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WE CAN DO MORE 2011 NTEU Women’s Conference

feminisation IN HIGHER ED gender AnD casualisation power, gender & culture on campus REVIEW OF EOWW ACT & AGENCY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

ISSN 1839-6186

Volume 19 September 2011

Women’s Action Committee (WAC) The NTEU Women’s Action Committee (WAC) and the annual Women’s Conference develop the Union’s work concerning women and their professional and employment rights. The WAC meets twice a year. Its role includes: • Act as a representative of women members at the National level. • To identify, develop and respond to matters affecting women. • To advise on recruitment policy and resources directed at women.

WAC Delegates 2011-2012 Aca Academic staff representative G/P General/Professional staff representative

National President Jeannie Rea,

National vice-President (general staff) Gabe Gooding,

Indigenous Representative

• To advise on strategies and structures to encourage, support and facilitate the active participation of women members at all levels of the NTEU. • To recommend action and advise on issues affecting women. • To inform members on industrial issues and policies that impact on women. • To make recommendations and provide advice to the National Executive, National Council, Division Executives and Division Councils on industrial, social and political issues affecting women. • Monitor and review the effectiveness of issues, policies and structures affecting women. WAC is composed of one Academic and one General/Professional Staff representative from each Division, plus one Indigenous member.

Sharon Dennis,

act Aca Sara Beavis, G/P Katie Wilson,

NEW SOUTH WALES Aca Kate Gleeson, G/P Justine O’Sullivan,

NORTHERN TERRITORY Aca Lolita Wikander, G/P Janet Sincock,

SOUTH AUSTRALIA Aca Margaret Hall, G/P Jess Cronin,

QUEENSLAND Aca Donna Weeks, G/P Carolyn Cope,

TASMANIA Aca Paula Johnson, G/P Nell Rundle,

VICTORIA Aca Virginia Mansel Lees, G/P Shannon Kerrigan,

WESTERN AUSTRALIA Aca Alison Bartlett, G/P Kate Makowiecka,

DOWNLOAD OR READ THIS MAGAZINE ONLINE @ Agenda (formerly Frontline) Editor: Jeannie Rea

ISSN 1322–2945

Production: Paul Clifton

Original design: Maryann Long

Editorial Assistance: Anastasia Kotaidis, Andrea Sauvarin All text and images © NTEU 2011 unless otherwise noted. Published annually by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU).

ABN 38 579 396 344

PO Box 1323, South Melbourne VIC 3205 Australia Phone: 03 9254 1910

Fax: 03 9254 1915


In accordance with NTEU policy to reduce our impact on the natural environment, Agenda is printed on Pacesetter: FSC Mix Certified, FD&A approved, produced with ECF pulp, ISO 14001 Environmental Certification.


Cover: Associate Professor Janis Bailey, Griffith University, at NTEU Women’s Conference 2011. Photo by Terri Macdonald.


Volume 19, September 2011 editorial




NTEU National President Jeannie Rea launches the first issue of Agenda.



Virginia Mansel Lees sings along with NZ Tertiary Education Union President Sandra Grey.



Terri Macdonald outlines the results and recommendations of the review of EOWW Act and the EOW Agency.










Celeste Liddle outlines the NTEU’s recent racism surveys, and programmes designed to fight racism and violence on campus.




Michelle Rangott summarises the outcomes for women in the latest round of bargaining.

Margaret Hall reflects on three Women’s Conference talks on the issue of women in education and unions.



Virginia Mansel Lees reviews Suzanne Franzway’s Making Feminist Politics.

NOT FEMINIST YET – FEMINISATION OF HIGHER EDUCATION 8 Jeannie Rea explains feminisation, and how it should not be confused with feminism.

ACTIVISM GETTING AHEAD IN AUSTRALIAN UNIONS 10 Genevieve Kelly on ACTU President Ged Kearney’s keynote speech to the 2011 Women’s Conference.

GENDER AND ACADEMIC CASUALISATION 15 Robyn May reports on her research into the gender dimensions of academic casualisation.




Justine O’Sullivan outlines her research into the pressures being experienced by participants in professional courses of study in tertiary education.


Courtney Sloane reports on NUS’s Talk About It survey and Safe Universities Blueprint.



Margaret Lee reveals what happened when NTEU General Secretary Grahame McCulloch made his first foray into the Women’s Conference.




Gabe Gooding describes the work of organisations such as APHEDA, NZ Union Aid and IWDA, and how they can help us to ‘do more’.



international MORE WE CAN DO TO HELP





Kate Gleeson discusses the ADVCH research that will help in the recognition of domestic violence as an industrial issue.



Dr Ian Dobson examines changes over the past 15 years to the number of women in senior administrative positions in Australian universities.

We can do more! ‘We can do more!’ was a provocative and even controversial theme of the 2011 NTEU National Women’s Conference. NTEU delegates from branches around the country, along with elected officials, staff and guests including the ACTU President and NZTEU President came together in Melbourne on the weekend of 13-14 August. This committed, passionate and very busy group of women took up the question ‘Can we do more?’ The theme had its origins in the first international women’s conference of Education International held in Bangkok last January. As that conference considered the ongoing poverty, violence, discrimination and prejudice facing women and girls, a keynote speaker from the United States declared ‘Those who can (do more) must’.



Jeannie Rea addressing the 2011 NTEU Women’s Conference. Photo: Lolita Wikander


jeannie rea

By the end of the NTEU Women’s Conference, similar sentiments were expressed by delegates. While our workloads continue to escalate and it is increasingly difficult to find time, space and energy for union work, concern that we are asking for more from those already contributing so much was replaced by determination to do things differently – and to gather many more to work with us. The conference agenda provided ample opportunity to make the connections between the critical issues facing us as women, as unionists, and as university staff. The articles in this edition of Agenda, which arise out of themes and topics of the conference, reflect both the differences amongst women, as well as the common threads of ongoing gender based discrimination and prejudice that do persist in and beyond our workplaces. Arising out of the Conference, the Women’s Action Committee recommended that NTEU investigate clauses for our collective agreements to support staff experiencing

domestic/family violence; as well as encouraging active support for White Ribbon Day on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women; and supporting the implemention of the NUS’s Safe Universities Blueprint on our campuses. In the final plenary participants shared ideas on organising on campuses. These ranged from holding an NTEU stall at their university’s Friday market; to taking up the pledge to fundraise through their Branch for the Cambodian women’s centre project (see article, p. 21); committing to talking more with colleagues about joining the Union; to communicating and networking more effectively using social media; and to sharing rather than duplicating our efforts. Feminisation of higher education does mean there are many more women on campuses, but this also obscures ongoing gender based prejudice and discrimination against women. Jeannie Rea is NTEU National President and editor of Agenda.



Creative Commons in agenda

It’s bound not to have escaped your notice, but NTEU’s women’s journal has undergone a major change. More than just a touch of botox or even a little nip and tuck, we’ve been completely transformed with a new design, a new name, a new logo, and a new website. But we’re still the voice of women in NTEU! Members of the Women’s Action Committee (WAC) brainstormed a range of new names for the magazine, to better portray us as the NTEU’s women’s journal of record. Contenders included Muriel, Wrangle and Germane, with Agenda finally settled upon by a democratic vote. NTEU National President, Jeannie Rea, says the new name should appeal to all women of the NTEU, including younger members and those new to the union and the sector. We are making a firm statement that women and gender are on the agenda and we mean to stay there – vibrant and loud! The new WAC logo is based on our previous rose emblem. The rose, which appeared on the original WAC banner, is derived from the slogan ‘Bread and Roses’ and its originating poem by James Oppenheim, which appealed for both fair wages and dignified conditions. The logo and the new designs for Agenda were created for us by Maryann Long of MA Plus Design. Originally from Brisbane and now Melbourne based, Maryann has been creating unique designs for over 15 years. See more of her work at

Kate Makowiecka


The Creative Commons licence we have selected for articles published in Agenda means that anyone can copy and distribute an attributed article for non-commercial purposes, and they can adapt it so long as any resulting work uses the same form of licence. Copyright protection is automatic: as soon as you write down an idea, take a photograph, draw a diagram, or create other forms of original work, you have the ‘exclusive rights’ to copy, publish, adapt, and communicate that work. Even if you want people to circulate your material, perform, enhance, or translate it, they first have to seek and receive your permission – and they have to continue doing so for 70 years after your death, if they can track down someone who will act on behalf of your estate. On the other hand, by using one of the six Creative Commons licences, you can let people know that you have chosen to permit the use of your work in certain ways without their having to seek any further authorisation (any rights that you have reserved, commercialisation for instance, can still be negotiated individually).

A thoroughly revamped NTEU Women’s website will be up by the end of September.

