Published by the Faculty of Business, Government and Law, University of Canberra


Research and Stories through a Gendered Lens

Must listen podcasts for the late onset feminist

Jul 26, 2021 | Commentary, Leadership, Equality, Feature

Written by Jo Pybus

My image of feminism growing up was naïve and clichéd.  It was when I turned 50 and the #MeToo movement went viral that I felt a rumble of rage, yet somehow unworthy. Married for 25 years and the primary carer of our children, how could I be a feminist with no personal axe to grind?  And therein lies the naïve bit!

It has taken some brave women, a groundswell of voices, and a few podcasts to coax out the late onset feminist within.  Here are a few that might get you started.

Women with Clout

Hosted by social commentator Jane Caro and journalist Catherine Fox interviewing high profile women, it is no spoiler to say it packs a punch.

In Episode 26, award-winning leadership expert Dr Kirstin Ferguson described herself as a ‘late-onset feminist’ to which I completely related. In the early 90s Kirsten was Dux of the Royal Australian Airforce Cadets but was offered the position of 2nd in-charge the following year, told they weren’t ready for a woman in the top role. And how did she feel at the time? Grateful!

Listen in and you’ll discover she doesn’t feel like that anymore, proving better late than never.

A Podcast of One’s Own with Julia Gillard

Hands-up who didn’t know what misogyny meant before Julia Gillard’s famous 2012 speech?  Me! Our only female Prime Minister, now the Chair of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, interviews some amazing women in this inspiring podcast.

In Julia’s interview with Helen Lewis, author of ‘Difficult Women A History of Feminism in 11 Fights’, I discovered things I never knew about the Suffragettes.  These women I’d seen in old photos wearing long dresses and bonnets, were an incredibly disciplined and violent army. Thanks to these women, we no longer must resort to bombing letterboxes or burn down buildings to speak out.

Julia also interviews writer, broadcaster and public speaker, Clementine Ford, introducing her as “the flame-thrower of feminism who has led feminism back into the boxing ring”. This interview gave me a better understanding of Clementine’s no holds barred brand of feminism, something she describes as uncompromising.


Virginia Haussegger’s podcast with a gender lens, BroadTalk, is an extension of the media platform BroadAgenda.

I listened to her interview with Helen Dalley-Fisher, the head of the Equality and Rights Alliance, just days after women all around Australia participated in the March4Justice, responding to the allegations of sexual abuse and sexual harassment by parliamentarians and staffers in Parliament House. Their conversation delves further into the complexity of gender violence as it relates to women of colour and women with a disability.

The Good Girl Confessional

Australian podcaster Sandy Lowres was chosen for the cover of the first issue of the USA-based Women Who Podcast magazine, and I can understand why.  I love her interview style as she embodies her own ethos of when women raise other women up, anything is possible.

She interviews well known women such as diversity advocate Carly Findlay OAM, journalist Tracey Spicer AM, author and feminist Tara Moss, and BroadAgenda’s own Ginger Gorman. Other inspiring women include Australia’s first legally blind fashion-designer Nikki Hind, and Tana Douglas who was a female roadie for ACDC no less!

Dolly Parton’s America

I’m guessing you didn’t expect this would be a feminist podcast recommendation. Dolly Parton is more neutral than Geneva, hardly the hallmark of a feminist. Here are some examples:

Homosexuality: Everybody should just love everybody else*.

Religion: Describes herself as spiritual but not religious, (*see above).

Feminism: Wrote the song 9-to-5 and starred in the movie of the same name, but makes it clear she loves men (*see above).

This podcast looks into why Dolly’s Q-Score is so high in a country that elevates those that sit at the polarised extremes. A Q-Score does not just measure how adored a celebrity is but also factors how much they are loathed. There are just no Dolly haters out there.

To me Dolly is a uniter of humans who has chosen a subliminal plain from which to navigate by stealth her inner feminist, with her opinions buried deep in her lyrics.  At a Dolly concert, you are likely to see a fundamentalist Christian singing alongside a Drag Queen. This 9-episode, single season podcast entertained but also opened my mind to feminism being personal and far from clichéd.

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Jo Pybus is a late onset feminist who shares observations from her life in the middle-ages through another late onset pursuit, writing. Having been a late onset athlete, her love of an endurance event led her to write a novel and become an advocate for menopause awareness.

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