Used with permission @UnionsNSW


This week ASMOF joined 140 Union women to attend Unions NSW conference - Women in Male Dominated Occupations and Industries (WIMDOI). The 2-day conference allowed Union women to come together to share their experiences, trade knowledge and build networks to continue fighting for improvements to working women’s lives.

The agenda was diverse and included a range of speakers from unions across NSW. Participants learnt about the rich history of Union activism which has led to more women entering male dominated occupations and being treated with the dignity and respect that is afforded to their counterparts. Workplace leaders, including ACTU Secretary Sally McManus, shared their successes in activism in male dominated spaces, and inspired attendees to back themselves and each other.

Ongoing challenges experienced by women were identified, including inadequate superannuation upon retirement, ensuring women can maintain their employment when taking on motherhood and other caring responsibilities, and ensuring that women experiencing domestic violence are supported, not shunned, in their workplace.

Industrial Officer Juliette Rex spoke to the audience about ASMOF and its role in supporting doctors in the workplace, raising some of the common difficulties that members face such as onerous hours, fatigue, difficulties in balancing motherhood with a medical career, and bullying and harassment. Juliette raised the importance of addressing what may typically be seen as ‘women’s issues’ for the benefit of all employees, eg. by pushing for primary carer leave. Juliette also spoke about the importance of Unions getting issues such as childcare onto the bargaining table and building women’s leadership capacity.

The #metoo movement was also discussed, and legislative changes needed to better address sexual harassment in Australian workplaces were proposed. This will be an ongoing discussion as ASMOF prepares it’s submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s investigation into sexual harassment in the workplace.

ASMOF attendees at WIMDOI included (l-r) Dr Sandy Jusuf, Juliette Rex, Dr Tahmina Lata & Carolina Simpson

Dr Jusuf, Juliette Rex, Dr Lata and Carolina Simpson