Australian Federation of University Women

New South Wales

AFUW - NSW Incorporated is an association of women graduates from universities throughout the world





Thank you for your confidence in electing me as your new President. One of my first duties was to thank our immediate Past President Dr Susan Davies for accepting office last year. We are grateful to Susan for filling the role and helping the organisation to keep functioning at a time when it seemed no-one wanted to accept responsibility.

What has changed?

A lot can happen in twelve months. What has changed? For one thing my attitude and experience of the AFUW-NSW has. Since joining in 1994 my main involvement has been with my branch and its activities with occasional forays into the functioning of state matters.

During this past year Christine Hosking and I have been heavily involved in the day-to-day administrative activities. And as a result of our Treasurer, Mary Kane’s, failing health I have been drawn in and exposed to the bigger picture.

We are part of a national and international group.

I now value our association with the national body who lobbies the federal government on relevant issues and the international group that has a voice on committees of the United Nations. As a member of the Federation we can become as involved as we wish – remaining interested at branch level or we can take it further afield to the international level.

Let’s get political!

At this point in our evolution I would like to see the state body become more active in lobbying state government and branches lobbying local members. We have become somewhat complacent of late with little work done in this area. I would like your input as a member of AFUW-NSW as to how we proceed. What cause would you like to become passionate about?

What do we care about?

Let us first agree on what is our main area of concern and what specific aspect of that concern should be our focus. Let me have your ideas by email or snail mail. Or if you wish a phone conversation is another option.

How can we help?

Let us each nominate and utilise our area of expertise. Those of you with political expertise can plan the strategy and offer direction. Those who have a passionate interest in say, education, and how we can influence for the good can propose a cause. My expertise is communication and organisation. I plan with your help to improve communication and strengthen relationships between branches and the state body. I want to encourage visits between members of the state and branches to get to know the valuable membership of which we are a part.

Getting to know you.

This precedent was set in the past 12 months when Armidale Branch hosted a Central Committee meeting and a visit from interested members to their beautiful city. Hunter Valley hosted the AGM and lunch in Newcastle where we were made most welcome. I’ve learnt we must plan more time for social interaction so that we can meet and know each other.


The website has become increasingly important as a communication tool for any organisation. We are working on a new NSW logo to incorporate on the site. Also we need input for the content. The Home Page is the showpiece so content for the Home Page is important.
We can use the website to “publicise our successes” and advertise our causes. I have asked the Branch Representatives to submit information pertinent to their branch with appropriate photographs for inclusion.

AFUW National Body

It seems when one becomes State President one is automatically elevated to vice-president of the national federation which I discovered when attending AFUW Council meeting in Canberra on 29 October. My hurried report to Council is elsewhere in the newsletter. Suffice now to say how much I enjoyed meeting and listening to the bright, knowledgeable women from around Australia who attended.

I came away enthused to encourage you to come to Canberra on 21-24 April 2006 for the Triennial Conference. It will not only be an excellent educational and networking opportunity it will also be an opportunity to gain insight into how the national federation works. The Conference theme is “The Role of Women in Peacekeeping”.
Volunteers will be needed to help the organisers with various functions. If you are able and interested, let me know so that we can put together a list of available people.

Graduate Women Survey

The President, Rosemary Everett is still interested to hear from you. If you haven’t already done so it is not too late to send in your survey form which appeared in the last issue of Graduate Women. Rosemary will incorporate newly returned forms into the results of the survey.

Xmas Lunch 26 November 2005

On a closing note, members, I encourage you to come to the end-of-year function at The Women's College University of Sydney. A booking slip is inserted in the newsletter. It will be a satisfactory way to conclude our year and share more ideas so that together we can define AFUW-NSW as an organisation of which we can be proud.
My best wishes to you and yours for a happy and joyous holiday season.

Ivy Edwards

PS The Financial Report for 2004-05 was presented at the AGM by our incoming Treasurer, Tricia Blombery. Copies may be obtained by members unable to attend the meeting by contacting the Office.

On 24 October 2005 the President forwarded to the Central Committee and branch leaders the following message. It is repeated here so that all members may have the opportunity to respond.

Hello members

I didn't get to bombard you with my ideas and plans in Newcastle so here is an attempt to simplify things and start some interaction.

My initial thoughts are to focus on gathering data through communication and building relationships.

Someone suggested the best way to promote ourselves is to "Publicise our successes".

What do you think of this as an initial internal motto?

I see our top communication priority is to get the website underway.

Those of you who do not belong to a branch may like to submit information and share ideas. We welcome your input.

And branch representatives, would you discuss with the president and members of your branch and come up with:

  1. a few paragraphs on your awards, prizes, scholarships, donations. What do you support? A few sentences on the recipients. This gives each Branch the opportunity to Publicise your successes.
  2. a page on your branch - why would people in your area want to join? You can use the web to publicise what you do. List your events, your meeting times, a contact name and contact details.
  3. Please obtain the contact person's permission to publish their details on the web.
  4. some photos. I think photos of your members - no more than three in one shot and a couple of images of your area. Some distinctive shots of structure or landscape that illustrates where your Branch Members meet and/or reside.
  5. A sentence that sums up your philosophy? Philosophy expresses the values and beliefs of your branch.
  6. A sentence (or two) that sums up your purpose? Purpose states what you want to achieve or what you wish to be.

