Sustainable Futures and the importance of Gender

Sustainable Futures and the importance of Gender

Centre for Women’s Studies & Gender Research, Sociology Public Lecture 2017

When 17 August 2017    Time 12-2 pm   Where State Library Victoria

Sustainable Futures and the importance of Gender

The 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals identify gender equality as a key goal for sustainable futures. This panel of experts examines the importance of gender, globally, nationally and locally, as we develop social and political structures to achieve long term sustainability. The panellists interrogate the critical role of gender interventions as personal, communal and global.

Janelle Weissman, Executive Director UN Women Australia

What’s gender got to do with it?  The SDGs and the 2030 Agenda

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer a roadmap for every country in the world to advance peace, prosperity and to protect the planet. Different to the MDGs, gender is central to each of the 17 goals. Ms Weissman will speak about the importance of and substance behind the standalone gender goal, and why applying a gender lens to the achievement of each of the SDGs will be critical to our success, locally, nationally and globally.

Professor Margaret Alston, OAM, Monash University

Gender, Sustainability and Climate in Australia and the Asia Pacific

Using recent research on water restructuring in the Murray Darling Basin, Professor Alston will explore impacts on affected dairy communities and the ways in which complex and precarious gendered livelihood strategies are emerging. She highlights the importance of gendered analyses of climate change and disaster situations in order to understand critical impacts and challenges in environmental and social change.

Dr Yolande Strengers, Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT

Plugging the Wife Drought: Smart homes and gendered futures

Sustainable futures and the importance of gender' relates to how futuristic global visions of the smart home are romanticising and reproducing traditional gender roles (aiming to fix Annabel Crabb's ‘Wife Drought', whilst simultaneously generating new forms of domestic labour that are, ironically, more likely to be performed by men. They are also reproducing masculine ideals of sustainability, such as automated appliances and detailed consumption feedback designed for ‘Resource Man'. The key challenge is ensuring that we bring women's voices to the technology table.

Moderator: Associate Professor Jo Lindsay,Sociology, Monash University

Speaker biographies 

Janelle Weissman, Executive Director, UN Women National Committee Australia

For the past twenty years, Janelle Weissman has worked to strengthen social justice organisations tackling issues from empowering women through to supporting people with HIV/AIDS. Since joining the team at UN Women National Committee (NC) Australia in 2014, funds raised to support UN Women programs to empower and protect women have substantially increased. Under her leadership, UN Women NC Australia is positioned to increase its annual contribution to $1.7 million by 2020.

Prior to her work with UN Women NC Australia, Janelle was Director of Communications and Development at Family Planning Queensland, a sexual and reproductive health, education and training organisation. Before relocating to Australia, she was Executive Director of two philanthropic foundations and a venture philanthropy giving circle. Janelle completed her Masters in Nonprofit Management from Regis University in Denver, Colorado USA, as a Colorado Trust Fellow, in 2001, and her Masters in International Studies at the University of Queensland, as a Rotary World Peace Fellow, in 2009.

Margaret Alston Professor of Social Work and Head of Department at Monash University.

At Monash University Professor Alston has established the Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability (GLASS) research unit which has attracted an extensive number of PhD students. Previously she was at Charles Sturt University for 21 years, most recently as Professor of Social Work. In 2010 she was awarded an Order of Australia for her services to social work and to rural women.

She is a past-Chair of the Australian Heads of Schools of Social Work (ACHSSW) and was appointed a Foundation Fellow of the Australian College of Social Work in 2011. She is currently CI on an ARC project on social sustainability in the Murray-Darling Basin area and on the ARC Invisible Farmer project with the Victorian Museum to develop awareness of rural women’s contribution to Australian society.

Dr Yolande Strengers, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT

Dr Strengers is a sociologist of design and technology specialising in visions of and everyday lived experiences with smart technology. As co-leader of the Beyond Behaviour Change Program at RMIT University's Centre for Urban Research, Dr Strengers leads a program of applied research oriented towards achieving sustainability outcomes and energy consumption reductions in households. Her book on ‘Smart energy technologies in everyday life' (Palgrave MacMillan, 2013) revealed a gendered vision for the smart energy consumer – or Resource Man – who is imagined as a tech-savvy and data-driven energy user. She currently holds an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher  Award on ‘Automating the Smart Home', where she is uncovering further gendered implications of future sustainability visions.

Moderator: Associate Professor Jo Lindsay, Sociology, Monash University 

Associate Professor Jo Lindsay is in the Sociology discipline in the School of Social Sciences (SoSS). Jo specialises in the sociology of families, consumption and the environment.At Monash Jo leads the Research Impact Portfolio in the School of Social Sciences and is on the executive of Monash Infrastructure.  Nationally, Jo is on the board of the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences and as past president of The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) she has a long term commitment to the association. Internationally, Jo is on the academic organising committee of the EcoCity world Summit 2017 and the International Sociological Association World Congress planned for 2022.