QTU committees: Women Teachers and Girls Education
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 125 No 6, 14 August 2020, page no.16
The QTU maintains several committees, made up of grassroots QTU members working in Queensland state schools, to provide advice and guidance to the Union on specialised areas. Here we turn the spotlight on the Women Teachers and Girls Education Committee (WTGEC).
WTGEC oversees the Union’s policy on gender equity, feminist issues, industrial conditions that support women workers, and equity issues for girls. In recent times, the committee has provided input and advice in relation to the impact of domestic and family violence, respectful relationships in schools, the gender employment equity component of the EB9 log of claims, girls uniform agenda and abortion reform in Queensland.
The Committee is chaired by QTU Vice-President Cresta Richardson and is supported by QTU Women's Officer Penny Spalding as the secretariat to the committee.
“One of the biggest challenges for female educators is the transition into classified officer positions. Maternity leave, family responsibilities and male dominance in leadership all impact negatively on a female’s ability to progress through the ranks.” Sammy Blocksidge, Tropical North Learning Academy, Trinity Beach State School
“I believe the biggest challenge for women teachers is ensuring they have a seat at the table. We all have the responsibility of insisting on equal representation where possible, and for pushing each other up to achieve our best.” Ali Coverdale. Robertson State School
“For me, identifying as a feminist in my Union means ensuring that the issues and disadvantages faced by women teachers are at the forefront of the QTU’s policy agenda and that we cater for all individuals and the diverse circumstances they bring to our great Union.” Beck Humphreys, Barcaldine Prep-12 State School
"Why am I a member of WTGEC? To help improve the rights and conditions for teachers and girls in our schools, and in doing so help everyone. Also, to try and use my position to support and bring attention to those who need it." Ren Johnstone, Glenmore State High School
“It is important to recognise that challenges still exist for women educators, such as menopause, which is an occupational health issue.” Cassandra King, Thuringowa SHS
"Through my QTU involvement, I have become enlightened to the fact that ‘I’m a feminist!’ and have been for years. I hope that by openly identifying as a feminist I can assist others to understand that a feminist is anyone who believes in human rights, individual rights and equality for all!" Deb McPherson, Tropical North Learning Academy – Trinity Beach SS
“As a member of the WTGEC, I have the opportunity to meet regularly with passionate educators to review and develop policy for gender equality.“ Alice Metcalfe, Ironside State School
"As an educator I try to be a role model for the children I teach. Yes, I have children but I also have a career, and that’s a good thing. As the expression goes, you can’t be what you can’t see, and this goes for encouraging young women and girls to aim high." Natalie Montague-Clarke, Manly State School
“I believe that feminism is for everyone, where all genders have equal rights and opportunities. It goes hand in hand with unionism and allows people to look at the world not as it is, but how it could be.” Leah Olsson, Cairns West State School
"As a dance teacher, I predominately work with teenage girls. Knowing that I am sometimes the first time they interact with the concept of feminism means that I want to help them to know more, read more and do more. By showing them the benefits of feminism and learning more about the feminist movement and the arts, my students are able to grow into strong powerful women who will one day change the world." Michelle Peters, Morayfield SHS
“There are still many challenges faced by women. We cannot take for granted the progress that has been won. There is still a long way to go – for all women.” Cresta Richardson, QTU Vice-President
“The impact of education on children, and in particular girls, cannot be overstated and overestimated. Public school education/educators can be the deciding factor in the direction of someone’s life. Why wouldn’t you weigh into that for the long term?” Nikki Roos, Brighton State School
“As a teacher, I role-model by my words and actions so girls can aspire to participate in any sport, occupation or activity they desire to follow. Also, I am consciously aware of the stereotypes in books, movies and play opportunities, and provide alternatives that are inclusive and non-gender orientated.” Julie Streeter. Yarrilee State School
"The biggest challenge for women teachers are being seen as strong teachers and strong leaders; following the same career path as colleagues without any setbacks or penalties just because you’re a woman; and not being overlooked to lead programs or be at the forefront just because you’re a woman." Bridget Walker, Berserker Street State School
The committee also includes Madonna Johanson and Penny Taylor