The Fay Gale Annual Lecture

The Fay Gale Lecture

The Fay Gale Lecture is named in honour of the late Professor Gwendoline Fay Gale AO (1932–2008), the first female President of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and an eminent human geographer well known for her contributions to the advancement of women within academia, Indigenous studies and juvenile justice. The lecture, inaugurated in 2010, is presented each year by a distinguished female social scientist and is open to the public. This lecture is jointly hosted by the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and the Fay Gale Centre for Research on Gender.

  • 2023: Prof. Cordelia Fine "Battle of the Sex Differences: Where to Begin?"

    When it comes to the question of why there are gender differences in behaviour – where to begin? According to Social Role Theory, the most basic cause is social structure. But for Evolutionary Psychologists, the causal arrow starts instead with sex-specific evolved psychological mechanisms. Advocates of the Evolutionary Psychology framework accuse Social Role Theory of being a “blank slate” approach that ignores biology and evolution – potentially misdirecting policymakers concerned with gender disparities. This lecture explores the debate.  


    Professor Cordelia Fine is an academic and writer. Her work analyses scientific and popular biological explanations of behavioural sex differences and workplace gender inequalities, explores the effects of gender-related attitudes and biases on judgements and decision-making, and contributes to debates about workplace gender equality. She is the author of three popular science books, published in 13 languages. Among other accolades, her most recent book, Testosterone Rex (2017, Norton) won the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize.

    In recognition of her work on the understanding of gender stereotypes, challenging gender perceptions and contributions to public discourse to close the gender gap, Cordelia Fine was awarded the 2018 Edinburgh Medal by the City of Edinburgh Council, to honour men and women of science who have made a significant contribution to the understanding and well-being of humanity.

    Cordelia Fine is a professor in the History & Philosophy of Science programme in the School of Historical & Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. More information about her work is available at


    Professor Fine's lecture is available here.

  • 2022: Prof. Chelsea Watego, "'No Room at the Inn': Rethinking Critical Race Studies and its place in the Australian academy"

    This public lecture is a reflection on the location of race in the Australian academy, both in its absence and presence. Rather than make an appeal for inclusion of critical race studies as a legitimate intellectual endeavour, Watego instead considers the dangers of domesticating Black emancipatory agendas, and in doing so, highlights the possibilities of intellectual work that is of service to the very people suffering the full brunt of racial violence.

    Chelsea Watego (formerly Bond) is a Munanjahli and South Sea Islander woman with over 20 years of experience working within Indigenous health as a health worker and researcher. Chelsea’s work has drawn attention to the role of race in the production of health inequalities. Her current ARC Discovery Grant seeks to build an Indigenist Health Humanities as a new field of research; one that is committed to the survival of Indigenous peoples locally and globally, and foregrounds Indigenous intellectual sovereignty. She is a prolific writer and public intellectual, having written for IndigenousX, NITV, The Guardian, and The Conversation. She is a founding board member of Inala Wangarra, an Indigenous community development association within her community, a Director of the Institute for Collaborative Race Research, and was one half of the Wild Black Women radio/podcast show, but most importantly, she is also a proud mum to five beautiful children. Her latest book Another Day in the Colony is published by University of Queensland Press.


    Professor Watego's lecture is available here.