The theme of Women’s Conference was “Campaigning for Change” and Federation Senior Vice President Joan Lemaire and General Secretary Jenny Diamond provided the training day participants with an overview of current union campaigns. They encouraged the members from Corrective Services NSW and TAFE NSW to have conversations in their work-places about the recent successes Federation has achieved.
Brainstorming took place around why members decide to join the union and how this knowledge could be used to improve recruitment efforts. Barriers to activism in the union, in particular for women, were collected and written onto balloons. The participants then discussed ways to address these issues and “burst” the balloons by providing feasible and inclusive alternative approaches.
Participants suggested alternative recruitment strategies such as regional seminars with professional development components and creative use of technology through introduction of online interviews, video clips and frequent quirky post schools web stories. Creating designated union noticeboards in tea rooms and ending every email with a signature that gives a reason to join Federation were simple but effective actions that participants committed to undertake.
Bronwyn Croghan, Women’s Officer at the State School Teachers’ Union of Western Australia, delivered an interactive session on assertiveness. Participants learned that it’s okay to say “no” and received some tools to assist. They were also encouraged to recall women of influence in their lives and describe their characteristics. Excellent feedback was received for the training day and recognition for to the contributions from Senior Officers. Many fantastic ideas produced by the women who participated will be used to guide future recruitment strategies.