Broken rules for women still must be challenged

Although the federal election has been and gone, with a disappointing result for many IEU members, the broken rules which affect women in the workplace still remain.

The gender pay gap and superannuation gap are still significant and women continue to face difficulties in accessing flexible work arrangements to balance their work and carer responsibilities.

Insecure temporary or casual roles prevent many women from achieving their career or financial goals, as well as being a source of significant personal and professional anxiety.

Unfortunately, discrimination and harassment continue to occur in workplaces and in the community, while family and domestic violence are at unacceptable levels in Australian society.

Within this context, IEU members are stepping up to assert their rights to fair, safe, inclusive and respectful workplaces where they can balance work and family and develop their careers. They also continue to seek an industrial relation system which protects and enhances the rights of workers and their unions.

Over 100 IEU women members gathered in Newcastle on 21 May to hear guest speaker Natasha Beyersdorf, a local television newsreader, speaker about her journey as the mother of a son with significant learning challenges and of the vital importance of the partnership between parents and school staff to achieve the best possible outcomes for students with special needs. Appreciation is expressed to the IEU Newcastle office and Hunter Valley Sub Branch members for their efforts in organising this successful gathering.

In Coffs Harbour on 31 May, Mid North Coast IEU women members joined together for an IEU forum and dinner organised by John Paul College member Pamela Adams in conjunction with colleagues. The guest speaker was Coffs Harbour solicitor Heather McKinnon who is a family law specialist, a community activist and a great supporter of the wellbeing agenda of the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern.

Other forthcoming regional IEU women›s events include Armidale in Term 3 and a western Sydney forum at Holy Family Primary School at Emerton on 23 October.

The IEU looks forward to continuing to work collaboratively with its members to change the rules for working women and to protect and enhance their interests in the workplace and beyond.

Pam Smith
Convenor IEU Women and Equity Committee