NTEU WOMEN’S MAGAZINE
our feminist agenda safe schools & academic freedom sexism as a political weapon Don’t read the comments! brogressives in unions
ask me about my feminist agenda ISSN 1839-6186
Volume 24 September 2016
Women’s Action Committee (WAC) The role of the Women’s Action Committee is to: • 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. • 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 provide editorial advice on Agenda and the women’s website. • To inform members on industrial issues and policies that impact on women. • To make recommendations and provide advice to the National Executive, National Council, and Division Executive and Council on industrial, social and political issues affecting women.
WAC Delegates 2016 Aca Academic staff representative G/P General/Professional staff representative
• Monitor and review the effectiveness of issues, policies and structures affecting women. WAC is chaired by the National President and is composed of one academic and one general/professional staff representative from each Division plus one nominee of the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Policy Committee.
National President Jeannie Rea, email@example.com
A&TSI Representative Sharlene Leroy-Dyer Newcastle
act Aca Sara Beavis ANU G/P Cathy Day ANU
NEW SOUTH WALES
Aca Sarah Kaine UTS G/P Laura Wilson USyd
NORTHERN TERRITORY Aca Donelle Cross BIITE G/P Sylvia Klonaris CDU
QUEENSLAND Aca Liz Mackinlay UQ G/P Diane Lancaster CQU
SOUTH AUSTRALIA Aca Jennifer Fane Flinders G/P Kate Borrett UniSA
TASMANIA Aca Megan Alessandrini UTAS G/P Nell Rundle UTAS
VICTORIA Aca Virginia Mansel Lees La Trobe G/P Catherine Rojas Swinburne
WESTERN AUSTRALIA Aca Margaret Giles ECU G/P Corinna Worth Curtin
DOWNLOAD OR READ THIS MAGAZINE ONLINE @ www.nteu.org.au/agenda Agenda (formerly Frontline) Editor: Jeannie Rea
ISSN 1839-6186 (print), ISSN 1839-6194 (online)
Production: Paul Clifton
Original design: Maryann Long
All text and images © NTEU 2016 unless otherwise noted. Published annually by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU). PO Box 1323, South Melbourne VIC 3205 Australia Phone: 03 9254 1910
ABN 38 579 396 344
Fax: 03 9254 1915
In accordance with NTEU policy to reduce our impact on the natural environment, Agenda has been printed using vegetable based inks with alcohol free printing initiatives on FSC certified paper by Printgraphics under ISO 14001 Environmental Certification.
Environment ISO 14001
NTEU WOMEN’S MAGAZINE
Cover: Victorian Division Assistant Secretary Mel Slee and member at the Victorian Division’s Bluestocking Week trivia night.
Photo by Toby Cotton
Volume 24, September 2016 Editorial
WE ONLY TALK FEMINIST HERE
ASK ME WHY I HAVE A FEMINIST AGENDA 2 NTEU National President Jeannie Rea.
WE ARE UNION WOMEN - HEAR US WRAW! 3 INVESTIGATING VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE 3
THE CHALLENGE FOR WOMEN LEADERS: SEXISM AS A POLITICAL WEAPON 14 Women politicians are subject to more scrutiny, criticism and gender bias than their male counterparts.
RESPECT. NOW. ALWAYS.
#MAKETHEPLEDGE – DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LEAVE FOR ALL STAFF
NTEU WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP MENTORSHIP PILOT PROGRAM
WORKPLACE RIGHTS AROUND DV
RECOGNISING THE WOMEN OF WAVE HILL
Fifty years on, it’s time to recognise the role of women in the Wave Hill Walk-Off.
SEEKING WOMEN FOR AUSTRALIAN UNIONS ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
Bluestocking week CELEBRATING OUR FEMINIST AGENDA 6 The theme for Bluestocking Week 2016 was ‘A Feminist Agenda’ – where we challenged the sustained attacks being levelled at women who contest male power and control.
Report from the inaugural NTEU Queensland Women’s Conference.
Stats & surveys MORE QUALIFIED WOMEN, BUT JOBS & PROSPECTS STILL MORE PRECARIOUS 18 We take our annual look at the state of gender equality in higher education.
BEING A FEMINIST IN THE UNION MOVEMENT 26 Trade unions embody sexism to their core, while at the same time providing a platform for women to organise, network and challenge that very sexism.
Scholarships CAROLYN ALLPORT SCHOLARSHIP
JOAN HARDY SCHOLARSHIP
#RIO2016 #OLYMPICS #SEXISM OBITUARY: CLARE MCCARTY
Roz Ward reflects on her suspension from La Trobe University and subsequent return days later.
Retiring WAC Professional Staff rep, Qld.
Women of the South Pacific education unions strive for quality ‘Education For All’.
SAFE SCHOOLS COALITION
CAROLYN COPE 25
EDUCATION FOR ALL IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC
University Australia’s national student survey on sexual assault & sexual harassment.
Retiring WAC Professional Staff rep, WA.
‘Brogressives’, ‘mansplain’ and other witty feminist portmanteaus.
How do Indigenous women who are teaching academics manage themselves in relation to student surveys?
RESPECT. NOW. ALWAYS.
DON’T READ THE COMMENTS!
STANDING UP FOR MY RIGHTS
Retiring WAC Professional Staff rep, Tasmania.
SPEAK UP, SPEAK OUT, BE HEARD IN QLD
WAC member Liz Mackinlay discusses her and Briony Lipton’s book, We Only Talk Feminist Here.
Ask me why I have a feminist agenda
NTEU National President
It is outrageous that despite over a century of women enrolling in higher education and more women graduating than ever before, that gender equity is still out of reach at Australia’s universities. And because it is outrageous we are not going to be sidelined, silenced or told to stop whining and being pushy. The theme of this year’s Bluestocking Week focused upon pursuing a feminist agenda. It initially drew a few surprising adverse reactions. It seems that it is okay for the rich, white man who is Prime Minister to claim he is a feminist, but a dangerous move for a working woman. No wonder the Victorian Trades Hall Council women’s caucus printed T shirts saying ‘Ask me about my feminist agenda’. They generously agreed to the NTEU popping our logo on and walking proudly on campus seeking questioners. The T-shirts have gone down very favourably. We will print more! While there are more women students and staff on campus, and today 40% of 25-29 year-old women hold a bachelor’s degree compared to 30% of men, women are still overrepresented in traditionally feminised jobs and studies, and the number of women promoted to senior positions has stalled or gone backwards. Women still make up 77% of education students and 72% in health studies, but only 22% in information technology. Less than one third of vice chancellors are women, which is partially explained in that less than one third of women are promoted above senior lecturer despite more women than men in entry level positions. While two-thirds of general and professional staff are women, they remain concentrated in lower level and traditionally gendered occupations. Previous success by women in career advancement seems to have stalled. As women are more qualified and experienced than ever before, this must suggest persistent sexist attitudes and behaviours, despite universities touting their equal opportunity employer credentials. While universities do have gender equity policies, women staff report often feeling
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that they are treated disrespectfully and often their input is still ignored. Young academic and professional staff are told to take care with being too overtly ‘feminist’ or loud. Aspiring postgraduate students are advised to pick their disciplines and topics carefully, so as not to be stigmatised as too focused on ‘women’s issues’. However hard they work, too many younger women academics find that all their dedication has still left them with casual teaching or fixed term research jobs, with few prospects. Nevertheless, they keep on researching and publishing to meet the criteria. The old adage that women have to work twice as hard to get half as far still holds in universities, and that quadruples if you are Aboriginal or queer or have a disability. Each year, universities are legislatively required to submit to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) reporting on a number of gender equality benchmarks. Now in their fifth year, the reports show not only that insecure work in universities is rife and continuing to grow, but that it is highly gendered, with women overrepresented in casual and contract work across almost all work areas. The gender pay gap in graduate starting salaries is slowly closing but still women’s earnings are less than men’s. The positive news is that women graduates entering traditionally male fields like engineering, earth and physical sciences earn higher starting salaries. However, women lose ground over time and end up with half the superannuation savings of men. While this gap is partially explained by women’s different work patterns, the sleeper issue is the alarming rise in insecure employment across the workforce. In universities, one in two jobs are now casual or fixed term contract with over half of all
teaching done by academics employed by the hour. Four out of five researchers are on increasingly-shorter fixed term contracts. This makes it harder still for women to establish careers before having children. Many of this year’s Bluestocking Week events focused upon exposing and campaigning against violence towards women, highlighting this society-wide problem within universities. NTEU strongly endorses Universities Australia’s initiative in partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to undertake a major survey of student experiences of sexual violence at Australian universities. This frightening campus environment is clearly a staff issue too, with a survey of NTEU women members in Queensland finding staff wary about being on campus outside of ordinary hours. We will be working with the AHRC on a workplace survey on sexual harassment in universities. The NTEU is proud of successfully negotiating collective agreement clauses at many universities to assist staff dealing with domestic violence, through special leave and other supportive provisions. We are hopeful that these provisions will be strengthened in this round of bargaining and extended to staff currently excluded. Victorian women casuals have started a campaign calling upon universities to include casually employed staff. The bluestocking pioneers of a century ago would no doubt be very proud of their legacy if they walked onto a 2016 university campus and saw the diversity of students. However, they would be horrified to find women students and staff still facing discrimination and even violence.. Jeannie Rea is NTEU National President and editor of Agenda. firstname.lastname@example.org
We are Union Women Hear us WRAW! Over the past months NTEU women across the Victorian Division have been participating in and facilitating Women’s Rights at Work (WRAW) chats in their workplaces and communities. An initiative of the Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) Women’s Team, the WRAW chats provide an opportunity for working women to come together in workplaces or communities to discuss what’s working (or not working) for us as women at work. NTEU WRAW chats have been held at the University of Melbourne, RMIT, Federation University and La Trobe University, as well as NTEU women participating in regional and community chats and the Working Women’s Conference WRAW chat through the VTHC. Emma Pritchard, Branch Vice President (General Staff) at Federation University participated in a WRAW chat with the Ballarat Union’s Women’s Committee. ‘It was a good opportunity to network with other women across different organisations,’ said Emma. ‘We found that by doing this workshop we experience the same or similar issues across industry. Identifying these issues together provides us with support and a realisation that we are not alone in the battle.’ Across the universities the WRAW chat’s highlighted that while our workplaces had great terms and conditions for women on paper, the reality is there are a lot of barriers to women actually accessing their full entitlements. At the RMIT WRAW chat, a group of around 35 women discussed some of the issues and barriers for women working at RMIT. Through the discussion it was discovered that RMIT had lost their Workplace Gender Equity Agency (WGEA) Employer of Choice for Gender Equity status. Since the RMIT WRAW chat the Branch has been working with women members and activists to develop a campaign to win this back, not just in name but in fact.
Investigating violence in the workplace The NTEU is partnering with NTEU members, Dr Arlene Walker and Dr Lucy Zinkiewicz at Deakin University, on a research project investigating violence in the workplace. To be rolled out in three projects, with the final intended to be an ARC supported study, the research will investigate violence (domestic, family and other), its relationship with substance abuse and mental health, and its impact on the workplace. The initial project is currently underway at Deakin University, with the support of the local NTEU Branch, and ethics approvals and plans are being submitted for a larger research project in 2017. As part of the project, the NTEU has agreed to promote an online survey to members at selected universities. Members will be provided details about the study and invited to participate via email. The survey is of course completely voluntary and individuals who receive the email survey can choose to participate or not. Importantly, as the NTEU is a partner in the research, the results will be shared with the Union and may be of considerable assistance in gauging the effectiveness of the various domestic and family violence clauses in bargaining, as well as policies currently in place.
WRAW chats are a great way to look at what is going on in your workplace, and to start to talk about how our union can work to improve things. If you are interested in holding a WRAW chat in your workplace (even if you are not in Victoria) get in touch with Bec Muratore, email@example.com. Bec Muratore (ACU Branch Organiser) and Emma Pritchard (Federation University Branch Vice President)
Terri MacDonald, Policy & Research Officer
UA launches Respect. Now. Always.
NTEU recently attended the launch of Respect. Now. Always., the first comprehensive national survey of the extent of campus sexual assault and harassment, run by Universities Australia (UA) and the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).
