National Council of Women of Victoria

News and Calendar of Events

Calendar of Events

Latest News

Health Week - Wednesday 6 September from 12 until 2pm at the Melbourne Town Hall Yarra Room

Ronniet Milliken welcomed Councillor Dr Olivia Ball - City of Melbourne representing NCWV’s Patron, the Hon Lord Mayor Sally Capp AO. Cr Ball is portfolio lead for Health, Wellbeing & Belonging and deputy portfolio lead for Aboriginal Melbourne and Deputy Chair of Council’s Disability Advisory Committee.

As a psychologist, Olivia has an understanding of health issues. She outlined what the City of Melbourne is doing: At local government level, we don’t run hospitals. Most local governments are getting out of aged care. The only direct healthcare we provide are vaccinations and maternal & child healthcare where a healthy life starts. Local government also has an important role in building community and other social determinants of health – like connection to nature, access to public pools, recreation facilities, affordable housing and healthy eating.

The state of your health is correlated to distance from the nearest park or nature reserve, and the distance to your nearest fast-food outlet. Health is both physical and mental. Local government has an active role in addressing isolation and loneliness providing community facilities and supporting community activities and efforts to create community. For example:

Provide free menstrual products in council libraries and municipal bathrooms to help address period poverty.

The September 2023 newsletter has more about this event.

Students Take Over Parliament! Let schools know.

Registration: [email protected]
Monday 7 th August, 2023;
9:00am for 9:15am - 12:30pm

The outstanding annual student event My Vote My Voice, conducted by the National Council of Women of Victoria, is again being held in the Legislative Council Chamber of Parliament House Melbourne. Students from government and independent schools, covering the spread of multicultural backgrounds in our Victorian community, will address the topic: What are the barriers to Human Rights in Australia? How can we begin to overcome them.

Students may carry out research, and gain insights from their peers and others to inform their views on the theme. Students are invited to make a group presentation of their findings. Part of their research could include investigating jurisdictions who have, or are in the process of developing, a Human Rights Charter and how appropriate they are. The United Nations and Victoria already have a Human Rights Charter and there are moves to create an Australian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

Please encourage schools in your area to register for this very special event. See July newsletter.

March Council Speakers

In 2022 media reported on the Plan International Australia Survey of 1000 young women in Australia that: Three quarters of young women voting for first time in the federal election do not believe Australian politics is an equal space for women and people of colour - Plan International Australia.

The data is part of Represent Us, a report launched on 9 May 2022 by Plan International Australia, the charity for girls’ equality that laid bare the “white boys club” that is the Canberra bubble and includes powerful recommendations on how we can make Parliament more equal and safe, right now. Interested to hear directly from young people and consider opportunities for NCWV to support same Plan International Australia Team spoke with us ahead of IWD 2023. Susanne Legena, CEO, and members of her team including Youth Activists, presented at our twilight March Council Meeting in person at Ross House and by ZOOM: Thursday 2 March 2023 at 5pm about the Survey of 1000 young women, their concerns and achievements. See March newsletter.

February Council Meeting

February Council Meeting, Speaker: Janet Cribbs, CEO Trades Women’s Australia (TWA), a not-for-profit organisation aiming to increase representation of women in skilled trades. Janet spoke on Pathways to Trade and the Trades Women Community Foundation and how they are achieving cultural change. Please see the February Newsletter for a precise of her speech.

62nd Pioneer Women’s Ceremony – Monday, January 30, 2023

This was held at the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden in the Kings Domain, Melbourne. This once again celebrated Victorian Pioneer Women, conducted annually by the NCWV to acknowledge past and present women pioneers.

As 2022-23 is the 150th Anniversary of Secular and Compulsory Education in Victoria, the focus was on pioneering women teachers. Dr Deborah Towns OAM, co-author of the history of the Secondary Education in Victoria and numerous articles on education and teachers in the Independent, Catholic and Government systems, highlighted the women pioneers in Education and the early schools. She began with First Nations educators, then teachers in kindergarten, catholic, independent and government systems. For details and photos please see the February Newsletter.

