Women's e-news - Term 1, 2021
Women in Leadership – QTU style
The QTU has a new leadership team for 2021, and for the first time in our history, the majority are women!
Congratulations to Kate Ruttiman, General Secretary of the QTU. Kate is the first woman to hold this position.
The vacancy in the Deputy General Secretary role created by Kate’s election has been declared filled by the Queensland Electoral Commission, and Leah Mertens has been declared elected to the position.
For the first time in our history, we have an all-women Presidential team!
Our new President, Cresta Richardson, is only the fourth woman to be President of the QTU. Congratulations to Leah Olsson (Vice-President) on her election and congratulations to Jenny Swalding (Honorary Vice-President) on her re-election.
Respect@Work and March4Justice – Expect Respect campaign
As has been previously reported, there is an issue with a lack of support and clear advice in regards to the gendered violence (including sexual harassment) experienced by members (from colleagues and students). The Respect@Work report was handed to the federal government by the Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins in early 2020. The lack of response and the appalling reactions to the allegations made by Brittany Higgins and the allegations against Christian Porter have further highlighted that the federal government fails to take women’s safety seriously. The QTU joined the thousands of women across the nation taking part in the March4Justice on 15 March.
From the start of Term 4, a member-wide survey will be distributed to determine the level of gendered violence experienced by our members in schools and TAFE campuses. The need to fund the roll out of the Respectful Relationships Education Program has never been more urgent (RREP was a key recommendation of the Respect@Work program and the Not Now, Not Ever report).
It’s great that state ministers are listening to the young students in our schools giving their horrific tales of gendered abuse and violence, however in addressing consent and gendered violence in our schools, we must have access to quality professional development (face to face). and we must also have the time to discuss and implement. RREP is too important not to fund. Queensland will be the only state in Australia to not support RREP with face-to-face PD opportunities.
Please ensure as many QTU members in your schools and branches complete the survey.
Further information on our Expect Respect campaign can be found here.
International Women’s Day (IWD) – 8 March 2021
International Women’s Day in the midst of a global pandemic was commemorated in vastly different ways across Queensland, our nation and globally. IWD reminds us to stop and reflect on women’s achievements, the health and economic status of women and girls, and the genuine gender equity we are yet to achieve.
However, no change occurs without those bold and brace enough to challenge. The 2021 theme of IWD, #choosetochallenge, encourages us all to find our voice. Calling out gendered actions or assumptions, challenging gender stereotypes, challenging decision makers to be more inclusive, and just challenging bad behaviour.
There is much work to be done – educating about gender equity can be exciting and inspiring. Celebrating the great achievements of inspiring women and girls is a great way to start. We have a unique opportunity. To inspire. To give platform and space. To educate and, to listen. The next generation is watching and learning. As teachers, we hold a space that is crucial in terms of role modelling, and also questioning. Ensuring our pedagogical practices include gender diverse resources, our narratives include the voices of all women, and when we look to historical texts, that we ensure we include the analysis of whose history is being told and whose voices weren’t permitted.
(QTU Women Officers “Choosing to Challenge” Rachel Bos, Leah Mertens and Kim Roy)
A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day.
We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.
From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge.
Uniform compliance? Does your school’s policy meet the “short” test?
Since the start of the 2019 school year, all schools have been required to have an inclusive school dress code policy that provides a suitable and specific short option for female students. This was achieved following a lengthy campaign, and Minister Grace announced the changes at QTU State Council back in 2018.
Direct communication was sent to all school leaders in 2018, with a six-month lead in time for the 2019 school year. The Women Teachers and Girls Education Committee of the QTU is seeking to discover how many state school’s dress policies adhere (disclaimer – “skorts” does not mean shorts!).
We have set up an audit tool – it will take less than one minute to complete if you have access to your school’s uniform policy. the page includes links to the department’s policy/procedures and Journal articles on the topic. Please tell us if the girls at your school have a genuine short and pant option.
Rosemary Richard’s Scholarship 2021
Rosemary Richards was a proud feminist, unionist and educator.
A trailblazing leader, she was committed to advancing gender equality across the Australian Education Union (AEU). In her memory, the Rosemary Richards Scholarship continues her legacy by building the capacity of women as activists and leaders.
This is an opportunity for an AEU woman member with an idea for an innovative project, research or study experience that will increase her skills and experience in the union’s work at state/territory, national or international level. By extension, it should also support the AEU’s women members.
The scholarship is valued at $10,000 and is intended to cover all project expenses, including, but not limited to, travel, attendance at conferences, workplace visits, training and developmental opportunities, work-shadowing, research, project design and implementation.
All women AEU branch or associated body members are strongly encouraged to apply. Contact your local Women’s Officer for more information.
Application forms and further information are available on the AEU website: www.aeufederal.org.au/noticeboard
The submission deadline for application forms is Friday, 7 May.
If you are interested in applying for the program, please make contact with the QTU through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emma Miller Award Recipient 2020
In 2020, our Emma Miller Award recipient was Suzee Dearlove.
Extended unpaid special leave – family care responsibilities joint statement
Following on from EB9, the QTU and the department have signed a joint statement to make explicit the clear understandings of extended unpaid special leave for family care responsibilities. This leave type can be accessed when an employee is unable to work because of family care responsibilities – this may be an extension of parental leave or when caring for a spouse, parent or member of the family who has a medical condition.
A copy of the statement can be found here. Any issues arising from this leave type should be forwarded to QTAD in the first instance.
Make sure you look out for the QTU Journal articles relating to women’s issues for sharing with your colleagues. You can access the journal from the webpage now, so if there is anything you would like to share, you can copy the link to that article from the webpage and share via email, Facebook or any other platform.
From our first edition of 2021 you can find a helpful document that addresses myths of parental leave: “Contrived” arrangements and other pregnancy-related issues.
Women branch contacts
Women branch contacts are encouraged to ensure that a report is provided by them at each branch meeting and it is part of the standing orders of the meeting. A branch resource was developed to assist with topics (if needed).
Please keep an eye on the webpage and Journal for the latest updates. If you have any ideas or contributions, please feel free to send them in.
I would also like to take the opportunity to thank my colleague Elissa Ferguson for acting in the Women’s Officer role at the commencement of the school year while I was on some long service leave. Elissa did a fabulous job in my role and made my transition back into full-time work mid-term so much easier. Thank you, Elissa.
Authorised by Kate Ruttiman, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union
21 Graham Street, Milton, QLD, Australia, 4064