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Upcoming Event: Feminist Activist Network ‘Exploring Youth Advocacy’

WHEN

14 Oct 2021
4.00-6.00pm

EVENT TYPE

Workshop

WHERE

The Working Women’s Centre SA, Level 1 Station Arcade, 52 Hindley Street

ACCESSIBILITY

The venue is wheelchair accessible. The nearest disability access bathrooms are at the Adelaide Train Station.

MEDIA RELEASE: Morrison Government fails to fund Working Women’s Centres

In the wake of the Women’s Safety Summit, Recommendation 49 of the Respect@Work Report has been ignored 

In the wake of the Women’s Safety Summit, leaders of key sexual harassment support services in South Australia, Queensland and Northern Territory express disappointment at the government’s empty words about the need for holistic approaches to prevent violence against women. Working Women’s Centres are specialist women’s services which provide holistic advice, information and support for women experiencing workplace sexual harassment.

Despite the Morrison government’s emphasis at the Women’s Safety Summit on the importance of holistic community services, the Government made no commitment to implement Recommendation 49 of the Respect@Work Report and fund Working Women’s Centres as a standalone funding line.

Recommendation 49 of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Report states ‘[that] Australian governments provide increased and recurrent funding to Working Women’s Centres to provide information, advice, and assistance to vulnerable workers who experience sexual harassment.’ The Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, recognised the unique holistic support provided by Working Women’s Centres: “We found they were uniquely the most effective, victim-centric model that could deliver support, advice [and] advocacy to women [across a] range of issues in their work.”

Despite this strong recommendation from the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, the Federal Government has continued to ignore Recommendation 49 and the suite of recommendations put forward in the Respect@Work Report. Recommendations required to drive the necessary cultural shift towards providing safer workplaces and societies for female citizens, and for some of its most vulnerable members.

Last month, Working Women’s Centre directors again wrote to the Federal Attorney-General Michaelia Cash asking for an update as to the progress of prospective funding under Recommendation 49. In a letter from the Attorney-General received on the eve of the Summit Roundtable discussions, the Federal Government stated it has done its part funding Recommendation 53 in relation to legal services and recommended that Working Women’s Centres compete for this money. 

While some Working Women’s Centres may be eligible to apply for funding out of a general allocation for legal services, not all Working Women’s Centres are legal centres. Working Women’s Centres are uniquely valuable due to their holistic approach, focus on prevention and advocacy work. Legal services are one part of the solution and the Attorney-General’s response fails to recognise the unique role that Working Women’s Centres play in the workplace landscape. By ignoring Recommendation 49, and instead asking Working Women’s Centres to fight it out for a portion of the funding allocated for legal services, the Morrison government has failed working women who rely on Working Women’s Centres’ services.

Last week, Labor announced that if elected, the party would fund Working Women’s Centres around the country. While the Coalition government has accepted Recommendation 49, the recommendation has not yet been implemented by the government, along with many other recommendations which remain ignored.

With the NT Working Women’s Centre just months away from closing, Working Women’s Centres leaders are calling for immediate funding for the NT and Queensland Working Women’s Centres, and for a bipartisan commitment to fully fund Working Women’s Centres around the country.

 

Quotes attributable to Nicki Petrou, Director NT Working Women’s Centre:
“It was made clear at the Safety Summit that local based services were best placed to respond to the unique need in their own backyards, and yet this is not new to those on the ground. Instead, we have seen cherry picking and unilateral funding commitments without discussions with the states or territories as to what is required, without an understanding as to what is happening on the ground, who is providing what, what is the need.


The NT Working Women’s Centre will continue to operate until the end of the year- that is all we can say at this stage without funding security. 
We do not want to see Territory women the casualties of a political funding battle especially when every minute counts for us right now. The Federal Government’s response feels like a huge cop out, after stringing us along for months…especially when they know our situation.”
“The need for this funding is urgent: there has been a national outcry against workplace sexual harassment and assault that we know occurs in every industry. We cannot delay this. The NTWWC do not want to start turning women away especially when as a society we are now encouraging women to come forward and share their story, to say enough is enough but not provide the support that is needed when it is needed.”