Can you have this information to me if possible by Friday 18 November.

Another plan I'd like to implement ASAP is for some members to visit other branches at least once during the year. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think it's beneficial and possible?

Conveners: I'm beginning to understand National and International issues can demand a lot of time. However I would like us to develop some state action.

Let's start with just one issue then we can proceed from there. Would each of you come up with at least one matter on which you would like to take action.

At the 26 November Central Committee meeting, after sharing ideas, we can select an issue on which to focus.

Best wishes

President’s Report to Federal Council - 29 October 2005

President’s Report to Federal Council - 29 October 2005


Hunter Branch hosted the State AGM on 15 October for 41 voting members followed by lunch for 44 guests. Guest Speaker Margaret Winn fielded many questions following her talk on “Overseas aid and development: why bother fixing someone else’s backyard?” From the buzz in the room members and guests seemed to enjoy the day. For the first time, a presidential election added to the occasion. It shows AFUW-NSW is alive and well when so many travelled to Newcastle from Sydney, Armidale, Blue Mountains and Central Coast. My thanks go to Past President, Susan Davies, who saved us from possible extinction last year.

Toast to Mary Kane

A lunch to honour Mary Kane held with short notice on 6 October drew a crowd of 25 to the Margery Murray Room. Mary received many phone calls and letters from those unable to attend and was visibly moved by the attention given her. It was a worthy tribute to Mary who has devoted her self, her time and her expertise to AFUW / IFUW since the 1960s. Mary’s ill-health has forced her to limit her considerable involvement.


Work has begun on redesigning the website. A graphic designer will submit concepts on a new state logo based on the lamp of friendship. It is planned that each of the ten branches contributes with local information on their awards and events. In an effort to build relationships and foster the sense of belonging, members of the central committee and all interested members are being encouraged to visit branches outside their area during the coming year.

Scholarships and Awards

Recipients of the Tempe Mann Scholarship and Hilda Jamieson Awards were invited to a morning tea to meet with members and receive their awards. Susan Coulson, this year’s Tempe Mann awardee, spoke of her research in using physiotherapy techniques in the treatment of facial nerve paralysis and will use the money for further research in the Netherlands. Last year’s winner Jaclyn Aldenhoven spoke of her cultural, academic and social experience in Germany while furthering her research into pig breeding, her primary study being the investigation of genes for early embryonic death in pigs.

AFUW-NSW representatives attended prize-giving ceremonies to present smaller annual awards: The Tish Proctor Memorial Prize for the most proficient woman student in first year government at the University of Sydney went to Stephanie Ellen Harmon.

The AFUW-NSW Prize for academic work in 2004 at The University of Sydney’s School of English, Art History, Film and Media went to Alys Moody.

The AFUW-NSW Prize for The University of New South Wales Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences was awarded to Susan McIntosh.

Our New Coordinator for International Relations for 2005-6 is Beverley Pavey

Beverley commenced in AFUW as a member of North Shore Branch and said she enjoyed getting to know the members there and the interesting range of guest speakers at the quarterly meetings. Being the North Shore representative on the Central Committee meant, she said, understanding further how the State Committee operated and who the representatives were. This year she has joined City Branch as she is finding her other commitments in other organizations bring her to the City a number of times a week and so it was more convenient. Beverley said she also has visited Newcastle and Armidale Branches briefly and enjoyed the diversity of operation in the different geographic locations.

Following in Christine Hosking’s shoes as the next CIR has been helped enormously by the fact that Christine is the President of City Branch and very accessible.

Beverley said that she hoped to produce a two monthly circular to Branches in terms of keeping them up to date on what is happening at the International level. She was also willing should any Branch be interested, to travel anywhere in the State to talk to a Branch on CIR matters.


Advice has been received from Daphne Buckley, our National Convenor, International Relations. It is encouraging about USA and its position on paying its dues to the International body.

She said that the International President of IFUW, Griselda Kenyon, visited the American Association. The vote against the pulling out from IFUW of AAUW and the setting up of dialogue on solving the financial differences between IFUW and AAUW were hopeful and we could now look forward to what is hoped will be a felicitous outcome. (A copy of Griselda’s letter appears later in the Newsletter.)

Daphne has also advised that over the past month there has been much discussion via “Connections” of the areas in which IFUW should focus its attention to maximise its effectiveness as a voice for women worldwide. Griselda Kenyon has pointed out that much of our attention has been claimed by the disasters, natural and terrorist, that have affected countries and our sister members in several parts of the world. In the hundreds of emails of sympathy that have flowed to the associations affected there has been a common thread of determination by Federation members to strengthen efforts to achieve programmes and objectives for a better world.

Most include all areas of IFUW interest, but it has also been pointed out that IFUW, particularly at this time, has limited resources. The Norwegian Association has broadcast an appeal for IFUW to concentrate on a major aim to promote higher education for women globally. They cite research that nothing has a higher impact on the development of a country than higher education for women. “We believe that IFUW has to focus on the university educated women and that higher education for women will change the world.”