September Council Meeting: September 1

The speaker prior to the AGM was Dr Deborah Towns OAM. To celebrate 150 years of Public Education in Victoria, her keynote was ‘A lively history of 150 years of the government’s education system, and its schools, teachers and students in the Victorian community’. Deborah is an award-winning historian and sociologist and shared the Victorian Community History Award with co-author Dr John Andrews for ‘A Secondary Education for All?’ Deborah was the pioneering manager of the Equal Opportunity Unit in the Education Department in the 1980s. She is President of the League of Women Voters Victoria and State Convenor of NCWV’s Standing Committees. Read excerpts from her keynote.

Individual Members General Meeting, August 4

At this meeting, Convenor, Elisabeth Newman reported on the 20/21 year, then vacated the chair for the election:

Convenor-Elisabeth Newman AM; Bookkeeper-Beverley Kannegiesser; Notetaker-Carol Robertson; Deputy Convenor-vacant. Members asked to consider nominating.

This was followed by Ronniet Milliken who spoke about her own story of COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT. Ronniet gave us a background of the many years of her education across Australia, New Zealand and the UK. As the daughter of an army officer – ‘an army brat’ – she spoke of the very strong sense of community in each of the army postings her father held, where the members and wives had support for the issues they experienced. Full story in August newsletter

At the August Council meeting we heard from Viv Nguyen, Chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission. VMC supports and advocates for culturally and linguistically diverse Victorians. As the main link between communities and government, they engage with multicultural and multifaith groups to understand issues they face, then work together to identify and recommend potential solutions to government, policymakers and community organisations to make public services more inclusive and accessible. Ms Nguyen outlined various ways VMC supports groups:

“The results of the 2021 National Census tell us that our state is now home to over 300 different ancestries with 290 languages spoken across the state, making us the most diverse state in Australia, a fact to be proud of.”

My Vote My Voice: The Role of Treaty in achieving Reconciliation, 2022

The National Council of Women of Victoria’s annual student event My Vote My Voice was held in the Legislative Council Chamber, Parliament of Victoria on the morning of Monday 22nd August 2022, 9:15-12:30pm.

This year’s theme was My Vote My Voice: The Role of Treaty in achieving Reconciliation, designed to encourage students to investigate the issues around treaty and reconciliation.

We were delighted that our Keynote speaker was Leanne Miller, Member for North-East Region, proud Dhulanyagen Ulupna of the Yorta Yorta people, Member of the First Peoples’ Assembly Victoria

The event commenced in Queen’s Hall for welcome and photographs. We were welcomed there by Fiona Patten, leader of the Reason Party who has a seat in the Victorian Legislative Council, representing the Northern Metropolitan Region.. Moving into the Legislative Council Chamber Ronniet Milliken, President NCWV acknowledged the people of the Kulin nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet today, and pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. She then welcomed guests, panel members, teachers and students.

Ronniet then continued: “This year NCWV celebrates the 120th anniversary of our foundation in 1902 and achievements since that time. We wonder whether our founders dared to dream that one day our patrons - the Governor of Victoria, and the Lord Mayor of Melbourne - would both be women!

We honour our founders, their successors, and achievements in advocating for the well-being of women, girls and families across Greater Melbourne, Geelong, regional and rural Victoria. On many occasions that advocacy has resulted in legislation enacted in the Victorian Parliament in which we meet today.

We acknowledge the significance of First Nations, migrant, and refugee women leaders to the formation of our culture and Victorian society. While women in Australia were granted the right to vote and stand for federal election in 1902 and in Victoria in 1908, First Nations people and non-European migrants were not granted the right to vote at that time.

For 120 years NCWV has been advocating FOR respect, physical safety, education at all levels, and equal pay for equal work. We advocate AGAINST discrimination on gender, race, or marital status; violence in the home; and harassment in workplaces and public places. While our tenacity is bearing fruit, we recognise there is still work to be done in conjunction with our diverse community, to embed these changes in our culture.”

