Paper (parallel)


Friday 11 Sep 2020


9.00 – 11.00 am


time start

Dr Hannah Piterman

Dr Hannah Piterman

Consultant, executive coach and adjunct academic, Hannah Piterman Consulting Group HPCG, Australia

Hannah Piterman PhD is a consultant and executive coach consulting to an eclectic client base in the corporate, public and not for profit sectors in the areas of governance, diversity and leadership. She contributes to public debate in academic journals, the print and on line media, including The Age and the Conversation and is the author of ‘Unlocking Gender Potential; A Leader’s Handbook.

Hannah presents at business forums including for the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) and for corporates, universities and not for profits.

Hannah contributes to community, business and university sectors through her board and community involvement. She is an adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University She is a member of the Holmesglen Foundation Board and member of the Corporate Committee of the Jewish Museum of Australia. She is a former Member of the Advisory Committee for the Committee of Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), a member of the Strategic Advisory Committee for InTouch supporting culturally and linguistically diverse women who are experiencing family violence. She is a past Chair of the Advisory board of Project Deborah, an education initiative for women in leadership, past member of the Domestic Violence Partnership Committee at Monash University and past member of the Advisory board of the Anti Defamation Commission.

Hannah has previously worked in the corporate, government and university sectors.


120 minutes

Society on the edges: Politics, populism and paralysis – observations through an intersectional lens

In this paper I look to the wider cultural, political and economic landscape to interrogate the continuing dearth of women in leadership. Using examples in the Australian business and political contexts I identify a confluence of forces that while tangential to the women’s cause are impacting negatively on women’s authority and their lives. Through an intersectional lens (Collins & Bilge 2016; Ferber 2007, Collins 2000, Bourdieu 1984) I explore the interconnectedness of class, race and ideology in reinforcing gender oppression. In previous papers I have written of the brutal impact of modern capitalism in excluding women from positions of power (Piterman 2010). I have also described the idealisation of the market and its failure through the ‘business case’ Wittenberg Cox 2010, The Economist 2009, Wittenberg Cox & Maitland, 2008) to enhance women’s status and authority (Piterman 2015). In this paper I integrate ‘so called independent agendas’ (Ferree 2018) in explaining the ongoing subjugation of women’s identity, safety and authority. I argue that inherent in the ideology of neoliberalism is not only the primacy of capital (Iber 2018, Eisold 2004) but a fundamentalism that has led to fractures in liberal democracies which have heightened propensities for primitive dynamics of splitting, projective identification and introjection (Klein in Ogden 1979) manifested in racism and misogyny (Kovats 2017, Layton 2006) and in self destructive behaviour (Case & Deaton 2020, Sandel 2016, Layton 2007). This is now made starker in the Covid 19 environment (Lewis 2020, Ruppanner L Churchill B Scarborough W 2020). Most concerning is the ensuing impasse which sees class, culture and gender wars threaten the capacity for generative thinking, for genuine engagement and for reparation.


Bourdieu P (1984) Distinction. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Case A & Deaton A (2020) Deaths and despair and the future of capitalism Princeton University Press, New Jersey
Collins PH & Bilge S (2016) Intersectionality Malden, MA: Polity Press. 224
Collins PH (2000) Black feminist thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment, second edition, Routledge, New York & London
Eisold K (2004) Corrupt Groups in Contemporary Corporations: Outside Boards and Inside Traders Journal of Psycho-Social Studies. Vol 3
Ferber AL (2007) Whiteness Studies and the Erasure of Gender Sociology Compass, Volume 1, Issue 1 pp 265-282
Ferree MM (2018) Intersectionality as Theory and Practice American Sociological Association DOI: 10.1177/0094306118755390
Iber P (2018) Worlds Apart: How neoliberalism shapes the global economy and limits the power of democracies. New Republic
Kováts E. (2017) The Emergence of Powerful Anti-Gender Movements in Europe and the Crisis of Liberal Democracy. In: Köttig M., Bitzan R., Petö A. (eds) Gender and Far Right Politics in Europe. Gender and Politics. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
Layton L, Cam Hollander N & Gutwill S (2006) Introduction, in Lynne Layton, Nancy Cam Hollander & Susan Gutwill Ed. Psychoanalysis, Class, Politics Routledge, London & New York
Layton L (2007) What psychoanalysis, culture and society mean to me,Mens Sana Monogr. 2007; 5:146–57
Lewis H (2020) The Coronavirus Is a Disaster for Feminism, The Atlantic, March 19
Ogden, T.H. (1979). On Projective Identification. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 60:357-373
Piterman H (2015) All that glitters is not gold – the allure of the business
case for gender equality: An Australian perspective. Socio-Analysis, 17, pp64-83
Piterman H (2010) Rediscovering the voice of reason: The Leadership Challenge, Organisational & Social Dynamics 10(2) pp180–206
Ruppanner L Churchill B Scarborough W (2020) Why coronavirus may forever change the way we care within families, The Conversation, March 2020
Sandel MJ (2012) What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, Ferrar, Strauss& Giroux, New York
The Economist (2009) ‘Women and work: We did it!’ December 30, http://www.economist.com/node/15174489
Wittenberg- Cox A (2010) How women mean business: A step by step guide to profiting from gender balance business, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, IBSN 978-0-470-68884-7
Wittenberg- Cox A & Maitland A (2008) Why women mean business: Understanding the emergence of our next economic revolution, Jossey Bass John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester, England, IBSN 978-0-470-72508-5 (HB)








Session schedule


Introduction by Ms Robyn Hartley


Paper presentation


Small group discussion; impressions of the paper and developing questions for the presenter


Discussion forum with the presenter; moderated for the speaker to elaborate their ideas


Small group activity or discussion ‘What does this paper tell us about working into the future?’


Discussion forum with the presenter; themes from the discussions


Whole Symposium across the papers reflections on the sessions

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Parallel Paper Presentations

The following are presenting at this time

Liz Greenway's paper Doctor-In-The-Mind



Dr Judy Kent's paper Governance and leadership in 2020 and beyond


Governance and leadership in 2020 and beyond: The leaders we deserve

Ms Margo Lockhart's paper Dissociation, the 'Meat Paradox' and Leadership


Dissociation, the 'Meat Paradox' and Leadership

Dr Hannah Piterman's paper Society on the edges


Society on the edges: Politics, populism and paralysis - observations through an intersectional lens

Dr Barabara William's paper: Activist boards, governance accountabilities & the logic of fantasy


Activist boards, governance accountabilities & the logic of fantasy

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