Bluestockings Week: Women's employment and representation
To: University of Melbourne management and executive
1) Increase superannuation contributions for casual and fixed term contract employees, a category in which women are overrepresented, from the legal minimum of 9% to 17%, equal to permanent employees. 2) Include a Domestic Violence clause in their next Enterprise Bargaining Agreement. 3) That employees of all genders be entitled to 36 weeks paid parental leave with no qualifying period, and those employed under fixed term contracts be entitled to such contract extensions as would be necessary to take them to the end of parental leave. 4) Ensure that courses be written with content explicitly relating to women, acknowledgment of women's contributions to academic fields, and exploration of gender aspects. Where this is not possible, an acknowledgment of why. In considering the status and conditions of women in the university, we remind the university to consider the intersectional oppression of Indigenous women (an issue the University acknowledged in creating their Reconciliation Action plan), women of colour, queer women and women with (dis)abilities.
Why is this important?
It has been forty years since free education and the second wave, and yet women are still underrepresented in the higher echelons of academia despite being the majority of the undergraduate population. Women in Australia will earn on average 83c to every dollar a man earns over the span of her career, and women will earn 3% less than their male classmates upon graduation from the same degree. While the western canon is patriarchal, universities should be critiquing and moving beyond that. Reference to feminist theory and acknowledgment of women's contributions in history, art and philosophy is sorely lacking. Bluestocking Week is a national campaign celebrating women in higher education being run by the National Union of Students and the National Tertiary Education Union.