As another very busy year comes to a close the Women’s and Anna Stewart Program Restricted Committee and I would like to thank you for your support throughout 2019 and wish you all the best (and a big rest) over the festive season.
I would like to acknowledge the work of the Committee and thank them for their fantastic contributions, especially with Women’s Conference, Annual Conference Women’s Caucus and state Council Women’s Caucuses. The members of the committee, elected for the 2019-20 Council biennium, are Narelle Hill, Natalie Hudson, Jenny Moes, Sharryn Usher, Hannah Archer Lawton and Charmaine O’Sheades.
We would like to acknowledge all of the Anna Stewart Program participants for 2019: Maz Cara, Teresa Calder, Sierra Classen and Guv Johal. The dates for the 2020 program are now up on Federation’s website and the links for the application form and the participants' articles are listed in this newsletter.
Please save the date for next year’s Women’s Conference: Saturday 22 August, 2020. The conference will be held at Teachers Federation House, Surry Hills. The theme will be “Our vision, our future”. Information, including the application forms, will be posted on Federation’s website early in the New Year. The closing date for applications will be the beginning of August, so we suggest associations consider electing conference delegates at their annual general meetings in term 1 and get the application forms in as soon as possible thereafter. Read on for a report on this year’s conference.
Leeanda Smith, Women’s Coordinator
Women's Conference 2019
Speakers, a panel session and workshops at this year’s Women’s Conference aimed to develop women’s activism and feminism.
Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins addressed AEU Federal Women’s Conference in October to discuss the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in the Australian Workplaces. She said that in the past five years, one in three workers had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace and while women are the main victims, 26 per cent of men indicated that they had experience sexual harassment in the workplace — meaning that this is not just an issue for women but for us all. Click here to download an infographic by the Australian Human Rights Commission.
In the education sector, 39 per cent of respondents indicated they had experienced harassment in the workplace and overall young women aged 25-29 had the highest rate of workplace sexual harassment.
So, while may think that sexual harassment in the workplace is a thing of the past, unfortunately it is still very much an issue in the workplace and in broader society and there is still much work to be done. Ms Jenkins alluded that recommendations stemming from the inquiry will need to include education, legal and legislative frameworks to ensure that sexual harassment in workplaces is stamped out.
Charmaine O’Sheades, Women’s and Anna Stewart Program Restricted Committee member
We Won’t Wait Campaign
While NSW public education teachers have access to paid domestic violence leave, Federation members want 10 days of paid domestic violence leave included in the National Employment Standards, so all workers can access the leave type if they need it.
Applications are now open for the 2020 Anna Stewart Program, aimed at developing the skills, knowledge and confidence of women members and empowering them to be actively involved in Federation in their workplace, local association or state level.
Teacher for Justice: Lucy Woodcock’s Transnational Life was launched at a Federation Friday Night Forum in October. Lucy Woodcock (1889-1968) was a teacher, unionist and life-long campaigner for women’s rights, equal pay, working-class education, disarmament and an end to race, gender and class prejudice. Lucy’s story is fascinating and she has had a profound influence on the politics of our union, which resonates to this day.
On the voices: 100 years of women activists for public education by Sue Doran showcases women’s participation in the union and what they have achieved. Their stories are told through their own voices and/or the words of their peers. The book, which can be purchased for $49.95, also includes an overview of each decade and comparative charts indicating the social and professional status of women.
Poster aims to change the culture that leads to family violence
Our Watch’s “Know Your A-Z” poster is a valuable resource for preventing violence against women, challenging gender stereotypes and promoting respect. The poster is available in PDF to download and is also available as a set of downloadable cards that can be used as individual posters or teaching materials. Letters from the poster include:
A: Ask women you know about their experiences of sexism and harassment
E: Encourage men and boys to talk about their thoughts and emotions
V: Value women’s voices and opinions. Ask them what they think.
The poster could be used as a visual display in classrooms and staffrooms as well as teaching materials and for welfare activities.
There are many valuable resources on the Our Watch website. If you are looking for other materials that may be useful for schools and TAFE colleges, use the “Education” filter to narrow your search.
Natalie Hudson, Women’s and Anna Stewart Program Restricted Committee member
In November the University of NSW Centre for Ideas and Carriageworks hosted a series of short talks called “Unthinkable”. The event was subtitled “Futures reimagined. Realities not yet considered. Ideas to explore”. The speakers were impressive and podcasts from three of those talks are now available.
Panel: ‘When all women have power’ was chaired by Santilla Chingaipe, with the idea that “being nice won’t create the rebellions that will finally give women control of their destinies. Mona Eltahawy, Tressie McMillan Cottom and Sisonke Msimang tell us how we can change the world and bring justice within reach for women everywhere.
‘Age Pride’ was chaired by Caroline Baum and featured anti-ageism campaigner Ashton Applewhite who spoke about the need to dismantle the ageism that is woven into our societies.
Mona Eltahawy introduced her recent book, The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls. She spoke about the need to dismantle patriarchy by embracing the qualities they have been trained to avoid such as anger, ambition, profanity, violence, seeking attention, lust and power. The session was chaired by Clementine Ford.