 

Quote attributable to Abbey Kendall, Director of SA Working Women’s Centre
“We have been fighting for funding recognition for the last 8 months and we welcome Labor’s pledge to sustainably fund Working Women’s Centres and ensure that all Australian women can have access to our world leading model of service, no matter where they work and live. Sexual harassment in the workplace should not be politicised.


“We need funding action from the Federal Government and bi-partisan support for our services. This is a no-brainer, the Federal Government have an opportunity to make their mark in the prevention of sexual harassment, and they can do it by funding a holistic, professional and trauma informed service that has a proven track record of improving the lives of Australian working women.”   

 

Quotes attributable to Claire Moore, Acting Director of Basic Rights Queensland (Working Women’s QLD)  
“Working Women’s Centres have proven our worth over many years. We support women to understand their rights and have access to the system to achieve outcomes when these rights have been violated. The struggle for effective funding has highlighted the unmet needs of women and the impact on their lives, their workplaces, and their families. The Respect@Work report acknowledged the need for these services as an integral element of the response to the systemic damage to women who are damaged by harassment, discrimination, and isolation. Their voices need to be heard.”

 

Save our Working Women’s Centres website:
https://saveourworkingwomenscentres.com.au/

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:
WWC NT Director– Nicki Petrou
WWC QLD Director Claire Moore 
WWC SA Director Abbey Kendall

MEDIA RELEASE: Working Women’s Centres respond to Labor’s 24-million-dollar pledge to fund and establish Centres across Australia

Working Women’s Centres respond to Labor’s 24-million-dollar pledge to fund and establish Centres across Australia

The South Australian, Northern Territory, and Queensland Working Women’s Centres welcome Labor’s promise to ensure there are properly funded Working Women’s Centres in every Australian state and territory.  

With this announcement, Labor has recognised that Working Women’s Centre’s service models are crucial to addressing the pervasive issue of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces.  

All corners of the country are calling on the federal government to address sexual harassment in the workplace.  

Recommendation 49 of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work Report is that ‘Australian governments provide increased and recurrent funding to working women’s centres to provide information, advice, and assistance to vulnerable workers who experience sexual harassment. The Sex Discrimination Commissioner recognised the unique holistic support provided by Working Women’s Centres:  

“We found they were uniquely the most effective, victim-centric model that could deliver support, advice [and] advocacy to women [across a] range of issues in their work.” 

The federal government accepted this recommendation.  Now is the time for the government to make a concrete funding announcement.  

Working Women’s Centres call for bipartisan commitment to fully fund Working Women’s CentresThe prevention of sexual harassment should not be a political football. We need the federal government to immediately announce a funding package for the working women’s centres. The Northern Territory Working Women’s Centre is just months away from closing.  

Two out of five Australian women experienced sexual harassment at work in the past five years, but the Federal Government has failed to properly fund the Working Women’s Centres that provide the first point of contact for women experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace.  

All three centres have seen an exponential increase in enquiries about sexual harassment. The South Australian Working Women’s Centre has seen a 200% increase in enquiries since March 2021.  

Quotes attributable to Nicki Petrou, Director NT Working Women’s Centre:

“With our one-off interim Federal funding running out in September, and without a further funding commitment from the Federal government, we will have to close the NT Working Women’s Centre by the end of the year. We will need to tell Territory women that we will no longer be there when things go wrong in the workplace, when they need our support.  

We do not want to see Territory women the casualties of a political funding battle especially when every minute counts for us right now. “ 

“The need for this funding is urgent: there has been a national outcry against workplace sexual harassment and assault that we know occurs in every industry. We cannot delay this. The NTWWC do not want to start turning women away especially when as a society we are now encouraging women to come forward and share their story, to say enough is enough but not provide the support that is needed!” 

