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Dr Emma

Founder of the Equality Institute, Feminist Activist, Diversity & Inclusion Expert


Violence is preventable; and a more equal world is possible.

Dr Emma Fulu is a feminist activist and has dedicated her life to advancing the rights of women and girls around the globe. A highly-sought after public speaker, she has a unique ability to combine her personal story with the latest data and evidence, to bring complex ideas to life and touch hearts and minds.

She is one of the world’s leading experts on ending violence against women and girls and has led some of the largest and most impactful global studies and programs, including for the United Nations. In 2015, she founded the Equality Institute, a global feminist agency working to advance all forms of equality, which has grown to work in over 30 countries, conducted over 50 studies, and trained thousands of people. Emma is a strategic advisor to the world’s leading organisation including national governments, UN agencies, corporates and philanthropy; supporting them to deliver holistic and meaningful solutions to advance diversity, equity and inclusion.

A TEDx presenter and writer, with a PhD from the University of Melbourne, Emma has been featured on numerous platforms including Q&A, The Project, the 7:30 Report, The Huffington Post, The Saturday Paper, The Conversation and multiple podcasts.

Current Work:

Emma is the Founder and Executive Director of The Equality Institute, a global feminist agency working to advance gender equality and end violence against women and girls (VAWG).

She is also the Co-founder of VOICE, a non-profit that partners with women and girls in conflict and disaster settings to amplify their solutions to violence in their own communities, and Co-Chair of the Gender and Rights Advisory Panel of the World Health Organization and Vice President of Women of Colour Melbourne.

Emma is a Member of the Global Women's Institute's (GWI) Leadership Council, made up of leading experts on gender issues from across the country and around the world.

Talking Points

Count Her In: Accelerating Gender Equality Through Economic Empowerment (IWD theme)

Gender inequality plays out in Australian workplaces every day. Women make up only 5% of CEOs of ASX 200 & ASX 500 companies, and most boards are still dominated by men. A gender pay gap persists and on 27 February 2024, workers will be able to look up individual organisation’s pay gap for businesses with more than 100 employees. This increases pressure for organisations to take meaningful action to close their gender pay gap, and employers who want to stay competitive must review their strategies to make sure they are working.

To advance gender equality in Australia, we need to address deep structural inequalities, reduce rates of harassment and inspire a new generation of leaders.

Emma brings a unique perspective as a global expert on these issues, a single mother with lived experience of economic hardship and an entrepreneur and founder. Emma unpacks the nuanced drivers of the gender pay gap and current skills shortages and argues that women's economic empowerment is the greatest untapped resource in the economy.

Key Takeaways:
- The number one driver of the gender pay gap is discrimination.
- Australia has one of the most gender-segregated workforces in the OECD, driven by harmful gender norms.
- Skills shortages are driven in part by toxic workplace cultures.
- Economic empowerment and gender equality requires all of us to play a role in addressing deeply entrenched discrimination to start levelling the playing field.

Violence against women & girls is preventable

What does the world look like for a 17-year-old girl today? Who do you think of when I ask that question? Where does she live? What does a regular day for her involve? What does she dream of? What does she worry about? What are her fears? Now, could you tell me something that every 17-year-old girl, across the globe, has in common?

One thing they all share is the threat of violence that continues to undermine their potential, ambitions, and ability to effect change.

Emma shares the evidence that violence against women and girls remains an epidemic around the world and how it is underpinned by gender inequality.

But she then explains how change is possible, and that we are witnessing impactful violence prevention efforts around the world. And she leaves you with the knowledge of that every single person has a role to play, and what you can do as an induvial, in your family, in your community and in your workplace.

Key Takeaways:
- Violence against women and girls is an epidemic; it impacts all of us
- From extensive research we know what causes it and how to prevent it
- All around the world positive action is being taken, and we are seeing significant progress. You have a role to play.

Gender equality starts with you

Gender inequality plays out in Australian workplaces every day. Women make up only 5% of CEOs of ASX 200 & ASX 500 companies, and most boards are still dominated by men. A gender pay gap of 13.8% persists. 1 in 3 people have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, and rates are even higher for First Nations people, women with disabilities and gender-diverse individuals.

To advance gender equality in Australia, reduce rates of harassment and inspire a new generation of leaders, an innovative and evidence-based approach to education is essential. Emma explains what workplaces need to do to create meaningful change, and provide a5 step framework for taking action.

Key Takeaways:
- Gender equality plays out in your workplace everyday, perhaps in hidden ways
- Gender equality benefits all of us, and we all have a role to play
- Taking Action in 5 steps

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Creating meaningful change

We’ve seen moments of incredible courage, honesty and resilience, with movements like #metoo and Black Lives Matter growing to become global calls to action. Here in Australia, brave and prominent advocacy has drawn renewed attention to sexual abuse and harassment. The new Respect@Work legislation requires organisations and businesses to actively prevent unlawful conduct, such as sexual harassment, rather than responding only after it happens.

