Welcome to ACLW’s 2018 Leading Issues Journal.
With drought being a significant worsening hardship in rural Australia this year, in August 2018, ACLW invited rural women to share their experiences of what they were living through and how they were coping with it. I acknowledge the women who wanted to take up this call, but were unable to, given the ongoing challenges facing them.
I am honoured to feature Carly Marriott’s writing that reflects on her own experiences and that of other rural women. It echoes their tenacity and courage in such dire record dry conditions. Carly manages Brooks Farms in Barooga NSW, a border town in the Riverina region of New South Wales.
From 12 to 23 March 2018, the sixty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. The main theme of CSW62 was: Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls. Dr Patricia Hamilton was a member of the official Australian Government delegation to the 2018 UN CSW62 and I am delighted to feature her reflections of what she experienced and the significant outcomes she witnessed.
The narratives around asylum seekers tend to characterise them as a homogenous group and as there is virtually nil reference to refugee LBGTIQ women, there is little advocacy for how to support this minority. Tina Dixson and Renee Dixson are to be commended for establishing The Queer Sisterhood Project. They founded it to champion queer refugee women and to provide them with a space of safety, community and belonging. Their article talks about how the idea began and the significant impact it is making for LBGTIQ refugee women.
With the Royal Commission continuing to highlight incredulous failures in Australia’s Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, questions continue to abound as to how this happened and can public trust ever be restored in the industry. I am pleased to feature Cris Parker’s article as it shines a beacon of light on a way forward. As Director of The Banking and Finance Oath, Cris discusses how The Oath is striving to build trust and confidence in the industry. Facilitated by The Ethics Centre, this industry-led initiative is attracting much support from industry leaders interested in discussing the morals and ethics of the industry and how trust and confidence can be restored.
Special Edition. 2018 International Women’s Day
In light of the outpouring of sexual harassment allegations in Australia and abroad in 2017, three students from the Illawarra in NSW who were awarded for their essays in ACLW’s 2017 IWD Essay Competition were invited in January 2018 to share their thoughts and reactions to the outpouring. This special edition features their essays for this Journal and historically records their significant insights in their understanding of the watershed ‘silence-breaking’ voices and moments of 2017, the emergent global movements and their own course of advocacy and action.
This Special Edition celebrating International Women’s Day features essays by:
Caterina Loss is a loud and proud teen feminist from the Illawarra. She firmly believes in intersectional change for the better, and tries to live her life by the principles of equality and justice. Last year she had the honour of winning the ACLW’s Illawarra International Women’s Day essay competition, and ever since her love for activism has increased. After immigrating to Australia when she was 10 years old, she has discovered many new opportunities and inspirations, each of which she is very grateful for. Caterina is currently the secretary of her school and aims to increase her involvement within the community and the outside world.
Amar Sultan is an 18 year old high school graduate from Wollongong entering her first year of a Bachelor of Laws and International Studies at the University of Wollongong in 2018. Growing up, she was surrounded by a family who greatly supported her education and growth in the academic and cultural aspects of life. Thus, her interest in global topics of conversation began from an early age as she observed the various studies and professional occupations of her relatives that instilled in her a need to know more about her environment and what she could do for it. In 2017, she took part in ACLW’s essay writing competition for International Women’s day where she won 2nd place. She comments, “This was an extremely valuable experience for me as it was the first time I felt part of such an important cause where I could voice my opinions and be genuinely listened to. Since then, I have made an effort to take as many opportunities that arise in my life, knowing that they will only give me more courage, knowledge and determination.” Amar aspires to utilise her knowledge of languages such as Arabic and French, and the skills from her law degree, to work with international organisations such as the United Nations and Amnesty International. Whilst she is aware that her next five years at University will come with their own challenges, she is excited to learn, meet new people and carve the pathway toward her future.
Rebecca Ryan-Brown is 17 years old. Rebecca would like to study a Bachelor of Arts/Law in Deakin University when she completes her HSC. Rebecca comments: “I would like to think my most notable features are my good looks, charm and charisma but in reality I am would like to be known for my strong beliefs and standing up for what I believe in. Some might describe me as opinionated, I prefer passionate. The topics I discuss need to be addressed and once I finish high school I wish to do this myself. I hope to complete a degree in Arts/Law so I can fulfill my love of creative writing and history whilst entering the legal profession. I strive towards this career so I am able to make a difference in the lives of others. Within family and international law, the two disciplines that appeal to me most, I believe there are a number of inequalities that must be addressed. Equality for both men and women in a court of law where the custody and care of children is under discussion and as someone raised by a single mother I know how impactful a single parent can be on a child. Human rights are a fundamental issue in the global community where international law is vital in making any kind of positive change. International relations have always fascinated me and I found adopting a worldly perspective allows me to comprehend the goings on of the world around me and I wish to be a part of it. International law and its delegates are a key part of foreign relations between countries and I believe they are a necessity for the progression of our world. The world is going through a number of social changes and I believe it is so important to be amongst it.”