Q&A: Jamila Rizvi

On Wednesday 2nd August, Jamila Rizvi will be in conversation with Rebecca Levingston at Brisbane Powerhouse discussing all things women in work, and guess what?! As well as having this Q&A with Jamila ourselves in the lead up to the event, we’ve got a FREE DOUBLE PASS to giveaway!

To be in with a chance of winning, just send an email to powermail@brisbanepowerhouse.org with the subject heading HCWBBJAMILA and your full name in the body. We’ll choose the winner at random and contact them by tomorrow morning. Simple as that!

Please can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?

My name is Jamila and I’m an author, columnist, and presenter. I write mostly around Australian politics and feminist issues, although I dabble shamelessly in commentating on trashy reality television too. I was previously the Editor in Chief of Australia’s largest independent women’s website, and before that worked in politics for the Rudd and Gillard governments. I live in Melbourne with my husband, Jeremy, my toddler, Rafi, and a lot of clean but regrettably unfolded washing.

How has your career progressed since you first got started in the media?

I’m a relative newcomer to the media, after a side-step into the industry from politics back in 2012. I’ve worked as an editor, a strategist, a columnist and a presenter, across a mix of mediums, and feel really fortunate to have had that diversity of experience.

My sweet spot is in mixing the important with the entertainment.

I think news has traditionally struggled to engage people with issues because of bland presentation. I also think politics and current affairs are hugely entertaining, they just have to be delivered and issues dissected in a way that’s relevant to people.

Was there one moment in particular in which you knew you had to write Not Just Lucky, or was it a gradual build-up of several?

I share a story in Not Just Lucky of being on stage giving the graduation address at the Australian National University in Canberra.

I felt terribly conflicted about the fact I wanted to give a different set of advice to the women in the room and the men. I knew that their opportunities, their successes, and their experiences would be so different once they left that graduation hall.

The gender pay gap begins on day one in the workforce and that’s to our very great shame. Later that evening, I wrote down a bunch of notes which eventually became the beginnings of Not Just Lucky.

As well as aiming to empower women in the workplace, how do you hope Not Just Lucky will change the way readers view and handle gendered issues in the workplace?

I hope that Not Just Lucky gives women the information and understanding they need to feel more confident about their right to take up space in the world of work.

There is so much uncertainty and self-doubt that we assume is a reflection of our own lack of ability. More often than not, however, women’s experience of the workforce is a common one because gender bias is so deeply rooted within our society.

Not Just Lucky explores the depths of that in a way that is both shocking and energising.

What are you most looking forward to about being part of Writers+Ideas at Brisbane Powerhouse?

Not Just Lucky was always intended to begin a conversation, not be the final word on anything. I love meeting readers and arguing with them, learning from them and stretching my own understanding of these issues. I love the Powerhouse’s commitment to ideas and engaged debate and cannot wait to be a part of it.

Get your tickets to Jamila Rizvi: Not Just Lucky at Brisbane Powerhouse HERE!


Answers by Jamila Rizvi

Giveaway thanks to Brisbane Powerhouse

All images via Brisbane Powerhouse

Questions and Edits by Emma Kate Lewis

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