Kathleen Laurilla, IFUW Vice President, agrees with this direction as a core focus for IFUW, but also reminds members of the issues relating to the Girl Child over the past decade for it is with the girl child that the process begins, and also of the changing ‘delivery system’ of higher education. It is necessary for IFUW to use its limited resources in a focussed way, but this does not limit federations in pursuing individual aims.

Differing views come from National Groups with lower educational levels such as the Pacific Group (PGWNet) members who are very conscious of the danger of their associations being considered elitist. Vanuatu’s first project was to prepare a register of university women for appointment to government boards, etc, and their second to award fellowships to secondary school girls to encourage them to proceed to university.

We need to consider our priorities as well as the interests of our members. AFUW has recently made an excellent submission on “Building University Diversity”. Dr Strauss’ submission is on the website ( and covers a wide field of problems of maintaining standards and accessibility, the meaning in Australia of the name ‘University’, and the problems posed by ‘for profit’ education institutions.

Are you interested in meeting IFUW members by email? When you sit down at your computer and receive emails from women from other countries, there is an immediate personal connection. You can join the list serv which has been set up on the IFUW site called “Connections” and you too can post information about your AFUW interests. You will receive many emails and be able to respond to members from around the world. “Connections” ( is bringing more and more members into active communication both interpersonally and with IFUW governance and policies. It is easy to join!

Kathleen Laurila is also encouraging members not to forget in our planning the Bina Roy Partners in Development Programme (BRPID) which encourages international solidarity and partnerships between IFUW federations and associations. Its primary goal is to support projects empowering women and girls through education and leadership development.

Donor contributions help pay the IFUW membership fees of national affiliates in more than 30 countries. This enables these groups to keep and invest an equivalent sum on local projects. In this way, the BRPID programme works for the advancement of women and girls while enabling groups of women graduates throughout the world to be part of IFUW - making IFUW a truly global organization.

Bev Pavey

Another of the IFUW Vice Presidents, Louise Croot, from New Zealand, attended the recent AFUW Council Meeting in Canberra and discussed with members the most recent developments, including the cost cutting measures being taken with regard to accommodation and staffing in Geneva.

Beverley adds to her report:
Are you thinking of travelling overseas? Put it in your forward planning for 2007.

IFUW 29th Triennial Conference 10-16 August 2007 in Manchester, England

The British Federation of Women Graduates welcomes everyone to Manchester, both to the IFUW Triennial Conference and to their centenary celebration. Manchester is where BFWG began in 1907.

Mary Kane reports the following from her exploration of related websites. She believes that some of our older members in particular may have enjoyed the benefits of a British fellowship in the past. The request is from Margaret Smeaton, a former Vice President of BFWG (1998-2001).

As many of you know in 2007 we shall be celebrating the one hundredth birthday of the British Federation during the IFUW colloquium in Manchester. At the very first meeting in 1907 one of the founder members expressed the idea that the Federation ought to establish a scholarship fund to help women graduates continue their research and studies. With only one or two breaks in the last 100 years the British Federation has been able to carry this out by awarding scholarships to women.

Were you, or anyone you know, awarded a BFUW/BFWG scholarship? If so we would like to hear from you. At which British university did you study and in what year were you awarded your post-graduate degree? What was the subject or area of your research? What have you done professionally since you were awarded your post graduate degree? We would like to know what has happened to those who were awarded scholarships.”

In an earlier Newsletter there was a feature on Crosby Hall, the BFUW/BFWG headquarters where members stayed in London, in fact some members joined AFUW so that they could stay there. A very wealthy British financier purchased the hall of residence in 1988, describing the complex as ugly 1960’s blocks but including the Hall, one of the best examples of mediaeval architecture in Britain, built by a 15th Century woolbroker. It had been moved from Bishopgate in 1910 to save it from demolition.

Letter from the IFUW President, Griselda Kenyon, September 2005

Dear All,

All of us have been shocked by the various disasters, both natural and terrorist, which have hit several parts of the world in the last few months. Many of us have been personally affected and the expressions of sympathy, fellowship and friendship, which have flowed between us have been sincerely meant. However, we must try to keep up the good intentions by doing positive things. IFUW has several programmes and projects through which we try in our own small way to make the world a better place. Can we all try to join together and each of us do what we can to contribute to friendship, solidarity and help?
I write after a busy few months travelling to meetings of AAUW, the University Women of Europe, Canadian Federation of University Women, the twenty-fifth Anniversary celebration of Project Five-O and a visit to Geneva. I received a very warm welcome from the members of AAUW attending their convention in Washington, DC. I made a formal speech in their plenary meeting about what IFUW does and also spoke in a number of side meetings on international relations as well as an after-dinner speech Everybody asked me masses of questions about IFUW and the Manchester Conference and finally voted against their Board proposal to change the constitution to enable AAUW to pull out of IFUW.

I am now corresponding with the new AAUW president, Ruth Sweetser, in an attempt to see what we can do about the financial differences on both sides. IFUW is short of money as are many NFAs as well as AAUW.

A reminder here, many NFAs, not only AAUW, have not paid their dues this year. I know that this is partly because they resent the AAUW position and are short of money themselves, BUT how does IFUW operate without money? Do professional women expect our staff to work without pay until they feel like paying up? If they do, this is disgraceful.

