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BWC grant well suited to Brisbane charity

By | Articles, News

Brisbane charity Suited to Success which helps people one woman’s outfit at a time to overcome barriers to employment has received a grant for $10,000 from the Brisbane Women’s Club (BWC) charitable Grants Program.

The not-for-profit community organisation started as a group of fashion conscious ladies getting together to provide clothing to women needing smart outfits for job interviews has become a successful social enterprise assisting more than 7,000 people.

The $10,000 grant from BWC means Suited to Success can assist even more women in getting job ready and will contribute to the charity’s association with the Australian Catholic University (ACU) to extend, review and further develop a youth program to specifically identify and address women’s issues related to employment.
“We saw the incredible work Suited to Success were doing for women and just knew we had to support this program, which aligns perfectly with what BWC represents,” BWC President Robin Francis said.
“What we particularly liked about Suited to Success was we could see real potential to make a tangible difference to employment outcomes for disadvantaged women.”

Suited for Success General Manager Nicole Hard said the grant will allow them to select 10 women facing barriers to employment and work with them to provide a styling session, assistance with their resume and interview skills, and most importantly help develop a personal and professional plan.
“We will be supporting our clients on their journey over a three to six month period and are excited to see the results,” Ms Hard said. “We hope this program will give us a real insight into specific women’s needs when searching for a job.

“It’s all about identifying the barriers and developing a program that can really make a difference. Programs like the Brisbane Women’s Club Grants are vital to continue to operate.”
In 2017 two Grants Program recipients were awarded $5,000 – Queensland’s oldest charity, Lady Musgrave Trust, and Logan Women’s Health & Wellbeing Centre.

For more information about BWC, Suited for Success or the annual Grants Program, visit the Grants Program section at bwc.org.au or suitedtosuccess.org.

Woman wearing corporate wear
Image of scales with male icon weighing heavier than the female icon

The gender gap – why men and unconscious bias need to be part of the conversation

By | News

IF women are to make further progress in Queensland to close the gender gap, we have to work to ensure the conversation is inclusive as we openly and honestly look at bias. Because the reality is that without men championing the cause, the push for equality will never be successful.

Brisbane, some will tell you, remains very much “an old boy’s club” with an individual’s career trajectory determined to a large extent by what school they went to. If we are to really drive change and close the gender gap, we need to push past old school tie networks and draw the conversation more towards merit.

“I hear people, mainly men, say that we have made good progress in closing the gender gap, but this flies in the face of the facts,” Elizabeth Jameson, Founder and Managing Director at Board Matters said.

“We need champions of change – both men and women – because this is an issue which creates problems for both men and women. This is not a problem for women alone.”

If there were any doubts that the gender gap continues to be alive and well, one need look no further than the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, which measured the progress 144 countries had made towards gender parity across four areas:

  • Economic participation and opportunity
  • Educational attainment
  • Health and survival
  • Political empowerment

Disappointingly, Australia is ranked 35th on the 2017 list; an improvement from 2016’s ranking of 46th but still lagging well behind our 2006 ranking of 15th.

In terms of closing the gender gap, the report shows Australia has fallen behind Rwanda (4), Namibia (13), South Africa (19), Latvia (20), Mozambique (29) and The Philippines (10).

Looking at individual geographic areas, East Asia and the Pacific are expected to take some 161 years (at current trends and pace) to close the gender gap. North America is the only region expected to take longer at 168 years.

“Gender parity is fundamental to whether and how economies and societies thrive,” the World Economic Forum report stated. “Ensuring the full development and appropriate deployment of half the world’s talent pool has a vast bearing on growth, competitiveness and future-readiness of economies and businesses worldwide.”

Why are we lagging behind?

Photo of Robin Francis

Robin Francis

Robin Francis, President of the Brisbane Women’s Club and leadership consultant with policy and change management company Ithaca Group, said Queensland was a strong example of women in key leadership roles in the government and not-for-profit sectors, but not in the business sector.

“If you look at the Queensland Government, we are winning at closing the gender gap hands down compared with other states,” Robin said. “Almost 48 per cent of the Queensland Cabinet are women.

