Event :: Owning The F Word, 22 August, Melbourne

Feminism sexism gender equality diversity equal pay discrimination human rights activist Prue Gilbert Lars Engstrom sexist

When I listened to Emma Watson speech at the United Nations to launch it’s HeForShe campaign I knew a new era of feminism had arrived. Thank goodness.

The HeForShe campaign is a solidarity movement for gender equality. It is as much about breaking down male stereotypes and freeing men of expectations, as it is about improving the status of women. It is a call for men to care as much about the biases they face in their lives as the institutionalised discrimination faced by their female counterparts. Feminism needs both men and women to acknowledge the limitations placed on each other in order to make change.

So let’s talk.

On Saturday 22 August, me and Michelle Wright will be hosting a Swedish fika afternoon tea, where a reformed Swedish sexist and Australian human rights activist talk feminism, gender equality, workplace diversity, high performing companies and personal relationships. There will be warm beverages. There will be cinnamon buns. Join us.



In Australia today:

  • The equal pay gap stands at 18.2% in favour of men
  • 1 in 2 women report experiencing pregnancy related discrimination while pregnant, on maternity leave or on return to work
  • 1 in 5 women over th age of 15 report experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace
  • Self employed women are superannuation’s biggest losers


Gender equality isn’t just a women’s issue. Today’s dialogue about achieving equal access to work, financial independence and health relies on both men and women working together.

Too often we get caught up with thinking tackling these issues is out of our hands, that they’re too big, too systemic and too powerful for our own actions to make a difference. But change starts with us – in our relationships, in our homes, in our workplaces and in our families.

This discussion brings together two gender equality activists – Lars Einar Engström, a self confessed recovering sexist from Sweden, and Prue Gilbert, a lawyer, tech entrepeneur and human rights award winner from Australia – to talk about how we are the change.

:: How do we start with our own lives?
:: How do manage our careers, biases and human needs?
:: How do we raise children to make a difference?
:: What’s at stake if we don’t make change?
:: Where is it working throughout the world?

Come prepared with questions you’d like discuss with Lars and Prue. This will be part presentation and part interactive session. We look forward to your participation in a lively discussion and meeting like minded game changers, and sharing a Swedish style fika of coffee and something sweet to eat.

Lars’ latest book will be available for purchase at the event.


About Lars Einar Engström
Lars is a trained psychologist, a senior partner with the Swedish consultant company Edcolby AB and author. He has written four books, two of which have been translated into English, Confessions of a Sexist (2008) and Your Career in Your Hands (2011). His most recent book Stand Up and Be A Real Man (2015), will be available for purchasing and signing on the day.
Lars writes for the online community MARC: Men Advocating Real Change, a group of men committed to achieving gender equality in the workplace. He also writes an online column for the Swedish business school IHM (www.ihm.se) and for newspapers throughout Scandinavia. Lars has lectured in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, UK, Lithuania, Australia and the United States on topics including equal opportunities, gender and leadership, as well as organizational development. He has lived and worked in Paris and London. As a consultant, he has worked with many international companies, including Ericsson, Accenture, Copenhagen Business School, Ernst & Young, Vattenfall, Know It, Computer Associates, Live Nation, Scandinavian Airlines, and Skandia. Prior to becoming a consultant, Lars specialized in organizational development as a manager at the Bonnier Group, Apple Computer and Pharmacia. See Lars speaking on Fox News here and here.

About Prue Gilbert

Prue is a lawyer, gender equality activist and founder and managing director of Grace Papers, a digital platform empowering women to manage their careers through parenthood. Prue is a highly regarded leader in diversity strategy and compliance. She brings over 15 years’ experience in compliance, senior business leadership and strategy, specifically in the disciplines of diversity compliance, gender equity, reputation and risk, and discrimination.
In 2010, Prue founded Grace Papers to advise CEOs and Boards on gender balance strategies. Leveraging her unique skill set as a compliance and diversity practitioner, she empowers organisations to create working environments that are fair and flexible, promote personal and professional growth, capitalise on the capabilities and leadership of a gender diverse and inclusive culture which necessarily enhance the bottom line.

Prue’s thought leadership drives change at both societal and organisational levels and was recognised by WGEA for Leading CEO for the Advancement of Women in 2010 (Corporate Express CEO Paul Hitchcock). Prue was also named a finalist in the WGEA Employer of Choice Awards 2010, a finalist in the NSW Women’s Lawyer’s Association in-house lawyer of the year in 2010, led CE to win the diversity@work award for the Equal Advancement of Women in the Workplace in 2010, and the 2009 ACLA Sustainability Award.

Prue’s particular passion and expertise is to eradicate pregnancy related discrimination through programs that drive important social and commercial outcomes to create workplaces that are both inclusive and productive. Her 6 Steps to Returning to Work coaching program is successfully used by organisations to retain and support women during pregnancy and beyond.



Check out Emma Watson’s HeForShe launched speech here.



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