WEL NSW End of Year Celebration
2019 has been an historic year for WEL and our feminist Pro Choice Alliance friends. We are still basking in the success of the NSW Pro Choice Alliance campaign to remove abortion from the NSW Crimes Act. Though we celebrate our successes, there is still so much work to be done - we can't wait to see what we can achieve together next year.
We would like to invite you to our end of the year get together on Sunday December the 1st, starting at 4pm. We will have a picnic set up in the shade at Wendy Whiteley's Secret Garden on Lavender St, Lavender Bay, Sydney.This event will be free for members but we would love non-members to come along and consider joining as members. Non-member price will be just $15. This event will also be kid friendly and under 16s are free, regardless of membership status.Members, click HERE to RSVPNon-members, click HERE to purchase tickets'Wendy's Secret Garden' is close to public transport (North Sydney train station) and there will be limited parking close to the park. This will be a casual, social event to celebrate our successes and to thank our members and volunteers for their contributions. This is a great chance to meet like-minded feminists. We will provide food and it will be BYO alcohol. Feel free to bring something to share if you wish.This event will coincide with the UN’s 16 days of activism against gender based violence (Nov 25 to Dec 10, ending on international Human Rights Day). The 2019 theme for this UN campaign is “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!”. We will have information about this campaign at the picnic and you can participate in it if you choose.In case of rain, the event venue will change to the WEL NSW Office, 8-10 Victoria St Newtown. We will update you if this is the case. Please direct any questions about the venue and accessibility to [email protected].
Reproductive rights update
The passage of Abortion Law Reform Act marks a very significant win for NSW Women. WEL, together with our partners Family Planning NSW and Women’s Health NSW, led the Campaign through the NSW Pro- Choice Alliance. We are confident that implementation of the new Act will, over time enable improved access to reproductive health services for NSW women. We pay tribute to one of our distinguished foundation members Wendy McCarthy AO for her inspirational leadership over the two years of campaign planning and during the torrid two months of parliamentary debate. We thank the many WEL members who contributed during the campaign, both financially and through their expertise and time. It’s worth noting that this historic achievement occurred under a woman Premier and Opposition leader and was signed off promptly by recently installed Governor Margaret Beazely AO.
Remembering Dr Beatrice Faust
Farewell, vale Bea.
Dr Beatrice Faust was one of the first Australian women to campaign for civil liberties, abortion law reform and sex education. In 1966 she co-founded the Victorian Council for Civil Liberties, and she's best known for being one of the founders of the Women’s Electoral Lobby (WEL) in 1972.
Bea was courageous and inspired a whole generation through her work for civil liberties and for women.
She will be greatly missed.
Read the obituary written by Iola Matthews here.
WEL NSW Annual General Meeting (Saturday 28th September)
Our Annual General Meeting had 50 passionate woman in attendance, most of whom were members and some of whom subsequently joined as members. After the AGM business had concluded, Executive Committee Member Dr Jane Bullen convened a panel, discussing how WEL can convince governments to improve outcomes for women experiencing housing instability and homelessness. Housing and homelessness are major areas of women’s disadvantage resulting from economic inequality, violence against women and other factors including disproportionate caring responsibilities. Women and their children experiencing domestic violence are the biggest single group presenting at homelessness services, while women aged over 55 are the fastest growing cohort of homeless people, increasing by 31% between 2011 and 2016.
You can read our Annual Report here.
We would like to say a big thank you to the wonderful panellists who shared their expertise with us. These panellists were;
- Lauren Brown from Yfoundations, the NSW Peak Body representing young people at-risk, and experiencing homelessness.
- Cat Gander from West Connect Domestic Violence Services has over 20 years’ experience and is regarded as an expert on domestic violence.
- Debbie Georgopoulos, Chief Executive Officer from the Women's Housing Company, providing housing and support services to women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The new Action Group on Housing Affordability and Homelessness will be meeting on Monday the 18th of November, from 6-8pm at the WEL NSW Office. Please contact Jane Bullen if you would like to get involved ([email protected]).
You can read more about WEL’s Affordable housing / homelessness campaign here.
Volunteer Information Session (Tuesday 22nd of October)
Thank you so much to the passionate and generous feminists came along to the WEL NSW Office to find out more about volunteering with WEL. There is no telling what we will be able to achieve in the next 12 months with the help of these wonderful women. Have any skills you think WEL could use?
Sign up here if you would like to volunteer or would like more information on volunteering.
'Get Wicked with WEL' Halloween Fundraising Party (Wednesday 30th of October)
We hosted a successful event at Acre Eatery in Camperdown where WEL supporters both old and new had fun dressing up with great conversation over canapes and drinks. Congratulations to Amna and Hareem for winning first and second prize for best costume- though there were so many great outfits, we loved your take on Frida Kahlo and Malala Yousafzai.
There are many ways to get involved with WEL, no matter your skill set. If there is nothing below that interests you but you would like to volunteer, please sign up on the website and we will be in touch to find something that suits you!
Heartfelt thank you to MPs
Our political representatives in the NSW Parliament must be congratulated for the passage of the NSW Abortion Law Reform Act 2019. There were many MPs from across the political spectrum who spoke passionately, clearly and convincingly in support of the Bill, and many others who cast their vote for the Bill. Many WEL members will know how their local MP voted. If you don't, the easiest way is to contact their electorate office and ask. MPs who voted for the Bill and particularly those who spoke in support of the Bill, deserve a personal message of thanks from you to them. Email your pro-choice MP today and thank them on behalf of WEL and the women of NSW. Email [email protected] if you need any assistance with this.
Social Media action group:
This new Action Group, headed by Executive Committee Member Jenny Muir, will focus on building our Social Media 'Muscle'. If you have experience in social media, design, video, or related skills and wish to be involved, please contact Jenny at [email protected].