“We have a female Premier, Deputy Premier and treasurer, a female Attorney General and a Chief Justice who is a woman. We recently had a female head of the Queensland Court of Appeal and a female head of the Department of Public Prosecutions.

“We currently have, and have had, more women in senior professional roles in law and government than we see in the major capitals of Sydney and Melbourne.”

Despite this level of political power women are wielding, there continues to be a level of systematic unconscious bias which permeates much of the Brisbane business sector. Unconscious biases are those we are not aware we hold but which affect our decision-making.

“The Queensland Government was able to increase female representation on government boards in Queensland in just 18 months from 37 per cent to 42 per cent because of its commitment to equal representation,” Robin said. “This was successful because the State Government set a target to work towards.

“I am optimistic that the winds of change are in the air. And that includes making sure men are a key part of the conversation and ensuring senior women are taking an interest in the careers of younger women and mentoring them, introducing them to key leaders and helping them get to a point where they can compete equally.”

Photo of Cathie Reid

Cathie Reid

Cathie Reid, co-founder of Icon Group said she felt most Australians “would like to feel we are significantly ahead of developing countries in closing the gender gap”.

“The fact is, in developing countries they don’t have the time or inclination to ignore half of the talent pool,” she said. “That is what is driving that gap between emerging economies and long-term established economies such as that which we have here in Australia.”

Cathie said economies such as Australia had what she described as “established levels of bias” which needed to be proactively broken while emerging economies were faced more with an issue of staffing its new economic growth.

“If we are waiting for change to happen because we think it should, nothing will change,” she said. “If you look at the time our business norms were being established, women’s roles were very different then.

“We are still dealing with structures that have been in place for 150 years around the role of men and women in business. In emerging nations, that are building their systems from scratch, it would be insane for them to ignore half the workforce and only look at men.”

Cathie said one way to help bridge the gender gap was the use of quotas for women in the workplace and in positions of seniority.

“If a women is on a board or in a position because of a quota, while no-one wants to be the token anything, it is still a woman in a position she would not otherwise be in,” she said.

“If you are there to fill a quota, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are there in the first place. I really do see quotas as a very tangible way of ensuring change is occurring. Once we get women in the room, they will add value and then it will seem ludicrous that they had to get there on a quota.”

Photo of Georgia Henry

Georgia Henry

Georgia Henry, CEO of Organisation Culture Consultancy HENRY REED and a Director of Brisbane Women’s Club agreed that women in Brisbane had to push hard against the business hierarchies, systems and structures established by men.

Georgia, who grew up in Brisbane and has spent time living and working in Sydney and internationally, said she returned to her hometown and in doing so, found herself back in what is very much a boy’s club.

“In Australia, we have a long history of male dominance and all of our key structures and systems have been developed with a male view,” she said. “This is entrenched in our way of thinking, as this view still dominates our education, our view of history, our laws and our ways of doing business. Those biases towards a male way of thinking are hard to change and will take time to make the systemic changes needed.

“Brisbane is still very much dominated by what seems to be a boys’ club. At networking and business events it is not uncommon for there to be only a handful of women in the room and that needs to change.”

Georgia, is an advocate for quota systems as they keep focus on gender parity. She said she believed the move to true equality will “take a long time, but we need to keep progressing the conversation”.

“In the meantime, we need to be generous in how we support each other,” she said. “Women need to back each other, express their gratitude to each other and do what we can to empower each other until it gets to the point where gender equality is seen as normal.”

Photo of Elizabeth Jameson

Elizabeth Jameson

Elizabeth Jameson admits she was once against quota systems but now believes they are critical to establishing gender parity.

“It increasingly amuses me when people who are threatened by the idea of quotas or even targets say ‘it should be based on merit alone’,” she said. “If that were true, we wouldn’t be in the position we are in today.

“I would love for the gender gap to be closed by leaving it to natural forces because all the evidence shows that having women on boards produces better results, but the glacial pace of change flies in the face of that.

“I would like to see targets set for boards to have at least 40 per cent of each gender on them. With that approach, it won’t be a problem for boards to get to a place where there is real gender balance.”

