The Women’s Portfolio is run by the Women’s Officer with the support of a subcommittee consisting of eight female-identifying students. It seeks to organise events and opportunities for female-identifying students throughout the course of the year and, in particular, aims to facilitate a network of women at Sydney Law School and within the wider legal profession.
Some of the key events and programs run by the Women’s Portfolio include:
SULS & UNSW Law Society: Gender and the Law Summit
Sponsored by Clayton Utz
Following the success of past years, SULS & UNSW Law Society presented the intervarsity Gender and the Law Summit on 21 May 2016. The summit aimed to evoke discussion on prominent issues affecting women and the law. It was also an important opportunity to forge positive connections between female students and professionals engaged in the law.
The day featured a keynote address from Dr Mehreen Faruqi, Greens MP and a leading abortion law reformist in NSW. She shared her insightful and detailed perspectives of the Australian political system and the position of women championing change. Following the keynote, there were two panels titled: 'Workplace culture and gender relations in the legal profession' and 'Indigenous women and the prison system'.
The first panel ignited lively and expansive discussion, featuring Public Defender Kara Shead, former President of the NSW Bar Association and Barrister Jane Needham SC and Deputy Chief Executive Partner of Clayton Utz Kate Jordan. The panellists were very candid about the sexism that was often faced in a corporate environment, but also very optimistic about the available mentoring networks that could be used to address such issues. Having a diverse range of professions, different issues were identified. For instance, the proportion of female senior counsel is still a disappointing figure. However, the panel was extremely constructive by outlining current strategies that enhanced gender discourse and equalised workplace policy, as well as elucidating their visions for future developments in gender equality.
In the second panel there was also fiercely frank and eye-opening accounts of prison system deficiencies, and the many ways in which the prison system is still inherently discriminatory. Dr Ruth McCausland presented an academic evaluation of how race and gender shape the demographics of prison. Elizabeth McEntyre, a PhD in Social Work and Criminology explained how wrongful diagnoses and mental health issues plague many imprisoned women. Bernadine Harding, a woman on remand with lived experiences of the prison system, gave a compelling and unsettling account of her experiences with the justice system. Kat Armstrong also elaborated her own experiences in prison and thus explained how her program, the Women in Prison Advocacy Network, arose to support women who are released from prison and are transitioning into employment.
The 2016 Summit provided eye-opening and important insights into the many gender equality struggles that women face today, but also illuminated a hopeful path that we can construct to counteract discrimination.
King & Wood Mallesons Women’s Mentoring Program
For the past twelve years, SULS has been running the Women’s Mentoring Program to pair senior female law students with women working in an area of the legal profession that is of interest to them.
For more information, click here.
Ashurst Women's Networking Breakfast
The networking breakfast runs hand-in-hand each year with our mentoring program, allowing students to interact with women in the legal profession in an informal setting. Further detail will be provided closer to the event.
Yemaya is an interdisciplinary Journal of Gender and Sexuality published by the Sydney University Law Society.
For more information, click here.
Panels and Thought Discussions
The Women's Committee also convenes panels that debate gender issues relating to the law and legal profession. In semester 1, the committee held the Intergenerational Feminism Panel, bringing together different generational experiences and ideologies across the law. The panellists included Crown Prosecutor Nanette Williams, Sydney Law School's Professor Helen Irving and Sydney Law School students Natalie Czapski (LLB VI) and Tina Huang (LLB II), who all shared nuanced insights into changing gender equality issues.
The Women’s Officer liaises with organisations such as Women’s Legal Services NSW to promote volunteering opportunities in relation to the provision of legal services and support for women across NSW. Any available positions will be advertised by the Women’s Officer. Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Women's support services
At the University of Sydney, the majority of students identify as women; yet, the treatment of women on and off campus still leaves much to be desired. Women often face significant barriers when engaging with health and legal services, and violence against women is a vastly ignored social issue.
While progress has been made, there is still work to be done before anything resembling gender equality can be achieved, both at university and in society in general. The University of Sydney has several groups on campus that provide a social space and advocate on behalf of women, as well as connections to off-campus services that can assist female students during their time at university.
Sydney University Law Society (SULS), Women’s Officer
For inquiries relating to any issues, please feel free to contact the Women’s Officer at email@example.com or visit the SULS office.
USYD Women’s Collective
The University of Sydney’s SRC Women’s Collective is a group of woman-identifying students who meet weekly for discussion and to autonomously plan events and campaigns around issues that affect women on campus. The Women’s Collective is run by the elected Women’s Officers. The Collective holds social gatherings, publishes Growing Strong and Women’s Honi, as well as co-ordinating intervarsity and off-campus events.
There are also autonomous subgroups within the Collective – such as the Women of Colour Collective and Queer Women Collective – which hold their own meetings and organise their own events.
The Women’s Collective meets on Wednesdays at 1pm in the Women’s Room. The Women’s Room is located on Level 2, Manning House.
Women of Colour Collective: https://www.facebook.com/groups/502317086477436/
USU Women’s Students Event Coordinator
The USU Women’s Students Event Coordinator runs events and campaigns on campus related to women issues. Their role focuses on promoting women’s rights and safety on campus.
For more information, contact the USU Women’s Students Event Coordinator, Kate Bullen, on 0424 628 831.
Women’s Legal Service NSW
The Women’s Legal Service NSW is a community legal centre providing women across NSW who are disadvantaged by their circumstances with a range of free legal services. These services include the Domestic Violence Legal Service and Indigenous Women’s Legal Program, as well as general legal advice and casework. They also foster legal and social change through community legal education and law and policy reform.
A: PO Box 206, Lidcombe NSW 1825
P: 8745 6900 (general enquiries) or 8745 6988 (advice line)
NSW Rape Crisis Centre
The NSW Rape Crisis Centre offers 24/7 telephone and online counselling services for anyone who is at risk of or has experienced sexual assault, family or domestic violence. Counsellors can also provide support for non offending family members and friends.
P: 1800 424 017
NSW Health Sexual Assault Services
The NSW Health Sexual Assault Services are stations staffed by specially trained counsellors based in hospitals or community health centres across NSW. These offices offer 24-hour crisis counselling, medical care and forensic tests, as well information regarding legal action and police contact.
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
A: Missenden Road, Camperdown NSW 2050
P (24 hours): 9515 6111
Royal North Shore Hospital
A: Building 30, Block 1A, Pacific Highway, St Leonards 1A
Phone (24 hours): 9926 7111