SWEAR ‘Not violent, Not silent’ on white ribbon day

November 25 is White Ribbon Day, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW). NTEU is actively supporting White Ribbon Day in 2011, calling upon members to publicise the event in their workplaces and encourage men to swear the pledge: ‘Not Violent, Not Silent’. The White Ribbon Campaign in Australia is led by White Ribbon Ambassadors: these men are leaders in their careers, sporting code or communities and actively support the campaign, encouraging other males to become involved. Women also support and expand the campaign through their networks, workplaces and community organisations, as White Ribbon Champions. The Campaign is based on the premise that to move our society forward and prevent violence against women from occurring, we must speak out. We must take action to challenge attitudes and behaviours. We must not remain silent. It aims to raise awareness among Australian men and boys about the roles they can play to prevent violence against women. It calls for men across Australia to speak out and take an oath pledging never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women. Statistics indicate that in Australia, one in three women over the age of 15 have reported experiencing physical or sexual violence. In pledging and wearing a white ribbon, men and boys can act as positive role models and advocates for change by challenging behaviours and attitudes that have allowed violence against women to occur. White Ribbon Day has become the symbol for the culmination of the white ribbon campaign each year, when men and women across Australia are called to wear a white ribbon or wristband as a visual symbol of their commitment and oath. VOLUME 19 SEPTEMBER 2011



Welcome to Country Aunty Pat Ockwell, a senior Wurundjeri Elder, jess cronin welcomed union women from across Australia and New Zealand to NTEU’s 2011 Women’s Conference. Aunty Pat said, ‘It’s an honour for me, as a proud Aboriginal woman to welcome you all to the traditional land of my ancestors – the land of the Wurundjeri people. I support the opportunities for women to enhance their educational and professional qualifications and experiences. These opportunities enable women to respond to poverty, violence, discrimination and prejudice.’

Aunty Pat Ockwell delivering the Welcome to Country at 2011 Women’s Conference. Photo: Lolita Wikander

On the theme of this year’s conference ‘We Can Do More’ Aunty Pat remarked, ‘Yes, we can do more, and that is to stick together.’ She said that if her mother was alive today she would be here telling it like it is. Aunty Pat said she would be doing what we should all be doing, ‘fighting against racism, discrimination and prejudice against women in the workplace.’ ACTU President Ged Kearney addressed the conference shortly after and thanked Aunty Pat. Ged commented, ‘It is so important to keep Welcome to Country ceremonies on the agenda, particularly when we have motions being moved at State Liberal Party Conferences to abandon this tradition.’ The tradition of welcoming guests to country is not something new that has been introduced merely out of politically correctness. It has been part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures for thousands of years and to abandon the inclusion of such a tradition would be an enormous jump backwards on the road to reconciliation. NTEU recognises the First Australians and true custodians of the land and is committed to the inclusion of Welcome to Country ceremonies and Acknowledgements of Country at all Union events and meetings. If you would like any guidance please contact Celeste Liddle, National Indigenous Organiser.

Work and careers in universities – what’s changed?

The Gender and Employment Equity Project, a comprehensive survey on work and careers, is currently underway across twenty universities. The objective is to discover the ways in which the sector has changed over the past 15 years, and to assess the impact of these changes on university employees. The data collected will be compared to the findings of an earlier NTEU sponsored research project, led by Professor Belinda Probert. The survey is a major component of the ARC Linkage Grant funded project, Gender and Employment Equity: Strategies for Advancement in Australian Universities. The research team is mainly based at Griffith University and is led by Professor Glenda Strachan with Professor Gillian Whitehouse, Professor David Peetz, Associate Professor Janis Bailey and Dr Kaye Broadbent. NTEU is one of the three industry partners with Unisuper and Universities Australia Senior Women’s Group. The involvement of industry partners means that the outcomes from the research can be translated into strategies, policies and practices to improve working conditions and career opportunities for Australian university employees. There are three different surveys, covering General and Professional staff, Academic staff and Casual/Sessional teaching staff. These surveys are tailored around the specific employment issues that affect these different groups, as well as the overarching issues that affect the sector as a whole. The surveys will allow engagement with the different employment experiences of university employees, and the data from these three surveys will provide detailed information about university employment across the sector from three different perspectives. The broad goals of the research project are to understand the ongoing impediments to gender equity in employment in the university sector, focusing in particular on the emergence of the entrepreneurial university and related changes over the past decade. Based on their research, the project team intends to propose ways to advance gender equality and thus to ensure Australia’s future university workforce is based on sustainable, equitable practices. There are a number of projects within the Project that reflect the key points in a career life cycle. The casual teaching and research project has already had an impact as the analysis of Unisuper data has shown even higher levels of casualisation than previously revealed. This project is currently working on case studies (see article, p. 15). The Senior Women’s project is working on in-depth interviews identifying barriers to seeking promotion. The classifications and career paths for general staff project is currently focusing on work and family issues. Informing these projects has been the careful analysis and comparison of relevant data such as parental leave clauses and promotion policies. The NTEU Industrial Unit has been assisting in this work. or visit and search ‘Work and Careers in Australian Universities’




Gender Auditing and the NTEU Women constitute about 55% of university employees and 55% of NTEU membership. However, this proportionality between the universities and the Union is not equal across jobs and classifications. More significantly, while women may now constitute more than half of university staff, we are still strongly occupationally segregated. The participation of women in NTEU compares favourably with that of all Australian unions and amongst feminised sectors. NTEU also measures up well in Education International’s Quadrennial Survey of The Status of Women in Unions, Education and Society. NTEU has also been a leading advocate for women in Australian unions, campaigning for mainstreaming pay equity and paid parental leave and for affirmative action in ACTU structures. NTEU officials and members have undertaken research and advocacy for women and gender equity, including Professor Anne Junor, Associate Professor Siobhan Austen, Professor Gabrielle Meagher and Dr Meg Smith giving expert evidence at the recent ASU Equal Pay case (see article on this page) and Dr Rae Cooper providing qualitative research that gave voice to the quantitative data provided in the recent ACTU Women in Australian Unions 2011 report. Education International’s Women’s Networks are encouraging affiliates to report on the participation of women and to take concrete action to assist women. Appropriate markers, measures and indicators are currently being identified and developed to enable effective gender auditing. While advocating the importance of emerging unions focussing upon monitoring steps towards gender equity, delegates from more mature unions, like the NTEU, recognised that we too, need to actively monitor women’s participation and influence. To have women proportionally represented on committees and as delegates and even in leadership positions is progress, but it is only part of the story if issues of particular concern to women have faded from the agenda. There is no

evidence to suggest that there is no longer a need for women’s agenda! Gender auditing is a tool for casting the gender lens over organisations, such as unions and universities. They have been popularised with other non-financial audits like environmental audits. As large organisations, universities are legislatively required to provide annual reports to the Equal Opportunity in the Workplace Agency (EOWA). In the past, NTEU has been critical of universities being granted Equal Opportunity Employer status when many of their practices do not reflect that reality. A workshop on gender auditing was held at the recent NTEU Women’s Conference, where delegates proposed that the Union’s Women’s Action Committee develop a gender auditing tool for use both in the union and workplaces. The tool could assist, for example, in identifying any gaps in the universities’ EEO Reports and could also investigate barriers to women’s participation in some union activities.

jeannie rea NTEU National President

Equal pay Case for social and community service workers

On 16 May, Fair Work Australia (FWA) ruled the Australian Services Union (ASU) had proved that social and community services (SACS) workers in the not for profit sector are underpaid, and that at least part of the reason for that underpayment is gender. Since then there has been a lot happening. Not the least was the National Day of Action on 8 June when SACS workers and their supporters, including unions like the NTEU, took to the streets across the country to demand equal pay. The rallies were hugely successful and showed governments in no uncertain terms that we are keeping up the fight. ASU Branches are continuing to campaign vigorously in Victoria, Tasmania, NSW and the NT for commitments by their governments to increase funding in the SACS sector to meet any new rates awarded by FWA. All other states and territories have given their commitment. On a national level, after serious lobbying by the ASU, the Federal Government announced on 6 July it would commit extra funding for any pay increases arising from the equal pay case. This commitment was included in their final submission to FWA and is another victory on the road to equal pay for SACS workers. The ASU’s final submission in the case has also been lodged. The Union’s position is that the entire gap in wages between the not for profit SACS sector award rates and the public sector comparators is gender based. If FWA accepts our arguments, they will be in a position to finally redress the wage injustice our members have endured for so long. All the parties have filed their submissions. The Unions and other parties are now engaging in a conciliation process to see if the issues between us can be narrowed. Further FWA hearings are scheduled for 24–26 October.

Brigid Marasco ASU National Communications Officer Photo © ASUVICTAS



Feminisation, unions and activism

Photo: Jess Cronin


margaret hall

The increased participation of women in education as students and as a career has led to questions regarding the impact on the education industry including the challenges this presents for women union activists. Three speakers at the 2011 NTEU Women’s Conference addressed different aspects of these challenges and as this was in the first session it set the scene for further discussions over the next two days. NTEU President, Jeannie Rea explained that feminisation was not to be confused with feminism. Feminisation of the sector describes a demographic in which proportionally there are more females than males such that education at all levels, primary secondary and tertiary, is now a feminised profession. These changes have come about in part as a result of the successes achieved by women activists in the education unions. This parallels changes in the student demographic with the largest proportion of both undergraduate and postgraduate student bodies being female.