Elizabeth pointed to her own journey as an example of how inherent bias – conscious or otherwise – has impacted the career trajectory of herself and the women she graduated law school with.

“When I came out of law school, 50 per cent of the graduates were women and we went into good positions with good firms. The firm I joined had about 30 partners and about four of them were women.

“I was told then, and that was 30 years ago, that gender parity was only a matter of time. But if you look at the percentages of women in partnerships in law firms, the numbers haven’t changed.”

And the effect of this is cumulative. Elizabeth explained that when companies are looking to appoint board members who have been in senior management or were principals or partners in law firms, women have not risen through the ranks enough to be considered for these roles.

“I am not seeing a great change in the number of women in executive teams and partners and that is very sobering,” Elizabeth said.

Robin said she is emphatic that gender equality is something we can, should and will continue to work towards.

“When we look back in 10 years, we may find we have not achieved gender parity but I think we will have made real progress and because women and, importantly, influential men are speaking up that the current situation needs to change.

“With a common purpose and united resolve, men and women leaders can make gender parity a real possibility within this generation.”

 

Breakout Box on the #PressForProgress campaign

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Month is #PressForProgress – fuelled by the success of the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns – and all four women have embraced this as a positive campaign.

Robin Francis:

“Any campaign that will work on gender parity with the combined resources of influential men and women, is a move in the right direction. The only way we will succeed is if we are all actively working together with a common purpose and resolve. Campaigns like this are essential.

Cathie Reid:

“A campaign like this on social media allows for thoughts to be gathered and looked at collectively rather than having them all over the place. And, as importantly, it leaves room for men to be a part of the conversation and if we want to see sustainable change, we need to include men. You can’t fix this problem without the active involvement of men. They have the power and they need to be active participants in this discussion and movement

Georgia Henry:

“We need strong male champions, otherwise it will be seen as just a women’s issue and not a society issue; and if it is just a woman’s voice on this issue, then it becomes whinging and men turn off to it. Campaigns like #PressForProgress leave room to encourage men to be involved. We talk about male champions for change, but I think there needs to also be a greater role for men in helping to plan how we break down the barriers and create opportunities for women.”

Elizabeth Jameson:

“We need male champions of change because if they don’t believe we need to close the gender gap, nothing will change. However, it is a fairly fundamental aspect of human nature that those with power and control to not give it up and will have a vested interest in things not changing. That will be the real challenge.”

Autumn Reading

By | News

Our friends at Avid Readers, West End have put together their top 5 recommendations for this autumn:

Book called The Fish GirlThe Fish Girl by Mirandi Riwoe

Sparked by the description of a ‘Malay trollope’ in W. Somerset Maugham’s story, ‘The Four Dutchmen’, The Fish Girl tells of an Indonesian girl whose life is changed irrevocably when she moves from a small fishing village to work in the house of a Dutch merchant. There she finds both hardship and tenderness as her traditional past and colonial present collide. Told with an exquisitely restrained voice and coloured with lush description, this moving book will stay with you long after the last page.

 

 

 

Book called An Uncertain GraceAn Uncertain Grace by Krissy Kneen

Some time in the near future, university lecturer Caspar receives a gift from a former student called Liv: a memory stick containing a virtual narrative. Hooked up to a virtual reality bodysuit, he becomes immersed in the experience of their past sexual relationship. But this time it is her experience. What was for him an erotic interlude, resonant with the thrill of seduction, was very different for her—and when he has lived it, he will understand how. Later… A convicted paedophile recruited to Liv’s experiment in collective consciousness discovers a way to escape from his own desolation. A synthetic boy, designed by Liv’s team to ‘love’ men who desire adolescents, begins to question the terms of his existence. L, in transition to a state beyond gender, befriends Liv, in transition to a state beyond age. Liv herself has finally transcended the corporeal—but there is still the problem of love. An Uncertain Grace is a novel in five parts by one of Australia’s most inventive and provocative writers. Moving, thoughtful, sometimes playful, it is about who we are—our best and worst selves, our innermost selves—and who we might become.