The Union is a strong supporter of Respect. Now. Always. and sees it as an important step in identifying and addressing important issues and ensuring staff and students feel safe on university campuses. NTEU has long been an advocate around raising awareness for effective university policies and processes. A unified approach that involves students, staff and university leaders will have far greater reach in ensuring all students and staff feel safe on campus, and a national student survey will provide the foundation for this. The NTEU was pleased to hear UA Chair Professor Barney Glover announce at the launch that the survey would ‘not be a once off’ and that universities need to look at developing a national platform to address sexual harassment and assault. While the findings will assist universities in developing effective prevention strategies and responses, attitudes and behaviour that allow sexist behaviour, sexual harassment and assault to thrive are culturally entrenched within Australian society, and more is needed to address these underlying attitudes if we are to engender respect. See Respect. Now. Always. report, p.20 VOLUME 24 SEPTEMBER 2016
#MakethePledge – Domestic violence leave for all staff On 29 July 2016, vicechancellors of all Victorian universities (except Swinburne*) received a letter asking them to extend their domestic and family violence leave (DVL) provisions to all staff, including casuals and fixed term employees.
NTEU Women in Leadership Mentorship Pilot Program NTEU is establishing a mentorship program to develop women leaders amongst the membership. The intention of the program is to encourage a greater number of women to nominate for senior and leadership roles within the Union. ‘This better represents our membership and encourages a co-operative approach in leadership that benefits membership driven, collective organisations’, says National President Jeannie Rea. Such leadership programs are characterised by the use of role models, where mentors can educate and inspire others to become leaders within their union and the union movement. This, in turn, improves the strength, capacity and capability of the Union.
This decision to have a mentorship program came out of the NTEU Women’s Action Committee (WAC) meeting in July this year. Earlier, in May this year, the NTEU reported to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) the number of women and men in leadership roles in the NTEU. Although, over the last 15 years the numbers of women NTEU members have increased from 48% in 2000 to 58% in 2016, women are proportionally underrepresented in leadership and senior roles within the Union. For example, amongst National The letter was signed by NTEU National President Councillors, there are only 49 women compared to 63 men. Only 60 Jeannie Rea, NTEU Victorian Division Secretary women, but 80 men, elected at Division Council level. Only 9 women, Colin Long and the women’s caucus of the Victorian but 12 men on National Executive. And only 15 women, but 30 men, Casuals Council (VCC). Responses were slow, and only as Branch Presidents. (Note that the latest round of elections may three universities responded before the campaign launch: have altered this). Melbourne, Victoria and Federation University. Melbourne and The mentorship program will identify activist members Victoria told us that they will consider it as a case-by-case issue to mentor. A pilot program will take place through until next year’s bargaining, where they will be willing to enter into 2016-2017 and will be run and with the negotiations on the topic. Federation Uni said that they take the issue support of the WAC members in South very seriously, are working on a policy, and would also bargain on it Australia. next year. After our Bluestocking Week event on 18 August, Deakin and La Trobe responded, saying that their DVL policies will apply to all staff, which was an important win early in our campaign.
Helena Spyrou, Union Education Officer
At our #MakethePledge Bluestocking Week campaign launch we had two exceptional guest speakers who are experts in the field: family violence advocate and advisor, human rights academic, and family violence survivor, Liana Papoutsis, and Swinburne domestic violence leave campaign leader and DV survivor, Michelle Brocker. Their stories of overcoming adversity were moving, and their calls to action inspiring. Despite the seriousness of the issue, the overwhelming mood on the night was collegial and optimistic. Jeannie Rea also gave an impassioned speech about the importance of this issue for unions, and musician Justine Walsh captivated us with her beautiful voice. We now have a strong group of activists keen to participate in local campaigns to ‘encourage’ the remaining VCs to commit to extending this important right to all staff. Over 400,000 people, the vast majority of them women, experience domestic violence in Australia every year, and women die from resulting injuries at a rate of one per week. Domestic violence increases the risk of job loss, homelessness, and poverty. Those in insecure work are especially vulnerable, and more women than men in our sector are employed casually. Eleanor Kennedy, Amelia Sully, Jo Taylor, Bel Townsend, Victorian Casuals Council. *Only Swinburne University had at that time extended
paid domestic violence leave to casual employees, and this win was only achieved after three years of dedicated campaigning and negotiations. The ground breaking family violence leave provisions now at Swinburne is the best clause in the sector, and it is just the beginning.
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Workplace rights around Domestic violence In the last round of bargaining, NTEU achieved domestic violence (DV) provisions in around two thirds of the 39 institutions with whom we bargained. We aimed to negotiate dedicated paid leave for workers affected by domestic violence, in addition to access to existing forms of leave. Additional paid leave is now in 14 University agreements. In most cases this is 5 days leave (including those with a specific amount of ‘special leave’). Stand-out clauses include at the University of Sydney where members achieved a maximum of 20 days paid leave, and at Swinburne University which was the only institution to provide paid leave for casual staff experiencing domestic violence (5 days). Following campaigning by the Victorian Casuals Council, Deakin and La Trobe have committed to extend their DV leave policies to all staff. NTEU negotiators will pursue improved domestic violence leave provisions in Round 7 bargaining, with the key priority still to achieve additional leave where this is not available. It is difficult to know who is accessing domestic violence leave provisions, for obvious reasons, but NTEU Branches are asked to check on: • Workplace safety planning strategies. • Access to training for DV contact staff. • Any disputes around access to DV provisions or potential discrimination. NTEU hopes to have more information about the awareness of and access to domestic violence provisions, via a study to be conducted by researchers at Deakin University. NTEU was consulted about the study survey instrument which will be distributed amongst staff at several Universities. The results should give us insight into awareness of DV as a workplace issue and the likely demand for domestic violence provisions. Meanwhile the ACTU will prosecute most of their case to insert domestic violence leave in all modern awards (10 days), in 2017. If successful, this will provide a broad safety net for workers and more impetus to improve domestic violence support via enterprise bargaining. Last year the Fair Work Commission compensated a woman effected by DV, for her unfair dismissal. The woman and her partner were both employed by the firm and she was the one sacked after an intervention order was made against him. Last month the Federal Court rejected an appeal by the firm and ordered them to pay the woman $30,000 in costs. Susan Kenna, Industrial Officer
seeking Women for Australian unions oral history project NTEU members Sarah Kaine and Cathy Brigden talk to Agenda about the research project they are embarking upon that explores experiences of women trade union activists in Australia. What makes our project different and exciting is our focus on capturing their voices to tell their stories so as to build a historical picture of generational activism. By using oral history and then creating an accessible online digital repository for these voices to be actually heard, we are aiming to uncover and make available often hidden stories of activism and leadership. The recorded history of the Australian union movement has been dominated by the stories and personal histories of the men who have led it. While these are important in understanding our movement’s history, they present only part of the story. Much less attention has been given to the contributions of individual women. One reason for this has been the lower proportion of women in official leadership positions within individual unions and until the 1980s in union peak bodies. While the oral histories of male union activists are themselves limited and hard to access, the relative absence of women’s voices means the historical record does not reflect or acknowledge the contribution of the many thousands of women (many working as rank and file activists or holding honorary positions) to the development and defence of workers right in Australia. Telling and re-telling stories from the perspective of the union women who experienced them will help us protect those stories and add to our understanding of union histories. So we are calling on unions to be involved – and the NTEU has agreed to be one of our union participants – to shine the spotlight on union women’s stories and experiences. We will be exploring questions such as: why did they become involved, what have been some of their main challenges, and what has changed over the course of their union life? It is important to trace the generational patterns of women’s activism at the workplace, in their own union, in peak unions and the movement more broadly and to do this we will be interviewing women whose union work spans decades. We are also considering crowdfunding part of the project so keep an eye out for ways to be involved! Cathy Brigden, RMIT University firstname.lastname@example.org, Sarah Kaine, UTS email@example.com
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Celebrating our feminist agenda The theme for this year’s Bluestocking Week was ‘A Feminist Agenda’ – where we challenged the sustained attacks being levelled at women who contest male power and control, be it on campus, in traditional and new social media platforms, in the political arena or more broadly in both culture and society. Events were held nationally, with the focus on giving all women in the higher education community an opportunity to get together and share their stories and experiences; to get active and vocal about the issues; to challenge and seek change to the status quo; and to spread the positive feminist message of empowerment for all women. Many events made a point of recognising those that have come before us, and took inspiration from their stories and experiences on dealing with the challenges of the here and now. Following are reports on some of the 40 plus Bluestocking Week events held in every State and Territory, which saw staff and students celebrating women in education right across the country.
ACT The ACT Division had a full program of activities for Bluestocking Week this year, trying to have events on different days and at different times of the day, to allow people the greatest flexibility in attending events. The first event was an outdoor cooked breakfast at Australian Catholic University (ACU). This year the snow stayed away, which was a blessed relief. On Wednesday, NTEU combined with ANU’s Postgraduate Students Association (PARSA) to host an afternoon tea in Teatro Vivaldi, a theatre restaurant on the ANU grounds. It was well-attended, with over 30 PARSA and NTEU members gathering to enjoy a selection of food and drinks, and celebrate the contribution of women to the life of a tertiary institution. It was particularly useful in connecting women students and
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staff, and committing to support each other in the tertiary education sector. The following day, we moved to a lunchtime slot with the NTEU hosting a pub-lunch and discussion with women staff members about enterprise bargaining. There was a lively discussion and a number of important and novel issues were raised by staff with the ACT Division Secretary. Finally, we wrapped up the week with Friday evening drinks in Fellows Bar, which was attended by both men and women. We discussed the various events that were held during the week and are already planning next year’s activities. It was a pleasant and cheerful way to conclude a week of celebration of women in tertiary education, looking forward to the future.
New south wales NSW Branches celebrated Bluestocking Week with a number of exciting and well attended events. These included Macquarie Branch’s robust panel discussion provocatively titled ‘The Neoliberal University and its Radical effect on women’ with guest speaker, Professor Alison Pullen. In a similar vein, UTS Branch held a roundtable discussion on the impact of changes taking place at the university and in the higher education sector more broadly, and UNSW Branch held a Know Your Rights seminar that focused on
improvements to women’s employment conditions in enterprise bargaining. At Southern Cross University, staff were invited to a free lunch and film screening of Associate Professor Trish Fitzsimon’s Snakes and Ladders: A Film about Women, Education and History, which was well Below: Enjoying a feminist beer in the ACT.
bluestocking week attended. Newcastle Branch held a morning tea, during which the Branch nominated long time member Rosalie Bunn for NTEU Life Membership – the first Newcastle woman to gain such an honour. The students also held a trivia night, which NTEU members attended (and won!). UNE women were also invited to a morning tea by their NTEU Branch, which celebrated women in education.
Northern Territory NTEU NT Division celebrated Bluestocking Week 2016 by leading a campaign to raise awareness on gender equity and advancing the rights of women by providing a safe work and study environment. Events included morning tea, lunchtime Walk & Talk and library displays. The NT Division is working with Charles Darwin University (CDU) to support a safe workplace and a safe and educational environment with a proposition to consider introducing a phone app called ‘SAFE Zone’ to be developed and implemented within regional campuses within the NT. Janet Sincock and Sylvia Klonaris from the NT Division both attended the Women in Super National Roadshow launch of the Domestic Violence Charter, hosted by domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty. We purchased autographed copies of Rosie’s book to be raffled at Bluestocking Week events. During our lunchtime Walk & Talk at the CDU Casuarina Campus to raise awareness of domestic, family or sexual violence issues within our community, we handed out fact sheets explaining the domestic violence clause in the Agreement, promoted the Bluestocking Week morning tea, and talked to staff about joining the NTEU. Cassandra Deon-Wierda from Darwin’s Ruby Gaea centre attended the Walk & Talk to share stories and give advice on counselling services in the NT. Our annual Bluestocking Week morning tea gained once more in popularity with over 50 participants. Sylvia Klonaris (Division Vice President, General Staff) welcomed and opened the event. Guest speaker Cassandra Deon-Wierda from Ruby Gaea talked about sexual violence in an informative conversation which was resourceful in understanding the effects of being involved. Everyone present was touched and connected with the stories of people who have come forward to seek help. The event was also attended by NTEU National President Jeannie Rea, who was in Darwin en route to the Gurindji Freedom Day Festival, commemorating fifty years since the Wave Hill Walk Off (see p. 16).
Above: Sylvia Klonaris at the Bluestocking Week morning tea at CDU in Darwin. Below: SA Bluestocking Week Dinner in Adelaide.
South Australia The SA Division hosted what has become a much anticipated annual calendar event – our fourth SA Bluestocking Week dinner, held at the Thai Lemongrass Bistro. It was a sell-out success and our biggest, most lively event yet, hosted by the dynamic Janet Giles, Campaign Manager of the Australian Services Union, and featuring guest speaker Anne Morris, international humanitarian aid-worker, Flinders University alumni and winner of the Flinders 2006 Convocation
Medal. SA WAC representatives Kate Borrett and Jennifer Fane spoke briefly about the history of Bluestocking Week and WAC initiatives including the recently drafted NTEU Gender Equity Policy, the Universities Australia survey of student experiences of sexual violence at Australian universities. A proposed pilot program for SA women NTEU members, the Clare McCarty Women’s Leadership Program received commendation from the WAC and aims to empower women members with opportunities for mentoring and coaching.