 Quote attributable to Abbey Kendall, Director of SA Working Women’s Centre

“We have been fighting for funding recognition for the last 8 months and we welcome Labor’s pledge to sustainably fund Working Women’s Centres and ensure that all Australian women can have access to our world leading model of service, no matter where they work and live. Sexual harassment in the workplace should not be politicised.

“We need funding action from the federal government and bi-partisan support for our services. This is a no-brainer, the federal government have an opportunity to make their mark in the prevention of sexual harassment, and they can do it by funding a holistic, professional and trauma informed service that has a proven track record of improving the lives of Australian working women.”  

 Quotes attributable to Claire Moore, Acting Director of Basic Rights Queensland (Working Women’s Centre QLD)  

“WWCs have proven our worth over many years. We support women to understand their rights and have access to the system to achieve outcomes when these rights have been violated. The struggle for effective funding has highlighted the unmet needs of women and the impact on their lives, their workplaces , and their families. The Respect@Work report acknowledged the need for these services as an integral element of the response to the systemic damage to women who are damaged by harassment, discrimination, and isolation. Their voices need to be heard.” 

Save our Working Women’s Centres website: https://saveourworkingwomenscentres.com.au/

SA Weekend: Underpaid workers fighting back in the courtroom

This interview was published by the Advertiser SA Weekend on July 31 2021

Read the full article on the Advertiser SA Weekend here.

The inside story of how thousands of Australians who have been the victim of wage theft are finally fighting back. Plus, the big corporate names dragged into the courtroom.

Xiao An was looking for a job. She had recently graduated from her marketing course at the University of South Australia and the Chinese ­national was keen to stay in Adelaide. Like many international students, Xiao An looked on the Adelaide BBS website. It’s a kind of Chinese-language marketplace where you can find houses to rent, cars to buy and where jobs are advertised.

“When I graduated I wanted to find a job and get some experience,” the now 21-year-old says. “I feel this is suitable for me and I applied.”

The job she found was in advertising and sales for a wine business based in the city. Xiao An, not her real name, was there for two months and was never paid. The ­excuses started early. It was the end of the financial year, she was told. The company was being restructured.

“They even showed me the screenshot of the bank account of the company, saying they did not have enough money to pay so I have to wait,” she says.

“I feel like I am constantly being frauded. The boss kept making unrealistic promises to me that I’ll be promoted, getting a high ­yearly salary.”

All the while, Xiao An was working five days a week, sometimes weekends as well.

“I had to work full-time, and even overtime during weekends in that toxic, competitive environment but nothing was paid. Sometimes after working, I cried all the way to home. It was so stressful,” she says.

The issue of workers being underpaid, or not paid at all, was thrust firmly into the spotlight in February when a video of an assault at the Fun Tea store in Chinatown went viral. The video showed a young worker at Fun Tea being slapped and kicked after complaining she was only being paid $10 an hour, less than half the wage the worker was entitled to. The ­national minimum wage is $20.33 an hour.

A man called Lei Guo has pleaded guilty to the assault and will be sentenced next month. Guo was said to be a friend of then Fun Tea director Jason Duan, who later appeared on a video with a Sydney-based YouTube user and admitted he had only paid the victim $10 an hour.

The assault of the young student caused immediate backlash and brought renewed focus on to a dark part of the national economy – the exploitation of young and vulnerable workers by those who employ them. Often they are international students on visas with no understanding of their rights, with poor English skills and little support.

The federal government’s Fair Work Ombudsman started an investigation into Chinatown’s restaurants and a preliminary report found “very high” non-­compliance levels.

That investigation is ongoing but in April, the Ombudsman Sandra Parker said: “Our intelligence indicates that Adelaide’s Chinatown precinct employs many workers on visas who may also have limited ­English skills, which can lead to vulnerability and exploitation.” It is expected the Ombudsman will file charges year end.

Part of the solution may be for universities to provide more information to its students when they arrive in the country to tell them what their rights are and what support is available to them.

Meng Liu came to Australia in 2018 to study social work at Flinders. She, too, was ripped off by an employer.