However, in the tertiary sector women ‘continue to predominate in academic disciplines and staff occupations traditionally associated with women’. Jeannie Rea proposed that feminisation masks the disadvantage that women face even with legislative equality and structural equity in contemporary higher education institutions. She warns that gains achieved over the past decades could be lost as feminisation is blamed for disadvantaging males and attributed as the cause of lowered standards (see article, p. 8). University of South Australia Associate Professor Suzanne Franzway’s presentation shifted the focus to feminisation of unions. Drawing on the book she has recently published with Mary Margaret Fonow, she spoke about four factors that shape women’s activism; sexual politics, globalisation, discursive frames and alliances and political networks (transnational and local). She described the future of feminist politics from the perspective of women unionists at the local and global levels, forging alliances resulting in activism targeted at issues of wages and equity, child care, work/life balance and queer organising. Furthermore, economic and social justice will not be achieved unless women are able to participate in feminist politics. This view was based on the fact that the gains

achieved in terms of gender equity have their origins in the work undertaken by women in the union movement via women’s committees, women’s networks and caucuses (see article, p. 7). Justine O’Sullivan, University of Sydney, raised the inequalities experienced by women, as students and academics, in the feminised professions which include nursing, teaching and social work (see article, p. 23). This is a national issue and can in part be linked to the ‘entrenched level of under resourcing from university managements’. Underfunding of such courses has led to high teaching loads which limit opportunities for promotion because it is not possible to demonstrate the expected range of academic criteria such as research and publications. Additional demands are placed on academic staff and students in these programmes because of the practicum requirements specified by the professional bodies which accredit these courses. On the one hand professional bodies are able to exert pressure on the university to maintain quality education but this depends on the comparative power of the professional body. Margaret Hall is a Lecturer in Nursing at Flinders University, South Australia and member of the Women’s Action Committee.

why i’m with wac: janet sincock, Charles darwin university I joined WAC because as a long term Union member I felt it was time to step up and give something back. I was keen to develop a platform for women in the NT to network and stimulate discussion. 6



Making feminist politics: Doing it differently Long term union activist and researcher, Associate Professor Suzanne Franzway, was a keynote speaker at the NTEU Women’s Conference. She recently published, with Mary Margaret Fonow, Making Feminist Politics: Transnational Alliances between Women and Labour.

• Discursive frames. Campaigns such as Your Rights @ Work frame the issue of work so that equal pay for equal work cannot be argued against.

Suzanne began her talk by asking which issues it was that persisted for women and how could we ‘do more’ to address them? It was an excellent way to frame what was a thought provoking talk that really got the audience thinking, partly because she was clear from the outset that ‘doing more’ was most likely achievable when we were able to think about what it was we were doing and how to do it differently.

If the women’s agenda is to be advanced it needs to be resourced and in this regard there is much work to do. As Arundhati Roy (1999) states, ‘It is not enough to be right we have to agree on what the agenda is to be and although we may not agree on everything we have to seek out the common ground’ from which to organise.

The factors that Suzanne outlined as shaping women’s activism were: • Sexual politics. The politics of gender and how this impacts on women and their political opportunities and social identities. Unions must recognise and act upon the politics of everyday life if they are to be relevant to women. • Globalisation. We must by our comparative privilege recognise that we ‘can do more’ for women at home and overseas

virginia mansel lees

and to do this we need an understanding of what impacts globalisation has on politics and the opportunities that this may offer or stifle.

• Alliances and political networks. We can no longer protect workers’ rights in one country (our own) without thinking about the effect that has on workers in other countries.

If we are to organise women then there need to be viable committees set up with structures that connect their agenda to the main union game otherwise women will not participate. In short, we need to be clear about our agenda and how best to move that forward whilst at the same time bringing women with us. As Franzway and Fonow (2011) write: Women’s right to work and right to economic security are central to women’s

equality. Such rights are won through creative and persistent feminist politics. Little is gained unless women themselves can participate in the politics of economic and social justice. Without this capacity, the labour market, workplaces, and economic welfare become sites of discrimination and oppression of women. Let’s work together to empower women. Virginia Mansel Lees is President of La Trobe Branch and Victorian Division President. ‘Making Feminist Politics: Transnational Alliances between Women and Labor’, by Suzanne Franzway and Mary Margaret Fonow can be purchased online at References Franzway, S. & Fonow M.M. (2011). Making Feminist Politics: Transnational Alliances between Women and Labor. University of Illinois Press. Roy, A. (1999), The Cost of Living. Flamingo.

Why I’m with WAC – Kate Makowiecka, Murdoch University I’ve participated for many years in a variety of social justice movements, and I’ve been a union member over a good few years as well. WAC is a great environment in which to amalgamate my activities in supporting the interests of women and girls. VOLUME 19 SEPTEMBER 2011


Not feminist yet – Feminisation of Higher Education

Photo: Sporting club members with hula-hoops, Newcastle Teachers’ College, 1955. © Cultural Collections, University of Newcastle.


jeannie rea

As the numbers of women participating in higher education as students and as staff, rapidly increases, we are in danger of feminisation obscuring the ongoing gender-based discrimination and prejudice experienced by women. Feminisation should not be confused with feminism. Education teaching and administration is largely feminised, starting from primary school moving through secondary schools to now the majority of higher education teaching being done by women. The feminisation of university teaching is further skewed by the female gendered face of casualisation. A critical mass, and even majority, of women as academics, students, education professionals and administrators, is happening at the same time as a backlash against the access and success of women in education. The sheer numbers of women, and even our success in rising to academic and general staff leadership positions, obscures the deep gender course and occupational segregation which has hardly altered. In an environment of universities making budget decisions on the basis of the rate of financial return, there are widespread cutbacks to programs which contribute to the advancement of women, from feminist research to preparatory courses for disadvantaged students.



What is feminisation and why does it matter? We need to talk about feminisation, because this language is being used a lot more as women’s participation as students in higher education continues to increase, both overall and proportionally to male participation. It is now running at 60% in undergraduate courses and 58% in graduate programs. Similarly the numbers of women working in higher education persistently increase, with the latest DEEWR figures counting the university workforce at 55% women. Put simply, feminisation means increasing numbers of women. It does not mean that anything feminist is going on. Feminisation of universities has occurred because of demand, increased school participation by girls, changes in social attitudes, the cost of living and increased consumption, and the women’s movement.

With the release of the latest participation figures in higher education, the commentary has been that while all are advantaged in terms of lifelong economic security by gaining university degrees, this is even more the case for women for interconnected reasons. One explanation is that men can still get well paying secure jobs that don’t require degrees, and the second is that the decent jobs for women generally require degrees. The feminised and feminising occupations are in education, health and welfare and now finance, law and administration. This analysis of the relative attractiveness of higher education for women does not alter that the focus of public commentary is upon the disadvantage for men. There is no popular, and little academic debate, problematising masculinisation. Over the past decades the number of women in higher education as staff and students has risen to just over half. There was no discussion in previous decades about the problems caused by masculinisation. The debate was positively focused on the justice of increas-

feminisation ing women’s access, and negatively on whether women were even capable of higher learning!

Occupational segregation persists The overall numbers disguise the patterns and occupational concentration of women’s labour. In the pre-Dawkins days, the division of labour in tertiary education saw women educators concentrated in the CAEs and teachers colleges and men in the technical colleges including TAFE, although the Further Education part of TAFE was mainly female. Women academics in universities were mostly in contract positions with little chance of being promoted beyond senior tutor, and general staff women were rarely promoted beyond supervisor of secretaries (all women). It was primarily through advocacy from union women aligned with the broader women’s movement, often dragging reluctant male comrades along, which has achieved the legislative equality and structural equity for women in contemporary universities and TAFE. Today, higher education employment is increasingly feminised up to Lecturer C in academic classifications and in HEW classifications up to HEW 7. Women continue to predominate in academic disciplines and general staff occupations traditionally associated with women. In Australia the occupation segregation of the workforce has moved little in the last forty years. Whilst female students have swamped former male bastions like law and medicine courses, their graduate careers in these fields follow similar trajectories of those higher education women workers. In Australia women are still a tiny minority in engineering and most technical fields, predominate in health science, and still largely avoid politics and economics, especially at senior levels. Over the past couple of decades, a generation of women were promoted through to senior academic roles. This was matched by general staff classified women, with promotions generally in human resources, communications and student services – and rarely in finance and facilities. There was a bottleneck of women, many of whom were feminist campaigners, more than ready for senior appointments. For a moment it looked like women had reached critical mass in senior positions across the country. But that group is now retiring, and disadvantageously to their male peers, in that they often have less accumulated superannuation and are not getting the same postretirement offers. Now the steady movement in the gender statistics is flattening out. This is much the

same across other professions. And is much the same, not just across the OECD countries, but also across the world. Education International’s (EI) Quadrennial Report on the Status of Women in Unions, Education and Society indicate that the Australian feminisation trends are pretty much mirrored across different types of countries, cultures and economies.

