Celebrating women in Bass Coast
International Women’s Day, held on 8 March is a global day celebrating the social economic, cultural and political achievements of Women.
This year, Bass Coast Shire Council, Bass Coast Health, Phillip Island Nature Parks and Westernport Water partnered to host an event to celebrate resilience, reinvention and reconnection.
The event featured a Keynote address from Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner Dr Niki Vincent, as well as a community panel with four Bass Coast women, small business owner Rebecca Slavin, Phillip Island Nature Parks People and Culture Manager Melissa Nolet, Bass Coast Health Manager Community Nursing Emma Grabham and LGBTIQ+ Community Elder Sally Conning.
Bass Coast Shire CEO Ali Wastie said that International Women’s Day is a day for inspiration and change.
"We are really proud of the work that we are doing to improve gender equality within our organisation, including the introduction of 12 months paid superannuation to mothers following the birth of a child, providing 16 weeks paid parental leave for men and women and compelling sporting organisations to provide equal prize money to their male and female competitors when their event is held on Council property," Ms Wastie said.
"We have the opportunity and responsibility, to address systemic gender inequality through policy change, programs, service delivery and advocacy. I am delighted other Councils and public sector agencies are following our lead. Together we can all make a difference."
Westernport Water Managing Director Dona Tantirimudalige, who was the MC for the event, said that, "Bias and gender stereotypes impact us all. Let’s keep working together to break the bias, and do not let gendered expectations stop us from thriving."
Phillip Island Nature Parks Chief Executive Catherine Basterfield said, "Phillip Island Nature Parks is a proud supporter of gender equality, with an equal number of female and male employees among our passionate and skilled team, including many female scientists, expert researchers and rangers."
"Every role is open to everyone with the necessary passion and skills.
"It is a privilege to lead an organisation where girls and young women around Victoria and Australia can all aspire to come and work with Nature Parks as we protect and promote our amazing animals and environment."
In her keynote address, Dr Vincent said that International Women’s Day provided the ideal backdrop to celebrate all the work organisations are doing to deliver on their obligations and their commitment to gender equality, as part of the Gender Equality Act that was introduced almost 12 months ago.
"Being recognised as a workplace that values gender equality will attract and retain talented staff in an increasingly competitive market," Dr Vincent said.
"As we transition from a work-from-home environment employees are reconsidering their relationship with work. Rather than a return to normal, we have the opportunity for a re-invention.
"No longer is nine to five, Monday to Friday considered the norm and smart employers know that flexible working arrangements, job-sharing and part-time work helps mothers, fathers and other carers to balance work with family responsibilities," Dr Vincent concluded.