Posted by: jkirkby8712 | February 2, 2011

Tuesday, 1st February 2011 – a question of gender politics!

Thankfully, a  partial cool change came through late this afternoon which gave some relief to the high 30s of most of Tuesday. Officially, one month of Summer remaining.

At the radio tonight, I was pleased that both my preceding and following program presenters both came to do their programs for change, and I wasn’t left feeling like an island midst a sea of that ‘lack of commitment element’ I was referring to a day or so ago! Had a couple of special treats to broadcast tonight, including two preview tracks from the new Australian produced musical of ‘Dr Zhivago’ based on the book [1957]  and movie [1965] of the same name. Australia’s Anthony Warlow was to play the leading role, and if the music I played today –  [was I first on air to play these tracks on radio, anywhere?]  –  was any indication of what a wonderful we were in for, it will be a performance to look forward to.  The ‘musical’ Dr Zhivago opens in Sydney on February 19th, and comes down here to Melbourne in late April.  As well as playing these two new tracks, I included in the segment, a recording from the original movie soundtrack by the MGM studio orchestra, and a Roger William’s piano version of ‘Lara’s Theme’ [mix of the old and the new].

My ‘damaged’ [virus inflicted] computer was finally returned to me today –  I had been managing with the laptop over recent weeks, so had not been too concerned to pressure Jimmy [Susie’s boyfriend] to rush things. My main concern had been the potential loss of dozens of word and excel files, so I was particularly relieved to discover that these appeared to be intact!  Phew!!!  From this point a much more organised approach to copying of wanted files etc was to be in order! Also received advice that my motor mower repairs/service had also been finished and the machine was ready for pick up – until sigh of relief, as the grass around my place has really being starting to concern me. Met the ‘elderly’ neighbour whilst out walking on Saturday morning and ‘apologised’ to him for the state of the nature strip in front of my home which currently stood out a little from some in the vicinity, and explained the lack of a machine at present. He actually offered to run over that section later in the week, although I indicated that I ‘somewhat optimistically’ hoped to have my mower back within a day or two! For a change, that optimism paid off!

Tuesday night, and ‘The Late Session’ TV chat show was on again –  I noticed that over the last few weeks there seems to be a bit of similarity in the nature of subjects discussed. Today’s topic – ‘gender politics’!!  – about that little thing referred to as ‘X’ and ‘Y’ – and a light hearted look at where men and women are today –  are women taking over the world in the creation of a new gender order [someone asked, does this mean that in times economic crisis, more men will be laid off than women, or if the battle of the sexes is over, why are there still so few women perched on top of the world’s corporate ladder?  Interestingly however, while few in numbers, there are women in 2011, who are corporate leaders of industries, such as mining, technology etc which would not have been considered a generation ago.  And while they might be few at the business pinnacles, there is no shortage of working performing the roles of political leaders – very obvious here in Australia at present – Prime Minister, Premiers, Governors, etc. So tonight’s topic tried to canvass just where Australia’s men and women see themselves today, and the ‘mix’ of guests as usual with Waleed Aly [the host] provided a range of ideas. As for the host, well FOR a man so given to precision in language and order of thought, Waleed Aly’s career is a fabulously sprawling accident. Aly, 32, is a lecturer and doctoral candidate at Monash University, an author, essayist and opinion writer, he is host or co-host, fill-in host, regular guest and, in one case, co-creator of six radio and television programs. He has been a lawyer, is a qualified engineer and has been on the executive of the Muslim Council of Victoria. He would chuck it all in in a flash, he says, if the band in which he plays guitar, Robot Child, could crack the big time

 Now, I like to look at the bios of these dinner guests each week, because often in that way, we can get an idea of their approach to the topic in advance of they may answer any questions posed, etc. So here they are – tonight’s guests, with bios complements of shows promotions.

Ann Sherry
Corporate heavyweight Ann Sherry has presided over probably the most interesting and difficult “restructures” of all: a shake-up of Australia’s male-dominated business culture.  She says bluntly, that things have to change “before I am dead”.  Starting her career at a time when job advertisements in her hometown of Brisbane were divided by gender, Ann has done more than her share to break through the glass ceiling for women in the years since.  She has held senior bureaucratic roles in state and federal government, including leading the Office of the Status of Women. Her major banking positions included CEO of Westpac New Zealand and CEO of the Bank of Melbourne. As Group Executive, People & Performance (Westpac), she was a major driver of cultural change, community engagement and customer focus in commercial and retail banking. In 2004, Ann was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her work improving the corporate world’s attitudes to gender equity, diversity and work-family balance.  She is currently the CEO of Carnival Australia, owner of P&O Cruises. Her transformative skills were sought by the company reeling from the shocking and tragic death of Brisbane woman Dianne Brimble during one of its voyages.