 

Book called TrackerTracker by Alexis Wright

Alexis Wright returns to non-fiction in her new book, a collective memoir of the charismatic Aboriginal leader, political thinker and entrepreneur Tracker Tilmouth, who died in Darwin in 2015 at the age of 62. Taken from his family as a child and brought up in a mission on Croker Island, Tracker Tilmouth worked tirelessly for Aboriginal self-determination, creating opportunities for land use and economic development in his many roles, including Director of the Central Land Council of the Northern Territory. Tracker was a visionary, a strategist and a projector of ideas, renowned for his irreverent humour and his determination to tell things the way he saw them. Having known him for many years, Alexis Wright interviewed Tracker, along with family, friends, colleagues, and the politicians he influenced, weaving his and their stories together in a manner reminiscent of the work of Nobel Prize–winning author Svetlana Alexievich. The book is as much a testament to the powerful role played by storytelling in contemporary Aboriginal life as it is to the legacy of an extraordinary man.

 

AnasthesiaAnaesthesia by Kate Cole-Adams

You know how it is when you go under. The jab, the countdown, the—and then you wake. This book is about what happens in between. Until a hundred and seventy years ago many people chose death over the ordeal of surgery. Now hundreds of thousands undergo operations every day. Anaesthesia has made it possible. But how much do we really know about what happens to us on the operating table? Can we hear what’s going on around us? Is pain still pain if we are not awake to feel it, or don’t remember it afterwards? How does the unconscious mind deal with the body’s experience of being cut open and ransacked? And how can we help ourselves through it? Haunting, lyrical, sometimes shattering, Anaesthesia leavens science with personal experience to bring an intensely human curiosity to the unknowable realm beyond consciousness.

 

The Life to ComeThe Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser

Set in Sydney, Paris and Sri Lanka, The Life to Come is a mesmerising novel about the stories we tell and don’t tell ourselves as individuals, as societies and as nations. It feels at once firmly classic and exhilaratingly contemporary. Pippa is a writer who longs for success. Celeste tries to convince herself that her feelings for her married lover are reciprocated. Ash makes strategic use of his childhood in Sri Lanka but blots out the memory of a tragedy from that time. Driven by riveting stories and unforgettable characters, here is a dazzling meditation on intimacy, loneliness and our flawed perception of other people. Profoundly moving as well as wickedly funny, The Life to Come reveals how the shadows cast by both the past and the future can transform, distort and undo the present. This extraordinary novel by Miles Franklin-winning author Michelle de Kretser will strike to your soul.

A New Era of Women in Power – A First for Queensland

By | News
Women in power in Queensland

Photos: The Courier Mail http://www.couriermail.com.au/

 

Queensland is the first State in Australia to have females in all the highest office holder roles – Premier, Treasurer, Attorney General, Chief Justice and Opposition Leader. This is a true ‘significant moment in time’ and truly cements Queensland as a progressive State.

Our new State leadership includes the all-female team of The Hon. Annastacia Palaszcuk, Premier; The Hon Jackie Trad, Treasurer; Chief Justice, Catherine Holmes; and Attorney General, the Hon Yvette D’Ath.

To add to the ‘list of firsts’ Queensland’s Liberal National Party (LNP) elected its first ever female party leader Deb Frecklington MP to take on Labor’s Premier, The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk MP.

Deb Frecklington MP, who is a lawyer, farmer and mother of three, beat John-Paul Langbroek MP and Mark Robinson MP to the top job. She will announce her shadow cabinet in the coming days.

Meanwhile Ms Palaszczuk’s cabinet has just been sworn in and consists of 25 men and 23 women – very balanced.

This is a clear demonstration that Queensland is leading the way in fostering gender diversity with women holding the highest positions in judicial and political office and heralds the dawning of a new era of leadership. Margaret Ogg, one of our earliest female political leaders, would be very proud today.

Summer Reading

By | News

Looking for some good reads over the summer? Here are 5 recommendations from our friends at Avid Readers, 193 Boundary St, West End, QLD 4101:

 

Book called Inferior by Angela SainiInferior: How science got women wrong and the new research that’s rewriting the story by Angela Saini

Shedding light on controversial research and investigating the ferocious gender wars in biology, psychology and anthropology, Angela Saini takes readers on an eye-opening journey to uncover how women are being rediscovered. She explores what these revelations mean for us as individuals and as a society, revealing an alternative view of science in which women are included, rather than excluded.