‘The feminisation crisis’ A recent meeting of EI’s Asia Pacific network concluded that feminisation was leading to a drop in status for school teachers, which was once a revered position in communities. This contributed to a consequent decline in industrial muscle and in (especially male) student respect. But there was a hesitancy to pursue this issue, as there are still plenty of people whose answer would be to sack the women teachers in favour of less qualified men. The advocacy and protection for girl students would also evaporate without female role models and encouragement.

nicity, entrenched prejudice and disadvantage, recent migration and location remain the major predictors of access and success in Australia, and elsewhere. These are the very same issues that apply to access and success in education at all levels. I call this reaction to feminisation, double dip misogyny. And we are sure to hear more of this in Australia, particularly as the enrolment caps are removed and as women move across more courses, occupations and gain promotion. Be ready for murmurings, reminiscent of those of the past, of ‘inferior’ students driving down standards, about ‘too’ many women, etc. We have to be careful to counteract this misogyny and not be trapped into such debate. We must keep the focus on government underfunding and poor university management decisions, resulting in excessive staff workloads and inadequate facilities to explain the pressure on quality experiences and outcomes for students.

This is, in a nutshell, the feminisation The dilemma. Rather than women ‘what about the boys’ lobby education workers at every [in the USA and UK] is arguing that access has level being applauded gone too far and now women should be excluded from and respected university courses. They are even arguing women gradufor their achievements, instead there is a ates are not getting jobs; as though this is a backlash. reason not to educate! In the USA and UK there is a plethora of popular and academic literature about the feminisation ‘crisis’. Apparently the problems of society are caused by too many women teachers and too many girls going onto university. Decades ago, feminist analysts argued that feminisation often leads to the decline in status of and remuneration in a profession. Their answer was to increase the status of women in all aspects of life. However, the contemporary debate is instead couched in the ‘what about the boys’, ‘pushy women’ and conversely ‘not serious career women with only half an eye on their jobs while focused on their families’, ‘drop in standards,’, ‘weak with discipline’, etc. The ‘what about the boys’ lobby is arguing that access has gone too far and now women should be excluded from university courses. They are even arguing women graduates are not getting jobs; as though this is a reason not to educate! It is also not true. Whatever women and girls do, they are still cast as the problem. The facts are that women’s workforce participation continues to increase as that of men declines (not because women are taking men’s jobs, which was the original argument against equal pay, but because traditional men’s jobs are disappearing). Social and economic class, particular eth-

As I was editing this article from the paper I presented to the NTEU Women’s Conference just a few weeks earlier, I picked up The Age and there was an article of just the type I had warned about. With a lead in of ‘Women are becoming the dominant sex in universities thanks to rising enrolments, but perhaps men have nothing to worry about’, Andrew Norton goes on to express great relief that there are still plenty of well-paid jobs for men without degrees. He quickly focuses upon data that reveals that there are more females with lower ATARs applying for university places. He concludes that with the uncapping of places the numbers of female students will continue increasing. The implication is that these are inferior students, not that the onus is upon universities to ensure that students are provided with an education that will enable them to succeed in their courses. Norton also bemoans the lack of government support in 2002 for a report that recommended men be made an ‘equity’ group, as soon as the downward trend in male enrolments was confirmed. Jeannie Rea is NTEU National President. Much of her teaching and research has been in Women’s Studies.



ACTIVISM ACTU President Ged Kearney at NTEU Women’s Conference 2011. Photo: Lolita Wikander

getting ahead in Australian unions Genevieve kelly

A former Federal Secretary of the Australian Nursing Federation, Ged Kearney has been ACTU President for just over a year. She took the opportunity to reflect upon the positive gains made by women in Australian unions – and increasing recognition by male union leaders that they must work for women members and support women’s activism. Ged began her address by referring to the theme of the conference ‘We can do more’. She said that it challenges us to ask can we do any more and what do we need to do? Ged argued that it is very important that women gather together to keep women’s issues on the agenda. She noted that the sight of women meeting together always makes men uneasy. We need to make the most of our opportunities when we do meet together as women to push the important issues and as Aunty Pat says to stick together (see article, p. 4). The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) recently held a women’s conference, which highlighted issues still facing women in the manufacturing industry. In 2011, in manufacturing workplaces, there are still basic issues such as provision of toilets at work. Bullying, harassment and sexual harassment still being faced every day by women across the workforce. Ged stated that unions traditionally have not been in the vanguard of women’s rights, and nor have industrial relations frameworks. The Fair Work Act (FWA) is still couched in the old style Higgins assumptions that workers are men with a wife and two children and this is also reflected in the National Employment Standards. Women are now 50% of the workforce yet there is still the 17.5% wages gap and women achieve only 37% of the retirement income of men. Women are also over represented in the casual and short term workforce, and in low paid work.



There have been improvements in women’s participation in unions. Over half the members of unions are now women but this is not reflected in leadership positions. Over 55% of delegates are women but women are underrepresented in committee positions and only 30% of elected or paid positions are held by women. This data comes from the recently released findings of the ACTU’s Women in Australian Unions 2011 survey, which shows these significant changes for women in unions over the last 15 years. A recent ACTU Executive meeting heard a presentation from Dr Rae Cooper, NTEU member and researcher at the University of Sydney, on the qualitative aspects of the women in Australian union’s research. Women commented on the things that impede their participation, such as being treated as if they are invisible at meetings and not being heard when they speak. The ACTU Executive members listened carefully, and a number of male leaders committed themselves and their unions to work on increasing the active participation of women. The ACTU has recognised the need to empower women in the workforce and encourage their voice. The FWA does include recognition of the need to address low paid workers and provided an avenue for the Australian Services Union (ASU) to pursue the pay equity case leading to landmark decision in that it found that community sector workers were underpaid because of gender bias – most are women (see article, p. 5). The number of unions including the ASU who are mainstreaming women’s issues is growing.

One of the issues remaining for women is that there is still a lot of guilt about the demand for equal pay and the impact that this can have on the provision of services. It is the right of women to have equal pay and a workplace free of bullying and harassment and women need to get over feeling guilty about demanding these things. We do need to work together as women for change. Many of us, including Ged Kearney, have worked mainly in contexts that are dominated by women. When we are in more male dominated arenas such as the ACTU and our union hierarchies, it can appear more difficult. But it is really fairly straightforward. As Ged said, all you have to do is go back to your core values of fairness, justice and rights for all. These are common to unionists and feminists. We don’t need to do more than keep hold of our core values and keep fighting for the rights of workers and the social justice issues that we believe in. Ged fielded questions relating to the media portrayal of women, the relationship of the gender pay gap and enterprise bargaining, regional labour councils, casualisation and the dilemma between minimising casual work and promoting better conditions for casual staff and those on short term contracts. Genevieve Kelly is NTEU NSW Division Secretary. Ged Kearney, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) was the lead speaker at the 2011 NTEU Women’s Conference.

Learning from the past and preparing for the future

Sandra Grey (right) with TEU Women’s Officer, Suzanne McNabb, leads a chorus of ‘Bread and Roses’ at NTEU Women’s Conference 2011. Photo: Lolita Wikander


virginia mansel lees

Dr Sandra Grey, President of the New Zealand Tertiary Education Union (TEU) presented a passionate and invigorating presentation at the NTEU Women’s Conference. Sandra spoke on organising and activism, arguing that we must learn from the lessons of the past and to take this knowledge with us into teaching activism within our unions. Sandra’s doctoral research explored social movement activism in New Zealand 19682000, focussing upon women, anti-poverty movements and unions. During this period, Sandra explained, unions were decimated through things such as the Employment Contracts Act which meant that the focus was almost solely on wages and conditions. To survive this it was clear that unions needed to keep challenging and asking the big questions so as to not shy away from what would then become core business for the Union.

Some of the lessons learned were that there is a need to see unionism as part of the broader political agenda and to tailor campaigns to ensure that people see how they are connected and what they can do to participate in change.

