Ani Lamont

Director of Communications
and Policy


Ani_headshot.jpg
 

What did you want to be when you were a kid? 

I wanted to be a writer/ scientist/ singer, in exactly that order. In a strange way, I’ve found a way to make that a reality, by working on communications to prevent violence against women. I get to write, and work with great designers and creative people to take scientific knowledge and make it accessible and fun and relevant. And best bit, I get to sing the praises of feminism and equality every day, to anyone who will listen.

What happened in-between?

I went and became a journalist, found myself relatively incapable of remaining unbiased, and so veered towards advocacy and activist media. That led me to a Masters in Gender and Development. I wrote my thesis on women’s political empowerment processes in South East Asia, but through my studies came to believe that the issue of violence – the direct experience, and constant perceived threat of it felt by every woman worldwide – was really the core issue that underpins inequality. And so I shifted my focus towards violence prevention. Eight years later, I’m still dedicated to violence prevention and have had the good fortune to work with organisations and activists across Australia and the world.

What are you doing now? Do you like that?

I am now the Director of Communications and Policy for The Equality Institute. I love it because, at the crux of it, my role is to try and bring people together and make them feel excited and positive, and like they are connected to a community that is really bringing about change. I honestly feel like that is what I was put on this earth to do, because fundamentally I see social change as exactly that – social, and an act of creation. We need artists and designers and makers and creators to dream up and show us what the world could look like. The fact that I get to bring those people together with researchers, policy makers and activists to collaborate and tell the stories of women worldwide is beyond a treat.

Does the patriarchy get you down? Like, do you ever just feel really annoyed by the way women get treated?

I have a friend who once told me that once you put the gender lenses on, you can’t take them off, and it’s true. I see patriarchy and unfair power systems at play all the time, but I’m greatful for that, feminism is still the most powerful tool I know to deconstruct and break down what’s going on around me into manageable bites. I don’t feel annoyed, so much as impatient, because I can see where we’re trying to get to and know how brilliant the world will be for everyone once we’re there.

Who's your fave feminist icon?

A family friend changed my life at the age of 12 when she gave me a copy of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, and it was like a bomb went off in my brain. Angela Davis is who I turn to when I feel enraged. bell hooks, when I feel lost and need to make sense of the world. Roxanne Gay was the last person to make me cry. And I always have a copy of Joan Didion’s essay ‘On Self Respect’ on a back screen on my phone to reference at any point in the day I need a personal reminder of the strength and power that comes from knowing and trusting yourself. I could go on – the feminist writers of this world have come to feel like my personal friends and shamanesses – but I also want to mention every young woman who writes a blog, tweets an acerbic take down of the patriarchy, or creates a sassy feminist meme – they provide me with the daily dose of creativity, humour and honesty that I crave.