Ronniet then introduced the keynote speaker: Leanne Miller, Dhulanyagen Ulupna woman of the Yorta Yorta people, Member for North-East Region, and Elected Member of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria.

We then heard speakers from Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar, Bayside P-12 College, Williamstown Campus; Kingswood College; MacRobertson HS; Elwood College; Blackburn HS; Star of the Sea College. All speakers had researched the theme well and spoke confidently, with different perspectives taken by each school. Their presentations were inspiring and passionate.  Schools also brought students as observers, some parents attended and many NCWV members and their guests.

An evaluation sheet was completed by panel members Elida Brereton, Vice-Principal NCWV, Leanne Miller, and Cr Trent McCarthy, Darebin Council.

Details and Award winners in October Newsletter

July Council Meeting: Modern Slavery and Trafficking

The focus of the July Council meeting was Modern Slavery and Trafficking. One speaker was Caroline Gowers, Executive Director of Project Respect, a Victorian based organisation that is a specialised support service for women with experience in the sex industry, including those who have experienced trafficking. They connect to and create community; offer free, confidential, non-judgemental support, amplify the voices of women with diverse lived experiences and build the capacity of workforces to provide appropriate support. The other speaker was Professor Jennifer Burn Director, Anti-Slavery Australia, Professor of Law, University of Technology Sydney. Both women provided us with an academic basis for our advocacy and proposed practical action. Individual members and our network of associates and organisations are invited to hear the call to action – along with NCWV. See the link to a letter guide, the speeches and more in the July Newsletter.

June Council Meeting

Speaker at our June Meeting: Ms Jan Shuard PSM, Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor (FVRIM)
Ms Jan Shuard served as Commissioner for Corrections Victoria for five years, overseeing the state’s adult corrections system. Her outstanding contribution to the public service was acknowledged in 2011 with a Public Service Medal. She has worked on family violence rehabilitation and prevention and the coordination of prisons across the Victorian and Western Australian justice systems. Ms Shuard was appointed as the new FVRIM, taking up her role on 2 October 2019.

After 4 years of progress in implementing family violence reforms, Ms Shuard spoke on some of the themes outlined in the last annual report and since that time and the reviewing process undertaken, including:
What has changed since the Royal Commission into Family Violence?
Implementation reviews
Change to a Monitoring approach and reporting
Opportunities for Continuous improvement.

To read about her presentation, there is an account in the June Newsletter

Also included in the June Newsletter are the talks from the speakers at our May Forum on STEM

61th Australia Day Pioneer Women’s Ceremony, 2022

This once again celebrated Victorian Pioneer Women, conducted annually by the NCWV to acknowledge past and present women pioneers, this year at the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden, Kings Domain in beautiful sunshine. As 2022 is the 120th Anniversary of NCWV, the focus was on pioneer women who established Victorian women’s organisations and who have continued these organisations up until today. Dr Judith Smart AM, co-author of the history of the NCW Australia, Respectable Radicals gave an overview of the history of women’s organisations and the Great Granddaughter of Janet Lady Clarke, Barbary Clarke, also spoke.

Dr Judith Smart AM, co-author of the history of the NCW Australia, ‘Respectable Radicals’ gave an overview of the history of women’s organisations, then a panel of speakers from some of the founding groups of NCWV spoke about their beginnings and where they are today. The Great Granddaughter of our first President, Janet Lady Clarke, Barbary Clarke, also spoke.
>>Read the program

Those who met on 19 March 1902 were:
- the Austral Salon of Music, Literature and the Arts;
- the Melbourne Jewish Women’s Guild;
- the Young Women’s Christian Association – Y.W.C.A; and
- the Woman Christian Temperance Union – WCTU.

