Refugee Education Project for Girls

The Graduate Women of Queensland Sunshine Coast Branch (GWQ SC) lead an ongoing Refugee Education Project at Sunshine Coast enabling young refugee students to participate in a two-week English language course and stay with Australian host families.

GWQ Sunshine Coast Branch won the prestigious Queeensland Access Community Services Cultural Diversity Award at the 2017 Community Achievement Awards. GWQ SC Branch won the award from a strong field of nominees and was one of eight category winners announced on Saturday, 18 November at the Royal on the Park, Brisbane.

GWQ SC Branch has demonstrated leadership in promoting cultural diversity and acceptance with their Refugee Project which commenced in 2004. Two-week intensive English courses, bursaries to assist students with school fees and private group swimming lessons for Islamic female students are also offered. They have raised $3,500 for swimming lessons, $12,000 for bursaries and $1,800 for English dictionaries.

GWQ SC was one of eight category winners. Winners each received $2,500 courtesy of Commonwealth Bank, and a magnificent trophy. The Awards night culminated a tremendously successful year, with over 240 nominations received from across Queensland.

Girls are Still Falling Behind in Numeracy

Action in support of GWI Policy Resolution 2010, No. 2 Research by a Monash University team led by AFGW member Dr Helen Forgasz, shows that girls in Australia are still performing at much lower levels in maths, and the gap is widening as students progress through school.  The project included a survey of community attitudes about studying maths at school. It shows that younger people are more likely than older people to believe that boys are better at maths than girls. Dr Forgasz says that the problem of low female achievement and participation rates in math, science and computer technology has been overlooked by government policy makers and that a government-funded media campaign would help reverse the trend.

Mentoring with momentum

This activity supports GWI Policy Resolution 2010 No. 1

An extremely successful evening was held on 22nd February 2012, by the Brisbane Branch of Graduate Women Qld co-sponsored by Griffith University and The Brisbane Institute. Griffith provided the venue and assisted with the catering, and The Brisbane Institute was able to identify and invite potential mentors.

The response was overwhelming, and we were very sorry to have to turn people away once we’d reached our ideal number of 10 mentors – 5 men and 5 women. We also had a full complement of thirty mentorees.

The evening had been targeted at women from the Business and Commerce areas, although a few others had heard about it through the grapevine and registered anyway. Mentors were all highly successful people in their field, offering expertise ranging from change-management through to marketing and public relations. We are very grateful to these extremely busy people for giving so generously of their time.

Prior to the event, mentorees were provided with a bio of each mentor. On the evening, mentors met mentorees in small groups for 10 minutes per group. Every group was able to meet with 5 mentors. Following this, opportunity was provided for networking over drinks and canapés.

Every effort was made to match mentorees with their preferred mentor. Over the next few months, it is anticipated that mentors will meet with their mentorees on three or four occasions, and organisers will check in with all parties to ensure everything is going smoothly.

Parental Leave Best Practice Guide

Action in support of GWI Policy Resolution 2010, No. 1

On 1 January 2011, Australia introduced its first comprehensive Paid Parental Leave (PPL) Scheme.  The Scheme will pay up to 18 weeks of  PPL payments to eligible primary carers of children born or adopted after 1 January, subject to certain employment and income level criteria.   It is structured in a way intended to enable carers, especially women, to maintain a connection with their workplace and careers.  The Australian Federation of Women Graduates (AFGW) was one of the organizations heavily involved during the last years in advocating for its passage, preparing submissions and appearing at public hearings.

New Guide to Using the Optional Protocol to CEDAW and other international complaint mechanisms

The Australian Human Rights Commission has just published a most useful document about using the Optional Protocol to CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) to try to combat abuse of women’s rights. The guide,  Mechanisms for Advancing Women’s Human Rights, provides lawyers, advocates and women experiencing violations of their rights with an introduction and a practical guide on how to use the Optional Protocol to CEDAW and other alternative protective mechanisms at the international level as a means of seeking redress for alleged violations. This guide is an important educative tool for progressing gender equality and is relevant to all countries. The Guide will also be helpful for increasing understanding within the community of the international complaint mechanisms that are available and the ways they can be used by women to advance their human rights.