Refinery29 Launches FiredUp, An Initiative Designed To Help Dismantle Workplace Sexual Harassment

Refinery29 Launches FiredUp, An Initiative Designed To Help Dismantle Workplace Sexual Harassment
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

Refinery29 Australia has announced the launch of Fired Up, an always-on initiative that spotlights the serious and pervasive issue of workplace sexual harassment and assault in Australia.

Refinery29 Australia is making a commitment to spotlighting workplace sexual harassment with a dedicated editorial focus on all aspects of the issue.

Survivor interviews, resource guides, expert opinion pieces and coverage of related news and events will be wrapped into the Fired Up content hub on-site, offering its audience a supportive and inclusive space to get informed, share resources and take action.

Two in five women in Australia have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace over the last five years, however, reporting continues to be low, with only 17 per cent of victims making a formal report or complaint.

Young people (those between the ages of 18 and 29), people with a disability, LGBTQI and Aboriginal people were far more likely to have experienced workplace sexual harassment.

According to the Respect@Work report by the Australian Human Rights Commission, Australia lags behind other countries in its response to preventing and responding to sexual harassment.

The launch of the series coincides with the opening of a petition with the House of Representatives by Refinery29 Australia.

This petition draws attention to the urgent funding required by the NT Working Women’s Centre (NTWWC).

Despite receiving endorsement in the Respect@Work report, which described working women’s centres as “a valuable source of holistic assistance to victims,” the NT centre faces closure by December 2021, following in the footsteps of other states, including NSW.

The petition was accepted by the House on the 25 August, and will be open for signatures until the 22 of September 2021.

NTWWC is a community-based non-profit organisation that supports women by providing free, confidential advice about work-related matters, particularly gender discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace.

In FY21, NTWWC had 3,470 contacts with women – a 29.6 per cent increase from the previous year, as well as a seven-fold increase in the number of sexual harassment matters.

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) women represented 47 per cent of sexual harassment matters and 62 per cent of sexual assault matters.

Zahra Campbell-Avenell, head of editorial of Refinery29 Australia: “The Fired Up series will spotlight the systemic issue of sexual harassment and assault in Australian workplaces, as well as the social and political issues that underpin them.

“This launch marks the beginning of an ongoing commitment to covering this important topic, while elevating the voices and experiences of First Nations, CALD women, gender-diverse people and people with a disability. We hope that highlighting this issue can lead to material change.”

Nicki Petrou, director of the NTWWC, said: “Working Women’s Centres (WWCs) have played a unique role for over 40 years in supporting and advocating for women’s workplace rights.

“NTWWC is the only specialist service of its kind in the Territory supporting some of the most vulnerable workers in the country in a very challenging environment.

“However, following the loss of our main Federal funding in December 2020, we are now standing at a cliff waiting to see which way we are heading.

“This fight is not just about keeping an organisation going, but continuing to provide a vital service for women.

“We’re so grateful to have the support of Refinery29 Australia and others to get our message out there, and hopefully, with this petition, secure the federal funding we need to remain open.”

Labor Party member for the Australian House of Representatives, Luke Gosling, said:  “I’m really pleased to support the petition calling for Federal funding to be restored to the NT Working Women’s Centre.

“It’s clear that women, especially vulnerable women, need the support of the Centre, which is locally based with local staff who have a deep understanding of the nuances and complications of working in a place like the NT.

“I’m calling on the Government to reinstate the Centre’s funding so that they can keep doing their incredibly valuable work supporting women.”.

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