I hope you have had an enjoyable break and a good start to 2021. May 2021 be less strange, disruptive and frightening than 2020.
We know that in 2021 we will still be living with covid society, covid economy, and covid government agendas and budgets. We will continue to watch closely how the pathway to recovery affects women. To date we have seen many policies give priority for support of men’s jobs over women’s and policies that exacerbate existing inequalities, often on an intergenerational basis.
We would like to see the disruptions caused by the pandemic providing a basis for building a more equal society, through building the care economy, moving away from the insecure and underpaid work many women have, and investing in social housing to address the significant shortfall in safe, secure and affordable housing.
8 March is International Women's Day. This year the theme is 'Women in Leadership' and what a promising start to the year with four incredible women winning all four categories of the 2021 Australian of the Year Awards. More news to come on how WEL are celebrating Women in Leadership for this year's International Women's Day.
WEL is starting to plan for a Federal Election, which could happen as early as September this year. In this regard I’m pleased that WEL Executive member Jozefa Sobski AM is the new National Coordinator of WEL Australia. WELA plays a crucial role in our Federal Election campaigns.
WEL relies on the support of its members to campaign on these significant issues.
We ask that you support the work by becoming a regular donor, remaining a member and encouraging others to join, sharing our social media, and supporting our campaigns. We are looking forward to your support in 2021!
Philippa Hall, WEL NSW Convenor
Fund a Feminist Future
A big shout out to our regular donors. Thank you for supporting the advocacy and and campaigns of our project leaders through paid professional administrative and communication support.
Regular monthly donations give us funding certainty. We can build capacity and plan our advocacy work into the future. Our regular donors are secure in knowing that month by month they are supporting WEL’s work.
Make a regular WEL donation your 2021 commitment to women.
Donations keep WEL going and we are grateful to our donors for the generous support provided. If you are not able to make a monthly donation, please consider making a one-off donation to our Women Ageing Well campaign, or becoming a member. You can also help secure the future of WEL by leaving a legacy gift via a bequest.
Women empowered to reveal their UNSEEN stories
WEL receives funding from the City of Sydney for UNSEEN, a multi-media project sharing the hidden experiences of women’s homelessness
WEL is excited to announce that we have received funding of $50,000 from the City of Sydney for UNSEEN, an exciting first-person story telling art project to increase awareness of women’s homelessness.
The UNSEEN project will bring photographic and video story-telling, performance, writing, art making and other activities to the city for one week of each month from March to December 2021, starting in the week of International Women’s Day. Read more
Women Ageing Well
This year we are also planning to expand WEL’s Women Ageing Well campaign, which advocates for better responses from governments to the exacerbated economic and social inequality that women of all ages have experienced both as over our lifetimes and during COVID-19, and the direct impact this has on women’s short and long-term housing security. Support the campaign today – donate here
WEL takes on Mark Latham’s Pauline Hanson One Nation Bills 2020
WEL is campaigning with a wide range of progressive and women’s organisations against the efforts of the religious right to legislate against women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQI people.
Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Relationships) Bill
One Nation NSW has proposed a Bill that will allow parents to object to their children being taught anything about respectful relationships, racism, Australian Indigenous history, the Stolen Generations, anti-bullying climate change immunisation, evolution, LGBTIQ+ people, different cultures and religions, health and science, refugees and people seeking asylum, if it contradicts their values. The Bill also risks the jobs of teachers and school counsellors who recognise trans and gender diverse people, or provide them with support.
The NSW Parliament has allowed One Nation NSW Leader Mark Latham to chair an inquiry into his own Bill. The inquiry is now taking submissions through an online questionnaire.
We urge WEL members to have your say on this Bill.
Go to the online questionnaire and follow these three easy steps to ensure NSW Parliament rejects this unnecessary and harmful Bill.
- Answer Question 1 (your details will be kept confidential).
- Say you ‘oppose’ the Bill in Question 2.
- Tell a story about a teacher who made a difference to you or someone you love in Question 8.
You don’t need to answer every question to have your voice heard. The most important thing is to state your opposition to the Bill in Question 2.
You can read more about the Bill in Equality Australia’s factsheet here
WEL will be making a submission on this Bill along with other women’s service and advocacy organisations.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation’s Anti- Discrimination Amendment (Religious Discrimination) Bill
Following WEL’s November 5 appearance at the Joint Select Committee examining Pauline Hanson’s One Nation’s Anti- Discrimination Amendment (Religious Discrimination) Bill, we were asked out of the blue to respond to 9 additional questions. You can read the questions and WEL’s responses on the NSW Parliament website here.
The Committee will report on their recommendations for the Bill in March. WEL anticipates a complex battle on this one. The Government is likely to be divided and we have yet to see the Federal Government’s Religious Discrimination Bill which WEL opposed in two separate submissions in 2019 and 2020.
Advocating to criminalise coercive control
WEL NSW made a submission to the Parliamentary Committee on Coercive Control, chaired by Natalie Ward MP and co-chaired by Trish Doyle MP in January. WEL’s submission focussed on any law reform or new law criminalising coercive control to be solidly supported by Specialist Women’s Domestic Violence Services funded adequately by the NSW Government. It stressed that specialist training also needed to be provided for the implementation of any law across the system for all personnel working on effective enforcement. Read more
We also made a supplementary submission on coercive control and its effects on Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Women who face a range of compounding and intersecting challenges that place them at greater risk of experiencing family and domestic violence. This submission included confidential case studies. The importance of investment in primary prevention and early intervention services for newly arrived migrants was emphasised as was promoting an understanding of intimate partner violence and how it plays out in CALD communities. Read more
On 23 February, Menaka Cook and Jozefa Sobski will represent WEL to answer questions on our submissions at a hearing of the NSW Parliament’s Joint Select Committee on Coercive Control. The schedule for the hearing on 23 Feb (and one on 22 Feb) will be published here. You will be able to follow on the day through a link on this site as well the appearances of our feminist allied organisations.
NSW Government’s Crimes Legislation (Offences Against Pregnant Women) Bill 2020
WEL has just made a submission on the NSW Government’s Crimes Legislation (Offences Against Pregnant Women) Bill. The aim of the draft Bill is to set heavier penalties for crimes involving the death of a women’s fetus and to enable legal recognition of victims and compensation for funeral expenses. The WEL submission argues that current law already achieves these objectives without invoking the dangerous ‘Zoes Law’ concept of ‘fetal personhood’. We recommend that the Government should abandon risky legal approaches and instead explore more compassionate and healing ways to better support grieving women and their families in these situations.
We anticipate there will be a revised version of the draft Bill introduced later this year. Along with our pro-choice alliance partners we are watching this space very carefully and will be ready to act if necessary.
Support the campaign to criminalise coercive control
Women's Safety NSW are leading a campaign to criminalise coercive control, you can take action by sending a letter to your local MP to make this happen:
Call for Stories About Early Australian Businesswomen
Dr Catherine Bishop is researching twentieth-century Australian businesswomen. Her project, ‘A history of businesswomen in Australia since 1880’, focuses on women running small businesses including those in family businesses mainly before 1980. It is funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award postdoctoral fellowship at the Macquarie Business School. Please contact Catherine via her website (which lists her award-winning publications): https://catherinebishop.wixsite.com/history or by email [email protected]
Thanks for your support. Please get in touch if you have any ideas or feedback for our next edition.
Contact WEL NSW [email protected]
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