LogoWomen's History Month Title

Who Shapes How We See Our History?

Introduction, Ministerial Advisory Council For Women
Gillian Polack
Posted: 26 Feb - 07:06 am  

Discussion Leader

Group: Discussion Leaders
Posts: 44
Member No.: 4
Joined: 21-February 03

from the Chair, Jacqui Pearce

The Council comprises 16 women from the ACT Community all of whom are passionate about women's issues and have differing areas of work and interest. A diversity of women are represented on the Council including indigenous women, women from non-English speaking backgrounds, young women. older women, women with disabilities and women working in a range of different sectors.

The Council's primary role is to provide advice to the Minister for Women Katy Gallagher. Representatives from the Council meet with her regularly. We are able to act autonomously from Government. The Council has taken a lead role in providing input into the development
of many strategies.

The Council has a number of working parties including in the following areas: social, spatial, economic, underlying cultural assumptions, communications/framework and strategic plan for women in the ACT.

In July last year the Council membership changed with about 50 % new members. In early February we had a planning session to set our directions for the next 12 months. In the last 12 months a primary focus of Council has been to educate and influence Treasury to ensure
that the needs of women are addressed in the budget process and effective accountability mechanisms are implemented. We have met with the CEOs of each department in order to gather information on what
departments are currently doing for women and their future plans for budget allocations.

The Office for Women provides secretariat support for the Council which has enabled us to produce a number of significant submissions and discussion papers e.g. Women and Representation, Economic paper

A major barrier to the Council being able to effect a greater influence on Government is a lack of resourcing . In our most recent budget submission the issue of resourcing for boards and Committees was raised particularly given the high numbers of women sitting on voluntary boards.

The Ministerial Advisory Council on Women is interested to hear from women and we welcome contact from members of the community. If you would like more information contact Jacqui Pearce 62575377 or the ACT Office for Women .
Posted: 02 Mar - 02:18 am  


Group: Members
Posts: 4
Member No.: 66
Joined: 27-February 04

Hi, my name is Christina Ryan. I sit on the Ministerial Advisory Council on Women (MACW) representing Women with Disabilities ACT (WWD ACT). We are part of a national network of women with disabilities organisations.

I have been sitting on the council for 2 years and in that time have worked on leadership and representation, poverty and housing issues, and economic independence for women amongst other things.

My particular work in the women’s movement has been around CEDAW and the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA). I specialise in institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women which is one of the 12 critical areas of concern in the BPFA. So, I focus on the gendered implications of disability.

Also of concern to me is the gendered nature of poverty and disadvantage and ways that we can systemically overcome this.

This is the third year that I have participated in a women’s history month discussion forum.

Gillian Polack
Posted: 06 Mar - 03:28 am  

Discussion Leader

Group: Discussion Leaders
Posts: 44
Member No.: 4
Joined: 21-February 03

I am also part of the Ministerial Advisory Council and yes, I am the same Gillian who is part of the Bridging the Ivory Divide discussion. On the Council I do things like help work for cultural awarness (not awareness of different ethnicities and their needs, although that is important , but looking at how government can reach beyond many of the cultural assumptions that are made and that limit and that can restrict so much decision-making).

For me this discussion is part of that need for all of us to know where we are coming from, in order to make sensible decisions about where we are going.

History can be a great informant, and unacknowledged history can be many chains holding us back. It is a great worry when people assume that public decisions and public spaces are free of history and the consequences of past actions. I have been talking with students this week about the tendency for women stil to be under-represented in archival holdings for instance, because of quite old leagacies.

This discussion is an opportunity to air some of these past decisions - to look them in the eye and find out where they have got us. Some results may be hugely positive (the ACT has a Bil of Rights - and it was a result of a long train of decisions) and others might be negative. But until we talk about them, and make processes and the past transparent, we can't praise or damn. What is more important, is we can't take control of our own futures: this is where women's history is not just the history of women. It is for all of us.

Gillian (in political slogan mode)

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