Sandra argued that there is always a need to encourage dissent and this is where unions can provide solidarity for their members that will keep them engaged whilst also providing the necessary skills for what are often long term campaigns. If rank and file members, as well as others within communities, can see that the union is engaged and involved in all of the questions then it makes wages and conditions claims part of the broader structure of society. Sandra’s presentation got us all thinking as we went into workshops on organising on our worksites. To keep members active as well as encouraging new members we need to remember to share our stories of success so that we can genuinely celebrate what has been won as this allows us to then focus on what still needs to be achieved. For the future there is a need to form alliances upon which to campaign, as this brings together

different groups who have similar agendas and creates new and creative ways of working through challenges that could otherwise seem unwinnable. The question then remains: Can we turn: Engagement into Membership? ... Membership into Activism? ...and Consumerism into Active Citizenship? Much of Sandra’s talk was peppered with experiences she has had within her union and how they have made strong broad based alliances to advance their agenda. Women work together on a wide variety of campaigns and spend time singing, particularly the songs of struggle. Sandra finished by leading us in singing Bread and Roses: ‘Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes; Hearts starve as well as bodies; Give us bread but give us roses…’ It was a wonderful ending to an energising and challenging talk. Let’s take this message and indeed turn ‘engagement into membership and membership into activism’. Virginia Mansel Lees is President of La Trobe Branch, Victorian Division President and Victorian WAC member.

why i’m with wac: nell rundle, UTAS I am a worker. I have colleagues. I believe in fairness. I believe in equality. I have a strong sense of social justice. I am powerful. When I stand with others my power grows. When I speak for others my voice is strong. VOLUME 19 SEPTEMBER 2011



Power, Gender & Culture on Campus celeste liddle

Discussions about power battles specific to gender and culture on campus often get lost in the daily talk of universities. Considering that women make up more than half the sector, these issues should be frontand-centre. Issues like domestic violence, lateral violence and sexual violence on campus need to be addressed in order to create a workplace and study space that is safe and equitable for women. All too often, it seems that these issues are secondary to competing concerns. Therefore, the 2011 Women’s Conference featured a session that foregrounded these issues. After revealing the extraordinary rates of exposure to or experience of violence by women on Australian campuses, it is clear that there needs to be a lot more open discussion and universities need to not only be aware, but to be accountable on these issues.

Indigenous members surveyed on racism and lateral violence The panel spoke to the results of two recent surveys sent from the NTEU Indigenous Unit to all Branches and the Indigenous membership. The Indigenous members’ survey queried the incidence of racism, discrimination, cultural respect and lateral violence on campus. Lateral violence is a concept first utilised with regard to nurses (a female-dominated industry) in North America. It describes acts of bullying between members of a sociallymarginalised group within a power structure that preferences dominant-culture ideology.



In what was not necessarily a surprise, the Indigenous membership reported back that a vast majority had experienced racism and discrimination on campus, and a majority had also experienced lateral violence.

they have them at all) on anti-discrimination and equal opportunity, what protections are currently in place for women on campus? These questions then ran throughout the session.

Branches surveyed on policies

NUS encourage students to ‘Talk about It’

The NTEU Branch survey examined the policies the universities have in place on equal opportunity, racism and discrimination. A number of Branches reported that one or more of these policies did not exist in their University policy framework, and of those that did have these policies, a number again reported that they have not been reviewed since either the time the Howard Government’s Higher Education Workplace Relations Requirements (HEWRRs) were in put in place (meaning that unions were written out of them, and continue to be) or since the Bradley Report was introduced. With all this in mind, we posed two questions: firstly, with the Indigenous staff membership being two thirds female, does this mean that Indigenous women are experiencing higher levels of discrimination, racism and lateral violence because they are women? And secondly, with the number of universities that have out-of-date policies (if

Courtney Sloane, the National Union of Students (NUS) National Women’s Officer reported back on the recent findings of the NUS ‘Talk About It Survey’; a survey asking female students about the incidence of gender-based violence on campus. Over 1500 women had responded to the survey since it was launched late last year, and the results of it received a lot of coverage in the media due to how strong they were. Of the women surveyed, 60% felt unsafe on campus at night, 67% reported having had an unwanted sexual experience of some kind, and yet on the whole, these incidents went unreported with only 2% reporting the incident to the police, and only 3% reporting the incident to the University. Courtney then spoke about the Safe Universities Blueprint a report and series of

indigenous recommendations that have been developed from the results after a six month consultation period with youth, women’s and tertiary education sectors. Courtney stated that it was of the utmost importance that violence against women was seen as a public, and not a private, issue that universities (and all of us) had a responsibility to address. The Blueprint encourages universities and students to be active partners in addressing these issues and raising awareness on campus and working together to achieve a safer space for women. Lastly, Courtney detailed that NUS work on this was continuing with th emaking a short film, and a proposal for ongoing surveys to monitor how the universities were tracking in addressing these issues (see article, p. 16).

Domestic violence is a workplace issue The final speaker was Robyn Dale from RMIT University and the Australian Domestic Violence Clearing House (ADVCH), who addressed the ADVCH Project on the impacts of domestic violence in workplaces. Almost 2000 NTEU members, along with many other union members, participated in a recent survey on domestic violence and how it can affect the workplace. Robyn stated that because domestic violence is the leading cause of disease, disability and death, and because two-thirds of women who report it are in paid employment, domestic violence is a workplace issue and needs to be addressed as such. Informing this important work was the fact that domestic violence has a negative impact on the careers of women. It leads to absenteeism and occasionally job loss, and

Aunty Pat Ockwell, Janine Gertz (JCU), Sharlene Leroy-Dyer (Newcastle) and Celeste Liddle at NTEU Women’s Conference 2011. Photo: Lolita Wikander

it actually infiltrates the working environment with perpetrators often using email and phone to continue the violence. It is of the utmost importance that women experiencing domestic violence are supported by their employers and can therefore remain in paid employment, as employment provides women with the independence they need in order to leave abusive relationships. In conjunction with the survey, the ADVCH is mounting a number of campaigns, such as lobbying for paid workplace entitlements for these issues, getting domestic violence recognised as an OH&S issue, and building the right to request flexible working arrangements into labour laws. Finally, Robyn detailed some of the responses to the survey itself and outlined that whilst men indicated that 54% of them had no experience with domestic violence, only 36% of women indicated the same. Additionally, 58.5% of respondents indicated that domestic violence had affected their ability to get to work, and 78% indicated that paid leave and safety policies could reduce the impact of domestic violence in the workplace.

NTEU supports the ACTU Women’s Committee initiative to explore ways of using collective agreements to enforce workplace and employer support of workers experiencing domestic/family violence. The issues facing women on campuses are much more far-reaching than career advancement and glass ceilings, and this session really showed that ‘We can do more’ in making universities safer and more equitable environments for female staff and students. Despite the heavy issues that were being discussed, the session was empowering and featured a lot of vibrant discussion around the issues. Hopefully, by sharing this information with other women, the message will spread and workplaces will start to develop environments that better address women’s needs and become more equitable. Watch our website for new Union initiatives on addressing racism, prejudice, lateral violence, domestic violence and the workplace, and on working with students and others on these matters. Celeste Liddle is NTEU National Indigenous Organiser.

why i’m with wac: gabe gooding, uwa Taking an active role in WAC is one way that I can help to make sure that NTEU continues its proud tradition of being a leading union in the pursuit of better working conditions for women. As a woman elected to a leadership role in the NTEU, as Vice President (General Staff), I believe that it is very important that we continue to have a strong body within the Union to consider issues from a gender perspective and to pursue opportunities that will have a particular impact on women members. I also believe that WAC is one of the key avenues through which we in NTEU can fulfill our obligation to assist in the capacity building of unions within our region who need assistance. Besides which getting together with a group of intelligent, articulate, funny, and committed women unionists is great fun as well as great work. VOLUME 19 SEPTEMBER 2011


bargaining outcomes for women

Photo: Jess Cronin


michelle rangott

Summarising the outcomes for women from the latest round of bargaining in universities is not a simple ‘tick a box’ exercise. Looking at clauses from Agreements and summarising content only tells part of the story; it is also about how these arrangements are promoted and supported at each institution, and recognising that workplace provisions can have direct and indirect consequences for women. While NTEU can quite rightly celebrate the landmark provisions in our Agreements, we must also recognise that we can do more to improve working conditions and career opportunities for women.

Background to our claims The Union’s Women’s Action Committee and previous Women’s Conferences were active in the preparation and the pursuit of claims for our last round of enterprise bargaining. This included campaigning for improvements in the following areas: • Continued improvements to parental leave provisions, in particular improved primary carer’s leave arrangements so that leave could be shared between both parents. • Improvements to carer’s leave. • Right to request flexible work arrangements.

Parental Leave NTEU continues to achieve ground-breaking entitlements in relation to parental leave entitlements: • An overwhelming minimum standard of 26 weeks paid parental leave. • 10 universities providing at least 36 weeks paid parental leave. Of these 10 universities, Monash and Victoria Univer-



sity (VU) provide the highest standard in the country of 36.8 weeks paid parental leave. • There can be great flexibility in the return to work benefits offered as part of the overall parental leave payment for parents returning to work, including access to professional development, funding for childcare and funding reduced working hours. Important gains have also been made in the recognition of paid primary carer leave entitlements (as opposed to paid maternity leave solely for the birth mother). The Australian Catholic University (ACU) and the University of Western Australia (UWA) currently set the benchmark for paid primary carer leave entitlements in the country with the ACU Enterprise Agreement enabling female and male employees who are primary carers of a newborn child to take 40 weeks leave paid at 60% of their ordinary wage, with the birth mother entitled to an additional 12 weeks paid leave. UWA provides 36 weeks paid parental leave and allows this leave to be taken by the staff member who is a primary care giver. Of the remaining universities, seventeen institutions allow either all or some of the full parental leave entitlement to be shared between parents where both parents are employed at the same institution.

