You have every right to feel outraged about this.

In a time when women already feel unsafe, the news about Mona is yet another blow.

Hobart's Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) has been ordered to allow "persons who do not identify as ladies" entry to its Ladies Lounge art installation after losing a legal battle.

The judgment, handed down by the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal this week, found Mona was in contravention of the state's Anti-Discrimination Act and ordered Mona to allow men to access the installation within 28 days.

A male patron, New South Wales man Jason Lau, took legal action against Mona and claimed that his denied entry into the lounge constituted discrimination. The judge sided with him. 

The Ladies Lounge, which opened in 2020, is a space in the museum designed for those who identify as women, where they can be pampered, feel safe and enjoy a selection of artwork on display.

It's purposely meant to be exclusionary to cis men. The lounge is protest artwork and discriminatory by nature, with its mission being to offer equal opportunity and a safe space to a disadvantaged group.

Kirsha Kaechele, the artist behind the installation, argued as part of the court case that the Ladies Lounge was "a response to the lived experiences of women forbidden from entering certain spaces throughout history".


Up until around 1965, women in Australia couldn't stand at the bar in a pub and have a drink. It was strictly men only. For centuries men have had access to men's only lounges, which are most commonly called 'Gentlemen's Clubs.' Australia is still home to at least 25 Gentlemen's Clubs. These are just two examples of misogyny playing out in public spaces, denying women the right to be considered equals.

Mona had indicated that if a court ordered them to allow men access — which the court now has — then Mona would remove the Ladies Lounge completely in protest.

The decision comes amid a seriously terrifying time for women.

22 Australian women have allegedly died by violence this year. We're only in April.

Just this week, we were informed of Hannah McGuire's alleged murder. The 23-year-old had her whole life ahead of her. Yet on Friday, her body was found in a burnt-out car south of Ballarat in Victoria. A male has been charged with her murder. It's believed he is her former partner.


It comes amid the continued search for Samantha Murphy's body, a mother of three also from the Ballarat region who is alleged to have been murdered in February, in an act of alleged male violence. 

The women from this community say they feel on edge constantly now, afraid to be alone in public spaces. They're concerned about what the men around them will do. 

This isn't just the case for a town in regional Victoria. It's widespread across this country — it doesn't matter your age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or where you live. Even while this Mona case was playing out, 39-year-old Alison Robinson was found deceased following a deliberately lit fire at her home in Glenorchy, Tasmania. A male has been charged with her murder. 

A spokesperson for Mona told The Guardian that the museum would take time to "absorb the result" and consider its options. "We are deeply disappointed by this decision," they said.

That disappointment isn't just felt by the museum, but by women across Australia.

If this has raised any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.

Mamamia is a charity partner of RizeUp Australia, a national organisation that helps women, children and families move on after the devastation of domestic and family violence. Their mission is to deliver life-changing and practical support to these families when they need it most. If you would like to support their mission you can donate here

Feature Image: Getty.