Read an excerpt from Stella Ambassador Catherine Andrews’ inspiring speech discussing the unequal proportions of books by men and women on many school reading lists.

This speech was delivered at the Together for Equality & Respect leaders breakfast run by Women’s Health East on Wednesday December 2.

TFER Leaders Breakfast

“We must question why women’s experiences and their contributions to literature have been marginalised in our curriculum for so long.

Now this might not seem like an example of a pervasive cultural problem, but consider this.

For a writer, an award means you will probably be reviewed, your books will most likely sell and then you might just be able to continue to earn your living from your writing. You might then write more books and be more widely read.

Equity in reading is important. The history of the world is preserved in its writings. That writing has to tell the whole story. Not half of it.

Daniel [Andrews, Premier of Victoria] and I want all our children to see themselves reflected in the books they read and study AND be exposed to the lives and experiences of our whole society.

If we are what we read, it is imperative that we challenge unconscious bias and gender stereotypes in the offerings to our young people. Gendered reading habits matter. Surely change at this level will have an impact in our search for gender equality across our society and culture.”

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Catherine Andrews