Celebrating and advancing diversity

Workplace equity, diversity and inclusion were on the agenda when the IEU held its annual South Coast Branch women’s forum at St Patrick’s College at Campbelltown on 31 March.

Hosted by IEU Executive member Louise Glase, and with a welcome by St Patrick’s Principal Sue Lennox, the forum also received an IEU women and equity update from myself and input from Susan Phillipson on behalf of Wollongong CEO’s Workplace Gender Equality Committee.

Issues highlighted by members present at the forum included:

career path opportunities for teachers and support staff

parental leave and return to work

age discrimination concerns

access to flexible work arrangements for transition to retirement

support for staff who need to care for their ageing parents or other relatives, and

women and money at all ages and career stages.

Appreciation is expressed to NGS Super for its presence and input at the Campbelltown forum and for its ongoing support for IEU members, including agreeing to present a workshop at this year’s IEU Women’s Conference.

The highlight of the Campbelltown forum was a video interview with former St Patrick’s student Candy Bowers who is now an activist, artist and performer. Candy spoke of her own personal and professional journey as a ‘woman of colour’ and her efforts to support other women who would like to develop careers in the arts.

Candy had spoken at the St Patrick’s International Women’s Day event and reprised her comments for the forum in an interview with Louise Glase. Forum participants were highly engaged and empowered by Candy’s strong commitment to social justice and to a fairer and more inclusive community, nation and world (see above).

The IEU looks forward to working with its members in progressing the Union’s equity, diversity and inclusion agenda, including at the Union’s 2016 Women’s Conference on 19 August.

Pam Smith
Assistant Secretary, Women’s Convener