The Cause of Women

A Discussion with French Journalist and Author, Annick Cojean




Annick Cojean, senior reporter for French daily newspaper Le Monde, is one of France’s most widely admired journalists. She chairs the committee for the Prix Albert Londres, the French equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize.

In her latest book, Je ne serais pas arrivée là si...27 femmes racontent (I would not have arrived there if ... 27 women tell), Annick Cojean pays tribute to her recently deceased mother, and also to 27 other women she has interviewed, including Patti Smith, Joan Baez, Marianne Faithfull, Brigitte Bardot, as well as prominent writers and politicians.

Cojean recognises these women as inspiring – identifying them all as, being able to speak with sincerity about the obstacles they faced in life, their dreams, an ability to embrace chaos, and a resilience to change.

While the interviews were conducted before the #MeToo phenomenon, they resonate the sentiment that we can make a difference to women's lives, but they must be given a platform. Cojean feels that so often the floor has been given to men, such that in her own work as a journalist, she aims to focus on women and their stories. 

Annick Cojean was involved in the documentary Le Cri étouffé , directed by Manon Loizeau, which investigated rape as a political weapon during the Syrian Civil War. Her book Gaddafi's Harem, uncovered the systematic rape and torture of women during Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

Join us for this discussion exploring how we may build on the momentum of the #MeToo movement by empowering women to speak up and tell their own stories.

Instagram: @annickcojean
Book Review: Gaddafi's Harem, By Annick Cojean
Arte, 28 Minutes: Annick Cojean (in French only)


Annick Cojean will be in-conversation with Julia Lester. Julia has worked as a Radio Broadcaster and Producer, TV Current Affairs Reporter, Public Speaker, MC of events concerts and conferences, Interviewer, News Journalist, Teacher, Actor and Musician.

Her interests and areas of knowledge are broad, including politics, music, visual art, literature, ideas, religion, and philosophy. For pleasure she reads widely, performs composes and consumes music, gardens, walks and camps in the bush, travels, visits galleries, has long conversations in cafes trying to work out how the world works. She’s still trying.

Julia was born in Melbourne, grew up in Adelaide, studied Music, Politics and Education at the University of Adelaide and the University of New England.

After a career in teaching secondary school music and drama, Julia then embraced the media. She initially worked as a journalist in commercial radio and TV.

In 1985 Julia joined the ABC where she stayed, with a few breaks, for 30 years. During that time, she worked as a Journalist and Presenter in TV and Radio across many areas: interviewer and documentary-maker with ABC Radio National, 7.30 Report reporter, live talk host on 891 ABC Adelaide, Presenter of Classic Drive with ABC Classic FM until her retirement in 2015.


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 Presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, Alliance Française d’Adélaïde, Fondation Alliance Française, Prix Albert Londres and Ville de Paris




While the views presented by speakers within the Hawke Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia or The Hawke Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: Strengthening our Democracy -Valuing our Diversity - and Building our Future.

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