Cost: $29.99

 

The mother of all questions: Further femBook called Solnit The Mother of All Questionsinisms by Rebecca Solnit

Following on from the success of Men Explain Things to Me comes a new collection of essays in which Rebecca Solnit opens up a feminism for all of us: one that doesn’t stigmatize women’s lives, whether they include spouses and children or not; that brings empathy to the silences in men’s lives as well as the silencing of women’s lives; celebrates the ways feminism has shifted in recent years to reclaim rape jokes, revise canons, and rethink our everyday lives.

Cost: $24.99

 

200 women who will change the way you see the Book called 200 Women byworld by Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday

An extraordinary book about equality founded on 200 original and diverse interviews with women from around the world. The interviews are brave, insightful, considered, candid, and moving from women who are famous and unknown, celebrated and marginalised, rich and poor, black and white, leaders, victims, survivors, heroes, saints and sinners. They are women who will educate and inspire us, teach us empathy, and bring positive change in a time when so many women and girls are still fighting for basic freedom and equality. Some of the well-known contributors include: Leigh Sales, Maggie Beer, Miranda Tapsell, Ronni Khan, Susan Carland, Anita Heiss, Becky Lucas, Gail Kelly, Stephanie Alexander, Rachel Perkins, Rosie Batty, Margaret Atwood, Roxane Gay, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Alexandra Paul, Karen Walker, Gillian Anderson, Jane Goodall, Kimbra, Aminatta Forna, and many more. A royalty pool of 10% of the originating publisher’s revenue will be distributed to organisations devoted to protecting the rights of women and to individuals in need.

Cost: $60

 

Book called Not Just Lucky by Jamila RizviNot just lucky. Why women do the work but don’t take the credit by Jamila Rizvi

Not Just Lucky exposes the structural and cultural disadvantages that rob women of their confidence – often without them even realising it. Drawing on case studies, detailed research and her own experience in politics and media, Jamila Rizvi is the warm, witty and wise friend you’ve been waiting for. She’ll give you everything you need to start fighting for your own success and for a more inclusive, equal workplace for all. (She’ll also bring the red wine.) This unashamedly feminist career manifesto is for women who worry they’ll look greedy if they ask for more money. It’s for women who dream big but dread the tough conversations. It’s for women who get nervous, stressed and worried, and seem to overthink just about everything.

Cost: $35

 

Book called Her body and other parties by Carmen Maria MachadoHer body and other parties by Carmen Maria Machado

In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies. A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store’s prom dresses. One woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella “Especially Heinous,” Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naively assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgängers, ghosts, and girls-with-bells-for-eyes.

Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.

Cost: $29.99

Invest In Yourself logo

Launch of Invest in Yourself Campaign

By | Financial Literacy, News

Empowering women towards financial literacy

Brisbane Women’s Club, supported by the Queensland Government’s Office For Women, is launching a campaign that aims to improve the financial literacy of women across the Greater Brisbane region.

Using a partnership model between financial services experts and community agencies, Invest In Yourself will feature educational events, workshops, resources and online tools specifically designed for women in six key target groups.

Brisbane Women’s Club President, Robin Francis, says, “In planning this campaign, we have realised that too many women of all ages and demographics actually have very little understanding or control of their financial situation. Even professional women who may appear to be in control of their money have shared their secret financial confessions with us – and many are not as in control as they might appear.

“And then, of course there are those women caught in unemployment cycles, domestic violence and desperate situations who are feeling disempowered and can’t even imagine a financially free future – we need to equip them with the skills to gain control of their financial situations.”

Minister for Women and for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Shannon Fentiman said financial literacy was a critical need for women, particularly those who had made the brave decision to leave a violent relationship.

“Initiatives like this provide another important element of support to women who might previously have been caught in controlling relationships,” Minister Fentiman said.

