Stella drives significant cultural change, by elevating the work of Australian women writers – cis, trans, and non-binary inclusive. We promote greater access to, and participation in, the world of books and writing to combat gender bias in society.
Traditional binaries around gender continue to be challenged, both politically and socially. We recognise that what it means to be a woman is not static and do not believe gender identity is reducible to the body. Stella advocates for a nuanced conversation around gender inequality, recognising that language and power are intrinsically linked. We believe that rigid gender norms and terms reinforce inequality and limit us all, as individuals and a community.
Across our programs and initiatives, we work with writers and readers to question gender disparities, challenge stereotypes, and support women.
Regarding eligibility for the annual Stella Prize, we welcome women authors who identify with Stella’s mission to celebrate Australian women’s writing in ways that reconcile with their understanding of their own gender identity. This includes cis women, trans women, and non-binary writers. We do not require any statement beyond an author’s self-identification and interpret entry to the prize as confirmation of that identification.
In our work with young people through our Stella Education initiatives, we welcome all genders. This includes girls, boys, non-binary, and gender diverse teens. We have been inspired and challenged by the young people who have contributed their depth of experience of what it means to feel limited by gender and their understanding of how language can be used to liberate and empower.
Each year, we compile the Stella Count. Traditionally, we have identified authors’ genders based on published information, both within authors’ own work and the related media coverage. This data is then anonymised and aggregated to ensure that individuals cannot be identified. However, if an author believes they have been incorrectly considered in a particular gender category, or have subsequently transitioned or changed their pronouns, Stella will make every effort to correct that data.
Stella wants to continue a conversation with the community around how we achieve gender equality. We are proud of our foundations in the women’s movement and do not want to invalidate gender diverse identities by assuming all experiences of gender inequality to be the same. A range of individuals and organisations have contributed to our ongoing understanding of gender; we have compiled a set of resources that have been influential to our thinking. We welcome your feedback and invite you to join this conversation.