It is with extreme sadness that we announce the closing of NOW Australia.
Formed in 2018 with a clear mandate of ending sexual harassment in Australian workspaces, NOW Australia has proudly worked alongside many determined organisations and individuals to progress action towards safer workplaces for all.
This has included:
- A comprehensive submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, from which multiple recommendations were adopted
- Our involvement in the Power to Prevent Campaign
- Our involvement in Fair Agenda’s Election Scorecard
- Our support of Gender Equality Victoria in their creation of an excellent bystander resource to combat sexism and online harassment.
Through comprehensive consultation in preparation for our submission to the National Inquiry, we formulated a Strategic Plan with a focus on collaboration, a series of ambitious goals and objectives, and centred around three main pillars: better prevention, stronger regulation and more effective support. However, we understand it is essential to work towards financial viability and stability to realise these aspirations. Without this, it is impossible to do the essential work needed to address sexual harassment in Australian workplaces.
We now find ourselves facing unprecedented times. The national funding landscape has changed dramatically. COVID-19 continues to impact individuals, families and businesses across the country. This has created an extremely precarious landscape and as a result, we have chosen to adopt a conservative approach. We have taken the difficult, but fiscally responsible decision to close down. The remaining funds are being shared on to YWCA snd to Justice Connect to support their important work with the Gateway Project.
This is not a move we take lightly.
We deeply thank every donor and supporter who generously flooded the early phase of our organisation with support, donations and volunteered time. We know many of you gave in the hopes of creating change. Know that the work will continue beyond our organisation. As Kate Jenkins, Sex Discrimination Commissioner has said, “There is an urgency for change. There is the momentum for reform”.
We thank Kristine Ziwica and Genevieve Burnett, our two dedicated Executive Directors, who worked tirelessly to achieve meaningful connection with the wider gendered violence network. We thank the stakeholders and experts in the women’s services and legal sectors who generously shared their knowledge and experience with us. Their steadfast fight against the drivers of sexual harassment and the support for those in need has been continually inspiring.
To the survivors out there – we hear you, we believe you and we acknowledge the impact of your experience. Please know that the fight for workplaces free of sexual harassment continues.
We recognise the work of the Australian Human Rights Commission and Kate Jenkins in conducting the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces. We support the resulting Respect@Work report. We urge the Australian Government to comprehensively adopt and fully fund the evidence based, victim focussed recommendations. We strongly encourage the use of an intersectional lens across the implementation.
It is vital that we change the attitudes, behaviours, social norms, structures and practices that lead to sexual harassment in the workplace. Important conversations have been had and consensus is building amongst survivors, experts and service providers, both counselling and legal, about how we can tackle this wicked problem. We have seen the momentum. We share the passion. We will continue to work towards change. We are proud to have been a small and active part of these conversations.
If you need help, you can link here for a list of support services and information.
– 5 June 2020