I have recently returned from the Canadian meeting. They have paid in advance for part of next year! They too were very friendly and welcoming, with lovely home hospitality, but, of course, it was a much smaller meeting. The meeting hall was decorated with beautiful hand made banners from each branch. They are very interested in IFUW and our international work, especially as to how they can help and participate in our UN work, can they twin with overseas branches, what plans do we have for Manchester, etc. Resolutions were on the Millennium Development Goals, impact of militarism on the environment, women in detention, sex exploitation of girls in polygamous communities, family law, schoolchildren who do long hours of paid work and health.

The University Women of Europe met in Cork, Ireland in June. The main discussion subject was trafficking of women in Europe. It was very interesting, but unfortunately, there seems to be very little planned follow-up. Observer work continues in the Council of Europe; we are well represented in the European Women’s Lobby, where the UWE President, Karine Henrotte Forsberg, is a Vice President; and many of us from all parts of Europe were present at the UN Economic Commission for Europe meeting, which was a preparation for the New York Commission on the Status of Women meeting discussing progress since the Beijing Conference ten years ago.

The twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of Project Five-O took place in Copenhagen in the first weekend of September. The attendees were mostly Soroptimists with the other organisations poorly represented, unfortunately. The agreement between IFUW, ICW, IFBPW, Soroptimists and Associated Countrywomen of the World to set up Project Five-O was finalised in Copenhagen during the second World Conference on Women there in 1980. (ACWW later withdrew and were replaced by Zonta.) It was done because it was felt that it was difficult for one organisation to set up projects alone and it would be easier to work together. The celebration was a happy occasion with a visit to the ballet, cheerful meals and a meeting attended by Ambassadors and other dignitaries based in Copenhagen as well as members. We also had a discussion on joint advocacy, which would be much more effective done jointly at the national level.

The reorganisation of the IFUW office has almost been decided. We shall be down to four people, which equals three full time positions. The jobs will have to be reassessed and reorganised. We are looking for smaller premises in Geneva for the moment. If the membership seriously wishes us to move to another country, we can draw up a list of conditions which will have to be fulfilled if an application for a particular country can be considered. This is still to be done, but if anyone wants it, it could be ready by the end of the year. Moving to another country would be difficult and expensive, the costs of redundancies, change of property contracts would be high and it would take several years.

We have the beginnings of a new dues system. Catherine Bell is working very hard on it. We are hoping to have a sliding scale based on the World Bank, GDI and NFA numbers. It will be a banded system. This is still being calculated.

Some of the Constitutional Amendments were not discussed at the Perth Conference, because they might involve Task Force decisions. The Committees are looking at some but if anyone has any ideas, please send them in before the end of the year. New Constitutional and Procedural Advisers are needed. Does anyone wish to nominate a candidate? We need a new group.

We have already put out a call for members with fundraising, marketing and public relations experience. We need more and ideas as well. Send them in, please.

Triennial Conference; Manchester: most of the arrangements and organizing have been handed over to the members of the British Federation who are hard at work. It will be one day shorter which means that there will be parallel sessions, workshops running at the same time as business or plenary sessions. This is inevitable if the work is to be squeezed into a shorter time, as was requested. We are trying to keep formal business to a minimum and possibly transfer some items to Council so we do not have repetition of material subsequently at Conference.

The Conference after Manchester 2010. We have no offers of hospitality. Would any NFA care to offer to host it for us?

Griselda Kenyon


We apologise to President, Rosemary Everett, that we have not had a regular Newsletter until now to include the News Sheet.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Tsunami appeal run by AFUW earlier this year. We had a magnificent response with over $2200 Australian being forwarded to the Sri Lanka Federation of University Women. That will provide one new house which will be a lasting memorial to your generosity. I hope to provide a fuller report in upcoming editions of Graduate Women.

Also, thank you to everyone who completed the survey form in the last issue of Graduate Women. The information provided will be very useful in determining the copy and layout for future editions.

Our major activity at the national level is the 33rd AFUW triennial conference from 21 to 21 April 2006 at University House in Canberra.

Planning is well under way with an enthusiastic local arrangements committee of Virginia Passmore (convener) Heather Nash, Jennifer Phillips, Reet Bergman and Rosemary Everett.

The registration fee was determined by Council at its last meeting at:

$375 Early Bird Registration forwarded to the Treasurer by 20 February 2006 or
$425 for Registration after 20 February 2006

Registration includes lunches (excluding Sunday), morning and afternoon teas, transport to receptions and conference dinner, name tags and satchels, papers for the business sessions, post-conference report and speakers papers.

Planned highlights of the conference include receptions at Government House and Parliament House, the Conference Dinner to be held at the Australian War Memorial Anzac Hall (only $75.00 for a three course dinner, pre-dinner drinks and after hours tour) and a range of inspiring women speakers at the Public Days.

The Public Day program to be held on the weekend comprises several distinguished speakers who will speak on varied aspects, both military and domestic, of the Role of Women in Peacekeeping, our conference theme. Public Day talks will be open to both conference attendees and the general public.

The conference is the supreme policy authority of AFUW, so is an important part of the life of our organisation, allowing members the opportunity to express their points of view on a range of policy and administration matters. It is also a great opportunity to network with old and new friends and listen to a range of stimulating speakers.