Powerful herstories have been included in the April Newsletter courtesy of our brilliant speakers. It was a glorious morning in our Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden, and wonderful to hear from the founding organisations their stories and examples of strong women heroes.

With advocacy for change, it can be rather frustrating when we seem to be repeating ourselves. As you read about early heroes, recharge your passion for advocacy for equality for girls and women of Victoria. NCWV members have provided voluntary and selfless service in support of the women and girls of Victoria for 120 years - instigating many beneficial changes. History of NCWV.

Congratulations to our Editor Pam Hammond for this comprehensive Newsletter for April. Please send the Newsletter or link on to your network and extend our reach.

Dr Deborah Towns OAM introduced Dr Judith Smart AM, and began by recognising 2022 as a significant year not only for NCWV, but for all Australian (white) women who won the right to vote and stand for election in 1902. Victorian women had to wait until 1908 to vote in state elections and stand in 1924. Vida Goldstein, an early NCWV member was one of the suffragists who campaigned tirelessly, then unsuccessfully stood many times as an independent candidate. Judith is an Adjunct Professor at RMIT, an academic who has inspired and supported me and many others. She has many publications and continues to write books and articles. Of importance to us today is that Judith co-authored with Dr Marian Quartly, Respectable Radicals: A History of the National Council of Women of Australia, 1896-2006. NCWV stories are in there too, but Judith has prepared her talk with new material about NCW Victoria and what we have got up to since 1902.

Judith Smart AM highlighted the amazing women and their activism in the past. Thousands of women all over Victoria are working for women in so many areas that we continue to try and improve today. Equal pay for one. Domestic violence; Safety in workplaces; Homelessness; Health; Childcare and more. She brought all this work to the forefront of Victoria’s history. We have so many women to thank from the past.
>> Her speech

Barbary Clarke, Great granddaughter of Janet Lady Clarke Barbary spoke of her ancestor’s women-centred activism. On reading her biography, I was astounded at what her Great grandmother accomplished, including founding with Vida Goldstein and others NCWV, welfare of community and advancement of women, also inspiring others. Barbary spoke of her Grandmother Ivy’s parents, Pattie and Alfred‘s passion for equality of women and men along with her husband Herbert Brookes and Ivy’s activism with NCWV for 50 years. She was on the NCWV Executive from 1912, President in 1938 when she represented Australia at the 50th Anniversary conference of the International Council of Women in Edinburgh. She was NCWA President 1948-1952 and was appointed life vice president. This was a productive time for NCWV,… active on marriage legislation, equal pay and migration policy – and the election of women senators from amongst its own ranks. Collaborating with Elizabeth Couchman in 1944, Ivy brought the Australian Women's National League into Menzies’ new Liberal Party of Australia – but only after equal representation of women and men on all committees was guaranteed. In 1937 Ivy represented Australia at the League of Nations Assembly in Geneva, the only woman in the Australian delegation, later becoming Vice-president of the United Nations Association of Victoria for 18 years. She was also the first Chairwoman of its Status of Women Committee. See rest of her speech in the April Newsletter.

Mannie Kaur Verma, Director YWCA Victoria, spoke as part of the panel representing four of the founding organisations of NCWV who met on 19 March 1902. She spoke with passion about the rich history of YWCA, the Victorian arm founded in Melbourne in 1882 by Sarah Crisp Booth. Mannie emphasised the strong bond between YWCA and NCWV 120 years ago and still there today with the commitment to gender equality unwavering. She stressed that such organisations who have stood the test of time have done so on the shoulders of remarkable women who paved the way. And while across YWCA’s 140-year history many things have changed, the intention to support all women to aim high and live a noble life has not. Indeed, for both organisations, a desire to best serve the women and girls of Victoria and Australia remains. That desire driven by the remarkable women of these organisations has helped reduce the gender pay gap, delivered family law reform and improved support for survivors of domestic, family and sexual violence. These are just a few of the ways the NCWV has also made a significant contribution to making gender equality a reality, which YWCA has been proud to support as an affiliate. However, she emphasised that work is not over. Mannie, as a lawyer who specialises in domestic violence, sees how far too many women and girls struggle to access the support they need, navigate the complex legal system and find the resources they need to rebuild their lives. The fight for gender equality and to ensure all women and girls can live that noble life is not done.

