Ready to dig deeper for my union

Activism runs strong in my veins. I have always felt a strong connection to the union movement. From listening to stories from grandad about the antics Bob Hawke got up to at conferences back in the day, to the fight for equitable pay undertaken by my mum at her workplace — it runs deep. When I decided to become a teacher, Federation was my first port of call. I became a student member and have never looked back.

Since joining the union, I have seen how Federation fights for our rights, but not the how or why of it. I decided that in order to better engage with Federation and all that it entailed, I would have to become more involved. First as Women’s Contact, and now as Federation Representative at my school and as an Association Representative on state Council, I have slowly made my way into union activism. When I heard about the Anna Stewart Program, I decided that this would be my next step — a way to see how Federation works from the inside.

I applied to the Anna Stewart Program, and it has been fascinating. The program is designed to support women in becoming more actively involved in Federation, and to encourage engagement with different aspects of union activism. Not only have I attended the Executive meetings around Council, I have been to Federation workplace meetings at a primary school and at TAFE; I have seen the way Associations other than my own run their meetings; I went to a Unions NSW Executive meeting and was able to attend the Budget Estimates Committee hearing at NSW Parliament House. I also had the opportunity to see firsthand the work of the Officers and Senior Officers.

All this has piqued my interest to an even greater extent, and has made me want to engage with the Federation on a deeper level. The things I have experienced during the Anna Stewart Program have shown me that there is a need for enthusiastic activists at all levels, for more women to get involved and how women can be supported to become more involved in Federation’s campaigns. I intend to become even more involved in the future, encouraging colleagues to also engage with the union.

— Maz Cara, Anna Stewart Program participant