Judge and Giant talk of inclusion

Hosted by IEU Executive member Tina Ruello and her colleagues, Union members gathered at Catherine McAuley Westmead on 19 October for this year’s IEU western Sydney women’s forum.

The keynote speaker at the forum was NSW Supreme Court Justice Julia Lonergan who spoke of her experiences growing up in Parramatta and her professional journey as a barrister and now as a Judge. Julia also referred to her challenges, as a wife and the mother of two daughters, in balancing her family and professional roles.

Key gender justice issues identified by Julia included the persistent gender pay gap (now at 15.3%), lack of access to secure and valued flexible work arrangements, and the ever increasing workload pressures for most employees, including in the law and in education, which make it difficult to balance work and family/carer responsibilities.

As part of a panel session at the forum,IEU member and AFLW Giants Amanda Farrugia spoke on the importance of inclusive language and how at the Giants there is a focus on respect, diversity and inclusion. She said that there is an atmosphere at the Giants where sexist language can be challenged and players and staff feel open in calling out issues which may cause them concern.

Appreciation is expressed to NGS Super for their presence and input at the forum and for their ongoing valuable support for IEU women and equity initiatives, especially in regional areas.

IEU members at the Westmead forum valued the opportunity to receive updates on significant workplace gender equality issues and to share their own issues and concerns. The presence and input of speakers Justice Julia Lonergan and Amanda Farrugia was greatly appreciated and members indicated their wish to continue to engage with the IEU to advance gender equality in the workplace, in the community and at national and global levels.

Pam Smith
Women’s Committee Convenor