When the phrase 'Australians Shaping The Nation' is uttered, many names come to mind - Julie Bishop, Cate Blanchett, Ellyse Perry, Kylie Minogue and Julia Gillard. That's not even scratching the surface. So when the Australian Museum announced it would be hosting a lunchtime conversation series on Tuesdays through May and June where the public can "hear from a stellar selection of distinguished Australians who are shaping the nation across science, politics and the arts", one glaringly obvious theme came through - why are no women included in this distinguished list of speakers?
While the male speakers are no doubt some of the most remarkable people the country has seen, including author Tom Keneally AO, architect Glenn Murcutt AO, scientist Dr Terence Percival AM and Charles Perkins, presented by Professor John Maynard, Twitter couldn't help but ask why there was a lack of female representation on the line-up.
A spokeswoman for the Australian Museum said it was not intentional, according to Whimn. "It's something that when we were pulling the series together that we were very aware of. The treasures are drawn from 200 treasures that have helped shaped the nation and draws from a pool of 100 people.''
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The Museum is host to 200 Treasures of the Australian Museum on permanent display. There are some big female names on the list including Kylie Minogue, Cate Blanchett, Cathy Freeman, Dawn Fraser, Germaine Greer, Margaret Fulton, Julia Gillard, Ita Buttrose, Layne Beachley, Dame Nellie Melba and Miles Franklin.
"It's a priority to ensure more women and indigenous people are represented. It's always a priority to have an equal gender spit but unfortunately this year because we are drawing from a pool of 100 we did have some constraints in the speakers we had available. Some had passed away, some are not comfortable speaking publicly or are unwell,'' the spokeswoman said.
There will be two females speaking on behalf of men, with Gabi Hollows AO presenting the story of eye surgeon Professor Fred Hollows AC, and scholar and curator Franchesca Cubillo speaking about Indigenous painter Albert Namatjira.
"It was a priority to try to get equal gender representation, unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. The Museum has the first female director in our 190-year history so...she's very aware of promoting women and the achievements of women,'' the spokeswoman said.