Sharing insights with federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins


Clare Morgan writes for UNSW News:

University research had a vital role to play in changing community attitudes and combatting gender inequality, the new federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins told a gathering of University of New South Wales (UNSW) academics and students.

The lunchtime round-table was hosted by UNSW’s Australian Human Rights Centre (AHRCentre) and attended by academics working on gender issues, including Dean of Law Professor George Williams, Dean of Arts & Social Sciences Professor Sue Dodds, AHRCentre director Professor Andrea Durbach, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Training) and Dean of Graduate Research Professor Laura Poole-Warren, President of the Academic Board Professor Prem Ramburuth and Professor of Politics Louise Chappell.

Ms Jenkins has been conducting similar informal meetings around the country since she began her five-year term earlier this year. “The main priority for the next six months is to talk far and wide to groups like this, to advance the conversation rather than starting from square one,” she said.

Ms Jenkins said university research had a unique capacity to create change.

“The work we’re doing is not just about laws and policies, it’s about what needs to be done to bring about real change,” she said. “I’m very interested in how research can advance better policy and better outcomes.”

“When I made the transition to the public sector four years ago, I realised there’s a lot of good information and research available that isn’t being used. Having an evidence base makes all the difference.”  

With a career in law behind her, Ms Jenkins had come to her new role believing the law was an important tool for change. “But what we need now isn’t more laws but systemic and attitudinal change … how do we change the system? How do you combat inequality?”

Read the full article here.


Top photo © DM2016: SDC Kate Jenkins, Isobel Blomfield (Queer Officer, International Students Officer, UNSW Student Representative Council), Jocelyn Dracakis (Women's Officer, UNSW Student Representative Council) and AHRCentre Director Andrea Durbach