Carer’s Leave & Flexibility In recognising the reality that there are many staff who have caring responsibilities for children, aging parents, partners and other dependants, the Union developed a range of claims to improve both the stand-alone entitlement to carer’s leave and the need for greater rights to flexible work arrangements. In assessing the outcomes from this round of bargaining, it remains the case that we have not achieved a common standard or a prevailing model, with some Agreements unfortunately continuing to cap and restrict the amount of leave that can be used specifically for caring purposes. Therefore, whilst we have won improvements to carer’s leave entitlements in many of our Agreements, it is clear that we must continue to campaign strongly on this issue. Equally, the Union will need to continue to press for improved rights to request flexible working arrangements and to hold employers to a high standard when responding to such requests. Some innovative provisions have been negotiated, such as the VU model which specifies the criteria that must be used when assessing a request by an employee for flexible work arrangements.

The Future Over many bargaining rounds, NTEU has been able to build on our achievements in bargaining through strong local and national campaigns conducted by NTEU women activists. By continuing to build and support these networks, we will be well placed to develop innovative claims and achieve real workplace reform for women workers. Michelle Rangott is an NTEU Industrial Officer.

gender and academic casualisation

Former CAPA President, Tammi Jonas, running a soup kitchen for casual tutors


robyn may

The nature of work for all university staff has changed dramatically in the past decade. Yet the research on this is surprisingly patchy. While there is talk about a ‘crisis’ in university staffing, major government reports of the past couple of years have spent little or no time examining staffing issues. The gender dimensions receive little attention, despite women’s growing participation in the academic labour force, although some, such as demographer Professor Graham Hugo acknowledge the fact that women represent a major part of the solution to workforce renewal. Staff in precarious employment arrangements, such as casual/sessional teaching staff, a group responsible for much of the undergraduate teaching, are likewise underresearched. This group are at the pointy end of the changed university environment, diverse and largely invisible, united only by their hourly rate basis of employment and exclusion from the conditions and benefits normally associated with university employment. The other defining feature of this group is their gendered and youthful face.

in the American university system, (May, 2006:626) notes: As women enter the academic profession the bridge seems to be collapsing beneath their feet...70% of male full time faculty have tenure, only 47% of full time female faculty members have it, ..and the percentage of women with tenure has remained virtually unchanged for the past two decades. Casualisation, the growth in insecure and precarious work, is an important component of the question about why women are not progressing through the academic ranks. In Australia much is known about the disadvantages casual teaching staff suffer in their employment, isolation, lack of professional development, lack of access to basic facilities and collegial support to name a few. Further the entrenched nature of casual teaching employment within the university sector, combined with evidence of a changing academic career path, leaves many casual staff trapped in insecure employment, possibly unknowingly sabotaging their search for more secure employment. These new trends have significant negative consequences for women in particular who may often choose casual work, thinking it will assist with their career development and allow them to manage work and home.

A study of 200 casual staff at the University of Ballarat found that the increasingly bifurcated academic workforce has meant that for these women, time spent as a casual worked against their longer term career ambitions, with the researchers concluding a ‘proper career was an imposThis data sible dream’ (Gottschalk & McEachern, suggests that there were around 2010:48). 67,000 casuals working in Australian universities

The trend toward more insecure work in the university sector has parallels in many of the countries we look to for comparison, and gender is a feature there too. Writing on what she observed

as at June 2010, 57% of the sample were women and the average age 35.

New data from the university superannuation fund Unisuper, never before used for these research purposes begins to shed light on these important questions. This data suggests that there were around 67,000 casuals working in Australian universities as at June 2010, 57% of the sample were women and the average age 35. These figures suggest that casual academic staff, on a headcount basis, comprise 60% of all academic staff in our university sector. More critically, the figures showed that women are concentrated in the casual cohort aged 25-45, suggesting that in these peak child bearing and child rearing years casual employment has particular importance for women. At the same time, it is during this period that men retreat from casual work. What is not known is whether they transition to more secure academic employment, or leave the university sector altogether in the search for more secure work. A major employee survey which is part of the ARC project (see article, p. 4) to which this research is attached, underway in twenty universities during late 2011 aims to shed more light on these questions. Robyn May is a PhD candidate at Griffith University, and part of an ARC linkage project entitled ‘Gender and employment equity, strategies for advancement in Australian universities’, led by Prof Glenda Strachan. Robyn’s research looks at the causes and implications of casual academic employment and the gender dimensions of this casualisation. References Gottschalk, L. & McEachern, S. (2010). The frustrated career: casual employment in higher education. Australian Universities’ Review, 52(1). May, A. (2006). ‘Sweeping the heavens for a comet’: Women, the language of political economy, and higher education in the US. Feminist Economics, 12(4), 625-640. VOLUME 19 SEPTEMBER 2011


anti-violence SECTION

survey finds universities not safe for women courtney sloane

In 2006, the ABS found that close to one in five women had experienced sexual assault. Such violence cost the Australian economy an estimated $13.6 billion in 2008-09. Having figures that demonstrate the impact on the Australian economy highlights the true nature of the issue: that it is not simply a private matter, it affects us all and we all have a responsibility to address it.

The survey revealed that more than 60% of women feel unsafe while on campus at night, 67% reported having had an unwanted sexual experience of some kind and of all the incidents reported in the survey, only 2% and 3% of respondents had reported it to the police and their university respectively. In light of this, the Safe Universities Blueprint was created. The 30 recommendations reflect a combination of both international and Australian best practice and have been endorsed by the White Ribbon Foundation, Universities Australia and the Equality Rights Alliance. NTEU National Council 2011 will also consider endorsement.

A healthy campus culture is conducive to learning beyond the classroom and essential to ensuring that all students are able to achieve their full potential without any threat to their safety. While the heightened government and media focus on addressing violence against women of late is obviously welcomed, there are other issues on our campuses that are in need of being addressed.

The Blueprint encourages universities and students both to be active partners in tackling violence against women. Universities are encouraged to work with students on delivery services and raising awareness on campus.

In 2010, the National Union of Students (NUS) distributed the Talk About It survey to women students on Australian campuses. The survey questioned participants on their experiences of sexual assault, harassment, and obsessive behaviors as well as their perceptions of safety while on campus and how effectively their experience was dealt with once reported to the authorities.

The main message the Blueprint aims to bring home is that violence against women at universities, like violence throughout the rest of the com-



munity, is not a private matter and we are all responsible for addressing it whether we are a student or a staff member. Partnerships between universities and students are paramount. Many universities that have asked themselves, ‘Can we do more on this issue?’ And some of the best work is happening at campuses where relationships between the university and its student bodies are seen as opportunities rather than challenges. The NUS Women’s Department will be developing a volunteer-based mentor program for students who have experienced violence on campus, directing them to services and reporting channels available to them. NUS will redistribute a similar survey in 2012 in order to get a picture of how universities are tracking on implementing the NUS recommendations. For now, the future is very positive. Universities and policy makers are sitting up and taking notice. The important thing to note is that violence against women on campus can be stopped and that we all need to play a role in doing that. Courtney Sloane is National Union of Students Women’s Officer.

Domestic violence: a workplace issue

Robyn Dale from URCOT and ADVCH talks at Women’s Conference. Photo: Lolita Wikander



The Australian Domestic Violence Clearinghouse (ADVCH) is conducting research that will help in the recognition of domestic violence as an industrial issue. The ‘Domestic Violence Entitlements: Safe at Home: Safe at Work’ project is funded by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations. Robyn Dale from the ADVCH and the Union Research Centre on Organisation and Technology (URCOT) at RMIT presented the project’s preliminary research findings at the 2011 NTEU women’s conference. The ADVCH recognises that legislative change is one of the most effective means by which to combat the effects of domestic violence, including the recognition of domestic violence as grounds for discrimination, and as an occupational health and safety risk. In particular, the Domestic Violence Entitlements: Safe at Home: Safe at Work project is informed by the recognition that domestic violence is a workplace issue. Domestic violence affects employees’ work performance, morale and productivity. According to the researchers, over 25 percent of women with a history of domestic violence report losing a job, at least in part, due to the violence. Sufferers of domestic violence are also more likely to have a disrupted work history, and to be in casual or part time employment than women with no experience of domestic violence. Domestic violence is also the greatest cause of preventable disease, disability and death for women aged 15-44 in Australia.