Housing Affordability and Homelessness action group:
As mentioned above, this action group will be meeting on Monday the 18th of November, from 6-8pm at the WEL NSW Office. Please contact Jane Bullen if you would like to get involved ([email protected]).
Feminist Book Club:
Getting together with likeminded women is a great way to maintain our passion and hope. It is important to read more than just the news, and instead read inspiring words written by talented women. Joining a Feminist Book Club will allow you to meet likeminded women whilst also reading interesting books and learning about different experiences and the many ways people are fighting oppression around the world. If you would like to volunteer to help run a book club in your area, please let use know.
Sign up for a book club here.
New volunteer executives:
Heather Smith (RN, BSN, MHA, MPH, FACHE, FASCM, GAICD)- WEL NSW Executive Committee Member
Heather has over 30 years’ international health care experience. She has campaigned for womens rights and women taking their rightful place in leadership roles across the globe.
She recently moved back to Sydney from Shanghai, Peoples Republic of China where she was the Shanghai Market General Manager of United Family Healthcare. Additionally, she most recently was a Non Executive Director on the Board of AustCham Shanghai, the Chairperson for the Healthcare committee of AmCham Shanghai and served on the leadership committee of the China Healthcare Executives Group. She is a Registered Nurse with licenses in the US and Australia. She has worked in the Peoples Republic of China, US, Australia, Indonesia, Qatar, UAE, and the UK.
She has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration and a Master’s Degree in Public Health. Heather is an American College of Healthcare Executives Fellow, a Fellow in The Australasian College of Health Service Management and a Graduate of the Austrlaian Instititute of Company Directors.
Emma Davidson, Convenor of WEL Australia
Emma Davidson has previously served as Secretary for WEL Australia. She has worked as a project coordinator at Equality Rights Alliance (http://www.equalityrightsalliance.org.au) and is currently the Deputy CEO at Women’s Centre for Health Matters in Canberra (http://www.wchm.org.au). She has worked as a volunteer capacity for a diverse range of local community organisations in the ACT advocating for improved policy on women’s health, public schools, women’s housing and homelessness, and community facilities. She has also worked in private software development compainies, at the Australian Medical Association, Department of Defence, and Centrelink.
New staff members:
Sky Andersen - Fundraising
Sky recently joined the WEL team as Fundraising Coordinator after moving to Sydney from the United States. Born and raised in Virginia, Sky graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Public Relations and immediately began working in the fundraising field of political campaigns. She found her niche in working for first-time pro-choice female candidates running to hold various levels of office, dedicated to fighting for progressive values and women’s rights.
After completing the 2018 U.S. Congressional mid-term election cycle as fundraising director, Sky began to pursue feminist fundraising positions fighting for women’s equality abroad and is excited to begin working on behalf of WEL to fund the campaigns responsible for furthering the advancement of women’s rights globally.
Zoe McClure - Membership and Community Engagement
At the beginning of September 2019, Zoe joined WEL NSW as the Membership and Community Engagement Coordinator. She recently moved to Sydney from Brisbane, however she grew up in NSW. She holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Science (Environment).
She is a passionate intersectional feminist and also cares particularly about climate justice and LGBTQIA+ rights. She has been involved in climate change activism for ten years with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. This activism has given her many skills in community engagement that will be applied in this role to grow the public profile and membership of WEL. She also has political organising experience from the previous Federal Election, including volunteer recruitment, management and training.
Third party events and news
#MeToo founder Tarana Burke
Visionary leader of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke, joins a panel of local feminists in Melbourne. The event is sold out, however, you can watch the live stream here from 6:30pm on Monday the 18th of November.
Winning for Women: A Personal Story - Q&A
Iola Mathews, OAM, has described the early days of WEL in her book Winning for Women: A Personal Story. Join her for a Q&A session on Tuesday 26 November, 6-7pm at ANU. It will be held in the Sir Roland Wilson Building, 2.02 Building #120 McCoy Cct Acton ACT.
Contact T 02 6125 7050 E [email protected]du.au Book available for sale on night. $25 Special launch price. Cash only. No EFTPOS available.
I'm With Her - A Theatrical Feminist Show
'I'm With Her' is a compelling collection of real-life stories from remarkable Australian women. From bartenders and Prime Ministers, to world champion athletes and nuns, these are stories of resilience and resistance in the age of #MeToo and #Time'sUp. Led by Victoria Midwinter-Pitt this production involves nine women, including The Hon Julia Gillard, Australia's first female Prime Minister, Julie Bates AO, Sex Worker Rights Activist and Sex Worker and Erin Phillips, AFL Champion Footballer, this woprk will “We will have you leaving the theatre feeling "properly dangerous". Playing at the Darlinghurst Theatre Company from 9 November - 1 December.
Donate to bushfire victims
Help support those who have lost their homes in the recent and ongoing bushfires by donating via the Country Women's Association (NSW) here. You can also donate to the QLD and WA CWA branches if you wish.
Proud-mum-to-be and fierce firefighter Kat Robinson-Williams spoke out about women in the fire service.
Feminist pages to follow
Here are our favourite feminist figures and Facebook pages to follow for thought provoking articles and interesting stories this month. Do you have any suggestions for us to add next month?
Ways to support WEL
Donations keep WEL going and we are so thankful to our donors and the generous support provided.
Not able to make a contribution? You can support WEL by becoming a member or registering to volunteer. You can also help secure the future of WEL by leaving a legacy gift via a bequest. You can also buy a membership as a gift for someone, which is a great idea for your feminist friends, children or grandchildren this holiday period.
Women's Electoral Lobby · 10 Victoria St, Newtown, NSW 2040, Australia
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