Residential students Claudia Cameron and Georgia Smith organised the breakfast, which featured three guest speakers: Senator Jane Hume (TC 1989), Liberal Senator for Victoria, the Honourable Justice Chris Maxwell (TC 1971) AC QC, Male Champions of Change and Jenny McGregor AM, CEO of Asia Link at the University of Melbourne.
Senator Hume challenged the traditional paradigm of the female superhero who is capable of doing everything, reflecting on her view of feminism, and the rights of women to “mediocrity” just like their male compatriots.
“What I personally think feminism is – or should be – is the right to normality, to mediocrity with respect, because that’s what men tend to have, you can be a pretty ordinary kind of fella and still be very well respected by your peers, family, spouse and your children,” said Senator Hume.
Ms McGregor echoed the Senator’s sentiments stating she was all for “respectable mediocrity”, while also promoting the role men can play in empowering women.
“The real game-changer on all the strategies we’ve had for literally 50 years, is trying to get male champions of change,” said Ms McGregor.
Since 2015, Justice Maxwell has been a Male Champion for Change. Justice Maxwell discussed the role of men and their responsibility in bringing about gender equality.
“Gender equality has been a ‘women’s issue’ for far too long. It’s not a women’s issue; it’s a human rights issue. It’s about equality to which we all subscribe,” said Justice Maxwell.
The audience were later invited to ask questions in a Q&A forum with discussion ranging from women hitting the glass ceiling in a work sense, to the notion of men working part time and being the primary care giver for their children.
The breakfast served as a powerful reminder that both men and women have a responsibility in promoting gender equality.