Beverley Kannegiesser, The Austral Salon Melbourne and NCWV Committee member (above), spoke about the rich history of The Austral Salon of Music founded in 1890 by a group of strong and talented women journalists who based the Austral Salon on similar overseas clubs. She explained that the Austral Salon was to be a meeting place for professional women to discuss current issues, be a platform for informative speakers, for dramatic and musical entertainment. The members were heavily involved in the rights of women and social welfare. They encouraged and financially supported young artists, mainly singers and was also a generous philanthropic group. One of the earliest acts was to send Tilly Aston, a blind girl, to university. Tilly became a leader and a wonderful contributor to society. She is remembered by the federal seat of Aston and the three bells memorial located on the way to the Pioneer Women’s Garden. Beverley spoke of Agnes Murphy, one of the founding journalists, a trail blazer as a journalist, author, radical suffragist, political activist, and as a gifted speaker. Newspapers at the time facetiously described her as ‘pen lady in chief to Melbourne society’, and ‘high priestess of the Austral Salon’. At an Austral Salon meeting in 1891, Agnes gave a lecture titled ‘Letters and Letter Writing’, … referencing an affectionate letter from Napoleon to Josephine; a brutal one from Lord Byron to Lady Caroline Lamb, and an amusing letter by an Irish leader in the rebellion of 1798. In the discussion that followed, it was suggested that telegrams had killed private letter writing, what would they have thought of our present-day emails or worse our tweets. See rest of Beverley’s talk in the April Newsletter.

Jan Shattock, Executive member of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union of Victoria (WCTU), spoke about the purpose of the WCTU from its origin in 1897, set out in its motto – “For God, Home and Humanity”. This was updated in the 1990s to “To promote a Drug-Free Lifestyle and Christian Values in the Home and Community.” Throughout its long history, WCTU has worked and written letters to Members of Parliament and other relevant authorities about issues with which it is concerned, particularly regarding alcohol policy, moral issues and the welfare of women and children, especially regarding family violence. Submissions have been made to ANZFA and others regarding the need for warning labels on alcoholic drinks concerning the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant. A highlight at this time was the hosting of the WCTU World Convention in 1995 held at the Townhouse Hotel. Jan spoke enthusiastically about the Drug Education in Schools, developed in the 1970s and 80s. … By 2010, there were two … with about 1000 Grades 5/6 and Years 7/8 students annually in State and Christian Schools (country and city) receiving greatly appreciated presentations …

“Take note, babies and booze don’t mix. No alcohol is the best fix.” Thousands of these sticky note pads were distributed to doctors, Infant Welfare Centres, and anywhere else members went. In 2018 and 2018 advertisements about FASD on buses, …with a no alcohol symbol and message, “For baby’s sake THINK – DON’T DRINK especially if pregnant or hoping to be pregnant.” See rest of Jan’s talk in the April Newsletter.