Hospitality at a member’s home is being offered by the Canberra ACT Branch on the Sunday evening and will give attendees a further opportunity to meet Canberra branch members.

Canberra is a city of natural beauty and many attractions. The city is home to the Australian Parliament, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Museum of Australia, the Australian Institute of Sport, the Australian War Memorial, the Australian Botanic Gardens and three universities. We invite visitors to sample the many restaurants, enjoy a walk around Lake Burley Griffin and visit the many galleries and exhibitions on display. Nearby are several wineries where visitors can sample the district’s award winning wines. Browse the web at or phone 1300 554 114 to enquire about other attractions and accommodation in Canberra.

You are encouraged to stay an extra night and celebrate Anzac Day in the National Capital. Activities include the Dawn Service, the Anzac Parade and wreath laying ceremony at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Australian War Memorial. Over 20,000 attended the Dawn Service this year - a very moving occasion.

Further details on the conference will be provided in Graduate Women.

The AFUW Council met on 2 July 2005 and the major decisions taken that day were:

Our communication strategy was determined. Each STA President has a copy and it is hoped it will be distributed widely amongst the membership of AFUW so that we may work together to communicate more widely and effectively.

AFUW to join the IFUW regional group, University Women of Asia (UWA). We recognise there are many members in AFUW who have links with Asia, so Council voted to join, hoping that the contacts made will benefit both AFUW and UWA.

The Registrar has prepared material on the role of the Register to be included in the next edition of Graduate Women. There will be a form attached to the magazine so that we may update our details. I would hope you complete and return it to the Registrar (her address will be on the form) so that we may keep our details up to date.

This is an important part of AFUW’s work, as it is vital for any organisation to keep its records up to date. We are also asking which members have a particular field of interest where they might be interested in participating in a discussion group when required.

This is all about increasing the profile of AFUW in the community and with the Australian Government Office for Women, so I look forward to hearing that the forms have been completed and returned to the Registrar.

Even though the Terms of Reference for Standing Committees were updated at the March 2004 Council meeting, it has been decided that they need updating again. Conveners of the Standing Committees will be submitting their changes to a future Council meeting. Once updated, they will be forwarded to all the STAs so that members know of the latest plan.

We are compiling a consolidated list of scholarships and the philosophy behind them which will be printed in Graduate Women.

Contributions on updating the AFUW Policy and Attitudes document are required in preparation for endorsing our previous policies that are still current at the next conference.

Members have been encouraged to submit a paper for the interdisciplinary seminars for the next IFUW Triennial Conference in Manchester in August 2007. Further queries should be directed to Jennifer Strauss, the coordinator for this at:

The advocacy issues involving AFUW recently have been:

Letters to the Minister for Education, Science and Training and the shadow minister, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, Leader of the Government in the Senate, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate expressing our strong agreement to the Australian Vice-Chancellors Committee in their opposition to the Government’s proposal to bring in Voluntary Student Unionism and to withdraw the legislation from consideration in the Senate. We feel that the student unions provide many important social and educational facilities for students which will deprived under the legislation.

Letters to the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, President of the USA and Secretary-General of the United Nations in relation to the treatment of women under the proposed constitution being drafted in Iraq. AFUW has long supported the Security Council Resolution 1325 which calls for more women to be involved in the decision making processes in their countries.

AFUW joined in with other NGOs to prepare papers and submissions on the proposed government reforms to the welfare to work schemes. AFUW participated in this via our membership of the Security4Women secretariat. It was great that three of the four secretariats were able to join together to prepare these submissions.

There have also been visits to various government ministers as well as a lot of media reporting. We engaged the National and T Sector Modelling from the University of Canberra to do the research for us. This provided independent research from a well respected part of academia. It is gratifying to see how much the members of parliament have taken notice of the research they provided for us.

AFUW has been asked to participate in providing information to the Australian Government in preparation for the United Nations Commission for the Status of Women. This is an annual meeting in New York at the beginning of March for about a fortnight. Each member of Council has been provided with a questionnaire to complete on behalf of their STA or Standing Committee.

If you are interested in participating in this activity, please contact your STA President who I am sure will be happy to provide you with a copy of the questions. I will be attending a meeting with the Office for Women at the beginning of November to further advance our aims on this.

The Australian Government is also required to submit regular reports to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). These are considered by the UN each four years. The last two reports submitted by the Australian Government are due for debate at the UN in January 2006.

CEDAW is the major human rights treaty for women and was ratified by Australian in 1983. The Australian Government’s Office for Women is responsible for monitoring Australia’s obligations under CEDAW and for preparing the reports to the UN.

If you are interested in the last two reports, they are available at the following website:

Women in Australia - Australia's Combined Fourth and Fifth Reports on Implementing the United Nation's Convention Against the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

AFUW is lodging a submission on this report and a copy will be uploaded onto the AFUW website in due course.

If you have any queries on any of these matters or anything else relating to AFUW activities, please let me know. My contact details are on the back page of Graduate Women.

Rosemary A Everett


Gaynor Reeves, Co-ordinator, writes: The SAAP theme for the IFUW triennium 2004 - 2007 is Women: Agents for Change. Branches have their individual ways of promoting this theme and AFUW-NSW is also supporting two projects with the help of Branches who are invited to forward to the AFUW-NSW Treasurer their contributions specifically designated for SAAP. The projects are our ongoing support for a Cambodian woman student and AFUW's "Green” Bags for the PGW Net.

