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Media Release

October 31 2011

How the new Neurosexism helps sustain the status quo - Clare Burton Memorial Lecture

Neuroscientist and author Dr Cordelia Fine will deliver a stinging attack on the misuse of science for sexist purposes in the latest in the Clare Burton Memorial Lecture Series, to be held tonight at the University of South Australia.Neuroscientist and author Dr Cordelia Fine will deliver a stinging attack on the misuse of science for sexist purposes in the latest in the Clare Burton Memorial Lecture Series, to be held tonight at the University of South Australia.
 
It is hard to believe but gender biased notions of male ‘superiority’ and other forms of sexual inequality may still be deriving their power from scurrilous claims that science proves that women are inferior – otherwise known as ‘neurosexism’.
 
Dr Fine, Associate Professor in the Centre for Ethical Leadership at the Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne – and author of the book “Delusions of gender: How our minds, society, and neurosexism create difference’’ - puts it this way:
 
“For as long as there has been brain science there have been misguided explanations and justifications of sex inequality: women’s skulls are the wrong shape; their brains too small; their hemispheres too unspecialized. These hypotheses are eventually hurled on the scientific scrap heap - but not before they become part of cultural lore, and reinforce social attitudes about men and women in ways that hinder progress towards greater sex equality.’’
 
In her fascinating and occasionally humorous lecture entitled How the New Neurosexism Helps Sustain the Status Quo, Dr Fine will show how stereotypes created in the name of science have influenced attitudes and behaviour in the workplace in self-fulfilling ways and how they still interfere with our trajectory towards real equality.
 
Since 1999 the ATN universities have combined with the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency and other organisations to host the Clare Burton Memorial Lectures in each capital city. The lectures commemorate the leading researcher, bureaucrat and academic Dr Clare Burton, who died in 1998. Dr Burton was a strong advocate and activist for social change, particularly in the area of pay equity for women and change in the workplace.
 
The University of South Australia provides women with opportunities to engage in constructive development activities and to link their individual learning needs with organisational priorities. The University’s continued support for this initiative reinforces its commitment to gender equality, and complements the full range of development activities offered to women across the University.
 
The free Clare Burton Memorial Lecture will be held tonight at the Allan Scott Auditorium, Second Floor, Hawke Building, UniSA, 50-60 North Terrace, Adelaide. N.B: The venue has been changed from the Bradley Forum, Hawke Building. Doors open 5.00pm, and the lecture starts at 5.30pm. It will be followed by a book signing, drinks and canapés.
 


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