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Women’s Mentoring Network!

29 Jan

Women's Mentoring Network!

The 2013 Wom*n’s Department is working on a union led mentoring program which would provide women students with opportunities to network within their chosen field, swapping necessary skills and knowledge.

In 2012 the Wom*n’s Department ran Bluestockings Week as part of a national campaign that celebrated women in academia. The week was a great opportunity to reflect on what women students had won, and what they are still fighting for. A key message that emerged from Bluestockings was the benefits of role models, from within general academia and specific fields of study, who can help fledgling students navigate the tricky landscape of study and employment.

The Women’s Mentoring Network will be a professional networking group, which will allow women to meet, talk and share experiences in a casual setting. The network will group (optimistically pair) undergraduate students with post graduate women in their field, it will also invite significant key note speakers for the group at large. The Network will provide support and training for the mentors, an opportunity for leadership that will make them more outstanding graduates in the work force. The WMN is in its early stages at the moment, but we hope to have our first meetings at the beginning of the semester. At the moment we are looking for expressions of interest from prospective mentorees and mentors. Register your interest here!


Summer Bulletin (aka there’s heaps of stuff to sign up for and put in your diary)

18 Jan

Happy New Year!

We’re back in Union House getting ready to plan a whole lot of activism and social events, generally designed towards smashing the patriarchy, empowering women, and destroying the joint (unless the joint has cupcakes in it, we’ll save the cupcakes).

While most of you probably aren’t back on campus yet, the Wom*n’s Room is open everyday, and if it isn’t pop by the UMSU offices on level one to the right of the stairs and we will open it up.

Student Representative Network is open for applications – if you’ve ever wondered how the Uni is run, or want a say over your education this is the place to get involved! It’s important that women’s voices are heard. We are the majority of the undergrad population, but not the majority making the decisions about how the uni is run.

WAC will be starting up as of week one of semester, but there’s so much to get done for NOWSA and Bluestockings Week and International Women’s day that we want to have a WAC Summer Sesh Femmo Love-In before Galentine’s Day, in the Wom*n’s Room or on South lawn if the weather’s too lovely to resist. There’s a Facebook event here and we will update on Twitter. New faces and old hands are always welcome.

The NUS Women’s Talk About It Survey, a survey of women’s experience of safety on campus is still open for submissions. It’s the only student-run survey of its kind and getting as many submissions as possible will make sure it’s able to represent your experiences, and then be used by universities and student unions to improve campus life. It does come with a trigger warning for harassment & sexual violence. Please share it around your networkWe’d love ideas on what you want to see happen on campus for International Women’s Day. E-mail us! We’ll also be hosting a White Ribbon BBQ with the Welfare Department on Wednesday 6th of March at midday, promoting the message of the White Ribbon Oath “I swear never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.” Men and women from the University and Student Union as well as a White Ribbon Ambassador will be speaking and taking the oath.

Put the O-Week Welcome/Back Picnic and Ffffilm in your diary to kick start your year and welcome new students to the department/uni as a whole. Tuesday 26th February at 3pm in the Wom*n’s Room, straight after the Union Carnival on South Lawn. Here’s the Facebook event.

We are always around for a chat/vent and to hear what your concerns about campus life, and want from the department and the union more broadly.

Bluestockings Week, a national campaign celebrating women in higher education (and the peak of our dress coded calendar) is happening in May this year, get excited!

In solidarity,

Amy & Mercedes

ON TEH TWITTERZ @umsuwomyn

Talk About It

5 Dec
Happy holidays/summer term everyone!

If you’re still around campus over summer and happen to go to the bathroom you may well find free period management products courtesy of your ever-caring and fighting Wom*n’s Department. They will have these stickers on them: Image

It’s really important that there’s a broad range of respondents to the survey, so please do, it only takes a few minutes and your story is valuable and valid.

**TRIGGER WARNING** There are questions within the survey (sexual assault and harassment) which may be triggering to some women. Take care of yourself, if you think this survey may be triggering please make sure you’re safe

Talk About It is the only national women’s safety survey that is run by students for students.
It was first run in 2010 and the report was released in 2011, now we have the opportunity to run the survey again and find out what has changed, what’s stayed the same and what we need to do to make sure that every person is safe on campus.
The survey is for women and women identifying people only, if you’re a woman student studying at university please help us by completing the survey. The survey will close early 2013.More backstory and information is available here.Please share amongst your networks!

Article published about Rad Sex & Consent Week

6 May

Click here to read article & comment!

