CBE addresses gendered violence at women's financial security conference

Speaker at the women's conference

Content warning: this story contains references to financial abuse, and family and domestic violence.

3 minute read

On 23 and 24 November, The Australian National University (ANU) College of Business and Economics (CBE) held the 2023 Conference on Women’s Safety and Financial Security, a multidisciplinary forum where international researchers, policymakers and industry leaders convened to discuss solutions to the complex and multifaceted issue of gender-based violence.

Hosted by the ANU Research School of Finance, Actuarial Studies and Statistics (RSFAS), the two-day conference allowed experts to share valuable insights into the critical mission of improving women’s financial independence and safety. 

Recent data released by The Australian Bureau of Statistic exposes a staggering reality: 2.7 million women have experienced partner violence or abuse in Australia. This alarming figure underscores the pervasive nature of gendered violence, urgently demanding a coordinated whole-of-society approach.

In responding to this issue of national significance, the RSFAS conference has established itself as a preeminent forum, inspiring cross-sectoral action to improve women’s lives—and this year’s edition was no exception.

The Australian Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner, Ms Micaela Cronin, delivered the conference’s opening remarks, underscoring the mission of her role, established in 2022 to promote the objectives outlined in the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Children.

“The Commission’s primary function is to make the Australian Government accountable for what they’ve committed to do to end gender-based violence,” she said.

“When we come together to share ideas like we’re doing today, we give each other energy to help make a difference in this crisis.”

The inaugural session of the conference focused on gender norms and was chaired by Dr Jananie William, a CBE Senior Lecturer in Actuarial Studies.

“It was wonderful to chair the first session of this conference that brings together a multidisciplinary mix of people across industry, academia and public policy to discuss issues that will help create a safer and more financially secure society for women in Australia and beyond,” Jananie said.

As part of this initial block, Dr Eleonora Guarnieri, an academic and economist from the University of Exeter, shared findings from her research on the impact of male dominance on cultural extinction in societies where colonisation has taken place.

“The results on language extinction in Australia, in particular, were astonishing but sadly unsurprising to many in the room,” Jananie commented.

The session also included representation from the world’s largest movement engaging men and boys to stop violence against women: White Ribbon Australia. Jayson Tarawhiti, Assistant Director, spoke about practical tools to help redefine the notion of masculinity.

“Jayson’s presentation opened a discussion on the importance of all people working together to combat toxic masculinity and the complexities that young people face as they navigate a world filled with contradictions on this very issue,” Jananie said. 

In total, the conference involved seven thought-provoking sessions over a span of two days, in which researchers and practitioners from diverse backgrounds and world regions looked at the wicked problem of intimate-partner violence from multiple perspectives, including economic security, coercive control and financial abuse. A recording of the sessions can be accessed here.

Associate Professor Phong Ngo, Chair of the conference, said the occasion was an excellent opportunity to bring people who think very differently together in the interest of finding common ground.

“This year’s edition allowed us to build on the discussions initiated last year, and I look forward to expanding this dialogue in the years ahead.”

RSFAS’s Director, Professor Steve Sault, was pleased to see the School hosting and sponsoring such an important conference for the second consecutive year.

“By bringing together academics, practitioners and government experts in this space, our hope is that the discussions and connections established during the conference will help chart a course to provide solutions to the social problem of gendered violence, and the role that women’s economic and financial security can play,” he said.


The College is always keen to explore research collaborations with the public and private sector and to reconnect with alumni. Please get in touch if you would like to know more about partnering with us.