Western Sydney Women are concerned about domestic violence and the cost of living, and they may finally have a united voice this election year after the launch of a new advocacy group.
The new membership group Western Sydney Women, founded by entrepreneur Amanda Rose and led by managing director Maria Kovacic, covers an area with a population of more than 1 million women, 41.1% of whom were born overseas. A number of influential MPs are already involved in the group, including Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne who is the founding ambassador.
The group says it’s the only organisation to advocate for women who come from Sydney’s Inner West, Greater West, North West and South West of Sydney. It’s a region with a population expected to outnumber the rest of Sydney by 2026, according to the group. A good 28.8% of all jobs available in the Sydney Metropolitan Area are located in the greater West.
The launch of their first poll of more than 560 women identified a number of key concerns for women in the region, the top two being domestic violence (79% of respondents listed it as a key concern) and cost of living (77%). Other key concerns included employment opportunities (65%), access to counselling services (53%) and childcare affordability (52%).
The group refers to police data to note that 12,561 women were victims of assault in NSW in 2015, a massive 34 a day.
Meanwhile, the poll found women in the region report concerning levels of unhappiness, with 52% saying they are not happy, and only 10% reporting they are extremely happy.
One of the group’s ambassadors Pru Goward addressed the launch on Friday, speaking about the need to inspire more confidence in women, because confident women can take more risks and follow their ambitions (and she added she’d faked plenty of confidence during the early stages of her career). Founding director Amanda Rose noted that “Happy women equals confident women and confident women take risks and don’t care what other’s think about them”.
Launched on Friday in Parramatta, WSW plan to run regular surveys of women in the area as well as events and campaigns, and give all women “the opportunity for personal success and empowerment”. Events are open to members only (membership is $11) and include seminars and workshops like the upcoming, ‘Identifying & surviving toxic relationships’ on May 24.