Creating an equitable and supportive workplace for all in spotlight

Respect and valuing diversity were among the themes highlighted during discussions at a We Do Respect, Do You? event in Wagga Wagga on Tuesday 2 March.

Held at the Civic Theatre, the forum was hosted by the Wagga Wagga Business Chamber and supported by Wagga Wagga City Council, in the lead up to NSW Women’s Week, focusing on respectful work environments.

It was attended by business leaders and NSW Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women the Hon. Bronwyn Taylor MLC and Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Premier and Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke MP.

In her welcome speech, Director Community Janice Summerhayes said everyone in the community has a role to play in creating an inclusive and respectful Wagga Wagga for all.

“Take some time today to reflect on what you can do in the community, in the workplace and in your homes to safely speak up and challenge casual sexism, gender stereotypes and acts of disrespect, as a respectful and kind community benefits everyone’s wellbeing,” Ms Summerhayes said.

The Minister spoke about how effective communication and mutual respect enables a conversation to move forward, using the example of navigating differing views in the workplace.

“If we talk openly and really listen to what other people have to say then it’s possible to talk about important, challenging topics and reach a workable agreement,” Mrs Taylor said.

“It’s never a great outcome when it’s just government involved; change requires the whole community to be involved.”

6 women and 1 man standing on grass next to lagoon
STRONG SUPPORT: Standing together to highlight the We Do Respect campaign are (from left) Wagga Wagga Business Chamber’s Business Manager Serena Hardwick and President Rhyley Hunter, the Hon. Bronnie Taylor MLC, Business Chamber Vice President Mackenna Powell, Steph Cooke MP, and Council’s Director Community Janice Summerhayes

Steph Cooke spoke about her work as a member of the Joint Select Committee working on a comprehensive definition of coercive control, creating strong legislation and a framework of delivery.

NSW Women’s Week runs from 8-14 March and coincides with International Women’s Day on Monday 8 March.

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