BPW Melbourne Past Events

A selection of our recent events in 2021...



Vision for Victoria - Guest Speaker: Victoria's Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner, Dr Niki Vincent

In October, BPW Melbourne presented members and guests the opportunity to hear from Victoria's first gender equality commissioner about work to improve women's workplace conditions in the public sector. Dr Vincent is leading the push for gender equality in government organisations by investigating the current state of play and developing strategies to create a fairer workplace for all.

With lockdown persisting in Melbourne, this was part of our FREE online events series that our Club has been running through the pandemic to ensure members and women in the community can continue to connect on important issues and to hear from the women who are leading the global push towards gender equality and equal pay.

Thank you to BPW Victorian State Representative and past BPW Swan Hill President Anne Daniel for moderating our Q&A session.

BPW Australia, National Governance Summit 2021

What a year it's been for us all. A strong contingent of BPW Melbourne members turned out on Sunday, October 17 for the annual BPW Australia AGM and Governance Summit. This followed the cancellation of the National Conference in 2020, due to COVID closures.

With a complementary in-person summit scheduled for April 2022 - in the hope that borders will have reopened - the AGM and Conference allowed our organisation to check off on the business of the national body. It was another opportunity for members to develop meeting skills and observe official voting processes for Resolutions that will guide BPW's policy direction in the future. Our President Emma Manser as well as members Leah Sawell and Tori Foster took up the roles of voting delegates to contribute on behalf of the BPW Melbourne membership.

Equal Pay Day 2021 - Guest speaker: Director of Australia's Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Hon. Mary Wooldridge

"What's Your Pay Gap?" is the question BPW members have been investigating to mark Equal Pay Day in 2021. EPD is a key event on the calendar of BPW Clubs across the nation - a campaign we've been deeply connected with over the years that shines a spotlight on the persisting gender pay gap.

The gender pay gap has increased this year to 14.2% The WGEA has been a driving force behind the push for equal pay, working closely with Clubs like BPW to encourage reporting, education and public debate to improving gender equality in Australian workplaces.

Mary Wooldrige presented WGEA's latest findings to BPW Melbourne members and guests, followed by a challenging and inspiring Q&A session where attendees had the opportunity to delve further into our own areas of interest with Mary.

Thank you to BPW Australia President Jacqueline Graham for moderating the Q&A session.

Want to know how your industry has fared in terms of gender pay and what you can do to be part of the change? Visit www.wgea.com.au to see how your organisation fares and to access resources as we chart the way forward to positive progress for women in Melbourne and across the nation.

International Women's Day 2021 - Guest speaker: Sheila Byard OAM

BPW Melbourne marks International Women's Day every year with different events to celebrate women's contribution to our communities or specialised events to build our member's professional development.

In 2021, we hosted Sheila Byard OAM. Sheila is a leader in the development, advocacy and implementation of women's policy, having been active in the internaitonal humanitarian and human rights space for decades and worked across the university sector. Her work for women was recognised in 2016 when she was awarded an Order of Australia Medal on the 2016 Queen's Birthday Honours List.

In recent years, Sheila has focused on advocacy relating to the implementation of UN conventions and protocols in Australia, particularly the Convention of the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women, and matters such as trafficking and forced marriage.

As with other online events this year and in line with BPW Melbourne's focus on offering unique opportunities for our members to connect through the Melbourne lockdowns, this was offered for FREE.

BPWI International Congress / CSW65

The BPW International virtual general assembly kicked off on March 22, with BPW Australia delegates and observers from BPW Melbourne among those taking part. Eight online sessions over ten days covered off on a wide range of current issues affecting women across the world, including voting on resolutions to set the pathway for BPWI and the election of office bearers for the next term.

In addition, Members were also offered the opportunity to attend the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 65th session that was held in late March. CSW is a global intergovernmental body dedicated to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women across the world. It's activities are supported by UN Women. BPW is an active participant in these annual sessions (more about BPW's involvement here)

The Commission's sessions review progress towards advancing equality and women's rights and makes further recommendations on how to move forward.

