Women's Policy Forum: Gender, economic participation and women's rights

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Melbourne Town Hall

Swanston Room

Melbourne, VIC 3000


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By examining selected key areas impacting women’s wellbeing, the Forum will trace the threads linking the lived experiences of diverse groups of women and the patterns of disadvantage that patriarchy creates. Presenters will explore how policy ‘lands’ for women and what tensions are held and challenges negotiated in the process.

Panels will explore themes of economic justice, the gendered segregated workforce, and the implications of these policy challenges for women’s rights to safe and affordable housing. They will also explore the impacts of this on women’s health – both mental and physical.

The Forum implements the ‘networked’ policy development model articulated within the Power to Persuade project (www.powertopersuade.org.au). It builds on the momentum created through previous forums, addressing the key issues identified by delegates. The Forum encourages and supports gendered policy analysis and advocacy across a range of domains – not just those typically perceived of as pertinent to women.

It is about sharing knowledge and information, networking, and mobilizing for change.

Join the conversation and visit Power to Persuade, follow us on Twitter and use the hashtag #PTPWomen17.

The theme

This theme has been selected in response the experiences of women facing poverty and disadvantage due primarily to the lack of acknowledgment of ‘women’s work’ in policy formation and the continuing dominance of economic analysis as the basis for policy, including social policy. It will cover three main topics across different disciplines.

Draft program

9.00 - 9.30am Registrations, plus tea, coffee and networking

9.30 - 9.45am Acknowledgment of country and welcome

9.45 - 10.00am Opening address - Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand

10 - 10.30am Keynote Speaker - Celeste Liddle, Indigenous Feminist and Trade Unionist "Gendered segregated work and women's rights"

10.30 - 11.30am Panel One: Women's Economic Rights

  • Dr. Kirsty Nolan
    Executive Director Strategic Engagement, Research and Advocacy, Benevolent Society

  • Dr. Kay Cook
    Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Swinburne University of Technology

  • Celeste Liddle
    Trade Unionist, Arrernte woman, Feminist writer/activist

  • Juanita McLaren, Master student
    Single Parent of three boys, currently participating in Welfare to Work program

Panelists will discuss:

  • How does economic policy affect our concept of participation and what is valued? What does this mean for women?

  • What barriers do marginalized groups and individuals face in participating in our market economy, both as consumers and as employees?

  • What are the implications of individualised approaches to social policy?

11.30 - 11.45am Morning Tea

11.45 - 12.15pm Conversation: Housing as a Commodity

  • Jody Letts
    Program participant, Peer Education and Support Program, Council to Homeless Persons

  • Erika Martino
    Research Officer (Built Environment), Ph.D. Candidate, Melbourne University (Urban Planning)

Conversationalists will discuss:

  • What are the tensions between housing as a commodity and as a human right?

  • How does the rise and rise of housing costs affect women specifically, including older women and single mother families?

  • What are the gaps in housing policy and how does this impact on women recovering from family violence, single parent families, migrant women and older women?

  • What would a human rights lens look like in this context?

12.15 - 1.15pm Panel Two: A gendered view on work, care and health

  • Dr. Sarah Pollock
    Executive Director Research and Advocacy, Mind Australia

  • Dr. Adele Murdolo
    Executive Director, Multi-Cultural Centre for Women’s Health

  • Carer
    Mind Australia

  • Janet Marshall
    Australian Education Union

Panelists will discuss:

  • How does the gender pay gap literally make women sick, physically and mentally?

  • What are the impacts of care and overwork on mental health and wellbeing?

  • Are there other ways can we frame work and care that enables better outcomes for the community?

  • How do we balance work and care – both care for others and care for ourselves?

1:15 - 2:00pm Lunch and networking

2.00 - 2.30pm Presentation: Mobilising for social change

  • Shen Narayanasamy
    Human Rights Director, Get Up!

  • Julie Edwards, CEO
    Jesuit Social Services

  • Dr. Gemma Carey
    Senior Lecturer & NHMRC Fellow, University of New South Wales

Speakers will discuss:

  • How can advocates work together to achieve social change?

  • What are some examples of campaigns and policy advocacy that got cut-through?

2.30 - 3.15pm Group Brainstorm

Delegates will join in groups to discuss:

  • Based on the issues raised today, what are the key advocacy areas that need urgent attention?

  • What are the ways in which we can mobilise to effect changes in this area?

  • What is needed to do this?

  • What is the key issue we can crystallise to move forward with?

3.15 - 3.30pm Afternoon tea

3.30 - 4.15pm Q&A

Each group will present their key issue and ideas to the "Mobilising for social change" panel. The panel will respond to these and offer advice on a way forward. Delegates will be invested to post their ideas on the wall and contribute thoughts.4.15 - 4.30 Closing remarks and commitment on next steps

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Date and Time


Melbourne Town Hall

Swanston Room

Melbourne, VIC 3000


View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 7 days before event

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