On Friday the 18th of August, the Wom*n’s Collective held the Wom*n’s Networking Brunch at Three Bears Kitchen on Market Street. The brunch was an opportunity for wom*n, transgender, gender diverse and intersex people in higher education to network and mingle and discuss issues that impact them and the wider community’s wom*n. The event was part of the Wom*n’s Collective’s initiative with the National Tertiary Education Union to support wom*n in higher education, particularly First Nations wom*n and wom*n of colour.

The event provided an opportunity for younger wom*n to discuss future directions with those academics and professionals they were most interested in talking to. Many of the guests were academics of the University of Newcastle, specializing in varying areas of education and research. As a university community and as a society, we must continue to provide a platform for wom*n and gender diverse people in all fields, which includes acknowledging the pay gap of 10% in higher education.

While the gender pay gap exists at ten percent for wom*n working in education, this excludes the lived experiences of racial discrimination and social exclusion for people of colour. It excludes the emotional tax that transgender, intersex and gender diverse individuals face every day on university campuses. The gender pay gap does not represent the reality that wom*n – especially people living with mental and/or physical conditions may have interrupted careers in their lives.

The guests included: Dr. Sara Motta, a mother, feminist writer, and lecturer in Politics at the university. Sara works extensively to redefine emancipatory politics. Sara’s book, ‘Liminal Subjectivities: Weaving (Our) Liberation’ is to be published in 2018.

Dr. Kcasey McLoughlin is a lecturer in Law at the University of Newcastle and a Supreme Court of NSW solicitor. Her doctoral research looks into gender and how it impacts the contributions of wom*n judges in the High Court of Australia. Kcasey has also written about abortion, sexual violence against wom*n, paid parental leave and gendered constructions in language.

Dr. Trisha Pender is a Senior Lecturer in English and Writing at the University of Newcastle, focusing on Renaissance women writers and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Trisha is currently studying royal Tudor women’s textual production and developing the new Gender, Generation and Culture network at UoN. Trisha will bring a singalong Buffy musical event to This is Not Art festival in 2017.

Dr. Faith Curtis is a lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Newcastle. Her doctoral research focused on care-full intercultural interactions between people with refugee and non-refugee backgrounds in Newcastle. Faith is also the co-creator of UP&UP, a social enterprise which aims at community engagement through creative arts.

Linda Drummond is Research Communications Coordinator in the Research and Innovation division at the University of Newcastle. Linda is an Alumnus of UoN, and served as NUSA Media Officer, Women’s Officer and as a representative at National Union of Students conferences. Linda currently engages in promoting extraordinary wom*n at UoN in line with SAGE (Science Gender Equity) guidelines.

Megan Sharp is a PhD student in sociology. She uses the intersection between lived experience and theoretical paradigms to explore female identities within subcultures, particularly in punk and hardcore spaces, which are typically male dominated, through a queer and feminist lens.

Dr. Akane Kanai work draws on feminist cultural studies and feminist sociological theory. Her doctoral research focuses on how young wom*n interact with and negotiate social demands of individuality through Tumblr. Her research includes gender, race and youth, through a feminist lens.

Dr. Una Rey, a graduate of Northern Territory University, now Charles Darwin University and now a teacher of Art History and Theory at the University of Newcastle. Una works as an independent researcher and curator. Her research includes intercultural and cross-cultural practices.

With the support of the wider university community, the Wom*n’s Collective can host more events of the like in the future, to encourage young and emerging wom*n and gender diverse people to network with others in their fields of interest.

Thanks to Paris Drinkwater of Newy Digital for photographing the event.

Head to https://galleries.newydigital.com/womnsnetworkingbrunch/ to see the rest of the photos of the day.