“The first month I was here, I realised that everyone around me was doing an underpaid job, like all the international students I knew,” Liu says. “At that stage I didn’t know that was illegal.

 

 

Submit your story: tell us what our service means to you

While the SA Working Women’s Centre has sustainable funding from state and federal governments, our sisters at the NT and Qld Working Women’s Centres are experiencing a funding crisis.

We can only win this fight if we can show governments how Working Women’s Centres make a difference in the lives of women. Help us show them: tell us how the Working Women’s Centre helped you.
Today, we launch a fight to save our Working Women’s Centres. While the SA Working Women’s Centre has sustainable funding from state and federal governments, our sisters at the NT and Qld Working Women’s Centres are experiencing a funding crisis.

We’ve recovered $1.2 million for workers

The numbers are in, and here at the South Australian Working Women’s Centre SA we have recovered $622k of stolen wages, compensation and penalties for workers in the past financial year.

That means that over the past two years, we’ve won back $1.2 million.  

We are incredibly proud of all the workers that have taken a stand against injustice in the past year. With the support of our small team, they have fought for what they are owed.

Support the work that we do standing up for workers by donating to the Working Women’s Centre.

 

 

Media release: Working Women’s Centres ask Morrison: what has happened to Recommendation 49?

As the Women’s Safety Summit gets delayed, Working Women’s Centres have launched a fight for survival. Working Women’s Centres provide free advice, support and representation to thousands of working women every year about workplace issues.

Two out of five Australian women experienced sexual harassment at work in the past five years, but the Federal Government has failed to properly fund the Working Women’s Centres which provide a first point of contact for women experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace.

Recommendation 49 of the Respect@Work Report is that ‘Australian governments provide increased and recurrent funding to working women’s centres to provide information, advice and assistance to vulnerable workers who experience sexual harassment.

Quotes attributable to Nicki Petrou, Director of the NT Working Women’s Centre:

“Today, we are launching a fight for the survival of our specialised women’s services, services that support working women to ensure their workplaces are safe and fair. A key recommendation of the Respect@Work report was to provide increased and recurrent funding for Working Women’s Centres, but the Federal Government has not yet made any announcement of ongoing funding to the QLD and NT Working Women’s Centres.”

“With our one-off interim Federal funding running out in September, and without a further funding commitment from the Federal government, we will have to close the NT Working Women’s Centre by the end of the year. We will need to tell Territory women that we will no longer be there when things go wrong in the workplace, when they need our support.

“Whilst we are grateful for the interim funding from the Northern Territory and Federal Governments, this will not last forever and neither will we if we do not receive funding certainty soon. The time for our service is fast ticking away. We’ve been told that we needed to wait for discussions between state/territory and the federal government, for the Women’s Safety Summit in July. Discussions have been had, and the Summit has now been postponed until September., and now what? We can’t wait that long.

“The need for this funding is urgent: there has been a national outcry against workplace sexual assault that we know occurs in every industry. We cannot delay this. We cannot continue turning women away.

“To achieve safety for women in the workplace, all 55 Recommendations of the Respect@Work Report must be implemented and funded.

“Providing funding certainty to the NT Working Women’s Centre would cost less than $1 million per year. It costs less than $1 million to support women in the NT with our world leading model for tackling workplace sexual harassment and violence. How much are women in Northern Territory worth to this Governement?”

Quote attributable to Fiona Hunt, Director of Working Women Qld:

“Working Women Qld has been operating a reduced service since we lost Federal Funding in 2016. This has meant that hundreds of women in Queensland who have been treated unfairly or been sexually harassed in their workplaces have not been able to get the advice, support and representation they deserve and need to address these issues. Without the support of the Qld Government, the service would have been forced to shut down years ago. Now is the time for the Federal Government to respond to the Respect@Work recommendations and support vulnerable workers across Queensland. Working Women Qld needs Federal funding to operate a full service 5 days a week and to make sure that every woman in Queensland can be safe and equal at work.”

