Everyone can be an active member

Kerri Carr

Women's Coordinator Leeanda Smith

“How often have we heard a colleague say they are drowning under the workload or someone is treating them badly but, when encouraged to speak up, say ‘I can’t, there will be repercussions’ or ‘I can’t, bad things will happen’?” Federation’s Women’s Coordinator Leeanda Smith asked at Women’s Conference in August.

“As women who are active in our union we need to continue to assist each other to access the strong Federation network of support — the Organisers, associations, the Trade Union Training program, conferences and seminars — all there to help women colleagues develop their confidence to speak up when things aren’t right and to demystify the perceived ‘consequences’ of taking action.”

The more engaged and active our colleagues are, the stronger our union will be, she told the audience. The conference, open to all women members, was designed to develop participants’ skills to support their colleagues and encourage them to actively participate in the union’s campaigns.

“Not everybody can or wants to take on a leadership role, but everybody can be a member of their union and everyone can be an active member of their union,” Ms Smith told the Conference.

“The more active members we have the stronger our union is. We know that education is a predominantly female profession … so ensuring all women develop the skills and confidence to speak up, to deal with issues in their workplaces and therefore engage in our campaigns is crucial.”

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