News and Stories - Gender - 28th November 2018

Sexism and the City

Sexism and the City

About Sexism and the City

For the first time in history there are more people living in cities than rural areas. And that’s cool right? More opportunities for all! But for women and girls worldwide the chance to work, learn and even just be in our cities is overshadowed by the constant fear of sexism and harassment. Join absolutely-no-BS journalist Jan Fran and our amazing line-up of guests as they explore hard but important questions like: Why is it women and girl’s job to adapt instead of blokes just not harassing us? How is the pay gap still a thing? Are we any better off than we were in the 60s? Can streets be sexist? And most importantly – what can we all do to end sexism in cities once and for all? Head to the streets with Jan and girls’ rights organisation Plan International Australia for this podcast, where you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and occasionally you’ll yell – that’s sexism and the city!

Spotify logo Stitcher logo Apple app store logo



Sneak preview

Episode 1: A girl walks into a bar

Have you been groped, harassed or had guys brush up against you completely unnecessarily on a night out? In this episode we explore the steps some venues are taking to crack down on bad behaviour against women. We look at public safety campaigns coming at you from the back of loo doors and how venues can design their spaces with women in mind. Turns out your local watering hole has a role to play when it comes to equality.

Guests: Kate Buchanan, Dr. Bianca Fileborn, John Greene

Episode 2: The Witness

Have you ever seen a woman being sexually harassed in public and not known what to do? Don’t worry, we’re all friends here. It turns our you’re not alone – women experience harassment and abuse in public spaces in broad daylight with witnesses every. single. day. And too often, nobody steps in. So what’s holding stand-up citizens like us from intervening? We’re going to explore why people don’t step up – and whether they should. If you see something going down in public – what would, should, could you do!

Guests: Caitlin Welsh, Jonathan Seidler, Dr Bianca Fileborn, Kate Jenkins (Sex Discrimination Commissioner), Kamal Farouque (Lawyer)

Episode 3: Now and Then

In this episode, we’re travelling back in time to Australia in 1965. The Beatles are on the radio, the contraceptive pill isn’t available and many of the freedoms women hold dear are being fought for by the women who came before us. We’re talking to some of the inspirational women who have lived the difference as they share how far we’ve come and what’s left to do, to end sexism once and for all.

Guests: Comedian Judith Lucy, Journalist Jamila Rizvi, Activist Merle Thornton

Music credits: Eva – The End Paradox, Mirror – Crowd Cheering, Adam Vitovský – Dollar Star

Episode 4: Can A Street Be Sexist?

Female bodies used to sell things. Statues celebrating men. Gendered street and shop names. These are the backdrops of our cities. But how much do we pay attention to them, and does it actually make an impact on gender roles? Can a street be sexist?

Kenneth Thor and Dr Pamela Salen think so. Kenneth Thor was so frustrated by sexist advertising at his local shopping centre that he launched a viral petition to have it taken down. Dr Pamela Salen, a gender researcher, analysed an ‘unsafe’ part of Melbourne and found it rife with subliminal sexist messaging.

In this episode, we’re discussing if our streets can impact the way we see gender.

Guests: Kenneth Thor, Dr Pamela Salen, Dr Lauren Rosewarne

Episode 5: Situational Awareness

Hands up if you always hop in the backseat of the Uber. Or if you walk without headphones on the way home when it’s dark. There’s a name for this. It’s ‘situational awareness’ and in this episode we’re going to pull it apart – the companies making big dollars from our fear, the role guys can play to be situationally aware themselves and how to shift the conversation from how girls can keep themselves safe and instead move the responsibility to the dudes actually committing these acts of violence.

Beth Hobern, Konrad Marshall, Professor Kelsey Hegarty, Saul Zavarce, Jess Goldsmith, Dr. Nicole Kalms

Credit: Circus music courtesy of DJ Quads

Episode 6: Cities in Crisis

Wars and natural disasters are universally a terrible time for everyone impacted, but did you know that women and girls are often the most vulnerable?

Our esteemed host Jan happened to live in Bangladesh when the earthquake struck. She shares her experience alongside people who lived through the Nepal Earthquake in 2015 and New Orlean’s Hurricane Katrina in 2005, unpacking the unique ways women and girls are impacted in times of crisis.

Guests: Sophie Shugg, Angela Chalk, Jane Henrici, young women from Nepal

Episode 7: If A Girl’s Groped And Nobody Sees It, Did It Really Happen?

Fun fact: fifty six percent of men reportedly believe sexism is over. What a relief! Our work here is done.

In all seriousness, street harassment is so prevalent in Australia that women just accept it as normal. That doesn’t mean sexism is over. It means it’s endemic.

But we can end it. In France they’ve moved to ban street harassment. In Kampala through Plan International’s Safer Cities program, young women and young men are addressing the root causes of sexism in the city.

Together we can have a mighty good crack at ending it, once and for all. Are you with us? Tune in to find out how you can make it happen.

Guests: Susanne Legena, Ginette Villasmil, Marlene Schiappa (French State Secretary for Gender Equality), Youth Activists in Kampala

Special thanks to our team

We couldn’t have launched this podcast without a wonderful group of people who supported us along the way. They include:

Host – Jan Fran
Series Producer – Kayla Robertson
Associate Producer – Gavin Nebauer
Researchers – Andrea Cano Botero and Madeleine Spencer
Artwork – Donna Kelly
Theme music – Paul Greenstein
Vocal talent – Charlotte Morgans, Grace Kelly, Nur Shkembi
Production and Post-Production – Horwood Studio at University of Melbourne

Keep up to date