

Professor Susan Harris-Rimmer is a professor at Griffith Law School whose research focuses international human rights law, gender equality and climate justice. She was named one of 100 global gender experts by Apolitical 2018 and is the co-convenor of the Griffith Gender Equality Research Network.

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