What happens if we place women at the centre of our policy thinking and processes? Most policies are considered gender-neutral, yet policy impacts differentially upon women. This Forum brings together policy makers, advocates, practitioners and researchers from multiple sectors to cast a gender lens over policy design and implementation.

Women's Policy Forum

2017 Theme

This theme has been selected in response the experiences of women facing poverty and disadvantage due primarily to the lack of acknowledgement of ‘women’s work’ in policy formation and the continuing dominance of economic analysis as the basis for policy, including social policy. It will cover three main topics across different disciplines.


9.00 - 9.30                                           Registrations, plus tea, coffee and networking
9.30 - 9.45  Acknowledgment of country and welcome
 Dimity Fifer, CEO, Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand
9.45 - 10.15   Keynote speaker: Celeste Liddle, Indigenous Feminist and Trade Unionist
 "Gendered segregated work and women's rights"
10.15 - 11.15  Panel One: Women's economic rights
  • Celeste Liddle
    Trade Unionist, Arrernte woman, Feminist writer/activist Juanita McLaren, Master student, Single Parent of three boys, currently participating in Welfare to Work program
  • Keryn Curtis
    Adviser, Policy & Advocacy - Ageing, Benevolent Society
  • Juanita McLaren
    Master student, Single Parent of three boys, currently participating in Welfare to Work program
  • Facilitated by: Dr Kay Cook
    Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Swinburne University of Technology
 Panelists will discuss:
  • How does economic policy affect our concept of participation and what is valued? What does this mean for women?
  • What barriers do marginalized groups and individuals face in participating in our market economy, both as consumers and as employees?
  • What are the implications of individualised approaches to social policy?
11.15 - 11.30   Morning tea
11.30 - 12.00  Keynote: Annie Pettitt, General Manager, Advocacy and Strategic Partnerships,  Good  Shepherd Australia New Zealand
 "Adopting a human rights lens"  
12.00 - 12.45 Conversation: Housing as a commodity
  • Jody Letts
    Program participant, Peer Education and Support Program, Council to Homeless Persons
  • Erika Martino
    Research Officer (Built Environment), PhD Candidate, Melbourne University (Urban Planning)
  • Facilitated by: Tanya Corrie
    Head of Women's Research, Advocacy and Policy Centre, Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand
 Conversationalists will discuss: 
  • What are the tensions between housing as a commodity and as a human right, and what would a human rights lens look like in this context?
  • How does the rise and rise of housing costs effect women specifically, including older women and single mother families?
  • What are the gaps in housing policy and how does this impact on women recovering from family violence, single parent families, migrant women and older women?
12.45 - 1.15  Lunch
1.15 - 2.15   Panel Two:  A gendered view on work, care and health
  • Dr Adele Murdolo
    Executive Director, Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health
  • Jo Pallant
    Mind Australia and Family Carer
  • John Bottomley
    Transforming Work
  • Facilitated by: Dr. Sarah Pollock
    Executive Director Research and Advocacy, Mind Australia
 Panelists will discuss:
  • How does the gender pay gap literally make women sick, physically and mentally?
  • What are the impacts of care and overwork on mental health and wellbeing?
  • Are there other ways can we frame work and care that enables better outcomes for the community?
2.15 - 3.00  Conversation: Mobilising for social change
  • Shen Narayanasamy
    Human Rights Director, Get Up!
  • Julie Edwards
    CEO, Jesuit Social Services
 Speakers will discuss: 
  • How can advocates work together to achieve social change?
  • What are some examples of campaigns and policy advocacy that have achieved cut-through?
  • How could we position ourselves in this context?
3.00 - 3.15  Afternoon tea
3.15 - 3.45   Workshop: How can we move forward for change?

 Delegates will join in groups to discuss: 
  • Based on the issues raised today, what are the key advocacy areas that need urgent attention?
  • What are the ways in which we can mobilise to effect changes in this area?
  • What is already happening?
  • What can we commit to?
3.45 - 4.15  Discussion: Applying a gendered lens to philanthropy 
 Julie Reilly, CEO, Australian  Women Donors Network
4.15 - 4.30  Closing remarks and commitment to next steps 
 Annie Pettitt, General Manager, Advocacy and Strategic Partnerships, Good Shepherd  Australia New Zealand

   Eventbrite - Women's Policy Forum: Gender, economic participation and women's rights