NCWV End of Year Festive Luncheon, 25th November, 2019

No one in the room could fail to be moved by the words of our speaker Selba Gondonza Luka. Her organisation, Afri-Aus Care is such a boon to her community, contending with the many problems, particularly of young people, encountered when beginning life in a new country. Malawian-born, Selba Gondoza Luka is a Mental Health Clinician specialising in at-risk Youth within the African and CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) communities. Selba, inspired by her own experiences of domestic abuse and the long process of repairing a fractured relationship with her daughter, came out of the darkness and founded Afri-Aus Care in 2015. The incorporated community organisation is located in Dandenong, Springvale and Pakenham offering biopsychosocial and well-being risk assessment and counselling. Their volunteers are qualified case workers, social workers and psychologists, along with representatives from CALD communities who are able to engage with their clients in a culturally appropriate way. Passionate about breaking the Youth-Prison cycle for many, and closing the gap of Inter-generational Conflict, Selba has been a pivotal foundation for many troubled and fractured families to stabilize on as they take major steps along the path of recovery. Her experience in understanding Youth needs, led to her turning to sport as a Primary Intervention tool and in 2016, along with Jamy Alex, founded the Men’s and Women’s Black Rhinos Peregrine Falcons Basketball and Soccer Clubs. Since their creation the Clubs have worked both inside and outside of prisons to help many more Youth repair the impact of their missteps. This has ensured they forge stronger, positive relationships with their families, broader communities, government and private organisations. Afri-AusCare also offers cooking, gardening, sewing, drug and alcohol diversion programs and education support, also referrals to specific health organisations. NCWV donated $500 to this charity at the end of lunch.

Selba was awarded the Phonse Tobin Award and Meritorious Service to the Community (Voluntary Work) by Victorian Multicultural Commission and shortlisted as one of the 50 Most inspiring African Australians in 2019. Well deserved!

We also had the pleasure of two flautists from Westall Sec College, Emily and Mai, playing carols as people arrived, then ‘In an English Country Garden’ between Entrée and Main course. Absolutely delightful.

The Annual ‘My Vote My Voice’ Student Event, August 2019

The ‘My Vote My Voice’ 2019 event was held in the Legislative Council Chamber, Parliament of Victoria, on 19 August. This year’s theme was: Male and Female Youth as Future Voters, drawing on NCWV’s partnership with Australian Local Government Women’s Association, the Victorian Electoral Commission and the League of Women Voters’ Bessie Rischbieth Trust. Students were invited to make group presentations on this theme to an audience of students, community members, Parliamentarians and a panel of eminent people.

The event commenced in Queen’s Hall for welcome and photographs. We were welcomed by the Hon Gabrielle Williams, Minister for Women, Youth and Prevention of Domestic Violence. The Keynote speaker was Ms Amy Carpenter, Education Coordinator, Victorian Electoral Commission. She stated how annoyed she gets when hearing people say that young people are apathetic and not interested in what is going on beyond their world. There is passionate action occurring all around, but attitudes towards political processes is reducing.

We then had speakers from Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar, Melbourne Girls’ College; Oberon HS; Al Siraat College; Fintona Girls’ School; Nth Geelong Sec College; Kingswood College; Westall Sec College; Genazzano College; Coburg HS and University HS. All speakers had researched peer attitudes and spoke confidently on the topic, with different perspectives taken by each school. There were personal anecdotes, passion and humour in the presentations. One common element was that there needs to be more ‘Civics and Citizenship’ content in the core curriculum. Schools also brought students as observers and some parents attended, as well as some Parliamentarians and many NCWV members and their guests.

An evaluation sheet was completed by panel members (and others). Panel members were Cr Coral Ross OAM, Mayor Boroondara and President of MAV; Cr Sandra Wilson, past Mayor of Hobsons Bay; Cr Trent McCarthy, Darebin Council, with Dr Deborah Towns OAM chairing. In addition to this feedback, we have audio of the event provided by the Hansard staff at the Parliament. The following schools have received awards:

To read the full report, click here.

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NCWV May Forum: Safe Streets for Women & Girls

Held on: 2 May 2019, 10:00-11:30am
ICW-CIF theme: Social protection for all women and girls: Sustainable development for the world This Forum conforms with SDG 11 “… make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.

The focus of the May Forum was on what makes a Safe City/Safe Streets. This includes wide streets, pedestrian malls, good visibility, good lighting and clear signage. Everything that is considered to be good planning. The Forum was very well received with positive feed-back, evaluation forms indicated the subject was interesting and topical. An outcome from the Forum for NCWV to pursue, would be the safety of bicycle trailers for children, raised in a question by Janice Latham. There is opportunity for us to monitor the movement and safety of pedestrians and cyclist in the City, also the city lighting to give feed back to the Town Hall. Members could note issues in their area for feedback to local Council.