Quotes attributable to Abbey Kendall, Director of the Working Women’s Centre SA:

“The Working Women’s Centre SA is an example of what our service can achieve with sustainable funding. The South Australian Working Women’s Centre receives ongoing funding from both our state and federal governments. In the past two years, we recovered $1.2 million in compensation, stolen wages and penalties for workers.

“Women come to us when they are facing very complex, personal choices about how they respond to harassment in the workplace. Being armed with the facts about their options empowers them at a time when they are incredibly vulnerable. Our model of advice, education and advocacy is world leading. Funding Working Women’s Centres is an easy, immediate and tangible solution for the prevention of sexual violence.”

[End]

Save our Working Women’s Centres website:

https://saveourworkingwomenscentres.com.au/

MEDIA CONTACTS:

WWC NT Director Nicki Petrou

WWC QLD DirectorFiona Hunt

WWC SA Director Abbey Kendall

VOLUNTEER BLOG: an international student’s experience volunteering at the WWCSA

It all happened quite quickly. We arrived here as international students in February 2020, attended our orientation for two weeks, got lost on campus a few times and before we knew it, the pandemic had taken over most parts of the world and Australia closed its international borders indefinitely. No new international students would arrive, or indeed anyone who wasn’t an Australian citizen. I realized soon that I had to make the best of the situation. I missed home terribly and was concerned about my friends and family at home but could do nothing all the way from here. I decided to google all the things that I was interested in and tried to find organisations in South Australia I could get involved in, but I had no luck.  

My glimmer of hope was an Ad put out by the Working Women’s Centre asking for volunteers on a project examining how young women in South Australia were impacted by COVID19. I was soon at the Centre every Monday amongst the most passionate women who were all collectively trying to improve the lives and wellbeing of women and vulnerable workers at the workplace. It was the most meaningful work I could ever have the pleasure of working on. Soon enough, we were picking up momentum by collecting more survey responses and holding consultations with international students (some of whom were my dear friends) to identify what challenges we were facing and how to make our voices heard. The result was the report titled “Loss of work, isolation & worry: the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on young women” which was released in April, 2021.    

There were many extraordinary things that came from the report, which presented findings from:  
  • A survey of women under the age of 30 (293 respondents) 
  • An online consultation open to all young women  
  • A consultation of female international students   
  • A consultation with female Youth Ambassadors from the Australian Refugee Association 
  • A consultation with Industrial Officers at the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation 
  • Interviews with young women working in male-dominated trades, and 
  • A consultation with young women working in Education 

We found that most COVID-19 related job losses occurred for part-time workers, who are disproportionately women and young people.  Furthermore, international students who lost work due to COVID-19 had no access to government support like Jobkeeper or Jobseeker and had to rely on university support to make ends meet.

international students participating in a consultation about the impact of COVID19 on young women, how it effects their experience in the workplace

 

Pictured above: some of the participants from our consultation exploring the impact of the COVID19 pandemic on young women, with young international students based in South Australia. 

Our consultation of female international students held in December revealed that finding a new job after losing one was one of the hardest tasks during a pandemic. In some cases, students reported a call-back rate of less than 10% when applying for jobs.  Young women faced undue financial hardship as a result of this and had significant anxiety and worries over money matters. In addition to this, 44% of the survey respondents felt more discouraged about the prospect of finding work since COVID-19. 

It is so difficult for young women to access safe and secure jobs, it is no wonder that we are stressed about being able to get one in the future.  

  

In order to tackle the challenges facing young women, the report makes several recommendations including : 
  •  Investment in the creation of secure jobs for women through: 
  • a commitment to minimum job security requirements in services that receive government funding 
  • Investment that will create jobs in feminised sectors like mental health or domestic violence services 
  • Offering better supports to international students. This would allow international students to better  support themselves, continue their education and contribute to the  South Australian economy by as active and empowered participants. It would also reduce financial stress and stop international students from having to work  unsafe, low-paying jobs to continue their education.  

