Council puts equality, safety on agenda

Karen McKeown. Photo: Megan Dunn.
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Penrith Council has vowed to further promote women’s welfare and gender equality, becoming a signatory of the Greater Sydney Women’s Safety Charter.

Developed collaboratively with the input of 80 organisations from government, business and not-for-profit sectors across Greater Sydney, the Charter recognises the diverse experiences of women and aims to promote a safer city for females of all ages, abilities, identities and social and cultural backgrounds.

As a participant, Council will implement practical ways to actively support women and girls to feel safer and more confident participating in social, economic and cultural life.

Councillor Kath Presdee said she was proud that Council had endorsed the signing of the Charter.

“It is important that all members of the community believe that they are able to participate in the life of our City,” she said.

Kath Presdee.

“As Council we recognise our residents’ need to feel safe when going to and from work, or shopping, exercising or going out with family and friends.

“While Council already has a strong focus and role through our Community Safety Partnership, I look forward to this increased recognition of ways to improve and strengthen women’s access to all aspects of Penrith’s social and economic life.”

Councillor Robin Cook, who has advocated for increased lighting at Tench Reserve, said the ongoing issue of women’s safety has been highlighted by the spike in domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our Council’s commitment in raising awareness of this issue and generally our support of women’s services can only be strengthened by signing the Charter,” she said.

Robin Cook.

“Signing the Charter will also strengthen our commitment to ensuring we have a culture of gender equality.

“This is something our Council already demonstrates in the number of senior decision-making positions that are held by women.”

Deputy Mayor Karen McKeown said it was a great opportunity for Council to work collaboratively with other signatories to build on Council’s existing projects and advocacy work, and perhaps attract more grant funding for some of its programs.

While Councillor Tricia Hitchen recognised Council “as a leader in gender equality”, saying it was a great Council to work for, and made special mention of Council’s ongoing support of local women’s refuge, The Haven.

Tricia Hitchen.

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