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rachael hockaday

Woman shaking hands

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 or

Woman wearing corporate wear

On changing the world….

By | Uncategorized

“Last week, I was delighted to have the opportunity to mentor a truly wonderful Year 10 student, Mollie. Mollie shadowed me for a few days and rolled her sleeves up to complete a couple of tasks, asking plenty of questions and immersing herself in all things Brisbane Women’s Club. I asked Mollie why she chose BWC as the organisation that she wanted to work with to complete her work experience time with. Here is what she wrote (unedited) and I thought it something to share with you. The next generation is ready to be involved in bettering the lives of women and are already thinking about many of the gender based issues that they are seeing, though not necessarily experiencing. Their enthusiasm fills my heart.”    Laura Bos, General Manager Brisbane Women’s Club.

“Everyone can recount a time where they heard the word ‘feminist’ with a more negative than positive connotation. This is usually from the uncomfortable uncle, comical sitcom character or more often for me – teenagers. The climbing rate of adolescents opposing the prospect of feminism is evident, in our interest in social issues.

As a teenage girl that’s not exactly quiet about interest in political views, I am incessantly apprised by boys that I should be in the kitchen making them a sandwich, or that I’m only as competent and intelligent as a dishwasher. Most people who are aware do not knowledge it. Yet they see, hear and feel these injustices the same way I do. They continue with their lives, sometimes out of convenience, sometimes out of ignorance and sometimes out of simple lack of understanding.

I constantly ask myself how we could possibly teach this generation that the current systematic oppression is not something to joke about simply to get a rise out of a someone, or earn a laugh from your group of momentary friends.

Walking the halls of a high school in 2018 you must expect to overhear talk of derogatory memes, recordings of assaults and chauvinistic remarks labelled as ‘jokes.’ As a teenager that opposes all these activities I’ve found it difficult to find like-minded people. This has resulted in a bit of alienation, but a lot of time to read about the issues that directly and indirectly affect us all. I had read about a multitude of organisations, but nothing struck a chord like Brisbane Women’s Club. The Club’s emphasis on the importance of relationships between women where they can openly discuss a diverse range of issues of public importance was especially heartening. After my 3-day Work Experience with the Club’s General Manager Laura Bos, I noticed an improvement in my way of thinking and her mentorship helped me further understand the practices, and importance, of these organisations.

As a female coming into the workplace, the prominence of the gender wage gap has caught my interest. It’s a topic that derives from the preconceived idea inherited by most- that it is simply because men are better workers then women. Even in high school, this idea is evident just watching treatment of teenagers in the classroom. The Club’s focus on this inequality and continuous proposals of possible solutions is proof of its’ efforts to end gender imbalance. The Club is working hard to educate and empower young women. As a part of the Club’s work, they’ve affiliated themselves with other women-friendly organisations. Their relationship with The University of Queensland’s Women’s College especially sparked my interest.

On my second day, I accompanied Laura to a fundraising lunch at the college. I had the pleasure of meeting many upstanding people including Dr Lyndall Bryant and Professor Fred D’Agostino. Heeding their advice and hearing the alumni tell stories of their experience and education at UQ opened my eyes to the copious opportunities I’m fortunate enough to have. After this experience, looking at the prospect of a career in social justice doesn’t seem so daunting.

Brisbane Women’s Club has been creating change for Brisbane Women for over 110 years, as the next generation I look forward to continuing their work not only in Queensland, but throughout the world.”

Mollie Doyle-Brooks x

Move to develop financial awareness programs – “a step in the right direction”

By | Financial Literacy

A move by the Australian Government to establish an independent body to educate Australians about financial literacy – notably for women, the young and elderly – has been applauded by Brisbane Women’s Club as “another positive step to empower women and secure their financial future”.

The new not-for-profit organisation to be founded under the plan will be responsible for managing and distributing $40 million in community benefit payments and a further $10 million in funds slated in the Federal Budget to develop women’s financial capability.

The funds are to be used to administer grants and improve the financial knowledge and capabilities of Australians through education and development of financial products and services.

“Given our long-standing commitment to improving the lives of women, we are very pleased by this announcement for a new body focused on the issue,” Brisbane Women’s Club (BWC) Chair of the Board Robin Francis said.

“We have seen the success of financial literacy and financial awareness programs and how they change lives. Any funds which help these programs to be accessed by more people are very welcome indeed.”

Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer said the new body would be a “game-changer” which would offer support for consumers and build the financial capability of all Australians.

“Financial literacy and capability is critical for economic empowerment, including for Australian women and young and older Australians,”Ms O’Dwyer said.

A key part of our mission here at Brisbane Women’s Club (BWC) is to advocate for programs and initiatives which improve the financial awareness and financial decision-making of Queensland women.

BWC holds a seat on the Economic Security 4 Women Council (ES4W), a national alliance of women’s organisations “united in the belief that economic wellbeing and financial security are essential for women and will enable women of all ages to have an equal place in society”.

BWC has also initiated the Invest in Yourself Campaign to help women develop self-awareness around their financial situation and to gain the right financial knowledge to help them be financially independent.

“For some women, understanding their finances comes easily and they seem to have it all under control,” Robin said. “For other women, the world of finances is a confusing one indeed.

“If women are ever to be truly equal, they need to enjoy true financial independence and that starts with education for women from very basic introductory information to much more advanced guidance and advice.

“And in doing so, we supply the next generation with the tools for their financial independence and so it becomes self-perpetuating.  “Initiatives such as this latest one announced by the Turnbull Government go a long way to improving the financial health of individuals and the greater community and we all benefit from that.”

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


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

Applications to the Secretary of the Board, Patrice McKay:

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