 

This engagement with the Working Women’s Centre is what helped me get through the pandemic. It offered me a kind and supportive space to grow and learn. More importantly, I finally felt like I was part of a community that shared the same values as I did, advocating for those groups in society that often go unvoiced. If this is something you need as well, the Working Women’s Centre is the place for you. 

Learn more about our Young Women & COVID19 project. 
The full report from our survey is available on our website
international student's experience volunteering at the working womens centre sa inc

UPCOMING EVENT: Feminist action session – discussion on combatting sexual harassment at work

Come along to our Feminist Action Session to help the Working Women’s Centre develop practical tools that can be used in workplaces.  

1 in 3 Australians have experienced sexual harassment at work, yet only 18% of victims report their experience (according to the Respect@Work Report 2020).  

The Working Women’s Centre SA has recently completed research that found that workplace posters are effective and engaging tools to highlight inappropriate behaviour and connect victims with support avenues. In the upcoming Feminist Action session, we will discuss ways in which we can combat sexual harassment in our workplaces and communities and support victims of sexual harassment. We’ll also share ideas for a meaningful poster for South Australian workplaces.  

In this session you will have the opportunity to share your ideas and discuss the topic with like-minded individuals. 

  • Bring a laptop or phone if handy, and a willingness to contribute ideas and listen to others.
  • Complimentary hot food and drinks will be provided.
  • The venue is wheelchair accessible. The nearest disability access bathrooms are at the Adelaide Train Station.

CONTENT NOTE: This event will involve a discussion of workplace sexual violence.

WHEN

29 Jul 2021
5.30-7.00pm

EVENT TYPE

Workshop

WHERE

The Working Women’s Centre SA, Level 1 Station Arcade, 52 Hindley Street

ACCESSIBILITY

Wheelchair Accessibility

REGISTER HERE

We acknowledge that this event is on Kaurna land and we pay our respect to the traditional custodians of the land, past and present . Sovereignty was never ceded.

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Centres for working women at risk

This story is about our fight to save the Working Women’s Centres in the NT and Queensland. It was published by The Saturday Paper on 22 May 2021. 

Find the full story here. 

Despite this month’s federal budget pledging $3.2 billion to women, a critical front-line service has lost much of its funding and will likely close before the end of the year.

 

MEDIA STATEMENT: Working Women’s Centres train political parties in prevention of sexual harassment

Working Women’s Centre’s provide prevention of sexual harassment workplace training to federal and state political parties. 

We are pleased to announce major political parties have engaged the Working Women’s Centres to assist with workplace training. Since February, multiple political offices have contacted us to book our training ‘Preventing and Responding to Sexual Harassment’ and ‘When violence comes to work.’ This parties include:

    • The federal Australian Labor Party
    • SA Labor
    • SA Greens

We are pleased that political parties are taking proactive steps to prevent sexual assault in their offices by booking our training programs.

We will be working with Federal Labor and SA Labor over the next 6 months to roll out training for MPs, staff and volunteers.

 

Over May, the Working Women’s Centers educators travelled to Canberra to train all Federal Labor Chief of Staffs in the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace. We are in the process of rolling out training for federal Labor offices across the country.

The Working Women’s Centre’s will also provide prevention of sexual harassment training to the Prime Minister and Cabinet department in the coming month. We have a long training relationship with the PMC team.

In South Australia, the SA Labor party passed a motion that commits to ensuring all South Australian Labor Members of Parliament, their staff, elected party officials, office bearers, campaign coordinators and campaign managers will undertake mandatory unconscious Bias training, Preventing and Addressing Sexual Harassment training and Bullying training within the next six months.

Further Senator Wong’s office has booked the suite of Working Women’s training program to be conducted in early July 2021.

We urge all states and territory governments and political parties to do the same. Leadership comes from the top.

