YWCA Advocacy Update – June MISSives

It’s been a busy few months for advocacy, especially with the release of the 2021 Federal Budget.

With a huge public and media focus on women’s safety and gender equality in Australia, combined with 2020’s bloke-based Budget, there was pressure on the federal government to utilise intersectional and gender-responsive analysis when determining this year’s Budget.

The Budget did categorise investment for ‘women’s issues’ – sporadic increases for domestic violence services, women’s legal centres and funding for women’s health initiatives for example – but it was a disappointing attempt at what we all deserve – gender-responsive budgeting. Framing things like increased funding for childcare or domestic violence prevention as part of a ‘women’s Budget’ is inaccurate and can reinforce gender stereotypes because affordable childcare and prevention of violence benefits us all.

It was impossible to stay quiet on an inadequate and ineffective budget – YWCA and Young Women’s Council member Emalia highlighted what we needed before the budget was announced, and what was missing after the budget was released. We rounded out the week with the pièce de résistance a full-blown post-budget analysis put together in a record seven days, led by Bobbie Trower, our Senior Manager for Advocacy and resident policy aficionado. The analysis highlights budget lows and woes and the reflections of the Young Women’s Council (YWC), Helen Dalley-Fisher from the Equality Rights Alliance (ERA), and their Young Women’s Advisory Group (YWAG).

Keep an eye out as we continue to campaign for intersectional and gender-responsive analysis and budgeting in our Federal, State and international advocacy, and join the CBF to be part of the push.

Advocacy Highlights

Uluru statement

YWCA supported the Uluru Statement for First Nations Voice referendum and a Makarrata Commission.

  1. Government to honour its election commitment to a referendum once a model for the Voice has been settled. 
  2. Enabling legislation for the Voice to be passed after a referendum has been held in the next term of Parliament.
  3. A membership model for the National Voice that ensures previously unheard Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the same chance of being selected as established leadership figures. 

International Sex Worker Day

On June 2, YWCA highlighted awareness on sex work and sex worker rights on International Sex Worker Day. It’s important for allies like YWCA to make their support for sex workers known, because sex workers still face high levels of stigma, and discrimination. Our intersectional feminism needs to centre the safety and rights of sex workers as they are often left out of gender equality work. This also gave us a chance to share our recent submission for sex work decriminalisation in South Australia.

Youth Homelessness Matters Day

April 21 was Youth Homelessness Matters Day. To raise awareness, our members shared what having a home and a place of safety meant to them. We were also able to share some of the awesome work of CASY House in Darwin – big thanks to Sarah, Kriti and Rachael for sharing the Couch Surfing Race with us and allowing us to share on socials. 

Milkshakes miss the mark

If you’re a CBF member, you will have been part of shaping our advocacy in response to the government video and resources around consent. Members had a lot to say, and we were able to support the Fair Agenda campaign in response. The incredibly expensive videos made consent even more confusing and obtuse. Our position? Consult with experts and work with young people especially when creating content – they are the experts in their own lives.

ADHD is not….

After media commentary suggesting ADHD was an excuse for sexual harassment, CBF leveraged the conversation to make a clear statement that the symptoms of ADHD do not include: sexual harassment, entitlement, stalking or body shaming. The fact that women, girls and AFAB folk are less likely to be supported or diagnosed with ADHD just adds another layer of sting. This is not because they are less likely to have ADHD, but a result of the patriarchy in the medical field. There is never an excuse for sexual harassment.

Victoria’s Ten-Year Social and Affordable housing submission

Did you catch our submission to Victoria’s Ten-Year Social and Affordable housing strategy? Through ongoing consultation, we focused on amplifying intersectional feminist housing and supports that are tailored, flexible and responsive and how housing is a continuum shaped by changing circumstances, needs, access and delivery models

YWCA Australia wishes to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we work, live and play and pay our respects to Elders past and present. We recognise First Nations people as the custodians of the lands, seas and skies, with more than 60,000 years of wisdom, connection and relationship in caring for Country.

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