Today’s workplaces face pressure from all angles and are being called to rise to the challenge of confronting inequality at work. Navigating this current period of change can feel daunting. But Emma shares from years of supporting leaders, individuals and organisations in this area that addressing the root causes of these issues through brave conversations and meaningful solutions will always resonate. This is complex, long-term work, but the first steps can be simple.

For organisations that are looking to go deeper, Emma shares specific actions to commit to building cultures of equality and inclusion in your workplace.

Key Takeaways:
- Why existing DEI strategies are failing
- The business case and the ethical case
- What is the 'key' to achieving significant and sustainable change is
- What the next generation of leadership looks like

Preventing Workplace Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment remains pervasive in Australian workplaces. Indeed, the Australian Human Rights Commission’s fifth national survey on workplace sexual harassment found that in the last five years, 41% of women and 26% of men have been sexually harassed at work. Yet, reporting of incidents remains unacceptably low.

The new Respect@Work legislation requires organisations and businesses to focus on actively preventing sexual harassment rather than responding only after it happens.

Emma clearly unpacks the statistics around sexual harassment, what drives it, and what works to prevent and respond to it based on global best-practice.

Key Takeaways
- Why sexual harassment is a core leadership issue
- How to establish trauma-informed and people-centred reporting and response processes
- How to address the root causes of harassment - gender inequality and discrimination

Workshop Facilitator

Dr Emma Fulu runs a series of professional workshops on diversity and inclusion, inclusive leadership and applying a gender lens to policies, programs or services. The content can be tailored to meet individual needs and group sizes, and can be delivered online or in person. Emma’s workshops are designed to create a safe space where challenging topics can be explored in meaningful ways. She seamlessly combines evidence with lived experience and provides people with the tools to take action in the areas they have influence.


Dr Emma Fulu adds value to any panel discussion, bringing a breadth of knowledge and expertise on gender and inclusion issues, combined with raw storytelling and a genuine passion for social change. She is extremely comfortable on camera, including live television. As a world leading researcher and policy advisor she had the latest evidence at her fingertips but always contextualises this in the context of real people’s lives. She brings joy, humour and thoughtfulness to even the most challenging of conversations and leaves and audience feeling inspired.

Moderator & MC

Dr Emma Fulu loves moderating compelling conversations and knows how to get the most of our presenters. She creates a safe spaces, asks probing questions, listens deeply and is an expert at joining the dots of a conversation to facilitate learning.
Emma is one of Australia’s leading thinkers on gender equality, and we were incredibly fortunate that she joined us for a panel discussion, which was live-streamed to our top 250 leaders across our business. Emma had our team hanging on her every word - she is an engaging storyteller, who is able to break down complex and challenging topics in a clear, insightful and engaging way. She is generous in sharing her own experiences, and she does so with humility, vulnerability and warmth. Emma’s superpower is her ability light a spark within her audience and inspire them to become change makers in their own way. We love working with Emma and we’re looking forward to having her back to speak to our team again very soon. MECCA Brands

Last February, Dr. Emma Fulu graciously spoke for the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health’s Women in Global Health: Exploring Academic Careers seminar series. The purpose of the series is to expose students and early career professionals to non-academic careers in global health, and to provide insight for navigating a path as a woman in the field. Dr. Fulu shared her personal career and leadership journey with our audience, opening up about both triumphs and failures along the way. She is an exceptional storyteller and her vulnerability to share her own story so transparently resonated with and captivated our international audience of over 200 people. The Zoom chat was filled with positive feedback and thanks to Dr. Fulu for her presentation, and we received multiple comments from audience members about her impact after the event. Dr. Fulu set a tone for our events that has carried forward to this day; we consistently refer back to her presentation and ask all of our seminar speakers to focus on interweaving their professional and personal stories to share with our audience.

John Hopkins University

UN Women’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific has invited Dr Emma Fulu on several occasions to speak at events reaching wide audiences inclusive of government, civil society, United Nations officials, researchers, and the wider public. She is an engaging and warm speaker, clear with steady pacing, and provides deep expertise on areas of substance related to gender equality, women’s empowerment, and ending violence against women and girls. She interacts with audiences comfortably and is a pleasure to work with. We recommend her fully as a public speaker.

UN Women’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Emma was an excellent MC. We received very positive feedback from attendees.

Dental Health Services Australia

In the lead-up to International Women’s Day 2024 we had the privilege to have feminist activist and The Equality Institute Founder Dr Emma Fulu as our event Keynote Speaker. Through her presentation, Gender Equality Starts with You, Emma captivated the audience by intertwining her personal journey with expertise on equality, delving into the intricacies of patriarchy, gender-based violence, and inequality. Emma outlined five steps that everyone can take to pave the way for a future where fairness, equality, and respect are universal. While we knew there was a need for the conversation around gender equality, the positive discussions during and after the event, have been unprecedented. We've never seen such interest from our community (Gippsland Women in Business) to take this topic on and continue to progress it within the community. Emma has truly left an impact on our community through her passion, purpose and a sincere authenticity that left all of us in awe. Inspiring us all to do more.

Gippsland Women in Business
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