 

Training programs 

We encourage all political parties’ and employers to contact the Working Women’s Centres to discuss our training programs. In February 2021, after the allegations of sexual violence and harassment in Parliament House and political parties, we wrote to all political parties, their leaders in every state and territory to encourage them to take the crucial step of engaging workplace training.  A previous media release about our correspondence with political parties can be found: here: https://wwcsa.org.au/call-for-all-political-parties-to-undertake-training-on-workplace-sexual-harassment/

 

Quotes attributable to Abbey Kendall, Director of the South Australian Working Women’s Centre.

 

Workplace training is crucial to eliminating violence against women in the workplace and the community. The training must be evidence based, trauma informed and mandatory. We wrote to every political party in the country asking them to lead in this area and we are really pleased that our training programs have been taken up.

 

Working Women’s Centre Training Officer Cassandra Deon-Wierda says

Workplace training and education programs are a vital tool to improving organisational and team culture. Through action based and cooperative learning staff can become empowered and confident in their skills, knowledge, and communication with one another. As we start to gain a better understanding of the intersection of unconscious bias and serious issues within the work environment, the need for employers to maintain an inclusive environment committed to equity and respect are essential.

 

 

Despite our crucial work, Working Women’s Centre’s in NT and QLD are in a funding crisis. We are asking the federal government to save the NT and QLD WWC and establish Working Women’s Centre’s in every state and territory in line with recommendation 49 of the Respect@Work Report. Media releases about this fight can be found here: https://wwcsa.org.au/media/media-releases/

Unless the Federal Government steps and provides ongoing and sustainable funding to the NT and QLD Working Women’s Centre, they will not be able to provide this crucial training.

In the Northern Territory –the NT Working Women’s Centre continues to receive requests for workplace training in a broad range of areas including sexual harassment, domestic and family violence and bullying. ‘All Work Aware training has a violence prevention focus. It is intended to provide safer workplaces by assisting employers/employees understand the issues and how to better respond and support workers on the ground. It is about changing the culture and making workplaces fair and safe for all, proofing your organisations against avoidable risks.’ To date, we have delivered training to a number of Government departments, not for profits and small businesses. It would be helpful if Working Women’s Centres training was available more broadly to workplaces, that we could be funded to roll this out to workplaces across Australia and not just to those who can afford it.

 

Media Contacts:

 

WWC SA Director – Abbey Kendall –  08 8410 6499 – reception@wwc.org.au

 

WWC NT Director – Nicki Petrou

 

WWC QLD Director – Fiona Hunt

 

MEDIA RELEASE: Call for coalition government to immediately save the Northern Territory and Queensland Working Women’s Centres  Media Statement 

The Working Women’s Centres call on the Federal Government to immediately take action and fund the Northern Territory and Queensland Working Women’s Centres.

 

The funding and establishment of Working Women’s Centres in every Australian state and territory is essential to addressing workplace sexual harassment, and forms a key part of the Respect@Work report, appearing at recommendation 49.

 

The recommendation is that ‘Australian governments provide increased and recurrent funding to working women’s centres, to provide information, advice and assistance to vulnerable workers who experience sexual harassment, taking into account particular needs of workers facing intersectional discrimination.’

 

The Federal Government has agreed to this recommendation in the Roadmap for Respect. However, the government has failed to provide certainty as to its funding commitment or timeframes around these discussions.

 

We cannot wait. The Northern Territory and Queensland WWCs have 10 weeks to find funding or face the prospect of closing.  This will be devastating to working women in QLD and the NT and it will fly in the face of the federal governments promises to address gendered violence in the workplace.

 

The Government must act now and immediately fund the NT and QLD services. Our clients, communities and working women are depending on us. Working Women are depending on the government to save their services, who work and understand the local environment and the challenges in which they live and work.

 

Funding Working Women’s Centres is an easy, immediate and tangible solution for the prevention of sexual violence. This is the first test for the new Attorney General and the federal government since their response to the Report’s 55 recommendations.

 

Experts and leaders in gender equity regularly talk about the Working Women’s Centre holistic model as world leading. WWCs form the backbone of the fight to eliminate gendered violence in our workplaces and the community.

