With the theme ‘choose to challenge’ the day’s activities centred around celebrating the achievements of women staff members as well as ensuring that the more than 600 women in custody and women offenders managed in the community felt supported and empowered to make positive changes in their lives.
Acting Director General Joanne Stampalia said the day presented the opportunity to raise awareness against bias and to spark conversations about forging a gender-equal world.
“We are fortunate in Justice to have many outstanding women in the workforce,” Ms Stampalia said.
“While we are proud to have a gender-diverse workforce and women leaders, we also celebrate and appreciate every woman in Justice. In an organisation like ours we depend on everyone to step up whatever their role. From our school-based trainees to executives, everyone is needed and valued.”
Women in prison were also feted on International Women’s Day.
Corrective Services Director Women’s Operations Anika Smith said many of women in custody were victims of family and domestic violence.
“One of the reasons to mark the day in prisons is to acknowledge that fact and to encourage women prisoners to use their time in custody to develop self-confidence and skills,” Anika said.
“We hope that women prisoners will take advantage of the education and training opportunities we offer and to be empowered.
“We take a trauma-informed approach to ensure that women prisoners are managed in a manner sensitive and appropriate to their individual needs and that we work with Aboriginal women in the justice system in culturally sensitive ways.
“We address issues of safety, trust, choice, collaboration and empowerment, to help make women prisoners feel important, valued, recognised and nurtured – which is vital in their successful rehabilitation.”
At Bandyup Women’s Prison, Boronia Pre-release Centre for Women, Melaleuca Women’s Prison, Wandoo Rehabilitation Prison and Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison, women prisoners took part in a range of activities, from interacting with inspirational guest speakers to a personal development day and a high tea aimed at improving their sense of self-worth in the hope they will be strong enough to make better choices when they are released. A special mother and child sculpture at Boronia was unveiled on the day by Acting Commissioner Mike Reynolds, reflecting the facility’s focus on family.