Girls are our future! Young women leading discussion at October NCWV meeting. And well done Victoria Waid!

(Photo 1:Group at October 2016 NCWV Council meeting  Joan Baden Powell, Sarah Morgan, Pam Hammond, Ruchira Kakkad, Victoria Waid, President Janene Blanchfield Brown, Gauri Kapoor and Tenille Gilbert)
Photo 2: Joan Baden Powell (NCWV delegate for Girl Guide Victoria) with Victoria Waid)

The focus of the October 2016 NCWV Council meeting was the theme for International Day of the Girl Child, celebrated on 11 October. UN Women has asked us to focus on adolescent girls who face significant social, economic and political barriers. While they hold the potential to become leaders and effect change, their empowerment can be hindered by factors such as unwanted pregnancy, forced early marriage, gender-based violence and limited access to higher education and reproductive health services.

As a lead into our discussion we were pleased to have two current UNAA student interns: Ruchira Kakkad( Arts (German Honours)/Engineering, Monash, who as a member of Monash International Studies Association attended the 2016 Harvard Model UN in Malaysia, and worked on isssues to do with UNHCR and Tenille Gilbert(RMIT Arts(International Studies with Spanish Language specialisation) ) who is interested in the part played by women’s organisations in progress for women. And we presented Victoria Waid (Girl Guides Victoria), a current Arts/Law student from ACU with her Civics and Citizenship Award from 2015, to assist her with her travel cost to the ten day ‘Young Women Changing Tomorrow’ program in January 2017 at Pune, India.

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Have you heard about polycystic ovary syndrome?

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Have you heard about polycystic ovary syndrome? This condition can affect young and old.

Jean Hailes September focus is on PCOS and recently posted a health article about this syndrome, a hormonal disorder. It is also sometimes known as polycystic ovarian syndrome. Why not visit Jean Hailes Website to learn more about its work and the valuable resources available for women of every age! You can also sign up for its free newsletter.

https://jeanhailes.org.au/news/what-is-polycystic-ovary-syndrome-free-health-articles-september-2016

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Great news from Young NCWVic members

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Lucky Giirre, one of the Young NCWVic members, recently became the first Australian-Somalia female lawyer. The most exciting news is Lucky has left for the UK on a British Government Chevening Scholarship to study Master of Laws: University of London SOAS(School of Oriental and African Studies) focusing on Somali legal issues.

Her sister Ramala Giirre who has been active in Young NCWVic, but in her study. She just arrived in Hangzhou on a scholarship to complete the Masters in Contemporary Chinese Studies in Zhejiang University, China.

Good luck to you both!

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Re Women’s Health Week. 5-9 September, 2016 Statement on ‘Gender Inequalities in Diagnosis and Treatment of Heart Disease’

 

National Council of Women of Victoria at its August 2016 affirmed its support for the need to build awareness among women and medical practitioners of gender inequalities in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.

NCW Victoria congratulates the Heart Foundation Victoria  and the Jean Hailes Foundation for their work in the lead up to  June 2016 campaign Making the Invisible Visible to draw attention to the different symptoms of heart attack and stroke in women, and the fact that undiagnosed heart disease is the single biggest killer of Australian women.

National Council of Women of Australia (of which NCW Victoria is a member) has committed in 2016 to supporting the Australia Women’s Health Charter including the call for more research on gender differences in diagnosis of heart disease.

We would be interested to hear your views on this matter, in particular any comments you may have as to how we can help to develop more effective strategies in Victoria to reduce the current gender inequalities in diagnosis of heart disease. Please Contact YounNCWVic through our email youngncwvic@gmail.com.

 

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Victorian Gender Equality Consultation – Invitation from Minister Richardson

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Here is the invitation to Victorian Gender Equality Consultation from Minister Richardson.

We warmly invite you to be a part of a forum to consider issues of gender equality as part of our work to develop Victoria’s first ever Gender Equality Strategy.

Last year, the Minister for Women Fiona Richardson released a consultation paper to invite views from the community on the challenges for women in Victoria, and to hear how gender equality can best be achieved.

In recent weeks, we have held consultation sessions throughout the state to discuss the themes and priorities emerging from the submissions we have received. We also want to hear from you.

For contributing to the development of the Victorian Gender Equality Strategy by sharing your experiences and ideas, you can attend a consultation. The experiences and ideas you share on how we can achieve gender equality in Victoria will be reviewed and will help inform the development of the first ever Victorian Gender Equality Strategy.

Please join us on Friday 9 September for this final consultation. 

Time: 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Date: Friday 9 September
Venue: Experimedia Room, State Library of Victoria

To confirm your attendance, please RSVP to genderequality@dpc.vic.gov.au with the title ‘Melbourne’. For more information, please call (03) 9637 3344.

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Alicia’s speech in Parliament event ‘My Vote My Voice’ on 12 August

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Speech by Alicia R – Our Lady of Mercy College

My name is Alicia R and I am a young woman. I have grown up being told that the world is my oyster, and the world is what I make it. And yet, I am left to question, when I look at the representation of women in all levels of government, how true this really is. It is so apt that we join here together in the iconic Parliament of Victoria building to explore this issue.

There is an obvious gender disparity in senior roles in all levels of government, including local governments which is my focus today. Women are highly underrepresented. I am here to tell you that this is because we as women are not putting ourselves forward for these positions. You could be the voice to fill the gap.