 

Director of the QLD Working Women’s Centre Fiona Hunt says: “All women deserve safe workplaces and someone to champion them when they are treated unfairly. WWC QLD works with the most vulnerable women in QLD to keep them employed, to get what they are entitled and to walk away fairly if needed.”

 

Director, of the NT WWC Nicki Petrou says: “In a climate when women’s safety at work has again hit the headlines, when the Federal Government has committed to building women’s workforce participation, economic security and making women’s homes and  workplaces safe, funding specialist women’s services such as the Working Women’s Centres who are here now continuing to do the work, in supporting women with workplace issues and throughout COVID is especially critical. This also makes good sense.”

Director of the SA WWC Abbey Kendall says: “The South Australian WWC is a great example of what a secure and funded and working women’s center can do for workplaces, vulnerable people and working women. We make a big impact in South Australia but we need a national approach to this issue. We need an alliance of well funded Working Women’s Centres in every state and territory and the first step to achieving that is to save the NT and QLD centres”. 

Media contacts: 

WWC NT Director – Nicki Petrou,

WWC QLD Director – Fiona Hunt

WWC SA Director  – Abbey Kendall

 

Background on WWC  

The Working Women’s Centres are not-for-profit organisations which providefree advice, representation and support to vulnerable, workers about their rights at work. Additionally, the WWC’s advocate for systemic change to improve women’s workplace conditions and safety, and offer a range of free and fee for service training for workers and employers about workplace rights. This includes bullying, sexual harassment, and appropriately responding to disclosures of domestic violence.

There are currently 3 WWCs across the country (SA, NT and QLD). The only WWC with secure funding is WWC SA with the QLD service now a program of the Basic Rights Centre following non continuation of its funding 4 years earlier.

The Working Women’s Centre is made up of three arms:

Industrial/Legal support – we provide advice and representation to vulnerable workers who contact the Centre with work issues through 1:1 clinic appointments

Advocacy – we conduct advocacy to resolve systemic issues that affect women and other vulnerable workers, such as sexual harassment and precarious work

Education – we provide fee-for-service and free training for workers and employers about workplace rights. This includes bullying, sexual harassment, and appropriately responding to disclosures of domestic violence.

Core practices of the WWC  

The Working Women’s Centre model is unique due to the combination of a number of core practices.

  • Our advocacy and training work is informed by the issues experienced by our clients. We notice patterns in our industrial work and use our advocacy and education work to address these issues at a systemic level.
  • We apply a gender lens to our work and are specialists in gendered work issues. The Working Women’s Centre is seen as a safe space for women to gain support on issues such as sexual harassment and assault.
  • We support and empower women through our industrial work. We always provide them with the support to make the decisions that are right for them.
  • We are connected to grassroots movements. We work with communities who are experiencing issues such as wage theft and support them to push back against exploitation.

Radio Interview on The Wire: GENDER LENS ON BUDGET SHOWS CRUCIAL FUNDS MISSING

This interview was published by The Wire May 13 2021.

Listen to the full interview on The Wire here.

In a bid to repair their relationship with the women of Australia, the Federal Government is committing $3.4 billion to improving women’s safety, economic security, and health and wellbeing.

Women’s organisations say far more funds are needed to address workplace sexual harassment and violence.

Meanwhile, advocates welcome long-awaited recognition of violence against women and girls with disabilities.

 

Photos of the Women’s March 4 Justice in Victoria Square

This article was published by Glam Adelaide 16 March 2021.

Read the full article and see the photo on Glam Adelaide’s Website

March participants congregated at midday in Victoria Square to hear speeches before heading down to North Terrace.

Speakers included human rights barrister Claire O’Connor, Director of the Working Women’s Centre SA Abbey Kendall, founder of SA Aboriginal Action Group Janette Milera, and Dr. Afsaneh Moradi.

Hosted by March 4 Justice, the event championed inclusion, and people of all genders were in attendance.

“The March is not just for women. It’s for everyone who wants an end to gendered violence – people from all backgrounds are welcome,” they say.

See photos from the rally here.

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