The Australian Aid to Cambodia Fund is very grateful for the support which we provide for a woman student to the Maharishi Vedic University (MVU) which is the only rural university in Cambodia and which now has over 1000 students. Past graduates are now playing a considerable role in helping their country to develop in many ways and our women students are among them.

Another activity which AFUW-NSW will be supporting is AFUW's "Green” Bag project which is one aimed at supporting our Pacific Graduate Women Network by donating printed bags to publicise their organisation. AFUW President Rosemary Everett will write further about this project in the next issue of Graduate Women.

The background to the “green” bag story.

On 25 September, 2005, following her attendance at the Conference National President, Rosemary Everett, sent the following to members of the AFUW Council.

During the PGWNet and the Samoan Association conference earlier this week, there was discussion about the impact of global warming in the Pacific. Just looking at the small distance between the current level of the ocean and just how little rise there needs to be before there is much flooding of the beautiful islands of the Pacific made me raise this topic with the President of the Samoan Association. This conversation spread and Tevi, as President of the Samoan Association, said there were quite a few people in Samoa who were also concerned about the effects of global warming. Tevi also mentioned that many women in Samoa wished to not use plastic bags to take their shopping home from the shops.

I thought it would be an excellent idea if AFUW could help out SAWG by contributing green bags. Tevi was overjoyed with this offer. Hence, I said I would send over 100 'green' bags for members to use.

By this stage, it seemed a mini world conference was taking place as other members outside Samoa joined in the conversations. What I ended up suggesting to Tevi was that I would investigate having the AFUW and SAWG logos placed on the bags. In this way, we would be advertising both NFAs around Samoa. The SAWG conference received a lot of publicity amongst the community, so people in the community are starting to learn and remember SAWG. I am sure this will help SAWG expand in the future.

AFUW would receive publicity for this project prior to forwarding the bags to Samoa. Tevi has said she would exploit the media over there to spread the story and she would sell the bags with the proceeds going to their dictionary project, which received a prize at the IFUW conference last year (details on SAWG and IFUW websites). This would ensure that what SAWG receives from AFUW is being spread throughout their community. It would also mean that AFUW and SAWG are extending the educational objective of IFUW.

I should also mention that the NZ Federation asked what they could do to help global warming in the Pacific and it was agreed that what AFUW is doing to help SAWG, they would do for Fiji.

How do you feel about this as a project for AFUW? I would imagine this would form a good part of our triennial project to IFUW and be a demonstration of how the regional network is pushing forward in a very practical manner.

I have said to Tevi AFUW would keep a couple of the bags here in Australia so that we may show our members how we are helping other NFAs and she has said that this is essential.

It was obvious from the answering emails that there was support for the idea; the emails flowed with suggestions and queries about the practicalities. Rosemary indicated that by “green” bags she had meant re-usable calico bags. At the national Council meeting Rosemary reported on her progress and the pros and cons were raised. You will hear more about this story and how you can help.



In July, Vice President, Ann Ghandar, addressed us about Music at the UNE.

The debate about whether music is a language or not has distracted attention from the basic fact that if we take the word language in its broadest sense, as meaning a form of communication, then it must be acknowledged that music is a very powerful language. Moreover, languages have as many individual qualities as there are people to speak them, because our way of speaking them expresses our personality. Just as a turn of phrase, or a tone of voice, can allow us to recognise an individual speaker even if we are not familiar with the subject matter, so in music we can often recognise who has composed a particular piece even if we have never heard it before.

Composition for music students is very much like essay writing for English students: in the same way that it is hard to imagine a graduate of English who has never written an essay, similarly composition is an integral part of developing music literacy.

What Charles Ives said about money could just as well be applied to music composition:
does not give a few fish most of the ocean, or the biggest part of the earth very little sunlight and the smallest part most of the light.
does not give a few fish most of the ocean, or the biggest part of the earth very little sunlight and the smallest part most of the light.

Charles Ives, Essays Before A Sonata and Other Writings, ed. Howard Boatwright, London, Calder and Boyars, 1969, p.146

Ann decided to celebrate her 31st anniversary of teaching Composition at The University of New England by expressing some deeply held convictions about composition teaching generally.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!! That’s the message Bruce Ryan, from the Office of Fair Trading, told us at our September meeting.

Bruce gave us tips on how we can all become scam smart and avoid being ripped off by con artists and swifties. He says you don’t have to look far to find examples of dubious deals and fantastic promises of easy money and vast profits. Yet many of the scams are so transparent they are laughable however they continue to suck people in to lose thousands of dollars.

For example how can you win millions from an overseas lottery when you have never even bought a ticket or someone from Nigeria offering you 25 million dollars!!

From pyramid schemes, David Rhodes chain letters and work from home scams to itinerant tradesmen and miracle cures, Bruce says to be on your guard and never take offers at face value.

But there’s a lot more to Fair Trading than just scam busters. “From the cradle to the grave’ is one way Bruce described the range of Fair Trading’s services.

