Pamela Denoon Lecture 2016: Nelly Thomas

On International Women’s Day, for those who can make it to Canberra, the annual Pamela Denoon Lecture will be given by Nelly Thomas on the topic of “Sexual Equality: negotiating a modern minefield”.

From their website:

While sex is ubiquitous, and this so-called ‘post-feminist’ generation can do anything they want with whomever they want, very few people are talking about sex with young people in a meaningful way. In this lecture Nelly will argue that young people are craving information and discussion about sex and sexuality but we’re short-changing them. At best we talk about the birds and the bees and what’s above the knees, but very few speak to them about issues like consent, gender, power, diversity, coercion or sexual equality.

When we do talk about ‘modern sex’ we often shame, through our own discomfort with things like, hook-ups, sexting or online porn, and young people are left feeling bad and with no information. In short: through deliberate or accidental exposure to a highly sexualized culture we’re dragging young people prematurely into a sexuality they may not be ready for, while at the same time telling them they’re on their own. This is a toxic mix. In this lecture, Nelly will draw upon her many years’ experience researching, designing and performing for young people to argue that family and sexual violence – and the gender inequality that underpins them – can be changed, but we all have to get in the game.

Nelly Thomas

Middle aged white woman speaking into hand-held microphone.

Nelly Thomas

Nelly Thomas is an award-winning comedian, author and health promotion ambassador. She has toured nationally and internationally and performed in over a sixteen festivals in Australia and around the world. Nelly’s first book What Women Want was published in 2012. She has made a sexual health and ethics DVD for teens, directed numerous shows (including by Maria Bamford and Stella Young) and is a regular guest on Radio National and 774 ABC Melbourne. Nelly also writes for Daily Life, The Age and The Curio.

Nelly Thomas is well known for custom shows in health promotion and social change, most notably the No Means No Show for teens and Smokes and Jokes as part of Close the Gap for Indigenous Victorians (among many others). For this work Nelly was listed in The Age Newspaper’s, The Zone as one of Australia’s “most innovative thinkers” and she was featured on ABC’s Big Ideas: The Smartest Stuff on TV, Radio and Online.

Nelly has grown two humans of her own. She was once an under-13s girls BMX champion and she longs to be on Dancing with the Stars.

Transcripts of previous lectures are also available at

6.30pm Tuesday 8th March

Manning Clark Theatre, Australian National University

Entry is by donation, but it is best to register here.

Categories: education, ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism, health, parenting, relationships, social justice

Tags: ,

1 reply

  1. Here is a link to Nelly Thomas speaking on ABC radio 666 on related topics and watch the Pamela Denoon Lecture Homepage for a video recording of her very good lecture. The interview with Nelly is at 2.30 minutes from a 3 hour recording.

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