In recognition of the links between domestic violence and work, the Domestic Violence Entitlements: Safe at Home: Safe at Work project aims to bring unions on board to further the progress of domestic violence leave provisions in enterprise agreements enabled by new provisions in the Fair Work Australia Act. It also aims to inform Australian unions and employers about domestic violence issues for employees, and to influence legislative change in this important area of workplace rights. To obtain baseline data about workplaces and domestic violence to inform the project, the researchers have conducted surveys of a number of unions, including the NTEU. So far, a few public sector organisations have provided a form of domestic violence leave by way of their industrial instruments. The University of NSW has recognised the right to request compassionate leave. The Australian Services Union has secured up to 20 days discrete leave for local government

employees, and 18 NSW state industrial awards now contain domestic violence clauses, such as five days special leave. Some private enterprises are coming on board as well. The ACTU Women’s Committee and the National Labor Women’s Conference have agreed to promote domestic violence workplace leave provisions. The NTEU Women’s Action Committee has recommended that the NTEU also take up this matter and this will be considered by the 2011 National Council. Further information and resources about the project, and domestic violence as a workplace issue, are available at: au/dv_workplace_rights_entitlements_ project.htm Kate Gleeson is Australian Research Council Fellow, Politics, at Macquarie University, and NSW WAC member.

why i’m with wac: virginia mansel lees, la trobe university I am a WAC member because I am passionate about empowering women to take their rightful place in society and in particular in our Union. As a feminist I have been part of the movement to gain rights that women often now take for granted, and it is clear that the struggle is far from over, so I urge you to become involved to enhance the lives of women here and overseas. VOLUME 19 SEPTEMBER 2011



Equal Opportunity for Women review of the Act & Agency On 1 June 2009, the former Minister for the Status of Women, Tanya Plibersek, announced a review of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace (EOWW) Act and the Equal Opportunity for Women Agency (EOWA). The purpose of the review was to examine the effectiveness and efficiency of the Act, and to consider practical ways to improve the equal opportunity framework to deliver better outcomes for Australian women. Both the ACTU and NTEU made submissions to the review of the Act and Agency. The main points were: • More effective data collection, and meaningful and consistent reporting. • Effecting cultural change in the workplace. • Encouraging stakeholder engagement.



More effective data collection, meaningful & consistent reporting There needs to be increased and more regular contextual data collection, including data relating to the contents of workplace agreements. In particular, there needs to be improvements in employer compliance in providing meaningful (‘raw’) data. Unions also argued that employers should be required to report on targets and progress against key workplace practice areas.

Effecting cultural change in the workplace This is a major concern for unions and workers as it is an area that appears to suffer from the least amount of attention from employers. To effect change, NTEU and ACTU argued that EEO reports and action plans need to be promoted and made easily accessible to all employees. In order to achieve this, a number of strategies were recommended: • EEO targets and action plans should be integrated with managers’ work practices

terri macdonald

and included in their key performance indicators. • Employees and unions should be informed of, and given the opportunity to participate in the reporting process prior to the submission of an EEO report or development of an action plan. • The EEO report for that organisation/ business should be disseminated to all employees and relevant unions, along with an outline of the implementation process for the action plan.

Encouraging stakeholder engagement NTEU also linked this to effecting cultural change. We argued that employers should, as a matter of course, include gender based remuneration data and information on compliance with the EEOW Act in annual reports, in routine company audits, corporate social responsibility reports on so forth.

Other recommendations Further recommendations include the development of appropriate EEO standards, (setting appropriate and achievable benchmark standards which all reporting


why i’m with wac: sara beavis, anu I am an engineering geologist working in, professionally, I have worked in a male dominated field for much of my professional life. However, coming from a campus which does not have a good gender balance in academia, I became increasingly frustrated at the often barely visible hurdles which women have to clear in order to make progress. There are so many ways in which the workplace can be made more equitable for women, and I am discovering, ever-increasingly, how much the NTEU has achieved in the past and continues to negotiate for better conditions in the present and future. As a WAC member I can be a part of the decision making process by which better conditions and opportunities for women in the tertiary sector can be progressed. It is incredibly satisfying to take part in progressive change that benefits so many! employers would need to comply with), improved mechanisms for the effective monitoring and review of organisation’s progress (which would empower the EOWA agency to undertake further data collection from an employer and conduct regular, comprehensive random audits of employer’s EEO reports, with sanctions on organisations found knowingly not to have reported truthfully or accurately), and the establishment of a more effective compliance framework. The Unions recommended that the current sanction of naming non-compliant organisations in Parliament and the public reporting of a ‘league table’ (including best performing and non-compliant organisations) should continue, and that there should be an increased leadership role for governments, where best practice standards are adopted in government employment and regulation. Finally, ACTU and NTEU strongly argued that the EOWA scheme should be integrated with Fair Work Australia and the Australian Human Rights Commission, with a specialist Pay Equity Unit established within FWA (with jurisdiction across both the public and private sectors), to link EOWA with anti discrimination and industrial remedies such as equal pay. This would also involve broadening the authority of the Sex Discrimination Commissioner to include the capacity to take representative action on behalf of an individual or group of complainants and provide general advocacy support.

results of the review In response to the Review, the current Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis, has made a number of key public statements. A policy package was released in March 2011 that is intended to frame the legislation.

One major change is to be the shift in focus - the Act will be renamed the Workplace Gender Equality Act, and the Agency will be known as the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. The objects of the Act will be to acknowledge pay equity and recast the caring responsibilities of both women and men as central to gender equality. While the Minister’s public statements commit the Government to a number of principles which both the ACTU and NTEU are broadly supportive of, there are a number of concerns. The Minister has stated that reporting requirements are to be ‘streamlined’. We are adamant they must still provide meaningful data; for example, employers must report total remuneration not just base salary; reports on access to family friendly work arrangements and they must be detailed enough to establish the number of requests/ refusals, and reporting on discrimination and sexual harassment. They should not be just on substantiated claims.

employer claims, and that all EOWA reports must be provided to all employees and shareholders in a manner which is easily accessible. A consultative committee, known as the Implementation Advisory Group (IAG), is currently advising the Minister on changes to the EOWA Legislation and Agency. The IAG includes ACTU, other unions and employer groups, community representatives and academics and has been meeting over the past six months to assist the Government in drafting the legislation. It is hoped that with the input of the IAG the new Legislation will address many of the criticisms of the EOWA, and give it some greater validity in the workplace. Terri Macdonald is a Policy & Research Officer in NTEU National Office.

Furthermore, while both NTEU and ACTU support the concept of ‘industry standards’ around compliance, these must reflect a decent benchmark for EEO processes and practices (not the lowest common denominator approach). The proposal by the Minister to have EEO reports signed off by both CEO’s and employee representatives is a positive one, although we would also argue that the ‘employee representatives’ should be notified by employers before the commencement of the reporting process. In addition, the definition of ‘employee representatives’ should be genuinely independent from the employer (i.e. union representation). Finally, both NTEU and ACTU agree that the EOWA should have the authority to conduct vigorous ‘spot checks’ in order to verify VOLUME 19 SEPTEMBER 2011


international SECTION

More We Can Do to Help gabe gooding

With the focus of the 2011 Women’s Conference being on what more we can do, both individually and collectively, it was appropriate that the presentations of the Suzanne McNabb and Maree Keating were wonderful and inspiring demonstrations on what more we can do as Australian women to help women and girls overseas who live in far less fortunate circumstances than our own.

Top: Women’s Conference participants in discussion. Photo: Terri Macdonald Bottom: Suzanne McNabb talks to the Conference. Photo: Lolita Wikander

NZ Union Aid


Suzanne, the Women’s Officer of our sister union in New Zealand, the Tertiary Education Union (TEU), gave an entertaining and inspiring account of the work in Burma that is being conducted by NZ UnionAid supported by the TEU.

In Australia the equivalent organisation to NZUnionAid is APHEDA. The ACTU’s union aid organisation which was ‘established in recognition of the union movement’s responsibility to contribute to countries and regions of the world where workers are disadvantaged through poverty, lack of workplace and human rights, and civil conflict.’

The project is focused on providing meaningful work opportunities for displaced Burmese women and girls at the Thai border with a focus on leadership development for women. The NZ unions are providing assistance and organizing support both directly via exchange visits, funding of special projects, by regular Skype communication with local activists and by union internships of Burmese women in NZ. The programme is based on the notion that human rights are also labour rights and women’s rights. To aid in the fundraising the TEU is selling bags made by the women in the project and at the end of her presentation Suzanne did a very thorough sales presentation and left the Women’s Conference not only with the support, solidarity and good wishes of the participants but also a substantial number of orders for bags!



APHEDA is running union based projects in our region including in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka and Indonesia as well as in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Many NTEU women make a small regular donation to APHEDA via their union payroll deduction, direct debit or credit card payment. If you would like to consider making a tax deductible donation you can do so at the APHEDA website.

IWDA The second organisation that participants at the conference had an opportunity to hear about was the International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA), an Austral-

ian based aid organisation working towards improving the lives of women and girls who are suffering from poverty and oppression. Run by Australian women, the IWDA is the only organisation of its type working solely for women and girls and funding projects led by women. IWDA Board member and NTEU member, Dr Maree Keating talked about the fact that poverty is not simply the absence of money but is also about the conditions under which money is earned and the absence of the capacity to make choices about what to do with money once it is earned. She noted that women often have fewer choices, are subject to more violence, and have more constraints on taking jobs when they do become available. Maree described the work of the agency and called on NTEU women to do what we can to assist one particular project based in Cambodia.

