Transforming the Whispers from the Bush: Refreshing Gendered Culture in Rural Australia
Don Aitkin Lecture

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The 2018 Don Aitkin Lecture will be delivered by Dr Skye Saunders. Dr Saunders is a recipient of the Chancellors Yound Alumni Award. Dr Saunders will reflect on her book “whispers from the bush” and her pioneering research into gender dynamics in the rural context and sexual harassment in rural workplaces. The lecture will include a screening of the documentary short “Grace Under Fire” inspired by Dr Saunder’s research. Beyond situating sexual harassment in rural Australia, Dr Saunders will propose a framework for effecting cultural change.

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About Dr Skye Saunders:

Dr Skye Saunders, Associate Professor (Law)

Skye is a passionate and committed advocate for the advancement of gender equality, including the protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls in Australia and internationally. A former solicitor, she has a particular interest in gender dynamics in the rural context and pioneered the first research in Australia on sexual harassment in rural workplaces, 'Whispers from the Bush- The Workplace Sexual Harassment of Australian Rural Women' (2015, Federation Press). 
Skye is an Associate Professor in Law at the Australian National University and is the Vice President of the YWCA Canberra. Earlier this year she was a delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) in New York with the YWCA Australia. She also recently taught a comparative US/ Australian Gender Law course at the University of Alabama. In 2017 she was awarded the Chancellor’s 2017 Distinguished Young Alumni Award (University of Canberra). 
In 2017 the Victorian Women's Trust produced a short documentary film called 'Grace Under Fire' which is based on Skye's research on workplace sexual harassment in rural Australia. The short film situates the research through the accounts of various rural women and was launched in Melbourne by Chief Justice Diana Bryant. In 2018 Skye has travelled extensively with the not-for-profit organisation, Country to Canberra, to facilitate empowerment workshops for young, rural women. 
Over her years at the Australian National University, Skye has directed various professional legal education programs (including the Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice, the Master of Legal Practice and the Juris Doctor online program). Skye has also worked as both the Associate Director of the ANU Legal Workshop and the Director of the ANU Legal Workshop. 
A regular speaker at national and international conferences and events, Skye ignites the inherent empathy and perception in both men and women as a central part of her mission to disrupt sex discrimination in the workplace. She is currently researching for her new book project, 'Defying Gravity- Rising Above Sex Discrimination in the Workplace'.