You'll find the 2021 agreed conclusions here.

More information on CSW is available at the UN Women website: www.unwomen.org/en/csw/csw65-2021

PLUS some of our other events from previous years...


Knowing what to say...knowing what to do

November 13 — An informal talk over dinner byYouna Kim, General Manager of Innovation and Development, EDVOS. Our acknowledgement of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Learn more about the important work EDVOS does at: www.edvos.org.au 


Journeying the Antarctic: An interview with Rashmi Venkatraman

June 5 — Rashmi Venkatraman recently returned from an expedition with over 75 other women of STEMM, from all over the world, to Antarctica. This was the culmination of a year-long leadership study program. In June, Rashmi came to tell us of her experiences during this 'Homeward Bound' program, and to explain how the expedition had had an impact on her and her colleagues, two of whom came to support her on the night.

Some comments from the attendees:

"My ‘take home’ was how important it is to keep being environmentally conscious even if it sometimes feels like your efforts are insignificant, we have to realise that every little bit counts."

"I was impressed by Rashmi's views on the need to surround oneself with "Critical Friends" and to have constructive conversations, so we can develop personally and professionally. This seems vitally important in the social media age, where we converse in echo chambers and where abuse, rather than respectful debate, is rife." (Caroline)

"Rashmi has such a unique story of learning and success, achieved both independently and with the power of other like-minded women. It was an inspiring night hearing a story I wouldn't have otherwise heard without this opportunity from BPW Melbourne."(Emma)

"My take out was: The power and opportunity to change the world, when a small group of dedicated women get together." (Karen)

 "The message that shot straight through to my heart was ‘Mother Nature needs her daughters’. Such a cry for help." (Denise)

You can learn more about the projects, past and future, here homewardboundprojects.com.au



Women in Politics: Why does it matter?

June —BPW Melbourne presented a special panel discussion on the importance of greater representation of women in politics, and how to address the challenges in achieving this.

Our speakers were (L-R) Federal Labor Member for Hotham Clare O'Neil, City of Monash Mayor Rebecca Paterson, Deputy Leader of the Victorian Nationals Steph Ryan and, University of Melbourne Pathway to Politics Program for Women Academic Director Dr Andrea Carson


Making the Invisible Visible: Recognising the impact and effects of non-physical violence on women's work choices

To mark White Ribbon Day in 2016, we hosted an informative panel discussion with guest speakers:

  • Koraly Dimitriades - author, poet and opinion writer

  • Gaynor Witt - Associate Director of Organisational Development at Swinburne University, and
  • Jacqueline Graham - currently President of BPW Australia
(L-R) MC and Club Secretary Michelle Wareham, Jaqueline Graham, Gaynor Witt, Caroline Bayliss, and Koraly Dimitriadis


Equal Pay Day (September 5)

Equal Pay Day marks the period of extra days in the current year which women need to work to achieve the same wages that men earned during the previous financial year. Equal Pay Day recognises how much longer women have to work to earn the same as men in one year. So for every 12 months that men work, for example, women may have to work approximately an extra 60 odd days. Highlighting this issue and seeking positive progress to close the gap is the foundation of Equal Pay Day.

Read more about Equal Pay Day here

On September 16, BPW Melbourne hosted an event to raise awareness of the relevance of Equal Pay Day, and to actively practice the Women's Empowerment Principles. Executive Committee member Jacqueline Graham convened the evening, and was joined by colleagues Christine Sturgess and Michelle Matthews to lead an interactive panel discussion on "Bridging the Pay Gap".

Some comments from the evening...

"The most informative part of the evening was around ensuring you build your business case from the perspective of the company: what will they gain by investing in you ?"

"I didn't realise how complex the process of determining benefits packages, selecting appropriate candidates, and negotiating a salary can be before this evening."

"The best part of the evening was the interaction after the forum, because the conversation was so engaging... So inspiring to have so many women wanting to take steps on their own behalf."

"I learnt not to give up, to ask: 'What is it I need to do differently to get a pay rise next time ?'"

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