Martin and Phuong, VicRoads presenters for Safe System Road Infrastructure Program (SSRIP), part of Regional Roads Victoria (RRV), outlined the improvements to accessibility and safety for pedestrians and cyclists being delivered through the SSRIP – Pedestrian Area program, Safer Cycling program and Safe Travel in Local Streets program.

On average there are 40 pedestrian deaths per year and over 500 serious injuries, almost half of which are female. Pedestrians aged 65 and over represent almost one third of the total, with females being just over 50%. This is far too high – we would like it to be zero, but there is a lot of work to do. To help promote active transport (i.e. walking and cycling), RRV encourages councils to:

SSRIP developed a hot spot map to target areas with highest densities of fatal and serious injury (FSI) crashes, then contacted those councils to get as many involved as possible. There is a budget of $31 million over 31 councils for this program, including development and evaluation to be completed by 2020. Councils were offered access to funding for development, so that they could engage consultants to develop projects without budget risk.

These include Bayside roundabout crossings, Wombat crossings, Countdown timers, strategic cycling corridors, Protected intersections which provide a safer passage by enabling cyclists to hook turn, let cyclists do left turns more easily, and make it easier for drivers to see cyclists. There is also a Blind Spot Mirror Trial to help cyclists and drivers see each other better and reduce risk of trucks turning into cyclist.

Transport Accident Commission – TAC has made grants available to councils to help them provide better facilities for walking and cycling. VicRoads has grants for local community groups to promote road safety in local areas.

Hoa Yang, ARUP Design Consultant, outlined the findings from a research collaboration between Monash University’s XYX Lab and ARUP. Over the past year, they have analysed lighting measurements across 80 different sites in the City of Melbourne to find practical measures around how we can use lights to make our city feel safer at night time. This project uses a human-centred design approach to generate a framework to understand what lighting qualities give a perception of safety. The research data collected are the beginning of a knowledge bank that gives designers a better understanding of how light impacts urban experiences in Melbourne.

The rate of development in lighting technology in the past decade allows lighting design to be cost effectively customisable and tailored to the individual experience. The amount of design decisions that can be made due to these advances, position lighting as a key enabler of smart design.

New and retro-fitted lighting opportunities are happening all around the world, presenting an opportunity for city design to use light to curate positive experiences.

The current Australian lighting standards for pedestrians are based on pre-LED technology and are in need of a re-think. The standards revolve around the amount of light falling on a surface, and do not consider the perception of brightness and experience of the larger urban context by its users. The tendency in designing for public spaces to choose a worst-case scenario by stakeholders to de-risk, too often resulting in a poor lit outcome. This design approach often leads to over lighting spaces resulting in negative experiences of the space due to glare, also contributing to light pollution and excess energy consumption. Safe perceptions of spaces correlate generally with a higher level of colour rendering, suggesting that distinguishing shapes and colours more accurately makes people perceive spaces as safer. This validates current design principles where people feel more comfortable in warm coloured light. The research has created the largest sample of night time analysis known to the researchers globally.

The findings from the measurements have allowed definition of a baseline for the lighting qualities that contribute to a safe perception of space in Melbourne for young women and girls. Contact: [email protected]

Nancy Pierorazio, Senior Policy Officer City Safety, Social Investment branch, City of Melbourne: Designing in safety for women, outlined City of Melbourne’s commitment to preventing violence against women, promoting women’s safety and advancing gender equality in the municipality and workplace. City of Melbourne projects include: “Women in the life of the city”, a partnership with Victorian Women’s Trust to develop a list of notable women to address the gender bias in street names. Since the introduction of this list, three new streets/lanes have been named: Warrior Woman Lane (Lisa Bellear), Hoff Boulevard (Dr Ursula Hoff), Bale Circuit (Alice Marian Ellen Bale).

