New women's network founding members speak up

The PSA relaunches its womens network and some of the new founding members share their reasons for being in the PSA.

Alison van Dyk

Case manager at Work and Income, Greymouth

I have been involved with the union movement more so in the last 10 -12 years and always been a member of the PSA when in government work.

Although in the work that I currently do there tend to be more women than men I believe that women still struggle to be recognised at the national level of the business. 

I believe it would be an excellent way for women to share so much information, be it work, children, travel, cultural in fact the door is open and we could go from there. Women are great at talking, sharing ideas and participating.  This is such a great idea and I support it 100% plus.

Pam Jemmet

A background in administration and a University of Otago graduate with qualifications in management and industrial relations.

Pam joined the staff of the University in 1990. A keen advocate of workers rights she joined the PSA, became involved as a delegate, and was elected to the executive board under the new constitution spending four years at that level.

Pam continues to hold leadership positions within both the community sector and tertiary area, representing members nationally and locally, as well as the supporting staff through workplace issues.  The rights of workers and, more particularly those facing women workers, is a priority for her.  She believes many of the biggest workplace challenges revolve around gender, e.g. Why do females still earn less than males? Will the glass ceiling ever be shattered? Is a balance between family and career attainable? What will it take to establish a work environment where gender is a non-issue?

Just as our mothers and grandmothers tackled similar barriers, these are some of the challenges that continue to face women in today’s workforce.   The formation of the women’s network by the Executive Board is a welcome inclusion in the PSA’s agenda.

Jackie Kerr

National delegate for Prisons.

I have been employed at Waikeria Prison in the Waikato for nearly nine years as a Corrections Officer. 

During my time as a national delegate I have been involved in issues involving women staff members from around my region from harassment, inequality to non recognition of work undertaken.

I have been a member of the Prison Service bargaining team and I have enjoyed my PSA work a lot. I keep learning for our members and myself, striving to be the best representative for all in my region.

Jenny Fraser

Plant & Food

Originally coming from Invercargill, I moved to Alexandra in 1980 where I still live with my husband Mike and daughter Kristen.  My older daughter lives in Dunedin with her partner and 2 children.

I have been at the Clyde Research Centre since 1989 firstly with DSIR, then to Hortresearch in 1992 when the CRI's were established and then to Plant & Food when Hort Research and Crop & Food merged.

I became involved as a PSA delegate when elected site delegate at the Clyde Research Centre and also have a role to represent the smaller Plant & Food sites.

I have been on two collective agreement negotiation teams and also on last years Hort Research remuneration review committee which successfully achieved a substantial pay increase for its members.

Through the 1990's I was involved with Hort Women, a woman's group that had a very significant influence to the work - family - life balance policy that is now very much part of the culture within Plant & Food.

I have found that there is so much to learn outside of our own organisations both nationally and internationally. I would encourage all women to become involved in the union that represents them, whether it be promoting fairness and equality in your workplace, promoting the values and objectives of the PSA, as a site delegate, on your organisation's committee or at national level. 

Debbie Taylor

Social worker working for Waitemata District Health Board

I joined the PSA after coming to work at Waitakere hospital in January 2007 and became a work place delegate in July 2007.  I have recently joined the health Sector Council of the PSA as Region 2 delegate.

I am pleased to be invited to be a founding member of the PSA Women’s network. Prior to training as a social worker I was an early childhood teacher and throughout most of my working life I have been involved in union activities. Gender inequity in pay has continued to be an issue through out that time.

As a social worker it has been particularly disappointing that further work in addressing disparities highlighted by the pay and employment equity research, that revealed pay disparities between male and female social workers at Child Youth and Family, has been scrapped.

In the current economic and political climate it would be ‘too easy’ to lose sight of pay and employment equity issues it is therefore a great time for the PSA to be establishing a new women's network.