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bluestocking SECTIONweek Following on from Janet’s spirited introductions and Jenn and Kate’s overview of the theme for this year’s dinner: ‘A Feminist Agenda = Women in Higher Education’, outlining the current climate for women in higher education, Anne presented us with the importance of an agenda on human rights and shared her awe-inspiring experiences of a far reaching career and the significance of a gender equity agenda as a necessary part of negotiations within international humanitarian aid settings and cultures. Issues raised by Anne highlight the need for continued work on raising awareness about violence towards women on an international scale. The dinner included a fundraiser for the SA Working Women’s Centre and brief presentation by Kirsten Rogers, Chair of the Centre’s Management Committee, about the important and vital work of the Centre - a portion of the proceeds from every ticket sold and sales from the evening’s raffle, approx. $965, will go to help support the Centre. As usual, an array of great Thai food and dynamic engagement ensured a fantastic and energetic evening, enjoyed by all. We look forward to seeing more NTEU members at what promises to be another great event in 2017!
Victoria Who is the famous soprano on the $5 note? What field other than literature did Beatrix Potter excel in? Who was the first female singer inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?* These are just some of the questions designed to get minds racing at the inaugural Victorian Division Feminist Trivia Night, held as part of our Bluestocking Week celebrations. Around 150 members crowded into Trades Hall to match wits to see who would be declared the best and brightest on the night. But it wasn’t just for the glory! Our Feminist Agenda in the Victorian Division was around raising funds for the Karen Women’s Organisation through APHEDA Union Aid Abroad. All up we made a whopping $4186 to go to the KWO to assist them in their training and capacity building efforts in the refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border. Congratulations to the winning team, ‘The Inaugural Collective’ and to everyone who made the night such a success. In addition to our Trivia Night, some Branches also donned their Bluestockings for local events. Federation Uni Branch held morning tea, a lunchtime movie and a WRAW chat at each of their campuses, RMIT Branch held a follow up WRAW chat
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Above: Vic Division women celebrating Bluestocking Week. Below: Collecting signatures in Tasmania.
with special guests from WGEA, La Trobe Uni Branch held morning tea and breakfast on some of their regional campuses and Melbourne Uni Branch hosted a lunchtime seminar fundraiser for Asylum Seeker Women. Bluestocking Week also saw the launch of the Victorian Casual Council’s #MakeThePledge campaign (see p. 4). Congratulations to all of the wonderful women who worked behind the scenes to make each and every Victorian Division and Branch event a success, and thank you to our members for your continuous support. Comrades at Melbourne Uni came together for a Bluestocking Week lunch and put their feminist agenda into action for women refugees. A range of speakers talked about the different kinds of action happening on campus – Unionists for Refugees, Academics for Refugees and Researchers for Refugees. Dr Karen Block from the Centre for Health Equity took us through the specific impacts of detention on women and the challenges women face being released into communities on Nauru and Manus Island.
Thanks to Hannah McCann, Ameila Sully and Eleanor Kennedy from the Branch for their talks, and to Jordy Silverstein for an update on Academics for Refugees campaigns. Special thanks to Dr Karen Block for the keynote talk. Members and attendees raised $370 for a learn to drive program popular with women refugees settling into Australia, run by RISE: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-Detainees.
Tasmania This year, Tasmanian Division Bluestocking Week celebrations enjoyed a collaboration with the National Union of Students (NUS) and the Tasmanian University Union (TUU) Women’s Collective to roll out some great initiatives on the theme of improving security for women on UTAS campuses. A Student and Staff Safety Petition was undertaken to raise awareness of the high prevalence of sexual harassment, assault and violence at universities, and to
Bluestocking week Meanwhile, in Hobart on Friday, noted historian Dr Alison Alexander presented a seminar entitled ‘Intellectual Women’s Struggle for Recognition’ in which she explored what she called ‘bluestockingness’ with the aim of showcasing and promoting esteemed women historians. While Dr Alexander described a history of access to education for women in Tasmania since colonisation, well-paid employment has been more of a challenge. A strong masculine ‘old guard’ prevented women breaking the glass ceiling until recent times and is still preventing them today.
empower students and staff (particularly those who are survivors) to have their voices heard and to be supported. We hosted pop-up stalls throughout the week as well as encouraging members to collect signatures. (Petition text at www.nteu.org.au/tas/article/ Blue-Stocking-Week-Petition-to-VC-18928) Goods for Hobart Women’s Shelter were collected to help women in need make a fresh start. Lists of goods needed were posted on our event page and at designated drop off points. This ‘practical feminism’ project put a human face on the policy debates and advocacy activities, and was well-received by members. TUU Women’s Collective hosted two brunch events enthusiastically received by students on the cold winter mornings, with many also taking the opportunity to sign our petition and participate in our photo campaign to end violence against women. A morning tea in the TUU lounge in Launceston celebrated the achievements of women and was well attended.
Bluestocking Week this year was a great opportunity to link in with the related events, such as the Universities Australia survey and campaign. Overall it was an intense week when the concerns of women were heard clearly by students, staff and the UTAS institution, as well as the wider community through media coverage.
Western Australia As bargaining is underway at four universities in Perth at the moment, we decided to hold a Division-wide event rather than events at each campus. The main focus was a forum entitled ‘Domestic Violence: its Impact in the Workplace’. This theme tied in to our bargaining claim on domestic violence and was an opportunity to highlight the issue amongst our membership. Speakers included Gabe Gooding (WA Division Secretary), Angela Hartwig (CEO, Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services), Dr Lekkie Hopkins (a feminist academic from ECU who has done significant research in this area) and Simone McGurk (Labor MLA for Fremantle, Shadow Minister for Community Services, Women’s Interests & Children’s Interests). Feedback from members was very positive, and they
left with a will to continue the conversations with colleagues to raise awareness of the issue in our community. We did another collection across all universities in WA for items to be donated to Kambarang Place, a women’s refuge run by RUAH Community Services. We collected over 10 large tubs of items, including sleepwear, toiletries, new underwear and socks as well as a range of other quality used clothing. Our members in the library at Murdoch University set up a display for the donations and Tracie Pollin from the library represented our members when we delivered the goods to the RUAH Centre. Our delegates at ECU in Bunbury organised a special collection for the local Bunbury refuge and presented donations to them at a morning tea on Tuesday 16 August. A premiere screening of the short film The Women Who Were Never There, directed by Kirsty Jordan and Robynne Murphy and part of the Jobs for Women film project, was held at Curtin. www.nteu.org.au/bluestockingweek Contributors: Terri MacDonald (National Office), Cathy Day and Bernie Fisher (ACT), Tara Murphy (NSW), Sylvia Klonaris (NT), Sara Brocklesby (Vic), Kate Borrett and Jennifer Fane (SA), Megan Alessandrini (Tas), Margaret Giles, Donna Shepherdson and Corinna Worth (WA) *Dame Nellie Melba, Science and Aretha Franklin. Above: Angela Hartwig at the Bluestocking Week forum in Perth. Below: Tracie Pollin (right) with Anneke Rombouts from RUAH’s Street to Home Program with goods collected for Kambarang Place women’s shelter. See overpage for Queensland Division report
In Hobart, NTEU, NUS and TUU hosted a screening of The Hunting Ground, the Emmy Award winning documentary about the violence on US university campuses. The documentary was introduced by Dr Olivia Rundle, NTEU WWP member, who spoke eloquently about the history of Bluestocking Week, the gender pay gap and violence against women. Clark Cooley (NUS) also spoke and introduced Allison Henry from the Hunting Ground Project. Following the screening, a panel discussion was moderated by Allison with plenty of active participation from the floor. In Launceston a Bluestocking Week trivia night was held at the Seafarers Bar at the Australian Maritime College. A range of prizes were provided as well as a lucky door prize to encourage participation.
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Speak Up, Speak Out, Be Heard in qld
Liz Mackinlay UQ, WAC
On 18 August 2016, thirty-five professional staff and academic women came together in union and sisterhood for the very first time to celebrate Bluestocking Week at our inaugural NTEU Qld Women’s Conference. The title of the conference built upon the ‘A Feminist Agenda’ theme of Bluestocking Week this year, encouraging the women attending to ‘Speak Up, Speak Out, Be Heard’. We had been thinking for a long time about how we might bring women together in sisterhood across the higher education sector in our State and that time had arrived. While many women arrived at the conference excited to be there, many also wondered, ‘Why am I here and why now?’ The story behind this event is important and is nestled in the history of Bluestocking Week itself.
A long line of Bluestockings From the 1980s until the last decade, Australian women students held Bluestocking Week events across the county to campaign about and celebrate women’s contributions and achievements in higher education. The election of a Coalition Government brought with it an increasingly post-anti-feminist neoliberal agenda. Combined with the introduction of Voluntary Student Unionism, feminist activities, including Bluestocking Week, were actively discouraged. Women’s action, including Bluestocking Week, went underground as we waited for the right time and moment to raise our voices again. By 2012 feminism on campuses saw a resurgence. NTEU and the National Union of Students (NUS) joined forces to relaunch Bluestocking Week, telling women to ‘Kick Up Your Heels’. In 2013, Bluestocking ran on the theme of ‘Holding the line’; in 2014 we were ‘Crossing the line’ and 2015 saw us ‘Spin a yarn – light a fire’. All themes focused on the importance of fighting sexism and prejudice and encouraging women to speak out and share their stories and views. Across the country we took pictures, wrote captions, and posted our stories on how we ‘crossed the line’ and challenge attitudes that seek to restrict women’s freedom and opportunities.
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At the University of Queensland (UQ), women wrote their stories on large photocopied stockings hung up on a line around the public space of the grassy knoll. They spoke of working within an old fashioned, conservative and sexist institution where casual sexism is rife. They felt that the stronghold of the boys club persisted, with men given preferential treatment at management and senior levels, for both professional and academic staff. They reported that the temporal space of the university was not friendly to working women, pressuring them to work 24/7, but without any understanding of the responsibilities of being a working mother, and the increase of casual and sessional employment resulting in lower wages and job insecurity. Women also told us that they did not feel safe on campus.
Spin a yarn, start a fire, launch a survey Following the UQ event, the Qld WAC representatives met with Division staff and asked, if this is UQ, what is happening for
women in other universities in Qld? What do we have to say about our employment experiences in the sector? What are the issues that NTEU Women in Qld would like us to hear about and take up? How might we find out, given that we live and work in places often times far apart from one another? The ‘Spin a Yarn, Start a Fire’ postcard and NTEU Qld women’s survey resulted, with 409 women responding. The survey asked questions related to the nature of secure or insecure employment, working above and beyond, stress levels and capacity to cope with workloads, intersectional experiences of discrimination and harassment, safety at work and on campus, relationships with management, levels of support and networks amongst women, and experiences of women with caring responsibilities in the workplace. The survey results were startling. Only 20 per cent of respondents felt secure in their employment, 70 per cent take work home daily, 85 per cent work weekly hours not recorded on timesheets, and 50 per cent work on the weekends. Half felt overwhelmed over workloads and 40 per
BLUESTOCKING WEEK Acknowledgement of Country I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land upon which we are gathered today, the Jagera and Turrbal peoples, and pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging. On this particular occasion as we come together as women in union, I would particularly like to acknowledge that the country upon which we stand is a gendered landscape, and that Jagera and Turrbal women, and indeed all Indigenous Australian women, have always and always will be women of high degree who hold enormous power, authority and knowledge in relation to country, culture and kin. Over the past twenty years, the women in my husband’s Yanyuwa family at Burrulula in the Northern Territory – a sisterhood of women – have patiently shown and shared with me, a white-settlercolonial woman, the ways in which such gendered knowledge comes to be; the ways in which it is acknowledged, valued, given status and sustained through song, dance and ceremony; and the ways in which women perform their status and rights as Law women in, on and of this country. cent didn’t feel they were coping. 60 per cent were worried about recrimination if they were critical over operational issues and less than half thought their voice would be heard if they spoke out. Only 28 per cent felt supported in their career aspirations as women in the university, and 40 per cent were worried about safety on campuses. In addition, the survey found 62 per cent of respondents experienced discrimination and harassment at work in varying degrees of severity, shapes and forms, whether that be on the basis of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion and/or sexuality. This is comparable to the 70 per cent of female university students who reported experiences of sexual harassment, discrimination and assault on campus in the recent NUS survey ‘Let’s talk about it’.
