Women’s rights are union business

On International Women’s Day on 8 March, the IEU celebrated many union gains for women. With a membership comprising 76 per cent women, the IEU is proud to have achieved substantial pay rises in the Catholic systemic sector in 2023, including:

  • NSW teacher salary increases in NSW of 8% to 12%
  • ACT teacher salary increases of 11% to 19%
  • General employee (support staff) increases of 6.5% to 20%.

The IEU also welcomed the federal government’s announcement on 7 March that superannuation will now be paid on government-funded parental leave, a move designed to close the 25% gender gap in retirement savings.

The IEU also attended rallies, marches and events in Sydney, Newcastle, Bathurst and Wollongong throughout the week.

Strong unions need strong women, and in Sydney, the IEU was proud to march alongside the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association, the Australian Services Union, the Health Services Union NSW, Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA, the Electrical Trades Union NSW & ACT, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and one Ken – Barbie would be very proud!

Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA at the IWD rally and march in Sydney, Saturday 9 March

In Newcastle, the IEU marched to an IWD-themed sea shanty with the chorus ‘hoo-ray and up she rises’ as women from the disability community led the march through Hamilton. Afterwards, attendees gathered at Gregson Park to hear speeches followed by rousing performances of Billie Eilish’s hit from the Barbie movie, What Was I Made For? and Vera Blue’s Lady Powers by IEU member, Arden Cassie.

IEU Organiser Therese Fitzgibbon, IEU member Arden Cassie, and IEU Organiser Peter Criticos at the IWD rally and march in Newcastle, Saturday 9 March

IWD rally and march, Newcastle, Saturday 9 March

Women with disability lead the IWD rally and march in Newcastle, Saturday 9 March

In Wollongong, the IEU attended a letter-writing event hosted by the South Coast Labour Council’s Women’s Committee. From a bustling table in Wollongong Mall, unionists invited passers-by to write to their local MP on issues affecting women such as family and domestic violence, poverty, the gender pay gap and paid parental leave.

Writing letters to politicians at the IWD event in Wollongong Mall, hosted by the South Coast Labour Council Women’s Committee, Friday 8 March

In Bathurst, the IEU attended the annual International Women’s Day dinner hosted by Catholic Education Diocese of Bathurst. Guest speaker Carla Gallwey spoke about her 12-year career in the Australian Army.

On International Women’s Day – and every day – the IEU supports its diverse membership as well as broader union and social efforts to deliver equity for women in salaries and conditions.

IWD event in Bathurst on Friday 8 March: from left, IEU Vice President Support Staff Kylie Booth-Martinez, IEU members Tracy Steven and Dana Jarrett, IEU Organiser Donna Widdison and Assistant Secretary Lyn Caton, Thursday 7 March (pic: Catholic Education Diocese of Bathurst)

Katie Camarena Journalist
Monica Crouch Journalist