“Girls Walk, Melbourne CBD”, Working with Plan International to pilot their Free to Be campaign in Melbourne: Hosted Girls walk of Melbourne CBD; Free to be digital mapping tool; Design thinking workshop (led by XYX Lab).

“Women’s Right to Walk Freely” Partnership with Victoria Police, Victoria Point Owners Corporation and Plan International to better understand safety issues and needs of women and girls who live, work and visit the Stadium Precinct and Docklands. Project involved: Day and night safety audit of precinct; Girls walk: Plan youth activists and local female residents took decision makers on a walk to share experiences; Safety audit report and recommendations provided to Victoria Point Owners Corporation and Development Victoria.

“Safe Nights Out for Women (SNOW)” Pilot of a gender and safety audit tool in five licensed venues to help identify design elements and management practices that may facilitate sexual harassment in and around licensed venues. “Equality (Art) Works” Commissioned female artists to deliver public art work by and for women:

“Guide to reporting sexist advertising” Helps people navigate process for formal complaints; provides links to online advocacy tools; encourages community to play an active role in challenging culture of violence against women.

Projects underway:

Q&A Session raised the following issues, responses included:

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The May Forum, “Families: Support for Children”, held on May 3rd 2018, was well attended by NCWV members. This was chaired by May Hu JP OAM, Coordinator NCWV Standing Committee, and moderated by Elida Brereton, Executive NCWV and Board member of the Hornbrook Academy. Anne McLeish OAM, CEO Grandparents/Kindship Carers Victoria spoke on ‘Family Rights’ saying it’s important that grandparents have their voices heard and that in Victoria there is insufficient representation for children. Dr Allison Cox, Berry St Director of Take 2 Program, which provides therapeutic services for traumatised children to achieve physical and emotional safety for them via work on attachment. In 2015/16 in Aus. there were 13,000 children in out of home care. Liana Buchanan, Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People spoke on ‘Human Rights in the home: Children’s rights to safety, care and protection’. She has an oversight to children’s services, including enquiries about individual children and systemic issues. There is a huge underestimation of danger to children in family violence. Anne recommended a statewide symposium, with relevant politicians and organisations included to come up with positive recommendations. This will be linked to other NCWV Respect projects such as Troubled Youth.

Full report by Terri Dry click here

Anne McLeish OAM, Dr Allison Cox, Liana Buchanan

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Strategic planning advice obtained by NCWV from Deakin University and the pink paper exercise from early 2013 confirmed the urgent need for National Council of Women of Victoria to bridge the generation gap by embracing the new social media and to find ways of involving younger women in its work.

In order to create a framework to engage younger women, we looked for an opportunity to have some young women to take on a task that could be successfully accomplished within a given time frame.

The idea is to get the under 30s to facilitate the involvement of the secondary students in the NCWV project ‘My Vote, My Voice’ linked to the Victorian Electoral Commission Passport to Democracy program.

We have been trying to involve younger women through one or another of our affiliate or partner organisations working under the supervision of an experienced NCWV member.

Thanks to some great work by the younger women with whom we already have contact, we now have a social media set up for YoungNCWVIC. This will help their work with us on projects like the My Vote, My Voice students event at the Parliament of Victoria each year.

The Gmail address is young[email protected] and a blog has been created at the youngncwvic Wordpress page linked with with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Hootsuite links. Tumblr is a way of enabling students to post photographs of themselves working on the presentations they will bring to the Parliament if they choose to speak at our annual event and thus helps build momentum for engagement in the project, as well as act as a base set of information about the progress of the project.

For more information on this year's My Vote, My Voice event click here

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Instilling Respect For Women Starts From The Ground Up!

Women have rights and responsibilities.
All women are deserving of respect.

The NCWV has produced this brochure to raise awareness among affiliates, organisations and individuals about women’s rights and responsibilities. Please feel free to print the brochure and use it as a starting point for raising awareness and discussion in your organisation or with others who may find it useful.

>> Click here to download the brochure.

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