Sisters in union speaking up, speaking out and being heard One third of women surveyed said they had more to say, so for Bluestocking Week this year, we decided we had to make it possible for women to do exactly that at the inaugural NTEU Qld Women’s Conference. The conference agenda and panels sought to weave together a gorgeous team of wise and wonderful women as guest speakers
and chairs, to make space for us to engage in feminist talk about the issues which matter to us – job security, women’s safety, our continued invisibility, and what we can do to take action. Qld Council of Unions Secretary Ros McClellan welcomed delegates and spoke of how her life experiences have made her a feminist warrior. NTEU National President, Jeannie Rea, followed with an address that reminded us that while women are the majority in higher education, we don’t have the power and so making space for, listening to and acting on women’s stories is one important way we might begin to change this. In the first panel discussion on ‘Safety’, Deborah Walsh (UQ) shared her work on domestic violence and the important of pushing for the stronger domestic violence clauses in the next round of bargaining as a way to challenge the invisibility of university women’s experiences of violence. Maggie May’s story of being a sessional staff member across a number of universities reminded us of the precarious nature of women’s work in the sector and the need to give more serious attention to this. The second panel focussed on ‘Invisibility’ and Sharon Bickle (USQ) emphasised the link between gender and unearned privilege, that is, women are running ‘twice as hard to catch up with what the blokes get for nothing’. She also highlighted that there is selective visibility and invisibility – everyone knows where your office is when there is an upset student who needs consoling or a spot on a committee to be filled but somehow no one can seem to find you to let you know that you are entitled to marking relief. Dolly Mackinnon (UQ) spoke with heart and humour of her journey through academia from her beginnings as a sessional staff
member – ‘the good time that was had by all’ – and in the here and now as a tenured Associate Professor. Her words of advice for strategies to challenge invisibility and remain safe in your quest for visibility included becoming a ‘teflon donna’, stand together, and be strategic. Vivienne Sadler spoke from her position as a mature woman in the university and challenged the assumption that only younger women are ready to ‘progress through the system’. The final panel brought together a group of women who spoke to us about the importance of activism in speaking a feminist agenda. Senator Claire Moore advised women to think about working together to engender change, and called for moments of everyday activism to challenge the status quo. Madeline Price shared her experience of the UQ Women’s Bake Sale and urged us not to devalue the seemingly insignificant, because small feminist actions can mean big things. Theresa Petray (JCU) advocated ways to bring women into activist spaces safely and suggested that building upon women’s ways of working and women’s interests might provide opportunities to further activist engagement. A crucial component of the conference was workshopping the three themes of the conference to identify issues and further course of action for the NTEU – the small things that might actually be big things that speak for and to our feminist agenda. This allowed delegates to also take away something that would stay with them, helping them to keep speaking up and be heard. Liz Mackinlay (UQ) is the Qld Academic representative on WAC. Opposite: Qld Women’s Conference attendees. Above: Liz Mackinlay, Amie Khosla, Di Lancaster.
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Standing Up for my rights
La Trobe University
To say I was surprised would be an understatement. The email from La Trobe University management on the afternoon of 1 June 2016 said that they were accusing me of committing ‘serious misconduct’ and that I was being suspended with immediate effect. Within half an hour I had left my desk and was heading straight to the NTEU office in South Melbourne. I have worked at La Trobe University since 2008 when I started on a six month fixed term 0.2 contract to run a small research into practise project called ‘Rainbow Network’. Eight years later, I lead a team of four researchers working on the delivery of Safe Schools Coalition Victoria, the biggest intervention against homophobia and transphobia and for LGBTI diversity ever made in Australian schools. The Victorian and Federal Governments have invested more than $1 million in my team at La Trobe University to deliver the program since 2010.
actions gave a clear lead to thousands of supporters in the community who immediately understood the injustice of the situation. Victorian Secretary Colin Long said: ‘That La Trobe University has apparently allowed itself to be cowed into participating in this antiintellectual, anti-democratic attack reflects the dismal state of intellectual capacity at the senior management level in some Australian universities.’
The move by management to suspend me earlier this year came after months of sustained attacks on the Safe Schools Coalition. The right wing press led the charge in February with an ‘exclusive’ in The Australian ‘exposing’ the authors of a curriculum resource produced by Safe Schools Coalition Australia and LGBTI youth organisation Minus18. Hundreds of articles and a barrage of media coverage followed in the weeks and month after, sparked on by a federal review (that found very little to improve) and a series of (mostly unrelated) mandatory changes made by the Liberal Government in March that in the words of MP George Christensen ‘gutted’ the content of the national program.
A massive campaign of public support followed, with an online petition attracting more than 10,000 signatures in 48 hours, a Facebook organising page ‘We Stand with Roz Ward’ received over 5,000 likes, and rallies were called at the La Trobe Sydney Campus, and at the main campus in Bundoora. Academics, students, and unionists from around the world sent me personal messages of solidarity.
as an educator. The Safe Schools program has been an important one in helping to educate our children about the diverse range of sexualities that can be found amongst people. I want my daughter to grow up as a person who welcomes others and defends their right to explore and express their sexualities’. Message from a parent.
‘I appreciate your work and feel proud to be at the very university where someone like you – a pioneer in human rights – is based, and that there are most likely many others who feel the same way’. La Trobe Graduate Student
With the support of the NTEU we also challenged the legal grounds for my suspension and possible contraventions of the University’s Enterprise Agreement, the Fair Work Act and Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act.
‘Please remember the work you do is incredibly important to so many people across the country in an area of life that many find it too difficult to understand. But that is all the more reason not to allow this latest incident to distract you from the bigger cause of a fair society for all’. Academic from a Victorian University.
After a massive public campaign led by the NTEU, and just over 48 hours later, we were told that the Vice-Chancellor was withdrawing the allegations and had put out a statement that he had decided to ‘change course’. On Monday morning I returned to work through a flag waving guard of honour of unionists and safe schools supporters (pictured, above), convinced more than ever of the need for strong and active unions, and taking a stand for what you believe in.
Under intense media scrutiny, a private comment I had made about the Australian flag on my personal Facebook page was made public by The Australian on 28 May. Three days later, I received the email from University management accusing me of committing serious misconduct. Without the immediate support and backing of the NTEU it is hard to imagine what might have happened next. A strong and quick public statement from NTEU leadership condemning La Trobe’s
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‘We have not met, but I just wanted to send you a message of support, as both a mother of a twelve year old daughter and
SAFE SCHOOLS coalition
Writing Themselves In 3, the third national study on the sexual health and wellbeing of same sex attracted and gender questioning young people in Australia was published by La Trobe University in 2010. The research uncovered alarmingly frequent and violent experiences of homophobia and transphobia in the lives of these young people, with 80 per cent of the abuse identified as happening while they were at school. The Victorian Department of Education made a formal commitment in 2008 to ‘Supporting Sexual Diversity in Schools’ in a position statement introduced by the then Minister of Education, Bronwyn Pike.
Safe Schools Coalition Victoria was established in order to close the gap between this policy commitment, together with the existing legal frameworks, and the reality of the homophobic and transphobic school environment that the majority of LGBTI young people were experiencing. To do this, Safe Schools Coalition offers all schools the choice to engage with a program of voluntary staff training, free targeted resources, and tailored practical guidance for teachers and school leadership. Since its inception, Safe Schools Coalition Victoria has been a success with over fifty schools engaging in the first year, and now more than 265 school Principals making a commitment to supporting gender and sexual diversity by joining the Coalition. The need and demand for support in schools has cut across all sectors and ages – Government, Independent, Catholic, primary and secondary. Based on the success in Victoria, Safe Schools Coalition Australia was launched nationally in 2014. The program was funded by the Federal Government for four years and convened by the Foundation for Young Australians. Research clearly demonstrates that supportive and inclusive schools can make significant and positive health, wellbeing, and educational differences for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse young people. Safe Schools Coalition provides schools and teachers with practical strategies to address homophobia and transphobia and to consider the impact of heteronormative practice. Heteronormativity describes the assumption, and deliberate preferencing, of opposite sex attracted, cisgender and non-intersex experiences resulting in an erasure of, or discrimination against, other identities and experiences. When this exclusory notion is embedded into pedagogy and curriculum, students who
engagement of same sex attracted and gender diverse young people.
Nationally convened by:
Safe Schools Coalition Australia is federally funded by the Australian Government Department of Education.
are sexually diverse, gender diverse and intersex do not see themselves and their experiences reflected at school. This absence of validation and recognition of their identity can also lead to negative health and wellbeing outcomes. Making a difference in schools doesn’t have to be a lot of extra work. Taking measures to ensure that all teachers challenge homophobic and transphobic language and behaviour is an essential first step. Thinking about the visibility of LGBTI people around the school and giving clear signs of support through posters, a noticeboard, stickers and more can help all students feel included. In the classroom, there are lots of ways to include gender diversity, sexual diversity and intersex in all areas of teaching and learning. Increasing numbers of books are available for children of all ages to hear about different experiences with gender, families, and relationships. Even formal school policies are shown to contribute to an improvement in the wellbeing and
For students who are transgender and/or gender diverse the pressure to conform to expectations about gender and gender stereotypes can be uncomfortable or distressing. A young person’s need to affirm their gender identity can become more urgent when they are at school because of the gendered nature of the environment. Research suggests that the consequences of not affirming a child or young person’s gender identity can be extremely negative for their health and wellbeing as well as their ability to build social relationships and engage with learning. Safe Schools Coalition encourages schools to take the pressure off gender in ways that will benefit all children and young people and make sure those who are gender diverse or transgender feel safe and supported. www.sscv.org.au (in Victoria) or www.safeschoolscoalitionaustralia.org.au
Be a better ally to your LGBTI friends. Make our school a place where #allofus can belong.
LGBTI stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex. Find out more at: safeschoolscoalition.org.au
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the Challenge for Women Leaders
Sexism as a Political Weapon
NTEU Policy & Research Unit
There is a distinct possibility that by January 2017, three of the largest economic world powers – Germany, England and the USA – will be led by women. If US Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton is elected as American President in November, she will join German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May. Leaving aside their respective politics, the fact that they are there at all is remarkable, given the chronic under representation of women in the national politics of their countries. In Germany, only 37 per cent of parliamentarians are female; in the UK, it is 29 per cent and in the US Congress it is as low as 19 per cent. It’s worth noting that Australia also lags behind at 27 per cent in the lower house and 39 per cent in the Senate, our lowest number of federal women MPs since 1993. These sobering statistics contradict claims by some in the media that women have broken through the political glass ceiling, particularly in economically privileged countries. Indeed, in terms of female leadership, it appears that smaller and developing countries have led the way, and while some were relatives of national leaders, many were not. Sri Lanka was the first country to have a woman Prime Minister with the election of
Sirimavo Bandaranaike in 1960; the world’s first woman President was Argentina’s Isabel Perón, elected in 1974. Since then, female heads of state or government have been elected in Israel, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Turkey, Burundi, Central African Republic, Mongolia and Haiti (to name a few). Australia, of course, had Julia Gillard as our first female Prime Minister. While the political (and sometimes ethical) leanings of these female leaders are
separate issues for discussion and debate, and it would be an error to define them solely by gender, their status as leaders has an impact on the aspirations of other women and the way politics, power and agency are viewed. However, there is push back to this progress. Women leaders (and women aspiring to be leaders) are subject to more scrutiny, criticism and gender bias than their male counterparts. Critiques on their appearance, marital status, motherhood status (or lack thereof), and personalities are reviewed and rehashed in detail, and in a manner never applied to male leaders. Indeed, traits often seen as positive in their male counterparts are viewed as negative in women leaders. This bias is assisted further by the media, political opponents (and sometimes political allies), who are predominantly male but not exclusively so. They fall with easy familiarity into gendered language when talking about and to women leaders, often straying into all out sexism, which is then picked up by a public already accustomed to gender bias. The Democrat’s Hillary Clinton, in her race for the American Presidency against Republican nominee Donald Trump, has encountered this political sexism in spades. While the outrageously cringe worthy antics of her opponent appear to have been largely forgiven by the mainstream media, the treatment of Clinton stands in stark contrast. Her appearance is critiqued
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in deleterious detail, her voice is criticised as loud, shrill, grating and harassing. Her laugh has been branded ‘the Clinton cackle’ and her oration is criticised as ‘in-artfully substituting volume for expression’. She has been accused of being overly ambitious and calculating, even robotic, yet at the same time portrayed by the media as witch-like and crazed. No male US presidential candidate has ever been accused of orchestrating his partner’s infidelity, but Hillary has been portrayed as the enabling political spouse of a former President who, her opponent claims, abused women. Trump also claims that the infidelity occurred because Clinton couldn’t ‘satisfy her husband’ and as such ‘what makes her think she can satisfy America’. The fact that Clinton is a woman is sufficient enough for her to be ‘playing the woman card’, yet Trump and his supporters deliberately use her gender in their attempts to undermine her campaign.
