Seeds of Change hailed a success

05 April 2019

The inaugural Seeds of Change Conference, held at the University of Canberra 2-4 April, has been hailed a success by the event’s organisers and participants.

The event attracted more than 280 delegates from 45 countries and included a public lecture, two keynote addresses, three roundtables, six workshops, eight panels, 18 participant interviews, over 100 presentations and 33 speed-dating-style poster presentations.

Seeds of Change Co-convener, Professor Barbara Pamphilon from the University of Canberra said the positive energy from all the participants was palpable. “Everyone here is so committed to understanding gender in particular settings. Usually, when we as gender researchers go to conferences, we’re the ‘gender stream’, those ‘gender people’… but this time it’s all about us, we’re here,” Said Pampilon.

Fellow Seeds of Change Co-convener, Rhiannon Pyburn from the CGIAR, echoed Professor Pamphilon’s enthusiasm for having a standalone gender conference.

“It has been a very rare opportunity to get together—gender researchers are often fighting for space, but here we have had so much space to discuss the issues.” Ms Pyburn stated that the panel discussing harmful masculinities and ‘male champions of change’ was particularly insightful. “I don’t see them as ‘saviours’, I see them as allies,” she said.

ACIAR’s Dr Jayne Curnow, the third co-convener of the conference, also stressed the importance of involving men in discussions around gender equality. “What we really need to see is structural change to enable equity between men and women across the board to achieve equality,” she said. “It’s going to happen by bringing more men into the discussion. There are benefits to everyone by achieving equality—it’s not a zero-sum game.”

Pamphilon, Pyburn and Curnow were just three of many influential gender researchers to participate in the conference, with world- renowned feminist development economist, Professor Naila Kabeer from the London School of Economics presenting the conference’s public lecture on empowering rural women.

Kabeer’s lecture was one of many addresses that was streamed  live via ACIAR’s YouTube Channel, with viewers tuning in from around the world and taking part in the discussion via the event’s hashtag #SeedsofChange19.

These lectures, panel discussions and interviews are available via ACIAR’s Gender Portal.