(Unfortunately you may have to sign up for a free account)

The charming Mitchell Toy of the fair and open-minded tabloid newspaper The Herald Sun has kindly promoted our event!

However, it would be much appreciated if you would take the time to read and comment on the piece as there are a few inaccuracies and mistakes made, namely:

  • there is no ‘furore’ or ‘controversy’ at Melbourne Uni but much positivity around the week, and surely Mr. Toy wouldn’t want to whip up a controversy where there is none;
  • they seem to have accidentally used the word ‘performing’ when they meant ‘demonstrating’, and ‘live and extreme sex show’ instead of ‘sex education demonstration’;
  • a bum massage is not what everyone would deem ‘extreme’! Or, ‘too graphic to be detailed in the Herald Sun’!;
  • they seem to be a bit confused about the fact that while some money went towards the week none was paid for the workshop in question (and of course all the unpaid work many students and guests have done to make this week such a success is ignored!)
  • Oh, and please kindly request that one Charley Daniels not speak as though she is an expert on the sex lives of ‘the vast majority of students’! Or, for that matter, be represented as a Student Councillor when she is not.
  • It’s amazing that Ms Daniels was ‘amazed’ to find the workshop matched its published description. Amazing!

You can read more at:

Please take a moment to comment on the article, or send your thoughts directly to Mr. Toy at


Rad Sex & Consent update

2 May

Well we are about to start day 3 of Rad Sex & Consent and it’s been awesome so far! Today Nina Funnell – a special guest of the Wom*n’s Dept – will speak on consent.


*trigger warning for mention of sexual assault*
Nina is a courageous woman who turned a horrific experience into a platform to campaign for the rights of all Australians to live free from physical and sexual violence. In 2007, Nina experienced an awful attack by an unknown man before she managed to escape. She reported the incident to the police and then broke her story to the media in an attempt to reclaim control of the situation.

Since then she has written numerous articles for the media about violence against women and has become a public spokesperson for survivors of assault. She volunteers with The Step to the Future Foundation and last year she travelled across Australia speaking to over 15,000 high school students and students at six universities. She is a member of the management committee of the NSW Rape Crisis Centre and takes every opportunity to raise the community’s awareness and understanding of this important issue. She has also worked with national football clubs and organisations on issues of gender awareness & assault reduction.

You can read some of her articles here.

Hope to see you today at 1:30pm at Joe Nap A (near Rowden White library – level 2 union house), or if you can make today, there will be 2nd wom*n-only consent workshop tomorrow in the wom*n’s room at 11:30am!

What’s happening | Self defence classes | Rad Sex & Consent Week 2012!

7 Apr
Fight Like A Woman

(english: fight like a woman!)

We’ve had a great first half of semester one, and thanks to everyone who has been able to come along to WAC, stitch n bitch, Girlzone, Feminist Discussion Group, and FFFFILMS!. It’s been really busy and I hope everyone will enjoy a break (or some time to cram for exams and essays!)

So, some updates:

  • We have organised a wom*n-only self defence course starting Monday April 16. There will be four classes that cost an absolute bargain of $5 each, and run every Monday from 5:45-7:45. Click

    here for more information. Update: Classes now full, thanks everyone!

  • There’s a new computer in the wom*n’s room so it should be running a lot faster now – although there’s still the same old screen, but we’ll see what we can do about that!
  • We (the wom*n’s officers: myself and Amy, the queer dept officers: Luke & Katie, and a bunch of super awesome students who are just enthusiastic) are well into planning our big event for semester one in week 9: Rad Sex & Consent Week 2012! For those who weren’t around last year, this fantastic event is a week of talks, workshops, fun & performances centred around celebrating and learning about diverse, consensual, healthy and fulfilling sex and sexuality. Think of it as sex ed for grown ups that is wom*n positive, queer positive, body positive, and sex positive – since many of us received sex education that was at best unhelpful and at worst harmful… that’s if you had any sex ed at all! Check out for more info – we’ll be adding more details and resources as we confirm them. In the meantime, if you’d like to get involved – whether by contributing ideas, helping make a zine, running a workshop, or sticking up some posters, let us know!
  • There’s a new feature on the site called Spotlight, where we will post information about events, performances, and initiatives run by or for wom*n in Melbourne. If you have a tip for something to feature, let me know!

Well I think that’s it for now, so have a happy and safe break and see you all back at uni.

– Bel

What’s happening in 2012

29 Feb

We have big ideas and a big year planned in 2012. All of our events will be free or subsidised for students at the University of Melbourne.

Continue reading

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