the manner in with Julia Gillard was portrayed here; there is a universality in the demonising and demeaning of women political leaders that falls outside political ideology. It’s not surprising therefore that the number of female national leaders has been shrinking. According to the website ‘Women in Leadership’ (which includes figurehead monarchs), there are currently 24 female world leaders, the lowest in several years.
denied the right to stand for parliament there until 1920. It seems that, even today, the path of political leadership for women remains difficult and contentious, and that sexism is still wielded as a political weapon. Opposite: Tony Abbott and Liberal MP colleagues stand in front of the infamous ‘Juliar... Bob Brown’s Bitch’ banner, Canberra 2011 (reddit). Above: Angela Merkel (wikipedia); Hillary Clinton (wikipedia); Theresa May (flickr, Number 10). Below: Donald Trump (flickr, Gage Skidmore)
It is clear, even if Clinton is elected, that we have a long way to go in the fight against sexism. Women first achieved the right to vote in 1893 in New Zealand, yet they were
While this appears to have appeal to Trump’s supporters (the atrocious antiHillary merchandise at Trump’s rallies comes to mind), whether it sways the broader public is doubtful. However, there is a pattern behind these sexist distortions and misrepresentations, which has borne out in a wide spectrum of research showing that female politicians are evaluated quite differently from their male counterparts, and this has an impact on their electability. Clinton’s treatment has resonance with VOLUME 24 SEPTEMBER 2016
Recognising the women of Wave Hill
Jeannie rea firstname.lastname@example.org
In August 1966, around 200 people, including pastoral workers, domestic servants and their families walked off Wave Hill station. They were taking industrial action as yet again they had been refused equal pay with white workers. They walked 12 miles and set up camp at Wattie Creek, on Gurindji land. They then sent telegrams to the North Australian Workers Union (NAWU) and the Northern Territory Council for Aboriginal Rights (NTCAR, a majority Aboriginal organisation) advising that they were on strike and needed assistance, so that they would not be starved back to the station. This was not a spontaneous action, but well organised amongst the Aboriginal workers, unions, NTCAR and other supporters. Equal pay had been granted some months earlier by the Arbitration Commission, but with a three year phase in, this meant that the pastoralists avoided implementation and then replaced Aboriginal workers with often less experienced white people. To add insult to injury the determination also included a racist ‘slow worker’ clause, which allowed bosses to label Aboriginal people ‘slow’ and still pay less. There was no way that the Wave Hill WalkOff was not going to become a campaign for land rights and self determination. This was always the intent of the leaders. The Gurindji were not the first to strike and it was not their first strike, nor were they the first to claim land rights or to align themselves with supportive trade unions and political, faith and civil society organisations. However, following the much anticipated equal pay determination, they became a focus and a catalyst. Eight years later, the Whitlam Government, edging towards land rights legislation, symbolically handed back some of the Gurindji’s land in the form of a pastoral lease to the Wave Hill mob led by Vincent Lingiari. Over the next forty years some hopes and dreams were realised, but most crushed by the harsh realities of ongoing discrimination and inequality as the community sought to become self-sufficient and, like many other communities, negotiate a decent life as citizens of the nation state of Australia whilst maintaining their identity, culture and
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responsibilities as custodians of land. While there were some genuine commitments at the political and practical level, the story is one of constant betrayal and exploitation by white Australian institutions and people. For example, from the beginning the community wanted a bilingual school at Daguragu (formerly Wattie Creek) and this has always been refused by the government. And like so many NT communities, in recent years Daguragu and Kalkaringi have been torn apart by the Intervention. Much has been said and written about the Walk-Off. Many white people have also had their say. I, too, have a few observations drawing upon my doctoral research as well as political participation. In the context of our ‘Feminist Agenda’ Bluestocking 2016 theme and the unfortunate need to focus upon gender based violence, in recognising the 50th anniversary of the Walk-Off I wanted to highlight the women. Most of the focus of the story and iconography of the Walk-Off, particularly in mainstream accounts, is of the stockmen. However, this characterisation hides the fact that a significant proportion of strikers were women. They were the ‘domestic servants’ who were also paid a pittance and rations, or just miserly rations. The equal pay case included setting rates for the domestic as well as farm and stock workers. The so-called women’s jobs were always part of the equal pay case and union advocacy. However, there is yet another part of the story which has become hidden in time and shame. Another critical reason for walking off was to stop the sexual abuse of Aboriginal women by white men on the pastoral station. Despite scepticism of white law, demands were constantly made by Aboriginal people for the protection of Aboriginal women from
predatory raping white men. Aboriginal men’s inability to protect women from the sexual violence of white men was a constant and shaming matter, accentuated by their absence when working away from the homestead. Aboriginal women also did not find allies amongst white women on the stations. From the beginning, Aboriginal women were critical in establishing the patterns of day-to-day life at Daguragu. While the men did much of the public leadership, the women elders were having their say. It is not surprising that the public face was of men, as most of the visiting politicians, media and unionists were also men. But women from outside were also reliable allies of the community and they came with the all the enthusiasm of second wave feminism, which had an impact on the community women. The young women, particularly, started to question their traditional roles and the old men did not like it, which was pretty much the same experience as young white women in mainstream Australia. Over time, women’s community leadership has not only been better recognised, but it is now also understood that the resilience and constancy of the women explains much of how the community has held on through this last fifty years. Above: 50th Anniversary Freedom Day Festival video still (www.freedomday50.com.au).
Don’t read the comments!
Sandra Phillips QUT
How do Indigenous women academics manage themselves in relation to student surveys? As part of exploring that question, let’s first get a sense of our cohort within Australian higher education. Behrendt (2012) reported that the Mob rate of full-time equivalent employment (FTE) in Australian higher education changed little through 2004-2010, remaining constant at about 0.80 per cent. When we do work in universities we are more likely teaching than research-only (0.5 per cent), we are more likely female (63.8 per cent), employed at lower levels compared to non-Indigenous women, and 76 per cent of us are over 40. By definition, Aboriginal women who teach in Australian universities are survivors and high achievers. Many a proverbial ‘sling and arrow’ has been survived, moments of selfdoubt have been worked through, many busy days and sometimes busier nights have been accommodated in almost relentless cycles of responsibility. We are educated, we are determined, we turn up on the frontline of teaching, and we work with our students and our colleagues. We get on the treadmill of each new teaching session and we operate within expected administrative frameworks. In between semesters we pause for breath and do it all again next teaching session. In between we might also attempt or achieve research output. This is a very fine balancing act. This balancing act is made even finer when on any given weekend we may have been refused service at a café or followed around a store by a retail worker who already understands us as a shop-lifting risk on the basis of our skin-colour; or when we’ve read of a brother having a banana thrown at him for being an exceptional football player while black; or read of our children in incarceration or literally being run down. This is a very fine balancing act all over again come time for reading what our students get to anonymously write about us in surveys. Student surveys are said to be necessary tools in improving learning journeys. We
all also know they are variously used in performance management. Like with most things and broadly speaking, student surveys as a phenomenon are in a kind of constant iteration, improvements are made so that students are asked to not only rate teachers on performance but also themselves on how well they’ve taken up learning opportunities, and the overall satisfaction ranking is understood to be about the learning journey and unit curriculum rather than teacher/s per se. The Likert-type scale applied in student surveys is not dissimilar to other customer satisfaction tools. This piece does not aim to debate the question of students as customers. My principal concern is for the younger and the typically older Aboriginal woman who while on the university teaching frontline (or frontier?) might find students unused to Aboriginal female competence and leadership. And why wouldn’t they be unused to us in this light? Where else do they get to routinely and variously see us promoted as competent leaders: in our various parliaments? On TV screens? In films? In books? In the corporate sector? On Boards? On sporting fields? The Aboriginal woman academic on the university teaching frontier remains an anomaly in the imagination of students we encounter – we are up the front of the room but they’ve rarely seen us there before, dissonance is inevitable. I believe this dissonance makes some of our students more judgemental. On the one hand, we can all take heart that in Gandhi-style we are the change we want to see. On the other hand, talk about high-wire artistry. That high-wire act gets trickier come time to not only view the metrics from student survey data but also read the comments. Amongst ourselves on social media and in real life, Mob often say in relation to mainstream media articles or social media posts: ‘don’t read the comments’. ‘Don’t
read the comments’ is code for stay away because you will be wading into the same old, same old. You will find yourself swept up in a wave of largely negative stereotypes about our peoples, and subsequently of yourself. Sometimes some of us do go there, we go to the comments section, we pose pithy retort, state particular facts, urge new understandings – more often than not though this makes no difference to the tsunami of negativity. The democratisation of public communication enabled by digital technology means anyone with access to the internet and an ability to put a word or more together can keyboard, project, or in some cases, projectile, their view into public space. Reading other readers’ comment about media is almost always optional, and more often than not bears no causal relationship to our lives – professional or personal. What happens though when this same digitally-enabled democratisation becomes a structural and unmoderated feature of our professional lives? What happens when students use survey mechanisms to rank and comment whatever they like about each of us (with views perhaps not yet unshackled from widely-held negative stereotypes about us)? What happens when you are expected to increase student satisfaction and achieve learning outcomes in a context that prefers to operate from the premise that race and gender do not influence perception? After three years full-time on a mainstream teaching frontline, what do I do? I ask a trusted professional to read the comments for me. That trusted professional points to student feedback I can take into account to continue to improve the student experience. That’s what I do, what do you do? Dr Sandra R Phillips is a lecturer in Creative Industries, QUT. Email email@example.com
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More qualified women, but jobs and prospects still more precarious The latest Australian higher education statistics continue to confirm the trend that women constitute the majority of staff and students. Today, 56 per cent of university staff are women, continuing the rise in the proportion of women higher education staff over the last fifteen years, from 49 per cent in 2000. The proportion of women students also continues to grow; in 2015, 40 per cent of women aged 25-29 had attained a bachelor degree or above, compared to 30 per cent of men. Women postgraduates have also increased and today are almost at parity. Back in 2001, only 3 per cent of men and 2 per cent of women aged 15- 64 yrs had a postgraduate degree. This risen rapidly to just over 6 per cent of men and just under 6 per cent of women. The story behind these statistics is both positive and not quite so positive. The traditional female fields of professional and sub-professional work in health, education and human and public services nowadays require degrees at entry, whereas there are still decent careers for men without degrees. However, with the collapse of the manufacturing sector, in particular, these opportunities for men are now also in decline. The rise in postgraduate qualifications is attributable to improving career advancement and changing careers due to loss of jobs. Even within our universities, the traditional gendered division of labour holds fast. Women continue to be under-represented in teaching and research academic positions (43 per cent) and in research only positions (48 per cent), but are the majority of general/professional staff (65 per cent) and teaching-only academics (57 per cent). Women are under-represented in senior roles, with numbers pooling at lower levels in both academic and general/professional
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staff positions, and there are only ten women out of the 39 vice-chancellors. Women also continue to be overrepresented in insecure employment in all areas. This is particularly critical as between 50 and 70 per cent of the total workforce (as distinct from data based on equivalent full-time calculations) in universities are now either employed as casual or fixed-term contract staff. Whilst women students are graduating with high expectations, gender equity is still eluding them, with a 3.4 per cent gender pay gap in graduate earnings that increases over time. Graduate Careers Australia figures reveal that within three years of graduation men are out-earning women by 9.3 per cent. There are only nine fields of study where women earned more or the same as their male counterparts, compared to 11 professions where male graduates earned more than female colleagues. At postgraduate levels, the difference is even more substantial, with women earning only 83 per cent of men’s salaries. The research on research careers keeps showing that many women lose out because it is harder to get started and hang on through a series of fixed contracts – and also have a family. Additionally, research grant culture is such that successful grant recipients are much more likely to get the next grant. Hanging around makes a difference in these workplaces and women are much less likely to be able to do that as they so often have other responsibilities.
And literally hanging around out of ordinary hours can be dangerous for women as universities and research institutes are generally recognised as not safe places. The latest Australian Human Rights Commission survey on sexual violence on campus will provide data to address these issues. Meanwhile, Australian Bureau of Statistics data reveals that women still get 19 per cent less in average full-time earnings compared to men. Women have to work harder and longer than men to get the same take home pay. Statistics don’t tell us everything, but we do find ourselves within the stats and they do help us understand that we are not just dealing with individual problems, but that these are structural and cultural issues. And then we have to deal with those who just don’t get it. Recently a former banking executive was reported in the media whining that times were tough for sixty-something, white, male, retiring executives as they may be less likely to get the nicely remunerating board positions they have always considered their own! He was complaining about companies who may be adopting affirmative action policies to try and get greater diversity on their boards after statistics revealed that at their current rates it will be over a century before Australian boards even get towards gender balance. Jeannie Rea, National President Infographic by Terri MacDonald and Paul Clifton
australian gender & higher education stats 2016 doMeSTIC enrolmentS by gender
naTural & physical sci.
