Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Gender firmly on the agenda: 600 Australian Women Speak

The Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women, Senator Amanda Vanstone, will officially open the national Australian Women Speak Conference with a welcome address to the 600 delegates at 9.00am on Monday 26 August in Canberra.

“This Government-sponsored national conference, Australian Women Speak, promises to be a great forum for lively and vibrant discussion of current women’s issues,” the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister, Senator Amanda Vanstone, said today.

“Women and work, women’s health, the role of women in families, communities, education, business and government, and the economic status of women are all vital issues. This year’s Federal Budget is testament to that.

We have allocated:

  • $16.5m for a national approach to combat sexual assault against women;
  • an additional $5.6m to expand and enhance government support for women’s organisations through establishing a Women’s Development Programme;
  • $5.5m has been allocated to promote Informed Choices for Women, a women’s information strategy to improve access to government information for and about women; and
  • a $2.4m Women’s National Leadership Initiative to extend Government activities that are increasing the participation of women in leadership positions and to promote leadership by women in other areas (eg, rural/regional, indigenous women and women in disadvantages circumstances).

“We’ve also recently announced $450,000 funding to help give rural women a stronger voice – through establishing a National Rural Women’s Secretariat.

“I am proud of this Government’s achievements. Australian women now have access to record levels of child care, there are more women are in education and training than ever before, there are strong family and community support services, and our superannuation reforms will help more women to plan for a secure retirement.

Australia Women Speak has been designed as a forum for exchange of information between representatives from government, business and women’s organisations and individuals from diverse fields and backgrounds.

“In order to continue to provide sound policies to build an Australia where women have support and choices in their lives, we’ll need to continue to listen to the community. That’s why forums like Australian Women Speak are so important.” Senator Vanstone said.

Australian Women Speak

Keynote addresses include:

  • Equality for women – what does it mean in the 21st Century?
  • Equality for women in the 21st Century – How can men and boys contribute?
  • Young Women Speak: Our strengths, our diversity, our future
  • Kim Wells, Executive Director of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence (CAEPV), will speak on how American companies have responded to the call for awareness, discussion and action on domestic violence in the workplace.
  • A Literary Luncheon featuring four women authors – Dr Anita Heiss , Helen Barnacle , Hsu-Ming Teo and Terry Underwood will be held on Tuesday 28 August.
  • Media are asked to advise their attendance prior to the Conference. Entry to the conference keynote sessions requires an Australian Women Speak identification tag.