Friday, March 8 marks International Women’s Day. A day that celebrates the achievements of women and the drive towards gender parity.

The WA Police Union is encouraging more women to get involved in unionism through WAPU’s Network of Women (NOW) and the Women’s Forum.

The Forum, which is entering its fourth year, will be held on Friday, June 14 at WAPU HQ and this year it is tackling the theme ‘Action for Change – how taking action can be the catalyst for change’.

While the percentage of female representation in the WA Police Force has improved from 19.7 per cent in 2008 to 23.2 per cent in 2018, WAPU NOW Vice Chairperson Kareene Santoro said it was important to keep encouraging women to take part in union activities.

“In WA Police, women make up just over 23 per cent of the workforce, but this number in the past six years has been under-represented within our Police Union,” she said.

“It is important to increase the women in unionism to ensure that women, their views, and issues are represented and that we further the rights of our women and men in the workplace, whether that be in relation to maternity/parental leave, caring for elderly parents, flexible or part-time agreements, etc.”

WAPU NOW Secretary Jeanette Maddison agreed.

“It is important that our Union has diversity across its Members, Branch delegates and Board of Directors. Diversity does not only include gender, but also includes (and is not limited to), age, race, disability,” she said.

Over the past few years, the WA Police Union has improved female representation across Branches and the Board of Directors.

“Due to the work of the NOW over the last four years, we now have fair representation of women at Branch level and on the Board of Directors. We would like to continue the good work of the NOW by encouraging women to embrace unionism, and as this year’s Forum suggests, take action now for change into the future,” Ms Maddison said.

The 2019 WAPU NOW Forum has secured a range of different speakers, including keynote speaker, Rabia Siddique.

Ms Siddique, who has previously worked as legal counsel to former Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan, will speak about about her work as a former criminal, war crimes, terrorism and human rights lawyer and being a hostage survivor.

She also speaks about her eight-year military career where she served as an officer in England, Northern Ireland and the Middle East. Ms Siddique was also one of the first Armed Forces Employment Law Officers which saw her run equality and diversity training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

The WAPU NOW Forum also includes guest speakers Diana MacTiernan, WA Equal Opportunity Commission, Commission Services Manager, and Greg Stewart from GESB.

Further information on the 2019 WAPU NOW Forum will be released in coming weeks.