25-29 year olds with a baChelor degree
inforMaTion Technology engineering
40% OF WOMEN
architecture & buildIng
agriCulTure, enviro Studies
gender of australIans wiTh a posTgraduaTe degree
management & Commerce
society & Culture
47% 53% 49.2%ð57.5%
women in the university workforce all fte sTaFf
teaChing & researcH
gender pay gap a decrease of 2.3% sinCe noV 2014
WOMEN EARN MORE
earth sCIenceS, pHysical ScienCes
$6,000 coMpuTer scIences engIneerIng
MEN EARN MORE
acCounting, Biological scIences psychology educaTion law, medicine
SoCIal scienCes EQUAL
gender pay gap by Field
postgraduaTe earnings medIan salaries of woMen and men
The average gender pay gap is now
30% OF MEN
econoMics & buSiness art & design agrIculTural science, paramedIcal studies arChiTeCture & BuIldIng, huManiTIes
Sources: www.abs.gov.au, Workplace Gender Equality Agency - GradStats factsheet, highereducationstatistics.education.gov.au, Graduate Careers Australia (2015), GradStats VOLUME 24 SEPTEMBER 2016
National university student survey on sexual assault & sexual harassment
Respect. Now. Always.
Earlier this year Universities Australia (UA) responded to long running and consistent advocacy and complaints by students, staff and the broader community about gender based discrimination, misogyny and sexual harassment and assault on university campuses, at events and online. The Respect. Now. Always. campaign was welcomed by the NTEU as a step forward from a history of platitudes, weak policy implementation and even dismissals of complaints and cover-ups. Respect. Now. Always. reflects broader community campaigns calling for a real change in the attitudes and behaviours of men towards women, and also recognises the need for open respectful support of the LGBTIQ community, who are both frequently ignored by decision makers and their colleagues and targeted by bigots and bullies. The Hunting Ground Project, a campaign against sexual violence on campus, started in the United States by student survivors has helped mobilise Australian students and staff. The Hunting Ground documentary is a harrowing exposure of life on the US residential campuses, but the experiences are far too readily recognised here in our culture of not only ‘everyday’ sexism but the purposeful ‘hunting’ down and assault of women by some men and the surrounding culture that has let them get away with it. Some universities have taken on Respect. Now. Always. more than others and NTEU Branches are watching and supporting initiatives. We will need to be more proactive in many places to push along this opportunity to revive moribund policies and urge new real action for change. The Respect. Now. Always. campaign though will not be able to fade away at some universities now that UA is also sponsoring a survey of university students’ experience of sexual harassment and sexual assault. This project is in collaboration with the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). The survey is being sent to a random proportion of all university students in Australia. No public university is
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exempted and all the vice chancellors are well aware that this is a serious undertaking as the results will require immediate and ongoing attention. The NTEU has publicly endorsed the national university student survey. In a UA media release launching the survey in August we said: ‘The NTEU has long been an advocate around raising awareness for effective university policies and processes. A unified approach that involves students, staff and university leaders, will have far greater reach in ensuring all students and staff feel safe on our campuses, and a national student survey will provide the foundation for that.’ The NTEU have advised UA of the need for universities to not wait for the results of the survey next February, but that they should already be revising their policies and procedures, as well as ensuring any
current arrangements are operable (from physical matters like lighting to processes for reporting and dealing with complaints). Whilst it would be easy to just be critical of the decades of serious neglect in dealing with gender based violence on campuses (and now online), criticism and even limited exposure has not succeeding in changing the appalling attitudes and halting the violent behaviours. It is telling that a decade of University of Sydney student women’s officers wrote to their vice chancellor demanding serious attention. I think it has got worse not better, as the number of women on campus has grown. The frustration of some men at women’s increasing equality is manifested in this nasty underlying culture of sexual violence. So we are welcoming UA taking on this initiative and will do what we can to get some real action and change. We remember a few years ago UA pledged to implement recommendations of the
OBITUARY National Union of Students Talk About It Survey and yet nothing happened. When NUS repeated this survey last year, again over two thirds of respondents reported harassment and many sexual assault. This was dismissed by some as not being a methodologically rigorous survey, and therefore did not count, the more common response was shock that campuses are not safe places. In a media release, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins said: ‘Over the past year, we have heard a great deal about sexual assault and sexual harassment of university students. These reports are worrying. As universities themselves have observed, one sexual assault on campus is one too many.’ ‘The data we expect to collect from this survey will provide the evidence needed to continue to develop effective prevention strategies and responses to sexual harassment and sexual assault of university students.’ The prevalence survey will run at different times at each university to accommodate semester schedules, with the first survey to begin in mid-September. The survey results will be analysed and the findings reported by the AHRC. Any student who wishes to have their voice heard, but has not been sent a survey can also make a confidential submission online (see web address below). The outcomes of the student survey will clearly also impact upon staff. However, the NTEU proposed to UA and AHRC that the survey be extended to include staff, and cited the NTEU Qld survey of women members that found women staff were also experiencing the culture of fear of violence. Whilst sympathetic to our case, they understandably wanted to keep the student survey unique to students. However, the AHRC is talking with us about another sexual harassment survey opportunity as they again investigate workplaces across different sectors. This will provide a focus upon the universities as workplaces. Jeannie Rea, National President Make a submission to Respect. Now. Always.: humanrights.gov.au/universitysubmissions #respectnowalways Support is available for anyone feeling distress in completing the survey by calling 1800RESPECT. Opposite: Students from Sydney University Women’s Collective, survivors of campus sexual assault and their supporters protest sexual violence and harassment on campus on Open Day 2016. Source: University of Sydney Women’s Collective
Dr Clare McCarty died suddenly on 21 June 2016 after a short illness, aged 75. From the day she arrived at Flinders University in 2007, she joined the NTEU and immediately became an inspirational activist. How lucky we were that after a lifetime of activism in the UK, Uganda and in Australia, when many her age would plan to retire, she chose to bring that wealth of experience to the NTEU. Clare’s manifesto was direct and resolute – she believed we can all do better as individuals if we collectively strive for a better society. She devoted her life to this philosophy. As an educator and political activist, she set the highest standards for herself and urged each of us to also set transformative ideals and goals. I first met her when she was representing the industrial interests of school teachers. She was polite but firm. Fully prepared. Her presentation was strong and articulate. Later when she moved from schools to Flinders University, she continued to be a force to be reckoned with. An outstanding lecturer, always well organised, her performance as a public speaker matched her preparation. She had that rare talent of delivering an argument in a concise convincing way, often with a sense of humour, always with a touch of theatre. As she took her audience through the evidence, she riveted attention. She forced us to listen to the logic because she was passionate about the value of her message. The industrial issue she felt most strongly about in recent years was the massive rise of insecure work in universities. She knew what she was talking about because she, herself, was employed as a casual and then on fixed term contracts at Flinders. The other issue she became passionate about was the important role that staff play on University Council. Again, she walked the walk and was proud to be an elected staff member on the Flinders Council, a position she held until her death. Her time on Council convinced her that staff and the NTEU in particular had a special role to play in reminding Council that the quality of the
University’s teaching, research and broad engagement required proper investment. She saw the chilling winds of neoliberal corporatism and pushed back against it with all the dogged fight she could muster. Clare’s death has left Flinders University in shock and grief. The Council has lost a passionate voice of reason, the School of Education and especially the students have lost a charismatic teacher, and her colleagues have lost a powerful advocate and mentor. Our Union has lost a woman who led by example, tenacity and inspiration. She brought trail-blazing experience – decades of representation and leadership in the school teachers’ union including being the first woman President of the United Trades and Labour Council in SA – before embracing the NTEU with her steadfast and unselfish commitment to making universities better places for staff and for students. We will miss not only her wise counsel but her unwavering dedication to activist political principles. Ron Slee, SA Division President
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We Only Talk Feminist Here
Liz Mackinlay UQ, WAC
What does it mean to ‘only talk feminist here’ in the contemporary neoliberal university? This is the premise of We Only Talk Feminist Here, written by NTEU Women’s Action Committee member Liz Mackinlay and Briony Lipton. Here Liz explains why they have written it. How do feminist academics effect change? How are feminist voices sounded, heard, received, silenced, and masked? What are the entanglements of being academic feminists and performing academic feminisms in the neoliberal university? In asking these questions, we seek to problematise the uneasy positioning of feminist bodies inside the contemporary Westernised university and We Only Talk Feminist Here offers a contemporary account of what it might mean to ‘only talk feminist’ in this context. This book presents new possibilities for framing ‘talking feminist’ differently, by exploring what we say, when we say it, how we say it, and what it means when we do any of these things in terms of our multiple and shifting feminist subjectivities. We Only Talk Feminist Here draws upon interviews and conversations with feminist academics in Australia to demonstrate the performative and discursive moves feminist academics make in order to be heard and effect change to the gendered status quo in the newly corporatised and commercialised neoliberal university. Feminist academic scholarship in Australia is historically interlinked closely with the political agendas of the women’s liberation movement of the 1970s; to student demand; and, the commitments of scholars themselves to researching, teaching and learning towards gender equality, equity and justice. Since this time the Australian higher education sector has undergone significant structural,
operational, and cultural changes, and academics today are experiencing firsthand the effects of a highly corporatised system in which institutions and individuals are increasingly pushed into producing marketable research, competing for - everdiminishing - government funding, and globally ranked prestige. The introduction of equity policies and guidelines to improve the gender profile of Australian universities have become well-established paradoxical tropes of the neoliberal university, and academic women and particularly feminist scholars continue to experience discrimination and marginalisation. Notions of the ideal academic have a significant impact on what types of academic endeavours are considered most meritorious and indicative of excellence, and female academics, and particularly feminist scholars, continue to be dismissed as knowledge producers in their own right. We Only Talk Feminist Here reveals the material, affective, epistemological, ontological and discursive safety and freedom that is found when feminist academics encounter and create spaces where feminist knowledges and practices are privileged over neoliberal-patriarchal ones. Understanding what it is like to be a feminist in the fast-paced neoliberal, corporatised, and commercialised university is crucial to addressing new and existing gender and racial inequalities in the academic enterprise. This book is dedicated to all those who dare to talk feminist in the contemporary university
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VOLUME 24 SEPTEMBER 2016
and aims to inspire all of us to wilfully enact our feminist agendas. Briony Lipton is a PhD Candidate in the School of Sociology, ANU. Her current research explores the relationship between academic women, feminism, neoliberalism, university leadership, and gender equality in Australian higher education. Liz Mackinlay is Associate Professor in the School of Education, University of Queensland. Her current research projects include the politics and pedagogies of Indigenous Australian studies, mentoring Indigenous pre-service teachers, autoethnography, and feminism in higher education.
Retiring WAC professional staff rep (Tas)
My first experience of the Women’s Action Committee (WAC) was in 2008 when I was on my way home to Tasmania after a year of working at a university in China, and the Academic representative from Tasmania encouraged me to pop by on my way through Melbourne (thank you Paula Johnson). I joined the WAC for dinner, and was slightly overwhelmed by the passion, experience and knowledge that these women appeared to have for and about so much. I was also struck by their camaraderie – something which, when I reflected on it years later, seemed incongruous for a group of women who did not know each other well, some of whom had only met that day, and who had such a range of backgrounds and levels and types of jobs. Since that first social experience of the WAC, I have been both an academic staff rep and a professional staff rep from Tasmanian Division, and the other members have changed every meeting. Despite this regular change of membership, that camaraderie that I noted as a non-member (but never an ‘outsider’) has continued. It is for this, I think, that I keep coming back to WAC each year, and because, in addition to this, WAC is a group which embodies many of the core ideals I have about what universities and what unions are (or should be) about. In WAC knowledge is shared, built upon, analysed, dissected, added to, and evaluated, and through this process new understandings are arrived at, new ideas are fostered, and previous knowledge and understandings are strengthened. The voices of all members are heard and valued, and encouraged. When I went to my first meeting, I found the process fascinating, as it was so different from other Union and university meetings. I wasn’t sure whether I was sufficiently informed enough to make a contribution, but as the meeting unfolded, it became clear to me that when everyone spoke and shared what they knew, believed, or felt (regardless of how little this was), the discussion was richer, and any conclusions drawn were better.
