2014 Women's Conference Informs and Inspires


Margaret Gummow, Tabatha Kellett & Katherine Bell attended the 2014 AEU Federal Women's Conference in Melbourne. Tabatha reports back.

The 2014 federal women's conference in Melbourne was an amazing opportunity to listen to some incredibly intelligent, passionate and inspirational leaders in Australian education.

The two days covered a number of significant issues relating to women.

Domestic violence number one cause of premature death in women under 45

I was particularly interested to listen to Robyn Dale from the UNSW Gendered Violence Research Network give her report on the latest statistics and ideas on how to avoid domestic and family violence in our society. The statistics are alarming; domestic violence is the number one cause of ill health and premature death in young women under 45. One in three women will report being a victim of violence and one in five a victim of sexual violence. With an average of one woman dying each week due to male violence against women, the financial cost to the Australian economy is estimated to be more than $13 billion.

Domestic violence leave

An important landmark in the ACT is that AEU ACT and the CPSU have been successful in securing Domestic Violence Leave across the ACT Public Service. Domestic Violence Leave is an entitlement to up to 20 days leave on top of other forms of leave. It covers things like counselling appointments and legal proceedings for people suffering domestic or family violence. Domestic Leave is in the new School Assistants and CIT Agreements already and even though the Teachers Agreement is still being negotiated, ETD have agreed to make it available as of now.

NSW Rape Crisis Centre

Educators in the ACT have access to psychologists through our Employee Assistance Program (tel: (02) 6124 2800). Another contact that’s worth promoting is 1800 RESPECT. This is the call line for anyone in a rape or domestic violence situation. The NSW Rape Crisis Centre are promoting a campaign to have stickers on the back of every ‘dunny’ door.  The stickers are free and a great way to promote this issue and available services. Visit:

Students at Fitzroy leading the way

Prevention is of course the better option. I was inspired by the work at Fitzroy High School Feminist Collective. A group of students and teachers are designing free resources to use in schools. They started by asking backers to donate $3000 and already have $12,350! I’ll certainly be watching their progress with interest. Get involved at

Margaret, Katherine and I look forward to presenting more information from the conference in the next ACT Educator.

Tabatha Kellett
Dickson College Sub-branch

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