by Sue Stocklmayer
On behalf of WISENET, I participated in a recent forum convened by the Office of the Status of Women and chaired by Senator the Hon. Jocelyn Newman.
The purpose of the Round Table was to bring together some 50 delegates of diverse national women’s non-government organisations to discuss common issues of concern.
The two-day forum dealt with specific issues which had been identified by a survey beforehand. These included "identifying the ingredients of a family-friendly workplace", progress from the National Domestic Violence Summit, and the problem of domestic violence and indigenous women. "Women and Reconciliation" was a major theme of the first afternoon.
Guests at the Round Table included the relevant Government ministers concerned with many of the issues, and forum participants had the opportunity to raise matters directly with them. During the Forum, a small delegation met with the Prime Minister.
The second day of the Forum included workshops on effective lobbying and communication of "the message", a session called "Towards economic security for older women", and the presentation of a paper by Dr Clare Burton entitled "Building bridges between the community and the corporate sector".
As you can see, the topics of the Forum were general ones relating to domestic and workplace conditions for all women. The interests of WISENET were included in these, but there was no place in which to raise specific concerns of particular organisations which lay outside the major issues. This was a deliberate decision on the part of the organisers to keep the Forum tightly focused and promote outcomes.
Having the attention of relevant ministers for whole sessions proved a successful strategy for lobbyists, although there could be no guarantees of action. The following points which were stressed at the forum may, however, be of interest to WISENET members:
If you would like more information on aspects of the Forum, please contact me on fax 02 6249 4950 or phone 02 6279 8157.
Sue Stocklmayer is Lecturer at the Centre for Public Awareness of Science, Faculty of Science, Australian National University.