Since 1958, the Australian Universities’ Review has been encouraging debate and discussion about issues in higher education and its contribution to Australian public life.
lead to innovative and meaningful actions, advice, and decisions. At a personal level, membership and involvement with WAC has brought me a great deal. I am more confident in my job, I am a more involved union member, I have a greater understanding of the many workings of universities and the variety of people who work in them. I understand so much more about the way that political decisions, both at a national and at a union level, impact on the lives (and dreams) of women. I have confidence that change and improvements can be made in the way that universities and society more generally make decisions, and especially those that have an impact on women and on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. As I retire from WAC, I would encourage every woman member to seek out opportunities to participate in, contribute to, and to gain so much from engaging with the WAC and its representatives in your state or territory. Not only will you likely be stronger as a result, but so too will our union be stronger from hearing your voice. Although I am naturally inclined to prefer linear processes, the organic and meandering style of WAC discussions does tend to be a more inclusive approach, and at times a more enjoyable one which can
Nell Rundle works at the Tasmanian Institute of Learning and Teaching.
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Retiring Wac professional staff rep (WA)
My first WAC meeting was in 2010 as a proxy representative for Western Australian general staff. The focus was upon the forthcoming NTEU Women’s Conference on the theme ‘Refashioning our Futures’. I was a bit taken aback at the meeting that, not only were many of the issues affecting women in higher education the same as those of the 1970s, but that there was also a perception amongst some delegates that we urgently needed to educate men about these issues and then they would come on side. That we were talking about the same things seemed to indicate that it would take more! Until I was asked if I could go to this meeting I had not heard of WAC, and I think that is probably still true of a quite a number of members, women as well as men, despite the important work of WAC. Whilst every NTEU meeting is supposed to have women’s business as a standing item, I heard that this was not the case at every Branch and Division. WAC members reported they have never been invited to their own Branch meetings let alone divisional, or have any allocated staff support. This is changing, but only because of continual pressure from WAC. During my term, we also made other changes. Rather than an annual national women’s conference in Melbourne, we decided to go biennial with the national event, and focus on divisional activities in between. I raised this at a Branch meeting and we canvassed the options for WA, and it was obvious that yet another conference was not our preferred choice. However, reintroducing Bluestocking Week was immediately met with enthusiasm, as it was when I brought the idea to the next WAC meeting. Even better was when the Women’s Officer from the National Union of Students (NUS) came along with the news that they were going to revive Bluestocking Week (which was a NUS initiative in the 1990s). Over the years BSW has offered a wide range of events and activities – cupcakes to DV education; guerrilla knitting to a walk on country; reclaiming the campus by playing women’s music, (very loudly, instead of doof doof at the uni markets), and renaming the buildings focusing on the herstory of women in tertiary education in Australia – and the absence of many other women from that herstory. It is also noticeable
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that both students and the Union have broadened the focus of Bluestocking Week to include women who haven’t made it to higher education, looking at the systemic and intersecting factors that still prohibit their participation, and undertaking practical activities that can help support them in the here and now. Sarah Beavis (ACT) and I mooted changing the two year terms on WAC to three (with staggered terms within the Divisions so that one of the reps always has some experience). We argued that WAC only meets twice a year. The representative finds her feet in the first year and in the second year, starts to participate more broadly, and then it is over! Whilst a number of WAC members are seriously involved with the Union in other ways, for some WAC meetings are their main connection to the Union. It is critical that the WAC representatives are well-prepared to intervene within their Branches and Divisions to call for support, participation and resources. We have talked of how sometimes women are reluctant to demand more, as they don’t look like they whinging to ‘ask’ for more; others fear ghettoising ‘women’s business’. Does the Union have a problem? The numbers in terms of representation on Branch Committees look good with lots of women involved at all levels, but as too often happens women run the day to day business, with some men just turning up when they have something specific for which they require the Union’s support, or the topic directly affects them. Domestic violence support or insecure staffing in women dominated general staff areas or return to work provisions are their business,
but are left with women to do the work. Do we risk slipping back into a ghetto mentality of women doing the maintenance work for all, and blokes doing the big stuff? These remain real issues. What were the benefits for me of being on WAC? The connections that can be made, with NTEU staff as well as other WAC members: whether just for that moment, over tiramisu and timtams, or more lasting – I will miss those opportunities. Kate Makowiecka Editor’s note: Kate’s often provocative and forthright interventions at WAC meetings were influential in revitalising WAC and our collective determination to ensure that our union runs the gender lens over all of our work and ensures that we never stop questioning why and how women are and are not getting more involved. But most of all, I want to put it on record that it was WA that proposed to WAC reviving Bluestocking Week. Thank you. – Jeannie Rea, National President.
Retiring Wac Professional staff rep (QLD)
Carolyn Cope, who retired from QUT on 30 June 2016, has been outstanding in her contribution to the NTEU at the Branch, Division and National level, as well as to the Women’s Action Committee (WAC). Carolyn has been Branch Secretary since 2008 and a member of the Branch Executive since 2006. She was a member of NTEU enterprise bargaining teams over a very long period at QUT and Queensland’s Academic WAC representative from 2006 to 2015. Carolyn was always ready to assist members in various ways freely giving of her time which greatly enhanced the reputation of the NTEU. Carolyn has also served in positions at Division and National level over that period. At the time of her retirement she was Queensland Division President and a member of the National Executive. This is truly a record of meritorious service. Carolyn’s contributions in two particular areas are significant. First, in respect of promotion of women within the sector, she has made a notable contribution. Both through WAC and more generally within her union work, Carolyn never failed to promote the cause of women. This extended to broader community work as well. Carolyn reached out to a number of community groups as regards women’s rights and this enhanced the position of the NTEU more broadly. She identified the enormous contribution made to the NTEU by its women members and rarely let an opportunity go past to ensure that this was acknowledged. Carolyn organised events to celebrate the achievements of women in higher education over a number of years
such that they are now an accepted part of the calendar within the NTEU. A second area of significant contribution has been in respect of ensuring that the voices of professional staff members are not lost within the NTEU. At a Branch level, Carolyn had the most extensive contact list of members (and indeed non-members!) in the professional staff area. Accordingly, when it came to identifying issues or people who should be consulted, she was invaluable. She was also able to deal with management proposals in this area from a position of strength. Carolyn was also able to provide leadership to newer members of the Branch Executive and bargaining teams - particularly professional staff members. With all of the leadership roles that Carolyn played within the NTEU it might be easy to overlook her fine personal qualities which made such a contribution to the underlying ethos that is fundamental to what our union stands for. Carolyn had strength of character that would shine through when difficult situations arose. She would call out wrongful behaviour no matter where she found it. However, it was never done in a
showy or arrogant manner, but with resolve and confirmation. Over her long period of involvement in the NTEU, Carolyn contributed her intelligence, strength and commitment - as well as her spectacular taste in shoes! We shall all miss her contribution and her distinguished service to the NTEU. This is an edited version of the QUT Branch Life Membership citation for Carolyn Cope, to be presented at NTEU National Council in October.
Having to constantly apply for work is draining. fairgo.nteu.org.au
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UNIONISM Women are successively asserting more power and influence in progressive organisations including unions, and challenging traditional dominant male attitudes and behaviours, but these also persist and we need to call them out. Here two feminist unionsist activists do just that.
Being a feminist in the union movement
Senior Industrial Officer
My whole working life I have been part of a struggle by women to transform the trade union movement. Like many social movements that developed in an era of unselfconscious patriarchy, trade unions embodied sexism to their core, while at the same time providing a platform for women to organise, network, and challenge that very sexism. Built on principles of rights, democratic decision-making, and empowering the oppressed, unions generally proved capable of self-awareness and change. They have even shown themselves capable of beginning to understand intersectionality, taking active steps to eliminate discriminatory practices and implement affirmative action measures to empower and genuinely listen to the voices of many groups who have previously been ignored, or even actively belittled or oppressed, within unions. Great strides have been made, and the union movement now is a different, more diverse and more enlightened world than when I joined the workforce in 1978. But patriarchy, like capitalism, is a wily beast. It vigorously resists change and constantly fights back. The union movement has been a seat of power for articulate working class men for as long as the movement has existed. The habits and traditions of the movement continually replicate and value the ‘traditional unionist’ – a model which both excludes and discourages women activists and other marginalised groups. This does not need a conscious anti-feminist backlash – it happens organically. The ‘traditional unionist’ is an Anglo-Celtic bloke. He is confident, a demagogue who can argue down the opposition with the force of his personality. He is a bit of a bull at a gate, but is forgiven his belligerence because he is working for the greater good. He is ‘one of the lads’, who can down a beer like Bob Hawke. We all recognise him when we see him.
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And he has never really gone away. He has learned to say ‘brothers and sisters’ instead of just ‘brothers’, and to vote for policies on domestic violence leave, but he occupies space in meetings, puts himself forward for office, and engages in interpersonal conduct, as though leadership is his birthright. He claims collective victories as his personal achievements. He takes to factional machine politics like a duck to water, quickly building alliances and identifying patronage among established union leaders. He doesn’t notice that his conduct pushes others to the side or diminishes their contribution. He dismisses concerns about bullying or speaking over others, because he does not feel like a bully or set out to dominate meetings. He just does what comes naturally. Calling him out for his conduct is extraordinarily difficult. First, as a prominent unionist, he is already under attack from bosses, government and the media. No one wants to be seen as joining that chorus. Solidarity in the face of greater enemies often results in failing to confront sexist behaviour. Or at least waiting for a more favourable time. Which, of course, never comes. Second, he’s a ‘good bloke’ working for a good cause, who has power within the organisation. It takes courage to be the one who demands a change in his behaviour, or who questions whether he is the appropriate choice for leadership. And third, he knows how to distract attention from the substance of your challenge, using all the worst tactics to undermine your credibility and standing in the organisation. Challenging the golden-haired boy comes at great personal risk.
To a large extent the feminist project inside the union movement has been reduced to two fields: numeric representation of women in union structures, and pursuit of ‘women’s’ employment conditions such as parental leave and domestic violence leave. The larger project of transforming the very nature of the union movement to ensure women, workers of colour, LGBTIQ workers, migrant workers, casual workers, and other historically marginalised groups not only have ‘representation’ but feel at home, has taken a very distant back seat to the more readily achievable and measurable goals. It is this focus on the (relatively) easier goals – representative quotas, policies against sexual harassment, industrial demands for women apprentices and paid parental leave – that has created the space in which the ‘traditional unionist’ has been able to reassert his control over the movement. The hope that changing the numbers of women in union structures would itself transform continued opposite
NTEU A&TSI Organiser
When it comes to contemporary feminist movements, amongst seeing an important fusion between pop culture and feminism, along with broadening discussions on concepts of ‘intersectionality’ and the way that compounding forms of structural oppression lead to some women being further down the ladder than others, it has also given birth to some incredibly witty portmanteaus. One such word; ‘mansplain’, or the particularly patronising way some blokes will assume they have greater knowledge on anything in comparison to the women in their company purely based on their gender and proceed to explain things; achieved a certain amount of notoriety when it was awarded ‘Word of the Year’ by the Macquarie Dictionary in 2014. Another favourite word of mine though in current use is ‘brogressive’. Brogressive is exactly as it sounds – the phenomenon of otherwise progressive men who enforce their patriarchal privilege or elevate their brethren to the detriment of women. It’s a word which has come about due to the continued dominance of male leadership in left wing political parties, the union movement and socialist and anarchist groups. It’s a criticism of men whose commitment to social justice seems to not extend to social justice for women; who talk about seizing the means of production while concurrently and non-ironically arguing that left leadership should be decided on ‘merit’. Worse though, it’s a call out of men who, while active within these movements, denigrate, exploit and abuse their female comrades. And certainly, some groups have found themselves scandalised by the actions of the brogressives within their ranks. One notable example is the Socialist Workers’ Party in the UK. When allegations of the sexual assault of an activist woman by the blokey culture has largely proved futile. True, there is less overt sexism. There are fewer excursions to the pub after work and even fewer to the brothel. The language has changed a little and the policies a little more. But scratch the surface, and the old stereotypes are alive and well. Say ‘unionist’ and we still think of a bloke in a hard hat and hi-vis. We’ve had a few women Presidents of the ACTU, but never a Secretary. Many of the women who have taken leadership positions in unions have done so by adopting the style of the traditional unionist – by out-bloking their competition. Power still rests with men in this game.
male leadership were aired via the internet, the stories circulated widely and the party found itself imploding. Acknowledging this issue, a number of other left wing activist groups globally started to organise seminars and discussions around the need to dismantle the ‘unsafe left’ replacing it with environments which were truly progressive and equitable places for women. There is still much work to be done though before these gendered issues within the progressive left are adequately addressed. In its more subtle manifestations, the ‘brogressive’ frequently discusses the men on the picket lines without acknowledging the women also there. He cannot understand why domestic violence leave is necessary, let alone potentially lifesaving. He sits in meetings having raucous discussions about the upcoming workers’ rights rally with his fellow brogressives while cutting off the women present when they try to speak or worse, expecting those women will take the minutes and provide the catering. He gets on internet unionist forums, sees a discussion on Gina Rinehart’s latest plan to short-change workers and instead deems it appropriate to make a comment on her appearance. Recently, I witnessed a male unionist speaking at a rally blame domestic violence on increased stress levels of men who had been laid off from work, as if domestic violence is the fault of evil corporations rather than actual perpetrators. So what do we do? Keep on working at it, of course. But we need to stop pretending that the number of women in elected roles is the measure of success in transforming the trade union movement. We need to stand up and challenge the patriarchal praxis of so many union leaders and would-be leaders. And we need to nurture and encourage the engagement of the non-traditional unionist, recognising that this is not best done by celebrating those who can mimic the bombast of the traditional unionist, but by changing the image we carry in our own minds of what makes a good union leader.