Jackie Loeb
Jackie Loeb has been told she’s very funny … “for a woman”.  Acutely aware of the gender imbalances in the Australian stand-up comedy scene, the Sydney comedian has been known to use her dark art as “a great way to vent and seek justice”. And her take on body image now officially has her labelled “the comic who got down to her bra and undies”. “Comedy is not embedded in our culture the way it is in America,” she says. “There you can have a gay woman comedian on television. It’s not even an issue. Ellen de Genere’s sexuality is secondary to the fact that she’s a brilliant performer.” A comedian, actor, writer, vocalist and musician, Jackie’s comic career began in 1992. Her solo show, Jackie Loeb Sings the Worst Songs Ever Written was a hit at the 2010 Sydney Comedy Festival.  Yet Jackie says she’s simply your average woman. Like a humble, ordinary sponge cake. (But you’ll have to watch her on The Late Session for more of that!)

Emily Maguire
Emily Maguire grew up wishing girls could have as much fun as boys.  “Femaleness” and girlie stuff seemed a burdensome bore; something to be rejected. Back then the greatest compliment possible was that she wasn’t like most girls.  But by the time the Sydney-born woman reached adulthood, her wistfulness had morphed into feminism. “Feminism,” she says “comes from living a life”.  Emily’s articles on sex, religion and culture have been published in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the Griffith Review and The Monthly. She’s tackled perving, prostitution, double standards, the pope, share-housing, feminism, assault, celebrities, and “bad” behaviour. In 2007, she was awarded an Edna Ryan Award for her writing on gender issues.  Emily’s fiction and non-fiction works include Princesses and Pornstars, now re-worked for teens as Your Skirt’s Too Short: Sex, Power, Choice, The Gospel According to Luke, Smoke in the Room and Taming the Beast.

Richard Glover
Broadcaster and writer Richard Glover is still perplexed how “5 per cent of men” – the ockerish, beer-swilling, sports-mad and sexist ’70s Australian stereotype – managed to convince everyone they represented Australian masculinity.  For a young Glover, the expectation was akin to being strapped into a straight jacket. So it should come as no surprise that the confused adolescent sought and found refuge in Canberra’s feminist theatre scene. A truly formative experience, he says. Richard has spent the past two decades writing his humour column for The Sydney Morning Herald. According to Augusten Burroughs, “He’s made ordinary family life extraordinarily entertaining.”  Richard presents the daily Drive program on ABC Radio in Sydney, and has been shortlisted for the Walkley Award three times, for both radio interviews and newspaper journalism. He’s written 12 books, including the bestselling In Bed with Jocasta, The Dag’s Dictionary and Desperate Husbands.  His 2010 collection of stories, Why Men are Necessary, is a humorous take on Australian family life.  Richard lives in Sydney with his partner, Australian writer Debra Oswald. They have two children.

Roy Masters
Roy Masters grew up at a time when Australian men were “stoic, drank a lot of beer, smoked a lot of cigarettes and harboured a lot inside.”  Roy has spent most of his working life either participating in or chronicling a male-dominated sports field. He began his career as a teacher coaching school boys league and went on to coach first grade rugby league for a decade. He is St George’s longest- serving coach and Western Suburbs Coach of the Century.  Roy was an inaugural member of the Australian Sports Commission and served on the board for 25 years. A sports columnist with the Sydney Morning Herald, Roy’s television appearances include the ABC’s Offsiders and Q&A. He has written a number of books on the football business, including Bad Boys, which discusses sex scandals and other bad behaviour across football codes.  His latest book, Higher, Richer, Sleazier, discusses sportsmanship, money, drugs, and the future of modern sport.

I must say that as an indication of  Ann Sherry’s ‘business’, she had to unusually leave before the end of the program to ‘catch a plane’, strange she was unable to schedule a full hour to the program. As for our stand-up comic, Jackie Loeb, she also vanished briefly towards the end of the session [to go to the bathroom??] – while she was away, a bit of a discussion began about the ‘relationship’ between Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her partner/husband –  then suddenly, Jackie reappeared at the table in the guise of Julia Gillard, and ended the program performing as our PM. Extremely realistic and well down.

Next week’s discussion is apparently on the subject of age and wisdom – if 70 is the new 50 [hope for my future years ahead, on that basis!!], the comment is made that one of the guests for that program is the grand total of 8 years old!!  I wonder who?

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