Sarah Homan

Research Associate

Sarah photo .jpg

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

I wanted to be so many things I lost count. I went through ideas of being a forensic scientist (it didn’t matter that I was terrible at science) to entertaining my Nancy Drew fantasies of being a detective. I was also set on being an ambulance officer in my teens, but the one constant my whole life was I wanted to be an actor, for stage, not screen. 

What happened in-between?

Well, I ended up being an anthropologist so that was quite a different leap from what came before. Before that, I found many passions along the way, such as volunteering for Oxfam and refugee activism. I’m firmly inserted into the creative arts scene working as a producer and Front of House and Venues manager at many of the world’s greatest arts festivals, such as Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Melbourne International Comedy Festival. It wasn’t until I went to uni and chose an anthropology class on a whim, did I find my true passion for being a researcher. I couldn’t get enough of anthropology and so I kept adding on post-graduate degrees and 8 years later I had a PhD I never intended on. I can now say though (safe, sound and sane on the other side of it) doing a PhD was truly one of the happiest accidents of my life because it led me to so many great places and opportunities. I did my PhD fieldwork on violence against women and worked in tandem with women’s rights NGOs in Nepal, and this experience led me, not only to my career, but also to discover I was in fact, deeply and profoundly, a feminist to my core. 

What are you doing now? Do you like that?

After two years in Nepal and a few years stop in New Zealand, I ended up in Melbourne, recreating my life from scratch. Up until recently I taught International Development and Sociology at the Australian Catholic University, but while I love the teaching, I don’t like the system it currently resides in. I am now a Research Associate at The Equality Institute and I can honestly say it is the type of role I could have only dreamed for myself: a position with an independent, feminist organisation that is perfectly placed between practical and academic research, with opportunities to travel, develop professionally and working in a team of other boss women to dismantle the patriarchy. Plus, we do yoga together on a Thursday. Living. The. Dream. 

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

I mean yes, of course, it does. Nothing frustrates me more than the patriarchy and I look forward to the day it is well and truly smashed. But I actually don’t let it ‘get me down’, per se. It angers me, affects me, compels me, moves me and ultimately, unites me with others. If it is to (sadly) exist, I’d much rather use the feelings it invokes and stoke the fire in my belly to do the work that needs to be done, in my own small ways, to destroy it. 

Who's your fave feminist icon?

I am inspired by so many different feminists I can’t (read: won’t) pick one. It’s hard to go past the literal icons of bell hooks, Gloria Steinem, Simone de Beauvoir, and Angela Davis. I’m particularly inspired right now by comedians, musicians and writers. I LOVE comedy and find it a powerful tool. Comedy, done well, is one of society’s strongest forms of social commentary. But also, in this work, if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry (literally). I particularly admire Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Australian comedians, Demi Lardner and the Fringe Wives Club. I dearly love feminist authors too. I find no greater enjoyment than reading a sassy, well-constructed passage in a book that cuts straight to the point, as well as my heart. At the moment I am really loving Rebecca Solnit and I am fan-girling hard for Roxanne Gay.