This year the PSA’s Annual Women’s Conference was held at PSA House on 13 and 14 September.
The theme was Connecting the Generations, which proved very popular, attracting around 110 PSA women members to the conference and dinner.
This year’s theme focused on the relevance of unions to women workers at the different stages of their lives and careers.
As with previous years, the conference featured a number of impressive and accomplished women speakers.
Eva Cox, AO, is a writer, feminist, sociologist, social commentator and activist who has long advocated for a more civil society. She spoke at conference for the third consecutive year due to requests from members wishing to hear her speak again. This year, Eva spoke about cross-generational collaborations for making societies more civil.
Marian Baird, Professor of Gender and Employment Relations at the University of Sydney spoke about ‘flexibility across the life-course’. Her talk focused on women’s career paths, how these differ from the standard male career path, due to career breaks for caring commitments and how this affects career progress and superannuation. Marian is an advocate for more flexible working arrangements that recognise women’s unpaid contributions to society and the economy.
Ged Kearney, President of the ACTU gave the closing address. Ged is always a popular speaker and has talked at many PSA Women’s Conferences. This year she spoke broadly about a wide range of issues that are important to women members, including the threat of privatisation and the need for high quality public services.
The panel discussion with women unionists of different ages gave women members attending the conference an opportunity get involved by asking questions and making suggestions. The focus was on unionism across the generations and activating women members of all ages. Many interesting issues were explored by the large group, including the changing nature of the modern workforce (increased casualisation, privatisation, insecure employment) and how unions can adapt.
There were also conference workshops for attendees to choose from, including superannuation, flexible work and stress management. All workshops were equally well attended.
The final highlight of the conference was the dinner, kindly sponsored by First State Superannuation. The dinner provided an opportunity for delegates to meet PSA staff, network with other women members and enjoy a great meal at the York Restaurant. There was also a very informative dinner speech by a representative who specialises in women’s superannuation.
The next Women’s Conference will be in September 2017.
September 8 was Equal Pay Day for 2016.
The national gender pay gap is symbolic of the overall position of women in the workforce. It reflects a range of factors such as pay differences between male- and female-dominated industries and occupations, underrepresentation of women in senior positions, the distribution of unpaid caring responsibilities, as well as discrimination and bias.
Some interesting facts about women’s pay in Australia include: