The Gender Justice in Disaster: Inspiring Action Conference was launched on Tuesday evening with a panel of Dr Niki Vincent, Cathy McGowan, and Dr Meagan Tyler, interviewed by Commander Donna Wheatley. The launch was introduced by Amanda Kelly, WHGNE CEO and a Welcome to Country given by  N’arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM. The Honorable Gabrielle Williams, MP opened the event by video. A great start!
Catch up with this live-streamed, in-person event here!

Opening session
Helen Riseborough opened the virtual International conference this morning for the GAD Pod, acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we all met, right across the world, and paying our respect to Elders, past, present and emerging. We are grateful to the generous support of the Australian Institute of Disaster Resilience. WAFA (Women and Firefighting Australasia) is a second partner in this exciting initiative.
Blueprint for Gender Equality, Diversity and Systemic Change
This stimulating session challenged and provoked, and gets to the heart of what is needed for positive, embedded change. Conference delegates can watch again for two weeks as Stuart Ellis, CEO of AFAC makes the point that passive language is distorting our thinking. He gave examples of terms like 'pay equity' instead of 'men paying women less', and terms that omit the man as central to violent acts. As Professor Bob Pease noted in previous conferences, normative discrimination is that of men against women. Liam Leonard, GAD Pod Associate and former Director of GLHV (now Rainbow Health) facilitates this compelling discussion. Professor Guony Byork Eydal from the University of Iceland (perhaps surprisingly) said the Nordic nations can learn from us. We can learn from the decades' long Nordic experience of paid parental leave for mothers and fathers equally, and benefit from the outcomes for all. Hear insights from Donna Stolzenberg, Australian of the Year for Victoria; Arjan Cheema, Australian Red Cross; and Lucy Saaroni, CFA. Highly recommended!
Hear challenges from the Lead-In session authors!
Steve O'Malley, GAD Pod Associate and 32 year fire fighter (AFSM) with Fire Rescue Victoria moderates a panel featuring four protagonists from the Lead-In sessions. Although you can't watch this conference session unless registered as a delegate or with a sponsored ticket, you can watch the Lead-In sessions.

Go to the conference website and click on Lead-In Sessions.

In this session, the panellists push their point, arguing brilliantly for recognition that gender is diverse. Gains are possible through alliances of women and LGBTIQA+ people!  Valourisation of one particular kind of heroism and masculinity  has to stop - if only in the name of accuracy. Other key points reference Australia's first climate refugees, insurance, storytelling and myths (old and new) and inclusion of children in emergency planning.
Audience questions are answered in real time.

Join in the next eleven sessions to be part of this timely and essential shift.
Part of Session 2 is a recap of Steve's interview with Victor Steffensen, Indigenous writer, researcher and activist. Like the entire hour-long interview, this 3 minutes encapsulates a key problem as Victor points to the barriers to progress. Namely:
  • The invisibility and neglect of the land as integral to the discussion
  • The need to get people to understand the problem (and get out of their offices)
  • The para military style of organisations (and we would add, their patriarchal structure)
  • The ability of one person to derail or stop great initiatives
  • The lack of funding to Victor’s (and others’) work in traditional Indigenous land management
This has parallels for other groups and issues. Replace ‘the land’ in dot point one with ‘women’ or ‘family violence after disaster’ or ‘LGBTIQA+ people’, etc. and in the last point consider the lack of funding to these issues, this insight holds true.
Next session Tues 11 May 1-2.30pm

Emergency Service Organisations 2021 - Who's In and Who's Out?
This series of Lead-In sessions is the prelude to the 2021 International Conference on Gender Justice in Disaster.
Wide-ranging, contemporary and compelling issues are covered.
A zoom panel at the conference will allow delegates to ask questions of the 'Lead-In' speakers.
Register now!
The “Gender Justice in Disaster: Inspiring Action” conference in May is unique in its focus on gender in the very broad context of health, emergencies and climate change.  It will be critical for organisations preparing to meet requirements under the new Victorian
Gender Equality Act (2020)
It is also vital for organisations beyond Victoria due to the increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, heat waves, and of course, COVID-19. The impacts are society-wide.
The panels bring together key CEOs and leaders, researchers and community members in
short and sharp interactive sessions, with your questions answered.
Commissioners, Chief Officers, CEOs and leading researchers join community members to discuss the challenging issues of culture, gender equality, mental health, diversity, design and disaster.
See the speaker profiles and conference program here.
Be part of this vital conversation!
There is a 10% discount for 5 tickets and 20% discount for 10 tickets. (Please note the session recordings will only be available for a limited time, and only to delegates.)

Conference details and registration are here.
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