The role of local government is to handle community needs like waste collection, public recreation facilities and town planning. Specifically the role of a more senior position in local government such as councillors, mayor or CEO is to play a vital leadership role in creating and implementing their communities’ vision, strategic direction and values. As the closest level of government to the community, it is imperative that they are offering their best services in order to meet the diverse range of community needs. We want a government who is diverse and can share the values of all groups and backgrounds – and the female perspective is most definitely part of this.

Without this perspective, our Australian population is not accurately reflected through local government. It is funny how over 50% of Australian population is ‘Female’ yet some local governments struggle to even reach 15% representation by females in elected positions and 5% in chief executive officer roles! So how can we expect that the needs of the whole community are being met with the males’ perspective being dominant? The only way that our local governments will truly reflect the communities’ needs is if we encourage each other as women to stand up or in fact have belief in ourselves as women that we can do it and be successful. I wish the young women of my generation could see how their capabilities can make a difference in helping their community. Wouldn’t that be more worthwhile than using our capabilities to hunt down all the Pokemons?

So today, let me share with you the journey of females in local government from the past to the present and to what we can make our future.

So, let’s begin with the past. Historically women have always been under represented in Local governments, and if we look back to the 1900’s we can see that it is simply because of the powerful stereotypes placed on women – to be the perfect wife, mother and homemaker and nothing else. However Mary Rogers, the first ever female to be elected to council in Victoria, tried to break this chain so she could support herself and her children as a widow. During her campaign she promised to bring to the community what a man could not – a female perspective.

So, with examples like Mary Rogers to look to, why are there a lack of women running for senior positions today? Let’s look at the present. Although society has evolved and is less stereotypical, even in the year of 2016 women are still expected to play the role of the wife, mother, homemaker and caregiver, all in addition to having a successful career. With the long, hard hours that Councils put in, it can particularly be difficult for women to find a work-life balance – but hey, when isn’t this true for all women?

Truthfully, women also can be intimidated by stepping into such a male dominated field as it means that you will be one of the only females. These roles require a woman to be thick-skinned and strong as at some point they will face conflict, negative public opinion and criticism.

It’s not all negative, though. When women are in senior local government roles, the female perspective has a significant impact. The outcomes are positive. Councillor Julie Williams, from Darebin Council, brought a whole new perspective to her local community. With no political background or interest whatsoever, her passions and values won over the public and she was encouraged by her own community to stand for council. A few days after being elected as Councillor, her daughter was diagnosed with a severe disability and Julie had second thoughts about taking on the role due to her personal commitments she had not anticipated. Since then, Julie has made a significant influence by updating every playground in Darebin so that their facilities and equipment can be used and enjoyed by children with disabilities. If she had become aware of her daughter’s disability before being elected, Julie said she would most definitely not have run for councillor, but today Julie says it was a “blessing in disguise” as she has been able to help her community and her daughter by taking on this position. I quote Julie: “I am the voice for people that don’t have a voice”. Isn’t this what we want to see more of?

Former mayor and current Councillor of Banyule council, Jenny Mulholland, is another great example of what we need to see more of in our local governments. Jenny has been a councillor for 16 years and is currently the only woman elected, representing Banyule. The reason that Jenny enjoys serving her council is the fact that she has always enjoyed politics and has always been supported by her family and friends. However, the most poignant message that she shared with me was that “It is no longer a man’s world, but it is an equal world”. This is the message that I want to promote today – that in the year of 2016, we as women need to grasp every opportunity, not just catch every Pokemon. This is why it is so important to have a balance of gender so that everyone’s needs in the community are met. This can only be achieved by people putting themselves up for the job. Rich or poor, white or coloured, religious or atheist, disabled or able bodied, man or woman – we need balance. We need variety so that our local governments can reflect the specific community’s needs, thereby making improvements to our community, and the female voice is essential here.

But what can change? I want to look towards the future. Before researching for this speech, I had little clue that this was even an issue in our society. I just thought the local government picked up my rubbish! But now, I see the importance of advocating for more women to represent in local government. Looking towards my future, I see that there is a gap in the current representation of women in my local council, and local councils around Australia. My name is Alicia , and I am the voice that could fill that gap; you are the voice that could fill that gap. It was hearing the stories of councillors Julie Williams and Jenny Mulholland that truly inspired me to see this as something I can achieve, not something I can’t. In our democracy, I already have my vote (or I will when I’m 18), and I need to put forth my voice. Because all that is required is passion, hard work, dedication and the desire to help our community – and that doesn’t sound that daunting to me. And why stop here? This is the opportunity to build a platform to increase female representation at state and federal levels, too. As Michelle Obama recently shared “As women we must stand up for ourselves. As women we must stand up for each other. As women we must stand up for justice for all.” I wish the young women of my generation could see how their capabilities can make a difference in helping their community. We need the young women of my generation to be the voice to fill that gap. Thank you.

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ICW Executive Committee Meeting in Taipei, Taiwan in mid-November

Julie Morris, Immediate Past President of NCW Australia, sent the message to NCWV and Young NCWV about the upcoming ICW Executive Committe Meeting in Taipei, Taiwan from 14th to 17th November. Below is an invitation to the meeting. President of NCWV Sheila Byard hopes some young people are able to attend as well. Please email youngncwvic@gmail.com if you are interested in it.
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