Helen Conway has urged young women to advocate for change, after being appointed President and Board Chair of YWCA Australia.
Conway, the former CEO of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, has used the announcement to encourage young women to advocate for middle aged women who have emerged as the newest face of poverty in Australia, according to recent YWCA research.
“They are not the obvious face of poverty,” she said in a statement. But they are a group that is largely invisible to government policy makers and society.
She’s concerned nothing is being done to structurally address this disadvantage and to help turn it around.
“Politicians seem not to feel any pressing need to address the issue, so that is something I want YWCA under my leadership to bring into the public arena and address in a tangible way,” she said.
She also expressed disappointment that she wasn’t able to deal with the issues affecting this these women during her time as CEO of the WGEA.
The YWCA’s research revealed one in eight women living in regional Australia have been homeless in the past five years, and one in four has lived in temporary accommodation because they couldn’t afford the private rental market.
Conway said the organisation needs to engage young members to take up the fight so it results in policies that will ensure it is not an issue when they are in their fifties of sixties.
“YWCA has many young, smart and articulate women who can really help shape policy to improve the lives of women of future generations,” she siad.
Helen starts in the role on July 1.