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Women’s Conference: 'The Power of our Voices'
The theme for this year’s Federation’s Women’s Conference was “The Power of our Voices”, with the aim to develop women’s activism and feminism through relevant keynote speakers, a panel session and workshops.
Women’s Conference is an important opportunity for women to find and strengthen their voices, to build on communication skills and make sure that women are represented wherever decisions are being made. It is also an excellent professional networking and learning opportunity.
The day began with a Women and Superannuation breakfast seminar to support women to develop their financial literacy.
The Acknowledgement of Country to open conference was delivered by Aboriginal Education Coordinator Charline Emzin-Boyd, and Aboriginal women delegates each read from the Uluru Statement from the Heart. It was a powerful and moving experience
The keynote speech was delivered by Jane Caro, who is known to many through her advocacy of public education in the media and books such as The Stupid Country: How Australia is Dismantling Public Education and What makes a good school? (co-authored with Chris Bonnor).
Jane’s career may have started in marketing and advertising but she has developed a highly respected reputation as a social commentator appearing regularly in the media, in numerous podcasts and has written and edited a range of articles and books. Jane has consistently shown there is power in women’s voices.
The Senior Officer’s Report was presented by Federation Deputy President Joan Lemaire.
Joan has played a significant role in campaigns in Federation and the broader union movement. She has represented Federation on the executive of Unions NSW, the Australian Education Union (AEU) and ACTU committees. Joan was also the Women’s Coordinator from 1990-96. Her report emphasised that collective action was vital to achieve positive development for women.
The panel session invited teachers to relate their stories of intersectionality — multiple inequalities (gender, race, class) experienced simultaneously. It was an incredibly moving and informative panel that inspired many participants to continue the discussion through the rest of the day.
Twelve workshops covered a range of topics and were delivered by women Officers with the assistance of Executive members and Special Interest Group members of Federation. Topics covered equity, diversity and inclusion, understanding professional rights and entitlements, developing our activism across a range of experience levels and work sites, and examining the work-life balance for teachers.
There was also post-Conference networking in the Heritage Room and many women enjoyed the informal conversations at the end of the day.
This year, for the first time, attendees will receive NESA-registered hours.
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