“The more skills they have, the better able they are to reach their full potential and manage their own financial situation while they are at it.

“This will make a real difference in women’s lives and give them back the independence they deserve.”

Invest in Yourself is funded by the Brisbane Women’s Club and Office for Women and the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (DCCSDS). This initiative already has a number of financial planning experts and women’s community groups committed to being part of the campaign and who are giving their services on a pro-bono basis.

Brisbane Women’s Club are seeking further interest from financial services businesses and community agency groups to be part of delivering this campaign to women in our community.

Explore Invest In Yourself Website

 

Recruiting Non-Executive Director – Brisbane Women’s Club

By | News

Non-Executive Director – Brisbane Women’s Club

Brisbane Women’s Club (BWC) is seeking one or more female non-executive board members to join our vibrant board in building the organisation.  BWC is one of Queensland’s oldest social justice organisations founded in 1908.  Relaunched by the current board in 2015, the organisation’s membership of professional women has grown rapidly.

BWC seeks to make a difference to the lives of women in Brisbane & Queensland through our community support, programs and advocacy; to be a valued resource for our members in professional development, networking, awareness raising and social engagement; and to be a leading voice for women’s issues in Brisbane and Queensland.

Desired expertise and skills include board experience, women’s advocacy, fundraising, policy development, corporate/government connections, stakeholder engagement, professional development, or finance.  If you have skills in any of the areas noted, are well-networked and feel passionate about growing the organisation with us, we would love to hear from you.

Our current board can be found at http://www.bwc.org.au/our-story/#our-board

Applications to the Secretary of the Board, Patrice McKay: secretary@bwc.org.au

Grant Funding to Aid Critical Women’s Projects

By | News

Grant Funding to Aid Critical Women’s Projects

 

Homeless and disadvantaged women in Brisbane will benefit from Brisbane Women’s Club grants that have been awarded to The Lady Musgrave Trust and the Logan Women’s Health & Wellbeing Centre.

Each organisation will receive a grant of $5000 to help fund their critical work which aligns with Brisbane Women’s Club’s commitment to supporting women’s social welfare initiatives that empower, educate and enable Queensland women to achieve their potential.

Brisbane Women’s Club President, Robin Frances said, “We received many compelling applications from a wide range of inspiring organisations and I am thrilled that we are able to support these two critical initiatives, particularly as they align with our soon to be launched “Invest in Yourself” program which aims to increase financial literary and resilience for women in Brisbane.”

The grant for the Lady Musgrave Trust (Trust) will help fund their Forum, “Women and Homelessness – Innovative ideas to end homelessness,” to be held in Brisbane on 30 August 2017.

Karen Lyon Reid, CEO of The Lady Musgrave Trust said, “The Trust is honoured to have the support of the Brisbane Women’s Club for our 9th Annual Forum – which is the only community led collaborative Forum focusing on women’s homelessness. As two of the oldest charities in Queensland (The Trust est 1885 and The Club est 1908) we continue to work towards the same goals to this day – to assist women so that they can have sustainable, happy and positive lives for the future.”

The Logan Women’s Health & Wellbeing Centre were also awarded a grant to support 30 vulnerable / disadvantaged women to receive one-on-one support, coaching and evaluation as part of participating in a 6 week online course on financial literary and resilience.

Stacey Ross, Manager of the Logan Women’s Health & Wellbeing Centre said, “Receiving this grant means so much to Logan Women’s but more importantly for the women who are a part of the incredible community we support. We are honoured to be the recipients of the grant and to be partnering with BWC and are very excited to see the positive impact we can collectively achieve together.”

The annual grant program is open to any charitable organisation assisting women in Queensland.  Previous grant recipients include Qld Institute of Medical Research; Country Womens’ Association; Womens’ College University of Qld and Womens’ Legal Service.