None of this, apart from the word, is new. Progressive women have been fighting these fights for a very long time. In 2014 when the documentary film Black Panther Woman was released, the subject of the film Marlene Cummins stated that she was doing this to ‘break the silence’. She not only described some harrowing episodes of physical and sexual violence experienced by herself and other women within the Australian Black Panther Movement (a clearly left wing, yet pro-sovereignty movement), she also stated the pressure that these women felt to remain silent on these issues – Aboriginal men had been so persecuted by the police and the government. The women sacrificed their own safety and wellbeing due to the need to fight a perceived greater enemy. Many women engaged in other progressive movements could relate to this experience. There may be more women in leadership positions within the union movement and the broad left than there have been in previous decades, but the struggle for equal rights, respect and recognition is far from over. More than ever, the importance of opportunities for women to organise within these movements, take up elected positions, and challenge the status quo cannot be underestimated. The Women’s Action Committee, along with Blue Stocking Week, are but two opportunities to push this feminist agenda within the NTEU. Celeste Liddle is NTEU A&TSI Organiser and blogs as Black Feminist Ranter
It is past time for women in the union movement to challenge our male ‘brothers’ for conduct which is self-entitled, exclusionary, and implicitly sexist. They deserve our honesty if they are ever to mend their ways, and the union movement is too important for us to just turn away in despair and leave the field to them. Linda Gale is a Senior Industrial Officer in the NTEU National Office Image: ACTU President Ged Kearney (Source: WorkingLife)
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education for all in the sth pacific
Jeannie rea email@example.com
There is no lack of determination amongst the women of the South Pacific education unions to implement the Education International (EI) objective of quality Education For All from early childhood to higher education, and decent jobs for educators and support staff. However, the barriers and difficulties for women and girls in the South Pacific are stark and often harrowing. The Women’s Network of the Council of Pacific Education (COPE) met in late August in Fiji, preceding the 21st Triennial COPE Conference of the EI affiliates of our region. Challenges for the unions start with dealing with post- and neo-colonialism, climate change, patriarchal cultures, and the consequential inequity, poverty, poor health and discriminatory attitudes and behaviors. Labour and other progressive forces face constant challenge in many countries. COPE Secretary General Govind Singh noted in his report to the COPE Conference that there is but a ‘veneer of comfortable democracy’ in the region. In Fiji and PNG even that veneer is regularly tarnished. Freedom of association, collective bargaining rights and professional freedoms are under consistent challenge and attack. For the women and girls, the persistence of gender disadvantage is significantly explained by the rates of family and sexual violence, which are amongst the highest in the world. The Secretariat of the Pacific Community found that nearly two out of three women aged 15 to 49 years experience violence from their current or former partner and about 18% of women experienced non-partner violence. In Fiji every day 43 women are injured and one is permanently disabled, reported the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre. Talking about girls’ access to school through to women’s opportunities to pursue a career has to be understood through this reality of widespread gender based violence in and outside the home. Not surprisingly making schools a safe place has become an organising focus. The safer schools project in the South Pacific means making it safe to get to school and while at school. It is also about embedding throughout the
curriculum what respect for girls and women really means. This is very challenging in an environment where teachers do not always model respect and promote equal opportunities amongst themselves. Violence, from verbal to physical, was reported as common in schools and militates against girls continuing school or wanting to become teachers themselves. Interestingly, though, as girls’ participation in school does increase, the focus has rapidly shifted to concern about boys’ attrition from secondary schools. However, the labour force remains heavily gendered and boys have more opportunities than girls. Strong advocacy by EI and allies led to success with EI’s Education For All mantra being taken up in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) endorsed by the United Nations last year. SDG4 pledges commitment to the goal of lifelong quality education for all. Whilst governments have made much of committing themselves to the SDG targets, they are threatening any success by succumbing to aggressive approaches by the global education corporations (the edubusinesses, the most dominant of which is Pearsons). The edubusinesses are selling their products on the basis that they can deliver more cheaply for the governments while walking away with great profits, but at the cost of the quality of education and staff salaries and conditions. Additionally, they are determining curriculum by also wrangling the contracts to run assessment and regulation. In tertiary education, including teachers’ colleges, they assert control over the teaching and research programs unrelated to their actual contracts, by threatening to withdraw if they do not get their way.
SDG targets include increasing gender equity by making it easier for girls to participate in schools, which includes removing the reliance on child labour. But how is this going to work in the ‘low fee for profit schools’ when teachers in East Africa are already reporting children attending one day then working the next to pay for the following day? Evidence is already mounting that when families can only afford the fees for one child, boys get preference. Supporting the professional development of teachers and career advancement are not part of the profiteers’ agenda. Government capitulation to edubusinesses will send girls’ advancement backwards as the greatest breakthroughs are made through the spread of mass public funded, free and accountable education. However, despite battling natural disasters, governments bent on attacking teachers’ salaries and conditions and their unions while underfunding education, within cultures of gendered violence and often very restrictive cultural values and practices, the South Pacific education unions are strengthening and are becoming much more supportive of gender equity and advancing women’s participation and leadership. Photo: Hilda Takarobo (Solomon Islands) outgoing COPE Women’s Network Coordinator with Neselinda Meta (Vanuatu) new Coordinator. VOLUME 24 SEPTEMBER 2016
Carolyn Allport Scholarship
Lobna Yassine is this year’s recipient of the Carolyn Allport Scholarship, a postgraduate scholarship in feminist studies. Lobna is doing a PhD in social work at the University of Sydney and her research applies a feminist approach to policy analysis to interrogate juvenile justice policies and practice in NSW. NTEU established the scholarship in 2014 in recognition of Dr Carolyn Allport’s contribution to the leadership and development of the NTEU. The scholarship is available to a woman currently enrolled in an academic award of an Australian public university and undertaking postgraduate feminist studies, by research, in any discipline. It pays $5000 per year for a maximum of three years. Applications are assessed by prominent feminist research scholars. Lobna worked at Juvenile Justice NSW for six years, first as a counsellor and then as assistant manager. It was during this time that she decided to enrol in a PhD. ‘When I was on the frontline at juvenile justice in NSW, I saw a system that was set up to fail’, says Lobna, ‘so I hope that my research will contribute to the development of more effective approaches to protecting young people in the juvenile justice system’. The Australian Health and Welfare Institute Statistics in 2014-2015 are striking. On an average day there were nearly 6,000 young people under youth justice supervision. Of those sentenced to detention, 90% were males and of those supervised in community, 81% were males. In her thesis Lobna observes that ‘despite the overwhelming number of offenders being male, there isn’t a single program in juvenile justice in NSW that addresses the gender divide of cultures of masculinity, in any form.’ Witnessing, over the last 5 years, a decrease in the number of young people under juvenile supervision except for Indigenous young people who were 15 times more likely to be under supervision, Lobna also identified representations of race as important in her analysis of policy. This intersectional approach to juvenile justice led Lobna to the policy analysis tool developed by Carol Bacchi, an internationally renowned Australian feminist
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political theorist. Carol Bachhi’s tool involves the interrogation of how gender, race, youth and crime intersect across a range of fields of gender policy. Lobna’s study is important because it is the first to use this model to investigate juvenile justice. Thus far, Lobna’s research is producing an analysis of how gender and race are silenced in juvenile justice policy and practice and how gender, race and age are implicated in dominant representations of the juvenile offender. As such, Lobna’s study is focusing on how youth offending has been shaped both in literature and in policy contexts with the aim of contributing new knowledge about the role of policy in reproducing oppressions across the lines of gender, race and age. Receiving this scholarship will enable Lobna to complete this very important research. Lobna has also recently started working as a casual tutor at Sydney University. Helena Spyrou, Union Education Officer nteu.org.au/myunion/scholarships/carolyn_allport
Dr Carolyn Allport was NTEU National President from 1994 to 2010, becoming a prominent lobbyist at both the national and international levels including as a consultant for UNESCO, through Education International. Described as a ‘warrior for women’, Carolyn was tenacious in advocating for women’s rights to employment equity. Particularly influential in the struggle for paid parental leave, Carolyn established the NTEU as the leader in setting high benchmarks for other unions and employers to match. Carolyn is also recognised as a leading advocate for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander education, employment and social justice. Within the NTEU structure, she was a driving force to ensure that A&TSI business is core NTEU business. Prior to becoming NTEU National President, Carolyn worked as an academic for over 20 years at Macquarie University. Her teaching and research publications were in the areas of economic history, urban politics, public housing and women’s history.
Joan Hardy Scholarship
Karen Cheer has been awarded the 2016 Joan Hardy Scholarship for postgraduate nursing research for her PhD study of how midwifery students at a university in Papua New Guinea understand, experience and manage the provision of care to women following stillbirth. Karen is doing PhD study through James Cook University. The $5000 Scholarship, was established by the NTEU in memory of the late Joan Hardy, who died in 2003. It is available to a student currently enrolled in an academic award of an Australian public university and undertaking postgraduate study of nurses, nursing culture or practices, or historical aspects of nursing as a lay or professional practice and expects to submit the thesis within one year of being awarded the Scholarship. The student does not need to be or have been a nurse and can undertake the study in disciplines other than nursing. Now, Karen is not a nurse. She is an academic librarian. What has brought her to this study is her own personal experience of stillbirth 28 years ago. ‘I remembered the midwives who cared for me at that time and how affected they were and I wanted then, as I still do now, to better understand how they deal with it’, says Karen.
Joan Hardy was active in higher education unionism for over 30 years, during which time she held many positions at local and state levels. information is desperately lacking. The results of Karen’s study will fill a much needed gap which will improve outcomes for nursing and midwifery staff internationally, as well as outcomes for women in their care.
‘After working for 15 years as a librarian in universities in QLD and NSW, I decided to pursue this area of study. I enrolled in a Graduate Certificate in Research Methods and this led to undertaking my PhD’.
Karen has partnered with the students and staff of the midwifery program at Pacific Adventist University (PAU), Port Moresby, to explore how midwifery students understand stillbirth and their experiences of providing care to women following stillbirth.
Karen’s study is timely and useful for nursing and midwifery globally. There are over 3 million stillbirths globally each year, 98% occurring in developing countries. In Papua New Guinea, Australia’s closest neighbour and a developing country, the estimated perinatal mortality rate is 15 per 1000 births. This rate is more than five times the Australian rate of 2.9 per 1000 births.
‘This grounded theory study describes and theorises the phenomenon of stillbirth from the perspective of a cohort of midwifery students in Papua New Guinea. The study will document social, cultural, spiritual and professional factors that inform the provision of care from the perspective of PAU midwifery students’, says Karen.
Despite our well-resourced health system, Australian nurses and midwives face professional and personal challenges in the provision of care to women following stillbirth. In resource-limited settings such as Papua New Guinea, access to support and
She was the first woman President of UACA (one of the predecessors of NTEU) a position she occupied for five years. Joan was a tireless advocate for union amalgamation and was a key negotiator in the formation of NTEU, becoming Vice-President when the Union was formed in 1993. The Joan Hardy Scholarship for postgraduate nursing research recognises the contributions Joan made to higher education and higher education unionism.
Receiving this scholarship will enable Karen to complete this very important study. Helena Spyrou, Union Education Officer nteu.org.au/myunion/scholarships/joan_hardy
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#Rio2016 #Olympics #sexism
Australia’s women won 5 gold medals (including in rugby7s, trap shooting, single sculls and modern pentathlon) to the men’s three at Rio, and worldwide in 2016 more women competed in the Olympics than ever before. But that hasn’t stopped commentators from treating women as second class competitors. Here is just some of the sexism, and responses to it, exposed on Twitter during the Games.
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NTEU's annual women's magazine. Vol 24, September 2016.