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A New Year For Women Summit

Women Summit
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Abstract: “Women are at greater risk of poverty and disadvantage than men … Women have less financial security and remain underrepresented in the workforce …” (NCOSS 2016).The Summit produced solutions to reduce gendered poverty and as a peak body for the sector it is our role to be informed and inspire innovation in this movement to achieve economic empowerment for all women.

Phillipa Nagy and Malaina Lo attended the Summit on 17 August 2016 hosted by NCOSS. The theme of the summit was economic empowerment for women within financial literacy, employment, superannuation and housing. The event was attended by various leaders from Business, Government, academia and the community sector to name a few. Premier Mike Baird sent his apologies, but made an announcement of his support of the summit and pledged a contribution of $100,000.

The keynote speaker, Lisa Witter (Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Apolitical, Berlin), highlighted valuable points in behavioural design (raising people’s responses/ engagement for a cause) such as provoking powerful emotions through storytelling, beginning a proposal with values rather than policies, including losses as well as gains and finally inciting a public commitment. One of the panellists, Anna Bligh (CEO of YWCA), stated that ‘personal is political, politcal is personal’, which is the challenge of structural impediments.

Ms. Bligh made recommendations on housing policies, such as joint ownership. Kiera Jenkins (Journalist at Koori Mail and member of the Young Women’s Advisory Group), identified that there is a need to target specific Indigenous women’s issues. These can then be integrated within broader women’s issues, requiring that decision makers make decisions that are representative of this diverse cross section. Vij Nagarajan (Professor of Law at Macquarie University) suggested procurement contracts and tendering to employ women for certain initiatives.

Whilst some of the round table discussions highlighted the following: Superannuation – Koori issues such as sharing super/ The Koori Super Big Day Out and that caring (including volunteering) credits should be legislated. Financial Literacy – that financial advocacy (not just literacy) is essential for women, including the need to address language barriers for migrant communities.

Women in Employment – discussed the rise of social enterprises and their inspiring action to account for the social context of the people they employ (e.g women with trauma). An invoking and significant aspect of the summit was the impromptu panel of Indigenous women who proposed to be the Indigenous Advisory Committee for NCOSS. They reported facing ‘racism everyday’ and the need for the support of fellow women to acquire the ‘same playing level’. Gadigal Elder, Bronwyn Penrith, emphasised the impact of collaboration and collective action re: Dondale March stating that it would ‘not [be] worth going to unless one million white people are marching.’

To conclude the day, the Young Women’s Advisory Group were invited onto the stage to express their vision for the movement. Phillipa Nagy’s contribution was ‘for all women to be encouraged to reach their full potential’ and Malaina Lo’s ‘that women across all intersections have their voices heard and valued.’

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