View past grant recipients

2016 AGM Summary

By | AGM, News

On Wednesday 22nd February BWC held its 2016 AGM – our second since we began the Club’s revitalisation in 2015.  Often an AGM can be a colourless affair – ours was anything but! What was achieved in 2016 was amazing, by any standards. We ran fund-raisers, produced a Senate policy submission on children’s access to internet pornography,  received a $20,000 State Government grant for our Financial Literacy project, built relationships with major corporate partners such as PWC, McCullough Robertson, ANZ and Stanwell, hosted Queensland Women’s Minister Shannon Fentiman at a brilliant sundowner event, delivered professional career development workshops and much more. All of this was achieved with the inspiration of our tireless part-time CEO, and hours and hours of hard work from our Board and member volunteers.

We’ve invested in our people and brand and dramatically turned around our financial performance to end the year with a $25,700 surplus. So it’s not surprising that among the many comments  I heard from new and existing members present were ‘inspiring’, ‘exciting’.’ impressive’, ‘important’  and ‘looking forward to being part of BWC in 2017’.  For more details, download a copy of the annual report here.

We’re not resting on our laurels in 2017 either, with exciting events in the planning stages, so watch this space! The BWC Board is also committed to improving our back-end processes and systems and to giving renewed focus to our community grants program.

But our biggest priority for 2017 will be to engage more deeply with our members, to create more opportunities for them to be involved in the Club’s work, and to keep growing our amazing community of like-minded women.

The Board has been strengthened with the election of  two new members. Balveen Ajimal is joining as a Director and will relinquish her role as CEO in May 2017.  We are also pleased to welcome Amanda Sartor, as Treasurer, and I am delighted to be elected as President for a further term.

BWC is showing Brisbane and Australia what a group of determined, committed and capable women are able to achieve and we look forward to having you on that journey with us.

Best wishes,
Robin Francis
President

Invest in Yourself: Financial Literacy 101

By | Financial Literacy, News

BWC communications intern Louise Priddle signed up for our first Financial Literacy 101 workshop and came away with five top tips from the experts:

  1. Make a real budget … and stick to it
    Being conscious of money-in versus money-out is important. BWC Director Cara Brett, from Bounce Financial, says you need to be realistic about the money you actually spend, rather than restricting yourself too tightly and dipping into your savings later. The key here is to include everything.
  1. Pay off your debt … particularly the bad kind
    Bad debt, such as credit cards, car loans and payday loans, is something that you want to get rid of quickly, according to Nicole Green from Unique Finance. Don’t be afraid of borrowing money for things like a home, but be careful about using debt to prop up your everyday expenses – it’s a sure sign you are living beyond your means.
  1. Top up your super
    Retirement might seem a long way off but it will be here sooner than you think. On average, women have half as much superannuation as men, so making contributions or salary sacrificing is important to ensure you have a decent amount to live on when you stop working. There are still some tax advantages for investing in super and jobs with the government or an NGO often have their own super perks. The rules change frequently so make sure you have a chat with your accountant or financial adviser.
  1. Invest in your own nest
    Buying a house or shares is a good option if you want an asset that is likely to increase in value over time. Of course no investment is guaranteed but borrowing money in these instances may not be such a bad thing.
  1. Give yourself a safety net
    Australia is one of the most under insured countries in the world which means most of us are exposed to big financial risks when things don’t go according to plan. Life, income and total and permanent disability insurance are the key ones for all of us to have or at least consider. Life insurance is also much easier and cheaper to get the younger you are, and something you definitely won’t regret if you’re ill or have an accident. If cashflow is a little tight it may be possible to pay for insurance out of your super so talk to your financial adviser about what’s best for you.

Useful websites
Personal Loans
Credit Cards
Property
Budgeting
Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia
Superannuation search
Women’s money toolkit
How much super will you have?
Centrelink benefits estimates
Lodging your tax return online
Calculating tax withheld on salary
Income Tax payable/refund estimator
ATO Summary of Deductions
My Gov Website for super searching
Universal Rollover Form

http://www.afr.com/leadership/it-took-an-expat-to-turn-around-the-brisbane-womens-club-20160113-gm550r – the business world sits up and takes note of BWC’s relaunch!

http://bmag.com.au/your-brisbane/brisbane-extra/2016/03/07/brisbane-women-push-through-the-glass-ceiling-together/ – article on “Regeneration – a story of change”, a stunning exhibition curated by the BWC in support of the Women’s Legal Service.