Bruce told how Fair Trading helps us all on a daily basis, such as…

  • checking petrol pumps and shop scales to ensure they are accurate
  • licensing real estate agents, travel agents, tradesmen and builders
  • ensuring products like baby wear and children’s toys are safe
  • registering business names
  • administering incorporated associations, retirement villages and even funeral funds
  • Intervention in disputes between consumers and traders to assist in the resolution of complaints


On 8 July, City Branch hosted a lunch for International Irish visitor Hilaiy Roche at the Bennelong Restaurant. Hilary is the current President of the Dublin Women’s Graduate Association. All twelve participants said they enjoyed the occasion and Hilary’s insightful talk on the Irish Education System. - How It Works.

Hilary is advisor to the Irish Minister for Education and Science and is part of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. The Council is responsible for early childhood, primary and post-primary levels of education under the Irish 1998 Education Act.

In 1998 the Statutory Authority to assess curriculum was established and Hilary as Director has been seeking out Best Practice models for the National Council.

Their current Partnership Model involves a number of stakeholders including, Teachers’ Union, Employers, Board of Management Groups, Department of Education and Science and Children with Special Needs Groups.

In Ireland there are no State operated Pre-schools for 0-6 yrs and in her visit to Australia and New Zealand she has been gathering data on education programs operating successfully.

She spoke of her love of languages and her involvement in ensuring that all Irish children had access to both English and Gaelic curricula. A pilot program is currently being trialled to expose young children also to languages from other cultures as Ireland’s workforce becomes increasingly multicultural with its recruitment program for overseas workers.

Currently concerned about boys’ academic performance compared with girls’ at the Post-primary level, they have commenced a longitudinal study which has been in place for three years.

The afternoon in a beautiful setting, in a beautiful building was memorable with much laughter, good food and sharing of experiences.

Lunch and a meeting at the National Trust Café Observatory Hill enabled some members to visit the S.H. Irvin Gallery (which is literally next door) and see the exhibition by female artists for the Portia Geach Memorial Award. Members were also lucky to have their President Christine proceed to give interesting insights into Aboriginal Painting.

An outdoor lunch in the courtyard of Sydney Hospital was the venue for a talk on Charles Dickens' Bleak House.

The City Branch will continue to give small monetary scholarships to Tertiary Preparation Students each year. This year we have chosen Ultimo TAFE as well as Meadowbank TAFE. The Tertiary Preparation Course is a course aimed at mature age students who for various reasons have missed out on the usual HSC pathway as an entry to University. The women are usually of mature age and have overcome many obstacles in their pursuit of Higher Education.


At its June meeting, we were treated to a most enjoyable and enlightening talk by the local MP for Willoughby, Gladys Berejiklian. Gladys has an impressive curriculum vitae for one so young, having amongst other degrees, a Master of Commerce, entering State Parliament from a career in banking. She emphasized she had not personally met with any discrimination in her banking career but had friends who were married with young children who had been affected because of their gender and parental status.

On entering Parliament the atmosphere changed completely. She admitted the adversarial nature of the Chamber was quite daunting at first. It is male dominated, mainly because of the numbers. This is perhaps not very overt but she told us one has to shout to make oneself heard and one has to fight to get one’s point across. This does not come naturally to someone brought up to be polite.

She noticed her own friends’ attitude towards her also changed once she entered Parliament and this was just another of those things with which she had to come to terms.

Her election campaign taught her a lot because she soon realized she had to work hard and be thoroughly well researched in all the topics in which her constituents were interested.

Quotas for women in politics is something she strongly opposes as this leads to the assumption “she’s only there because she’s a woman” and not because of her own ability. She would like to see all political parties presenting specific policies for helping women in politics. Women, she feels, have a more “hands-on” approach to problems than men have and their dealings with constituents is more direct.

Gladys told us that in her opinion politics is definitely changing and possibly for the better where women are concerned. As an example of this she cited that there are now specific sitting hours so that a woman with a family knows exactly when she will be able to leave the House. Also, there is a greater challenge evident for local members to become more involved in constituents’ needs and this is something women are particularly good at.

Gladys answered a number of our questions with great frankness and good humour and we were left hoping that there would be more young women like her willing to take up this important role in the future.

As the guest speaker at our Annual General Meeting on September 5th, the North Shore Branch was delighted to welcome back one of our former members and presidents, Susan Stannard. Susan had left us for the Southern Highlands some years ago so it was a great pleasure to hear of her activities and those of her family since then.

Members of our Branch had visited Susan’s protea farm at Robertson on a number of occasions but the drought had brought that enterprise to an end so it was with great interest we learnt of her and her husband’s branching out into the publication of a quarterly journal called “Scots”.

It was because of her involvement with this magazine that she purposed to speak to us on the contribution made to Australian society over the past two centuries by Scottish settlers. From earliest days of white settlement the Scottish element was present. Captain Cook’s father was a Scot and many other Scots such as John Hunter, had a great influence during the early days of settlement in Australia.

The Jacobite revolution had a great impact on Scotland and resulted in a wave of emigration to many parts of the world. In fact, there are more people of Scottish descent in Australia than there are resident in Scotland today where the population totals only about five million.

