Advocacy Update – October 2021

Advocacy work at the Y never ends. We spent a lot of August preparing for the National Summit on Women’s Safety, held in the first week of September. This Summit was intended to be an important step towards developing the National Plan to end violence against women and children, but it underdelivered.  

Unsurprisingly, the Summit failed to meaningfully include many marginalised groups; and a number of key advocates, including survivors, were not at the table. To realise the transformative change, far more needs to be done and we will continue advocating for a firmer commitment from the Federal Government to take action in support of our renewed purpose which makes young women’s leadership and women’s housing our priority. As an organisation, YWCA endorsed the Women’s Safety Summit response with Fair Agenda and 40 other organisations. Our Senior Manager of Advocacy, Bobbie Trower, met after Summit hours with Fair Agenda and allies to create a joint post-summit response advocacy and policy working group. You can read and add your voice to here. For many years, First Nations women have been calling for a dedicated National Safety Plan to reduce violence against First Nations women and children. YWCA Australia has joined the open letter from Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services to the Prime Minister, Senator Payne and Senator Rushton to support a dedicated First Nations National Safety Plan that is developed for and by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women as a result of the Women’s Safety Summit.   

Housing is critical for women’s safety, yet it wasn’t on the official agenda for the Women’s Safety Summit. 

YWCA were part of a working group set up by Everybody’s Home to hold our own Housing for Women’s Safety pre-summit virtual event where speakers and organisations came together to discuss the critical importance of access to safe and affordable housing for women’s safety.  

Our partners included Everybody’s Home, Equity Economics, DVNSW, DVVICRC, Homelessness NSW, Women’s Housing Company and Victorian Women’s Housing Alliance, among others. Speakers were: 

  • Dr Kyllie Cripps, Palawa woman, Scientia Fellow and Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law and Justice at UNSW Sydney
  • Dr Angela Jackson, Lead Economist, Equity Economics 
  • The Hon. Linda Burney MP, Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services and Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians, Tania Farha, CEO for Domestic Violence Victoria,  
  • Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO, ACOSS and  
  • Talie Star, a consumer advocate with experience of homelessness and domestic/family violence. 

Y members consulted on the upcoming Queensland Women’s Strategy   

On Monday 27 September, Queensland-based Y members were consulted on the new Queensland Women’s Strategy, which outlines the Queensland Government’s vision for women and girls, with an emphasis on gender equality and related issues across participation and leadership, economic security, safety, and health and wellbeing.  

Maninder Kaur from YWCA’s Young Women’s Council, Georgia from the QLD Office For Women and Bobbie from YWCA led the collaborative discussion with Y members to ensure their voices were heard and help inform the Queensland Government’s priorities for the next five years. We look forward to seeing members’ voices reflected in the new strategy, which will be revealed in the next few months and working with the Queensland Government on the strategy into the future. YWCA’s submission focused on the areas of leadership, celebration and culture change, prevention and safety, economic security and housing and health and wellbeing.  Our top-line recommendation focused on renaming the “Women’s Strategy” the “Gender Equality Strategy”. This would recognise that everyone benefits from gender equality, gender equality prevents violence against women, gender equality = economic prosperity and societies that value all gender as equal are happier and healthier.  

NSW Regional Housing submission 

We provided a submission into the NSW Regional Housing Taskforce, with a key focus on intersectional and gender-responsive budget and analysis, whole-of-government approaches to preventing violence, homelessness and housing insecurity for young women and women as well as housing pathway responses, like the Y and its partnerships in the community. You can read the submission on our website – a big thanks to everyone who was able to contribute. To be first in the know about getting more involved in policy and advocacy responses – join the Cyber Feminist (CBF) Slack platform and follow the opportunity channel.  

Other Advocacy Highlights 

Equal Pay Day 

31 August was Equal Pay Day – a great opportunity to highlight gender and economic inequality (and why so many single young women and older women struggle with housing affordability!). However, most of the messaging around Equal Pay Day still focuses on the gap between men and women working full-time (which is at 14.2%) and overlooks how women are over-represented in part-time and casual roles, with women having to fit work around care duties. Equal Pay Day also overlooks the intersections and systemic economic inequality faced by migrant and refugee women, women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, women with disabilities, LGBTIQA+ people, and gender-diverse people. Without an intersectional lens and the data, it is impossible to calculate the true gender pay gap!  

Wear it Purple 

Friday 27 August was Wear it Purple Day, an annual LGBTIQA+ awareness day especially for young people in Australia. We have supported Wear it Purple Day as an organisation since it started to celebrate all people connected to us – our clients, tenants, customers, teams and members – that identify under the rainbow flag.  Fitting with this year’s theme of ‘Start the Conversation, Keep it Going’, we created a short video with our Y team talking with a young LGBTIQA+ person who had just come out. Watch the video if you haven’t already! We also ran a giveaway with Wear It Purple and Song Hotel for a night in the Sally Rugg LGBTIQA+ pride room now it is welcoming guests again. If you can safely travel to Gadigal land, have you got your feminist theme room booked yet

Tradies for Women’s Safety 

In preparation for the Women’s Safety Summit, we joined forces with former YWC member Taylor Perrin to call on tradies across Australia to stand for women’s safety by building more houses for survivors of domestic violence. If the Government acts on the Equity Economics Nowhere To Go report recommendations and invests $7.6 billion in building 16,800 houses, there would be immediate economic benefits of $15.3 billion and the creation of 47,000 new jobs. By bringing together young women’s leadership on safety and housing and engaging the trades and construction industry, we can work together on ending violence against women AND boost the economy.  

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