Our union represents women across all of the industries in our coverage. Local Government and the Social and Community Services sector are large employers of women, women make up some 60% of the LGA workforce and the Social and Community Services figure is much higher at around 87%. Women’s membership of the Victorian Branch as of June 2011 was 52% of total membership and 45% of our delegates were women.
The ASU is one of the strongest union campaigners on women’s issues at this time in Australia, we need to continue this work to improve women’s representation and get the message to our members and the women working in our industries that we will achieve more for them with their support.
The ASU wants to continue to work with ASU women for pay equity, prevention of violence against women and to build women leaders. We have a dedicated Women's Officer who can be contact here:
ASU Women's Officer
Victorian & Tasmanian ASU Women’s Committee
The ASU women’s committee exists to ensure that women’s issues are central to the ASU’s agenda and to work to improve the representation of women in the union. The committee meets every two months or as determined by the committee to discuss industrial and social issues of relevance to women. The committee also takes a role in planning the annual women’s conference and our on-going participation in the union movement’s affirmative action campaign, the Anna Stewart Memorial Project. Please contact the ASU women’s Officer for more information, or to join the committee via firstname.lastname@example.org
Keeping ASU women up to date on the key issues for women unionists, First Priority is a regular newsletter that is emailed and or sent to all ASU women who subscribe. You can subscribe by emailing Jane Karslake
View the latest edition under ASU Women's Resources.
ASU Women’s Conference
The ASU holds an annual women’s conference that provides a special opportunity for ASU women, members and delegates to come together share their stories and experiences and learn from one another. It is also designed to assist the ASU and our members stay informed and address the issues of our membership.
Developing the strengths of ASU women to build a strong union for women is critical for all ASU members and this conference offers you the opportunity to contribute to this objective.
Special interest speakers and workshops that develop us as women and unionists are included on the agenda, but often best of all is the opportunity for us to network with like minded people tackling the same challenges.
Each year the ASU women’s Committee Awards the ASU woman’s tile for work for ASU women.
The following women have been Tile Award winners;
1995: Pat Woods
1996: Julie Canals-Tasevski
1997: Robyn Glascott & Margery Danaher
1998: Claire Watt
1999: Geraldene McPhee
2000: Leonie Grant
2001: Michelle McCann
2002: Jo Thompson
2003: Wendy Phillips
2004: Julie Kun
2005: Mary Hollingdale
2006: Wendy McManus
2007: Merri Blair & Josie Ackerman
2008: Maggie Marcon & Lilian O’Connor
2009: Kathy Smalley
2010: Jan Garner
2011: Sharon Rowlands
2012: Donna Mantello & Debbie Batterham
Summary of conference keynote speakers in recent years…
2007 – Its Time – Key note speaker - Sharon Burrows President of the ACTU
2008 – Building for our Future - Key note speaker – Anne Summers
2009 - Generation Next – Victorian Minister for Industrial Relations -Martin Pakula
2010 - Justice – Sara Charlesworth – Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Applied Social Research RMIT University
2011 – Keynote speaker -Ged Kearney ACTU President & Catherine Fox Award-winning journalist and deputy editor of AFR BOSS magazine spoke about Myths about barriers to Women’s Leadership
The ASU women’s committee oversees the development of a conference theme and agenda. If you would like to get involved join us at the women’s committee.
For more information about the women’s conference please contact the Member Contact Centre on 1300 855 570
Anna Stewart Memorial Project
Twice a year we host two ASU women on the Victorian Trades Hall Council Anna Stewart Memorial Program. The program is an affirmative action program to facilitate increasing women’s understanding and involvement in unions, it is a memorial in honour of Anna Stewart a prodigious union activist who achieved remarkable advances for women at a time when women’s activism in unions was more difficult. After Anna’s tragically premature death at the age of 35 her unionist friends determined that the development of a program for women unionists was an appropriate way to honour her memory. For more information about Anna and the program please take the following link to the VTHC website.
The ASU is now looking for women interested in participating in the program from the 10 – 21 of October, please email Jane Karslake to express interest.
Sister 2 Sister Mentoring Project
Sister 2 Sister is an ASU program designed to support the development of women delegates by developing mentoring partnerships. The program was trialled in 2010 and is currently being reviewed. We are hoping to run another Sister 2 Sister program in the third quarter of 2011. If you are an ASU delegate or would like to be and feel that you would benefit from a helpful woman to turn to every now and again or alternatively if you are an experienced delegate and feel that you have something to offer others then this program could be for you please contact Jane Karslake for more information.
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