Summit Keynote Speakers

International Feminist Summit

“Women of Ideas: Feminist Thinking for a New Era”

17 – 20 July 2007 – Townsville Australia

FARIDA AKHTER – publisher of Narigrantha Prabartana, the only Feminist Publishing House in Bangladesh. An internationally acclaimed feminist activist, Farida heads many women’s groups. She has written extensively critiquing the population control measures in Bangladesh and is an active member of FINRRAGE (Feminist International Network for Resistance Against Reproductive Technologies and Genetic Engineering). Two of her books are: Depopulating Bangladesh (1992) and Resisting Norplant: Women’s Struggle in Bangladesh Against Coercion and Violence (1995).



SHAMIMA ALI – coordinator of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC), Fiji Human Rights Commissioner and chair of the Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women. Also, Trustee of the Fiji AIDS Task Force, Member of the Institute of Justice & Legal Studies Advisory Council and the Commonwealth Foundation Advisory Council on Civil Society. Shamima advocates for women throughout the Pacific Region and has developed extensive training programmes for community education. In 2007, she was awarded the Woman of Courage Award by the US Embassy in Fiji. During and since the recent political crisis in Fiji, Shamima has been an inspiration to all Fijian and other Pacific Island women with her determination to uphold the principles of justice and human rights.


SUSAN HAWTHORNE – poet, novelist, publisher (Spinifex Press) theorist and aerialist. Susan is a long-time activist who has also worked in academia across a number of disciplines. She is author of Wild Politics (2002), an influential work on globalisation and its impact on biodiversity, Indigenous peoples and, particularly, women, and of a recent essay in Signs on biopiracy. She is also co-editor with Bronwyn Winter of September 11, 2001: Feminist Perspectives (2002) and with Renate Klein of CyberFeminism (1999). Recent research has been in the area of torture, specifically the invisibility of the torture of lesbians. Her latest book is The Butterfly Effect (poetry, 2005).



JUDY HORACEK – Australian freelance cartoonist, printmaker, writer, illustrator. Lucky enough to discover feminism and cartooning at the same time meant Judy had a lot to say and a means to say it. Her cartoons with their strong sassy female characters appear on fridge doors all over the world, and a number of them have become feminist classics. Her work has been widely published in newspapers, journals and books and also appears on teatowels, aprons and greeting cards. Six collections of her cartoons have been published, the most recent being Make Cakes Not War (Scribe, 2006). Where is the Green Sheep? won the 2005 Children’s Book of the Year Gold Medal for Early Childhood.


SHEILA JEFFREYS – founding member of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia (CATWA). Sheila teaches sexual politics, lesbian politics and international feminist politics at the University of Melbourne. She writes and speaks internationally on aspects of sexual exploitation such as prostitution, trafficking, sex tourism, child prostitution, stripping and pornography. She is the author of six books, including The Idea of Prostitution (1997) and, most recently, Beauty and Misogyny: Harmful cultural practices in the west (2006).


CATHARINE MacKINNON – lawyer, teacher, writer, activist. Catharine is Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, one of the most formidable legal minds in the United States and one of the most widely-cited legal scholars in the English language. With Andrea Dworkin, she conceived and wrote laws recognising pornography as a violation of human and civil rights. Representing Bosnian women survivors of Serbian genocidal sexual atrocities, she established legal recognition of rape as an act of genocide. She is widely published in many languages, with the most recent of her dozen books being Women’s Lives, Men’s Laws (2005) and Are Women Human? (2006).


BETTY McLELLAN – ethicist, author, psychotherapist and committed activist of long standing. One of the four women who comprise the Coalition for a Feminist Agenda, Betty’s focus is deliberately local and global. Working with others to create a solid feminist core in Townsville, she also maintains a radical commitment to global feminist activism. She has written three books, including Help! I’m Living with a [Man] Boy (1999, 2006) which has been published in 12 languages. Her fourth book, in progress, focuses on the politics of speech as a feminist ethical issue.


FLORENCE ONUS – media specialist with the Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Media Association (TAIMA) and former lecturer in Indigenous Australian Studies at James Cook University. Florence is 4th generation of women from her family who have suffered removal from land, culture and family. She is a survivor of the Stolen Generation and her maternal grandfather died in custody in the early 60s following his arrest as an agitator. Consequently, Florence has a burden and passion to continue the fight for social justice, with a particular focus on the impact of Black Deaths in Custody and Stolen Generation issues.


RAWA – the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan is an independent political/social organisation of Afghan women fighting for human rights and social justice in Afghanistan. In addition to political agitation, RAWA’s focus is on providing education, health and income generation for women. [Actual name and photograph of keynote speaker withheld for security reasons.]


PURNA SEN – Amnesty International’s Director for the Asia Pacific region. Previously, Purna was lecturer in Gender and Development at London School of Economics. Since the early 1990s, her research, writing and activism have been in the areas of violence against women, culture and human rights, sexual violence, trafficking, civil society organising against violence, as well as social development issues. She worked with women in India, Jordan, Morocco, the Nordic countries and the UK. Earlier, Purna worked on race equality, including with women’s groups such as Southall Black Sisters. Her doctoral thesis investigated women’s resistance to domestic violence in Calcutta, India. Her most recent publication is “‘Crimes of Honour’, value and meaning” in Lynn Welchman and Sara Hossain, eds. ‘Honour’: Crimes, Paradigms, and Violence Against Women (2005).