Cambodian Women Workers’ Rights Education Project The Cambodian Workers’ Information Centres in Phnom Penh are six safe houses working with women sex workers

Photo: Suzette Mitchell


empowering them to demand safe working conditions. Many women who leave the sex industry do so by gaining employment as garment and textile workers. While the issues facing them as garment workers are profoundly different to those facing sex workers they are nevertheless often exploited and abused in their new industry. The IWDA project seeks to employ one worker per safe house for twelve months to provide information to women textile workers on how to join legitimate trade unions. It is important to note that unions in Cambodia are not regulated as they are in Australia and virtually anyone can establish a union, hence many unions are tools used by abusive employers to continue domination of their employees. The workers funded by the IWDA project will gather and document information and use those materials to push for change through the Cambodian federation of Trade Unions. A key part of the role will also be to train young women activists to take over the advice and advocacy role and to become active agents for change within their unions. This has the dual advantage of not only increasing the strength of the unions and therefore their capacity to work for better working conditions but it also empowers women within the union structure. The long

NTEU women pledge to raise funds for Cambodian Project Participants of the 2011 Women’s Conference pledged to return to their home campuses and conduct fundraising activities to towards the $10,000 target to fund the IWDA’s Cambodian Women Workers’ Rights Education Project. Women attending the Conference left keen to do more to help women and girls in our region and hope that all members will agree that we all have a responsibility to do so. The Women’s Action Committee urges all NTEU members to contribute to the fund, and, if possible, conduct some fundraising in your own workplaces. As Sharan Burrow, former President of the ACTU and now International Trade Union Confederation General Secretary, said: ‘It is no longer possible to protect workers’ rights in one country, while in neighbouring countries with whom we trade, workers face exploitation and sweatshop conditions. The fight for workers’ rights in one country has to be a fight for workers’ rights in every country’. To join in with a pledge or direct donation, email Olivia Hodges term goal is to see women take on leadership in unions in Cambodia. This is precisely the sort of work that NTEU can best do. We are not and can never be a direct aid agency but we can use our resources, expertise, and strength to assist in

building the capacity of what are often very fledgling union organizations in our region and so allow the workers themselves to gain control over their working lives. Gabe Gooding is NTEU National Vice-President (General Staff). VOLUME 19 SEPTEMBER 2011


The man who braved the Women’s Conference

Photo: Teri Macdonald

general secretary


It was the first time Grahame McCulloch, NTEU General Secretary, had ever addressed the NTEU Women’s Conference. We were a welcoming, attentive and gracious audience, but a little bit reserved at first and a tiny bit suspicious.

Grahame first recalled the struggles of women in tertiary education in the 1970s. We chuckled at the very idea that antidiscrimination laws and equity issues were not considered a valid part of the industrial agenda. We sighed at how hard it had been and how dismissive of the ‘women’s agenda’ so many University and College men of a certain age were in those days. Today it seems strange that women were but 30% of the student population, and that the University of Sydney used to run Miss Faculty and Miss University pageants. It was a joyful moment when a hirsute and radical man was crowned Miss Economics. We got the numbers right that day. Though even by the mid-1980s only 20% of academic staff in Australia were women and they were concen-

trated at the lower ends of the salary scales. Now, women make up more than 50% of the student body, and 46% of the academic workforce. On the other hand, the proportion of female general and professional staff has remained steady, making up 64% of the general staff workforce in 1984 compared to 63% today. Women now form the majority of the NTEU’s membership, there are three full time women Division Secretaries, and the national leadership of five National Officers includes two women. Grahame reminded us of just how much the NTEU has achieved for women. Chief amongst those is our maternity leave standard: the standard we achieved in our collective agreements still ranks as the highest negotiated maternity leave in the entire world. However, despite all the work we have put in so far, women are still not equitably represented at the higher levels of academic and general staff classification structures. There is still more to be done on pay equity in our sector, and NTEU women can be proud that our Union proposed and is a partner in the Gender Equity Research Project. The results from the

Today it seems strange that women were but 30% of the student population, and that the University of Sydney used to run Miss Faculty and Miss University pageants. 22


Project will be invaluable evidence in our long-term campaign for gender equity. There is also much to be done for casual staff and our members must find greater stores of determination to bring this to rights in the next round of bargaining. Indeed, Grahame said, the women’s rights agenda that re-emerged forty years ago is facing fresh assault. Women’s studies courses are being eroded and even abolished, while the impulse away from collectivism and towards individualism of itself threatens the gains the NTEU has made through its unique and robust bargaining strategy. Grahame also reminded us of the importance of the NTEU’s international work, especially as part of Education International, the international federation for education workers. Women still bear the worst effects of war, famine and still struggle to obtain even the most basic standards of education in many parts of the world. All of us have a responsibility to do what we can to alleviate the massive disadvantage faced by our sisters in those countries. Our General Secretary’s commitment to pursuing equity for women was evident throughout his presentation. All women in tertiary education have benefited from his astute strategic thinking and I was re-energised about recruiting more women to the NTEU. Grahame’s foray into the Women’s Conference was a fine first time. Margaret Lee is NTEU Queensland Division Secretary.


Pressure on professional courses justine o’sullivan

This origins of this article were with a group of women expressing their concerns on pressures being experienced by participants in professional courses of study within the tertiary sector. These pressures were being noticed by all involved, including teachers, students and those designing and resourcing professional experience opportunities. There are also pressures being experienced by the partner organisations providing the professional experiences. The term ‘professional courses’ refers to courses with a significant study and workload of professional experience built into meeting the requirements of the undergraduate course. Successful completion of these requirements leads to the award of a degree that also acts as a professional qualification. We began exploring this pressure zone by considering the shared experiences of women involved in the delivery of professional courses. We focused on those courses educating graduates to enter the feminised industries of nursing, teaching, social work, community welfare, psychology, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, medicine and similar areas. Of course, the students and teaching and professional staff are also predominantly women. Women involved in health, education and welfare service sectors areas identified that the high level of demand and the low level of resourcing leads to serious questions being asked as to the quality of educational practices and experiences. Our initial assessment is that this perception of a quality gap is due to an entrenched level of under-resourcing from university managements across the country and the inadequate recognition by governments of the costs of providing these courses. The pressures are being felt by the students, many of whom are also juggling work and

carer responsibilities, trying to complete high workload studies and also compulsory full time placements, which are not paid in most areas. Academics teaching into these courses anecdotally identify major pressures from accommodating the diversity of individual students engaging in a wide range of different professional experiences which lead to individualising assessment and support requirements for each student. In addition, each location where those professional experiences are taking place requires a ‘duty of care’ and a collegial monitoring. This means a higher workload for each student cohort coupled with managing time intensive systems. Given this higher workload, there is a lack of time to undertake research and also a lack of opportunity to engage with other academic staff. Similarly it becomes a struggle to make time available to take up professional development to meet the traditional academic range of criteria for promotion. Increasingly higher numbers of students are being enrolled in these courses without the concomitant increase in resourcing. Given this context within the tertiary sector the other dynamic is that it is highly competitive between the universities to locate and nurture quality educational experiences for an ever-increasing numbers of students.

Following a presentation on this topic at the 2011 NTEU Women’s Conference, it was agreed that we need to understand the trends and impacts of feminisation on professional courses. With our union, we need to ensure that the NTEU’s public funding campaign takes account of the issue of professional courses with practice components. We also need to build alliances with other unions in this area, such as the ANF, ASU, AEU, IEU etc., and should actively support the ASU’s current wage claim (see article, p. 5). Achievement of these higher wages would have a great impact on the future work conditions of graduates in the welfare services sector. Additionally, we need to build alliances and challenge the professional bodies to play a greater role in pressuring universities to demonstrate high quality educational practices in these fields and ensure that high standards of professional training are resourced and met. Justine O’Sullivan is Social Work Clinical Coordinator at UWS, Bankstown Campus, and NSW WAC member. Interested in commenting and sharing your thoughts? You can contact Justine directly, or comment on the longer version of this article posted on the NTEU Women’s blog:



extra online

but wait there’s more... EXTRA content ONLINE

Room at the Top: Women’s Progress or Glass Ceiling?

This paper examines the number and proportion of women occupying senior administrative positions in Australian universities, and examines the changes that have occurred over the past 15 years. Higher education administration has had a female majority for many years, ian dobson and the female proportion of these positions increased from nearly 57% to over 63% between 1994 and 2009. Women now occupy 45.0% of senior posts, compared with 25.2% in 1994. Some universities have more senior women than others, with some having relatively few women at the top. If current growth trends continue, there might be equal numbers of women and men in the upper echelons of university administration by 2017. There are now more women than men working in Australian higher education. However, despite their majority, women are underrepresented at the senior end of classifications. This phenomenon has been described more often for the academic side of the Australian university work force, but less interest has been shown in the gender/seniority nexus for general staff. This paper seeks to add just a little on the topic of gender and seniority among university general staff...

read full article @ WWW.NTEU.ORG.AU/WOMEN/publications/extra




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