Ideas·CBC Massey Lectures

CBC Massey Lecturer Sally Armstrong argues gender equality is crucial to a thriving future

This year's lecturer is the celebrated journalist and author Sally Armstrong, and “Power Shift: The Longest Revolution” is the title of her lectures ⁠— the story of women’s place in the world today, how we got here, and what we can expect from the future.

The celebrated journalist explores women’s place in the world today in 'Power Shift: The Longest Revolution'

In her 2019 CBC Massey Lectures, journalist and human rights activist Sally Armstrong argues that the future of humanity depends on the equal status of women and girls. (House of Anansi Press/Peter Bregg)

Award-winning author, journalist, and human rights activist Sally Armstrong is this year's CBC Massey Lecturer.

In her 25 years covering stories in conflict zones, Armstrong has been relentlessly advocating for women, exposing abuse and oppression. She was the first journalist to bring the story of Afghan women living under the Taliban to the world.

Through her lectures, Armstrong argues that improving the status of the women is crucial to our collective surviving — and thriving. The facts are beyond dispute: when women get an education, all of society benefits; when they get better healthcare, everyone lives longer.

In many ways, it has never been a better time to be a woman: a fundamental shift has been taking place all around us, and we're all better off. Yet the promise of genuine equality still eludes half the world's population. 

By looking at the past, Armstrong examines the many roles women have played in society, and the social developments for women over millennia across many benchmarks: in sex, religion, culture, politics, and economics. What we learn is that gender inequality comes at too high a cost for all of us, and that the only way forward for all of us, men as well as women,  is for women to become truly equal with men.

The book version of the 2019 CBC Massey Lectures, Power Shift: The Longest Revolution, is published by House of Anansi Press. It will be available on Sept. 17, 2019.

CBC Massey Lectures: Dates, location and ticket information

Tickets go on sale the week of August 12. A presale for tickets begins August 5, use the code "Massey2019" to get a $5 discount.

Lecture 1: Whitehorse, Yukon on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019
Yukon Arts Centre, 7 p.m.
Tickets $30, students/seniors $5 discount
Presale: $5 discount
On sale: Aug 12. Presale: Aug 5-11
box office at theatre
Phone: (867) 667-8574
Online tickets: Yukontickets.com

Lecture 2: Vancouver, B.C. on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019
York Theatre, 7 p.m.
Tickets $35/$30  
Presale: $5 discount
On sale: Aug 12. Presale: Aug 5-11
box office at theatre
phone: 604-251-1363
Online tickets: tickets.thecultch.com

Lecture 3: Fredericton, N.B. on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019
Fredericton Playhouse, 7 p.m.
Tickets $25 students/seniors $15
Presale: $5 discount
On sale: Aug 13. Presale: Aug 12
box office at theatre
Online tickets: theplayhouse.ca
phone: 506-458-8344

Lecture 4: Montreal, QC on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019
Centaur Theatre Company, 7 p.m.
Tickets $30, students/seniors $5 discount
Presale: $5 discount
On sale: Aug 12. Presale: Aug 5-11
box office at theatre
Online tickets:centaurtheatre.com/box-office/tickets/
Phone: 514-288-3161

Lecture 5: Toronto, ON on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019
Koerner Hall, 7 p.m. Telus Centre, 273 Bloor St W.
Tickets $50/$40, students/seniors $5 discount
Presale: $5 discount
On sale: Aug 12. Presale: Aug 5-11
box office at theatre
Online tickets: performance.rcmusic.ca/rcm-tickets
Phone: 416-408-0208

In addition to being live, the CBC Massey Lectures will be broadcast on IDEAS in November 2019.

About the Author:

SALLY ARMSTRONG is an award-winning author, journalist, and human rights activist. She is the author of four bestselling books: Ascent of Women: A New Age Is Dawning for Every Mother's Daughter, The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor, Veiled Threat: The Hidden Power of the Women of Afghanistan, and Bitter Roots, Tender Shoots: The Uncertain Fate of Afghanistan's Women. She is a four-time winner of the Amnesty International Canada media award, the recipient of ten honorary degrees, and an Officer of the Order of Canada.