Most of the Scots who initially immigrated to Australia were farmers. Australian landowners in those early days would go to the ports when ships from Great Britain came in and call out in Gaelic, offering work on their farming properties. Many had had very hazardous voyages to arrive in Australia and sadly, many, especially young children, did not survive the arduous conditions. Those who did survive must have been greatly cheered to see such good, flat, arable land compared with the rocky country they had been used to in their homeland. In Australian agriculture, especially, Scots have made a great impact. Indeed, many breeds of cattle and dogs have originated in Scotland. One only has to hear the words Aberdeen Angus and such like terms to realize this.

Susan feels that much of the egalitarian attitude that characterizes Australia today was a quality brought by these early Scottish settlers. Mateship was a development from kinship and clanship. Often whole extended families and groups of neighbours from the same village would emigrate together.

On their arrival in Australia they would all help each other, particularly when times were difficult.

Susan obviously struck a chord with many in her audience and was plied with questions about clans, tartans etc. which she answered with great knowledge and good humour. She also provided back copies of ”Scots” for us to take away and pore over the beautiful photographs at our leisure.


In June Dr Anne Young, a statistician, who has worked on the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, widely known as Women’s Health Australia, spoke to us about the ten year project. 40,000 women throughout Australia participate in the study, in which some 30,000 still participate after 10 years- quite a feat to track all these women with all the name changes, changes of address etc. The project is jointly run by the University of Newcastle and the University of Queensland, however, all the data collection is done in Newcastle.

The study represents three generations:

The younger women, aged 18-23 when first recruited in 1996 (n = 14247)

The mid-age women, aged initially 45-50 (n = 13716)

The older women, aged 70-75 when first recruited (n = 12432)

Features of the study design include: Women were randomly selected from the Medicare database. Women in rural and remote areas of Australia were intentionally over-sampled. Every three years a questionnaire is mailed to the cohort targeted.

Many government departments gain information for planning from this initial research. This research has changed government policy. This health study is run by the Department of Health and costs $1.4 million per year. An overview of the study can be located on its website:

At our August meeting Bill Chambers who is a highly qualified scuba diving instructor and National Photography Judge spoke on underwater photography of marine life. Our September Meeting- was an Art/Crafts Morning Tea held at President, Hilary Alexander’s’ home. 40 people enjoyed displays of African Violets, photography, quilting, spinning and weaving and watercolour paintings. Over $800 was raised for our two East Timorese girls that we support at St Joseph’s.

The Branch was pleased to host the AFUW - NSW AGM at the Capri Plaza Hotel in Newcastle with lunch and guest speaker, Margaret Winn. She spoke animatedly but frankly about her experiences on aid projects particularly with women.


At our Dinner Meeting in June, 50 members and guests enjoyed the friendly surroundings and hearty food at the Red Carp restaurant in Cowra’s Japanese Gardens.

Deborah Hoolihan, the 2003 recipient of our post graduate scholarship, spoke to us to express her appreciation for this award in assisting her to achieve a significant milestone in her studies. She outlined some of the hurdles that confronted her as she battled with the vagaries of university fee structures and the sense of achievement and purpose she felt when completing a teaching practicum in an isolated rural community. Applications for this year’s scholarship closed on September 30th. The winner will be announced prior to dinner at our November meeting.

Continuing with a very rural theme our guest speaker Dr Louise Baker addressed the audience on a matter that made us realise the importance of
collegial support and the vital role that technology plays in keeping remote communities in contact with specialist medical assistance. As Louise guided us through the role she has in teaching and supporting young medical practitioners in remote locations throughout Australia, we became aware of the vital link that this programme has established and the fragile nature of its existence.

A smaller than usual number of members and guests attended our August function at “Eat Your Greens’ in Eugowra. Once again the pleasant outlook and comfortable surroundings of this establishment provided a suitable venue for our AGM and luncheon that followed.

Owing to the commitments associated with his office, Federal Magistrate Stephen Scarlett was unable to join us on this occasion. In his absence we invited a wonderful lady, Cowra Art Gallery director, Ms Jacqui Schultz. Jacqui spoke of her education in the U.S. and how she travelled to Australia to be near her family.

The enthusiasm and passion Jacqui has for the Cowra Art Gallery, her thoughtful planning of exhibitions, their promotion throughout the region, and her expertise in this field have surely enhanced the status of the gallery in art circles across NSW. Jacqui’s main topic on this occasion was the exhibition about to open at the gallery, The Archibald Prize. Some history, some controversy, and several anecdotes relating to this icon of the Australian art landscape made for an entertaining after lunch talk.


A Christmas in Winter fund-raising lunch was held in July, hosted by Lyn and Merle Thompson, attended by Branch members, guests and members of North Shore Branch. The funds raised ensured that the Branch is able to meet its commitments for the year, principally the Gladys Weiler award to a Year 11 student at Katoomba High School and the Branch’s membership of Virginia Gildersleeve. Interviews for the award have been held and a presentation will be held during the current school term.

In September the Branch held its annual book discussion at the home of Margaret Erwood. The book chosen this year was The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard. This was a lively discussion because, while all members present had enjoyed the book, they had a variety of responses to many aspects of the work – the concept of fire, the characterisations and the different styles apparent in different sections of the book. The consensus was that it is a quality book but did not warrant the claim that it proves that Shirley Hazzard is the greatest writer in the English language at this time.

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