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Gender Equality Taskforce celebrates year of empowerment

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The City of Casey’s Gender Equality Taskforce recently gathered to mark the end of a constructive and empowering year of working towards a safe, gender-equitable society.

As a part of the global ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence’ campaign, the community taskforce participated in family violence training, facilitated by Women’s Health in the South East. They learned what drives violence against women in our community, actions we can take to stop violence by becoming active bystanders, and how to manage disclosures.

The following week, the taskforce came together in a ‘celebration and learning workshop’ to reflect on their work throughout the year. A highlight of the year was piloting the new ‘Safe in Her City’ gender audit tool to promote safety for women in our open spaces and infrastructure. This project attracted national accolades with a commendation in the 2021 Australian Urban Design Awards.

Themes emerging from the workshop included the group feeling more confident as individuals, opportunities to network and learn, project management skills and building on the strengths of collaboration between like-minded, passionate women.

Participants used words like ‘empowered’, ‘inspiring’, and ‘safe’ to describe their involvement in the taskforce, and said they loved belonging to a group that contributes to a safe and equal Casey. 

“This taskforce has truly changed my life,” said Gender Equality Taskforce member Nayema, “it has gotten me out of the house, connected me with people and provided lots of opportunities for learning and growth.”

“This is my happy place! I love being with these inspiring, experienced and knowledgeable women who are taking action,” said Kim, a taskforce member.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is a global campaign to engage individuals, communities and organisations to address gender inequalities, gender-based violence and take action to prevent violence before it starts. The campaign runs from 25 November to 10 December, and this year the City of Casey facilitated a range of activities within the community.  

The taskforce worked with Casey Cardinia Libraries who ran online sessions for children promoting books on respect and equality and facilitated an interactive confidence building workshop encouraging children to write affirmations. The awareness these activities can build in young children and their families is an important part of primary prevention.

Next year the Gender Equality Taskforce participants want to move beyond themselves to share what they have learned with those involved in community-based projects, and they plan to play a key role in the implementation of the upcoming 10 Year Gender Equality and Family Violence Prevention Strategy.

For more information on how you can be active bystanders and ‘respect women and call it out’, check out the Respect Victoria campaign videos: Campaigns | Respect Victoria.

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