Dr Anne Summers AO is a best-selling author, journalist and thought-leader with a long career in politics, the media, business and the non-government sector in Australia, Europe and the United States.
She is author of eight books, including the classic Damned Whores and God’s Police, first published in 1975. This bestseller was updated in 1994 and, again, in 2002 and stayed continuously in print until 2008. A new edition was published on International Women’s Day 2016.
Her previous books are The Misogyny Factor (2013), The Lost Mother: A Story of Art and Love (2009, 2010) and On Luck (2009), The End of Equality (2003), Ducks on the Pond (1999), Gamble for Power (1983) and Her-Story: Australian Women in Print (with Margaret Bettison – 1980). She writes a regular opinion column for the Sydney Morning Herald.
Anne was involved in the early 1970s, in helping start Elsie, Australia’s first women’s refuge and Refractory Girl, a women’s studies journal.
In 1975 she became a journalist, first on The National Times, then in 1979 was appointed Canberra bureau chief for the Australian Financial Review and then the paper’s North American editor.
She ran the federal Office of the Status of Women (now Office for Women) from 1983 to 1986 when Bob Hawke was Prime Minister and was an advisor, on women’s issues among other things, to Prime Minister Paul Keating for a year prior to the 1993 federal election.
In 1987 in New York she was editor-in-chief of Ms. – America’s landmark feminist magazine – and the following year, with business partner Sandra Yates bought Ms. and Sassy magazines in the second only women-led management buyout in US corporate history.
In November 2012 she began publishing Anne Summers Reports a lavish free digital magazine that promises to be ‘Sane Factual Relevant’ and which reports on politics, social issues, art, architecture and other subjects not covered adequately by the mainstream media. Sadly, this venture was forced to close in June 2016.
In September 2013 Anne launched her series of Anne Summers Conversations events with former prime minister Julia Gillard in front of a packed Sydney Opera House. She conducted seven of these conversations, all of which can be viewed on videos on her website.
In 1989 she was made an Officer in the Order of Australia for her services to journalism and to women. In 2011, along with three other women, Anne was honoured as an Australian Legend with her image placed on a postage stamp.
Anne was a leader of the generation and the movement that changed Australia for women. Her involvement in the women’s movement has earned her community respect. She has received Honorary Doctorates from Flinders University (1994), the University of New South Wales (2000), the University of South Australia (2014), the University of Adelaide (2015) and the University of Sydney (2017).
In late 2017 Anne moved to New York to join Chip Rolley, her partner of 28 years who is the senior director of literary programs and the director of the World Voices Festival for PEN America